Sunday, August 20, 2017

Real Talk

Hello Fabulous Friends (This is how I start every email)!
Tomorrow begins my 16th year in education.  I have been in school for 32 years.. isn't that crazy! It begins my second year as a librarian (my most favorite job ever!)

This year, we began our staff development talking about Grit.  I LOVE that we are talking about grit.
I have shared this video before, but I have to share it again.  You can also find my blog about Grit here.

I was very lucky in how I grew up.  I had 2 amazing parents that continually taught me the value of hard work and love.  I have a great sister (who although we annoy the heck out of each other.. I am super proud of all that she has done).  I have family that I grew up with that shared love and compassion.  Now I have a husband that helps motivate me to be a better person and work hard when life gets hard.  I of course am surrounded by family and friends that have helped me grow into the person that I am.

But here comes the real talk!
Although I have had a life that has not been filled with trials and tribulations as others, I still have trials and tribulations and have those times where I have to use my own Grit to get through life.

1. I have anxiety.  I over think things.. I worry about how situations are going to turn out.. and I stress. I worry about how other people see me and what I do (seriously.. I rethink conversations ALL THE TIME... did I say something weird.. am I to quirky.. did I say too much)  I have always been this way.
How I cope- I list. I use essential oils (I LOVE valor) I say sorry alot. I also plan!

2. I am introvert.  Now, if you know me.. I am sure you are thinking WHAT!?! I do enjoy being around people.. a ton.. but I also get easily over stimulated.  I have to have quiet.
How I cope- It took me years to figure out that I needed breaks during the day! I build myself quiet moments into my day.. it might only be 15 minutes every 4 or 5 hours, but it is a time where I can sit and reflect and make my brain be quiet.  This is very helpful during conferences.  I used to feel odd letting people know that I need a break.. but now I don't feel so bad :)

3. I deal with a ton of things.  I overbook myself with things that make me happy (okay.. so sometimes they stress me out a bit too) but I love feeling like I am making a difference. I love being a Girl Scout leader, a Destination ImagiNation team manager, and being active in the community. When I say I deal with a ton of things.. those are not the things.  I am not going to make this list to make you feel sorry for me.. it is just a list (see coping number 1) I deal with infertility, I deal with being in debt, I deal with mental health obstacles in myself and my family, I deal with so much more that I probably won't ever write in a blog.
How I cope- I know that tomorrow is another day.  Okay.. Real Talk.. I freak out and yell. I get LOTS of hugs from my husband, family and friends

I write all this to remind others that it is totally okay to still put on that smile for the outside world.  It is totally okay to talk to someone about the problems and anxiety that you have.  It is TOTALLY okay to be YOU!  I am the person that I am today because of how I was raised, the people that have been brought into my life, and all the situations that I have gone through.  Life is rough sometimes.. but life is great too!

I welcome year number 16! I hope wherever you are that you take a moment to think about how you got to where you are, and how you are going to get to where you are going. I am going to continue to SEEK out ways to encourage myself and others to be the best they can be.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Beginning of the Year

I go back to school tomorrow!  One thing that I LOVE doing is putting treats in teachers boxes (Elliott peeps.. sorry that you now know what you are getting.. pretend to act surprised :) I do have something else up my sleeve though!)

This month I became a Stampin' Up demonstrator.  My amazing friend Elaine Plybon showed me all of her goodness... and I knew this was something that I would love! My word this year is Seek.  Part of my Seek is to Seek things that calm my brain and make me happy.  Crafting, upcycling, or creating makes my brain uber happy.  Yesterday I spent the morning making 150 bookmarks.

Now.. I did use Stampin' Up products, but I also used some Michaels items as well (I love that our local Michaels gives teacher discounts.. how can you go wrong with that!)  You can check out my Stampin' Up Website here.

I am going into my second year as a what better goody to put in boxes than handmade bookmarks!  I am super addicted to globes, compasses, and maps right now.. I loved that the Going Far stamp set had the globe that I wanted (and with the word Explore!)
Finished Bookmark

all the materials

As, I said.. I did use some other materials than Stampin' Up, but OMG.. the Stampin' Up materials were AMAZING!  I loved how easy the stamp pads were to use along with the stamps themselves.

