The reality of catching Covid as an elementary teacher.

First of all. I know that every single day that a teacher gets up and goes into work their risk for catching covid is HIGH.

The amount of pressure that weighs on us is unreal.

It’s easy to worry about our students, about our health, while thinking of ways to keep the world that is our classrooms spinning. All while trying to meet our students in the middle. Imagine being 5-11 years old in an elementary setting, dealing with a world wide pandemic? You’d be a little all over the place too. (I know I am, and I’m a full blown adult.)

So… after a very much needed holiday break…

I went back to work optimistic, mask on, ready to tackle on the spring semester. I BARLEY MADE it 3 days. When it hit. At first, I thought, it was just sinuses, allergies, but the more I payed attention to my symptoms, the more I realized it was something else.

Over the break my husband had spent HOURS going from pharmacy to pharmacy looking for at home tests and brought home the last 3 boxes he could find.

So… what did I do?

I took an at home test. I held my breath, and when my husband said it was positive, I LITERALLY burst into tears. And not even because I was sick, but because I immediately started thinking about work and all the hoops I’d have to jump through to get days off and not leave my kids and team hanging. Work, that was the first thing that came to mind. (I’m shaking my head admitting that.)

The first few days were the HARDEST.

I was fighting a never ending fever, a ferocious cough that made my chest rumble. All this while I’m trying to get a rapid scheduled with my district, find subs, and get things in place for my team. Not to mention getting in touch with benefits and HR per covid protocols all while trying to “get better”.

The texts were off the charts, school updates, covid plans, “when are you coming back?”, it was never ending. It sucked.

The pressure to bounce back and get through it is unrealistic.

Teachers are dealing with a very real, sub shortage. An unprecedented time, with a rise in unrealistic work expectations and risks. I’m still not 100% and I’m getting ready to go back, and my once fiery, wide eyed gaze of teaching is disappearing day by day.

I think about all my fellow teachers, having to use their own sick days to cover the days they’re out. Or the angry emails from admin asking why they can’t come in. Or the students that are being split into bigger groups because we have no subs. All of it, it’s hard, and I just know there has to be a better way. There just has to be.

In the meantime…

I’ll use the last few days of the weekend to try and rest, and force myself to not worry about lesson planning or catch up work. I still feel like crap, but what can we do?

To my fellow teachers, I’m rooting for you and also hoping for something beautiful and absolutely necessary to happen to our field of work, praying for better days and understanding.

If you need me, you can catch me watching Encanto, singing “we don’t talk about Bruno…” and doodling.

<3 you.

How to stay productive and organized (freebie printable or editable download)

I don’t know about you, but I am inspired to be more productive and organized in 2021. There is optimism in the air, that this year has the potential to be a good one. It doesn’t have to be the best one, only a good one, am I right? Keeping things organized will help me stay productive and on track. Ensuring that I at least have a decent year ahead of me. 
 
I am list maker by heart. I like being able to keep things visible and I especially like being able to check off items.
 
I whipped up a daily routines checklist in a weekly format. The checklist includes a morning, afternoon, and evening task list. Each section houses 7 tasks. 

Read More

Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021

If 2020 proved anything, it’s that we survived a hard year. Proof that we are strong, resilient, and above all else, we can do hard things. 
Lets be honest, the year was filled with a lot of heartache, but also filled with a lot of hope. I don’t know about you, but today I wished with all my heart that as soon I opened my eyes everything would disappear and it would all be ok. But life doesn’t always work out that way, so I made myself a vow, to enjoy what’s here and right now. So instead of resolutions, or putting more pressure on myself, I’m just going to go with the flow and practice positivity in all aspects of my life starting with the following:
1. Anytime a negative thought pops into my head, I will immediately think of something positive. When I feel like things are hard, I’m going to remind myself of what we’ve survived and how strong I am. 
2. I am going to be grateful, grateful, grateful. There is so much to be grateful for, and yes it’s ok to sometimes be in our feels, and feel bad about things, but as long as there is air in my lungs, and a thump in my chest, I am alright. Be grateful for the little things, the big things, and all the stuff in between. 
3. Which brings me to one of the most important things I learned last year, I am not alone. I will not be afraid to reach out for help. Whatever that may be, or however that might look, I will not be afraid to ask for it, when I need it.  
4. Finally, I will do the best that I can with what I have. Thats it. 
So cheers to 2021. It’s a clean slate. A chance for you remind yourself of what an extreme bad ass you are, and that you can do hard things, no matter what goes on in the world. 
I’m rooting for you. 

 

BLM: How you can support the movement.


Dismantling racism is not a short-term project. I’m sharing ways you can support Black Lives Matter in the long run, even with it’s no longer “trending.”


1. Donate to the movement. Here is a link that showcases various organizations you can donate too. Including no cost ways, like streaming playlists, playing games, or sharing links. 


