Four Good Things

One: I did not pop back up in weight after recovering from my flu like I thought I would. I only went up one pound. I’m now weighing in at 195 and I’m not complaining about it one bit!
Two: A dear friend of mine, who will remain nameless because I don’t know if she wants her new, smaller sizes to be advertised on the web, told me she just went out and bought some size 12 pants and medium shirts. To me, she is so tiny and to know that we were both wearing a size 14 at the same time blew my ever loving mind! I suddenly had a comp to my size and I liked what I saw! It was one of those lightbulb moments that helped put things into perspective for me!
Three: Another friend of mine is getting married and I got invited to her wedding! We’ve known one another for years, but this year I learned how absolutely much I love and appreciate her, so to be invited is especially an honor at this point in our relationship. I may have shed a few tears but I’m not admitting anything. It’s one of the few weddings that I’ve ever been invited to that I really, really wanted a ticket to. It’s going to be gorgeous and she is so happy. Love. Seriously. Isn’t it the best?
Four: When I made the then/now picture in my most recent post (scroll down to the next post and you can gander at me in my 300-pound, swim-suited glory), it was difficult for me to line everything up. These days I try to always stand with my feet the same distance apart and looking the same way. When I place the photos side by side, I resize the pictures so my feet are in the same place and my hairline is in the same place too. If I don’t, in one picture I look taller than another and it looks like I’m trying to make things look more dramatic than they are- which I try NEVER to do. You might think the shoulders would work, too, but look at what happened when I zoomed in! Can you believe how much weight I lost off of my shoulders and neck? It’s just NUTS! My neck got so much longer!!

All right. Happy Saturday. 13 more days of school and then this roller coaster of crazy can finally come to a halt. πŸ™‚

Memorial Day

As previously stated, Memorial Day Weekend was a bust for the Lj’s, as far as good times, camping, hooting, hollering and general rabble rousing that is usually associated with a three-day, holiday weekend. It was kind of funny, though. As we were taking stock and considering how things turned out, Jude let us know that this weekend was kind of fun, even if we were sick. He said he really liked laying around in bed all day watching movies, snuggling up to his family and being really un-busy. It made me realize how on-the-go we always are and that sometimes it’s a good thing to give in to a nine-hour movie marathon even if they’re not sick. Sometimes, once every 7-11 years, I suppose, it’s ok to go slower than slow and be stiller and more placid than ever. Sometimes you need the stomach flu to remind you of that. πŸ˜‰

This morning I couldn’t resist. Even though I know this is an illness-related number, I’m still weighing in at 194. It’s magical. Stupid, but magical. I was reflecting back on my BMI (Body Mass Index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight) from when I started which was 50.2. That means that over half of my body makeup was fat. Today, Bradley was commenting that I’ve lost almost 150 pounds (146 to be precise) and I almost weigh half of what I used to! Reflective moments like this are a nice reminder that I’ve come so far. It’s easy to forget where I was and I think that is why it’s easy to get back there. Old habits slip in along with new ones, and if I don’t reflect back on where I was often then I lose perspective and stop maintaining or moving forward.
I was also thinking about the purpose of my project at this point. Technically I’m still overweight, so I know that if I continue to slide on down the scale that I’ll also have more enduring health, but quite honestly? I’m really, REALLY happy with my body, my fitness and appearance at this point. My body looks absolutely fabulous to me. It’s hard for me to say that, but seriously. SERIOUSLY. I remember thinking that if I could be a size 16 that I would have it made. A size 14 was simply dreamy, and anything smaller that was just out of the question and would open up a world of possibility. So, to be a smaller size 14, ready to step into a 12 soon? It’s mind-blowing to me. And when I do comparison pictures of myself, then and now, I’m just amazed!!

I mean, look at that! I wore that outfit out to the store today- I NEVER would have thought I would wear something like that. I see signs, sometimes, that say ‘dress for the body you have, not the one you want’, and I may have a distorted sense of the way I look, but I actually think I look fine. Who would have thought?*
Looking fine and feeling solidly in good shape make me really start to question my purpose again. I want to weigh 170, but how important is it to me at this point? Is it just vanity? The accomplishment of it? I think I’m looking for my motive and I’m, in general, solidly against my weightloss for my appearance purposes alone. As a byproduct, yes. However, beauty fades and the enduring benefit I get is a healthier life, so I choose health as my focus, but it’s hard to keep going when I feel like I’m so there already. Perhaps I mostly just feel like I want to be done. I’m ready to not be pushing to weigh less anymore. I want to just exercise, play, be healthy and have fun, and enjoy my body, but that last 25 pounds is nagging at me…
(Again- I only am shooting for 25 pounds, down from 170 pounds to lose! CRAZY!)
So, on I push. My motive, I guess, is the goal I set for myself in the beginning of my project and being true to my original intent. I know that if I don’t make my goal that it will hang over my head for life, much like if I hadn’t finished college. I made promises to myself that I promised I would keep, for the first time ever, and it seems that I’m pretty determined to meet my goal. It will certainly be sweet when I get there!
Cheers for a healthy week! πŸ™‚

