Day 1: I am thankful my classroom is next to the foods room. Can I be honest Bout not wanting to move classrooms again? I was not happy about moving away from my BFF and redecorating and redoing the flow I had established. But I was trying to make the best of the situation because I didn’t have a choice. Today I realized that being next door to the foods room means that I get the first round of extras that comes out. It also helps that one of my favorite students is in the class and he brings me what he makes so I can eat it in front of his peers and give him the postitive feedback he needs. I am thankful these kids are learning cooking skills they will use in “real life”, and I get to celebrate what they learn.
Day 2: I am thankful for snow. The weather said it was supposed to rain, so I changed from my heels to my dress boots before leaving for school. Second period I was running paperwork down to the office, and it wasn’t raining — it was snowing. I’m normally one to like snow on the days I can stay inside wiht a book and a hot drink and that is about it. But today, watching the kids get so excited about snow was magical. Then at lunch one of my friends went out to play in the snow — she dug her trusty hiking boots out of the car (she had to dry out her teacher heels for the rest of the day) and came in soaking wet and grinning. This is magical! This is what I remember snow being like as a kid. So today I’m thankful for the snow and the magic it brings on that first snow of the year.
Day 3: I am thankful my classroom is a safe zone. Changes in schedules are hard; early out weeks that start off with a holiday are harder; all of this while dealing with a disability that doesn’t deal well with changes in routine is beyond difficult. Today there were a lot of tears shed in my classroom — and not all of them were from the kids. I’m thankful that this room is where they ended up. Blocks got pulled out and used; fish were carefully watched; tissue boxes were replaced while eyes were shut and focus was on taking deep breaths; weighted blankets were used. There are many days I question what I’m doing and why I’m here — and then there are days like today that I understand my room sometimes just needs to be a place holder. Or a bookmark. “This is where I can safely pause.” I’m thankful to my aides (most of whom are brand new) because they have jumped in and fully love on these kids in the ways they need to be. I’m thankful that together we have created a community space where students (both sped and gen ed) from the elementary to 9th grade feel welcome and know to come.
Day 4: I am thankful for the aides who support me at school. This has been a hell week – everyone is tired and the schedule changes have messed us up — and this is the first time most of my aides have experienced it! They handled it with such grace one wouldn’t suspect that they hadn’t done it before. Today one of my aides brought in bagels and breads for all of the kids. Then I find out she has put together birthday treats for the kids! I’m so blessed to be surrounded by these amazing people who love the kids and go out of their way to make this the best experience. There is honestly NO WAY I could do my job without them.
Day 5: I am thankful for date nights. I got a triple date tonight — R, C and my BFF! One of my students asked me to come see her in her play, so we all headed out to watch her. The boys and I got to go out to dinner, then bought some treats to sit and watch. C thought it was the best play ever — except he was upset the big girls weren’t in it. I got to chat with my BFF who I don’t see enough of since they switched my classroom. The play was amazing and funny. I am also thankful that my students want me involved in their outside lives.
Day 6: I am thankful my kids have big dreams. R and his friends ahve been working on a MECH suit for about a year now. This weekend he has spent time designing business cards, a presentation wiht music to introduce their suit, and designs for different pieces. I love hearing him talk about it, seeing the new parts they all put together, and hearing them as they realize there are more skills they need to learn in order to do this. They inspire me to start thinking bigger for myself. What do I want to create? Who do I want to work with to creat it? What does future me look like?
Day 7: I am thankful for my parents. Last week the toilet in my main bathroom broke. I tried to be independent and fix it myself, but the insides of my toilet looked NOTHING like the insides of the videos I was watching. Tonight my parents came over to help out. Dad pulled the toilet apart (it was totally different then he had ever seen, so I felt justified) and then started some minor repairs on the bathroom that need to be done. Mom sat with C and did the homework struggle with him so I could get some other things done.
Day 8: I am thankful for the rain clouds. This morning as we drive into work, the clouds sat heavy over the moutnain tops. I wish I could have gotten a good picture to post here, but it was dark and I was driving. Several years ago, I used to have panic attacks while I drove — nothing major but enough that I avoided driving when I could. My therapist at the time suggested that I start to look away from the road and notice nature. When I feel myself getting anxious or upset while driving, I take a minute to notice nature. I love the amazing view of the mountains on the way to school each day. I take a road that has lots of trees on it on the way home. Misty mornings looks at the mountains as the sun starts to light them up and then catching signt of deer on the side of the road are my favorite mornings. “Be still and know that I am God” it says to me. Today I did.
