Friday, January 29, 2016

montessori: special moments

i want to share with you guys something special that happened yesterday at our school. as most of you already know, i work at a montessori school. each year we host an evening for parents or other important grown-ups [grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc], to come to the school with the children so that they can show off and perform a work they are really proud of and confident in. i am sure other schools offer a similar event, such as an open house type experience. however, this event allows children to go into their own classroom, utilize the materials in order to show their family a work [or skill] they are most proud of.

us teachers are there, but mostly, if not entirely in the background. it is a night completely about the students. they come into the classroom, quietly, yet filled with excitement to show mom and dad around their space. they take a work to a table or get out a mat. most parents watch with anticipation. some students will complete the lesson in complete silence others will walk their parents through the work with verbal instructions of each step.

what is so amazing about this evening is that parents truly take it all in. they allow for their child to show them around their classroom, to prideful show off their environment and work. this night is not about correcting minor mistakes or suggesting to chose a more challenging work. it is about the time spent together. the engagement of adults with their child is enough to bring one to tears. it is moments frozen in time. parents can see independence, confidence, and leadership in their children no matter what works they choose off the shelf.
as a teacher who gets to witness all of these sweet moments, it melted my heart. it is reminder of why i am doing what i do. and why our families have chosen to be a part of our school community.

these precious moments are often hard to articulate if you don't understand it. if you are not a part of it. it is hard to even comprehend that a school family can be so united and feel like just that, family. when you and your children spend most of their day at school, shouldn't it be a community? shouldn't the people you share it with feel like family?

Montessori offered so much through her teaching, methods, and theory. the very least i can offer is an inspirational quote. i have worked with children since i was 17 years old. i cannot tell you a more amazing environment to work in. i know that i am a part of a pretty awesome school, it is due to the people that make up our school [staff and families], but also because of our very strong montessori philosophies. we create and live in this environment of grace, courtesy, respect and community.

these misty-eyed moments, tug at your heart moments...are what it's all about.



Monday, January 11, 2016

beer advent: december 16-25, the end of the flight

happy new year! i will get to all the wonderful things i want to share with you about our holiday, but first i must finish this beer advent blog. it was something i was so excited to do and share. but you know, the holidays got in the way of any personal time being used for personal time.... ;)

it is a bit exhausting to drink a half a beer a day. yeah, i said it. it is kind of ridiculous that half way through, i am getting a bit tired of beer every day. after the last group of five, i needed a beer break. i think we got two or three days behind. and i was totally ok with that.

december 16: troegs, mad elf, belgian strong dark ale
this is an excellent beer, but by this time in our advent i was spent on christmas ales. i was worn out on spicy [cinnamon/nutmeg, etc] flavored beer.

december 17: samuel adams, chocolate bock
this sweet treat was a very pleasant surprise. i am not a huge fan of sam adams beers, but this one was very good. it was not overly sweet nor overly bock-y. it was a wonderful mix of the two flavors.

december 18: firestone walker brewing company, double jack, imperial IPA
imperial IPAs are always better. hell, imperial anything is always better. the flavor is typically stronger, which is always more delicious. excellent beer.

december 19: lonerider brewing company, pistols at dawn, stout
it had a weird smell, but the flavor was good. typically if a beer has a weird or bad smell, that will ruin it all. however, this beer was able to recover from the odd nose on it.

december 20: new belgium brewing company, salted caramel brownie brown ale
it wasn't bad, but it was a pretty standard brown ale. there was nothing truly special about it. there were small hints of salt and caramel. so, if you are looking for big sweet notes, this is not the beer for you. however, if you are looking for a solid brown ale with hints of sweet, check this one out.

december 21: sierra nevada brewing company, ovila abbey saison [with mandarin oranges and peppercorns]
we bought this bottle back in august when we were at sierra nevada. this beer was so, so good. it was exactly as it was described - hints of citrus and pepper, with the pepper hitting you at the end. neither were too overwhelming. it was definitely worth the wait.

december 22: troegs, javahead, stout
i guess we really like what troegs has going on. we had a bunch of their beer. and why wouldn't we? it's good shit. a coffee stout? um, yes please.

