Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 Vision #crackedrearview

I am not really a fan of New Year's resolutions in any year, although I do like challenges and goals. This year, though, I just can't. 
Choosing a word. Yes. 
Reflecting on the year, yes. 
2020 was a weird year. Where do we go from here? 
We are exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. Although it's now 2021, this school year is only half over and we can't even predict how it will unfold. 
So, it's a hard no to resolutions for me. 

And yet, as December came to a close, I found myself looking back. 
And looking forward with hope and anticipation for this new year. 

And as usually happens, I read something that got me thinking. This year, it was Jessica Hutchison, a principal I know from the Chicago area. She's amazing. And real. And honest. 

She shared this on her FB page. This is just part of it, but I was intrigued!
Right off the bat, I loved that it was a list! I can write lists all day! And I loved even more that it was just real reflections and lessons learned in this challenging year. Though sometimes it was hard to see, there were silver linings. In her post, she mentioned a podcast that focuses on self care for educators. I decided to listen and see what this list thing was all about. You can listen here: It's not long :)
Being honest, even self care felt like just another thing I was supposed to do this year when a lot of days I felt like doing NOTHING. And when I started listening, she shared the G word... GOALS! 

I kept listening. 

In the end, if you chose to, you could write 20 goals, or 20 things you looked forward to, or 20 anythings really. At the heart of it, it was writing a list of whatever you wanted. As many things as you wanted.

This I could do. 

And so, I share with you my list for 2021... a list of 11 things I learned or discovered, and 10 things I am looking forward to in the coming year. Nothing fancy.

Lessons Learned
  1. Focus on the humans. As a school leader, this for me was mostly the grownups - staff, teachers, and parents. To keep the kids afloat, we need to lift up the adults. Love them, appreciate them, see them. I don't know if I did all the work I was supposed to do this year, but I feel like I focused my energy on the people. For more on this topic, check out John Eick's podcast episode. It's a great listen! 
  2. Mostly there are not many emergencies. Distribute all the chromebooks on a few day's notice? Check. Write another safety plan? Check. Get 4 year olds you have never seen online for school? Check. I am constantly amazed by what has been accomplished this year by our educators and parents. And I am so grateful. No internet? No problem. We just learned this year to be like Gumby, to be flexible, to not freak out. If we stick together it will be okay. And the real emergencies? The humans. 
  3. Music is everything. We have an Alexa in our office and having a soundtrack for our work has been so important. We laugh every time we request Office music and something about The Office comes on. 
  4. I thought my one word for 2020 was focus. Nope. It turned out to be lemons! I bought lemon shirts, lemon lotion, even lemon hand sanitizer. Staff gave me lemon gifts. And we made lemonade. Lots of it! Finding the sweetest parts of what seemed like a pretty sour year. A drive by Halloween parade and two author zooms were highlights.
  5. Walking everyday is less about fitness and more about wellness. Getting outside, looking for things to take pictures of, and just taking some time to just BE kept me going this year. All in all I walked just under 2,000 miles in 2020. 
  6. Rest. And then rest some more. Every day this break I have slept in. We need rest.
  7. When people show you who they are, believe them. 
  8. You can never have too many candles or too much cheetah print. That is all. 
  9. Leggings are pants. In this time of Zoom everything I have embraced the soft and the comfy and being uber professional from the waist up. This means for board meetings I put on a fancy necklace, maybe a scarf, and lip gloss. I always look professional, but right now when no one really sees us, let's all just be okay with our favorite pants!
  10. This year I gained weight, and with discipline and lots more water, I have faith that I can lose it.
  11. Most importantly, in 2020 I gained perspective. This will be an ongoing journey of learning and unlearning and growing. 
Looking Forward 
  1. We are going to be grandparents this March! 
  2. This April Sam and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary!
  3. This May I will be turn 50. Whoa! I'm excited. 
  4. I'm almost done with going 100% grey! Saves time, money, my hair is healthy and it was just time. And my hair is getting long. I am looking forward to a haircut again one day.
  5. I can't wait for it to be safe to have students and staff on campus. To welcome families in the morning at drop off with music and a smile. To visit classrooms and be outside watching kids play.
  6. Meetings in person. Zoom, I am over you, even though it's the safest right now. I miss learning and connecting together. 
  7. That August 2020 Maroon 5 concert has been rescheduled for July 2021. Fingers crossed!
  8. Traveling. Gathering. Family. Friends. That trip to NY. Any trip anywhere. The cancelled conferences. Christmas and Thanksgiving and cooking and visiting. Coffee with friends. Happy hour or happy half hour! I used to think I wasn't a hugger. But I can't wait to hug everyone as soon as I can!
  9. Seeing what new doors open. 
  10. Book club! We have made the best of Zoom and a socially distanced picnic. We even had one book club on zoom where we came in disguises -- that was the spy themed book month. 
Looking forward to 2021, I hope for health, justice, and peace for our country and the world.
Looking back, 2020 was filled with much to be grateful for and lessons that I will never forget. 

