Week in the Life 2015 | Sunday Photos and Words

One week of my life in 1,600+ photos and a whole lot of words. I know, it’s a ridiculous amount of photos. Part of it is the remote — it makes taking self-timer-photos so dang easy that I sometimes over click. But man, I love this project and am so proud of myself for staying caught up.

There’s a part of me that is glad Week in the Life is coming to an end.  But there’s a part of me that got into rhythm of hyper-documenting our comings and goings and all the moments in between that makes me kinda sad it is coming to an end. What am I going to do in the morning without my big camera staring at me right in the face?

2015-08-23-12.09.59-1My boys have been good sports this week. Samuel asked to use my camera several times to capture images of me – which I find absolutely endearing. I told him that the project is coming to an end and he asked, “When are you going to do Week in the Life again, mom?” He’s been enjoying my blog posts and loves hearing about the details of our/his life. Although my boys haven’t said anything all week about my self-timer beeps, I’m sure they are ready for a break.

Here’s a look at our Sunday.

150823 WITLSundaySundays are for sleeping in – at least for me. Samuel came in with the Sunday paper to show me an article about horses. “Mom, wake up. You have to see this!”

150823 WITLSunday-33Sundays are laying in bed as long as possible — again, at least for me. Samuel is always the first to get up and ready to play. He does what he can to wake me up and get me out of bed. This morning, he’s jumping on the bed singing a counting song.

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Sundays are for coming up with creative ways to get me out of bed. Apparently, there is a fire in my room and he’s here to rescue me. Clever, sweet boy, but I’m not getting up. Not yet, anyway.

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That obviously didn’t work so he returned as an army man. Supposedly, I’m under attack so I need to get out of bed. I got him back pretty good. Man down and I’m staying in bed. Ha!

2015-08-23-08.57Sundays are for giving my eyes a break. I am a contacts wearer. While in bed this morning, I read an article about a man who had a bacterial infection in his eye that ultimately resulted in partial blindness in one of his eyes. I am pretty good about taking my contacts out and disinfecting them properly, but it gave me a good scare. So, I’m giving my eyes a break from wearing contacts. I think I will be doing this each Sunday.

Sundays are also for Starbucks. I’m a non-fat mocha no foam, no whip kind of girl. So don’t add foam to my drink just because you feel like it or it looks pretty or you didn’t know. Mochas aren’t supposed to have foam. Didn’t you read the manual? I know because I was a barista back in the day.

150823 WITLSunday-50Sundays are for getting fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market. I love cling peaches and he loves lemon cucumber. There are only two stands with cling peaches and I alternate each week to support both. No luck with lemon cucumbers this week.

150823 WITLSunday-48Sundays are for fresh berries.

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Sundays are for fresh jicama.

150823 WITLSunday-64Sundays are for changing the bedding and tackling laundry.

150823 WITLSunday-85 Sundays are for donuts. He usually eats glazed donuts but has recently branched out to maple bars and cake donuts with sprinkles.

150823 WITLSunday-114Sundays are for horse riding lessons. He’s been riding for almost two years and continues to love the sport. This is Kaluah, his current favorite lesson horse. About a month ago, Kaluah reared and crow hopped during a lesson. While it scared me, Samuel saw it as a test to see if he’s a true cowboy. He stayed on, felt confident about his skills as a rider, and continually asks to ride Kaluah every lesson after that. He now rides (and trots) without a lead rope. I am proud of him but what’s more important is — he’s proud of himself.

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Sundays are for hanging out with the big girls. These girls help with the riding lessons and he loves them.

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Sundays are for exploring the equestrian center and visiting with some of our favorite horses. There are two retired Budweiser Clydesdales on the property and he loves visiting them. In the Winter, the Clydesdales will pull a wagon in Santa’s Secret Adventure. We can’t wait to experience the magic this winter.

150823 WITLSunday-216Sundays are for extra snuggles.

150823 WITLSunday-220Sundays are for trying new foods.

150823 WITLSunday-243Sundays are for making messes. And hopefully, cleaning them up.

150823 WITLSunday-253Sundays are for cleaning the floors. I love that Jim helped me sweep this morning.

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Sunday is for reading the paper while trying something new. I bought the crawfishes at the Farmer’s Market for $3/lb – way cheaper than if I were to order a pound at The Boiling Crab. I boiled them for 5 minutes and had them sit in the pot for an additional 25 minutes to soak in the seasoning. They are pretty tasty.

150823 WITLSunday-266Sundays are for long naps.

150823 WITLSunday-271Sundays are for impromptu playdates.

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Sundays are for trying new treats. We went to Yogurtville after bouncing and he had frozen yogurt for the first time. He had vanilla yogurt topped with gummy bears, strawberries, and marshmallows. I think the toppings are his favorite.

