Category Archives: Humor

Are they ready?

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As of next Thursday, my husband and I will have a senior and a freshman in high school. What? When did this happen?

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Celebrating the tiny one’s 14th birthday

I’ve been thinking about this craziness for some time. My husband and I have talked extensively about the fact that we only have a couple more years with our girls under our roof. It’s TERRIFYING.

Have we prepared them? Have we sheltered them? Have we given them too much? Have we not given them enough? Can they make it in this crazy world, or should we move somewhere that lets you have basements in your house? Texas bedrock doesn’t allow for basements, and my hubby and I aren’t moving to another state, so that’s out. Let me just say, our girls are wonderful in many ways. They make good grades, they don’t do crazy stuff (that we know of), they like to spend time with us…and all of that is great. But have we instilled common sense? Do they have a good work ethic? Can they keep themselves safe? Is this world going to be harsh to them? I can’t answer those questions with any certainty, and it is maddening.

Our oldest hyperventilates at the thought of anything resembling adulting and HATES driving. Our youngest is convinced that she wants to move far away for college, and she is ready to drive NOW, even though she’s got a couple of years before that’s an option. Polar opposites, as usual. Sometimes I wonder how they could grow up in the same house with the same parents and end up so vastly different.

All of that aside, I’m not confident that either one of them will be okay because this world is MESSED UP. Have we given them the strength of character to make rational decisions in the face of pressure from others? Can they keep their living space clean enough to avoid contracting a flesh-eating virus? Can they navigate the grocery store and keep themselves fed? You think I’m kidding. I’m not.

And I did this. I guided them to this, right? Well, my husband and I. So WE, we did this. Did we cripple them by giving them too much of this and not enough of that? It’s keeping me up at night, this anxiety. And I can’t fix whatever I should fix because, number one, I don’t know what to fix, and number two, I only have a year to do that for the oldest. Not enough time. Never enough time.

You know what I can and will do? I will LOVE them. Fiercely. And if that means pushing them outside the comfort zone we have created so they can start to make their own decisions, then so be it. If it means that they get mad at me because I’m making them do things they don’t want to do, fine. I have to do this. I have to give them everything I can before they go out in the big, bad world.

I wish parenting came with a manual.

Happy Anniversary to me!

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It’s been ONE YEAR! That is nothing short of amazing, my friends. 365 days that I have stuck with something. Ask my husband. It’s a freakin’ miracle.

The past couple of weeks my body has been rebelling and insisting that I eat sugar. Ice cream, chips, cookies…BAD, BAD, and more BAD. So I’m trying to reset, but I don’t want to lose anymore weight (mostly because I can’t afford new clothes). So I’m trying to make sure I don’t eat that stuff, but I am failing. Miserably. Last night, I ate three Girl Scout cookies that a well-meaning student gave me during Teacher Appreciation Week. I should have given them back. I ate three. Then I had a Drumstick ice cream treat about 15 minutes later. Did I mention the sugar cravings were bad?

Ugh. All those diet and lifestyle gurus who tell you, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change”. Psh. I always thought that was “new age bunk” (to quote my grandmother). Sadly, it seems to be true. So I will celebrate this momentous anniversary with my breakfast of egg muffins- not to be confused with delicious English muffins- and my lunch of baby food meat sticks, cheese, pickles, and Atkins chocolate. Be jealous.

I hope my kids know better than to get me chocolate for Mother’s Day.

Go home, you’re drunk.

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Anyone from Texas knows that old saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes, it will change.” Well, I understand that, but this is ridiculous. Go home, weather. You’re drunk. I think I’ve had a runny nose for 139 days now because our weather is so jacked up. And it makes the students I teach CRAZY. For example, if it starts raining, they act like they’ve never seen rain before, or they purposely run around in it, and then come into class dripping, and say “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I got soaked!” Really, you can’t? Added to that, we only have 23 more school days left, and these kids are WIRED. And all my energy? Gone. Kaput. Nada.

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Today, tomorrow, and Friday some of our students are on a field trip. That means, for 5 of my 6 classes, 2 or 3 students might show up. What am I supposed to do with that? Maybe they can help me pack boxes for the big classroom move at the end of the year. Is that against child labor or something? It probably is. So they will sit in my room doing Think Through Math on Chromebooks because I can’t teach them stuff that the other kids don’t get. I hope they don’t ask me questions. I’m allergic to math. I am a good teacher, though. When they get back from the trip, we have one week to prep for the state test, and I have already made all these cool stations that they can rotate through with a partner so they don’t get bored. They’ll like it because they won’t be stuck at their desks. See, I haven’t totally checked out. 🙂 I also have this little gem up my sleeve, so I’m all ready!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reading-STAAR-Review-Game-3038917

 

Feeling Entrepreneurial

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Teachers sometimes need extra money. Did you know that? I mean, I know everyone thinks we make the big bucks because we educate the youth of America, but sadly, we don’t. I can’t even begin to address the fact that people that throw or kick a ball around makes millions of dollars while teachers worry about paying their mortgage, but hey, whatever.

