Friday, January 31, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday! 

This week is many words and not so many pictures. 

1. Everything these day is coming up babies! So many of our friends and family are expecting or have cute little ones to cuddle. Kasey and I braved the cold on Monday (our 3rd day off school this year because of the freezing temps) and met baby Arlo at the hospital. He was only one day old and so, so cute and snuggly! My only regret is that we didn't get any pictures… another visit to him (and his mom and dad) needs to be scheduled soon!

2. Throw back… blog edition! I cannot believe it has been a whole year since this senior night! So proud of these college freshman (and their coaches)!

3. Staff workouts this week have been awesome! It's hard and sweaty and exhausting and I love it! (I'm working on another post on this soon.)

4. & 5. Reading Machines! We are getting ready for the Iowa Assessments here… it's been such a long planning process leading up to another long week of tests for the students. Sometimes, while looking at scores and requirements, it's easy to focus on what my kids don't know and don't do. I tried to take some time this week to appreciate how far the kids have come this year. 

One of the biggest things?! They read! They read all the time! I see books in study hall and at lunch and after school. They are reading chapter books and picture books and newspapers! We took some time this week to visit the library and celebrate all of our accomplishments that aren't measured by standardized tests! (And rewarded ourselves with mustache bookmarks!)

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful week!

Thursday, January 30, 2014


There are a lot of new things I'm learning on my weight loss journey… but one concept that I've been trying to wrap my head around is trigger foods. This isn't something that Weight Watchers talks about -- one of the cornerstones of their plan is that you can eat everything and anything sometimes (just not anything and everything all the time!). But trigger foods are something that I've seen many health and weight loss bloggers talk about -- especially Fit and Free with Emily (the I-hope-we-become-friends blogger on my feed). Every time I read one of her posts, I struggle with the idea of trigger foods in my life.

At first it was hard for me to recognize that they existed -- Weight Watchers wasn't talking about them, and their plan was working for me. Then it was hard for me to identify what mine were -- I pretty much like all food… I don't discriminate. (Except for vegetables on pizza… ew!) I was in denial. If I decided not to be honest with myself about what foods I shouldn't have as part of a healthy life, I didn't have to give those foods up. I could continue to eat anything and everything I wanted, most of the time in moderation.


Then yesterday happened.

I have been having one of those weeks where I want to EAT ALL THE FOOD, but have been able to practice self control and stay within my points. Then I stopped at the store on the way home from work last night for milk and accidentally walked out with a Little Debbie Cosmic Brownie. (For those of you who aren't Little Debbie connoisseurs, the individually wrapped ones are also gigantic compared to the ones they sell in the box.) Once I got home I couldn't believe it, how did I let that snack jump into my hand? I don't even remember thinking about it…

Luckily, I was able to get control of myself and when I got home. I put the brownie in a cupboard, did a 30-minute workout video, and read two chapters of graduate school homework. I did not eat the brownie. What I did instead, was identify my trigger food one of my trigger foods. It is scary and empowering all at the same time. The brownie is gone, and Miss Debbie is not invited back to my house anytime soon.

Friday, January 24, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday! 

1. Is it possible to have a healthy week? Good, because I had one! I had a great weigh-in at Weight Watchers and reached my goal of exercising 4 days! I am looking forward to keeping these positive habits in place!

2. I took one -- ONE picture this week. Here it is. (Please ignore the fact that it immediately follows how healthy I was this week -- the cookies weren't all for me and the one I ate was deliciously worth it.)

3. We had another round of cold, cold weather this week. Kasey got to have an extra day off school while I bundled up and headed north. His accomplishment after a whole day home alone? Cleaning out the DVR!

4. My nerdy-self is loving what my students are currently working on -- we are reading The Diary of Anne Frank, and it is so awesome to see it spark their interest in history and World War II. So many have been visiting the library for additional reading -- WIN!

5. My final High Five is how excited I am for this weekend -- more basketball watching (HS girls tonight and our niece Kylee tomorrow), and several family meals our (our favorite weekend activity)!

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful week!

Friday, January 17, 2014

High Five for Friday

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday! 
(This is my second week in a row -- I hope it sticks!)

1. High five for the first full week of school and work since December (we actually had a late-start on Tuesday, but I still got dressed and taught for 5 days in a row. that's a big deal!). It took a few days for the kiddos to settle back into a schedule, but we are finally there!