2020, I see you. Even with a cracked rear view. 
2021 I am ready for you! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Book Club Is Back! 2020 Edition







In July we take a book club vacation!






Cheers to a year of fabulous reading!

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Book Review for My Mom: The Path Made Clear By Oprah Winfrey

Rarely do I write a post about a book I haven't finished... but here I am, writing about Oprah's latest. I'm not even halfway through it yet, and I can tell already it's one I will want to leave on my nightstand to revisit again. If you get it, definitely buy the hardback version-- it's a beautiful book filled with images and stories and quotes by Oprah and many others. This book I will treasure, I know.

I love books. I love words. I read a lot. But it is rare for me to read something on a page that I've thought of so many times, spoken by another.

Page 39 stopped me in my tracks.

Vice President Joe Biden's conversation with Oprah:

Oprah: I read that ever since you were a little boy, you had a picture in your head of the kind of man that you wanted to be. Did you live up to your own expectations? Did you fulfill the vision or exceed the vision?

Vice President Joe Biden: By and large I believe that I have ended up being the man I wanted to be, but it wasn't in terms of accomplishment. Because people usually translate that into, As a young guy, I kew I wanted to be a senator. Or, I knew I wanted to be president. But that wasn't true. What was true was I wanted to live up to my parent's expectations. And I wanted to be that person that met my mother's standards. Being defined by my courage. I wanted to be that person who, no matter what happened, just got back up and kept going. I wanted to be that person who was loyal to people who were loyal to him. 

"What was true was I wanted to live up to my parent's expectations. And I wanted to be that person that met my mother's standards. "


I was an adventure as a child.
I was not an easy daughter.
Typical Taurus. So stubborn.
I look cute enough here in my pink Dittos! Right?

That stubborn 70's girl has grown into a strong and sometimes still unsure of herself woman. And there are many times when I am faced with a tough decision, or don't know what my next step should be, I ask myself,

"Would my mom be proud of me?" 

And the answer will point me in the right direction.
Thank you, mom, for believing in me always.
I treasure your guidance and am so grateful that you support me no matter what.

Happy birthday, Mom! I love you.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

These are a few of my favorite things

 In 2019, I'm working on getting healthy and organized! As I am getting rid of things and clearing out clutter, I'm trying to focus on having less STUFF. It's not so much about getting rid of everything, but rather having and keeping things that bring you joy. 

For several years I have been inspired by Marie Kondo's book: 
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and now a seres on Netflix.  
I love her ideas around surrounding yourself with people and things that make you happy.  
Like holding a puppy happy!

Here is a little list of some things I just LOVE. 