150823 WITLSunday-365Sundays are for a whole lot of silliness.

150823 WITLSunday-395Sundays are for laundry. Lots of laundry.

150823 WITLSunday-436Sundays are for almond croissants from the Village Bakery. My favorite.

And that concludes a week in my life. Thank you for stopping by.

Week in the Life 2015 | Friday Photos & Words

Sharing my equipment today because several people asked on Instagram.

Camera used | Canon 5D Mark III with 16-35 mm lens and Iphone 6. The majority of the images came from my big camera. I love the wide angle for capturing us inhabiting our space.

Camera Strap | Black Rapid cross body strap. I find myself carrying the camera around more.

Total number of photos today | 300 (I had no idea I snapped that many. Most of my timer shots were limited because I didn’t feel like running back and forth to activate the shutter release.)

Here’s a look at what I am grateful for this Friday | 150821 WITLFriday-6
I am grateful for this space. Earlier this summer, we added the bookshelf to store my 12×12 albums and the large frames with 12×12 photos. I love that our headboard has a space for books and that the lamp is an antique piece from Jim’s family.

150821 WITLFriday-7I am grateful to have a few minutes to check email and respond to some. I am also grateful for the encouraging comments on my blog.

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I am grateful for a quiet morning.  Jim is reading the paper in his office and Samuel is still sleeping. I am alone in the kitchen prepping lunch and breakfast. I’m slow moving but it’s all good because today is Friday.

150821 WITLFriday-9I am grateful that Jim is retired. He drops Samuel off at school, runs errands, and takes care of stuff around the house. The best thing that we did this summer was switch our Costco membership over to him. He now does the Costco run in mornings when it’s not so busy.

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I am grateful for these colleagues. Janice (next to me) is the Leadership teacher and she spends endless hours at school organizing and coordinating amazing events and opportunities for our students. She is my hero.

150821 WITLFriday-25I am grateful for Keens. They are comfy and I love how they add a splash of color to my outfit. The shirts in the box are our RICH shirts.  We are implementing a “positive discipline” plan at the middle school level and we are encouraging our students to be responsible, have integrity, be considerate, and be hardworking. I can already tell that this class is much RICHer than the class I had last year.

150821 WITLFriday-28I am grateful for Houston Kraft‘s motivating talk on kindness. I hope that my students realize the power in being kind and wish for them to spread kindness like confetti.

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I am grateful for 45-minutes of time to make contact with exhibitors for Space Day.

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I am grateful for my principal. She hired me ten years ago, picked me to be part of the NASA Explorer Schools Team, and has been one of my biggest supporters at the school. She listens to my wild ideas and supports me in making them happen. Today, I was interviewed for her documentary.  She’s retiring at the end of this academic year after serving 41 years in education.

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I am grateful for a working clock. It has not worked since January. Work orders were called in but they never got around to fixing it. Today is my lucky day.

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I am grateful that it is Friday and although this looks like a mess, I have it under control. I have very few papers to look at this weekend – which is a good thing because I’m going to see my girls tomorrow for a Project Life crop.

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I am grateful for technology.

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I am grateful for the camera remote. Jim bought one this morning at a local camera shop and dropped it off. I’m a lucky girl. I am also grateful for salami + Ritz crackers – they are my current go-to lunch items.

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I am grateful for sixth period prep on Friday. I am organizing and tidying up my space so I can come in Monday morning prepared to tackle science.

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I am grateful for date stamps. I stamp everything that I receive with the correct date so there is no question as to when things were turned in.

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I am grateful for a clean science laboratory.

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I am grateful for these warm-body counts. I am hoping that they balance classes soon and get my SDAIE science class down to a reasonable number.

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I am grateful to be able to take off a few minutes early to bypass the after-school traffic. It looks like the parents are already here staking out their spots for pick-up. I am on my way to the Tech office for a copy of Microsoft Office so I can get some school work done at home.

150821 WITLFriday-82I am grateful for alone time at the Goodwill. I like to go poke around and see what I can find. Today’s finds include a brand new limited edition tub of Lincoln Logs (which includes horses and wagons), and a few good books, including Jan Brett’s Armadillo Rodeo.

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I am grateful for an evening at home. He is too.

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I am grateful for a delivery of snail mail and the talents of Ali Edwards. My story kit is here!

150821 WITLFriday-95I am grateful for the approval of our refinance! The notary guy came by this afternoon and we signed an inch worth of papers.

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I am grateful for a wide-angle lens so I can capture him in his element. Playmobil for the win.

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I am grateful for meals at home.

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I am grateful that Samuel loves spinach.

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I am grateful for these bibliophiles. My boy has a rich collection of books because of places like Goodwill, thrift shops, and used bookstores. He is really enjoying Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett.

150821 WITLFriday-134I am grateful for healthy meals. Green rice and shrimp is one of our favorites.

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I am grateful for four-and-a-half year old entertainment. Who needs to go to a horse race when there’s one right in my living room?

