Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIFW: What I Fasted Wednesday

L'Shanah Tovah, everyone!

Today was Yom Kippur, the biggest and most important holiday on the Jewish calendar. I took a personal day, and made the journey home to celebrate with my family at my home synagogue. 

The purpose of the holiday is to reflect on the past year, repent for sins, and to ask for forgiveness and for a good new year. In addition, we are expected to fast from sundown to sundown, and concept that still makes me a bit too anxious and nervous. But, more on that later.

Today, I spent about 8 hours in services, praying and reflecting. I thought a lot about this past year and all the changes it has brought.

I made lots of mistakes.

I made lots of self-discoveries.

I had lots of sins to repent for.

And, repent I did.

The thing that I love most about Yom Kippur is ending it with a feeling of a new fresh start. An opportunity to start again, free of guilt from the mistakes of last year. A chance to do things anew. Not necessarily to do things over again, but to re-try doing things right.

As I sat there reflecting, I decided that my goal and focus for the year is going to be love. In my life, I have felt the most presence of God (or whatever you want to call a higher spiritual power) in the strong, unconditional relationships that I have experienced, witnessed, and encountered in my life.

My intent for the upcoming year is to treat every person in my life with upmost love and respect, including my family, students, and people I may meet throughout the year.

The first step, though, is starting with myself. I have felt lately like I am out of touch with myself, both physically and emotionally. When it comes down to food and exercise, everything feels out of balance. I'm either famished or bloated. No in between. I almost feel like I have forgotten how to feed myself. I have this idea in my head about what my body needs, but the way my body feels tells me it's not right anymore. I have put on some puffy weight that I am not liking. As a result, I am emotionally suffering too. I know that I am transitioning. Figuring out my new work schedule and all that. But I hate the way I feel. I hate the way my clothes are fitting. I hate the way I look right now. 

It's wearing on me.

So, starting fresh with this New Year, I am going to make a real effort to listen to what my body is telling me I need. And figure out what works for me again.

That started today. Yes, we are supposed to fast for 24 hours. But, I woke up this morning already hungry. So I ate breakfast. Then, I ate lunch. Yes, I did not keep the fast. Call me a "bad Jew" but I don't feel bad about it.

I didn't snap any pictures, but I'm sure you know what oatmeal and a salad looks like. The most important "Good Habit" that I am falling into? Listening to what my body needs and answering it.
Thanks Jenn!
So, L'Shanah Tovah! Happy New Year, and here's to a fresh, loving start!
~ Rach

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Where it belongs

This past week, I felt great.

I felt like I had been eating right and fueling my body. Staying active and enjoying some good after-school runs. Kicking some a$$ in my second week in the classroom.

I was feeling good. And, I was looking good. Not only did I love my cute teacher-clothes, my body was looking great in the mirror. A far too unfamiliar feeling for me.

But, on Thursday night, I met my mom for some dinner and shopping at the outlet malls that are almost directly between my new place and my hometown. That situation couldn't be more perfect, right? Definitely one of the perks.

I found 5 new pairs of teacher pants. Five. With a total under $100. Unheard of.

Much to my surprise though, they were a size up from last pants I bought. My heart sank a little. For someone with my history, that is a hard realization to come to.

So I had gained a little weight. Ok...

For curiosity's sake, when I got home that night, I weighed myself on my bathroom scale that had been sitting unused next to my toilet since I moved.

I could not believe my eyes.

According to that scale, I had gained 6 pounds since graduation in June.

What. The. @^(%$*# !?!?!?!

Yea, way more than I expected. Yes, to some, 6 pounds doesn't seem that bad. But to me, it's failure.

Needless to say I was upset, and I went to bed that night feeling just plain awful.

But, when I woke up in the morning, I caught my near-naked reflection in the mirror, and stopped. I looked damn good. My stomach is showing some muscle definition. I have a little booty back again (something I lost at my lower weight). I hadn't had a head rush in months. I can easily make it through 10 hour days in a swealtering classroom followed by a 3 mile run without being exhausted.

