Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bucket List

Every year in May, my class makes their summer "Bucket Lists." I encourage things like "read everyday," "play with my friends," "visit the library," and I love hearing about my students' vacations and their hopes and dreams for the 2 and a half glorious months of summer. This summer we are getting a beach house for a few days on the Oregon Coast and I remarked to a friend that doing that is "on my bucket list." I began to think of other things on my bucket list, those things accomplished and those still on my horizon. Life is short, attack that list!

My sister and I did this over the Arizona desert in 2015. So awesome! 

My friends and I did this for New Year's Eve 2011. We had a blast. 

So fun! I did this when I lived in the city in 2009

The most important one! 

I studied abroad in Italy in the summer of 2007. Awesome experience! 

Definitely a life goal! 

I always get so excited at Jazz games thinking it'll be our turn! One of these days! 

I'd love to experience this! 

Paris in general is a life goal! 

I was in this play in high school and would love to visit this place. 

I'd love to leave behind glasses and contacts forever 

We did this one! Twice! 

I'd love to go on an international service trip. The ultimate goal? Visit our sponsored child in Swaziland. One of these days!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Long Time, No Blog

I haven't blogged in over a week, yikes! But hey, it's summer and that's how I roll!
On one of our summer strolls
I am truly savoring these summer days. Having a horrific summer last year sandwiched between two tough school years sort of made me a little ragged. This summer, though, has been perfect. We've been sleeping in, going for long walks, running errands together, trying new recipes, reading, spending time with friends and family, and just enjoying these easy breezy days. We go on our Oregon trip next month and we know that after that, it'll be all about school, so we are soaking up this lazy June.

I am planning on doing a book post once I hit my 30 book goal (I'm currently reading #27). Here's some reads I've read lately:
This one was really cute and quirky (much like Where Did You Go, Bernadette?). It definitely took a direction I wasn't expecting, and didn't love, but if you're looking for a 2 day easy fun, read, grab this one. 

This one was hard to read, by a mom who lost her daughter Emilie at Sandy Hook. It offered really great perspectives on grief and loss of children. It was worth reading. 

I loved this book!! It has a really odd premise, of a Yelp-type review and is told from the owner of the property's point of view and from the reviewer's POV. Around 20 pages in, I was thinking ok, how can this concept be a whole book? But it had twists and turns and I loved how something small snowballed into major drama.
You know how I am all about meal prepping on Sundays during the school year? Well, I tried to do it during the summer but it just wasn't really working for me. I might meet a friend for lunch, want to snack all day instead of square meals, we might want to grill if we're already hanging out outside. So basically, this week I planned for 3 dinners (leftovers as lunches) and the rest we'll just figure out. I'm still a major fan of meal prepping, and it works out super well on busy weeknights and packing lunch for AJ and I, but summer is for laid back, don't you think? (I also hit up Trader Joes at Costco for some easy to prepare snacks and meals). One of my go-to's lately is: whole wheat tortilla, avocado spread on it, scrambled eggs over the top, some shredded cheddar and salsa. I've eaten that for lunch pretty often.
I made a corn and black bean quinoa salad and marinated cucumbers to have around to munch on last week. 
Let's talk TV:
Guys, I am so hooked on Southern Charm! I've watched nearly all 4 seasons since school got out. I love the drama, and am about ready to plan a vacation to visit Charleston!

The Bachelorette: I love Rachel and this is a fun season. There is one guy that has emerged as fave match for her, in my opinion------Peter!!!! 
They have obvious chemistry and if it doesn't work out? I see Bachelor promise with this one!

But I think Rachel really likes-----Bryan! Anyone else get grossed out by the close ups on their kissing scenes? Too much tongue for prime time! 

Pretty Little Liars ends tomorrow!!!! I am invested many a Tuesday night into this crazy show and am so excited to see it all tied up. Here's hoping it all makes sense in the end #doubtit

I've also been enjoying these shows lately:

That's it for the Steeles, lately! Hope you all are enjoying these warm (hot!) days and are finding some time to relax and-----savor your sparkle!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Dream Classrooms

I am very particular about my classroom. After all, I spend more time there than at home! I think it's so important for the classroom to be a warm, inviting place for the students. I also believe it's important to have a tidy and organized space. It's one of the best ways to model for kids that "You matter, our classroom space matters, and I keep it tidy and respect my things, so you can keep it tidy and respect property too." That said, there will always be a glue spill, a torn paperback, pencil shavings on the floor, and kids who love to hoard things in their desks. (Do you know what I say all the time? "Nature stays outside!" If left unchecked, we'd have whole ecosystems in those desks). Life happens in the classroom and sterile and model-home perfect is totally unrealistic, but a gal can dream, right?

 I love seeing how other teachers set up their rooms and have gotten so much inspiration from Pinterest. Check out these awesome learning spaces!

I've seen this cardboard awnings at the teacher store and I'm always tempted. Making my bulletin boards look like a Parisian cafe? Yes ma'am! But I feel like it might get annoying and in the way, though too? 

I love a solid classroom theme. I've never been able to fully commit to one thing because I have a hodge podge collection of things, but this rustic/chalkboard one is just too cute! 

I feel like I'd be more on top of posting objectives for all subjects if I had this cute board. Bonus with teaching lower grades: most concepts are NOT one and your objective could stay up for a bit of time. 

I really want to do a question of the day station this year. What a fun morning task and it teaches graphing AND you get to learn more about your kids AND you could parlay this into some sweet writing tasks or a mini math lesson. 

