Happy Valentine’s Day

I love Valentine’s Day.  Today I taught my students the words to Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called To Say I Love You.    It’s such a catchy tune.  I love that song for the mere fact that it sends a message that you don’t just have to say “I Love You” when it is Valentine’s Day or on special occasions.  You can say those three words every day, or as Stevie Wonder sang it on any “ordinary day.”  My students loved the song and a few students asked me for a copy of the words so they could sing it after school.  Another one of my students came up to me after we learned it and said, “I just want to sing that song a million times.”  🙂  I thought that was cute.  Love is my 2014 word of the year.  Any time I can spread love is great!

Today, especially, love is visible in the commercial items that you can buy in many stores.  Flowers, cards, and balloons are given and received.  I am happy there is a day devoted to my word.  But, it is equally important to keep giving love all year round.  It’s just like the Beatles sang, ” The love you take is equal to the love you make.”  To get love you have to give it.  That’s why I was tickled when I took my daughter to her orthodontist appointment.  The assistant asked me if I wanted to pick a heart sticker out of her bucket.  My daughter was looking at me like, “No way!”  I thought, “Sure!”  I put my hand in the bucket and pulled out a heart.  Guess what it said?  LOVE.  I thought, “Perfect!”

love

Happy Valentine’s Day to all lovers in the world.  Don’t forget to say I love you often.

Remembering Dad

February is the month of love.  I am not just talking about Valentine’s Day, but it is also the month of my wedding anniversary.  On February 11th, my husband and I celebrated 19 years of being married.  We went out for a lovely dinner for two and we reminisced about our wedding day.  Here’s a picture of us on that special day.  Boy, we look young.  🙂

wife1

There are so many wonderful memories associated with this month of February, but these are overshadowed by another memory.  This happens to be the month my dad passed away.  In fact, it was 9 years ago today that my father died.  So, I wanted to take this opportunity to write about the first man in my life. . .my father.

judydad

Lots of people say I take after my dad.  They say we look very much alike.  My mom used to say we had the same personality.  If you said that we were both passionate, emotional people, then I would tend to agree.  However, my mom said that we shared the same stubborn streak and that we had the same fiery, Filipino temperament.  She said we were both “hot-headed.”  I like to think we were just spirited and energetic.

Growing up, my dad was always away.  He was in the United States Navy and seemed to be on deployment all the time.  It was tough when he would come home, especially when we were little.  It was like we had to get to know him all over again.  As soon as we did, he would be gone on another trip overseas.

dad1

My dad was very set in his ways.  He liked peace and calm. He would get angry if my siblings and I were getting too rambunctious.  We were afraid of his temper back then.  As we got older, we realized my dad was a big teddy bear.  He seemed to mellow out with age.  Things didn’t upset him too much, except when the San Diego Chargers, or the San Diego Padres, or the Chicago Bulls (during the Michael Jordan years) lost their games.  My mom was fearful of his blood pressure getting too high or that he would have a heart attack.  Yet, another example of our similar personalities.  My husband and children know better than to talk to me after a Charger loss.  🙂    I will argue that it was Dad’s passion and love of the game coming out at these times.

2002 Dad

Even though my dad wore his emotions on his sleeve while watching a ball game, he hardly ever expressed his love for us outwardly.  I think it was just his generation.  My sister, brother, and I knew he loved us without having to say it out loud to us.  He showed it everyday in the way he provided for us.  He retired from the Navy and the U.S. Postal Service just so we could have a better life.  My dad’s work proves that love.  I am reminded of the song, by Reba McEntire called The Greatest Man I Never Knew.  I cannot listen to this song without getting emotional.  But, that is just the way my dad was.

