Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First Day of School Excitement, and How To Survive When the Excitement Settles!

I'm on my way to my first day of school for the 26th time (counting being a student and a teacher)! I have to say, I'm not sure it's much different for either.  Whether you're a teacher or a student, the first day of school is filled with excitement, chaos, and a bit of anxiety.  There are new supplies, a promise of organization, hope in the air, and a rush of endorphins as you tackle that first day.

There's also a sense of sadness for the summer that must end.  For me, each summer as a teacher has gotten better and better. I've become more financially stable, and been able to work less and less each summer.  This summer I was able to do something other than teaching/tutoring, and coached soccer.  It was a great change of a pace, and I really enjoyed it.

Coaches from this summer

There was also many days spent on the beach, weekend trips with M, long walks with Stella, ventures with friends, and days spent doing exactly what I wanted (even if that meant sitting on the couch in the air conditioning watching Bravo marathons).  It really was glorious!

And just like that, it's OVER! After 3 days of professional development without the students, I'm actually more than ready for their arrival.  This will be my 9th year teaching 5th grade, and my 2nd year at my current school.  In true "First Day of School Eve" form, I could not sleep last night...thus, I'm up at 3:30 a.m. typing this post! Even though the excitement of the first day(s) will power me through today, and hopefully the week, I have some tricks and tips that help me get through the busy year.  Here they are in no particular order:

Tips For Getting Through Busy Work Weeks:

I know this seems silly, but for me, knowing I have a rest day planned not only makes that day easier, but it motivates me through the workout the day before (since I know I'll have a break the next day), and also the day after (because I know I didn't exercise the day before).  My favorite rest days are Mondays (they're hard enough already!), and Thursdays (it sets me up for a weekend of great workouts).  

This is a trick I got from my mom.  She actually makes 2-3 main dishes on Sunday, and then uses them for dinners throughout the week.  Knowing that dinners are simply heat and eat makes it feel so much easier Monday through Friday.  In the summer, we'll grill a few things like steak, chicken, sausages, and then add onto them to make meals that are super easy.  In the winter, the crock pot and baked dishes make an appearance. Lasagna, enchiladas, pulled pork, and baked chicken casseroles are favorites.  These are also easy to freeze portions of, so in a pinch a hot meal is just a 6 minute trip in the microwave away! 

During the week, a big headache is trying to hit the grocery store after work.  Even if it's just for yogurt and eggs, bustling through the store at 5 p.m. is utter chaos. I try to take a look in the fridge and get everything we're low on either Saturday or Sunday.  Weekends that look particularly busy are good candidates for Peapod (or whatever your local grocery store offers as delivery service).  It's about $6.00 to have groceries delivered, but there are often promotions that offer it free when you spend a certain amount.  I also have to say that when I order my groceries, I'm able to bargain shop more and make smarter decisions because comparing costs is just a click away.

Getting our home in order before a busy week always makes it feel a little more manageable.  If I can find my shoes, bag, glasses without a 5 minute scavenger hunt, it opens up more time for important things....like snuggling Stella! Clearing off our kitchen table (it tends to be our dumping spot for papers, bills, odds and ends) and putting a fresh vase of flowers also makes me happy throughout the week.

I know this is probably easier for someone without children (like me), so I'm speaking from the perspective of a non-mom/dad, but carving out a little time for myself each day after work helps me get through a jam-packed day.  Reading in bed for an hour, or watching guilty-pleasure T.V. (like Real Housewives of whatever county...) are two of my favorites.  At 2:00, when students are tired, and I have a headache from talking all day, I think about this time that is in my future and it powers me through.

- SET A TIME FOR TALKING ABOUT THE UPCOMING WEEK (i.e. complaining on Sunday night!)
I know this sounds ridiculous, but I am someone who always has trouble living in the now.  I'm always thinking ahead and planning/worrying/scheduling.  M actually came up with the idea, and said we can't talk about the upcoming work week (obviously we do if there's something we feel we really want to talk about, but we try to avoid it), until 6 p.m. on Sunday.  This actually works for me, and I don't find myself stressing until, ohhhhh....about 6:05 p.m., but hey, it's better than waking up on Sunday and perseverating over the impending week.

So there you go! A few tips and tricks that I employ to make the work week go a bit smoother around here.  

Do you have any tips that make the work week smoother for you? 

Any teachers out there? Where and what grades/positions?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Where did the summer go?

Oh my gosh...well, that was fast! Last I posted I was thinking about all of the things I was looking forward to this summer...and whoooosh, just like that it's just about over! I've been bad about blogging, but not by choice.  M used my laptop, and it kind of crashed.  

We put it aside, said we needed to get to the Apple Store, and then made no real effort to do so.  I was desperate the other day to get something done for work, so I tried to boot it up (does anyone still say that?!), and it worked! Looks like it just wanted a summer vacation too!

Despite being bad at blogging, I was pretty good at taking pictures. We have had something 8 of the 9 summer weekends that had us pack our bags (they actually stayed packed all summer) and get on the road.  Here's a little recap in mostly pictures!

Wedding in Brooklyn for M's best friend growing up:

One weekend break, then Cape Cod with his family and my family for the 4th of July:

All the dogs were there!
Rhode Island for a Soccer Tournament for GirlsCan (I coached in their Summer Elite Program):

Saratoga NY for a family trip to the horse races:

Cape Cod for another trip, only my family was up there this time:

Pennsylvania for another GirlsCan tournament (last of the summer season):
Dunkin' for breakfast, and surprised to see a Hooters attached to it!

GCF Coaches

Cape Cod again, this time only M's family was up there:

Saw the coolest meteorite shower

Some of us were more excited about it than others!

Golfing in the rain
Sanddollar Cookies!
Off to my sister's house this weekend to go out to dinner for her anniversary, and to tackle her Sunday long run with her (she's training for a half marathon). The boys will probably play golf on Sunday when we run.
Happy Anniversary Tara and Mike!

So, as you can see it's been a crazy busy, but amazingly fun summer! I'm sad to see it end...but there's a few great days left to it! 

What was your favorite weekend event this summer?

Did you go away at all this summer? If so, where?

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