Listen while you read.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Can't Believe I'm Actually Blogging

There was a time, just a few weeks ago, that I didn't miss a day. Now I am back at work, deep, deep into work. This year has taken off and gone every which way but straight. I have paperwork and more paperwork. Throw in a ton of expectations from a superintendant that pays us according to our "performance" (you guessed it-student performance), and what's leftover is a few minutes left to teach. I stay late, and many times the students stay with me. Don't feel too bad, they love every minute of it. It is better than the alternative.

And in my spare time, what is that again? I am down to the last week before the marathon. No, I'm not running. The American Discovery Trail Marathon and Half Marathon, which I direct and Marc so graciously helps me out with. We rode the course this weekend and it ended up being 3.5 hours on about 13 miles, maybe more. It was back and forth, and back and forth, marking the half and full course of the last 9 miles of the race. I only limped for about 2 hours after and pretty much rested the remainder of the evening. Woke up fresh-pretty much pain free-for another day of volunteer work. We ran more errands, and finally made it to the pool by 3pm where I sat on my phone, answering emails. I woke up this morning, exhausted, knowing that this week, it only gets better! The race committee is about 20 people strong. I have been receiving emails all day from various members, "Can you be sure I have this on race day?" or "Can you make sure...?" So I attempt to please, but am sure I am pretty unsuccessful, because those emails come in between the runners that want to know exactly what color of socks they should wear on race day...or they wonder when I am going to update the website for the 2011 event? I am going to think out loud for just a moment, "If, yes IF, I make it through this year's races, I will be sure to get the webite update about, oh, 3 months after...or so...maybe." Needless to say, I am tired. I am worn out. I am ready for Christmas break?

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Big Itch

I have started to get this crazy itch. No matter what I do it just won't go away. I can do mini squats. I can ride the stationary bike for a while. I can throw an 11lb ball into a trampoline-catch it, with one leg in front of the other on a foam pad. Nothing will get rid of this crazy itch. This itch, a nice relaxing ride on a very well-groomed, flat trail! All on my mountain bike so it would be comfortable of course.

I went to PT on Thursday, sat on the stationary bike, and began to spin. I told Cameron that I was starting to get this huge desire to bike, casually. I don't want to go crazy. I haven't had any pain in over a week, unless it is forced. I can bring my knee up to my chin, or try to lay on my hip, and it will hurt. But, come on, when do we really bring our knee up to our chin? So pretty much pain free. Back to me spinning. Cameron asked about my pain and I said I didn't have any. I did a ton of exercises, and he finished up with some one-legged squats, almost all the way down to the ground. (Started with two, and moved to one.) I had to do three sets of 10 on each leg, and by the end, my puny little right quad was saying, "Hello World, here I am!"

He was testing my pain. I passed for a casual, easy, Sunday ride. Since Marc is working on the course for ADTM right now, it means I can ride with him as he paints the mile markers. I started tonight with 30 minutes at about a 7 minute per mile pace, and it was fantastic. I kept admiring the trail. The flowers. Everything that I have been missing out on lately. It was heaven.

It probably won't be a regular activity yet, as Cameron said it was okay to do a test ride, and then a ride this weekend. I am sure it will stay limited for a while, but limited these days feels limitless!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gasp! Gasp!

I'm trying to catch my breath. Going back to work is only a tiny part contributing to me feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. The biggest part, ADT Marathon. We are in the final countdown. Next week will be total chaos and then race day on Labor Day will actually be a relief. I'm glad it's almost here.

On to what I actually sat down to write about: my doctor's appointment yesterday. Quick. He didn't have too much to say, EXCEPT, everything is PERFECT! His word, "Smooth!" He let me know that Cameron is doing a good job. I couldn't agree more. I am thrilled with my surgery and my recovery. I am down to feeling pain about 10% of the day and that is when I am "testing" out my limits. I am still following directions very closely, but can now add strength in. All is good and on track. Now back to marathon planning.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Almost Normal

I love my weekends!
I get caught up on life. Being back to work always proves to be such a challenge. Keeping up on laundry, housework, and yardwork becomes such a task between early mornings at school, late nights at meetings, and physical therapy still twice a week. By Friday I am wiped out and ready for Saturday morning to come jsut to catch up a bit. This weekend was extra great because I was actually able to perform most of my "normal" tasks. I vacuumed. I weeded. So for everyone wondering how long the honeymoon lasts, about 6 weeks. I am one of those people that loves to vacuum everyday, yes everyday, so being able to do it again is heavenly. I won't be back to doing it that often, but probably twice a week. Weeding will be kept to once every two weeks and I will still enlist in the help of the family. At the end of the day, I just feel a little sore. I decided to throw in grocery shopping. I know, now you hip patients are probably yelling at me. Marc went back for things we forgot, and I limited my walking as much as possible. He pushed the cart 100%.