As I am reminded of my 2014 word of the year (love), I think about this month and how it encompasses that word.  And, I think about my dad who I loved very much.  I remember all the sacrifices he made and all the things he helped me achieve.  I remember all the fun things we did, like singing karaoke together and dancing at my wedding.  I wonder if he can see me and see what I have become.  I wish everyday that he were still here to give me advice and to watch his grandchildren grow.  He was the first man in my life, and I miss him very much.

judywed2

Back To School

I don’t know about you, but I had trouble getting to sleep last night.  I meant to go to bed early so I could be fresh and energized for today.  However, that did not work out for me.  At 9:00 P.M. last night, my daughter, Allison, announced that the new episode of Downton Abbey was on.  I have been waiting so long for this episode to begin that I stayed up 2 hours to watch it.  Then, I had to watch the local coverage of the news to watch the Chargers return home from their victory in Cincinatti!  🙂

I didn’t get to bed until 11:30 P.M.  My mind was revved up.  I was excited to return to my classroom.  I started thinking of my plans for today.  I could not get my mind to stop thinking.  Has anyone ever had this happen?  I had to turn my brain off.  I tried to concentrate on my breathing.  In reality, I started thinking about the time.  My friend, Nicole, was picking me up at 4:50 A.M. this morning to go workout.  Ugh.  If I didn’t get to sleep I would only get about 5 hours of sleep.  I managed to get there, but it was fitful.

The workout was great fun.  One of the instructors said just think how much you are accomplishing right now while everyone else is still asleep!  In any case, I was awake and ready for the day.  I got to work earlier than usual.  I went through my morning routine.  Click here to read about that.  I went to my classroom immediately after I finished my breakfast just to make sure my plans were in order and I had everything I needed to get through the day.  My student teacher arrived and I spoke with her briefly until the bell rang.

I collected my students from the playground and we headed to the classroom.  One of my students actually told me she missed me over the break.  (Remember my 2014 word of the year was love?  Well, here was a clear example of love showing itself!).  I told her I missed her, too.  🙂  It was amazing how the students got back into the routine of the classroom.  We managed to change seating assignments today, too.  It’s a new year, so it’s time for a new spot in the classroom.  Change is good.  One change I noticed immediately is how many students, mostly boys, got their haircut over the break.  It’s a new year, time for a new look.

We managed to get a lot done today.  We continued our work on Opinion/Argument writing.  Before the break we wrote product reviews.  Now, we are going to try writing book reviews.  In math, we practiced creating tables to organize information.  We wrote comparison statements about the information.  We had a very productive day.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Happy New Year

Just got back from my morning run.   It was a gorgeous morning.  Here’s a picture of the view from the top of the hill where I turn around to head home.

view

I figured I should take some time to post this morning because I won’t have much time to write this evening.  We will be celebrating with friends.

The first thing I did when I returned home was look at my Twitter.  I read two posts that caught my eye.  One was by Kevin Hodgson (@dogtrax).  He posted today about the top 10 things he did in 2013.  He called it Reflecting on 2013:  Life’s A Blur-Make a List.  I thought it would be fun to think of a Top 10 list, but I didn’t do that many things this year.  He said one of the reasons he blogs is so that he can record what he was up to this year.  I did that, but I don’t have 10 things on my list.  Instead, I will go with my top 8.  🙂  #8)  Partipating in the #nerdlution challenge  #7)  Beginning work on my administrative credential  #6)  Celebrating an hour of code with my 2nd graders  #5)  Participating in the Mentor Text Challenge (SDAWP Voices)  #4)  Celebrating National Day on Writing with my 2nd graders and Twitter friends  #3)  Participating in SDAWP Photo Challenges (SDAWP Photo Voices)  #2)  Starting my blog  #1)  Becoming an SDAWP fellow.  Even though I only have a Top 8 list, that sure was a lot accomplished!

The other blog post I read was by Michelle Haseltine (@mhaseltine).  Her post was entitled, From Still To Risk, 2014 Word of the Year.  She said,

I don’t make resolutions. Resolutions make me feel less than and I don’t
want to start the year feeling like a failure. In 2009, I discovered One Little
Word as an alternative. I’ve been picking a word of the year since 2009.

I thought that was a great idea.  What would I pick as my word of the year?  I decided my word will be love.  Everything I do has to be grounded in love.  It should be present in everything I do.  I will also have to remember to show my love in words and actions to the people I deal with every day.  I realize love is what keeps me going.  I also know that if I give love, I will get love.  It all makes sense to me.

With that I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings.  Most importantly, I am excited to see how love will show itself every day.