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I am grateful for dinners around this table. The conversations. The stories. The jokes. The laughs. I am grateful for it all.

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I am grateful for laughter. I am glad to know that I can be entertaining too.

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I am grateful for silliness. There was a comic with a man without a shirt and Samuel thought it would be funny to be the man. So he lifted his shirt to show me his chest and I used the newspaper to block the view.  He thought it was the funniest thing in the world.

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I am grateful for good watermelon.

150821 WITLFriday-187I am grateful for a responsible boy. He sticks to routines and rules and doesn’t deviate too much from them.

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I am grateful for evening walks.

150821 WITLFriday-207I am grateful for conversations and stories and jokes and games during our evening walks. He’s into telling knock knock jokes that don’t make any sense but he thinks they are hilarious. He will tell the joke and burst into immediate laughter. We can’t help but laugh with him.

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I am grateful that he’s not shy about practicing taekwondo in public.

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I am grateful for his sense of humor and positive energy. Sometimes it can be too much, but overall I love his energy.

2015-08-21-19.49.48-1I am grateful for his careful hands while holding this heavy camera. He said, “I want to take your picture. Can I take your picture?”  A little while later, he said, “I dreamed about me taking pictures of you and daddy in my brain.” He’s also asked me multiple times when I’d give him my Canon 5D. Um, the answer is never.

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I am grateful for this shot of us. Samuel takes better photos than Jim.

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I am grateful that we have an operating dishwasher.

150821 WITLFriday-237I am grateful for progress. Samuel has been standing under the shower to wash his hair and face without crying. I couldn’t be more proud.

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I am grateful that Jim does most of the bedtime routine.

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I am grateful for friends. Text messages of encouraging words make my day. Love that they support me, love me, and put up with me and my quirks.

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I am grateful for his willingness to practice. He wants to break his boards tomorrow so before going to bed tonight, he went to his boards and exclaimed, “Boards, tomorrow I am going to break you in half.”

150821-WITLFriday-280I am grateful for long hot showers after a hard week.

Here’s to the weekend! Have fun, friends.

Week in the Life 2015 | Wednesday Photos + Words

A busy schedule (both in and out of the classroom) and the time commitment required for this project leaves me feeling a bit overwhelmed. I have not written a single note on the Ali Edward‘s daily sheets. And the list of shots that I want to capture this week never made it onto paper. But as I looked through the images from today (and my posts from Monday and Tuesday), I am certain that this project is what I’m supposed to be doing this week.

Here’s a look at our Wednesday.

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Right now, I am sleeping through the alarm. I thought I pressed the snooze button but I obviously missed it. Jim woke me up at 6:23 am.

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Right now, I am pulling out shoes that I forgot I had. It feels like Christmas morning.

150819 WITLWednesday-11Right now, the cold water isn’t doing much to wake me up. 

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Right now, this little face woke up early and immediately went to play. Our busy schedule has us spending a lot of time in the car. I think he misses being home so when we are home, he spends every single minute playing.

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Right now, Jim is prepping breakfast for Samuel while I rush to make lunch and head out the door.

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Right now, Samuel is having a bagel with cream cheese, a sausage, a bowl of blueberries, and a few pieces of asian pear. I was not around to have breakfast with him but I bet he ate the fruits first.

150819 WITLWednesday-18Right now, I am driving the Prius to work. The Prius is parked in the garage so I get to squeeze in one last goodbye and catch the last kiss blown my way.

Right now, I am having breakfast in the car. The almond croissant is from Trader Joe’s and it is pretty amazing.

Right now, I am grateful that Jim is home in the mornings. He drops Samuel off at school so I am able to head right into work without stopping at the pre-school.  I miss seeing his morning teachers but I am grateful for missing the middle school/high school traffic and the influx of students on campus.

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Right now, I am pretty happy with the new layout of the whiteboard. I spend time each morning in this space writing the agenda, tidying up my desk, checking email, and playing out the lesson in my head.

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Right now, I am wearing goggles to model safe lab practices. I am using an egg (to represent an eye) and vinegar (introduce into the eye) to show how acids denature protein. It is a pretty impressive demo and it has my students rubbing their eyes.

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Right now, I am taping the syllabus to my notebook as the students are working on theirs.

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Right now, this is my desk after having three 85-minute classes back-to-back. I need to use the restroom but am having difficulty locating my keys. This is the story of my life.

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Right now, I have sixth period prep. Teaching three classes back-to-back is absolutely draining but I am pushing through the exhaustion to tidy up my classroom.

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Right now, I am making positive phone calls home. I like to open up the lines of communication and let parents know how awesome their kids are.  Who doesn’t like hearing that about their kid?!?

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Right now, my desk is back to being functional.

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Right now, I am making the last set of name cards. I will be happy when they are all done.

