Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lowkey weekend...just what I like.

Work is getting progressively better for me. I still feel overwhelmed most every day, but I think that's just part of being a first year teacher. I am being stretched so much, but it's a good thing. I feel like I'm developing some nice qualities that would perhaps never have emerged without being put to the test. Here are a few for example: patience, endurance, functioning on less energy, and more. So, I'm happy to be challenged if it means changing me for the better. I hope I'm not giving the wrong impression that my job is just a huge hardship. I am loving it! I love being a teacher and an SLP all rolled up in one and I wouldn't have it any other way. Oak Hill is so great. I love the work environment, the supportive staff, the parents, and my kids. I am so blessed!

Ross and I started off the weekend by eating Mexican at Matt's Rancho Martinez in Lakewood with Molly and Andy. The queso was soooo delish!! We'll definitely have to dine there more once Molly and Andy get settled in their new home in Lakewood. It was so nice to just sit back and have a margarita and enjoy life.

Then on Saturday, Ross and I dog and house-sat for the Parker's while they went to Austin for a wedding. We watched a TON of The Office DVR's and almost got caught up to Season 6...just a few more episodes. Ross and I used to be big Office fans and got Molly and Andy hooked, but then we kinda dropped off and didn't watch any of Season 5. Luckily for us, M and A DVR'd the whole season, so yesterday was the perfect opportunity to get caught up. :) I loved just chillaxing with Ross, Bailey, and Boots all day.

The only downer to the weekend is that my hubby is under the weather. Poor guy has been fighting off the flu bug all week, but it's been a bugger to get rid of. I am just praying against any flu bugs taking residence in me and for total healing in Ross. Please keep him in your prayers that he will be fully well for work tomorrow.

To end on a positive note...Ross and I think we're going to be able to take the Italy trip to visit my sister afterall! More details later, but we're hoping and praying it will all work out. For those of you who don't know, my sister is studying abroad in Florence, Italy this semester and Ross and I would LOVE to be able to go visit her. What an awesome opportunity to travel abroad when you know someone who is living there and who can show you around! I miss her so much, but honestly we're staying connected pretty well due to the technology of email, facebook, and skyping! Skyping is amazing because we can actually SEE and TALK to each other. We totally should have thought about this before! I actually feel like we're talking to each other more while she's in Italy than when she was just in Illinois!

Anyway, enough for today. I hope everyone is doing well! Have a great Sunday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It rained and then it poured.

Last week was a rough one for me. My kids were crazy at school and I was experiencing a lot of self-doubt (once again). I fell asleep early on Friday night out of pure exhaustion, but had high hopes of getting a lot accomplished on Saturday. I started Saturday off with a 4 mile run in the rain with Molly then went to our favorite place "Legal Grounds" in Lakewood. I did this to get my mind off of my job for awhile. That afternoon I decided to go work at school. I hadn't had time to make my lesson plans for the following week yet and I had a ton of materials to prepare. Just as I was about to be done, I decided to laminate some of the things I had made. I heated the machine up and then placed my things in to be laminated, but instead of everything coming out the back, it managed to curl back up inside the machine. I panicked. I had already messed the machine up once before and I was so embarrassed. I also was so upset that I was causing the "laminator fixer lady" extra work to be done on a Monday morning. Could I feel any less out of control right now? I freaked out, cried, and felt like I could never show my face at school again. (OK, looking back on this now, it seems quite extreme, but I'm just relaying how I actually felt at the time) Then I decided I would call the "laminator fixer lady" on Sunday but I was SOOO nervous. I didn't want to disappoint her and sever a relationship with her. (back story: she had advised me previously not to use the machine after my first mishap). At this point I am so deep in stress and feeling blue that I couldn't even go to church on Sunday. Then I ended up working at my school cleaning all day Sunday with Ross's help and organization skills. (he is truly amazing). Finally, I get in touch with "Laminator fixer lady" and she had grace on me! I mean, she was firm...but gracious. And I could tell that things were going to be ok. All my stress about that situation was suddenly lifted off of my shoulders. She was merciful and kind and everything else wonderful that I needed right then. Things were starting to look up. Today is Monday and I am thanking God for a really wonderful day. My kids had a great day despite being cooped inside all day with the rain. It was the first day for one student not to shrill "I need a break" "I'm mad" or "It's too loud" or escape the classroom and another student pooped in the potty for the first time EVER. I was on cloud 9! Then to ice the cake, I got home around 8 pm to find a package from my mother. She got me a "first day of school" present that she had forgotton to give to me. It couldn't have arrived on a more perfect day. A new purse! Seriously, how do mom's know these things? I just had a breakdown this weekend because my nasty purse was falling apart and had holes all over causing me to lose things. (Ok, let's be honest, the breakdown was more because I was just stressed and irritable...but the purse just happened to be what I blamed my anger on).
So, it's still rainy and wet outside and I know full well that tomorrow my kids might scream and poop their pants, but God is good and shows us his mercy and kindness continually. Something He's teaching me in this new season, is that I've got to keep praising Him in the storm instead of questioning Him all the time. I know He's teaching me in this whole process and I need to draw closer to Him instead of trying to isolate myself. Thank you Lord for you patience and keep working on me. I know I have a lot to learn!

