Monday, September 8, 2014

Special Education and Velcro

Well, I've been a working mom for a month now and it's been challenging and rewarding. I haven't had time to sit and blog about these new experiences. It's been a crazy ride thus far. But, I'm back and ready to share a little about what's going on. 

As I mentioned in previous posts, I am teaching K-3rd self-contained special education class. It's the first time I've taught after having my sweet baby girl (she's really not a baby anymore .. sigh...) It's been a rude awakening going back to work and managing the home front. I've had my great, good, bad, terrible days. But, hey. it's all about the journey, right? 

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As I reflect on this past month, I thought I'd share some of my experiences as a Special Education teacher and working mom with a deployed husband and toddler at home. 

Being a working mom is a whole new ball game. I feel like we're finally starting to get the hang of it. But now that we've sort of, kind of figured it out my husband will deploy. 

But, it's just another challenge to overcome.

In regards to teaching, I've made many leaps in bounds since day one when I didn't want to go back for day two. Going back into the classroom after being a stay at home mom for 2 years was very tough. I reached out to my sweet friend who was an amazing support and shoulder to cry on. She's also a special education teacher. My husbands has also been a great support... Simplifying problems that seem so big and stressful. 

For example, HOMEWORK... an extra preparatory task to complete for each day/week. I was stressing major about it bc all my students are on different levels. He simply said send a note home and have them read and write with their parents. Brilliant. Get the parents involved more and me less. It's working out great. I'll send a couple things home daily, but only things that are already prepared and ready to go. With my low-low kids, I sent home a homework binder. Parents LOVE IT!! Click here for the homework binder. I'm still preparing different pages for their binders, but I am currently sending home velcro letters, numbers to 20, shapes, colors, and days of the week. I've encouraged parents to choose one page a night to complete.

I wanted to share a couple things I've created for my students and Charleigh.

How about these cute "lift the flap" books for babies and toddlers.... i dislike them because they rip so easily. Until I decided to laminate and VELCRO the pieces. Brilliant. Charleigh loves it. I just took all the pieces to Staples to laminate and then attached them using velcro.



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Here is an addition file folder game i created today for my students with addition IEP goals. 

I used 3x5 notecards (cut in half) and VELCRO! (I just love velcro!! It's the best!) Then I laminated individual notecards (cut in half) with numbers for students to fill in the blanks. 



I'd love to hear about different ideas you have for VELCRO!! 
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

SMARTboard 4 Students with Special Needs

Welcome back, where ya been? ;) 

 This past month and a half has been a whirl wind with moving, settling in, and getting ready to go back to teaching. 

I found the most amazing woman to care for Charleigh during the day. I'd been praying about this unknown woman for months and asking God to lead us to the right place. He is faithful, that's for sure. He lead us to a woman named Yoli who has a home daycare with her sister. They've been teaching children in their home for over 25 years. Alex and I went and met with them, saw their home, and immediately fell in love. 

Charleigh started going to Ms. Yoli's a couple weeks ago and it's been a completely peaceful, perfect transition. No tears, no problems. She smiles every time she sees her teacher. I drop her off with out a hitch and pick her up happy as a clam. She's taking really good naps and making lots of new friends. It's a prayer answered. 

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You're probably wondering why I named this post "SMARTboard 4 Students with Special Needs"... well I am a Special Education Teacher. I'm going back into the classroom in 2 weeks and my school district doesn't have a SMARTboard. 

I worked with one at my last school district and saw amazing progress with my students. I feel very strongly about it's benefits and am trying to raise money for purchase one for my class. 

I've set up an account through Go Fund Me.com to raise the funds. 

Any little bit helps. If you feel led to give and help me out, I'd greatly appreciate it. 

If we raise the money I'll be posting pictures on here of the students using the SMARTboard. :) 

Stay tuned for updates. :) 

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Monday, June 30, 2014

The Divine Potter


Have you ever felt like you've missed the mark one too many times or missed the path that God has laid out for you to take? 

I know I have. I question my decisions all the time and wonder if I made the wrong choice or missed an opportunity God set up for me.