A Short Post

I don’t really feel much like posting anything today.  My aunt is in the hospital tonight.  She’s been there for a few days.  Apparently, she had a heart attack and was admitted to the hospital.  My aunt is 82 years old.  I just heard from my cousin and she informed me that my aunt isn’t doing well at all.  Her vital signs are not improving.  So now, my brother, sister, and I are trying to coordinate. We have to get my mother to Los Angeles where my aunt is.  It is early evening here.  Visiting hours are over at the hospital.  I believe my brother will take my mom tomorrow morning.

I am very upset by this news, but not as upset as my mother.  This is my mom’s only sister.  They had a large family in the Philippines.  I learned that there were 12 of them altogether, but only 4 of them survived growing up in the province of Lemery, Batangas.  2 brothers and 2 sisters.  Mom is the youngest.  My two uncles passed away several years ago, so it has always been my mom and my aunt.  I am thinking that soon mom will be the only one.

This news has made me realize what is important, especially at this time of the year.  The connections we make with others outweighs all the pretty packages that are wrapped under my tree.  You can’t take anyone forgranted.  I am going to make sure I take time to give hugs and tell the people who are important to me how much I love them.    That’s what is important.

How Lucky Can I Be?

I am very fortunate to have people around me that I can call girlfriends. Two events this week reminded me how lucky I am to have these women in my life. There are two groups of gals I get together with on a consistent basis. When life gets hectic, these women are there to help me slow down my pace. They help me realize how important our connection really is.

Last night I spent a wonderful evening with girlfriends who belong to my book club. We decide on a book to read and then we gather at someone’s home for dinner, wine,  and conversation.  We lovingly refer to ourselves as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Party.  One evening, when the book club met at my house, my husband made a comment to us.  He said it didn’t sound like we were talking about the book.  It’s true.  Some of our conversation is based on the book, but the majority of our discussion is based on what is happening in our lives with work (we’re all educators) or with family.  Most of the women in this group I have known for 24 years.  That’s a long time.

On Thursday night, I had the opportunity to enjoy a Girls’ Night Out with my neighborhood girlfriends.  Again, we try to get together once a month to enjoy a movie or celebrate birthdays.  We have even gone on vacations togther.  On several occasions we have traveled to New York City for a fun girls’ weekend.  While there we run through Central Park, see a Broadway show, and shop at Tiffany’s for a bauble or two.  On Thursday night, we decided to see Lee Daniel’s The Butler.  The movie was great, but I just appreciated the company of my friends.  We all have children who are the same age and fortunately, our kids are also good friends.  Even our husbands enjoy the occasional Poker Night together.

I am so glad to be a part of both of these groups.  It’s always nice to know that these women will be there to support me through anything.  The friendships I have with these wonderful ladies is so valuable.  I love and appreciate them everyday.  I hope everyone gets a chance to experience friendship like I do.  It is priceless.  I am one lucky lady.  🙂

The Radical Leap Re-Energized

This evening my friend, Christie, and I had the opportunity to listen to Steve Farber speak.  He is the author of the book The Radical Leap Re-Energized.

I read the book at the end of last year and was inspired to change the way I thought about work.  The main idea is that cultivating Love generates Energy inspires Audacity and provides Proof (LEAP).  In order to be an extreme leader you must love what you do in the service of people who love what you do.

During the course of the presentation, Mr. Farber challenged us to think about 4 guiding questions.

  1. Why do I love this and how do I show it?
  2. What do I/we really do here?  What’s the “higher meaning and purpose” in my/our work?
  3. How are we going to change the world of our students, staff, etc?
  4. Do I/we really want to do this (L.E.A.P.)?

Just thinking about these questions made me really think about how I can change the way I do “business” at work.  How will I interact with the people I encounter each day?  What energy am I giving?  The questions helped me remember why I actually wanted to be a teacher.  It also made me think about why I might want to be an administrator.  I should not be afraid to take the L.E.A.P. in my daily life.

At the end of the presentation, Mr. Farber left us all with one more question to ponder.  I write it here for all of you to do the same:  What can you do right now to change the piece of the world you are in, regardless of the people and the circumstances around you, for the better?