Monday, September 7, 2009


What a long and eventful weekend! I am so thankful for this Labor Day weekend this year. I don't think I've ever been as appreciative of this holiday as I am this year. When you are in the working world, it has a whole new meaning! This Labor Day weekend has been quite eventful for us!

We started it off with a bang with a party at our apartment with our small group from church. Almost everyone was able to come which made a total of 12 people. We had a blast drinking wine and eating snacks and catching up with each other after a few month hiatus from our small group meetings. It was so fun to see everyone all together again and to have people in our apartment with our new furniture!

Then we woke up early Saturday morning and went to Canton with our besties Molly and Andy. It was a long and hot day, but I'm glad I got to visit the notorious Canton flea market. It was pretty overwhelming....especially at the point we got separated from the Parkers and realized none of us had phone reception. It was somewhat of a nightmare, but we managed to find each other again eventually.

Saturday night Ross and I had dinner plans with some new friends, Marissa and Andrew. They both went to grad school with me and now Marissa and I work together at Oak Hill. They took us out for an AMAZING dinner at Al Biernat's...number ONE steakhouse in Dallas. We were definitely blessed and are so happy to have some new friends. Marissa has been such a great connection to have at Oak Hill. She's the one I've been able to turn to with any question I've had and has been so helpful!

Then Sunday, we had church, rested in the afternoon, and then went out to Rowlett to have pizza and watch a movie with Stace, Jonathan, and Ani. I of course fell asleep during the movie and then we spent the night there.

Today has been a great day of catching up on laundry, ironing, RUNNING, and getting some sun. Yes, that's right, I FINALLY was able to get out on a run this morning and it was WONDERFUL! It had been WAY too long. I am still not giving up on my goal of running the 1/2 in December. I'm just gonna have to get my butt in gear pretty fast and push myself extra hard to be ready in time.

I also got to skype with my sister in Italia today! We got an old webcam from Ross's parents and set it all up just in time to catch my sister at an internet cafe before it closed. It was so wonderful to see her face. Skype-ing is so much better than talking on the phone. It's like you are just chatting face to face. It really makes the world seem so much smaller. I mean, we're 7 hours time difference apart and across a whole ocean from each other and there we were just chatting like no big thing. Skype is going to make this separation from her not so bad afterall. She looked beautiful and not homesick at all. I'm so happy that she's doing well. She had her first Italian language class today and learned to say "My name is....". haha. She is going to come home speaking fluently, I just know it! I am really hoping Ross and I can go visit her sometime in November! Praying for God's provision and favor on that one. :)

Tomorrow is back to the daily grind. I hope I have some fun stories to share. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Teacher's are special.

My favorite conversation this week with one of my students:

Child: Mrs. Barry?
Me: Yes.
Child: Why don't my mommy and daddy use gloves when they wipe my bottom and you do?
Me: Well, mommies and daddies are just special, that's why. (How do you answer that?)
Child: Well...I think teachers are special too.

This is why I LOVE working with kids. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kind of like having your first child...

After talking about my first week and a half to my friend Melissa, who just had her first baby this summer, she said the way I described my experiences at becoming a teacher sounds just like her experience at becoming a mother. I found this kind of funny. Let me explain. My degree is in Speech Pathology but I was hired to be a full day teacher for preschoolers. All of my prior experiences were being with clients 2 hours max but now I am responsible for my "clients" for an entire day. So, when someone asks me..."How did they do today?"'s hard to describe with a simple "good" or "bad". You see, in 6 and a 1/2 hours kids aren't only good or bad or somewhere in the middle. They really just flow along the spectrum from good to bad the entire day. It might start out rough and then get better and then get worse and then get better again. There is always laughter at some point, tears at some point, hugging at some point, and yelling at some point. So, when you ask me how my day's hard to answer that. I could say "good" because all in all, we made it through the day and good things happened. Or I could say "crazy" because there's always a couple points in the day when I am at my wit's end and have total sensory overload and just close my eyes and take deep breaths until my kids start asking "Mi sweeping?" I also described to Melissa how my expectations are really changing. I imagined all these kids being so motivated to learn from me and that they would magically sit down when I asked them to and walk in a line from place to place. But this week, I decided my one goal would be to teach them to stand in a line and if I'm really good, get them to walk in a line. If I can achieve that in a week, I will feel fully successful. Anyway, I am learning so much from my kids each day and I feel so blessed to be where I am. After last week, I didn't know if I could handle another, but already I am seeing the kids change and learn so much! The routines I've created for them are starting to work and the rules and structure I've put in place for them are really starting to make a difference. I barely had to raise my voice today or put anyone in time out! I consider this a major success. Now, I know I can't get too excited about this...there are still 2 days left in the week and I know I very may well have a crazy day tomorrow, but I am ok with that. I am just taking each day as a learning experience for myself and giving myself grace for the things I haven't accomplished yet. A girl's gotta have a learning curve right?