I find myself wondering how God can use me when I keep messing up. How can I be in His perfect will if I cannot figure out what it is? Well, Jeremiah had some words of wisdom for me today. In Jeremiah 18:4, he describes a scene that he witnessed in which a potter is shaping and creating a pot. But, the pot he is making is marred (damaged, flawed, spoiled, blemished). Instead of throwing it out and getting a new piece of unmarred clay, the potter takes the same piece and begins to rework, reshape, and recreate another pot... one that is the best. 

 I am that marred clay; blemished, flawed, and spoiled because I'm human. But, God doesn't throw me out and get someone different to fulfill the plans He has for me. He takes the same ole' me. 

I don't know about you, but that's a huge relief. Phew. 

Even in my "marred" state, God sees my potential and He sees the "pot" I can be. He continues to use me. 

So, when I wonder if I've missed hearing His voice, missed an opportunity to witness to someone, missed the path He laid out for me... He doesn't give up on me. He never leaves me behind, He's always walking along this journey with me

I hope this helps someone today that way it helped me. He'll never give up on you. Let Him reshape, rework, recreate you into the person He's called you to be. He loves you so much and just wants the very best for you. 

have a wonderful day. xo



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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Finally Settled

We're here in Yuma, Arizona, finally settled into our home. 

It was a long drive from Florida and the process of unpacking was tedious. Thankfully Alex had a week off last week to settle in. We hung pictures, organized each room and made many trips to Kirklands Home store. :) 

It was fun to unpack all of our pictures, we didn't hang any up while we were in Florida for 7 months. We found many boxes that we never unpacked and shoved back in a closet. A 2 bedroom apartment can get very cluttered, very quickly. 

Here are pictures of our new home... as promised. 



It's an open concept- which I love!! 




There's Miss Charleigh eating with Buddy underneath- typical. 



My favorite part in our entryway.... I just love the table, lamp, and picture collage. 


Our patio is all shaded, so even when it's 108 degrees outside we can sit out there for a little bit and let Charleigh play. 

She's so excited to have a backyard to run around. She has room for her little pool and to ride her 4-wheeler. It's amazing. 

Another great part is that we live on a cul-de-sac and our street is full of kids Charleigh's age. 


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There have been a lot of changes to our life already. Charleigh has started going to day care a couple times a week- so she will be completely settled in by the time I start school full time (July 21). She is LOVING it!!! She's ready to socialize with kids her own age. It's working out really well. I'm just so proud of her. 

Alex is deploying in September for 7 months. So he's incredibly busy as work getting his Marines ready for deployment and taking care of the endless paperwork. It was so nice having that week with him. We actually let Charleigh go play at day care and we had a "day" date. It's the first time we've had a date (without Charleigh) since December. It was nice. 

So, with all these changes come discomfort and fear of the unknown. But, I've been working in out with God and believing for strength and perseverance through our impending new season. 

Stay tuned for more... I'll keep you updated through it all. Prayers for Alex's deployment, Charleigh's transition into full -time day care, my teaching job, and our family in general are always welcomed and very much appreciated. 

Thank you for your support, Family and Friends. 

Go #merica 


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

On the Road ... Again.

It is time for another move as a military family. We are spending our last night in Pensacola, FL in a hotel as our home is packed in boxes awaiting their load to the moving trucks. 

We have crossed our t's and dotted our i's. We are ready for this big move, back across the country to Arizona. ��

I cannot explain how happy I am to be returning to my beloved state of Arizona. However, moving to Yuma, AZ in June = HOOOOOOTTTTT! Thank goodness the military pays to have professionals pack, load, move, and unload! 

Thank you Jesus!!!! 

We are relaxing in our hotel, Charleigh is asleep and we're watching the Miami Heat game. I'm loving it. 

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Here's my sweet hubs enjoying his night with a well deserved Blue Moon. He did so much to get ready for this move. He organized our apartment to make it easier on the movers. What a stud. 


It's so funny how different we are sometimes... He can definitely be OCD... And I cannot. Every "blue moon" �� I'll get a "wild hair" (as my mom calls it) to clean out my closet or organize my drawers... But that's not that often. 

It's crazy how my personality has changed since becoming a mom... Helllooo "space cadet"!!! �� 

Well I've talked about several different topics throughout this post... Love me regardless..please? �� 

I'll let you know how our little cross country trip goes... We are driving ... 2 cars. Eek. Charleigh and I go together, Alex takes the pups. 