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Right now, I am in the main office getting ready to head out the door. I am excited to pick up my boy this afternoon.

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Right now, I find myself in the office picking up a shirt for the group picture tomorrow. So much for leaving at 3:15 pm. We are being recognized for being a Blue Ribbon School by the California Department of Education so my principal wants us all to sport these lovely beige shirts. Beige is really not my color.

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Right now, I am at the gate to a magical Montessori school. I love this place and will be sad once he’s done here.

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Right now, my boy enjoys spending his days here. Everybody is so kind and loving.

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Right now, he is experimenting with theraputty.

2015-08-19-15.45Right now, he is being a good sport for the gazillion photos I’m taking.

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Right now, he’s ready to head home for some playtime before taekwondo.

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Right now, I look forward to picking him up and hearing about his day. He looks forward to the little treats I carry in my bag. Today it was a roll of smarties.

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Right now, the mess is all mine. He asked for his bean box so I brought it in from the garage. I made myself a cup of coffee before settling down to play and I spilled it before I could take a sip.

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Right now, the three of us are acting out a story. The boys are both park rangers and I’m the gal who discovered dinosaur bones buried deep in the Earth.

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Right now, we are eating dinner at 5:20 pm so we can make it to taekwondo class at 6:20 pm.

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Right now, he is working on proper form for the front kick.

150819 WITLWednesday-130Right now, learning to spar is his thing. He is looking forward to earning his next belt and getting his hands on sparring gear.

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Right now, we are heading home for the evening. The twenty minute drive home is much better than the 30-40 minutes to class. We signed Samuel up for six months of taekwondo and we are somewhat regretting our decision — mainly because of the drive and time of the class.  But he loves it so we will stick it out for six months. Tonight, his instructor spoke with us about extending our commitment to a year and we’re both somewhat resistant to the idea.

Right now, our schedule feels hectic. I am hoping that we will find our grove soon … and maybe by then, we can make a solid decision as to whether we should extend taekwondo for a year.

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Right now, the boys are watching Star Wars Rebels.

2015-08-19-20.11Right now, I am out for a run and I am listening to episode 8 of Undisclosed. Podcasts are helping me make it through these evening runs.

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Right now, I see a bucking bronco waiting for a story from me. He’s got one picked out and is waiting for me to read.

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Right now, we are reading Horses. I read the table of contents and he selected the horses he wanted me to read about. It’s no surprise that he picked American Standardbred, Belgian Heavy Draft, and Clydesdales.

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Right now, I am struggling to hold on for 60 seconds. Is this supposed to get a little easier as you do them each day? Definitely feeling the burn tonight!

150819 WITLWednesday-180Right now, I’m back at selecting photos for this post. The time is 12:20 am — I better head to bed so I can actually wake up in the morning.

Week in the Life 2015 | Monday Photos + Words

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Around here, I’m on my second snooze. Monday mornings are hard.  Period.

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Around here, we hardly ever make our bed. Ever.

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Around here, my eye allergies are better so I’m able to wear contacts. It’s definitely a good thing.

150817 WITLDay01-24Around here, Jim continues to get up early even though he does not have to go to work each day. He’s managing his diet — even experimenting with some new foods — and exercising daily.

2015-08-17 06.30.30Around here, I’m embarrassed to admit that my closet is the dumping ground for all sorts of stuff.

150817 WITLDay01-28Around here, I’m in charge of prepping half of Samuel’s lunch. Lately, his lunch includes blueberries, two mini cucumbers, goldfish crackers, and a honey-peanut butter sandwich.

2015-08-17 07.10.44Around here, I head out the door by seven am with coffee and a cheese bagel in tow. The packages on the door steps are items of Samuel’s that I’m selling to moms in the neighborhood.  There is an amazing kids resale group in my neighborhood and it is nice to get some money for gently used kid stuff.

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Around here, sidewalk messages like this makes me happy.

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Around here, I am trying to figure out the layout of my board for the daily agenda and homework for three different science courses.

150817 WITLDay01-33Around here, I am grateful that there is ink and masters in the duplo. I am making copies of the Addendum and Course Policies.

150817 WITLDay01-35Around here, my students are setting up their Science Interactive Notebooks – which means that I am setting up mine as well. Six classes = six notebooks.

150817 WITLDay01-38Around here, I need to adjust to a new teaching schedule. We are on an A/B block schedule. Classes are 85-minutes in length and I see the kids every other day. Today, I teach three 85-minute classes back-to-back (with a 10 minute potty break between the first two periods) and I am completely empty by lunchtime.

150817 WITLDay01-41Around here, we are experiencing triple digit temperatures and I can feel the heat rising from the walkways. We have approximately 1,141 students on campus and it is refreshing to see them all head in the direction of class.

