Sunday, August 31, 2014

First Week back to the grind!

Well the first week of school for us has passed. It has been a busy one, but not a bad start. Slightly different than what we expected, but we both expect it to change a little. The day before public school started, Troy had a teacher work day and a surprise to me, Dr. Wappet came in to do our compassion training. Dr. Wappet is a director and professor at U of I who has a background in special education and mental health services. He taught most of us (I say most of us, because I have a health minor so much of what he spoke about I was already familiar with) about stress, what it does to the body and how kids experience the same problems as we adults do. I already understand most of what he spoke about, but it was interesting to hear about the specific effects on children and how we can help them. It was refreshing to hear a professional encourage movement and relaxation to general education teachers, including stating that "taking PE out of the school is one of the worst mistakes we could make". Go Doc! Anyway so that filled most of my Monday, that and getting the classroom ready for the week. After discussing our schedules more, it was decided that I wouldn't work Thursdays anymore. I do wish I could have the option to some of that experience, but there wasn't really one. I suspect that they will need more help in a few weeks once school gets underway, but for now I'll be using Thursdays to study and sub. School hasn't even started for one district yet and they've already called me for two days to sub in September.
I had my first real day of school on Tuesday with Rielayn and we were both worn out after our first full day of school. We attended PE, an assembly, and recess, and cut out a picture of his hand on a heart for his mom. He did really well and taught me a few signs already, but was awfully quiet on the bus ride lol. He was gone the rest of the week with his family, but he returns this Tuesday. I think I'm going to like my classes this fall, especially my disability policy class. We haven't met yet, but we've started reading a novel called "No Pity". It's a great read and I suspect we will have some great discussions about having or not having pity on those with disabilities. The professor is also Dr. Wappet! My language disability course is taking some getting into, but the most recent chapter included some applicable tools for students so I expect it to get better.
John is doing well and really loving his new Jeep. He says he really loved the Subaru, but he loves the jeep more now than when he first got the sub lol. It's a good thing cuz I'm not going to let him get rid of it, we're going to have way too much fun with it. Yesterday he spent hours putting wires throughout the jeep and setting up his ham radio. It's actually really cool and everything locks up if needed too.

The hitch came and he attached the hitch cover we had from the truck. I don't know how, but I had forgotten we had it and was excited to be able to attach it again! We are expecting the rack for it on Tuesday so we can put the tent on it and then we'll be set. We will have A LOT of fun with this rig! His class is going OK, he's happy to not have to go to campus and be able to study from home. He and his dad are "attending" the class together from his dad's place and they're going to do the homework together. The only thing that is making it difficult for him now is that the material is dry, the professor is not that interesting, and he knows some of it from work already. He says it will get better and he still enjoys it over the other option. I think as he actually starts diving in and doing work he'll enjoy it more.
Other than a few walks with the pups, some tasty food and a few fun nights this weekend, that pretty much sums up what we have going on. John is going hunting tomorrow with a buddy and I'm going to be working on things for the classroom, studying, and going for my last long run before my half marathon on Sunday. We were hoping to go camping, but our friends couldn't make it and the weather wasn't that great anyway. Until next time TTFN!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

We're a full fledged Jeep Family!!

Well John finally gave in and traded his WRX in for a better and more practical toy! OK practical may be pushing it, but it is definitely more our lifestyle and perfect for the puppies :) We didn't get the color on purpose, but funny how it's a mix between Bengal Orange and Vandal Gold! John was tossing the idea around for a while, but Em is biased and let him make the decision on his own. She didn't want to persuade him ;) Jeep Rubicon? Like it's even an option!!!

We're now a Vandal Family!

John has come over to the dark side and is now a Vandal. He will be doing the Engineering outreach program getting his masters in power engineering. He's excited because he doesn't have to deal with the Pullman campus anymore and his courses are online, which will work much better with his work. School starts Monday. We still consider ourselves loyal Bengals though :) 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We spent a beautiful week in Montana and John finally got a nice cowboy hat! We have spent a lot of time floating the river this summer :) We're hoping to get one more trip in.

My second year in grad school and working for the school district is about to begin...

So I found out yesterday just how busy my school year is going to be. It's always busy because I like to stay busy and I'm involved in a lot, but it's busy in a different way this year. Summer is wrapping up and that means summer camp is just about over and school(mine and the kids) is about to begin. I remember last fall semester being much busier than the spring semester and wondered if it was just because it was my first time at grad school. But maybe it's just the fall semester, because I'm expecting this fall to be crazier than last spring. I'm finishing up my regular course work including a disability law class, an assistive technology class, and a language/communication disorder class plus working on my final project. On top of course work I'm still working two days a week as a teaching assistant with my professor and we are on our second stage of submitting our article...revisions. And of course we can't forget about my lovely math and science test coming up again. I'm even luckier this year because I will be assisting my professor teach the 300 course I was before, her graduate special ed. curriculum course, that I took last year, and her doctoral course on Autism. Although she puts in all of the work getting the class set up and does all of the work teaching the class, it's nice to be part of a little more. I've been really lucky to TA for Alex, my professor, because she is so understanding and flexible but honest and real as well. She has blessed me with the opportunity to be an author and write an article in an area I feel very strongly about...adaptive PE and the collaboration of PE and Special Education. We are on our second go around and will submit it once again this weekend and hopefully have it accepted. So with two days a week keeping me busy with Alex, what do I do with the other 5 days? Well this year I managed to keep my temporary para-professional job at Troy Elementary and stay on as a permanent employee three days a week. The majority of the time I will be working with a young boy who's starting kindergarten and is very excited to be there. He has a very rare chromosome disorder called mosaic triploidy syndrome that makes it difficult for him to move around as much or speak. You can see pictures of him and some information on him attached. However this kid is tough and he has gotten so much stronger in the time I've known him and is very independent. I am really excited too because he has PE on the days that I am with him so we get to do that together :) We will have very busy days together starting at 7am on the bus to school and ending at 4:30 on the bus ride home. Both of our days will be longer than last year because he was in preschool and I was getting to work at 8 and leaving at 3ish. So we will be very busy throughout the week. So every day I will be a busy busy bee and when I get home I will be working on class work. I'll have to work pretty hard to get my exercise in, but I have some yoga videos, free, weights, a bike trainer, and a nice trail near my house so all of these help me to get it in enough. Hopefully I'll occasionally be able to make it to our running group on Wednesdays too. I have a feeling that we as a classroom will grow pretty close through all of this because it will be a tough year for all of us, with all of the cuts, but we will get through it together. I'm incredibly blessed to have such a supportive and loving husband who listens to me when I'm sad, angry, jumping for joy, or none of the above. Following trends, I expect us to grow even closer this year because we are both being challenged and growing in our careers. Plus we don't see each other as much this time of year so when we do we are very happy :) I'm expecting this year to be jam packed and difficult, but I'm very grateful to have these opportunities and to have such blessings working in such passionate fields that I love. Since I joined the school in the middle of the school year last year, I missed all of the "new school year" stuff, tomorrow and Monday are my first days of school orientations, training, and welcomes. This weekend is the Lentil festival and the last hoorah of summer and then next week will start with a bam. Grad school, teacher Emily, life ready or not hear I come!