2. Buy from black owned businesses. Here are some of my favorite Black-owned health and wellness brands: (research brands based on your interests)

  • Blade + Bloom ({blade + bloom} is a small batch apothecary that believes style does not have to be sacrificed in the pursuit of modern, eco-conscious living.) Their soaps are incredible!

  • Golde (An independent, Brooklyn-born brand centered in making superfood-boosted essentials for health and beauty.) Their Turmeric matcha and their clean greens face mask are must haves!
  • Juvia’s Place (A beauty line designed for all people, and all skin tones.) The BEST full coverage foundation on the planet. Seriously.
3. Follow black voices on social media. Expand your circle, and learn from others. Here are just a few of my faves on insta:


4. Amplify black voices on your social media. Share what you’re learning. Did you find a black-owned brand you love? Share it! Amplify their voices on your platform. 

5. Listen. Black people are actively contributing to the conversation, take the time to listen. You can do this through podcasts, conversations, in order to understand, expose racism and offer solutions to end it. 

6. Reflect on what you’re learning. Take the time to understand how you fit into the conversation, and how you can make changes to end injustices. 

7. Support the movement, support your Black friends, support black-owned businesses, support where you can, and with what you can. 

8. Vote! Show up to the polls, BE THE CHANGE. That means voting for political roles at the national, state, and local level. 


9. Read books, articles, and educate yourself. These are frequent ones that are being borrowed among my friends:

  • Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Davis
  • They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, And A New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth


10. Watch films about racism, and the injustices that are faced by the black community everyday. Make it be known! Educate yourself.


11. Volunteer your service. You can start by volunteering at the protests. Use your time to shuttle people to and from the protest, or provide the protesters with food and drinks, volunteer however you can. Other ways to volunteer is through non-profits. Call some of them up and ask how you can spend a day volunteering for them. 

12. Serve. Do you have a special talent? Use that talent to give back. For example, my best friend is a graphic designer, and she designed BLM posters and gave them out for free!! I commissioned pet portraits, and donated all the money to BLM. If you have a calling, share that gift for the greater good. 

    “Learn to generously share what you have with those who ask for help, and don’t close your heart to the one who comes to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42

“For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone, and to give his life as the ransom price in exchange for the salvation of many.” Mark 10:45




Wellness | Drink up for your health.

Since we’ve been home under the “stay home” order, I’ve had extra time to really focus on my wellbeing. Not just my mental health, but my body too. I’m taking the time to check in with myself, by asking “what do you need right now?”

I decided to illustrate my top 4 drinks currently on rotation and their benefits for you to enjoy.

1. Golde Turmeric Tonic Blend | Matcha Golde:

  • It has Matcha, which is obviously a superfood, that is rich in antioxidants. It has turmeric, which is great for gut health, and helps support skin clarity, also helps with bloating! Plus coconut makes up the base, which houses good for you fats, that support gorgeous hair, skin and nail health. Best way to serve it is with oat milk, ice cubes, in a nice blender, or toss some into your morning smoothie.
  • 1 spoonful is literally a handful of greens! It has 6 ingredients including, wheatgrass (helps fight free radicals), barley grass (strengthens the immune system), moringa (anti-inflammatory), baobab (digestive health), spirulina (cell and tissue protection), and chlorella (helps remove toxins). Also, it tastes amazing with just some water. Side note: it’s also a great addition to your cooking. I add it my daughters spaghetti sauce, and she has no idea! 
  •  Its a natural, soothing and aromatic tea, that helps soothe the respiratory system with the combination of Licorice and Thyme. When you feel a headache coming on, or your allergies are at an all time high, this tea does the trick. 
  • This delicious morning drink has ingredients that are designed to reduce free radical effects of the sun, pollution, stress and more. Totally necessary in a time like this. It gives extra love by protecting against oxidative photo damage, which leads to signs of premature aging like dullness, unevenness, fine lines and loss of firmness. Did I mention how delicious it is? I actually mix my super greens mix into it with some water and drink it every morning! 
What are your go to drinks? Share with me your best wellness tips! If you try these out, let me know your thoughts! 
Until next time…

Life Lately Doodles

Hey, how are you? I know it’s been a few weeks since I’ve logged on to chat, but it’s also been a busy and chaotic time.  I decided that in these difficult times, I would start keeping a life lately doodles journal. Nothing fancy, nothing big, just some quick doodles to document what I’ve been up too lately. I thought it would be a fun way to mix things up. Tell me, what have you been up too?!

1. As an art educator, we are switching over to “at home” learning. I’ve poured my heart and soul into my online lessons and I can’t wait to see what my kids create!

2. I’ve been taking a lot of breaks, because I need to be able to separate home life from work life, so going outside sitting on my sidewalk, or rocking on my rocking chair in the backyard has been my life saver.