I looked healthy. I felt healthy. And, even though I know I still have a ways to go, I can say that I am healthy. Leaps and bounds from my lowest points.

So, I put my scale where it belongs. Under the sink, behind the trashcan, under the extra toilet paper.

Sure, there may be times when I need it, but I do NOT need its ugly little face taunting and tempting me every morning.

Going of the way I have been feeling... I'm look hot! No shame. I'm proud of this body, and I'm sticking with that momentum.

Here's to freedom from that number and to feeling/looking good, despite whatever the number on that stupid scale!
~ Rach

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fall Goals

In college, I made goals for every quarter. I continued this in the summer. Probably, because it didn't really feel like college was over.

Now, though, that I haven't moved back to Athens, and have a week and a half of my big-girl job, it has sunk in. This is it. Life. For the next 35 or so years.

It's cool. I totally love this life.

So, I think I am going to keep writing out goals seasonally. It works for me. A month doesn't give me enough time to feel like I am achieving what I set my mind to, but isn't so long that I forget about them.

Might as well keep the ball rolling. So, without further ado...

Fall Quarter Goals

1. Keep on top of my lesson planning.
I am definitely an over-planner. I try to have all my materials and plans figured out for next week by Thursday of this week. This helps me to keep the curriculum in sight, have more time when I'm at home at night, and make sure the print shop at my school (who does all the copying, we don't have a central copier) has time to et all the copies run off way ahead of time. I know that keeping up with this is going to be the key to my sanity as the year progresses.

2. Work out 4 times a week.
Again, a way to preserve my sanity. Running has really been a head-clearing activity for me, and I don't want to lose it. I have been missing a good gym work out, though, so when the $$ finally starts rolling in, I think I am going to suck it up and by a gym membership. I usually take 2 rest days, but I know that as things pick up, unexpected rest days might pop up. So, I'm being forgiving and allowing myself that.  

3. Make 3 new friends in my new city.
Now that I have finally started working, I have been introduced to a huge family of amazing people. And, finally, I have a bit of a social life again. Albeit, it's all entirely work-related. I can see a couple that will definitely become friends, but I won't really count that until we hang out outside of school stuff. Maybe I can even mooch off their friends and make even more!

I've got a ton on my plate with right now as I cannonball into my first year of teaching. So, I won't bog myself down with too many goals. I think if I get these under my belt, I'll be on my way to a great year!

Here's to making it happen!


Monday, September 3, 2012

First Week in the Books!

Week 1. Done and done.

I can't even describe to you how much I am loving my school, my students (well, most of them), and my job.

Just like the first day, this week went so smoothly! I don't want to jinx myself, and I hope this positive momentum keeps going.

While I wanted to take more pics this week, the only thing I managed to capture was my daily outfit. So, here's a play-by-play illustrated by mostly outfits.

Tuesday- first day of school- hand out syllabus, introduce myself, take care of school-related housekeeping stuff.
Yea, you've seen this. I still really like this outfit.

Wednesday- 5th period and 7th period showed their true colors. Looks like these are my problem classes. Also my biggest. Should be fun. The desks went from groups of 3 back into rows, which has helped cut down on chatty-ness and attitude problems.

Managed to cut my head off. But, the sleeveless top was a good call with the heat. And, the crocs totally beat Tuesday's heels.
Someone told me once that accessorizing would make me look older. This is what I managed.
 Thursday- less talking problems, and some good work got done. Starting to feel the rhythm of the day.
Loved this outfit. Made me feel mature, and it was pretty cool and comfy all day.
 Friday- a fun day at school, compete with a last period pep rally. And temperatures that had me literally sweating all day.
We're allowed to dress down a little on Fridays, but with the temperatures, I opted for a light dress to help keep me cool. 
We've got another 4-day week ahead of us. So nice! And it's time to get into some real instruction and new material. Ready to take it head on!

