Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Family Get Together

My family has started a new tradition. Every year around the day my Dad passed away (June 18), we get together to celebrate his life and to reunite with everyone. It's hard to believe that it has been 3 years since he passed away. I miss him so much, so getting together with my mom and brothers and sisters was really important. This year we decided to get together up North. It was also Father's Day weekend so it was even more fitting to celebrate Dad's life. On Saturday, June 18, we started the day by going to the Provo Temple to do a session. It was so neat. It was the first time I've ever been to the Provo Temple. What a beautiful temple! One of the best parts about it was that we were able to take some of my dad's ancestor names through. It was such a spiritual experience. I was so glad Chris and I were able to attend. There isn't really anywhere I'd rather be with my family, than in the temple. It was so awesome to be able to go to the temple with my side of the family for a change. It doesn't happen very much so I was so grateful that it worked out. It was hard not to think of my dad while we were in the temple. I think we all felt the same way. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him. So many things remind me of him and so to be in the temple to reflect about him and our Savior was so spiritually uplifting for me. It was a great start to the day.

Later that afternoon, we went up to the Hogal Zoo in Salt Lake. The kids had so much fun. (as did their parents!!) Mckenna and Sydney loved every minute of it. It was a fun afternoon spent with all the kids and my family. That evening we all went out to dinner....and when I say all I mean ALL. There were 22 of us altogether--- 3 babies in carseats, 2 kiddos in high chairs, 2 or 3 in boosters...I can't even remember exactly how we all sat and all fit, but we did. We went to Texas Roadhouse (one of my Dad's favorite places). It was total chaos but a lot of fun!! I enjoyed spending time with my family. We always have a lot of fun when we are together. I love them all so much and I'm so glad and grateful we all got to spend that time together. My Dad left a great legacy and all 22 of us are doing our part to keep it going! :)

Mckenna and her Tonsils

Mckenna has had trouble sleeping for a long time. She has always had trouble sleeping the whole night through. She usually wakes up at least once or twice. We've always noticed she kind of snored, but never thought there was a real explanation. Since she is our first, I kind of always thought maybe it was normal for kids to snore?? Well, Mckenna is fortunate enough to have some pretty fabulous grandparents, her grandma Debbie in particular. She worked at an ear, nose, and throat doctor for a long time. She watched the girls while Chris was going to school and I worked. She noticed one day that Mckenna's tonsils were abnormally huge. After looking for ourselves, Chris and I were shocked at how big they actually were. They were practically touching. Hmmm...could that possibly be why she can't sleep well and she snores? The poor girl could hardly breathe right. Well, we took her into a specialist and he said that was probably the reason. We decided to schedule her for surgery to get them taken out.

On Tuesday, June 21, Mckenna went in for her appointment. Chris, his dad, and brother Stephen gave Mckenna a blessing the night before. She was really, really, REALLY nervous. I didn't want to scare her for a long time, so I didn't talk about it until it was close to her surgery. I'm glad I did, because she was so anxious and worried about getting them out. Which she had all right to be. I'm pretty sure I would have been freaking out too! After she got the blessing, she felt so much better. It was such a sweet blessing. I was so grateful for Chris and his family members and that they were worthy to give her a priesthood blessing. I know it helped her (and her mommy) so much. On Tuesday morning, she was honestly so brave. Grandma Debbie, Chris, Mckenna and I all headed into the hospital. After playing the waiting game for a good while, she finally went back to get started. We said our goodbyes (tried to hold back the was kind of hard to say goodbye) and waited anxiously in the waiting room. The surgery lasted about 30-45 minutes. The doctor, Dr. Gardner, came out and talked to us about how she did. He said she did really well and that her tonsils were actually quite bigger than he expected so it was a good thing we decided to get them taken out.