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Around here, my principal and I are having a pow-wow to plan a huge event this September. She is on the phone with NASA to determine the time frame for the SOFIA flight with our favorite guy, Ivor from the Traveling Space Museum and Nichelle Nicols, Star Trek’s “Uhura.”

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Around here, rice + beans + carne asada sounds wonderful for lunch.

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Around here, the paper trimmer is my worst enemy. I’m not fond of it but it beats using scissors.

150817 WITLDay01-59Around here, a 3:00 pm meeting with the Back-to-School committee is needed to hash out the schedule and details of the event.

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Around here, I didn’t get to see this face until 4:45 pm. He is enjoying this sport so very much.

150817 WITLDay01-95Around here, I have been granted the title of taekwondo mom. He goes to classes in Elk Grove three times a week which makes for a rough week for all of us.  The drive to Elk Grove is really what’s hurting us. I hope that we find our rhythm soon and things become less frantic.

150817 WITLDay01-105Around here, I am behind the wheel on a daily basis because Jim is retired. We used to carpool and he did all the driving.

150817 WITLDay01-114Around here, we are happy to be home by 5:50 pm so he gets in a little play time before dinner. He is all about racing his horses these days.

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Around here, we are keeping dinners simple.  Busy schedule calls for quick and easy meals. I need to expand my repertoire of quick and easy meals (maybe even some crock pot meals) for these busy week days. If you have suggestions, please leave me a comment.

150817 WITLDay01-120Around here, we spend a lot of time at the table eating dinner and talking about our day. He’s telling me about a smoker he saw through the fence at school and how he feels about his buddies calling the smoker names.

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Around here, I am making time for exercise – even if it is a short walk around the neighborhood.

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Around here, these are two of his favorite images (left, Samuel with Bobby Kerr; right, Samuel with Stetson and his horse instructor, Alyssa). He specifically asked me to tape them on the ceiling so he sees them right before he falls asleep.

2015-08-17 20.56.10Around here, I am guilty of getting him all wound up right before bedtime.

150817 WITLDay01-146Around here, I am on day 8 of the plank challenge. I am barely hanging on for the required 45 seconds.

Samuel | Four and a Half

150807-FourAndAHalf-47And just like that, I have a 4.5 year old.

Samuel is fun, funny, observant, smart, talkative, and thoughtful. He loves wearing jeans – even on hot days. Loves flip flops, tees with fun designs, and cowboy shirts. He’s not a fan of cakes but he’ll take a chocolate chip cookie in a heartbeat. He still loves horses and rides them regularly.  He wants to own a horse by age 10 (yeah, good luck on that). He can recite most of the words in Tacky the Penguin and loves The Black Stallion. He loves a good story and will quickly give you a storyline when you agree to tell him a story.

I’m not big on celebrating half birthdays, but he was, so we rolled with it.

When he turned four, I wanted to ask him a bunch of questions and create a layout with all of his current favorites, etc. Well, life got busy so I never got around to “interviewing” him. I was determined to do it at 4.5 and it came together the evening of his half birthday. (He was pretty excited about answering the questions because he was pumped about being 1/2 a year older.)

The layout took a bit longer than I intended — it always does though, doesn’t it? Part of it is because I wanted to write a letter to remember him at this fun age.

Here’s a look at the layout …
The layout includes two full size pocket pages and a smaller insert.

2015-08-09-17.24aI printed the Birthday Questionnaire on a sheet of 6×12 paper. I thought about typing up his responses for a neater look but decided I that I like the look of the handwriting against the type.

The pocket page is from Doodlebug Designs and I pretty much love it.  I find myself using it in a lot of his books — I use it for questionnaires and larger pieces of artwork. They are used throughout his baby book for hand prints and footprints.

2015-08-09-15.22.14He brought home a cool piece of watercolor artwork a few days before so I cut it up to use on the layout.

I trimmed down a Project Life Design E pocket page to use as an insert between the two larger pocket pages. I love the 6×6 squares but rarely find myself using them.

2015-08-09-17.25He loved giving me his hand print so this required no bribes from me.

I wrote him a lengthy letter and included it in the insert.

I had a lot to say so it turned out to be a little book inside the 6×6 pocket.

2015-08-09-17.27bI included the footprint on the back of the insert. I brought in some repetition with the orange circles and stars.

2015-08-09-17.27aA detail shot of the footprint with orange circle and star. I kept it pretty simple but I sure do love the results. The “every little thing you do is magic” is from Ali Edward’s Story Kit (Magic).

2015-08-09-17.27This fun pattern paper came from Amy Tangerine’s Rise & Shine paper pad. 

Samuel is getting pretty good at writing his name so I wanted to include a writing sample at age 4.5. All of the photos are from his half birthday — and yes, we got a little carried away and gave him a gift. He is still obsessed with Thomas the Train and with the recent release of a new engine named Sam, I couldn’t resist.