Day 9: I am thankful for hugs. I’m not sure who told me this, but I’ve heard that you need eight hugs a day to maintain your mental health, and if you are experienceing hard things, you need more. One of my goals this month is to make sure I’m getting all eight of those hugs — and in doing so giving people the eight they need. My normal hugging partner at school is no longer there (I miss her dearly every day!) so I’ve had to scout out other people for my daily dosages. Today I got to help a few kiddos who were having rough times at school — lunar eclipses and weather changes the week after time changes honestly do crazy things in the lives of my students. I got to hug several of them today. Tonihgt as my boys lay sleeping, I realized that I’m not sure if they got the required amount of hugs, so tomorrow morning I’m going to start off my daily dosage with them!
Day 10: I am thankful for my school team who supports me with no questions. There is a lot going on in the next week before Thanksgiving break. I’m switching classrooms to accommodate a new teacher moving in, going to be transferring around case loads, finishing up nine IEPs before the transfer, finishing up paperwork for a State audit, and putting together student schedules before the break so we can start to get second semester covered before Christmas break. And all while teaching and helping kids deal with the emotions that come when the weather changes and holidays come up. I was working on a re-evaluation (these involve testing and another set of paperwork) and had somehow missed an observation. I emailed to my team, and they jumped in and got it doen so I could hold the meeting. Then I realized the meeting I was stresing over wasn’t unitl the following day! Instead of making me feel stupid for putting a rush os something that could have waited a bit, nobody called me out and theu just jumped in to work. When I OCD and make up schedules to see what the transfer is going to look like (and all possible situations to make it work), they take my data and validate me and my thinking. How thankful I am to work with people who understand me and are willing to help when my mind spins on things.
Day 11: I am thankful for my boys and their independence. Tonight after school, R and I were going to make meatballs for dinner. I got a desperate call from a friend who needed some help calming down her daughter and then coming up with a catch-up-on missing work plan. I do this all the time at school, but it was a bit more complicated over the phone. I hung up with that call to get another one where that friends needed some advice with co-parenting. While I was distracted, R made the meatballs on his own with little help from me. C went on an adventure and cashed bullets around the house for his birthday party next week. As we sat down to eat, I thanked them for letting me listen to other people. We talked about things that mattered to them before they left for their dad’s house. I’m thankful they are understanding and willing to do what they can so we can all help other people.
Day 12: I am thankful for book deliveries. I’ve been putitng off getting some orders delivered and mailed out. I don’t have a good reason, just being lazy. 🙁 Today I set it in my schedule, so as soon as C’s bedroom closet got sanded and painted so I can put together his closet organizer this coming week, I loaded up the van and went delivering. I got to chat with some amazing ladies and catch up today, and I remember part of why I do what I do — I love people! I love hearing how things are going, watching God moments in the life of a friend who has been struggling, watching another interact wiht her grandbabies, and talking to a soon-to-be mom of twins. I’m thankful that I have amazing ladies in my life, and for those few moments we get to connect.
Day 13: I am thankful for moments of honesty. I’m doing another challenge with my book ladies, and it is making me take a hrad look at my actions vs. my words, and I’m sad to say they aren’t matching up. I’m saying I’m doing the things I need to in order to grow my business, but I’ve only scheduled them into my schedule. When the time comes to do it, I’m finding excuses to NOT work. Today in my reading and journaling, I had to be honest. If I want to become the future self I am working towards, I need to actually do the things that will get me there. so, this afternoon I’m going to clean out the cupboard of the junk food, order a new treadmill (and haul the old one out), and set alarms so I will sit myself down and do the work.
Day 14: I am thankful for my brother. We don’t talk as often as I would like to — adulting has gotten in the way a bit. I love when we can make a late for us conversation happen. Last night we chatted about his kids and what they are doing to expose them to the world and get them out of the Gimme mindset. I’m super excited he and my nephew are going on a trip over Christmas to serve a poor country. I would love to have that experience with my boys! It reminds me of when he went on a similar trip several years ago and realized he was in love with his now wife (I may be getting the story a bit mixed up, but its the one in my head). I’m thankful for his example to me as well as to his family.