3. Also, TEA, TEA, TEA. Being able to drink tea whenever I want has been heavenly. I think I need to make this part of my everyday when we get back to school, and back in the classroom.

4. I made a goal to read 25 books this year, and I’m almost at my goal thanks to Scribd. I’ve been multi-tasking listening to Audiobooks while emailing parents back and lesson planning!!

5. Not only am I a teacher but I’m also a parent, and my daughter has “at home” learning, which has proven to be quite the workload. So much pre-planning to do!

6. Also, whose watched Tiger King?! I hate to admit it but I’ve done my fair share of Netflix binging!

7. Can I just say my green thumb has been thriving? Now that I’m at home, I’ve been loving on my plants and they are growing and so so green!

Now it’s your turn, tell me how’s your life lately?!

Until next time,

Into the unknown

If I had to guess, I’d say you are pretty much in the same boat as me, practicing social distancing, and letting your inner introvert run wild. What can I say, the last few weeks have been life changing, and I don’t mean for it to come off in a dramatic fashion, it’s just the cold hard truth. Everything we know right now about life, is changing, and we are headed into the unknown.

As an educator, it rings so true for me, as my peers, colleagues, and students are learning to navigate the new territory that is virtual learning. Here we are, raw, vulnerable, and ready to embark on this journey together, because we truly are better together. It’s scary, sure. But as scary as it is, it is also exciting to have the ability to still bring people together this way.

I read a post that said, right now is the time to put procrastination aside and start doing the things we hold near and dear to our heart, those dreams we park, until we’re “ready”. There is no better time than now, to do the things that set your heart on fire. I haven’t opened up this blog to type my feelings out. Life got so busy, but that’s always everyone’s excuse right? We’re just too busy. All this going on in the world has really put a pause on the busyness and for once, we are still. So why not share, why not open this platform back up and let my heart tell you how it feels?

The last few days, I’ve spent more time with my parents then I have in a while. I’ve also been spending most of my time answering questions from my adorable and worried 8 year old. I’ve watched more Disney + that I’d like to admit, and finally checked off creative endeavors off my “want to do” list, like that Procreate class and Creative bug class that I saved over a year ago. I’ve eaten my weight in snacks, and have had one too many Mexican cokes. I’ve stayed up worried about my students, wondering how they are all coping with this. I’ve been spending time compiling lists of things my students and their families can do while they are on what we are calling a “staycation”. Because it just sounds more fun that way.

To top it off, my husband and I went to go see the house we started building a few months back, only to see it standing still. It was eerie, in a way. But also, it was symbolic. We have no idea how all this is going to affect the current sale of our house, or the new house, or whatever else comes along with it. Are we scared? Heck yeah. Are we worried? Of course. But we are alive, we are breathing, we are living, and that for us is a win.

I hope you’re doing ok. I hope you are hanging in there. I hope you know that people out here care for you, want the best for you, and I hope you know we are all gonna get through this. Until the dust settles, I plan on sharing more with you, who knows about what… but thats the beauty of sharing what’s in our hearts right? Until then, enjoy the list of things I’ve complied for my students, I have a feeling you’ll find something you love.

1. Georgia Aquarium African Penguin Cam Live Feed
2. Monterrey Bay Aquarium Live Jelly Cam
3. Katami National Park Brooks Falls Live Cam
4. Actor Josh Gad reads you a bed time story
5. Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems!
6. Pitt Rivers Museum Virtual Tour
7. Eric Carle reads The Very Hungry Caterpillar
8. Download Erin Haye’s book, “Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average” for FREE!

Until next time…

Life is sweet. (An update on our life)

Life is seriously so sweet. There are so many amazing things happening in our life, and we couldn’t think of a better way than to celebrate with ice cream. As I looked over the table at my husband and my beautiful daughter enjoying their strawberry shortcake sundaes, I couldn’t help but feel butterflies. It’s that nervous and excited feeling you get when the thing you really want is finally going to be yours. It’s overwhelming, and happiness just oozes out of you. Ya feel me?
It’s been a crazy fall y’all. First, did I mention how crazy fast this school year is flying by? Like hello, Thanksgiving is next week, what?!?! Also, it’s been an incredible school year, my students are the best, my school is the best, and my co-workers? Yup, you guessed it, the best!
On top of having such an amazing school year, during the busy month of October, my family and I snuck off to Florida to celebrate both the Mr.’s and my little mini me’s birthday at Universal Studios, and it was the best time I’ve had at an amusement park, and hello HARRY POTTER! (Yes, we’ve been to Disney, but Universal just had more rides, I think.) And if that’s not enough, the week after we came back, my husband and I decided to sell our house, and as we ventured out looking for a new home, we found a community we loved and decided to build! We’ve never done it before, and it’s already proving to be such an incredible experience.
Clearly, there are so many things happing, and although some are BIG and feel scary at times, I know that we are in such a good place, we are blessed, and our hard work is paying off. We couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure, and we owe so many thanks to our family and friends for all their love, support and motivation. So yeah, life is super sweet, and I hope yours is too! 
Now, I’m off to enjoy thanksgiving break with my mini me, and I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
I’ll be posting more about our community and about the process and just more about the things I’m currently loving, and how we are simplifying our life. Until then… I’m sending you lots of love!

