Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hello Kitty & Postcards

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I've quickly learned how my kiddos will remember me. I'll always be that teacher that likes Hello Kitty and postcards. How have I figured this out? Well, let me provide the adorable evidence. 

1. A kiddo gave me a Hello Kitty pez dispenser.
2. Same kiddo gave me a postcard after she went to Universal Studios. 
3. My kiddo who's still on vacay in China took a picture next to a giant Hello Kitty for me. 
4. Another kiddo got me a postcard from Carmel over Turkey vacay, but she hasn't given it to me because she hasn't written a letter on the back. 

They're too cute for words. I hope the months don't fly by too quickly after winter break.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Catch Up: Only 6 Songs

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While we were in my hometown for Thanksgiving, we would continuously hear the same 6 songs whenever we were out about. It didn't matter what time of day or what pop music/hip hop station. Here is our official Thanksgiving playlist: 

Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
Sexy and I Know It - LMFAO
We Found Love - Rhianna ft. Calvin Harris
Someone Like You - Adele
Rolling in the Deep - Adele

Monday, November 28, 2011

So Cal Thanksgiving

This year, we flipped the holidays, so we spent Thanksgiving with my family. Of course, we had to go for a stroll on the beach. It was seasonably warm and gorgeous. After doing our friend and family marathon and shopping, we also managed to squeeze in a mission trip. We went to see the San Luis Rey Mission, which is  my 7th mission. Only 14 more to go. Fun fact about San Luis Rey Mission: it is the home of the first pepper tree planted in California.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wrist Ring

Talking about something totally random.

Hubster: You could make it a wrist ring*.
Me: You mean bracelet?
Both: (laughs for a good minute)

*He's so flipping cute like that.

Friday, November 25, 2011

He Makes Me Laugh

Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat.

- Joanne Woodward

*She knows what she's talking about. Yes, hubster. I love how you make me laugh. 

That's a Hyperbole, Mrs. Trac


Currently, one of my kiddos is in China because his family is adopting an adorable little girl. Instead of having a journal, he wanted to blog. That's how the kiddos roll in the 21st century. I've listed one of his posts below. It's so amazing that he's keeping his class updated in real time. Check out why he has an asterisk. 

Today we got Cailyn!  We got her at thee Adoption Registry Center of Guangdong Province. At first she was crying her eyes out*, but she is still getting used to us.  She likes to play with toys, and likes to stick her tongue out.  I can't believe I have a new baby sister! 

*thats a hyperbole. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So Thankful

So thankful for 

my job
my drive
my heart
my kitties
my health 
my books 

my friends
my kiddos  
my hubster
my passion
my mom and dad
my morning cup of coffee

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Authentically Me

Dear Universe, 

Thank you for teaching me the beauty of being me. We must both admit that it wasn't pretty getting here. As you well know, I'm a rather stubborn perfectionist. Of course, I had a well-developed concept of who I wanted to be and how I wanted others to see me. 

Along the way, I learned that being vulnerable in front of others takes incredible strength. Weakness is not synonymous with vulnerability. What was I thinking before? When I lay my heart out there for all to see, I have been graced with so many blessings. My hubster may laugh up a storm in the most charming way. My kiddos tend to echo, "Me too!" The random conversations with my co-workers flow with more ease. My friendships are strengthened by our shared quirks. 

Who am I? What is in my heart? I am person who undoubtedly sees beauty in everything. I stop and stare at trees and clouds. I have to carry a camera around with me because the compulsion to save this beauty overwhelms me throughout the day. My heart feels emotions to such depth and intensity that I have to often remind myself that they are just emotions. I find comfort in words, songs and delicious food. They are the trinity that keeps me balanced and feeling well. I'm learning to love exercise, but it's a slow process. I must remember to be patient with myself. I must also remember to be kind to myself.

*One of my dearest friends has been blogging up a storm lately. She's in the middle of her quarter-life comeback. One of the topics that she's been writing about is authenticity, which has inspired this post. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"A Weed By Any Other Name is Still a Weed."