Day 15: I am thankful for wrestling. I remember going to meets for my brother when he was in junior high, and I enjoyed it then. I wasn’t always a huge fan of “practice” at home because it meant my body got twisted up in strange positions. I love the confidence it gave my brother. Now that R is wrestling for his thir year, I love the confidence it is bringing him! He had two pins tonight, and that signals a great start to a short season (there are only three meets and championships). I love watching him cheer for his teammates, encouraging those who didn’t win, and him taking more care of his body. He asked me if he was old enough to start going to the gym (Baby also wants to “hit the gym” because he needs to look for for the girls — enter eye roll here). I’m so proud of who he is, and thankful he found a sport that helps him grow.
Day 16: I am thankful for the internet. I do so much on the computer without thinking about it — find respurces for teaching, run my book business, keep in touch with family and friends . . . Today I drove to a doctor appointment and held a parent/teacher conference with K’s teacher! How awesome is that?
Day 17: I’m thankful for my books business. I know that I haven’t been working it like a true business lately, and I’m thankful for the newest team challenge we have been doing to help me realize where I can improve. I love that it helps me connect to people, I get to serve my community (starting a Foster Care book drive this week), and I get to earn some money talking about books that I love to read. The money I’ve earned this year took us on a family vacation and is going to pay for Christmas for my kids. I’m thaknful that I don’t ahve to work outside of my house and my boys get to be with me while I work. I also love the personal growth it has give me, and the lessons I get to pass down to my boys as I learn new materials and ways of doing life. I hope they have an easier road then what I’ve walked jsut because they will have more tools to help them. I’m thankful for the friends I have made and the new dreams I have now. Who knew that me saying yes to something for a discount would lead to so much more?!?
Day 18: I am thankful for my aides. Today was another moving day — we get a new teacher after the holidays so I needed to move to one side of my room to give her personal space. My aides jumped right in to help me move book cases, my desk area (one of them is bringing me a small desk they no longer use at home), and all the other stuff I have. Shout out to Ms. Trista who also brought in Christmas decorations and LED lights to give it a festive feel, and pizza for the kids since change gives them anxiety! My room looks AMAZING! There is no way I would have been able to do all of this while teaching without them!
Day 19: I am thankful for Baby. I still am wrapping my head around the fact that my baby is now seven-years-old! I love his drive to do well in school, his talk about his “boys” and their crushes, and his desire to be like big brother (even if he won’t always admit it). He is funny, aware of the needs of others, and has a high energy in all that he does. I had a doctor’s appointment earlier this week, and he asked me to tell my doctor “thanks for helping me be borned”. He makes me laugh!
Day 20: I am thankful for space heaters. We have been working on clearing out the stuff in the house and getting better systems in place for keeping it organized. It has been, and continues to be, a long process that I may need to call in some professional help with. The good news is there is less stuff. The bad news is I dind’t realize how drafty my house was until there was less around. The basement is FREEZING! I’m thankful that as I type this, there is a small heater under my desk keeping me warm, and another one in R’s room doing the same. I think I’m going to have to invest in another one for the playroom, and look at getting some carpeting instead of the laminate that is there currently.
Day 21: I am thankful for Work-from-Home days. Today is a professional development day, but we get to do it from home. I finished up the tasks I was assigned (transition IEPs updated for our audit next week) and then I started some trainings I had found on my own. That training got me evaluating what I’m currently doing and how to improve, so I started on a new project. By the time the boys rolled out of bed at 9, I had gotten in five hours of work and put together a new system and six training classes. Thank you 5 AM club — I had time to do all I needed to and it dind’t take away from my kids. Now off to finish up family dinner (I’m hosting a non-tranditional Thanksgiving tonight) and clean the kitchen with the kids!
Day 22: I am thankful for the friends my boys have. Today R got to hang out with his bestie, and tomorrow Baby gets to hang out with his. I’m not the best at remembering to have them set up play-dates, so I’m glad it happened on this break. One of my new goals is to plan in friend days on each upcoming break so that they get to just do their own thing wiht their peers and I don’t have to be the one to fill their time.
Day 23: I am thankful we decorated for Christmas. I’ve slacked off this year in docorating for holidays. Stress paralized pops into my head, but I don’t think it is really that — I’m just stuck in some places in my lilfe and decorating seems to be too much work for something not essential to living. Today I had to shake myself out of that place and we pulled out all the decorations. The boys helped me put up the tree, then put all the ornaments on it and set the lights. I placed the nativity set on the mantle and hung three of the six stockings. There are some emotions I need to process through still, but i took a moment to jsut feel them and moved on. After setting things up, we watched Home Alone and had a treat — Baby and R had ice cream and I finished off the pumpkin pie. I made a batch of wassail so my house smells all festive. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!