About 45 minutes later we were able to go back in and see Mckenna. She was all wrapped up in her favorite blankey and was squeezing her baby doll (for which she named Taylee the morning of the surgery ;) so tight. She was a little out of it still. I went up to her and stroked her forehead and said, "Mckenna, It's mommy." She opened her eyes and looked at me and just started to cry. I was so proud of her and that moment I don't think I will ever forget. She was so innocent and you could just tell she wanted her mommy. I felt so bad for her too. I hate going to the doctor, let alone getting surgery all by yourself being only 3. It was a sweet moment for me. Chris and I brought her a stuffed giraffe (She said that was her favorite animal we saw at the zoo the previous weekend.) with 5 huge princess balloons attached and we gave her a present for being so brave. It was a Tangled barbie doll that she had been really wanting. Those little gifts cheered her up quite a bit. That and having her grandma right there too!

She has been recovering really well. Other than not wanting to sleep in her own bed and being a little ornery, she has been doing great. (as long as she has her Tylenol too!) We haven't noticed a big change in her sleeping yet and since she has still been swollen, the snoring hasn't exactly stopped yet either. But Chris and I are hopeful that as the weeks go on, she will get better and we will see an improvement in her sleeping. We hope so anyways! We are really grateful that everything went smoothly and that it is over (for the most part). It was quite the ordeal to go through with a 3 year old. :) A very cute 3 year old! We love you Mckenna!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer is HERE!!

Summer is finally here!! We went on our first camping trip of the summer last weekend to Kolob Reservoir. It was fun, but really exhausting. Camping with a 1 year old and a 3 year old is a lot of work. Chris and I were totally exhausted when we came back. We went up on Thursday and were planning on staying until Saturday. Well, by the time we had cooked dinner Friday night, we both looked at each other and said to each other, why are we staying another night?! So we quickly decided to pack up and head home. Sydney really didn't like sleeping at night. She was so fussy the whole night on Thursday. She was restless and cried. Even Mckenna was annoyed by her crying. In her words she would say "Sydney is freaking out!" We just felt that she would probably do better if we just headed home so she could get a good nights sleep in her crib. We were right! After cleaning up camp, we headed home. By the time we got home, it was about 10:00pm. We were so tired. We left unloading everything til the next morning. We had just enough energy to throw the clothes in the washing machine and get everyone showered off, then we all fell asleep. Camping really is a lot of fun, but my goodness!! It wears you out so much, especially when you have to entertain and chase around 2 rambunctious little girls!! =)

My 1st Year of Teaching...

It's been quite a while since I really posted, so I am playing catch up on a few posts. Well I can't believe that the last day of school really arrived. At times, I really thought it might never come. But now that it did, I am almost having a hard time believing that summer is really here....just almost!! ;)

I loved teaching school my first year. It wasn't your typical first year of teaching. My job description changed I think a total of 3 times during the course of the year. I started off by being a simple kindergarten aide and teaching 4 classes of extended homeroom math. I loved my schedule and love, love, loved working with the kindergarten kids and their teacher. She and I became such good friends over the year. I learned so much being in Ashley's class---more than student teaching and practicums combined!!

About mid September/October (I really can't remember anymore!) I was asked to teach two new classes in the mornings. They were getting a few new 1st grade students and needed a teacher to teach them math and science/history. I was so excited when they asked me to teach this! I started off with a class of a whopping 4 joke! It was kind of weird, but they assured me more would come as the year progressed. (I think it was more of an assumption than an assurance....) But we pushed forward with the small class. The kids were so sweet and great. As the year went on, our class grew and by the end of the year we had about 15 kids. I treated these kids like they were my own. I loved that we had such a small class. We all got to be so close and we could really do some fun projects because there were only the few of us. By the end of the year, I was sad to say goodbye to my 1st graders. I really grew to love them and I think these kids and these two small classes really made me begin to love being a teacher! I really saw such progress with each of them individually and that made me feel like I was actually doing something right. I am excited to see most of them next year!!