Here's to keeping up the positive momentum!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day of School

I have officially made it through my first day of school as a high school teacher!

After talking, walking, smiling, and sweating all day long, I am exhausted.

Exhausted, but so happy.

I could not have asked for a better first day. (well, some milder temperatures would have been nice)

Everything went according to plan, and I had no problems with students. I didn't mess up too badly. I didn't trip. And, I don't think I messed up any of the administrative, first-day duties.

I did have some unexpected time with first period, but I just filled it with a pronunciation song that I used all day in my Spanish 2 classes.

I am letting myself take it easy for tonight with a scheduled rest day and not putting too much pressure on myself to plan for next week. I have an idea where we are going, and I will really sit down and do it tomorrow/Thursday.

I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself the first week. I tend to hold myself to these impossibly high expectations, and I am always overly critical with myself. I don't want to burn myself out. I love this job, and I want to be happy in it for a long time.

I guess this first day in my career really means that I am a full blown adult and I can no longer consider myself a child at all. Weird. Sad. Terrifying. But, Exciting!

Like I said, I'm exhausted, but I'll do a more extensive recap over the weekend.

I'll leave you with my first day of school outfit! Professional, young, cool-ish. Loved it. But the shoes... my feet hated my by 5th period. Not happening again any time soon.

Here's to a great rest of the week!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer's Over

Well, tomorrow is the first day of school. My first, first day in the teacher's seat. How quickly this crept up on me!

I successfully completed

  • 4 years of college 
  • A crazy quarter of student teaching
  • 5 days of straight staff meetings 
  • New teacher orientation
And, tomorrow, the kiddies are going to invade, and I will be charged with their safety, security, and, oh yea, their minds. 

Holy crap!

Actually, this week, I have felt oddly calm and prepared. Mostly, I'm excited to get started!

The countdown is starting...

The beginning of the school year also signals the end of the summer. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to check in with my Summer goals.

      Check! Didn't really have a choice on that one. SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW      
2. Run 2 miles without stopping.
      Done and done.

3. Be ready for the school year to start.
      Feeling good

4. Make 3 new local friends.
     Did it! Thanks to some introductions from some college friends.

5. Get Zumba certified.
    Did it! 

6. Fill my apartment's blank walls.

That's a big 100% for me! Solid A+! I hope I can keep this ball rolling as the year starts! Update soon!

Here's to hitting the ground running!
~ Rach

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Getting Rolling

It's been a week since I last post. Granted, I am not the most regular blogger. But, still, a week is a long time.

I have a good excuse, though. I have not stopped moving. In a week.

It's been exhausting, exciting, and emotional. Full of fun stuff, work stuff, and school stuff. Wow, things are really starting to get rolling for the school year!

Here are some highlights. Sorry for the photo dump. Yea, not really:

Val came to visit!!! My biffle from college. 

We went to dinner where I did something I never do. Ordered pasta. Major fear food there, but it was delicious! Then, I got made fun of for being vegan. Enter butter face with sausage eyes. Thanks, friends.

I ran 7 miles!!! I know, right!? Incredible. I totally surprised myself, but I had 7 in my head, and I did it. felt awesome.

Val and I hit up some of our fave food spots. Starbucks for breakfast after my run (brought my own protein oats), Panera for lunch, and, of course, Mexican for dinner.

Then, a little too much fun with some black light putt-putt.

Saturday, I took a quick trip to Athens for one last hoorah before the school year begins. It was a crazy night, but totally worth the pain the next day. Good times with good food and meeting up with some old friends. Couldn't ask for a better night.

I made some "I'm Too Poor to go Grocery Shopping, Clean Out the Fridge" vegetable soup. I'll put up a lesson plan for that one in a few days. It was a life save this week!

After all of that, most excitingly, staff meetings and professional development has started for the year!
Starting on Monday with meetings, then a staff retreat at the beautiful park below, and culminating in new teacher orientation on Thursday and Friday.
So far, I have to say I am completely in love with my school district. The people are one big amazing family who are all so happy to be working there. I am so excited and feel so blessed to be part of this team, and I can't wait for school to actually start!