*It’s important to note that I never throw older pictures up on my website to mock myself or call myself ugly, unworthy or anything like that. I was a very happy person back then. Limited, but happy. Because so much of weightloss is ‘headwork’ there is little evidence to show except for my body, before and after, so it’s important to share the evidence. The before picture was taken as a wish that one day I’d be able to use it exactly in this fashion, as a comparison, so I use it with pride. I have no shame in who I was, but I am much happier and realized as the person I am now.


I always expect the end of the school year to be mellow. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because, as a kid, the teachers started winding down expectations as the year wrapped up… What I failed to realize was that my teachers were winding down student expectations because their job gets a lot harder! It has been one thing after another, with tasks, evaluations, assessments, meeting, celebrations, final performances, presentations, field trips and everything seems to just be compounding. It wasn’t until Thursday that I even realized this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, I’ve been so deep in my turtle shell!
So, last night, as I was getting ready to turn over into that special sleeping position that makes me crash right out (cocooned in pillows while laying on my left-hand side, if you were wondering), I thought to myself that I was glad we didn’t have lice in the house since that would have kept us way busier than I wanted to be this weekend!* Add to that the stupid comment I made to a friend that I haven’t gotten super sick this year….
And then Guinevere came in at 2:AM to let us know that she had just thrown up. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who hopped up and took care of it. I fell back to sleep and woke again around 6:AM to learn that it was an all-night ordeal. And now my stomach is rolling with the bug. Nooooooo!
Here we go. What a way to spend the long weekend!

It was one for the record books, folks. Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t like to belabor my complaints in life, but holy snykies. I never want to have the stomach flu again. It started at 10:00 and I was leaning over the toilet evacuating my stomach until 2:AM. It was rough. This morning I woke up to a horrible stench in the house. It was one of those flus that leaks out your pores and makes everything smell of sickness. Lots of bathing, lots of laundry, lots of towels… Now we are keeping our fingers crossed that Bradley doesn’t get it!
After all was said and done, I hopped on the scale, just to see. For a brief moment, I weighed 194.2- less than Bradley! Lol! It all came back right away, thoughts soon as I hydrated, but still. That was kind of cool to see and motivated me to get going again. πŸ™‚

*That makes it sound like we have lice quite often. That would be a no. Just to be clear.

Jazz hands

Today as we were leaving Zumba, one of the girls from the cohort of teachers who I dance with told me that they love watching the way I move my hands while we are working out. I had NO idea what she was talking about. No idea. Apparently, it is my custom to do jazz hands all the time. Like: All. The. Time. And they watch me do it! Every time! I guess that’s why they keep saving a place for me in the front of our group. πŸ™‚ It’s certainly not for direction or leadership since I rarely seems to know what’s going on! I would love to see a video of myself doing Zumba because I think I’m pretty bad at it. But it’s really okay. They can laugh and I’m happy to be the one making them laugh because I am laughing too! It’s true- I get lost on the steps and just start hopping around, lunging, squatting and, yes, jazz-handing, just so I keep my heartrate up and my body sweaty. Its just so fun- no matter what- and for the first time ever I don’t hate exercise even a little. It’s just all fun! Tomorrow they are trying Pilates. I’m considering it…
Zumba is not only fun for me, but I’m seeing a shift in an area where I really need it. For a while I was feeling a tearing at the back of my rib cage. I assumed it was due to my ample bosom bouncing about as I ran, but it seems that some muscle tone is helpful as well. It’s all that thrusting and booty shaking that makes me feel like a stripper that is making the difference. Bradley commented the other day that he’s seeing a difference too- my sides and stomach are tightening up. It’s nice to know that I can still make a change in my stomach! I suppose not is all as lost as I assumed it was!