Tonight we are relaxing with a great dinner! Marc grilled zuchini from the garden, burgers for the girls and him, and a veggie burger for me. Christian and I baked a lemon cake together.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Not Much, But a Whole Lot

I am so busy with life that I really don't have much to say. I think some big changes are coming. I am healing great and I have my 6 week check-up on Monday! I will write with an update. Other than that, just takin' one day at a time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back Into the Swing of Things

My days are looking more normal than ever. I can step in and out of the shower, over the edge of the bath. I can put my shoes on, if I'm careful. Jeans are getting more comfortable. Laundry is getting done, and I can even stand for a bit to iron. I washed the car, all by myself, today. Marc wouldn't have probably let me do that if he was home. He was off mountain biking. I snuck it in. I even vacuumed a little bit, carefully.

My nights are a bit achy, and I hope that I can sleep without pain soon. I try really hard to sleep how I use to: left leg propped up on a pillow, while I lay on my right side. I still can't sleep on that side, and even rolling over is still sensitive. I naturally avoid it because I know it doesn't feel great when I do. My arms go numb, because I lay in the same position all night-on them, where I use to flip flop around after I fell asleep.

PT Update: I am still able to spin for forty minutes. I am not allowed to stand up on the bike until I am not limping anymore. I lifted on my upper body yesterday. I can do mini-squats, bridges, tons of balance board things, and more. I swam last week and it was "okay" but hard since I can't use my legs still (buoy between them).

I still impinge and notice it more after an active day and when I do too much, I am definitely sore. But I am 5 weeks post-op and finally feel like I am getting back into the swing of things.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Students

Marc reminds me at this time each year that relationships take time to build. He is referring to my students. Last year I absolutely adored my class, but not until after Christmas break, and teared up at the thought of ending the year. The year before, I thought I could never have a class that would compare, and yet, last year's students did a great job and it was a close competition. Already this year, I can tell there are a few characters that will capture my heart.

At home I have two girls and know that God was very strategic in this part of my life. I love having girls at home, but at school, it's the boys that make my life interesting. Girls are natural pleasers, but boys make you work for that relationship. I am also blessed with what I'll call "some challenges" because the previous teachers, or their parents, have hopes that I can make a much needed change in their lives, yes, plural. I can see already, in just four days with them, that it is going to be a great year of relationships, caring, struggles-together, and celebrations. They will learn, like my previous classes, that they are smart and capable of conquering the world. Someone just needs to tell them! And that is my job.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Crutches...What are Those?

Kidding! After 115 days - yesterday, I am officially OFF OF CRUTCHES! It started back at the end of March, yep way back then. I had a few days off before the Boston Marathon, and then 2 weeks after my stress fracture cleared and before surgery. Add up all of the days, not that anyone was counting-well, I was, and you get a nice round number of 115!

After two hours of PT, Cameron said, "So what are you going to do with that crutch?" I didn't have to think about it, "Throw it out my car on the interstate?" Was it for real? I have freedom at home and at work, but if I decide to venture to the mall-ya right, then I have to take it. I won't be going anywhere that I have to take it. I'm too tired these days. I'll get to that later. Back to the whole two hour thing. In the last week, Cameron has really upped the time that I am there, and the things that I can do. I go and go the whole time and feel like I am rebuilding a lot. I would like to hit more spin bike, but time isn't permitting it with being swamped at work.

Speaking of work, my students have arrived. I just finished up day 2 with them. We are already busy working hard. They have learned how to stay on topic in writing, and they each made a set of flash cards today to practice their multiplication facts-yikes! By the end of the year, have no fear.

At the end of today, first official day with the crutch, I was limping. My students let me know. (It's amazing how fast we get to know each other and are comfortable-good thing.) I figured I would be. I hope each day gets better. The pain was a bit much too. Now, I rest. I have PT again tomorrow-every Tuesday and Thursday now. Things are coming along.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Going back to work has been a ton of excitement; however, it has also left me exhausted and realizing that it will set me back a bit with recovery. I am hoping that this weekend will jump start me back in the right direction with some biking, swimming, and catching up on my PT exercises.

Fiddling around in my classroom, walking back and forth to the workroom, and then sitting for long periods of times (meetings) has made my hip ache. I try to keep up with others, so I often get a burning feeling in my butt when I am walking. If I sit for too long, more than 30 minutes, I have to stand up to stretch the front of my hip or serious aching will drive me through the roof. Overall, I am just exhausted, which is totally normal for going back, but it results in NOT wanting to walk anywhere after work, just sit in my bed.

