Friday, March 23, 2012

Easter, Hunger, and Slumber

     Yesterday was one of the best days I've had in awhile. I had fun, saw my friends, and got great news from my boyfriend!
     The day started off normal, with school and work. But I got home, and had plenty of time to spare before I had plans that night. First, I got caught up on the most recent episodes of Fashion Star and America's Next Top Model, which are two of the shows I watch weekly on Hulu. That was great relaxing time for me.
     I got a phone call later from my boyfriend with wonderful news that he would be coming home for Easter!! He is in the Army, and is stationed in Ft. Stewart, GA. He rarely gets to come home, and so I rarely get to see him. Last November I had an amazing trip over Thanksgiving to visit him, and every day I wish I could go back. We were also very fortunate to have him home for 2 weeks for Christmas and New Years  Day. That was incredible. But since then we haven't known the next time we would see each other. It's very hard because he only has one 4-day-weekend each month, he has to save up alot of money for the flights, and he has to fill out paperwork and get special permission from a few 'higher-ups' to be able to come home. Last year he came home for Easter, but didn't get permission until the day before, so his plane ticket was $800.... This time he found out yesterday, and we both went online to look up prices and thankfully we got a much cheaper ticket in comparison. Only $530 this time. I cannot wait to see him and hold him and be in his company again, even if it's only for less than 4 days. I have had butterflies and a smile on my face since he officially bought his ticket last night!

     I was also a very happy girlfriend last night, because I got to skype my boyfriend! We have a hard time finding time do get on and see each other, especially with the 3 hour difference, but occasionally we are able to both make time to do it. I was happy, because I had spent a little extra time getting ready and looking nice for the movie date with my two good friends, so I got to look nice for him too:) It was like I dressed up for our skype date too.

     THEN!!! At 9:30 pm, I headed to the theatre to meet my friends to see the premiere showing of Hunger Games!! :)  That was so much fun! I have been reading the books for the last couple months, and I was so excited to see how the movie turned out. I was definitely happy with the way they did it! Everything was VERY similar to how I imagined it while reading the first book. I am just now starting the read the third book "Mocking Jay", which I'm so anxious about. I've heard many things about it, and I'm kind of nervous about what's going to happen! Can't wait to finish it.
     Here is a picture of me and my friends waiting in the theatre!!

     I got home at 3 am, and got ready for bed. I had just washed my sheets that day, and I didn't feel like making my bed, so I kind of had a slumber party by myself instead. I laid out the 2 comforters I have on the ground, and the other little blankets I have, and was very happy to sleep on the ground last night. Until I woke up with neck and back pain. Oh well.. It was still fun to have my own little slumber party.

     Well, those are the stems of my happiness from yesterday! Wish I had days like that much more often. That is my new goal.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Morning, Rain is Falling

Today feels great.
     Besides the fact that my spring break is officially almost over, and I have to reluctantly go back to doing homework every night...

     It is raining, more of a drizzle, and a few minutes ago it was lightly hailing. My favorite smell is the smell of rain. Here in Tucson, rain doesn't just smell like water and wet plants (mainly because there aren't too many plants here to be wet). Even better, the rain has a specific smell that the creosote plants create, and just makes everything feel so much more calm and relaxing. I usually like when the sun is out and hate it being covered by clouds, but today just feels like a nice rainy day to stay inside and get stuff done at the house.

     I'm currently watching Shark Tank (great show) on Hulu, and just taking some me time to myself. With how busy I am throughout the week, sometimes Sundays are the perfect day to have have me-time. (and then make time to clean and do homework and plan for the week, etc....)

     Now I am watching Water for Elephants, while I clean my living room. I'm trying to be productive, without getting too stressed or anything...


     After 3 loads of laundry, 1 load of dishes, and cleaning up some more, I'm now watching Catch and Release. I have cried about 5 times so far.. Me, being the sappy girl I am. I love Jennifer Garner, and this story is just so sad. Everyone should see this movie. It's a really wonderful story about how life is uncertain, and how even through extremely rough situations, you can manage to find real happiness.

     That's all for today. A little glimpse of my rainy-day-Sunday.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crafting Explosion --> Discipline Struggles

     Alrighty... I'm officially a craft nut-case. Today and yesterday, I spent a large majority of my day 'crafting'... (and then watching hulu during my breaks) Sorry if I bore anyone who happens to come across this post. But I am going to dedicate it to describing my craft outburst these past two days!!