december 23: triple C brewing company, 3C IPA
this is one of our favorite beers. OMG. it is a completely solid IPA. if you are in search of a go-to IPA, search no further. it is light, crisp, full of flavor and hops. i am drooling just thinking about it.

december 24: great divide brewing, hibernation ale, english style old ale
i wasn't sure what to expect with this one, but it is a good beer. it is malty with a slighty hoppy finish. a very nice winter warmer type beer, without all that extra spice.

december 25: mother earth brewing, silent night, imperial stout
we knew when we set up our beer advent calendar that this beer was going to be day 25. how could a beer named "silent night" not be? also, it is just so damn delicious it is worth having on our very last day of this amazing beer journey. it has a slight coffee taste and aroma with a rich malty flavor. it is another beer that sits on my top ten list.


we made it. the flight of 25 beers is over. it was certainly fun. but i felt like a gained 10 pounds throughout the month. but for the love of beer, it was worth it. maybe next year we can mix it up a bit and combine something else with the beer in our advent beer + chocolate. or beer + pizza! or beer + garden vegetables. haha, totally kidding on that last one.

i hope you all had a glorious holiday season. our was fantastic. i will post about it soon!

health and wellness to you all this new year!


beer advent: december 11-15

so, i wrote this a few weeks ago and told blogger to publish it for me the day after i wrote it. seems like blogger doesn't follow directions very well. sorry for the delay. i know you all have been waiting on pins and needles to read more about what beers we drank! so without further ado...the treats continue!

every day has been a bit more fun knowing we have a delicious treat to unwrap. i think everyday of the year should be this way - filled with a small treat to make your day just a bit more delicious.

anyway, moving onto days 11-15...

december 11: troegs, hop knife, harvest ale. 
presents like an IPA. light and refreshing.

december 12: terrapin, moo-hoo, chocolate milk stout.
this was delicious! there was just the right amount of chocolate flavor and "fullness" from it being a milk stout. it was wonderful.

december 13: terrapin, wake-n-bake, imperial coffee oatmeal stout.
i think yesterday's and today's are my two favorite beers by terrapin. both were excellent. plus, how can you go wrong with an imperial. coffee. oatmeal. stout? i mean, seriously? it has all the components that make an excellent beer. well, in my opinion anyways.

december 14: firestone walker, union jack, IPA.
decent beer, but not much flavor. first one that i am really disappointed with. [sad face]

december 15: atwater, bourbon barrel aged shaman's, baltic porter.
this beer was awful. i know that baltic porters taste a bit different than regular porters. however, this one was supposed to have bourbon flavor. it didn't. it was supposed to taste like a porter. it didn't. it was sour. it smelled bad. we ended up pouring it down the drain. it was so awful i didn't even take a picture of it.
oh no! two bad beers in a row! i guess that can happen with experimentation. however, the atwater beer we think was just infected or a bad batch. we honestly hope that is not how the beer was meant to taste.

oh well. we are still having fun. ten days left!



Monday, December 21, 2015

beer advent: december 6-10

hello friends!

so sorry for the delay in sharing our beer advent. i am way behind, i know. december is such a crazy month! birthdays, christmas, holiday parties, social gatherings. it's so fun, but so busy. i didn't forget, i just didn't get a chance to share with you guys. so without further delay, the next five days of yummy!

december 6: dominion, morning glory, espresso stout.
this style of beer is right up my alley. it is really delicious! the espresso flavor isn't overpowering and was complete with a dry finish.

december 7: highland, king macaplin, double IPA.
malt forward with hoppy finish. very complete and delicious beer. we've had this before and i didn't enjoy it much the first time, but this time i really enjoyed the flavor. perhaps because it's cooler out i liked the heaviness of it more.

december 8: stone, ruination 2.0, double IPA.
it is light and drinkable. it is hop forward, but lacks flavor. it wasn't as impressive as most stone beers are. it could be a good beer for a hot, summer day.

december 9: homebrew by low noon, pumpkin porter. 
excellent beer. great porter flavor complete with pumpkin flavor and natural spices [cinnamon and nutmug]. it is not too sweet. very good beer. nice work, fellas!