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My hubster and I had a very cozy weekend with movies, blankets and soup. One of the movies that we watched was Gnomeo and Juliet. It was absolutely adorable! I was bit concerned how they would translate the original story line for the kiddos. I thought they did a great job. It kept true to the original story as much as possible with allowing for a happy ending for the wee ones. Overall, I enjoyed how Juliet is such a strong female lead. It's been really refreshing to see animated female characters who are sassy and strong. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh, Autumn

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." - Albert Camus

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dear Not-Yet-Made Soybeanito Letter #5

Dear Soybeanito, 

A few days ago, I wrote to your sister. Your dad lovingly reminded me that I need to write to you, too. Please don't think that I haven't written to you because I haven't thought about you. I think about you constantly. Whenever a rambunctious boy in my class gives me a sly smile, I think of you. Whenever a sweet boy quietly helps me put the books away without me asking for help, I think of you. See, I think of you all day every day! I suppose I haven't written to you, because I assumed that you will be like your dad and not want to read anything so sappy. My assumption may be terribly wrong once we meet you.

In my mind, you have your dad's loving eyes, his quirky humor and his strength to tell-it-like-it is. From me, I hope to give you my love of spicy food, empathy for others and ability to quickly read others and any situation.

For you, I will go outside in the blistering heat to watch you throw around a ball. For you, I will make the trek up to the mountains to watch you roll around in the snow. For you, I will not care how many grass stains or mud stains end up on your clothes, creating an endless pile of laundry to take care of. As you can see, we will infinitely love you. 

How can I begin to tell you my wishes for you? I have so many. My most important wish for you is that your heart will know true love. I hope that you will not have your broken too many times. When it comes the day that there is a girl who breaks your heart, please know that there is a reason why you were not meant to be. It may be something you did. It may be something she did. Whatever the reason is, it is beyond your understanding. Don't waste your time analyzing her or your relationship. 

Rebuild yourself. Make yourself stronger. Why? What's the point when you feel like you've been shattered into a million pieces? Because when you do find unconditional love, you will want to be the best person you can be for that person. You will feel so unworthy of that person's love if you don't love yourself. Please know, you are worthy of that person's love. How do I know? Because you have shown us that we're worthy of your love, we never thought we would be worthy of your sweet unconditional love. 

Friday, November 11, 2011


Saw my hubster being ridiculously adorable with our friend's granddaughter last night. He's doomed. I'm going to have to be the meanie. Boo!

Catch Up: Spirit of Dana Point

I've been putting off this post for almost an entire month. How silly, right? I just couldn't find the right words to describe the experience. I just thought that any words would sound trivial when compared to my memories. Well, here I go...

On October 17th, I took my kiddos on our first field trip of the year. It was an overnight field trip on a replica of a 1800s schooner that was docked in our local harbor. Imagine 25 fourth graders, 7 chaperones and 1 rookie teacher all together on this kind of boat but smaller. I wasn't nervous or stressed about the trip until I loaded my kiddos on the bus. Then, it hit me. All the planning, organizing and cramming has brought us to this moment. My kiddos were going to be treated like 19th century sailors and they were going to have to take care of one another. 

The most glorious thing happened. The field trip was flawless! The crew was amazing with the kiddos. Tough love all the way. My kiddos communicated and cooperated with each other. The pride beaming from their faces as they worked together to hoist each other in a boatswains chair and rowing a long boat to gather hides was priceless. I was overwhelmed with joy for them. 

Why am I now recanting this episode? I was just reading their writing assessments, which had a prompt about the Tall Ship. They wrote with expression and included so many details. For their closing sentence, many students wrote, "I'll never forget the Tall Ship experience!" I feel so honored to be part of their memories. 

Sorry for recycling images. I try not to do it too often. I just totally loved that picture. Isn't our scenery gorgeous? Aren't my kiddos ridiculously cute? 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who Else Wanted to be a Teacher?

Hillary Rodham Clinton also wanted to be in a teacher when she was in 6th grade. My friend Mark took this photo for me. I heart when my friends send me photos of teacher things.

Dear Not-Yet-Made Soybeanito Letter #4

Dear Soybeanito,

Your dad has had a twinkle in his eye for you. It was particularly sparkly when we would see a little girl out and about. In my mind, you are glorious, a force to be reckon with. You'll be spunky and adorable. You will have your dad's intelligence, strength and confidence. From me, you will have my creativity, thoughtfulness and sharp tongue. Your humor will be offbeat and a bit sarcastic. For all these reasons, we love you to the moon and back many times over.

Then, the day will come when you are no longer our little girl, and you'll become a young woman. You will have left her childish things in a box in her closet. We will be wondering about that boy who comes over, if  he is really just a friend. 

At some point, your sharp tongue will be pointed at us. My heart sighs when I think of the day that you turn around and say you don't need us anymore. It won't be playful like when you were a wee one. Instead, there will be so much conviction in your voice that we know that you mean business. I can't bear to watch your dad's heart breaks as your eyes barrel those words deep into your heart. 