     I have to start by describing the reason for my first project yesterday. I teach a dance club at a nearby elementary school every Monday and Wednesday. This will be my 4th quarter of teaching it; as it first started up in August, and the parents sign up their kids for different clubs every quarter. The class is only 45 minutes long, but I have had a very difficult time figuring out ways to keep the kids under control and on their best behavior for that short amount of time. There are many reasons for this. First, the class usually ranges from Kindergarten to 3rd grade. Also, it is after-school, which already has the kids 'checked-out' for the day. Lastly, the class is located in the gym/cafeteria, so there isn't a high level of responsibility or structure in that room to start. So with all of this being said, I've been working out different disciplines techniques, etc. 
     For the longest time now, I have been handing out a little piece of candy every class, with the warning of getting it taken away as a consequence of bad behavior. Now, this works for many of the kids because they really want the candy, and understand the meaning of consequence.. But for many (especially the kinders), this hasn't worked very well. Most importantly, it doesn't work well for me because I am a slight pushover, and it's really hard for me to take away things. So I decided before this last quarter of the year that I really need to beef up my discipline plan, and create a new and improved system of rewarding the students, instead of punishing them. I have taken away the candy-every-day system, and have brought in a Marble and Prize Reward Strategy. =)
     This is how it works. I have a little basket (my craft project of last night), with a section for each student. During class, at any time, the students have the opportunity to show me good behavior. Whenever a student's good behavior stands out to me, I will send them to the front table to get a marble out of the bag, which they can add to their section of the basket. Right now, the plan is to have them reach 10, and then I will bring them a little prize/treat. (It will probably be a little toy, a few stickers, and a piece of candy.) I have had one class so far introducing this system, and I think the kids really enjoy it so far. They like that there is something new in class (the returning students), and I think the visual of them getting closer and closer to that prize is very captivating. I also give them the opportunity to be praised in front of the rest of the class, and come to the front and add a marble on their own, which gives them responsibility of their own success. They seem to be really excited about it.
     Now, my basket that I made is definitely simple, and not high-tech whatsoever, but I am proud of myself for figuring out how I could make it work. (The kids liked it too, which made me smile.) Here's a picture of it! Not too shabby?? 

     So, yes it is very simple. But I think it works well for now! =) Yay!! On to bigger and better things in my rowdy dance class!!! 

Well, since I bored you to tears with this post about discipline strategies..... I will stop here for tonight, and continue my rant and discussion of my 4 other craft projects tomorrow night.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy Day!

     Alrighty... I suppose I am a little embarrassed to be writing my second post right now... Instead of 4 months ago, when I promised to post everyday leading up to Thanksgiving. Well, I suppose it's never too late to finish what I started. I am excited to try this blogging thing out again. I really do think it will be a good way to focus on the happy things going on in my life, and not the stressful or negative parts. I also think this might actually be a really good time to work on it, because I am currently on Spring Break and (try to) have a little more free time so sit down and write.

     After a comment on my first post from a good friend of mine, I realized that I do want to really try this out. It happened to be really ironic that my friend commented on it today though, because just a few hours ago I was thinking of starting a little journal to write down little fun or happy things that happened during my day, and continue it for days in the future. I completely forgot the fact that I could do the same thing on this blog that I started in November. So here it goes.

     Today, I tutored my boyfriend's cousins. (I tutor them Mondays, and Wednesdays, every other week). There were two things that happened today while tutoring that made me want to find a way to remember them later. They were 2 things that Jack (2nd grade) did; one was hilarious, and one was just special and wonderful to hear from such a young boy. I have always truly enjoyed spending time with this kid, because he always finds a way to brighten the mood, or make me smile or giggle or laugh hysterically, even on a stressful day. He is a goofball, and never fails to do something or say something completely random and out of the blue. This often gets him (and me) very distracted.

     Today in the middle of reading a book, he started rapping a Mac Miller song. These songs have very explicit lyrics and ideas not really suited for a 2nd grader, so at first I was slightly appalled to hear him rapping it, and scared for his childhood... But the fact that he could rap this song (even with his slight lisp) made me want to fall over in my chair laughing! He was so into it- rapping every single word (skipping the cuss words), and even doing a little sort of dance with it. I loved it so much.

     Later, we somehow got on the topic of grandparents. He asked about mine, and I told him that both my grandpas died before I was born, and that one of the grandmas died a few years ago. He was so surprised to hear this, because all of his grandparents are still alive, and we talked about how sad it was that they had to leave. He was sad for me because I had never met my grandpas, but asked if I had pictures of them. He told me that I can still know them because of the pictures and stories from my own parents, and that at least I can still love them. Hearing that from him made my heart melt. He also asked how old they were when they died, and how old I was. He told me that I should be happy because in about 40 or more years, I will go to the same place that they are, and I'll finally get to be with them. Jack has such a kind and thoughtful heart for a 2nd grader, for being able to think of these things, and try to make me feel better about the concept of death. It is such a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by the optimism of young children as often as I am.