december 10: dominion, candi, belgian tripel.
it's a decent beer, just not my favorite style of beer.

this adventure has been fun and introduced us to many new beers. it has been fun to try beers we would have normally picked out. i hope this experiment continues to encourage to branch out of our typical favorite styles and try new ones.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

beer advent 2015

hello friends!

happy december and welcome holiday season! there is something about the holidays that makes my heart smile. i love christmas cheer, decorations, spirit, music...all of it. this time of year really makes life seem more happy. what with the parties, the socials, community events, and parades. it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

one thing i have always wanted to do is an advent calendar. i've never been sure what to put in it though. i don't want a bunch of useless trinkets. but then i saw a wine advent calendar online. it was a bottle of wine for each day. ONE WHOLE BOTTLE. for 25 days. that is a shit ton of wine. plus, we don't really drink wine, but we definitely drink beer.

so the beer advent was born.

we have 25 days of beer. we decided to do one beer that we'd share each day. we bought the beers, wrapped them up, and numbered them. we tried to choose beers we have not had before. since we've never done this before and it is super awesome and fun, i wanted to share it with you. a quick disclaimer, there will be some beer nerd stuff in these posts. sorry, not sorry. i am not overly nerdy about beer, but to a novice or non beer drinker, it could seem that way. my goal is to blog ever fifth day to share with you the beers we've had and our thoughts on the beer.

so, without further ado, december 1-5....

december 1: aviator, black mamba, oatmeal stout.
we went up to our local bottle shop to celebrate my 2 year seizure free anniversary. so, today's beer was a bit different and special. it was a draft beer and keith and i each had our own beer.
this beer was very good. it is a dry stout with a slightly sweet finish. i enjoyed it a lot, but stouts are my favorite.

december 2: southern tier, 2XIBA, india black ale.
it was smooth and malty, with hop finish. we complemented it with an oreo cupcake [keith got it for me for my anniversary!]. it was a delicious addition to the beer.

december 3: dominion, double D, double IPA.
very smooth for a double IPA with just the right amount of hoppiness. thanks flo for sharing this one with us! it was delicious.

december 4: anchor, merry christmas and happy new year ale (our special ale).
i enjoyed how dark it was. it was overly spicy and had subtle bitter notes. if it weren't for the advent, i probably would not have picked out this beer. i am glad i did.

december 5: dark horse, 4 elf, winter warmer spiced ale.
it is a typical winter spiced beer - dark, with cinnamon and nutmeg spices. it was very good for it's style. i wasn't in the mood for another spiced beer, especially after having one the night prior. i can only handle so many in a season. but this beer was complete with nachos, pizza, and the acc championship. so, i have no reason to complain. 

4 elf and nacho prep.
it has been fun so far. each day it is exciting to unwrap a beer to see what tasty treat awaits us. it has been especially inviting to taste brews that we have not had before. because we are sharing one beer, it has not been overwhelming with the feeling of, "oh gosh, i have to drink more beer? please no."

see you in five days with an update of the next batch!


Saturday, December 5, 2015

10 years ago...

10 years ago i was in the midst of planning my 25th birthday outing. i wanted to invite anyone i could to come drink up downtown raleigh. i even invited a special guy that lived in greensboro. he couldn't make it, but we made plans to hang out a few days later. we made plans to go to a hockey game, that at the time, was just a game. little did we know it was our last first date. little did we know it was the beginning of our love story. little did we know it was the beginning of our life together.

once that date began, i knew. i knew he was it. it was over for me. he was my prince. my partner. my dream come true. it's a weird feeling, knowing you're on a date with the person you are going to share your life with.

very weird.

i can't explain all the feelings. i just knew. and people say that all the time,"when you know, you know." there has always been something magical, safe, comforting, and loving about keith. he has always loved me, treated me, and looked at me the way he did on that first date.

our journey has had difficult moments. what relationship hasn't? but all of those are clouded by all the great moments, adventurous moments, and awesome moments. our life together has always been that - a partnership. a life shared, from day one.

i could never imagine a more perfect love.

i could never imagine more laughter. more ridiculousness. more adventures. more happiness. more peace. more dreams.

it has been [almost] ten years since that very first date. our first date was december 20, 2005. and we are going to celebrate the anniversary of our first date the only way we know how....
by going to a hockey game.