He’s a great kid. And I love that he lets me take photos of him. I hope it never gets old.

DIY Project | The Pillow Lounger

In the summer of 2012, I made Samuel a pillow lounger and he threw himself on it for days.  Sometimes with a book. Sometimes it was just for fun – I mean, who wouldn’t want to keep throwing themselves on a pile of soft pillows just for entertainment? Giggles and laughter ensued each time.
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As I was getting ready to make one for his cousin, we agreed to pass Samuel’s down and make him a new one — one with themed fabric of his choosing. We purchased the fabric shortly after we gave Bodhi the original lounger and it sat around for months. I meant to get to it, but something else was always more pressing … truth be told, I was just too lazy to pull out my sewing supplies.

I put the pillow lounger on my summer project list and I am happy to announce that it is done! Samuel has his reading corner back and he couldn’t be happier.

150720-SamuelLounger2The lounger holds four pillows and measures 27.5 inches by 80 inches.

If you want to make one of these pillow loungers for your little peeps, here are the simple steps…

What you need:
1) 2 pieces of fabric that measure 2 1/3 yards each (I like using two different patterns of fabric because if you get tired of one, you can flip it over on the other side.)
2) coordinating thread (or any thread you have will do)
3) 4 pillows
4) sewing machine

What to do:
Cut three pieces of fabric as shown.  (Note | sketches are not drawn to scale.)

Sew long sides of front and back panels together as shown. I used 1/4″ seams. Sew 1/2″ hem lines along the outer edges of the back panels.PillowLounger02

Lay the fabric on the floor and fold the back panels over the front panel. Right side of fabrics together on the inside. The back panels will overlap about 4 inches. (Note | I cut my back panels slightly wider because I cut 44″ fabric in half. Not a good idea because the overlap is too great which makes it somewhat difficult to get the pillows in and out. No zippers or buttons needed here — just the overlap is perfect and holds the pillows in.)PillowLounger03

Pin top and bottom edges together and sew.

You’re almost done. Turn the lounger so the right side of the fabric is facing out. Iron along the seems.  Lay the lounger on the floor and measure 20″ sections.  Use a washable fabric pen or chalk to draw lines across the width of the lounger at 20″, 40″, and 60″.  Sew along the lines — making sure you do some back stitching at the overlapping section to provide extra reinforcement.PillowLounger04Stuff pillows into each section and you’re done! Your littles will love it! It’s also great to lounge on while watching a movie.

Here’s a look at what mine looks like. Samuel is very much into Star Wars and superheroes.  PillowLounger06


Samuel’s perfect little hide-away. PillowLounger07



March Project Life Blog Hop | Setting up a Project Life Baby Album

JennWelcome to the third of twelve Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins Project Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life & memory keeping and we wanted to continue to inspire each other and you as we move forward in 2015. Here is a look at what I’ve been working on:

In 2014, I set up and gave away about half a dozen Project Life Baby Albums. Recently, I put together another baby book to surprise a mama in my neighborhood.

The new mamas I give the albums to are not scrapbookers — they are friends of mine who admire my work from afar.  They are afraid to dive in — or are intimidated by the whole idea of scrapbooking. But every mama wants to document their baby’s story — it’s my window of opportunity to get them hooked — and hopefully, have them join me at a monthly crop.  The more the merrier, right?!?

Being a mama to a newborn has its challenges so I want to keep things easy for them. I do most of the legwork to make the process less overwhelming. The only thing they have to do is take photos, print them, insert them into the book, and write little stories.

Here’s a look at how I go about putting together the foundation pages of a baby book:

2015 BabyBook-5The title page is pretty simple. I go with what’s in the box and add the baby’s name if I know what it is.

First, I set aside the 4×6 month cards, “Notes to You” cards, and “Highlights & Milestones for this Month” cards. I also pull the 3×4 “This Month’s Stats” cards and add them to this pile (not shown here). I use all of these cards for the monthly layouts.MonthCards

Next, I go through all the prompt cards and pull related ones together.family
I pull the family cards together and put together a two page spread using Design A. I do not use all of the title cards — I often use the 4×6 “my family” card and all of the 3×4 journaling cards.  I also include a Design G pocket page as an insert to allow for some additional photos, especially for vertical images.

2015-03-08-14.37I always create a spread dedicated to the home (and the baby’s room).  Again, I use a spread using Design A with a Design G insert. This allows room for additional photos without it being overwhelming.

ExpectingSame idea for the “Expecting You” layout — I use a spread using Design A and insert a Design G page.

ArrivalFor the “Birth Day”, I use two Design A spreads with a Design G (or Design B or D) insert. I try not to use pages with odd sizes (because the women I give them to do not have cutting tools, etc).

