Saturday, September 17, 2011

New News

Well, we have been in Maryland for almost 3 months and I have been back to working full time for about 1 month.  Now that I am working at a new school I am finding myself really missing my old school, my old grade level, my old team members (and the entire staff I worked with) and my old routines.  I really hate being the new person and trying to learn all of the "ins and outs" of the school and I am really hating learning a new curriculum for a new grade.  I feel so lost and behind.  I know it will get better and it will take time, but I just keep thinking about how easy this year would have been if we stayed in Arizona and I was still teaching 3rd grade at LP.
I know a few of my AZ teacher friends are curious about the differences in the states curriculum and procedures so I am going to try my best to lay it all out for all (3) of you who read this :)

In MCPS (Montgomery County Public Schools) there are no materials with the curriculum.  In the curriculum outline it says things like " Week 3-Reading-Story Elements" and we are suppose to find our own books and own materials to teach said Story Elements.  In Math it's pretty much the same thing... "Place Value, Expanded Notation..." there aren't even unit tests.  We have to make our own.
Right now we are doing the M-class tests which are the same as Running Records but it is all done on a Palm Pilot.  Also, if the student is reading higher than a level 5, then they do not have to be DIBELed.  And the classroom teacher does the DIBELS on the palm pilot.
Another thing about my district is that there is so much diversity.  180 countries are represented in the schools throughout MCPS.
Here are some things that are different about my school:  The principal does not check lesson plans, there is no dress code (as long as it is appropriate), we get 1 day a week as extended planning time (during school hours), all of our specials are the same time, 1 hour of uninterrupted lunch and there are no duties for classroom teachers.  The extended planning time is when the specials teacher covers your class for 30 minutes then takes them to their class so you and your team can have a longer planning time during the school day and not after school.  I really like this, but the only thing that stinks is that we do not have a special on Friday, which is the day after we all plan together so I have no time to make my copies for the next week except for lunch and after school.
My school is a GT/LD (Gifted and Talented/Learning Disabled) and a DHOH (Def and Hard of Hearing) school.  I am really learning a lot about DHOH.
One thing that I am not a fan of about my school is that I am in a portable.  Dont ask me why they thought it was a good idea to put 2nd grade outside in a portable instead of 4th or 5th grade, but oh well, I'm stuck there.

Well now that I told you a few things about Maryland and MCPS, I would like to tell you about the things I miss about LP and PUSD:
I miss the wonderful amazing people that I worked with for the past several years.  I miss having a special everyday and for 50 minutes.  I miss all of my wonderful technology, especially my voice enhancer.  I miss having all of the materials I would need. I miss having teacher's manuals.  I miss my easy commute.  I miss getting out at 3:00.  One of the biggest things I miss is KNOWING WHAT THE HECK TO DO EVERYDAY.  I am feeling so lost because I have never taught 2nd grade.  I figured it wouldnt be that different from 3rd grade, but I was wrong.  They are more like kindergarteners.  I have had to go back to the way I did things when I taught kindergarten and I am not a fan so far.  I am spending so much time on routines, rules, procedures and transitions.  I will get the hang of it soon, I hope.

Well I think this is enough for now.  I will try and remember to update you all soon!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Busy Summer

Well, the last time I left you was to let you know that we were moving to Maryland. The boys and I flew to MD on June 28th and Greg drove a truck with all of our things. He arrived late on July 1st and we moved into our house on July 2nd. It is now 2 months later and we are still not 100% unpacked. This house is much smaller than our house in Arizona, but the space is laid out so much differently. Our house here is 4 levels (basement, main level, bedroom level and loft). It has taken some time getting used to all of the stairs. It is quite a workout! Carson loves the basement aka his playroom.
Having my parents 5 minutes down the road has been amazing. Carson loves when Mimi and Pop come over to play with him. Half the time, he would rather have them here than me. He also loves playing with Aunt Samantha and Uncle Daniel.
Now on to jobs. I am very grateful for how easy it was for me to find a teaching job. I went on 2 interviews and was offered a job the day after my 2nd interview. I am teaching 2nd grade. It has been quite an adjustment but I am sure it will get easier.
We miss our friends and family in Arizona, but we are happy to be back "home" :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Big Changes!