I am struggling with wondering how I will keep up without having Allison every week to help me clean. She is back to every other week starting next Friday. Somehow it will all work out.

I go back to Dr. White on August 23. Going back to work has also proven to be difficult on scheduling Dr.'s appointments, as I dislike getting subs. On Mondays we have early releases for meetings, and I scheduled it for a Monday. Guess what? The Principal and Assistant Principal scheduled the first meeting with 5th grade on the 23rd. We rescheduled. Until October 8, 3 months post-op, juggling a full-time job that isn't too flexible, will be fairly difficult. Just "following-up" with where I am at almost one month post-op! Oh ya, I still have my crutch, but he said we would talk about losing it next week. Nice.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

First Day Back to Work

AND 4 weeks post-op...all in one day! It was so good to be back. I love my summer's off, but I really love teaching and being back in the school and into the swing of things was great. My day started with the usual reunion, everyone in my classroom this time since I settled into my chair for a bit and also had a few quick projects to do before I headed off for a math training. One person after another came in until there were 5, then 3 more, and others in my room all giddy about being back for another school year. Kevin, my 5th grade teammate, came in and stayed while the others made their way through. Before I knew it, time was up, and we had to head off to our training at district. That went slow. The 4th grade team and us (Kevin and I) are fairly close, so we all made plans to go to lunch. Lori tagged along and as Kevin would say, she's having a hard time cutting the cord! (That was for you Lori.) The afternoon was spent in more meetings, and I finished up with putting 23 names on three sets of clothespins. Tomorrow is our district's convocation, a big hoorah to get us going for this year, and then we head back for a game and work day!

Oh ya, I almost forgot-4 weeks post-op. Taking a few steps back right now, just trying to take it easy. It's all par for the course. No biggy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad...

You take them both and there you have, the facts of life!
Some days are better than others. There have been better days. I am stressed out and super busy with race directing right now. The American Discovery Trail Marathon is coming up on Labor Day. This is my second year directing it, and although this year has been a breeze compared to last, it all just went crazy! We are about 5 weeks out, and it is the time when I make sure all of the final touches are in order. Are the medals in the U.S.? Volunteers for all 14 aid stations? Emergicare for the finishline? Shirts ordered? Post-race food? Ice? Sound? Port-o-Potties for several areas? Dumpster? Bibs? More rooms for Hotel(we've booked over 100)? Truck rentals? The list goes on. Really it does. I have a committee of 20+ people, but it still seems like the details fall on me. I know it will all come together, as last year it did without any hitches.

PT was not the greatest either. I had the best day ever yesterday. I was actually complaining about them giving me exercises that were too easy. Then when I got home, I decided to go out with Marc in the yard and fiddle around. I won't go into detail. Maybe I weeded some. Maybe. Then today, BAMM! It hit me bad. I went to PT and he said I had some swelling in my hip which is, inadvertantly, making my right leg longer. To stand straight, I have to bend that leg. Here's the bad news: I can't go off of my crutch until I can stand up straight without bending the right leg. It will be a bit. I needed my crutch today. I wanted it. So I decided to accept that I will have it for the first day of school. Once I decide I'm okay with something, it really is okay.

Friendships. One of the hardest parts of this whole "injury" thing has been to figure out how friendships are going to develop or even change. I'm talking about the friendships that were built on my ability to run. Some of my friendships DID start that way, but then grew into more. Some didn't. The ones that didn't, it's easy-I haven't seen them since the day I couldn't run anymore. The ones that are something more-I see them all of the time. I'm not going to lie though, it has been hard. On both ends. They try to keep up with including me in the things that they do, to the point that it hurts sometimes-emotionally. Do I feel that it is intentional? Of course not. I TRY to be understanding that they are all still carrying on with their plans. Inside I understand, but I don't think it always come off that way. I am not sure what is harder, being injured and waiting to come back, or being the friends that are trying to include me. Either way, today has been hard for that too.

For all of the bad days I have, I have ten good ones, AT LEAST! That is a fact of life!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Scary Good

Along this journey I have noticed that there are what I call, "Huge steps forward and little steps back!" On the days that I feel like I am going backwards, I get a little discouraged and maybe even more like scared. On the days that I am progressing, I feel like it is too good to be true. TODAY! I had a big set back last week with pain. I hurt every which way I positioned myself. I had an excruciating pinch (maybe cramp) at PT on Friday. I thought I was never going to bounce out of that rut. I did spin like I was told: got off when I was tired, carried out my exercises diligently, pool walked daily for 5 days in a row, and tried to rest when I was tired. I think it has paid off. I no longer feel that sharp pain I had last week, and I am amazed at how easy it is to get around on one crutch now. Everyone and anyone that has been around me the last four months can't believe the difference between two crutches and one. Huge difference. I can actually keep up. It is nice to have, because I don't feel like I have to worry about supporting it completely, but I also think I am just about ready to be walking without it. Mentally I was ready 3 months ago, but now, physically. I have PT in about two hours, so we'll have to wait and see.