Quote Stamp from Michaels
Adhesive Rhinestones from Michaels 
Pacific Point stamp pad from Stampin' Up
Old Olive stamp pad from Stampin' Up
Daffodil Delight stamp pad from Stampin' Up
Going Far stamp set from Stampin' Up
Bookmarks from Michaels

I loved making them!  This summer has been one full of homework (only 2 more classes this fall semester and I graduate!), working on my 40x40 list and so much more.  Watch for blogs coming soon on 40x40 adventures!  What did you do this summer? What are your plans for the year?  

One of my other goals this year is to send birthday cards.  I can't WAIT to start making my own birthday cards!!

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Summer is very soon coming to an end.  Okay well the summer is actually not over, but I head back to school in just a week.  I have LOTS to do this next week!

Every year I have a word.  This last my word was Explore, and man did I do that! I explored a new job role, I explored working and going to school at the same time, and I explored how to live life in general.  My new role as a librarian is one of the best jobs ever! Last year was so amazing in my new role, but it was also a tough one.  I had to learn how to juggle a new role and still keep on the things that I love doing (Destination ImagiNation, Girl Scouts, volunteering in general)  There were several things that I dropped the ball on, but I already know how I am going to do things differently next year.. and let's be real, it is going to be okay if things don't always go as planned..right??? (I have to keep reminding myself of that)

In May, I lost an amazing friend who taught me so much. As people were posting pictures of rainbows in remembrance, I grabbed a picture of my own that next week and realized what I wanted my word to be.  Seek.
This year my focus is going to be Seek calmness, Seek time for myself, Seek time to do things that I enjoy (which includes photography and crafting!)Seek to provide friendship and love to those I encounter.  I am going to be intentional in my interactions.

I wanted to share some of the vigil that Mary (Kylie's mom) shared during her vigil.  It has really stuck with me, and this year, I plan to Seek and remember do things like Kylie.

"She loved name tags and calling people by their name, and usually remembering it the next time she saw you. She brightened a young man's day at Wendy's by calling him by name. His response with a
smile was "wow nobody every calls me by name when they order".
Remember it's the little things in life pass it on.
She had a firm handshake, strong hug and always wanted to know your name.
Remember to greet others.
She loved to pray.
Remember to pray for others.
She had a contagious laugh that sometime she just could not control.
Remember to laugh everyday.
She loved walking the dogs, and visiting with the people in the neighborhood, and knowing all the dogs names and their owners in the neighborhood.
Remember to be a good neighbor.
She loved her school friends, teachers and administrators, and had her special relationship with each of them whether it was a fist bump, wink or the same old saying each time they met.
Remember others may be having a bad day be kind.
She loved babies and would always compliment the family and say "oh what a cute baby" Remember compliments go a long way.
She loved making craft and handing them out. I hope the lucky ones who received one will always cherish it, and
Remember small gestures go a long way."
Thank you Mary for sharing these words!

I hope that you have a word of the year, one that keeps you motivated.  I have my Seek as my screen saver on my phone and computer desktop.   🌈  I look forward to another year in the library and another year of learning.  Now, I am not going to lie.. I am looking forward to that December graduation!

Side note- I am going to craft a TON more this year.. because I joined Stampin' Up!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Today I have cried.. I have cried because I lost a beautiful friend.  Now.. although I have cried.. I have had a chance to share some stories about her.

As I was going through school, one of my classes I had to do observations.  I was going to school to be a special education and of course I had to do alot of observations.. but this one was different.   I had to observe a student outside of school.  It is one thing to work with students in school, but it is another thing to see how life in the real world works.  I was lucky enough to begin working with the Hiners. The Hiners allowed me into their homes and lives.  I met Kylie when she was 8 (at least.. I think she was 8.. I could be off) That semester was the BEST semester.. I mean how can you not love hanging out with an amazing family!  After the semester..I was able to still hang out with them and Kylie and I began making plans.  Even after I  moved to Dallas we had plans at least 2 times a year (okay.. so I usually scheduled with her before I scheduled with my own family)

So, enjoy the photos and memories (of course.. these are only a few!) Lauren, Mary, and Mark I am forever grateful for you opening your home and heart to me.. and making me a better teacher and person!