Where does the time go?

 
I swear it feels like just yesterday, when she sat on the front sidewalk, playing with chalk, talking about all things kindergarten. She was ecstatic, she was becoming little miss independent. Growing up, being a big girl, and going to school, that was everything to her. Where has the time gone? 
As I’m gearing up to start the new school year, I can’t help but reminisce on this photograph. It’s my favorite of all time. Her contagious laugh, and her joy, it sets the bar high for me. It gives me hope and inspires me to all the amazing, positive things that lay ahead this school year. 
She’s gearing up to go into second grade, and although her excitement for going back to school has dwindled down, her curious nature remains strong. It’s a world full of possibilities, and as long as she never loses hope in life’s wondrous nature, neither will I. 
Wishing you an amazing, prosperous, and positive new school year. And for all my fellow educators out there, here’s a little giggle to get us back in the school spirit. 
Until next time…

Fall and Pumpkins forever.

When I was little, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Now, I hold on to every second with all my heart. Where does the time go? I’ve been spending my days soaking up every single moment, making new memories and depositing them into my love bank. Now, my FAVORITE season is here, and we celebrated with cuddles, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and of course, our annual tradition, Halls Pumpkin Farm.  
I’m not going to lie, this year was a little hard because it was the first year my little one brought her best friend with her. I suddenly realized that it’s not going to be the three of us forever, my little girl is growing up, that’s a hard pill to swallow. I got teary-eyed but watching them play and laugh, it filled my world with joy. As long as she still wants me there for the ride, I will enjoy every moment gladly.
We had the best time. We found our way through the corn maze, shopped for pumpkins, ate delicious kettle corn and got our face painted. It was indeed an awesome night even though a storm rolled in, we just ran through the rain, got in our truck and ended the night at Chuckie Cheese. Epic. 

Maybe it’s the weather change, the pumpkin scented everything, but I’m really feeling nostalgic these days. I just want to spend all day scrapbooking or cuddled up on the couch, reading a book, listening to Autumn in New York and sipping on some wassail. Long live fall and pumpkins. Hows your fall going so far? 
Hugs. 

24 hours in New Orleans

Dear New Orleans,
I love you. You are such a friendly, beautiful, and inspiring masterpiece. The End. 
Recently, my family and I made the quickest pit stop in New Orleans, Louisianna. With less than 24 hours in the city, we knew we had to make the most of our little adventure. 
Dinner:
We arrived in the city, just in time to eat dinner before the streets filled up with live entertainment. We walked a couple of blocks from our hotel over to a little quaint place called Napolean House. It is the CUTEST place ever. I felt like I was in a scene in Harry Potter, I don’t know if it was the light fixtures, the old wood or the gorgeous courtyard, but it was amazing. The food was yummy, everyone basically ordered something different from the menu, and everyone gave it two thumbs up. 
Dessert:

Naturally, when you’re in New Orleans, dessert is non-negotiable, especially since it’s home to Beignets. I knew immediately I was NOT going to take my family to Cafe Du Monde because the line was insane, and also, I just like Cafe Beignet better. The whole trip was worth it just to be able to see the expression on my dads face when he took a bite. It was legit. Also, it stormed while we were there enjoying our delicious treats, but we didn’t care, we were being serenaded by sweet jazz music, live. 

Drinks:
Since it was my brother’s first time to visit New Orleans, we knew we had to make a pit stop on Bourbon street. The thing is, it’s CRAZY BUSY. It’s honestly not my style either, but for my brother, we gave it a go. We ended up bar hopping a little bit before we finally settled at Pat O’Briens. We ended up snacking on some appetizers and enjoyed the music. I should note however that I was showered and in bed by 10 pm. I just can’t handle the nightlife.  

Breakfast:

I woke my parents up super early the next day, and we snuck out of the hotel to go eat breakfast before the rush hour. I really wanted my parents to experience New Orleans the way my husband and I did back in 2015. I walked them up and down the streets until we ended up at Stanleys on the square. It’s home to one of my favorite breakfasts ever, Bananas Foster French Toast. 
Sightseeing:
Of course, no trip to New Orleans is complete unless you visit Jackson square, and hop on over to the river side to see the boats! My parents snapped some pics, gave their ooohhss and ahhsss and back to the hotel we went to gather the group and head back home to Texas. 
Overall, it was a great little pit stop. It was so much fun to be back in New Orleans. 
Until next time…