Loving November for the first time, in a long time..

I have to say that this is the first November where I am actually enjoying the excitement of the approaching holiday season. I am not just trying to ‘get through’ the month. When I taught fifth grade, November was always a source of stress. It always meant tons of grading for report cards, then report cards, then conferences, and teaching on top of all of that.

November was always one of the most difficult months as a teacher because there was so much to do. It was plagued with worry and stress. How are you supposed to do all of this in the little amount of time you were given? You actually wonder how the hell you were going to make it to the end of the month!

It’s different for me now. I don’t have worries. I don’t have stress. I am not concerned with pleasing other people. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed meeting the parents. There are those parents out there that you wonder why they don’t have more children because they are amazing. But those report cards and conferences, the anticipation of the first ‘this is how your child is doing’ stresses you out a bit.

Since I quit teaching, I’ve actually been enjoying every moment of November.

My house is clean.
I’ve enjoyed mid-day reading at Panera with a hot chocolate in hand.
I walked my dogs several times last week.
I’ve been sewing, crafting, and decorating my house for Thanksgiving.
I’ve even been Christmas shopping already. I’m almost done with everyone.
I had a wonderful lunch last week with a friend.
I’ve been volunteering my time- seriously there is nothing more rewarding than that.
I cook and bake now too (and not just on weekends). This week I made chicken corn soup, baked ziti, and banana bread.
I’ve been spending time with my nieces and nephews, which has been so much fun.
Last week, when my nieces spent the night, we made a project for their dad (who ran the NY marathon) and I enjoyed photographing them too.

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And this is the project they did for their dad including everything “New York.” Sorry it’s a bit blurry.

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I’ve been wishing on ‘Wishies’. You blow them in the air and make a wish and they carry your wish. I haven’t done that since I was a child. 🙂

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Let’s not forget the silly faces during lunch with my niece.

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Or Tuesday when we went to the playground. I can honestly say I was the only adult actually climbing and going down the slide too.

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I’ve been exercising too and I’m doing well on my weight-loss team. Oh yeah, I’m “Sandra” on the actual challenge chart, but as you can see I’m doing well for the Red Team.

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I’m not exhausted on Friday nights.
I went to the grocery store this week during the day.
I even had time to cut coupons!
I don’t stress out on Sunday nights.
I love sleeping in.

I have  nothing exactly new to post… Other than it has been very nice to stop and enjoy life for once. It’s so easy to go through the motions and get ‘caught up’ in life. I can honestly say it’s nice to enjoy November.

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Finally! I Won’t Kill my Garden!

What am I most excited about? Not killing my entire garden next month. Last year, July ended and August began and I killed my entire garden. Nothing was picked, watered, or weeded. It completely died (except for a few peppers which needed little care).  Why? I began setting up my classroom for a new school year. I started putting in endless hours copying, organizing, planning, and getting ready for my fifth graders.  Yes…in the beginning of August.  I do wish others could see how much time and energy actually goes into preparing a classroom and maybe, just maybe, all the “but teachers have summers off” would stop.

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Many teachers will be in their classrooms this week and I will not be one of them.  Although I didn’t get out of setting up a classroom completely, as I did help a friend, it was a completely different (enjoyable) experience.

Along with not killing my garden, I am enjoying some other firsts:

  • Not freaking out about seeing school supplies in stores. BTW, supplies started showing up in the beginning of July and I smiled instead.
  • Not spending money on school supplies (I would be embarrassed to tell you how much I actually spent last year, besides I’m not sure you’d believe it).
  • Saving some serious money on gas (I had an hour commute each way). Final savings: About $200-$250 a month!
  • Finally, NO school nightmares! There is nothing worse than waking up to some bizarre dream about how you messed something up that was expected of you!

I am still trying to figure out what I miss about teaching this time of year.. So far, I am almost sad to say, there is not too much. The biggest thing would be seeing my colleagues and hearing about their summer. I guess that’s what Facebook is for. 😉 And I am absolutely sure, I will miss the newness of the school year when the students arrive.  I loved seeing their little, excited faces.

So, I’m actually taking care of my garden. Imagine that, I will actually have time to do that.  And I’m happy to say the garden is kind of out of control. Well, the watermelon and cantaloupe are out of control (even with the trellis built). Can you see the two watermelon?

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And a closer look:

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My peppers in one bed are in fantastic shape and are growing well. However, in the other bed,  the bugs are having a feast. I think I have it under control now though 😦

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And my bug-eaten peppers:

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My Roma tomatoes are growing, but seem smaller than usual. Any suggestions?

Overall the garden is in terrific shape along with my stress-level 🙂