One of my first (and one of my FAVORITE memories) was taking the girls to the museum.  As we walked through the museum, we were able to touch all the hands on exhibits. However, Kylie had to be reminded several times not to touch the walls.  She would walk by a wall and say I want this one and this one.  We finally got to the 3rd floor where she asked to buy a vowel.

Going to the library was one of our favorite places to be.  It always amazed me that even though we got together about every 6 months she was able to greet the people at the library by name.  I LOVED when she read to me! She was super interactive and would ask questions while reading.  Now, Kylie had a great memory.. so often times she wouldn't even be looking at the book as she read, but could read it word for word.
I had the privilege of attending a fun Christmas party with these girls. (okay.. okay.. I know I am tech savy and here I am taking photos of photographs)

As Kylie grew older our adventures grew too.  We began to go out to eat, go shopping, swimming and so much more!

When we first started planning lunches, Wendy's was usually our go to place.  I learned quickly that Kylie LOVED french fries (okay.. so she usually stole a few of mine.. I started ordering larger fries.. sorry Mary it was twice a year) Kylie began to outgrow Wendy's and Mexican food became the go to place.  Sometimes... I would get to choose and I would choose Wendy's.  Misty and I visited one year and on the way to Canyon we had Mexican food for dinner, for breakfast the next morning we had breakfast burritos, and for lunch we had Mexican food. We had plans for dinner with Kylie that night.. and I just KNEW we could convince her to grab Wendy's or something different (Misty and I were tired of Mexican food!) The convincing didn't work.. and we got seated at Pepito's. We shared chips and salsa.. and Kylie ordered chicken strips :) I LOVED that girl!

Thanksgiving lunch at school with Kylie and Misty
You know I never pass up the option of a selfie.  Kylie had already left us :)
I loved Kylie's text messages.  They were always short and to the point, but I knew that she was thinking about me.  I loved our phone calls (even if sometimes they were too late)  I loved that when she was done with a conversation she would say bye and hang up.. no need to drag on.  I loved when she called and the first thing she would do was ask where William was or  what was William doing.  I loved on my birthday when she called me and sang me Happy Birthday.

Kylie was also the crafter and we spent many hours picking out the perfect project to do next. We would go shopping together at Target or Hobby Lobby.. and we would walk in together.. and walk out together.

Kylie was beautiful inside and out.  These are only a few of my stories. As I have posted in many of my blogs.. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing people and families.  I would not be the educator I am today without families like the Hiners.  Kylie might be gone, but I know that smile will last forever.  Thank you Mary, Mark and Lauren for allowing me to be a part of your lives.. and I hope that you know that you are still stuck with me! I am thankful for your friendship and love.. and I am so thankful that Kylie was my friend.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Teacher Appreciation 2017

Oh my goodness, I can't believe that we just finished the first week of May.  The first week of May is also Teacher Appreciation Week.  I have helped plan a Seuss theme, 80's theme (still my favorite I think) and a 50's.  This year the theme was Hollywood Stars! Each day had a little goody for the whole staff.  I got a TON of the ideas from this great blog.

Easy peasy decorations!

The VIP entrance to the staff lunch room

There was even a red carpet!

Did you know that Fodey makes clapper boards!  Printed off these for each door
Personalized popcorn bar.
PTA provided a yummy breakfast (there was lots of cream cheese and other goodies, just didn't get a picture of it!) 

Since the teachers were the VIP's our amazing admin was our "chauffeur" to Sonic during planning periods

The Mason's take such good c are of us! They grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for the staff.

You can't go wrong with homemade dessert

 One of the best part of Teacher Appreciation week was celebrating our Teacher of the Year! I am SO PROUD that Emily Roberson is representing Elliott Elementary.  She is a rock-star LIFE teacher. She is always so kind and calm.  Her students are so lucky to have such an advocate in their corner!

Loved this end gift from admin! Every Star needs some SWAG.. and our SWAG was a portable charger!

Felt so appreciated this week with all the different goodies!

As you know my word this year is Explore and I LOVE Globes! I walked into the door today and found this beauty with a note "You are my whole world"
It has been a crazy semester! I have a final to finish and then a little bit of time off before the next 2 classes start up. Guys.. I only have 2 more semesters! I already know the theme for Teacher Appreciation next year.  What have been your favorite goodies or ideas? I am always looking for ideas :)
Next up..  appreciating some awesome Girl Scout Leaders (thankful I have had LOTS of help in this area)  I also have started checking off items of my #40by40 list.. another blog coming soon!

