Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Quick Update!

I feel so bad for my long neglected blog. Hard to believe that it has been two weeks since I last posted! These first few weeks of school have been completely crazy. Crazier than normal for me because I've been working my usual long teaching days, and then coming home and working for another 4 hours or so on finishing up construction and cleaning so that we will have the house ready for our home study. The home study is on October 3rd! It seems like there is so much to do in so little time! 

We've been up to a whole lot at school too!

We started the year off again with a variation on the Me Bag. I kind of hate the Me Bag... Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE learning about my kiddos. What I don't love is the time it takes for 20+ kids to share their artifacts one at a time. So when I learned about the Me Museum idea a few years ago I was sold. The kids set up their artifacts on their desks with note cards explaining them. You set a timer and the kids rotate around looking at the exhibits. Love it! In 20 minutes everyone has happily shared their things, and we can move on with our lives!

We've started strong with our Math Workshop this year. I've been really excited about our latest Project Based Learning project in math, and I think the kids are too. I'll share more once we've made some more progress. We've been playing lots of math games too of course! The kids have loved all of the card games that I found in Jivey's Math Aces product. I laminated the instructions, and put out a bin full of decks of cards, and it has kept my game center going for a couple weeks! I teach the gifted/fast paced math group...and it can be really hard to keep my math games relevant because they learn things so quickly. 

In science we've been doing a ton of hands-on experiments with our first unit of study...Healthy Habits! I had the kids test whether different foods were healthy choices by having them rub the food onto a paper bag. If the food contained fat, then it made the brown paper translucent. my favorite thing was when a kid said, "Yuck! I'm never eating mayo again, it's pure fat!" 

Of course, I did find myself stuffing the rest of my donut down the other morning when I realized I hadn't finished eating it and the kids were about to come in. I already feel like the world's biggest hypocrite after skipping lunch, then sitting there drinking my third cup of coffee while talking to them about healthy eating and healthy vs. non-healthy drugs. Haha.

Now that we're into the year about a month I think it's safe to say that we're off to a good start. It's great to have my workshops launched, and the routine in place. I have a feeling this year is going to fly by!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our Adoption Journey Update - September

I thought I'd give an update on our adoption journey progress for those interested (and as a record for ourselves)!

We've been diligently working on the amazing mound of paperwork that is needed to prove to the caseworkers that we are capable of being parents, aren't axe-murderers, and prove that we aren't dirt broke. I was really lucky to get a bunch of the work done before school started back, but once pre-planning started I've been so swamped that our progress came to a screeching halt. 

It's amazing how even with all of the excitement of a new school year, mentoring an intern and two new teachers in our school, and of course meeting a bunch of new kids and seeing my old kids...the adoption paperwork has been hanging over my head the whole time. The good news? After almost a month, we're finally getting a glimpse of light at the end of THIS tunnel. We're finally at the point where we were able to set up our home visit. This is where the caseworker comes to our home and checks it out for safety and space purposes, and also interviews us. The big date for that is October 3rd, so that gives us about a month to finish gathering the paperwork and to get our house in order and clean!

Here's one of the completed pages of
our profile. PLEASE tell me if you
think it looks bad...
All of the legal paperwork aside, there's a much bigger project on our plate right now...the adoption profile. This is the book (or pdf) that birth mothers will look at to help them choose a family to entrust with their child. I have to say that making this profile feels like the biggest and most important homework assignment of my life. We've scoured the internet, and I've done more "how to write a great adoption profile" google searches than is reasonably sane...and still I find myself sitting here at my computer stressing out about it. 

Anything you think we could do to
improve the look of the pages? 
It's pretty obvious that I'm no professional at this, but we really can't afford to hire someone to do it. Luckily, I have some practice with making things for TpT, otherwise I wouldn't even know where to start. 

We want our profile to be reflective of who we are, but we only have about 15 pages to do that. There are so many great things we'd love to share, but we've read over and over again that it's best to include lots of photos. Choosing those photos has been the really hard part. Oh, how I wish that we had taken more photos over the past 7 years! We've managed to get a few from family, but we're starting to hit the point where we just don't have great photos for certain things...

Of course I'm at the point now where I have been staring at it for so long that I can't even tell if I'm doing a good job or not anymore! And of course there's a fine line between taking my time with it and being a perfectionist. After all, this has to be done before we can make a match! 

Unfortunately, most of the pages look
like this right now...missing photos.
We need to come up with about 15 more photos and then I think our first draft will be ready to go! I'm looking forward, but nervous, to share it with friends and family so they can edit and critique it for us. And somehow I need to find the balance between being a 24/7 teacher, obsessively working on this profile, making things for my class and TpT(which is helping to pay for all this), being a good husband, blogging, and taking a little time for myself now and then! Have you ever wanted to flash forward a couple months?!

So yeah, that's it for now...home visit on 10/3, hopefully a completed home study and profile shortly after, and then everyone cross your fingers for a quick match with a birth mother and baby after that! Thanks for letting me vent! 

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