About the time for Christmas break to begin, my principal called me into his office. I wasn't totally sure what was going on. In fact, I had no idea, especially about what he was going to offer me next. He said that they needed to make some changes to the 3rd grade math class. There were some management problems and the students weren't being taught or learning what they needed to be, especially by the mid year mark. He offered me the position, which meant I would have to leave my job as a kindergarten aide. It was really a hard decision, but after much thought, prayer, and talking with Chris and just about everyone else, I decided it would be a great opportunity for me, so I took it. So I came back from Christmas break and started yet another new job, I was the new 3rd grade math teacher. I had 4 classes of 3rd graders, a total of just about 100 students. As the year went on, I learned just how much of a challenge it was going to be. I had a lot of students who were really low and I worried so much about how I was going to get them ready for their end of level test coming up at the end of the year. I just had this worry that if they failed those tests, that it would be a direct reflection of my teaching abilities. Chris had to constantly remind me that it wouldn't be my fault. I was only there trying to fix the problem, and that it wasn't my problem to begin with. Even my principal said that he knew I would only help these kids do better. I had to keep those words of encouragement in my mind pretty much all the time. It was really hard! I tried my best and I learned to really love a lot of the students. Although their management was still a struggle by the end of the year, I really feel like I took these kids from a low point and brought them to where they needed to be---even a handful of them really pushed themselves and exceeded my expectations. After looking over their end of level scores, I was so proud of them all! They all did better than I could have expected. They weren't all perfect, but I that's not what mattered. I saw even some of my lowest students improve their grades significantly and that means something. Overall, I think that taking over this class taught me a whole lot more that I probably taught the kids. I learned so much about myself as a teacher. I'm glad I had the opportunity.

Now, as far as next year goes. I am going to be teaching a 2nd grade homeroom class. I will only have to worry about language arts--reading and writing. I am excited about that. And even better, I will only have about 50 students max, rather than over 120 with all my classes combined this year. That will be wonderful when it comes time for grading papers!! It will be a new experience and challenge for me, but I guess that's what my whole teaching career has been so far! Just as long as they don't change my job description AT ALL during the year, I think I will do fine! I am excited!!

Ok, there is my whole school year in a nut shell. I loved working at Vista and I loved the people I worked with. I am so excited to continue working with the wonderful people who work there. I have made so many great friendships and have learned so much from working with the other teachers. There are so many amazing teachers and that's really what makes that school great!! So....let the summer begin!!! =)

Best Teacher on the Planet

One of the radio stations in St. George (Planet 94.1) does a contest during the year for teachers. It is called "Best Teacher on the Planet." The way it works is that each week they pick a teacher who has been nominated and surprise them in their classroom with all sorts of awesome prizes. Well Chris was joking with me one day and said he was going to nominate me. Of course I told him no, because I felt like there are a lot more teachers who deserve the nomination and recognition that this little old first year teacher!! Well, despite my request not to nominate me, HE DID and I WON!!! :)

I couldn't believe it!! I haven't won anything for the longest time. Chris said there is this "Summerhays curse" where anyone with the Summerhays last name doesn't win anything. I thought that was probably the case with me. But apparently not that week! I was so embarrassed and excited at the same time. The radio station hosts, Chris and LaRae, and a bunch of other people from different places around town showed up unannounced to my 3rd period 3rd grade math class! It was nuts!! All of my administration were there with them too. We made quite the scene, to say the least!!

I was so honored to receive such a nomination, even if it was by my own husband. Everyone at school was saying how sweet it was to be nominated by my own husband and they were right!! I am one pretty lucky girl! He wrote the sweetest letter to nominate me. They gave me a copy of it. It was just nice to feel appreciated for all that I do for my students. Sometimes I felt like I was putting in all these hours upon hours of unnoticed work. But my sweet husband was noticing and that means the WORLD to this Best Teacher on the Planet!! :)

So....thanks babe for making my first year of teaching the best!! :) I love you!!