Saturday, March 4, 2017


It has been awhile since I have blogged over here.  This Busy Bee has been uber busy in libraryland (well.. and 2 master classes.. Destination ImagiNation.. Girl Scouts.. and more) But, today was AWESOME! But... first up.. checkout my amazing new logo! Seriously.. Heck Awesome has taken such good care of me! I finally ordered new business cards and am planning on putting it on a jacket and bag too!
Today our district had a iLearn Digital Learning Day! Now, I won't lie when I woke up at 6am this morning my bright and cheery self was not all in for it! I LOVE learning.. but my brain has been so fried.  I knew it would be great.. but sometimes you still have to pump yourself up. 

IT WAS AMAZING!!! Yes, I am saying that much louder than I usually say things!
Of course there were a ton of people that made this amazing day possible (the whole Irving ISD Instructional Technology and Learning Resources Departments!).. but Carrie and Martiza did a great job making it happen.  there were over 40 sessions that were lead by fellow Irving ISD educators. Each session that I went to was relevant and had great information. I have added lots of Twitter links so you can go follow these awesome people.

I spent the first two sessions in the Collaboration Cafe.  It was participants choice.. sort of EdCampstyle.  I got to hang out with Luli and Dario who are both great ITS.  We talked (oh wait.. I listened and learned) about Doceri, Kahn Academy and Google Classroom.

3rd session that I was able to go to was all about BrainPOP. You guys know that I love BrainPOP! But seriously, have you seen the new updates? The Make a Movie is AMAZING! I can't wait to share this with my own teachers.  Already thinking about how I can implement this in the library!

Always love running into Arturo!

Sketchnotes from the BrainPOP session

I work with an awesome ITS (who I totally failed at getting a picture with!) and she has been using Seesaw and training teachers. I have seen her use it..and have been wanting to learn/use it more.. but you know there are ton of apps out there and there are only so many hours in a day.  I am super excited to finally sit down in a session and require myself to only pay attention to this app.  Angela and Karron had some great ideas how to use Seesaw in every type of classroom.  Y'all if you are a teacher and you are looking for the next great app.. you need to download and use Seesaw!
Ideas I had:
-Karron gave me the idea to use Seesaw during Bookfair to share books with parents.. SERIOUSLY!!!
-Angela gave some great ways to differentiate instruction for all types of learners.
-I would like to use Seesaw as exit tickets... but rather than creating separate classes for each class at school.. making a class for each grade level and the names be the classes university that they have for NEU.  
My brain is still percolating on how I can use this in the library.

My last session of the day was School Libraries: Learning Made Easy.
OMG! I have been in libraryland since August.. and let's face it.. I don't know anything! George and Kristi had so many great tips and tricks. Irving has a plethora of resources.. and I use a ton of them, but of course there are so many more.

Things I learned in this session:
-World Book has Dramatic Learning
-It is super important that when staff and student access the different digital resources.. they are doing so from the school webpage
-Sorting our resources by grade level
-Britannica ImageQuest
-Saving lists
This list could go on.. and on.. and on.  I can't wait to share some of these with my own teachers to make their life easier.
George and Kristi had so many great tips and tricks!

Cool wall where participants could add puzzle pieces with what they learned throughout the day.  (My mentor librarian Renee rocks!)

Where you could add your Twitter handle
 I know I overused amazing.. and there are too many exclamation points, but seriously it was a great day of learning! I was able to connect with other educators and take away so many ideas that I can incorporate in the library.  I love library land, but I feel that my technology has not been as great as it could be, and this gave me a chance to only think tech and collaboration today.. which I haven't had a chance to do in awhile.  Want to see what I have been doing in libraryland.. head on over to Bee In the Bookends.  Thank you to all the people that made today such a successful day or learning.  I know that I walked away brimming with ideas (and I also know that I wasn't the only one.. go check out the #iisdilearn tweets)  Thanks of course to Patricia Alvarado for continually pushing Irving to great technology and digital resource ideas. Of course thanks to Dawn, Keith and Shane for supporting all of Irving!
What a great day!