Well, its official... The Szymanski Family is moving out of the house Greg and I built and moved into 1 month after we got married and moving 2000 miles east to Maryland. This decision was not the easiest to make. We have been thinking about moving since last spring but couldnt bring ourselves to do it last summer. Over the past year we were still weighing our options and we realized that if we dont do it now, we may never do it. If you know me, then you know that I do not do well with change... especially big changes. I used to think that I had my life mapped out (at least for the next 10 years), but last year I learned that life does not always happen how you want or expect it to.
It was really hard for us (me) to set a moving date and finally buy the plane tickets and reserve the moving truck because we have a life and a routine here. Friends, family, church, jobs, daycare (all you moms out there know how hard it is to find one you love and trust), doctors, favorite restaurants (oh how i will miss Pita Jungle) and so much more.
I have the most wonderful friends. We all met in 2005 when we started teaching school and now 6 years later we are closer then ever. We have been through so much: school, graduation, weddings, moves, jobs and babies.
Also I had a job I loved at an amazing school with amazing people. It was really hard telling my principal that I would not be returning and cleaning out my classroom is not fun. SO much stuff!!!
Greg has a few leads for jobs and I am crossing my fingers for a teaching job.

I am ready for this new adventure and I know everything will work out (in time). I am learning that I can not plan everything and I just need to take it one day at a time. I have family and friends back in Maryland who I know will support us and help us as much as they can.

I am really going to miss my friends and family here in Arizona, but I am really excited to be back with my family and friends in Maryland. As of June 28th at 10pm I will be a resident of Maryland again!!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Sorry, I have been MIA for about 2 months. Things have been pretty busy around here. I was busy trying to get everything ready at work for my maternity leave plus getting the house ready for Spencer to arrive. I will try and re-cap everything that happened up until Spencer arrived.
The Friday before Easter, my doctor sent me to the hospital for an NST because I said that I hadnt felt much movement that day. I spent 2 hours there and everything was great. Spencer was just sleeping I guess. Easter weekend was nice and relaxing. Carson and I made Rice Krispy Treat Eggs and we dyed eggs. We went to my in-laws on Easter Sunday for a big lunch. This was the first year I "hid" eggs for Carson to find and he LOVED it. We even hid some at grandma and grandpa's house.
The week after Easter was busy. We had a field trip on Monday, I had meetings half the day Tuesday, we saw the school play on Wednesday, I had off on Thursday for a doctor's appointment and my class had field day and my mom flew in :) then on Friday I made my mom come to work with me and help me get my room organized for my sub. Friday was my last full day at work so I had a little party with my kids since I will be missing all of the fun parties that the end of the year brings. After school the staff had planned a surprise for me. I was told we had a meeting in the library. The staff had put together a HUGE basket full of goodies for Spencer. I work with some amazing people. I did have to go to work on Monday for half the day (stupid insurance) and boy was it weird. I knew that I was being induced Monday night/early Tuesday morning so I really didnt get a day to relax before Spencer arrived.

Well, mommy duty calls so I will try and post about Spencer's arrival soon!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring!

Well today wraps up my week of Spring Break. It was so nice having time to get things done and time to spend with Carson. On Monday, Carson had his 1 year ENT appointment to check his tubes. Everything looked good and the doctor said that both tubes were working their way out of the ear drum. He wants to see us in about 5 weeks to check if the tubes have fallen out and if they havent, he will remove them. After Carson's appointment I wanted to have a fun afternoon so we went to the mall to have lunch and then went to Build a Bear to make a bear for Spencer. When I was pregnant with Carson I made a bear that has his heart beat in it so we did the same thing for Spencer. Carson loved helping stuff the bear and then giving it a bath.
Tuesday and Wednesday Carson went to daycare for a few hours so I could get some stuff done around the house and run some errands. Thursday was another Carson and Mommy fun day. We started our day with a visit from the Leprechaun. The Leprechaun left a trail of foot prints and gold and also made a mess in the playroom. Carson loved finding all of the gold. Then we have green pancakes for breakfast. Then we went up to Anthem to ride the train around the park. Carson was in heaven. He had a smile on his face the entire time. My plan was to let him play at the park after, but the playground was closed :( I needed to run into the Carter's outlet up in Anthem to find a "coming home for the hospital" outfit for Spencer so I promised Carson we would go to another park when we were done shopping. He was so good at the store and even picked out a few things for Spencer. I also got Carson his "Big Brother" shirt and got Spencer a matching "Little Brother" shirt.
Since it was getting close to lunch time, I asked Carson what he wanted for lunch and of course he suggested McDonalds. So on the way tot he park, I stopped and got McDonalds and we had a picnic at the park. After we ate and played for a bit, we headed home to take naps. Friday was a Mommy Day so Carson went to daycare again. I had things to return and I was treating myself to a pedicure. Boy was it nice to be sitting and having someone rub my feet.
Here are some pictures from the St. Patrick's Day and the train park:

Throughout the week I have been working hard on Spencer's room. His room was previously our junk and craft room so there was alot to do. We put the twin bed in Carson's room and put the crib together in Spencer's room. I did most of Spencer's laundry and even started putting the diaper bag together.
My mom bought the bedding for us as a gift and she ordered it this weekend. It should arrive this week and I can not wait.
This is the bedding:

I borrowed a friends Cricut machine to make a baby shower present for a friend and I am hooked. I have been trying to come up with a project for Spencer's room and today I got it! I am going to make a Subway art canvas. I already have the canvas (I just painted over the picture I made for Carson's nursery) and the vinyl. My plan is to start cutting the vinyl out today since I need to return the machine to my friend soon.
Here is my inspiration for the subway art:

I am not in love with parts of this so I am going to add some different words and such so we will see how it turns out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The countdown is on...

Well, as of today I am 31 weeks pregnant. I would love to say that time has flown by, but its hasnt. I feel like I have been pregnant forever! When I was pregnant with Carson I never remember feeling "done" but then again I wasnt working full time AND chasing after a 2 year old everyday. Working full time as a teacher is exhausting in itself, but then coming home and taking care of Carson or other wife/mommy duties completely wipes me out.
This pregnancy is very similar to my pregnancy with Carson. No morning sickness, no funny cravings, hip and back pain, but most importantly my belly measuring small. With Carson my doctor started noticing my smaller belly around 30-32 weeks. She started monitoring the growth by doing monthly ultrasounds and the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy she had me going in for NST's (Non Stress Test) twice a week.
At my appointment today, my doctor told me that she would like to start monitoring the baby's growth because when she measured my belly, it measured 28 cm. It is suppose to match up with the number of weeks you are. I am not too worried because I know everything worked out fine with Carson. I just make small babies I guess!
The one thing that is different with this pregnancy is that I have low blood platelets. We first discovered this in late November/early December. My doctor didnt seem too worried (levels were 121,000) and told me that we would check it again at in a few months. So, after learning of this "disorder" I started researching. The biggest thing that stood out was that if my levels were too low at time of delivery then I could not have an epidural! AHHHHHHHHHH, are you serious?!?!? That is the one thing that scares me most.
I had more blood work done last week and my levels went down even more (102,000). The first thing I thought when my doctor told me this was Could I still have an epidural??? My doctor is going to keep an eye on my levels and I have to go back in a few weeks for more blood work. I really hope they go up or stay the same. She said something about if they get below 88,000, but I honestly dont remember what she said. I was too focused on getting an epidural.
Well, I now go to the doctors every 2 weeks and soon I will be going every week. 9 weeks sounds a lot farther away then I think it really is. We are getting ready to put Spencer's room together. Next week we will be putting the twin bed in Carson's room and moving the crib into Spencer's room. The car seat is all washed and ready to go and Spencer has a ton of clothes ready to be washed. My wonderful friends are throwing me a baby shower in 2 weeks. They truly are the best and I cant wait to see everything they have done.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Love is in the air!

Well, maybe not love, but Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away. I finally finished a few projects that I have been working on. Thought I would share them with you...all 2 of you who probably read this ;)

Cupcake Liner Wreath

Foam Hearts I found in the dollar section at Target. Just hot glued them to dowel rods

Valentine's Day Subway Art that I found in blog land
Still waiting for the hubby to spray paint the frame white for me

Conversation Heart Topiary inspired from Mine for the Making

Here is a project I am working on for Carson, No Sew Blanket:

Cutting the fringe

Tie the 2 pieces together (like you would a balloon)

Looks super cute so far doesnt it???