This teacher area is just too cute. I would love to get a mini fridge! I love the adorable shelf in the background (maybe I could look for something like it on KSL?) and the bright, coordinated colors. This teacher area is truly #goals. 

This classroom looks like a lovely living room! I love the upholstered chair, fun rug, and curtains. 

I cannot stand florescent lighting so I love this cute lamp. And these crate/cushion seats? Adore! 

Yet another classroom that looks like an inviting living room! This one is truly gorgeous. I want to meet this teacher and have her show me her ways. 

Some teachers don't need one, but I NEED a teacher area. This is a fun, coordinated look. 

This reading nook is so fun! And those bins look mighty organized too. And MINI LEATHER CHAIRS?! I mean, come on! 

Ok, I'm ready to spend a million dollars on my dream classroom now! What is your dream classroom like?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hadley's Day

I was honestly sort of dreading June 13th. It was Hadley's 1st birthday so of course I wanted to celebrate her and remember the joy of becoming her mom. But still, the word "bittersweet" was created for moments like this. I am so thankful that AJ and I decided to deliver the bows from the Baby Bow Bash on that day. It kept us busy, engaged in serving others, and was a beautiful way to pay it forward for Hadley. I feel like the Baby Bow Bash was so healing for us that I found myself surprised as I was reminded of how many babies would benefit from the generosity of time and talent of our friends and family. As my pal Marie told me, "That is a lot of glam!" It certainly is. We wore our Bow Bash shirts and loaded up the car: 7 grocery bags of "bow to go" bags and 7 plastic storage containers.

Our first stop was IMC where Hadley was. Yikes. I am so glad we did this hospital first. This was the only point during the deliveries that I really cried. There's just something about the lobby, the hallways, going through the NICU doors. It just really took me back. With both exhaled when we left and got in the car, assuring ourselves the other NICUs would be easier. I think there was some healing, though, in going back in. We felt brave. Yes, it's where our hearts broke but it was also Hadley's first home so it's special to us.

We headed over to our next stop of the day: getting AJ's tattoo! Yes, you read that right. AJ decided to get a Hadley tattoo just a few months after she was born. We both thought it'd be neat to get it done on her birthday. We booked the appointment a few weeks ago and AJ searched for designs and images he wanted for it. I think it turned out so well!!! The monogram is taken right from the wall of Hadley's nursery and the crown, obviously, is in honor of our Princess Baby! I held AJ's hand while it got done. Isn't it awesome?!

We totally underestimated how long the tattoo would take and we went to Primary Children's right after and then we were on the road to Ogden Regional by around 3:00. We then went to St. Mark's, made a stop at Walmart for a car charger (mine recently broke, my phone had died, and we needed it to navigate to the other hospitals). By this point, it was around 6:00 and we were starving so went to dinner at a special and favorite place: Buca di Beppo. We love it there and we had our rehearsal dinner there. It was nice to sit and chat for a while and get out of the car.

Next we stopped to visit Hadley. We brought her some flowers and saw that some family and friends had visited her too. AJ and I sat there during the "golden hour" as the sun was setting and stayed with our girl for a while. We bought a pink elephant for Hadley the day we found out we were expecting a girl and it's been at her grave site all year. We decided to buy her a new one for her birthday. It definitely needed replacing!

Then we headed south to Utah County, finished up at Jordan Valley hospital close to home and arrived home around 9:00! I thank God for exhaustion because it trumps sadness and I think we were so tired it was hard for us to be super sad. Our goal was to make our Hadley girl proud and I like to think we did. The nurses who took our donations were all so incredibly kind and emotionally touched. It was a really special moment giving them the bows. I'm not sure every June 13th will look the same (maybe I'll get the tattoo next year! Ha!), but it sure was a very special first ever Hadley day. Happy 1st birthday, Hadley!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Summer Life is the Life for me!

Hi There! We are a solid week into summer and I was reminded how completely in summer mode I am when my alarm went off this morning at 7 am for a dentist appointment and I was horrified about it (I didn't wear a lick of makeup and threw my hair in a high pony. But no cavities!) I forget that I was often at my desk putting stars on math worksheets at that same early hour just a few weeks ago.  I've settled in quite nicely to summer life.
This has nothing to do with anything, but I found it on Pinterest and I loved it. 

This week we ran a bunch of errands, sorted out all the bows and got them ready for delivery, saw Wonder Woman (liked it), went to the gym (I got my "100 workouts" star!!), tidied the house, read a lot, took a few naps, went to a wedding, took walks each evening, got oil changes, AJ golfed a few times, we tried zoodles (good but it ain't pasta),  and made reservations for our summer trip. Next week we have a few more social engagements and activities, but I'm looking forward to a week with the same chill groove.
Aren't these ducks in a row so cute? Reminds me of walking my kids to lunch #theirlineisbetterthanours

Can't wait to deliver these next week! Our friends are talented bow makers!

I finished The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's new season today and I loved every second. I was really into Orange is the New Black and I know a new season us out, but I tried watching it last summer and it was too dark for me then (that's when I discovered the gem "Eastbound and Down").
Nothing but love for Titus
I have like ten pages left in this book and I loved it. A perfect summer read that will have you reading "just one more page before bed" (that becomes 45) to discover what happens with the family drama in this over the top wealthy community in Singapore.

I'm spending my Friday evening making this lemon berry cobbler and just chilling. Are you sensing a theme here? Give me all the chill. Have a great weekend, friends!