I’m also here to talk about my diet. This? Above? Was my marvelous supper after Zumba tonight. I’m not proud. It’s not every night or anything, and my lunch was full of fruits and veggies, but I’ll admit that pizza and a coke, served like this, on my way from one place to another, has been my dinner more than I’d like to admit lately. I’m not gaining weight- I’m steadily 198- but I could be dropping a little weight if I could eat a little bit cleaner. I have lots of reasons- busy life- but like I tell my students, ‘it’s a reason, not an excuse.’ I need to clean it up, so I’m saying it here, that I’m getting better about it right now. The season is here to eat in season. I just need to get with it.
Have you had the blueberries yet, this year? I’m in love. I missed summertime, seasonal, fresh-eating!!!

Body Project and the Hubs

It’s been ages since I’ve been running with my True Love. Zumba coincided with the amp-up of activity that is spring, so dance classes have been pretty much my only exercise method over the past few weeks. I love Zumba. Booty camp, more, really. Perhaps I just love exercise classes. Honestly, though, love might not be a strong enough word for it. I luuuurve booty camp/Zumba! I have big, squishy girl crushes all over it! I am a big, happy, sweaty pile of worked-out flesh for Zumba and the people who I get to do it with.

But I love my husband. The whole reason I decided to get started on this whole body project* was because I love him so stinking much and I’m greedy for more time on earth to spend with him. My kids, too. I couldn’t see my own value yet, I couldn’t do it for me so when I started losing weight and getting healthier it was all for them. Part of doing it for them was bringing them along on a healthier trend, and about two months into the running part of my body project Bradley decided to join me.
It moves me to tears, sometimes, to think of his dedication to me. When I first started ‘running’ it was so incredibly slow. I was hitting 15 minute miles quite often. I had read (and believe) that just running for time was the goal- not the speed or distance. I learned that sometimes I might be jogging slower than I could walk because I was building muscle memory, endurance and I was doing what I could. I would make Bradley run about twenty feet ahead of me otherwise I’d accuse him of trying to speed me up by pulling me along. I displaced my exhaustion from running as anger onto him and I would pick fights with him and accuse him of doing things to me. He’d talk in the middle of my podcast, I’d lose track of what was going on and harrumph at the annoyance of it. I would yell at him for getting in my way or being on the wrong side of the sidewalk. I wouldn’t allow him to walk next to me as I was jogging so slow he was almost hopping in place- and he did it all, took it all because he knew that he was standing in for my insecurities. That running was so scary and hard for me that I’d often get mad or have an anxiety attack mid-run and I’d take it out on him. Failure was ever in front of me and he bore the brunt of my fear, but he still ran next to me. He still congratulated me at the end of every run and I got better. I’m not mean or anxious anymore. I know myself as an athlete and I’m not afraid anymore. That’s partially due to him and his belief in me. His patience with me. He’s an amazing partner. Extraordinary.
He told me that he needs me, now, that since I started Zumba he hasn’t run once. I’ve run a few times, but looking back, I’ve completely neglected my greatest supporter of my body project since Zumba began. This year has been a running desert with the work time shift. It got too difficult to balance exercise and sleep and family this year, so running outdoors together became rare while independent treadmill running became the rule. Last weekend was busy with the color run and the bike ride, but this weekend I badgered him until this morning we finally got into it again and ran a little over two miles, together at the track and we made a date to run again tomorrow. He’s been missing me. After leaning on him so much for so long, I guess it feels pretty good to be needed and leaned on in return.


*I’ve said it before, but the word ‘journey’ seems so trite and annoying to me. I know that it’s just a game of semantics, but when I start to talk about my ‘weight loss journey,’ I want to throw up a little in my mouth. I think ‘journey’ feels a little too passive to me; It reads a little too lifetime movie channel, schmaltzy and precious, I suppose. And it’s not a journey, it’s a never ending project that I have to work at. I’m not walking a path, it’s not a vacation. I’m blazing a trail for myself and it’s a huge project: My Body Project.