2. My family still isn't done with our Christmas traditions -- this past weekend we had family game night and this coming weekend we have church and dinner with our extended family. I've already said it (a million times) but extended family time is my absolute favorite. This past weekend we stayed up late playing the card game 'tick'. I was the new-bie and swept for the win!

3. This week I started doing staff workouts after school -- I only made it to one of the two days this week, but it was so much fun! I missed organized workouts and the coworker that leads them did a great job of teaching us how to use all the equipment! My goal is two days next week!

4. Baby Fever. Along with family time, I have gotten to hangout with some pretty cool kiddos this weekend and got to meet miss Kennedy Jane (only 10 days old!). Eli is at an awesome age -- he was so entertained by his own expressions on my phone!

5. I am so excited to be back into a normal schedule after the holidays. We have been working on meal planning, and organizing the house. January is such a great time for new starts -- there are a few habits we are putting into place (like Saturday morning work sessions, reading devotionals daily, and church every sunday!).

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful week!

Monday, January 13, 2014

a big God for little people

Over the past few weeks I have really been working on my relationship with God -- really, it is a journey I have always been on. At times, though, I find myself so consumed with the little things that I don't have time make time to recognize and thank God for his overwhelming presence in my life. 

photo credit
This past advent, I found a 25-day Bible study using The Bible app (let's be honest -- technology can motivate me to do about anything!). On day four, the scripture was Luke 2:1-5. It was portion of Jesus' story where Mary and Joseph were called by decree to travel to the city of David. Now, I have heard this story many times growing up but, after reading this devotional, my perspective has greatly changed. The devotional called me to acknowledge God's plan over every aspect of our lives -- as little as they may be.
Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, where all the news is of big political and economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige? 
If you have, don't let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God's little people -- the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  
He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice that, unbeknownst to them, all the kids and presidents and premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our Father in heaven, that we, the children, might be conformed to the image of his son, Jesus Christ. 
It can be overwhelming to consider how vast the world of seven billion people is -- at times I can feel so little and insignificant. But I am trying to take comfort in God's presence in my life. He is truly a big God for little people -- he cares about each and everyone of us and His work is so present in everything we do. 

It feels like getting married this past year has only created more uncertainty -- not less. It is an amazing feeling to have my husband by my side through all the upcoming changes, but the worrier in me always seems to creep out. This year, I am going to be intentional in continuing my journey in thanking God for his presence and continuing to serve Him.

Friday, January 10, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday!

Because of a very busy weekend life in general, I'm a lot behind on my Friday posts -- this one covers the past two weeks -- but so many great things happened in December too. It's been an awesome time celebrating the holiday, finishing up school work, and basketball games… I've really enjoyed focusing on the great parts of my week.

1. Celebrating the holiday was so much fun! My family especially has all sorts of random traditions that we like to do together. Cousin-only game night, family movie night (movie theater style), and family game night are just a few around Christmas and New Year. I feel so blessed to have so many awesome people to celebrate with!

2. Basketball season is already half-way over! The husband and his girls have had a great season (despite having three snow days and two games rescheduled). They just had another big win last night agains rivals L&M. My favorite part (as always) is getting to know the girls -- they are all such great young ladies! Last week they all wore their Christmas presents from Kasey and I -- matching pink socks! It looked a-mazing!

3. Resolutions. It seems like everyone this year has made resolutions. I haven't decided yet what mine are going to be -- I know that it's already the 10th of January and I should have figured this out by now, but I'm trying to rethink my year. This year I want to focus on the single-word concept. What will be 'my word' for 2014?! What word will help me focus on achieving all the things that God has planned?! (I'm still working on it!)

4. A few weeks ago I discovered (quite by accident) a great movement on instagram called the #edufashionchallenge -- each day there is a different element to strive for when planning outfits. It has really motivated me to put some extra effort and thought into my clothing choices -- it also gives me a little more focus during my morning routine!

5. One thing I have rocked in 2014 is staying connected with the wonderful blogging community! I have taken extra time to intentionally read the great suggestion and thoughts of some amazing women and have even ventured out of my comfort zone and done some comments and twitter chatting. I am so grateful for the bloggers that have taken the time to reach out to me and reply. The advice and help from women who have it together is going to help make 2014 a great year!

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful week!