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Look at me, branding myself and stuff. 🙂

So to pad the old bank account, and to keep it from collecting cobwebs, I have a couple of part-time gigs. I just started selling curriculum that I have created on Teachers Pay Teachers. See my awesome store here:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Johnstons-Ela-Gems

I also do the website and manage the social media for my dad and stepmom’s distillery in South Texas, Hill Country Distillers. You can visit their Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/hillcountrydistillers/

So, yeah. I’m an entrepreneur. But sometimes I feel like I completely embody the old saying, “Jack of all trades, and master of none.” I guess that’s not entirely true because I feel like I’m a pretty awesome teacher, but the other stuff, I could stand to learn more. Maybe if I learned more, I could branch out and get out of education, but I’m having such a good experience at the school where I teach, I’m okay with being a teacher until retirement. For now. But I have options! Maybe I’ll be that older woman going back to get a second degree so that I can learn more about the website/social media stuff. I could get a marketing degree. I could do business photography. I don’t know! There is whole world out there!

I love that my girls are seeing me do new things. I love that I can contribute to our household budget because Chris works so freakin’ hard. I love that I can pay down debt with money that is truly extra.  I love that I can put the Zulily app back on my phone and not feel bad looking at it every once in a while!!

Maybe I’ll become the new Joanna Gaines and have a curriculum/media/photography empire. People will make t-shirts!

Hey, everyone has to have a dream, right?

Full Disclosure

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Many of you have shown an interest in beginning a journey to a healthier life. I applaud you! I must, however, be completely honest about what you may encounter. In the first three weeks of this journey, when you cannot have more than 20 carbs a day, no one and nothing with be safe from your wrath. 

I’m serious. 

About midway through the second week of induction, I was walking up the stairs in my house. I was not angry. No one had done anything to irritate me. I was calm. By the time I reached the top of the stairs, I was enraged. ENRAGED. I went into my bedroom and almost put our laundry basket through the wall. For no reason.

As you go through carb withdrawal, which is really sugar detox, your brain goes a little crazy. Maybe a lot crazy. Please do not kick your cat or scream at your spouse. The fact that they can still eat bread is not their fault. Just breathe, and redirect your energy/outrage. Clean the top floor of your house. Detail your car. Mow your neighbor’s lawn. Whatever. Just try to make it through without harming members of your inner circle.

That being said, I promise it gets better. By the end of the third week, you will have lost pounds, gained energy, and that crap will have left your system. Then the real work, of actually changing your diet, can begin. If it helps, you can be mad at me. I can take it, and I understand. Plus, I’m far enough away from most of you to be physically safe. 

Please don’t think I’m preaching to you. You will never know how many times in my life I tried to do this before it worked. Countless. I promise. No , really. Just get some Atkins chocolate, and hang in there.

A Thing of Beauty

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This makes my teacher heart happy 🙂

Isn’t it pretty? I just love looking at it in all its color-coded glory. What you are looking at is every SE from the TEKS for 7th grade ELA laid out and put in order for the year. Yep, I’m that girl. Give me some butcher paper and post-its, and I’ll make you the prettiest YAG you’ve ever seen! I finished this yesterday during my conference period, and my heart was happy the rest of the day.

That’s me. I’m a planner. You could say it’s one of my biggest strengths, but it’s also a huge weakness. I prepare for stuff, but then when that stuff doesn’t happen, or someone throws a wrench in my stuff, I freak out. Don’t throw me curve balls because I can’t hit them! I live and die by my calendar, and my lists, and my plans.

I wasn’t always like this. I used to be able to fly by the seat of my pants and be okay with that. Somewhere along the way, spontaneity became difficult for me. Here’s what that does- it makes you turn down invitations from friends because you had it in your head you wouldn’t have anything to do. Sometimes I wonder how I even have friends. I mean, I know I’m pretty awesome, and I can be hilarious, and I throw a mean get together. But I say no to my friends so often. Bless them, they keep asking. Thank goodness for that. They all deserve medals!

So here’s to my teachers out there looking to their next year of school, and to all of my sweet friends who have stuck with me. Love to you all!

The Long, Weary Walk

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This is my countdown!

It’s that time of year. There are no more holiday breaks. There are no more long weekends. There is only the long, weary walk of every teacher trying to make it to the last day of school. We must endure the testing, the field trips, the play days, and the rambunctious apathy of students that know the end is near. We begin countdowns on our boards that we say are for our students, but really those countdowns are just another lifeline to sanity.

Teacher friends, I feel you, and I’m here for you.

My biggest problem this time of year is that my current school year brain shuts down while my next school year brain wakes up. I begin to feel that all the changes I imagined making while I was teaching this year need to be made before I begin to teach next year. I begin to make list after list, create YAGs, do CPGs, worry about novel justifications, and align TEKS. I start to panic at the amount of self-inflicted studying that is piling up in the form of books I have assigned myself for the summer. The summer that is EXACTLY 2 months from start to finish. *sigh*

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My awesome new planner. I can’t wait to write in it!

My precious students from this year wonder why I sometimes have a far away look on my face. Little do they know that I am rearranging furniture in my new classroom. The one with white walls and bigger windows that I will move into next year. Anything to remove myself from the portable/paneled cave that I currently inhabit.

One of the beautiful things about being a teacher is what I like to call THE RESET BUTTON. Remember that lesson that went south on you? You get a redo next year. How about that book you thought the kids would love that they loathed? Pick another one to takes its place. You know that kid that always has to have the last word? Another teacher gets to educate him in the next grade. We get to reinvent ourselves every year if we so choose, and that is such a heady proposition. Many people never get to try again in their profession, but we get that every year! For me, it’s such a blessing because I mess up. A lot. However, I hope that I learn from my mistakes and strive to do a better job the next time around.

Next year I get to try again in a bigger classroom. With bigger windows. 🙂