Forget Me Not

My week ended with me standing on a street corner, holding a sign and waving at passers-by encouraging people to support public schools. It’s a worthy cause, really*. While there, I glanced across the street and saw a woman who I worked with during my first year in my school district. She was a foundational person, for me, about the kinds of bonds and collaborative relationships that can develop among colleagues. I haven’t seen her for about seven years or so, but I assumed she’d recognize me. I don’t always remember the names of folks who hold temporary contracts at my school, but I generally remember faces.
But there I was, standing among, not only this once woman, who I admired greatly, but several of my former colleagues from that school, and not a one could place me or remember who I am, despite my unusual name, despite my reminder of whose maternity leave I covered, despite me taking off my sunglasses… In my new body, the older me has been forgotten.
It’s an odd feeling, being forgotten. Recently it occurred to me that death truly happens when one’s memory fades. When the people who know your stories pass, so do you. I think it’s why some people have to live large- they want to be a Queen Elizabeth or James Dean, never to be forgotten. To be forgotten in my very own lifetime, within less than ten years, is shocking. I’m sure that if I were still 340 pounds they would have known me. Gigi thought this was a good thing- to only be known as the new, healthier me, but my legacy began before I lost weight. I was doing important work in the classroom, making important connections, reaching out… It just surprised me.
So then I got to thinking even more about identity and who I am. I realized that one of the reasons I feel so good and so safe at my new (well, not totally new anymore) school is that I am 100% my authentic self now. I used to hide so much of myself away. While I’ve always felt free to be my own person, I’m also terribly self conscious and I’ve cared a lot about more what people thought about me than I ever wanted to admit to myself. Through the vehicle of this website I’ve come out, so to speak. I live pretty transparently, anymore, and if you like the things you read here and you read here often, then you know me pretty well and would probably like me in person, too. Thank you for reading here, liking my articles on Facebook, writing comments, continuing to make traffic through my blog… It is quite validating to have evidence that the person I am is ok, likable, interesting… So, thank you. It might seem shallow, and it wasn’t my intention, but it still means something to me.
Being forgotten is not my biggest fear, but it is nice to know I’ve catalogued so much of my life on this blog. At the very least I’ll be able to read my own story and remember it. And while being forgotten is not my biggest fear, I sure hope that behaving as my authentic self, the same one I behave as on my blog, is more memorable and impactive in real life than the person who was, apparently, so forgettable a decade ago.

After waving my sign for an hour, I headed over to boot camp to shake it for an hour. Drea, from work, showed up as well and it was my first time getting to shake it with her. She was amazing at doing all the dance moves like a boss the first time through. Some people just have a knack! My friend Christina is like that too. I’m there flailing my arms around while the people around me manage to gracefully execute all of these weird moves smoothly like they’ve been doing it for years… Maybe after I’ve been doing it for years I can look all smooth and chill, too!
I forgot a ponytail holder and was all like ‘Camille (our teacher) doesn’t wear a hairband. She just whips her hair around all sexy all the time and it’s not a problem.’ Welp, I seriously doubt I looked anything even remotely like sexy. As I got sweatier and sweatier the curl left my hair and it started sticking all over my face and neck and UGH! It was gross! Without the forward momentum of running or a fan giving my hair the BeyoncΓ© wind it needed, my hair down was a hot-n-sweaty pain. I definitely am putting spare hair bands in my bag from now on! I took the picture right after I got in my car after the workout and saw what I had going on! LOL! Far from sexy!
*I won’t proselytize to anybody here, but if you have questions about the teacher strikes or education issues in Washington, Facebook me. We can chat. πŸ˜‰

The Ride

On Mother’s Day Bradley was super amped up to tune up our bikes and ride down to Woodinville, the Chateau St. Michelle winery and the Red Hook Brewery. So we did. We left pretty early and were really lucky. When we were on the trail on the way out, the path was totally clear, not crowded at all or anything. As we arrived at each destination, we didn’t have to wait in lines or anything! Winery tour? Boom. We were in. Lunchtime without reservations? No wait at all. I started feeling like we were pretty clever for doing this biking thing! Then noon hit and everyone got out of the house hit the trail, hit the tours and as we left each place we also left a swarm of families who were waiting a turn to take a tour or get a table. All totaled, round trip, the ride was only about 12 miles. Even at that, though, the ride still did something beautiful for my thighs and they were singing for the rest of the day! πŸ™‚
By the way- if you order the nachos at red hook, like Gigi did, you’ll have enough food to feed 4-6 people. Just sayin’.

Yesterday I Zumba’d again. It was the first time I’ve been back to the Tuesday class since joining. There was a different teacher who is somewhat more repetitive than Camille so I was able to follow along a little more cleanly… But I like the boot camp class better. It’s just so fun! Mostly, I’m just really loving the camaraderie among the ladies I’m working out with, but I’m also simply loving the classes. I’m honestly wondering if I might indeed continue taking the dance classes through the summer. There’s all these freebie days where members can bring a friend, and I totally want to make Bradley go with me sometimes. I think he would actually dig it and it would be way fun if he were in the mix, too.