For the monthly layouts, I use the following recipe: Design A spread with Design G, B or D insert. I ran out of Design G pages for the last book I completed, so I alternated between Design B and D for each month. My favorite insert is Design G — mainly because I like changing up the width for inserts.

To do this, lay out all of the 3×4 cards — making sure I turn some over so I know what is on the backside.  Then I randomly pick cards to insert into the 3×4 pockets. I insert two cards into a pocket at one time — this saves me quite a bit of time. Cards2015 BabyBook-14Here’s a look at the monthly layout.  Left side, Design A.  Right side, Design B (insert to allow for more images – especially vertical photos).  I like to include the “This Month’s Stats” near the month card. I included photos of my son in the sample to make the layout seem more complete.

2015 BabyBook-15Close-up image of the left page (Design A).

2015 BabyBook-16Close-up image of the right page (Design B).

2015 BabyBook-22I switched between Design D and B (shown above) for each month.

2015 BabyBook-20I ended the month with Design A and the “Highlights & Milestones” and “A Note for You” cards. The back side of this page would be the start of a new month.

At the end of the book, I included extra pocket pages (Design A, B, D and G – depending on what I have in my stash) so the new mom can add additional pages wherever she wants.

When I give the books away, I always include a hand written note with simple directions — and a reminder to “This is meant to be easy so keep it simple. Don’t complicate the process. Have fun.”  I also include drawings with dimensions for each pocket.

2015 BabyBook-3

The entire process takes me somewhere between 2-3 hours.

Have fun setting up your baby book — or one you’re making for a new mama.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, follow the links below:

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too! We hope you enjoyed this hop!

Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

January Project Life Blog Hop

Good morning and welcome to the first of 12 Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins’ Project Life Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life and memory keeping and we want to continue to inspire each other (and you, of course!) as we move forward in 2015.

As I’m looking around my space, I realize that my house isn’t getting any bigger but I’m bringing in more products, photos and albums. My goal this year is to keep it light (which is my word for the year). I want to keep the year to two volumes (I’ve done three volumes in the past) and record my son’s year in one album (up until this point, I’ve done two albums per year).

Here’s a look at my title page for 2015 |
2015 PLWeekOne-25
This pocket page protector is from October Afternoon and holds 12-3″x3″ photos/cards. I trimmed off a column – mainly because I like playing around with the lengths of the pages. My goal is to stop hoarding Studio Calico cards so I’m putting them to use here.

Here’s a look at week one | January 1-42015 PLWeekOne-18
A few of my friends asked about how I would do week one — they mainly wanted to know if I start on Monday, Dec 29 or Thursday, Jan 1? I like to keep each year separately, so I started with January 1.  It’s a short week so I used a big photo of us on the right to fill in the rest of the layout.  I also included a drawing from my soon-to-be-four-year-old, Samuel. I love his drawings — they just get better every day. By the way, do you like my “bee hive hair”?

2015 PLWeekOne-20
I really enjoyed working with 3×3 prints and think that I will be using more of these pages throughout the album.  By the way, the bottom right photo is one of my son “freakin’ out.” It’s his new thing — the freak out face.  Apparently, I freak out all of the time.

2015 PLWeekOne-9A closer look at Samuel’s drawing of our family — check out my “bee hive hair.”

Week two | January 5-112015 PLWeekOne-12Really making use of my Studio Calico stash that I hoarded last year. 

2015 PLWeekOne-5A closer look at the left page.  Samuel really wants a Star Wars party for his fourth birthday so he agreed to a little photo shoot for his invites (with him as Yoda Vader).

2015 PLWeekOne-10
Big story this week? Samuel stepped into the shower and washed his hair. No goggles. No fear. “I gotta be brave,” he says.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, click on the links below:

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too!

We hope you enjoyed this hop!  Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

December Daily 2014 | Days 08-15

I made seven mini-books (6″x8″) and one large (12″x12″) Project Life style album as gifts this past December. Gathering the photos for those books took a lot of time — and then I still had to assemble them in time for Christmas. Those gifts were all special and unique for each recipient but that was just too much.  Glad I did it but that was way too much.

So here were are.  January 2015.  I just finished my December Daily album. The month of November and December are looking bare in my Project Life album.  And the book for 2015 is sitting around waiting for some attention too. Ha!

I’m excited to share my December Daily album – days 08-15.

December 08
2014 DecemberDailyThe story of Samuel’s ornament — Jim and I thought we found the perfect ornament for Samuel (Mickey on a motorcycle to celebrate a big milestone – learning to ride without training wheels) but we failed to look at the details!  The motorcycle had training wheels on it … and that was the first thing my detail-oriented boy noticed.

2014 DecemberDaily-4
I wanted to create a shorter page here so I trimmed off half of the 4-pocket page protector. I then realized that I need more room to complete the story so I stitched the part that I cut off back on.  I must admit — I like the end result.