Here's to the beginning of something great!
~ Rach

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Number 11

So I got nominated by Lish over that jumpeatrun for one of these Liebster Awards that I have been seeing popping up on the blogosphere! Honestly, it never crossed my mind that I would be nominated for one of these, and it took me completely by surprise. Thank you so much!

11 is a little overwhelming, and I don't even know if I have 11 blogs that I would feel comfortable nominating, but I'll do as much of the process as I can pull together.

Here's the deal:
Here’s the rules:
  1. Tell 11 random things about yourself
  2. Answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you
  3. Create 11 new questions
  4. Nominate 11 blogs and let them know
Without further ado,

11 things about me:

1. I have 2 middle names. 
    1 first, two middle, one last. My brother and I actually both have our mom's maiden name as our second middle name, which is a cool tradition. However, for as long as I can remember, it has caused major problems. Filling out forms is almost impossible, and because this causes discrepancies on official documents, we have had lots of identity issues. But, my bro and I both like it and will probably pass the annoying gift onto out kids :)

2. I got my haircut yesterday.
    I always here that I look too young to teach highschool. Literally everyone I tell says that. And I know I look older with shorter hair, so I decided to chop it off for a more mature look before I start teaching in 2 short weeks!
before. long, flat, strait
The stylist always floofs it too much, but after some taming with the straightener, I love it!
3. I pee every 35-45 min.
   TMI? Sorry, I don't care. On top of the fact that I drink tons of water all day long, I also have a microscopic bladder. It's one of the things that really concerns me about teaching too. I can't just leave to go to the bathroom whenever I want, so I'm going to have to train myself to hold it longer. Good thing my room is right by the bathroom!
 4. I studied abroad in Spain.
     You might already know this, but it's one that I always pull out in ice-breaker games. And it was a completely life changing experience.

5. I was hungover this morning.
    Yea, it happens. It was my friend's birthday last night, and we definitely celebrated. For me, hangover = pancakes for breakfast. I concocted this protein pancake, and it was mighty tasted. This, a short (painful) fun, and a nap, and I'm feeling way better.

5. I paint my nails about twice a week.
   I feel naked without polish, and once it starts to chip, I have to redo it or I'll pick it all off.

6. I have a really small family.
   And they mean the world to me. Since my grandparents passed away in high school, it's just Mom, Dad, Daniel (the bro), and me. Now, we've added the bro's girlfriend, Maddy (who might as well already be part of the family) and their puppy, Jolene. I think because it is just us, we are even closer than we would have been otherwise. I can confidently say that I have the best relationships with both of my parents, and my bro is one of my very best friends. I feel so blessed and lucky to have these people in my life. 

7. I love post-its.
   Really, my collection in embarrassingly large. All different shapes and colors. With lines and without. At least I'll never run out.

8. I love ethnic food.
   I have always been a pretty adventurous eater, and if it doesn't come from an animal, I'll probably eat it. And like it. Indian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Greek, Mexican, Turkish. I love it all. And, luckily, ethnic cuisine is usually very veg friendly :)

9. I changed my major 4 times during my first quarter of my freshman year.
          Math > Communications > Math Ed, Spanish Minor > Math Ed, Spanish Ed double major
     I've always known I wanted to be a teacher, but I got nervous when I went to school that I wouldn't find a job (or make enough money) as a teacher. Only took me about a month to decide that I had to follow my passion, and I eventually arrived at the double major in Spanish and Math Ed.

10. I'm an organization freak.
    I feel like it's the only way I can keep my sanity with all my work, student papers, lesson plans, etc. Disorganization actually makes me a little anxious.

