Sunday, April 29, 2012

What do you do in your spare time? I apparently play flag football.

A week ago, I walked into a bar and ordered an absolut on the rocks with olives. The bartender gave me a look that said: “Are you serious?” but he nonetheless made my drink, and I suffered through sipping the entire thing. It wasn't my drink, though. April 21st would have been my mom’s 61st birthday, but in October of this past year, she passed away after battling early-onset Alzheimer’s for 10 years.  By her drink alone, I’m sure you can tell she was pretty awesome (I mean, I had to chase the vodka with a margarita, but my mom was apparently known for doing shots with my dad’s family at weddings…).

My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when she was 50. A year later, when I was 16, my mom asked me what my name was, and a few years later, she just barely made it to my high school graduation—refusing to get dressed in the clothes my dad had laid out for her, yelling that they were “children’s clothes!” As a family, we look back on memories like this and try to laugh a little—remember how mom wouldn’t let us pick out clothes for her, because she thought we were trying to trick her and get her to wear children’s clothes? The memories are bizarre and crazy…and they highlight how Alzheimer’s is anything but a pretty disease. There is no cure, there are no odds to fight against, because even with the best treatment, there is no remission.

When I was 19, I was diagnosed with cancer, and I knew my odds. I knew the treatment plan—I was told: “This is your best chance; this is what has worked before.” When my mom was diagnosed with early–onset Alzheimer’s, and my dad asked, “What is the course of treatment?” The doctors said: “You just live each day the best you can.” There was no treatment; they tried medicine to slow it down, but in less than 3 years, she went from being an amazing, active mom, wife, and friend to someone who was fully dependent on others for her care. By being here tonight, donating and supporting the Alzheimer’s Association, you are hopefully leading to a change for others' diagnosed with Alzheimer's. There was no history of Alzheimer's in our family--we didn't know it was coming, and we couldn't do anything once it arrived. My brother and I know in the future it's possible we could hear the same diagnosis my mom did. However, we've committed to fighting against the same treatment plan she had by donating and supporting the Alzheimer's Association. Hopefully we'll be knocking back Absolut in 40 years together with all our friends, still able to remember my mom the way we do now.

I said this tonight at a fundraiser and was all fumbly and bumbly, two non-real words, but that aptly describe my fear of public speaking. Please feel free to donate and share this post with anyone and everyone!

You can donate here:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Erin Condren planners and products=an OCD teacher's dream

I adore Erin Condren notebooks...planners...iPhone needless to say I was ecstatic to discover this amazing deal for $25 for $50 for Erin Condren goods from Plum District! I think ANY teacher would love love love this, and if you read this blog, you may enjoy the same type of pretty things I do!

So I wanted to share this deal while you can still take advantage of it! I cannot WAIT for my teacher planner to arrive...or my new notebook to arrive...I wish I could buy endless coupons! It makes the $50 teacher planner that I might have felt guilty purchasing seem so much more reasonable for $25! 

My ridiculous assortment of Erin Condren goodness. My iPhone cannot take a picture of the iPhone case it is in however, so you'll just have to trust it's beautiful.


P.S. New blog design. What do you think?

P.P.S. Please use my link if you do purchase! I could get my order free--and then that would make this crazy day so much better (note that this is solely about planners not about all that happened to me today...can't type much about that so I am loving these beautiful notebooks instead!).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Field Trip

I can't believe it's April! Our spring break just came and passed the first week of April, and the Wednesday we were back in school we had a field trip to the aquarium! The past two years, since I taught up in the Bay Area, we would go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Talk about an amazing field trip!

This year, now that I'm in LA, we went to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. I admittedly did not do as much field trip prep as I would have liked, but we still had an amazing time! I wish I had more photos, but they were pretty strict on photo taking...

The day before our trip we wrote about what we hoped to see or wished we would could see on the trip. Lots of wishes about penguins (my favorite animal), octopus pups, fish, and jellyfish!

Then, off to the aquarium we went on Wednesday, hoping the rain wouldn't disturb our visit! Students were able to go around to several different stations to learn about jellyfish, grunions, tidal waves, and sea lions vs. seals. They even were able to hatch their own grunions!

After that, we ate lunch and headed back to the aquarium, split up in our groups to go explore:

By far my students' favorite part? Creating their own puppet shows!

A bus full of 50+ kindergarteners=silent after the students have missed their usual after-lunch nap.

Making thank you cards for chaperones is the perfect opportunity to practice teamwork.

And some student responses to their favorite part of the trip (they weren't done yet--but I wanted photos before they left so I took them anyway!)...
Can you believe this student has an IEP for being developmentally delayed? Me neither. Her work is amazing.

Love the details in this one--you can tell exactly what is going on here without having to ask questions!

We like labels. :)
I love best work.

Super cool: At the aquarium, you can press a button that turns on the light and makes the jellyfish turn purple. This student drew her finger pushing the button, and her finished product had the jellyfish turning purple!

I know there's nothing fancy in this post--but I wanted to get a post written so I can get back in the habit of it! We've been busy getting semi-ready for the end of the year (we finish mid-June so we still have quite some time to go), and our students will be taking the SAT-10 in a couple weeks so we are getting ready to give the confidence and excitement to beat the test!

P.S. Keep an eye out for a blog design change! :) Woohoo!