2014 DecemberDaily-9
After we trimmed the tree, he did a happy dance before settling down to admire the tree. I love the image of him under the tree.

December 09
2014 DecemberDaily-12
I love the idea of documenting nine things I was still looking forward to in December (thanks, Ali) and I did just that (left page). Today was also a big day in shrinky dink art ornaments so I decided to make day nine a two-pager.

December 10
2014 DecemberDaily-13
Samuel asked to make a stocking to surprise his friend.  He made her a shrinky dink ornament and we delivered it to her house by bike. Such a sweet gesture.

December 11
2014 DecemberDaily-16
Our Christmas cards arrived this evening and I spent the evening on the couch addressing envelopes.

2014 DecemberDaily-19I included the family letter that accompanied our cards here.

2014 DecemberDaily-21Back in November, we had a family photo shoot with the talented Jenny Lin.  The session package came with a set of holiday cards so it was appropriate to add here.

December 12
2014 DecemberDaily-22
Wrapped gifts tonight.  I like giving gifts — but I don’t enjoy the wrapping part so much.

December 13
2014 DecemberDaily-25
Family tradition – Santa Parade (which almost did not take place due to a lack of funds).

2014 DecemberDaily-26
We really like parades.

December 14
2014 DecemberDaily-29
Horse riding lessons have become part of our weekend routine. Samuel has been riding regularly for a little over a year now and continues to enjoy it. He looks so confident and proud on that horse.

December 15
2014 DecemberDaily-31
First Santa letter.  He worked so hard.  Proud mama over here.

Will share the rest of my book in the next day or so.  Thanks for visiting.

December Daily 2014 | Days 01-07

The month of November flew by and then before I knew it, December came … and the month is flying by.  Hanukkah is 3 days away.  And Christmas is right around the corner. The list is long but things are getting crossed off.

I’m a bit behind in December Daily.  I have the photos and words for each day but the actual documentation is a bit slow.  Today, I’m sharing days 01-07.

December One
1412 DDOneToSeven-17
We started the advent calendar with Samuel last year and he loved it.  This year, we kept things simple — we went with a Playmobil Advent Calendar I picked up on clearance at the end of last year.  It’s working out great so far.  He looks forward to it each morning.  We just keep it on the dining table (where he eats breakfast) and he enjoys playing with it each morning.

December 02
1412 DDOneToSeven-18

Samuel and I went to the Lego store for the free mini-build giveaway today.  He’s almost four and has decided that he’s ready for Legos.  The pieces are small and he sometimes struggles to put things together, but he loves the challenge. This evening, we made a little gingerbread house.

1412 DDOneToSeven-5I’m using my sewing machine to add some texture to the layouts. I’m experimenting with other stitches on the machine — really love the x’s here.

December 03
1412 DDOneToSeven-20Crazy weather in Sacramento today.  I left work at 3:20 to pick up Samuel and within 5 minutes of my drive, the heavy rain made it impossible to see.  Freeways were backed up and roads were flooded.  It took me over an hour to get to Samuel.  As soon as we got home, Samuel helped me rake leaves from the gutter to allow for proper drainage on our street. He’s a great little helper and I am so thankful for this little guy.

1412 DDOneToSeven-21A close-up shot of more stitching.  

December 04 (left) & December 05 (right)
1412 DDOneToSeven-22
We pulled down our small stash of Holiday decorations and ornaments and gift wrap. Samuel is pretty excited that “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

1412 DDOneToSeven-10The “Bring on the Joy – ‘Tis the Season” masking tape in the Ali Edward’s December Daily kit is pretty bad ass.  I love it and am using it a lot … I will definitely be sad when I use it all up. And I can’t get enough of the gold stars.  

1412 DDOneToSeven-12Saucy, Samuel’s Elf, made a comeback on the fifth of December. I used my sewing machine to stitch the red boxes and a sharpie to write in his name.

1412 DDOneToSeven-23
The story of Saucy’s visit is behind the photo.

1412 DDOneToSeven-14
The components of Day 05 — I printed a couple photos and adhered them back to back and used the masking tape to attach it to Saucy’s note to Samuel.  It folds up and fits in the 4×6 pocket.

December 06
1412 DDOneToSeven-27
We picked up a tree at a new tree lot this year. I’m in love with the place and think we will be back next year. Our favorite tree is the Noble Fir (from Oregon).

1412 DDOneToSeven-29I’m still looking for the perfect journaling pen.  Haven’t found one I really love but  the Uniball Vision Elite is becoming a favorite.

December 07 (Left)1412 DDOneToSeven-30
I spent most of today at home at my computer. I made and ordered our holiday cards.  I also processed and exported photos for several holiday projects.

1412 DDOneToSeven-31A close-up of day 07.

Day 08 is in the works.  And so are days 10-12.  I have a story for day 13 — but want to live out the rest of the day before I decide on which story.

Thanks for visiting!