11. This has take me a ridiculous amount of time to complete.
   I'm talking like almost 2 hours. To think of 11 things? Sad

Lish's questions:
  1. Are you left or right handed?   Right handed
  2. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oatmeal- so many ways to have it!
  3. Do you have siblings? The broski, and his girlfriend (closest thing I've ever had to a sister)
  4. Are your toenails painted right now? What color? Yes! Highlighter pink
  5. What is the last trip/vacation you took? Cleveland- Cedar Pt and the Great Lakes Brewery
  6. Who is your biggest role model? My Dad. He is the most inspiring person I have ever known. He has been through so much in his life, and he treats people so well. He is so caring and understanding. I hope I can find a man like him one day.
  7. What is your favorite movie? How can I pick? The Bourne Trilogy, Pride and Prejudice, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, to name a few.
  8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Granada, Spain. Easy
  9. Do you have any pets? Not of my own. Jolene doesn't count. I really want to get  dog, though. In a few years...
  10. Do you prefer coffee or tea? COFFEE. I need it. I love it.
  11. What is your favorite hobby? I never thought I would say this, but it's working out. I have really fallen in love with exercise and fitness.
Wow that was hard. Maybe, I'm not as interesting as I thought haha. It was fun though!

This weekend is about to be epic! I'll def update when it's all over!

~ Rach

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Setting Up My Classroom!

The past week has been just jam packed with teacher-y excitement. My time has been dominated by organization, posters, bulletin boards, and more organization. I am in heaven.

When I got to the school to get my keys, I was originally a little let down. My room is in the not-air-conditioned part of the building. It was dusty and dirty from sitting all summer. The amount of stuff I had to sort through seemed interminable.

But, by going in for a couple hours every day, or so, and taking the time, money (and, believe me there is lots of money involved), and effort necessary, I have turned it into a space that I not only like, but can see myself functioning in for an entire year. (And hopefully many to come?)

Want a tour?
The view from the door. Love that whole wall of windows!

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome! This table with hold the hall pass/signout sheet, and I will mark important dates on the calendar. The school mascot is the pirates, so they also make an appearance. You can see where I labeled the table in Spanish, and these labels are all over the room.
The right side of the room. I hate chalk and chalk boards, so I covered them. These boards aren't really useful anyways with the arrangement of the desks, so no worries there. 

Esta semana. This week. Here I'll post on Monday what we are doing in class everyday and what is for homework everyday so the students always no. No surprises = no excuses.

The left side. My desk, filing cabinets, more chalkboard covering.

Back corner. Home of the dictionaries and paper trays.
said paper trays. I'll keep all papers in here for a week and cycle them out the next week. No excuses for lost papers or missing work.
My desk with some OU relics and study abroad souvenirs.

The teacher's perspective from the front of the room. Really, the only thing I am still unhappy with is the desks in rows. I would prefer a double rainbow arrangement, but because my room is so square, I just don't have the space. Eh, gotta make do with what I have.

I like to have something at the front to lay papers on etc. The pencil holders will eventually hold popsicle sticks with all the kids' names on them, separated by period. I love having a randomizing system like this because it keeps me unbiased and keeps the kids on their toes. The jar will be filled eventually with candy- high schoolers need some motivators.

Now that I have the room more organized, I can start to feel how classes will flow in there. I am comfortable with it, and it feels like mine. Now, I just have to get the first batch of lessons underway, and I will be flying high.

Everyday next week, I have meetings, team buildings, new teacher orientations, and even an overnight staff retreat. I am excited to meet everyone and start becoming part of the community. But, I am a little anxious and nervous. This always comes with starting new, and this is a BIG new start. I know the best thing, and really the only option, is to jump in with both feet and hit the ground running! So, bring it on!

Here's to revving my engine and getting ready to knock this out of the park!
~ Rach

Friday, August 10, 2012

Major Achievement

Today, I am giving myself pat on the back. And a standing ovation. And a gold medal. And a raise.

Ok, not a raise. How many days till the paychecks start rolling in? By my count, 34.

So what happened?

I ran 5 miles without stopping!

