Loving...Sweater Edition

Happy Friday readers!

It has been a great week for me and I hope for you too!

I don't know what the weather has been like where you live, but here, things got very chilly, very quickly!

Yesterday morning temps were in the 30s on my drive to school and it felt like winter.

That being said, this edition of "Loving..." is devoted to sweaters.

I definitely am hoping to stock up on sweaters this season, as my collection is pretty skimpy!

Here are some that I am smitten with!

This sweater is the epitome of chic and feminine.

I'm loving the leather trend of late, but am not quite daring enough to fully embrace it-- the leather on this sweater is just right.

This would be the perfect festive holiday sweater!

Loose, flowy sweaters are my fave and this one is effortlessly chic.

This is technically a sweatshirt, BUT, it's cozy, cute look is putting it on my Loving... list this week.  I am already imagining it paired with my olive cords!

And last but not least...

I am hoping that the fur trend never goes out of style.  SWOON!

What are you loving lately?

Are you a sweater person?

Have a great weekend!


Fourth of July Recap

 Happy Hump Day readers!

This week is luckily flying by- Monday was a teacher workday, yesterday I took a half day for a doctor's appointment, and today is our field trip to the pumpkin patch!  Honestly, I have needed a lower key week like this.  Thank you all for your kind words responding to Monday's post.  I have a tough road ahead and lots of thinking to do, but your support means a lot!

I'm sure some of you were thinking "WHAT!?" when you saw today's post.  "4th of July...isn't she like 3 months late?"  Yes, I am, BUT, our Fourth celebration at the rivah was too fun not to share!

Prepare for a PICTURE-HEAVY and HAPPY post today!

This summer we spent July 4th at Bryce's family river house.  We went armed with m&m popcorn to share!

Recipe Here!

That night we ate a good meal upon arrival, munched on popcorn, and hit the sack early.

The next day, July 4th, was spent relaxing in the water and making use of the brick oven!


 The weather was perfect for sailing!


We worked up quite the appetite while lazing in the river...

Getting things started

Giving the fire some TLC..

Slowly getting some flames...

NOW, we're talking!

It's cookin'!

And the final product- pizza with prosciutto, fig preserves, and basil- YUM!

Later that night we enjoyed cocktails on the dock, followed by dinner, fireworks, and even more cocktails!

Red, White, and Blue!

This picture is making me wish I had a tan again and could slip into my comfy romper!

All of those cocktails, led to some late night charades...

The worm may or may  not have been involved...

No animals were injured during the making of this blog post!

After a good night's rest, we woke up the  next day ready for oyster culling, more lounging in the water, boat rides, and corn hole!

I have now been initiated as a Horse Point oyster man!

Ahh, how I miss the lazy days of summer...

If you can't tell by our hair in this pic- the boat was moving VERY fast!

A refuel was necessary...

The cornhole set included UVA and VT beanbags...of course, I played on the UVA side!

The oyster men still at work!

Sunsets are always most beautiful over the water!

Finally, our last day at the river came!  We spent that day relaxing!

We started our morning in the garden...

Apple Trees


B and his adorable mom!


Bryce's Grapes

Finally we went for one last boat ride and soaked up all the sights we could before heading back to reality!

Truly a slice of heaven!

Wow...now I am wishing I could rewind time and go back to summer and the 4th!  We had such a great time and felt like it was a mini-vacation! 

I know I'm late asking this, but did you have a great 4th?  What did you do?

Have a great day!


Let's Talk Teaching...

Monday...here again!

Why is it that the weekends always seem to fly by in the blink of an eye?

I'm getting personal and real on the blog today.  If you're looking for my usual cheery, picture filled post, come back later this week.  Today I'm opening up about school and sharing the challenges I've been facing.

As I've mentioned, school has been off to a rough start this year.

I'm tired, stressed, spread thin, frustrated, and unhappy.

I'm feeling lost and disconnected.

Let me explain a bit more...

I work in a Title One school.  For those of you, unfamiliar with the term, Title One is a federal program in which schools with high populations of low income students receive additional funding and support staff.  Approximately 60% of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch and we receive Title One services for both reading and math.

Many of our students come from homes without many resources and we don't have a lot of parent support.  Our kids face great challenges.  For example, each of us have had kindergartners starting school who can't sing their ABCs, don't recognize their name, and know 0 letters.  We have a big job.  In a lot of ways I feel like I was meant to teach these kids.  Every day I know I make a huge impact on them.

And now for the BUT (there's always a but, isn't there?).