Musical Mother’s Day

I happened to get one song stuck in my head yesterday which lead me down a YouTube rabbit hole of my childhood in music, with my parents as the deejays. It was a good time for music, the seventies and eighties. Mostly because that’s when I was alive and open to the world, but man, I love these songs!

I knew every word to this song. Every. Word. Neil Diamond was my mom’s version of NKOTB and was just as ubiquitous in our house as NKOTB is in ours. And I could even do Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand’s pitch to accompany this number. Still can’t sing it without doing that! I hadn’t listened to this song since I was a kid and it instantly took me back to sitting on my shag green rug in my bedroom. It’s amazing how music can awaken so much with it’s background sound suggestions. I’m not terribly ashamed to admit that I cried a little. πŸ™‚

I loved this song! Really, I loved anything my Dolly and Kenny. We must have had every album they ever produced. Again, I could sing Dolly and Kenny’s voices and did often. Enough so a friend of mine once asked me to sing it at her wedding. I politely declined.

My mom was a huge Julio Iglesias fan. This was played often in my house, and I often wondered about the greater implication of ‘all the girls’ they’ve ‘loved before, who traveled in and out my door…” Creepers? But still, a sweet song.

Whenever I heard this song playing it was because my dad was trying to patch a rough spot. Usually it was because he let a swear word out in front of the kids that we weren’t supposed to hear. My dad would slyly slip over to the record player and before we knew it our house would be filled with the sultry sounds of Joe Cocker’s buttery voice.
(Irony, people.)

And then there was the summer before my eighth grade year where everyone in my family learned each and every song of Dire Straight’s Money For Nothing album and Whitney Houston’s first album. To be fair, I loved them both and they make me think of a lovely summer in our family boat, cruising Puget Sound, Vancouver Island and Desolation Sound and all the islands around. It was the first summer I ever got hit on by a boy, a trip I will never forget and the accompanying soundtrack is ever in my loop.

Photo credits go to Hannah Elvrum
I know what my own kids will share when they are 41 and reminiscing about the music from their parental-chosen, childhood soundtrack. The short list will have The Decemberists, Ben Folds, Rufus Wainwright, Death Cab For Cutie, The Vaccines, Monsters and Men and, of course, my latest obsession with New Kids on the Block- all of their songs since they’ve been on repeat in my car for a year or so. But before that we inundated them with the other stuff. Bradley is less defined since he rapidly jumps from band to band, lighting on one or two bands for 2-3 months then moving quickly on.

We do this to our children and, in a way, it keeps us ever connected to those magical childhood moments as it shows us time and again how it can whisk us away to another time and place. I’m grateful to my own mom and dad for filling our house up with love, laughter and music. Cheers for a Happy Mother’s Day. Here’s hoping the music in your life is filling your family up as well.


Color Vibe 5K

Several months ago, my best friend, Beth, who I’ve known since 8th grade, invited me to run the Color Vibe 5K with her- her first 5K. At first I decided that I absolutely would not- it was Mother’s Day weekend, after all. Then I started thinking about who I AM instead of who I WAS, and realized that I’m exactly the kind of mom who would choose to do a fun and messy 5K with her kids as the focus of my Mother’s Day weekend. So I signed up and the kids were free! As I talked about it over the past few months, reminding them that it was coming their way, Jude would look at me with fear. For him, this did not sound like a treat like it did for Gigi and me. To him it sounded like a lot of work.

I decided to make this a mama-K. We would go at intervals, at his pace, slowing on hills, walking when needed, drinking lots of water, talking about Pokemon and resting if necessary. It went pretty much as expected- Gigi took off like a rocket and ended up finishing in 32 minutes (the race actually turned out to be 3.5, not 3.1 miles, according to both of our GPS).

Jude knocked my socks off. He ran almost the entire way. At the beginning, he told me that he wanted to run the entire distance. I said we would try, but the secret would be going as slow as we needed, so that’s exactly what we did! We jogged, sometimes as slow as we could have walked, but we jogged the entire distance with the exception of two blocks, which were also steep hills. He was amazing! I was so proud of him as he crossed the finish line! I have an amazing boy, an amazing girl and I decided that it was definitely the perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day!