I've created some file folder games for Charleigh during this road trip. I'll be sure and post about it once we get settled in our new home. ��

Stay tuned and please keep us in your prayers as we make this journey. Thank you! 

Xo

Friday, May 9, 2014

You Won't Find This On Instagram

In honor of Mother's Day this weekend I thought I would spill the beans on myself. I had a major #OOPSmommymoment yesterday. You won't find a picture of this on instagram or Facebook. It's not something I want in my "highlight reel". 

But, I found myself thinking about what happened and how I feel like an awful mommy.

To be honest, I was hesitant to share this story for fear of judgement from others. But, I've heard so many moms talk about how social media only shows the "happy" moments. This can make someone who is struggling feel bad about themselves or their situation. So, I'm breaking barriers and letting you into my not-so-instagram-worth day. 
Let me back up and explain....
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"911, what's your emergency?"

"My daughter fell off the couch and hit her head. She went unconscious for about 2 seconds and now is screaming."

"Ok, what is your address?"

I tell him. 

"Ok, mam, what is your name?"

"Ashley" 
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Charleigh was walking along the couch as I was sitting on the floor below while I was "watching" her. We were video chatting my with mother-in-law. 
{She is in a new phase where climbing and running are her main squeeze. She finds so much joy in those two activities. }
I turned my head for a second and she fell off the couch, hitting her head on the carpeted floor. She immediately cried out and I snatched her up. She just cried and cried then put her head on my chest and lost consciousness for a couple seconds. It was the worst feeling in the entire world. I immediately called 911 and told my mother-in-law to call my husband. He was still at work.
Within about 10 minutes she stopped crying and the fire department paramedics showed up. They looked her over and said she looked fine. They gave me the option of going to the hospital anyways, but I didn't think she needed to go. She had calmed down, was talking to me, and was acting herself. The sweet paramedic encouraged me by saying toddlers are resilient and accidents happen. He said she probably got her "bell rung" from the fall. 
I was very grateful to this man for not judging me. I was already thinking about how terrible of a mom I am. I mean, I was allowing her to walk on the couch. I should've known better. I should've made her get down. I should've (insert something else I should've done differently). 
Alex walked in just as the paramedics were finishing up. I immediately lost it and the paramedic had to tell him what happened. My husband, being a doctor, went and got his medical bag and checked her out for himself. (what a sweet daddy) She was fine, just a bump on the back of her head. phew! 
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ALL of this the week of MOTHER'S DAY?? Ha. no "mother of the year "award here. 
So, I did what any mom would do. I called my momma. 


She was such an amazing comfort and encourager. She told me about several "mishaps", "accidents", #OOPSmommymoments that she had when my brother and I were little (all the accidents she told me about happened to my brother though. hahaha) Hearing her tell me she wasn't perfect and made mistakes encouraged me in such a strong way. I'm NOT AWFUL. I'm still a good mom, despite the little accidents. 
This little accident taught me a valuable lesson--- it just takes a moment. We will NOT be walking on the couch anymore, that's for sure. ;)
Charleigh is perfectly fine. She actually ate a really big dinner, talked through her entire bath, and ended the night watching Disney's Frozen snuggled up with her daddy and me.
This morning the bump on her head is gone and she's still a happy, chatty little peanut. 
(She was watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) ;) 
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On an end note:
I read this devotional by Proverbs 31 Ministries yesterday morning. I then reread it after I put Charleigh to bed last night. If you're a momma, I highly recommend reading this. It changed my perspective and helped me get through my #OOPSmommymoment. 

Thank you Jesus for your protection and grace. Thank you for blessing me with Charleigh and allowing me to be her mommy. You've equipped me with ability to specifically raise Charleigh, You put us together. Thank you for entrusting me with this precious gift. I will continue to lean on You and trust in You. Thank you for Your grace. 

I'm a mom in desperate need of Your grace. 


Do you have any #OOPSmommymoments? 
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Happy Mother's Day to my Momma, Mother-in-Law, Mimi, and Granny P! Without you wonderful women, I wouldn't be where I am today. Literally Charleigh and I would not exist without you. ;) I love you all. 


Happy Mother's Day to all the other moms out there! You're valued and amazing. 
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