BUT, our kids don't perform as well as students in higher income parts of the county.  There is only so much we can achieve from 7:00-2:00 each day.  Our kids show HUGE growth, but they don't always make it to the "end goal" according to state standardized tests.

Because of this, our school has tremendous pressure.  We are state accredited, but just barely and so this year lots of changes have been implemented to try and improve our scores.

The problem is, these changes are tanking morale and quite honestly they're too much.

On any day, we may have not one, but sometimes two administrators popping into our room in addition to new weekly visits from the Title 1 math and reading teachers.  I don't mind having an administrative presence in the classroom.  Quite honestly, I think it's important.  But multiple visits, multiple times a week are too much.  We all compare notes at lunch about whose come into our classrooms.  It throws the kids off and also leaves teachers feeling nervous.  What if the kids are having an off moment when an administrator pops in, what if your plans for the day aren't quite working...

Our lesson planning expectations have also changed.  In the past, when we met weekly, we would discuss the standards for the following week and share ideas.  From there, it was up to each individual teacher to decide how to teach the standard and what was best for their students.  This year, we are expected to have nearly identical plans across the grade level.  I don't feel like it's fair.  We all have different teaching styles and students.  Just because I love one lesson doesn't mean the rest of the team should have to do it and vice versa.  As long as our kids are learning the standard, that is what matters.  Our meetings are taking double the time they used to take and by the end we all feel brain dead.  I feel like there is no trust in the teachers to do their job right.  I also feel that my creativity is stifled and certain plans are not as engaging for the kids.  On top of that, with the new lesson plan changes, it seems like as soon as we have everything figured out we learn about a new change to the requirements or an added requirement.  Another teammate and I discussed that we feel like the planning expectations have become so high that we feel like we plan more to please administration than to focus on actual instruction.

Finally, the last big difference is that the county has shifted the focus to kindergarten this year.  I was initially very excited about this.  Focusing on the primary grades is important because if students are provided with a great foundation, many of the issues in the upper grades can be alleviated.  I also have really benefited from many of the professional development workshops I've attended so I was looking forward to more opportunities for these.  Well, since the year has started, we have realized what a focus on kindergarten means:  Quantity over quality and added rigor and expectations which are often not developmentally appropriate for 5 year olds, especially our 5 year olds who have not had much, if any prior school experience.

So this is where we are.  All of us are stressed.  Morale is low.  I'm questioning whether I even want to continue to teach (a question I never even considered during my first year of teaching).

I love teaching, but this year I dread going to school.  I'm at school nearly 12 hours every day and bring work home.  School is constantly in my thoughts and I don't feel fully present in the other aspects of my life.

I have been trying to make "me" more of a priority, leaving earlier some days, but then I'm left with stress, guilt, and a fear that I may not have every i dotted and t crossed for administration.

I've been doing lots of soul searching.

  • Do I want to keep teaching next year?
  • Should I try to apply to some private schools where teachers are given more freedom? 
  • If I do switch to private school am I abandoning kids, who really need me?  I feel like I've been called to teach, but I also feel like it can't consume me and cause the other aspects of my life to suffer...
  • Do I want to pursue a new career, completely?
  • If so, what would I want to pursue and am I qualified for the other careers that I would be interested in?
I don't know what to do.

So, if you've been wondering why I've been so absent in the blog world and not always the best at responding to blog emails...that's why.

What are your thoughts?

Any advice for me?

Have you ever been in a similar spot?

Hope you're off to a good start to your week!



Happy Saturday readers!

I'm a day late and a dollar short on this post, but am happy nonetheless, because it's the weekend!

I am especially excited this weekend because I am spending time with my best friend, AMF, in Bethesda.  As I've mentioned, life has been tough lately and already I am feeling better about things since spending time with her!

Here's a look at what I'm loving this week!

Ever since I pinned this just a few days ago, I have been smitten!  I have gotta have some polka dot tights!  I'm already picturing them slipped under my Frye harness boots!

Clare Vivier Foldover Clutch
I am all about a chic clutch, add an animal print and I'm sold...

"A guide to living the good life."- enough said.

This necklace is both a statement and a neutral...I'm in love!

Our kitchen is the one room I'm just kinda "blah" about..I can't figure out a direction to take or how to style it, I do know, however, that these babies would be fabulous on the fridge!

And in closure...

This pretty much sums up my life lately...I actually had to re-wash a load of towels last week, because I had totally forgotten them in the washing machine.

What's been on your radar lately?

Have a great weekend!