Friday, September 18, 2015

tough questions: you should always ask

i am creeping up on my 35th year of life. 35. for some reason that is a big deal. it's halfway to 40 [yep, math whiz right here]. it could be overwhelming.

yet, most days i don't feel like an almost 35 years old. perhaps that is because i spend most of my time with preschoolers. my conversation centers around potty talk. and silliness. and making shit up. half of what these kids tell me are lies. and it's completely unbelievable. for example, a student told me she that is leaving to go to the mountains today for a whole week, but will be back at school on monday. so how does that work, exactly? another kid apparently has two dads, one of which has really black hair and lives in japan. the kid telling me this story is not asian nor has a drop of asian decent. it's like they make up stuff just to see if i'll believe them.

but anyway, back to being 35. almost. i am also at an age where i am often asked about our family planning. what is the plan, exactly? the plan is there is no plan. there, i said it. you don't have to ask anymore. but also, it is a fair question, i am of late childbearing age and i have no children. people are naturally curious as to why.

i stumbled across the scary mommy blog about crissy teigen's response to this question. a few things struck me in a negative way about this article. so much that i just couldn't let it go.

according to the article, asking this seemingly harmless question could be hurtful. i could see that, if a woman is struggling with fertility issues. however, most of us are not. i don't have a child because i have chosen not to. just like many women. and since it is a choice, it doesn't hurt me that you are asking. nor do i think you are implying that you think i should be having children. most people are just genuinely curious.

the article also suggests that asking this inquisitive question is being nosy. my guess is that most of the time, this question does not fall out of the sky. it typically follows a natural progression in talking through family life, marriage, child bearing, etc. therefore, if you were having a conversation with another person in which you are comfortable with that could potentially lead up to discussing your family plan, my guess is that you typically would not find this question to be nosy.
and let's, for the sake of argument, say this question does catch you off guard from an acquaintance or stranger. you are not obligated to answer or discuss the issue if it is so deeply personal to you. you can always kindly decline to discuss your family plan and change the subject matter. plus, people can be "nosy" and blunt all the time. settle down just a bit. it is ok. it happens. just move on.

lastly, the article is titled chrissy tiegen nails why you should never ask a woman why she doesn't have kids. any time i see an article labeled like this, it rubs me the wrong way. yet, i almost always click on the damn article. thanks for drawing me in with the hook to some shit that i know is going to piss me off. this type of wording is bossy and rude. who is this writer to tell me what to do? most of the time these articles never discuss actually using social graces when approaching an issue that might be sensitive. instead the article attempts to bully you into just avoiding the topic completely. and almost always i never agree with the article. like this one. i completely fit into the title of this article and disagreed with ever reason they gave as to why you shouldn't ask this question. ask away. i don't care. but then again, i am really laid back and a fairly open book. so, perhaps i am not the audience they were writing to....

what bothers me the most about these type of articles never say this to blah blah blah... is that the topic of conversation is typically sensitive in nature.
top ten things you should never say to someone with anxiety
the one thing you should never say to a pregnant woman
12 things you should never say to say to nurses
7 things you should not say in front of your kids
8 things to avoid saying to someone who just got out of the hospital
[i could go on all day with this. would you want to follow the "advice" in any of these lists? doubtful.]
instead of avoiding a topic that may be difficult to discuss, i think it is important to have the conversations. i think it is important to share what you are going through and what your life looks like. you never know who may have a similar journey or a similar struggle. sometimes all we need to do is share our story and it could help others who are struggling for answers.
chrissy implies that she hates it when people ask about why she doesn't have children. i get that. however, does she realize the impact she probably had on so many other women by sharing just the tiniest bit of her fertility struggles? other women realize,"hey, i am not alone."

at the end of the day, i do not think less talking and less discussion is the answer. i think we should keep talking to each other and sharing our stories and our lives. but while we do that we need to be mindful and having social graces. we need to show grace and courtesy and treat each other with respect and compassion.