Today, I am just hanging around with Christian-takin' it easy. Halee left for high school this morning and looked cuter than ever. Christian goes back to school tomorrow, 7th grade-same school as last year. And I return on Thursday! I have enjoyed my summer: vacation, the pool with my family and friends, cycling and swimming early on, the girls growing up a little in a good way, and time with Marc...wherever it was!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tuff: Update

He HAD skin cancer which is much better than the other type that we were fearing. This may also explain a lot about his skin that he has had problems with since birth. The second biopsy is under analysis with various antibiotics to see which reacts the best. Then, Tuff will be put on it in hopes of clearing his skin up. Either way, we are happy that the sweetheart will be hanging around a while.

Warning:School Starts Soon

I am extremely excited about the new school year! I spent a lot of time in my classroom and preparing new ideas for my upcoming students. My interactive bulletin boards are all over the room and I have finally gotten some clothespins to go with some of them. The stores were sold out and I suspect it is due to all of the teachers going back. Lori, my student teacher last year, brought several great ideas to my classroom and when she left I made a list of things I "must have" because I used them frequently. That list is all purchased and then some. To top it all off, I created a math bulletin board that will take the students through a spiral review everyday, without a worksheet, and we have a new math curriculum.

I brought home two tubs of math manipulatives, things for the students to play with and use during math. As a teacher, if it hasn't been provided, I make it or buy, usually make it, so it is nice to have new resources. Teaching math the last two years has been fun because our curriculum was so bad (all that I had was a thick textbook) that I made a lot of games to implement the math concepts. I never received a teacher's manual and that was probably just as well, since I like my own ideas better. While I was recovering, I starting exploring the new curriculum on-line and found that it is amazing. I didn't realize how amazing though. I unpacked a box called "Centers." This box contained 5 thick, spiral books full of games that correspond to each lesson. Each book is the same, so a pair of students or a group can work together and there are enough books for the class, working in groups. The best part about it: you put together 5 Ziploc baggies with certain supplies - they tell you what and they supply most of it - the students grab a baggie with supplies, and they are set for any game. I looked through the games and most of them seem really exciting. I was tempted to try some. I can use them each day in math, or a reward, or indoor recess - which we have a lot of in Colorado. There is also two of each game, an easier version and a more difficult, so I can differentiate with these games. This curriculum is a dream come true for a teacher that enjoys teaching math the nontraditional way, without a textbook. The students will have a textbook, but my goal is to only crack it a few times a month.

Something else that has me jumping for has changed in our district. They are now telling us particular concepts to teach and then assessing our students on this subject. I like this idea because science is tested on the CSAP for the first time in 5th grade, so a lot of the teaching fell on 5th grade teachers, playing catch up for 6 years of school. My first quarter concept is the "Human Body." Some people cringe when I tell them excitedly, but for me, being a runner, and interested in how all of that works, loves it. The students, in groups, will be assigned a system in the body, for example respiratory system. Then they will choose a science experiment to conduct, from a list, on that system. I have demonstration boards that they can use to present their experiment and findings when it is all done. We will learn every system in great detail, but then they will see how each system works together. It will also be related to plants and animals, how we are different or the same. I can't wait to start teaching science just writing about it.

This year the 4th grade teachers, the ELL (English Language Learners) teachers, and myself, thought it would be conducive to put the majority of the ELL students in my class. Since I majored in Spanish, I understand how to teach going back and forth. Not necessarily teaching in Spanish, so let me explain. In English, possessive nouns have an apostrophe before the s at the end. In Spanish, the word "de" is used to represent the apostrophe. So I have the students say "Sara's shoes" and then I have the ELL students say it in Spanish, "zapatos de Sara." If there is a "de" they use the apostrophe in English. Just one example. I can understand why students learning a second language make the mistakes they do, because I made the same mistakes when I was learning Spanish, and probably still do. I am also able to communicate with their parents. Their parents like this, as well as the school doesn't need to find a translator. I am thrilled to say I have 13 out of 22 ELL students right now, and ready to teach them. Usually, they are all very eager learners and work very hard to do their best.

My final thought: I won't be able to write as much when school starts, but I'll update as much as possible. Thanks for following along with me this summer!