Day 24: I am thankful for quiet days with no expectations. Happy Thanksgiving! I don’t have the kids today, so I’m hanging out in my PJs with a mug of coffee and another mug of cider and taking time to work on a project that I’ve been dabbling in for a while now. Trying to finalize some things, dive in deeper to clean it up, and getting ready to present it! I’m super excited to learn more about what I’m passionate about and learning how to use it to bless lives of other people. How amazing that I get to geek out and it helps people I haven’t met yet?!?!
Day 25: I am thankful for online shopping. Black Friday shopping is the worst idea in the history of shopping — although C would tell you differently. I’m not sure how she is my child because the rest of us are perfectally happy to not shop. It also doens’t help that half the time I’m doing holiday shopping, I have no idea what I’m even looking for! Today I spent most of the day searching for gift ideas and comparison shopping different sites. I created my personalized gift for the kids and got most of the big items purchased. They will arrive in boxes over the next few weeks and I can shove them into my closet wihtout many questions. I’m thaknful that I am almost done and can spend the next month enjoying the people I’m with. I’m also very thankful for my book business — 90% of the money I spent on Christmas came from the income I’ve earned selling books! What a blessing!
Day 26: I am thankful for date nights where we go out. Having kids, these don’t happen often. We are usually tired or worn out or broke from doing the parenting thing. Today we got to run some errands together, then went to IKEA to get some ideas and have dinner. I love having someone to bounce ideas off of, and dream with. I like people watching with another people watcher who won’t get upset that I’m watching people. I love long drives where we get to talk and aren’t distracted by life happening — like dishes and laundry and . . . I’m realizing as I get older that quality time is a higher love language for me then I originally thought. Tonight my cup is full.
Day 27: I am thaknful for connections with my church family. I love when I get to chat with people after church, and not having anxious kids helps me be bale to reach out. I have several friends in the older generation that I love to learn from, and today I got to talk to a few I haven’t seen in a few weeks. Not just the “how are you? good?” talk, but the sit down and chat and pray and cry with talk. I need connections, and I’m thankful to these ladies who give me some of their time to instruct and guide. I know I don’t have the answers I need, and often God blesses me with them through others.
Day 28: I am thankful for R’s eye therapy. Today was his final session, and he graduated. We have been so blessed that a freind told me about ocularmotor therapy and gave me a referral to the only doctor in Utah who does work for it. R was evaulated 20 weeks ago and it was foudn that his eyes dind’t work together to give his brain correct information (putting it completely simple). He went to therapy for those 20 weeks and did work at home in between the sessions. He has stopped having headaches every day, started to read books on his own, and his grades have improved from D’s and F’s to B’s and C’s! I cried the day he told me he saw a 3D picture for the first time. I’m so proud of him for doing all his hard work and thankful for the doctors who worked with him. his has been a game changer!
Day 29: I am thankful my passion had me be prepared, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to grow. Today we had a state audit on IEPs — my audit was specifically on transitions. I’m thankful that the section I’m super excited about and focused on was the area I was evaluated in. I got to see how what I’ve been doing is working, and there were some minor adjustments to be made going forward. In the course, my self-selected weakest are was mentioned, and although it wasn’t as weak as I thought, I was given some guidance to improve that area. Looking forward to delving into the new learning and improving my craft.
Day 30: I am thankful for PTO. Today was the first day I have used a day off — and we spent the day going to doctor appointments! Not the best way to spend it, but thankfully nobody was sick. I actaully started off the day at 4 am (didn’t break the routine) and then while the boys were still sleeping I had new tires put on the van. Came home to make breakfast and get everyone showered so we could head to the doctor’s. Took the boys out to lunch and then ran errands before coming home to have a nap before taking R up to wrestling practice. At school, I got to show my sped director what I’ve been working on, and she was excited for me and what I’ve been learning! It is always a nice feeling when someone who knows about the work you are doing gets excited and asks questions and wants to know more. After practice, we came home and made dinner and just relaxed. I love days where at the end I feel accomplished and everyone is Happy, Healthy, and Safe.