Several months ago, my BFF, also the friend who invited me to this race in the first place, started on her own personal body project: she wants to lose weight so she can live a fuller life. She was just sick of the weight hanging around, same as me, and moved mountains to get on track and get it off! She was cruising along pretty well and she hit a plateau. Then she stayed on the plateau. And stayed and stayed and stayed. Frustrated, to say the least. She was eating the right foods, keeping treats in check, but still couldn’t lose more pounds! It was then that she dedicated herself to a walking plan. She signed up for the Color Vibe 5K, invited her community to come along with her and started training.

I’m telling this story in painstaking detail because I want to make the point that we all start out somewhere. As a teacher, I’m always talking about how we each have a unique set of skills that come in a unique sequence. We develop at different rates, and exercise is no different.

When Beth started out, she was a slow little turtle who couldn’t go very far. Part of it was her little boy and part of it was her fitness level, but a big part of it was her belief in herself. I watched her do it and I recognized it because I did the same thing when I was considering starting the whole exercise thing up, too. Exercise is scary for those of us who haven’t done a lot of it. There’s a lot of opportunity for failure, rejection humiliation, self hatred and shame in the exercise world and, of course, we all stay away from situations with potential for that cocktail of emotions. But she did it. She kept doing it. She walked, tracked it, talked about it online and did everything in her power to succeed at the race. And even though she got overwhelmed, even though her back hurt, even though it was hard, even though she wrote to me on Thursday asking if she should really do it, she trained until she thought she could, and then she did it. She crossed the finish line at a jog, today, and remarked that it wasn’t that big of a deal at all to finish a 5K. I was so proud of her! But even more importantly, she was proud, too, and she gained this whole new view of herself as a powerful, capable woman who can kick butt and bring IT! Even on some unexpected stairs…



Today I returned to booty camp. It felt soooo good to get back into the gym, back into the dance, back into the weights, back into the fold of my friends. Today I actually felt somewhat competent doing the routines. It was so nice to not have to stare at our instructor the entire time for fear of messing up; I remembered some moves. I was actually able to look at myself a little bit, and when I did I was able to see that I am not as horrible at Zumba/Booty camping as I think I am! It was quite gratifying to see that I could totally rock it! And then then second half-hour started. I find that I have about 30-40 minutes in me before I start feeling my body getting sloppy and my brain getting less focused and capable of counting and following along. Fortunately today Camille, our instructor, saved a lot of the arm and ab work for the end, so my sloppy footwork didn’t stop me from getting a solid workout even though I was pretty spent. I’m amazed, every time I go, at how fast I get sweaty and how my heartrate stays consistently up in the fat-burn zone, yet I don’t feel at all like I’m doing more than goofing around with my friends for an hour. It’s totally a workout, but it often doesn’t feel like a workout at all. The next day tells another tale, however… I LOVE it!
It is worth mentioning, too, that I looooved wearing my new NKOTB tank to the gym. I can’t even tell you how much fun it was to wear it. How goofy is that?!

{Me in my sassy-pants pose,* sporting the NKOTB tank top from the concert. My workout was way more fun with it on. Seriously!}
Tomorrow my kids and I are headed to Arlington to do one of those color run things; I bought the bibs for my Mother’s Day gift. My plan is to do another mama interval run with Jude while Gigi sails ahead at full tilt. She always likes to run her hardest at official 5K’s, so I’m curious to see how she does. She’s been proudly running nine minute miles this spring, but now that she’s in track and field this season she’s really speeding up.
I’m also doing the run to support my best friend, Beth. She made a commitment to get active, so how could I not join her as she does her first official race? I’m so proud of her! I can’t wait to post about it tomorrow!

I’m often surprised at how clever families are for Teacher Appreciation Week. One year someone made me a cape for my Cap’n Awesome persona. That was pretty cool. This year is also pretty memorable. One family raided my Instagram and made the beautiful ornament of my family. I was so flattered! And another family gave me my absolutely favorite new book about being clever, about trusting your ideas and realizing the value held in our own amazing brains. I pretty much bawled right in front of them when I opened their offerings. Just amazing. I also got some beautiful flowers, several Shopkins pencil toppers, a new vase, letters, cards, gift cards… I also got a very sweet card from a little girl with a lift the flap labeled: You will like what’s under here!” It was a gift card, but her excitement trumped the gift, she was so sweet. My children and their families were very generous and spoiled me beautifully, but I just had to share that book that is So Important and that favorite picture of my family on a wooden medallion, made by a second grade friend of mine. πŸ™‚

*Yes, Julie and Laurie. You were right. This WAS the best picture, goofy pose and all! Thank you for taking it!!!!