My hope is that you will be strong and empathetic. In your moments of frustration and growth, you will be mindful of what you say. I hope your love for others will weigh as much as your love for yourself.  We will be here by your side through the awkward growing pains and as you pull away from us. I know you will move mountains and change the world in your own way. As you change and grow, please don't forget who loved you before you even existed.   

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

J'Adore the Bigs

This week has been total chaos on the logistics side of teaching. I've had to prep a bunch of grades for my co-teacher, which meant cramming in assessments and grading those assessments. All the grown-ups are running around hopped up on caffeine, sleep deprived and constantly talking about how stressed they are. Despite all of this, the universe has been good to me. There were so many little moments with the Bigs that kept me balanced and sane. Here are a few:

When it was my turn to go up to give the Bigs their awards, I definitely got the most cheers from fourth grade. 

I saw the twin brothers of one my kiddos at TJs. They were uber loud as they enthusiastically shouted, "Hi, Mrs. Trac!" The next day, the kiddo tells me that one of her brothers was trying to impress me, so he could be in my class in fourth grade. 

I got my kiddos all psyched up and excited to write when we were writing about the shelter that the Shasta tribe built. Did you know that the Shasta tribe built a summer and winter home? Fancy, no?

Today, I had an amazing language arts lesson. All I had were three different book covers for Indian in the Cupboard, a tri venn diagram, and a two-question worksheet. I even got to integrate my icons for depth and complexity. 

As Perez Hilton would say, my Bigs are amazebells. 

Not The Creepy Kind of Candyman

A few weekends ago, my hubster and I stumbled across this documentary. It was a mellow documentary, telling the tale of candy maker who wanted to make fancy jelly beans. His passion for candy and helping people trumped the corporate environment that he was tossed into. My hubster and I loved what an out-of-the-box thinker he is. He reminds me of one of my friends from middle school, mannerisms and all. It's worth a peek.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pick Me Up Playlist

Fly - Nicki Minaj and Rhianna
No Fear of Heights - Katie Melua 
Good Life - Kanye West ft. T-Pain
Good Life - One Republic 
Hey, Soul Sister - Train 
Please Don't Go - Mike Posner
The Show Goes On - Lupe Fiasco

Just Bee

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This week, I'm starting off a bit more humble than usual. I'm humbled by the crunch of conferences. I'm humbled by the perseverance that the kiddos despite our hectic schedule. Most important, I'm humbled by the fact that I need to totally rethink my language arts class.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Falling for Fall

I adore fall. I have tried to think of the possible reasons why I've fallen for fall. From my childhood, my all time favorite Winnie the Pooh video was about the blustery day and leaves falling everywhere. On that same video, Pooh and Piglet were throwing sticks and pine cones into the river. Those memories are rather faded and worn.

Now, fall reminds me of college days gone by. The relief of seeing the hubster after an endless summer. The cool crisp air nipping at my nose while strolling through Farmer's Market on Thursday evenings. The savoring of the last of the tomato and avocado crops. The need to purchase a new cozy jacket or hopping into my favorite worn out jacket.  

As a teacher, I think of turkey and pilgrim crafts. Most important, I love hearing what the kiddos are thankful for. I can only dream of the day when a kiddo will say that he's thankful for me and his dad. 

Friday, November 4, 2011


Hubster: You're so cute.
Me: Why? (very suspicious)
Hubster: You think some kids are cute that I don't think are cute.
Me: Really?
Hubster: Yes, I look at that kid and would never think that they're cute. 

Yes, I often wear my teacher glasses wherever we go. Kids are amazing little creatures.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanks, Nicki

Everybody wanna try to box me in
suffocating everytime it locks me in
paint they own pictures than they crop me in
but I will remain where the top begins
cause I am not a word, I am not a line
I am not a girl that can every be defined...

Get ready for it
get ready for it
get ready for it
I came to win...

From Fly

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mission Life

When we were visiting my best friend, Jove, in San Clemente, we stopped at the mission in San Juan Capistrano. My hubster saw my face light up when I saw the mission. He knows that missions are part of the 4th grade curriculum. He made me take a photo in front of the mission. Then, he said the best thing ever. "I want to take you to all the missions!" How sweet is he?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Throwback Tuesday: With Love - Hilary Duff

Change of Plans

Instead of going to Europe, we'll be doing a East Coast City Sampler trip. Here are our stops: Boston, Philly, NYC and D.C. Be still my heart. I get to go to my beloved NYC again for an entire week. CityPass will be our best friend next summer.