Snapshot of the First Day of Summer Vacation

In my teens, sleeping in meant sound asleep until about 12 noon.  Then in my twenties, sleeping in meant not getting out of bed until about 10, maybe 11.  And now in my thirties, sleeping in means waking by 7 or 7:30.  And since it’s the first day of summer vacation,  you’d think I’d be able to sleep in later.  Nope.  Wide awake at 7:30.

I do my business in the bathroom, lace up my shoes, and head out for my usual morning run — except my usual morning run is at 5 during the school year.  I ran a slow, slow 4 miles, perfect for a first day of summer vacation run.

I take my time to enjoy breakfast, watch the news, smell the gardenias, and decide how I’m going to spend the rest of the day.  Again, I’m moving really slowly, enjoying each moment of my lazy, carefree summer vacation.

Our friend Cary said that he’d come over sometime in the morning to help us split wood, so while waiting for him, I settle on doing some yard work.  An hour goes by with no sign of Cary.  I decide that I’ve had enough yard work for the day and pack up my tools and close the gate.  (Now, our gate is broken so closing the gate is a big ordeal, especially when two large stumps of wood are used to hold it open.)  And as soon as I step foot into the house, guess who shows up hauling a big ass wood splitter behind his slow moving, oversized truck.  Yep, our good friend, Cary.

I spent the next three hours dragging tree stumps to the splitter  while Cary splits the wood.  As the pile of split wood grew increasing larger, I hauled it to the back with a wheelbarrow and stacked it in neat piles for the winter.  And in the middle of this, there was a freakin’ huge downpour.  Yeah, a downpour during my first day of summer vacation.  We carried on, despite the heavy shower from mother nature.

In the afternoon, I made an olalleiberry pie.

And for dinner, we invited our friends over for a little celebratory dinner.  We’re just all thrilled to be out of school!  We had rice + flank steak + salad + homemade vinaigrette + pie for dessert!

In the evening, I played around in my studio and made this simple layout using a combination of papers from the Green Tangerines Kits, which by the way is also on summer vacation.  The owner is putting the kit club on vacation for the summer as she works out the plans to reopen her store.  (Good luck, Kelly!) The contents on layout below came from this recent post.  By the way, I really love the Hambly woodgrain transparency.

Goodbye Students. Hello Summer.

This is it — the last day of the 2009-2010 school year!  This day completes my 9 years of teaching — yes, that’s 9 years.  When I started in 2001, I intended to teach for a couple of years (maybe three at the most) and then apply to medical school.  It turns out that I’m pretty good at teaching — even though it was (and still is) quite challenging at times.

This morning, our lovely 8th graders arrived at school all dolled up for promotion.  The boys looked sharp and handsome in their suits and tie; the girls looked charming in their colorful Easter dresses.  The few boys with untucked shirts and saggy pants did not get past my door — I made them all step aside, fix themselves to look presentable at promotion.  Do parents really let their kids out of the house looking like slobs for a formal occasion?

Oh, one of my girls showed up looking like a “working” girl.  She wore a stretchy black lacy dress that was extremely short and several sizes too tight.  Her face was caked with make-up and her hair teased so high, it made her seem taller.  Not to mention, she could barely walk in her 4-inch heals!  What the heck!?!   Yeah … it was not pretty.  I took one look at her and quickly handed her my jacket. After a brief scolding from me, I demanded that she wear my jacket for the entire morning.  I’m sure she was pissed but there was NO WAY I was going to let her “working” girl dress grace the stage.  Now, how the hell did she get out of the house looking like that?

Alright, moving on to the more pleasant part of the day …

We had three promotion ceremonies in the gym.  Yeah, three.  Is that a lot or what?  I helped with the first one and my class was in the third one.  I snapped this photo right before I read the names of my promoting students.  The crowd is a bit scary to me — I hate speaking in front of an audience.  I get so nervous that I sound like a babbling idiot.  Luckily, I only had to read their names.

This little guy received the Edward Harris Jr., Middle School Student of the Year Award.  I nominated him for the award and was pleasantly surprised when they announced his name.  And the best part — he had no idea!  No flippin’ idea!  It was great.  He was shocked — he looked a bit confused when everyone around him was cheering him on.  (Ethan, I am so proud of you.  Thank you for being such a wonderful boy.  You are so deserving of this special recognition.)

Kelly (far right) is our school secretary.  Events like these run smoothly because of her.  And the gentleman in the middle is Edward Harris, Jr. — our school namesake.

At the end of each ceremony, the students and parents met on the blacktop for photos.

The few students who made a genuine connection with me searched the blacktop for the lady wearing a ladybug hat for photos.  I can honestly say that I was pretty easy to spot in the crowd.

And then there are a few shy ones who left thoughtful messages and wonderfully creative drawings in my mailbox.  I will cherish this drawing forever — even after I’m old and gray and crippled.

Isn’t it great?  That’s her take on me — her mad science teacher.  Love, love student artwork.  I love that she recorded the date and time she completed the drawing.

With that amusing drawing, I am saying goodbye to this school year.  Goodbye wonderful students.  Goodbye naughty students (I hope you get it together in high school).  Goodbye grading and planning (for now).  Goodbye friends and colleagues.  Goodbye NES requirements.  Goodbye alarm clocks.  Goodbye classroom.  Goodbye morning conversations with Jeanne and Jo.  Goodbye year nine of teaching.  Wooo hooo!

With that said, it is definitely time to welcome summer vacation!

Hello summer.  Hello fun projects + bike rides + hikes.  Hello sunshine (cold weather, it is time for you to go away).  Hello Hawaii.  Hello Utah.  Hello lunch with friends + carefree summer days.  Hello u-pick farms + fresh picked berries + homemade jams + pies.  Hello music in the park + screen on the green.  Hello Music Circus.  Hello new adventures.  I welcome you with open arms.