And the crowd goes wild!!! I'm not sure I can even believe it! At the start of my running mission, I don't think I could even run 5 minutes without stopping. Back when I set my summer goals, I thought a 5k seemed far-fetched.

Then, today, I surprised myself with running for 50 min strait without a walking break. Yes, I know a 10 min mile isn't all too impressive, but from where I started, I could through myself a fiesta!
Check out that self-satisfied, red, sweaty, face! And giant hand? Damn perspective. 
Actually, today was the second day in a row that I surprised myself with how great my run felt. Yesterday, I did 40 min, with only two 1-min breaks. Not sure on the distance.

Both days though, I felt great. Like I could go on forever! Try of a half! Ok, that might be a bit hyperbolas. Even so, it was amazing to feel like that.

So, being the math-y I am, I looked for a common factor. Both nights before I had gotten decent sleep. Then, I woke up, had a cup of coffee and a full breakfast. Not a mini meal. I digested and set out, and had the 2 best runs of my short career.

I think I figured out a good routine for myself. Just in time for the start of the school year when I won't have enough time in the morning. Perfect.

After a much-needed shower, I created this random mess. And a blurry pic to boot.

That would be a some frozen greenbeans, frozen mushroom/rice burger, canned chick peas, and delicious ketchup.

Why the lack of anything fresh? Because my fridge looked like this.

Yea, beer, wine, and condiments. Total college guy style. I'm embarrassed. But hey, at least I did a good job eating every last bit of last weeks grocery haul.

Now, I'm off to restock... and probably spend more money than I should. Later, it's some chocolate PB cupcake baking for my dad's bday. Then, a friend from high school is coming for a night out! It's shaping up to be a pretty fantastic Friday!

Here's to celebrating the small achievements!
~ Rach

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WIAW busy day

Considering how leisurely my summer has been going, today was quite the busy day. With school starting so soon, things are really picking up, and I'm getting excited! And nervous and overwhelmed and anxious...

but mostly excited!

So check it. While I still have the time!

Thanks, Jenn, for the highlight of my week!
7:00 alarm goes off. 
Kind of early, but no biggie, I had been up for a while. I having trouble sleeping lately, and I have no idea why. Boo.

Morning started with some hot lemon water and blog reading while I waited for the water to work it's magic. TMI? 
 This was followed soon after with Breakfast (7:30ish): apple, protein frosting/dip, Ezekiel sprinkled with a little natural sugar and cinnamon pre-toasting. Yummy

After digesting, I headed out for my workout (8:30ish)
just over 4 miles in  ~47 min- I've been doing intervals running 10min, walking, run 10 min etc
then I did some oblique/ab workout I found somewhere. sorry I don't remember

Enter shower, random compulsive cleaning, list making, and dressing, and I was off!

With my snack in hand: 
 Smoothie consumed en route too...

A teacher's mecca! So many supplies and posters and manipulatives and resouces!

Unless, you're a spanish teacher. Then, this is all you get.

My one measly end cap. I did get a few books of stickers and some stamps. And I also got some board trim, but it was a bummer to see how small of a section my content has. Oh, well it just means I had to get craft!

I totally flaked on getting a pic of my lunch, but this bad boy salad was incredible. And, it included avocado, happy eggs, and tofu. Two sources of both healthy fat and protein in one bowl!? Who is this girl!

Lunch desert was mighty tasty too: Ezekiel tortilla with PB and strawberries.

After some vacuuming and poster creating, afternoon snack.

Too many handfuls of these awesome spiced pumpkin seeds, and a lentil rice veggie burger. My appetite was weird today.

 Oh just some proof that actual work was done today.

And then, Dinner
 Soba noodle bowl covered in sauteed broccoli, zucchini, and tofu.

And, naturally, dessert
Classic cocoa oats topped with PB.

Tomorrow is going to be filled with some major classroom decorating and organizing! Can't wait to make that place feel like my own!

~ Rach