First, I thought the only Smart Watch was an Apple Watch. I wasn't sure I even wanted one--I love my Fitbit Surge, but it does just look like a boring fitness watch. And actually, I think the Apple Watch is kind of plain, too... And then a few days before Christmas I stumbled across this blog post by Rachel Hollis -- Five Business Trip Essentials and I discovered that Michael Kors makes smart watches that are beautiful! This watch will still tell me if I am getting a text or phone call, and can send notifications from other apps, too. I find that having the other notifications on means the battery lasts a shorter time, so I have them off. It looks like jewelry. AND you can change the watch faces! Also, I'm back to wearing my little Fitbit Flex on my other wrist just so I can still be in the fitness challenges :) I got my watch at the Michael Kors outlet near me-- my Christmas present from Sam!

iLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner $159.99 
Amazon Link

I love this gift from my daughter Hope! I have two dogs who shed CONSTANTLY. I can not keep up with the fur! But this little robot picks it all up and I no longer see any. It even goes over different level floors and under coffee tables. It is amazing. And it motivated me to keep everything else clean :)

Lola didn't like it at first :)
On sale for $22.00 -- lots of fun colors!
These Fleece-Lined Old Navy Jeans Are the Winter Essential I Never Knew I Needed --post from Oprah Magazine

These are SO comfortable. You're welcome.

Sugar-Free Orange Creme Sparkling Water
Eating healthy but still want to enjoy a sweet dessert taste? This flavor is my favorite. This is the Raley's version, but most grocery stores seem to carry a drink like this. 

I love not having to decide what to make OR shop two meals a week. I've tried Hello Fresh & Blue Apron, and I have decided that Blue Apron is my favorite! I also like that I get to make things I wouldn't normally make. My menu was getting kind of boring! Message me to try it for free!

Recipe card pic

My version
The Fitness Marshall
My Playlist
( FYI --I had to google how to embed a playlist just to get this in here!)
This is a list of 11 of his videos that I really have fun with-- dancing in my living room and driving my dogs crazy. Trying to avoid hitting the ceiling fan -- hello 8 foot ceilings! I think Starships might be his first video ever, and I discovered it when my friend Petra was doing a dance elective class at our school with some of the 4th and 5th graders.  His videos are so random, sometimes in a gym or studio, sometimes in a park, outside a fancy house, or even in an alley. I think he is hilarious.

Fitness, fashion, and food. These are a few of my favorite things!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

5 to Thrive for 2019 #everyday

Inspired by Rachel Hollis, I'm on day four of 5 to Thrive for 2019! Although I'm familiar with this as part of the #last90days challenge for finishing the year strong (which I did not do), I'm super excited to start the new year off in this way! I LOVE the mix of health and mindfulness in this little list and am loving doing these 5 things every day. ***Updates 1/13/19 in italics

  • Get up an hour earlier than you normally do – use this time for YOURSELF.  
    • Since January 3rd I have been doing this every weekday-- waking up between 4:45 and 5 am. I'm writing in my gratitude journal, and my Start Now journal (it has space for gratitude and goal setting) and I love the quiet in the morning, snuggling with my dog and enjoying a cup of coffee. Note: I am NOT a morning person. And, today is a Sunday and I woke up automatically at 5:55. Just enough time to write and see the sunrise!

  • Work out for at least 30 minutes. 
    • I have done this EVERY day since January 3rd, some days walking as much as 13 miles, and most days just a quick 30 minute loop around my neighborhood -- usually in the dark :) I look forward to this each day!
I love taking pictures on my walks :)
  • Drink ½ of your body weight in ounces of water. Take the amount you weigh, divide it in half and whatever number that is in ounces is the amount of water you drink every day. 
    • I have been drinking 96 oz of water every day. I bought a 32 oz bottle with ounces on it so I can really know how much I am drinking. Some days I am chugging at the end of the day. I don't love it, but I know it's good for me. 
  • Give up ONE food category you know you shouldn’t be eating. Do it for at least 30 days.
    • Bread. I don't miss it. I only had bread one day on a Subway sandwich at school when I forgot to pack my apple for lunch. I was so hungry I could have eaten my arm. But other than that day, I have not had bread! Croutons don't count, for the record :)
  • Write down 10 things that you are grateful for. 
    • I'm writing at least eight every day. One journal has a spot for five, the other has three. I love this and have so much to be thankful for!