Lately I’ve been…

Listening to In The Dark, a true crime investigative podcast. “For nearly 27 years, the case went unsolved, no body, no abductor. Until now.”

Planning editor positions for next year. I’ve been losing sleep about these decisions because the pressure (and disappointment) from students and parents keeps my inbox full for the month of May. It’s difficult. Putting the most qualified people in the best position allows for both the newspaper and the yearbook to run smoothly.

Ordering Family photos on canvases to hang in our home. As much as I love Shutterfly for prints, the canvases are expensive. I ordered a cheap on from Walmart last summer ($29). Although I had to tape the corners on the back (you get what you pay for), it makes changing it out less of an investment.

Running the trails again. Spring has official arrived and the trails make me feel like I’ve escaped from the busyness of the day. Our family 5k for the Ronald McDonald House is two weeks away. I know I can easily run three miles, but the jogging stroller will give me a challenge.

Debating whether to send Elijah to daycare at all this summer. I’m torn between wanting all the time I can get with him and knowing I would give him better quality time if I had even a day a week to knock school stuff (yearbook deadlines) and basic around the house chores to accomplish while he enjoyed social interaction with his friends.  I can’t wait for so many new experiences this summer with Elijah, but I also need to make sure I return to school refreshed and ready in August. I’ll keep you posted on this decision.

Watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. I read the book many years ago, and I don’t remember much, but the show is keeping my attention. Plot: A high school student commits suicide and leaves behind thirteen tapes explaining why she made the decision.

Reading Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly. I love reading Matthew Kelly books in small chunks because it allows me to take his messages and apply them a little at a time. I’m enjoying this latest release from one of my favorite authors.

What are you listening to, planning, ordering, running, debating, watching, and/or reading?

Instant Mood Boost

The weekend’s weather was a springboard past spring fever and right into summer fever.

My favorite part about this photo is the toy truck. This sweet reminder was left behind by my little explorer after a warm spring evening of grilling out and dinner on the deck.

I can only pray more beautiful moments like this exist in the near future.

Back to the RMHC for Easter

Last year John and I woke up on Easter morning at the Ronald McDonald House. I had a small breakdown when I saw the Easter baskets at the bottom of the stairs, knowing our son was sedated and getting ready to undergo another surgery that day. Instead of going to church on Easter, we sat in a patient waiting room and had lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Even after great news that evening, John and my Easter supper came from the gas station and we crawled in bed at the Ronald McDonald House again late that night.

This year, we spent Easter at the Ronald McDonald House again. But this time, we brought Elijah.

After some serious thought about how we wanted to spend Easter, John and I decided we wanted to give back to the place that gave us a shower and a bed last year on Easter. I contacted the volunteer coordinator and asked if we could serve an Easter meal to the people staying there. The date was available, and we started making arrangements. We decided a menu: traditional Easter ham, mashed potatoes, beans, fruit, rolls, and desserts. We purchased the groceries, and we brought everything with us to Iowa City.

With the help of my parents and my aunt, we spent the day preparing food for 35 people. One of the requirements for serving a meal is that everything must be prepared in the RMHC kitchen. While the ham baked, we prepped the other food. Thankfully my aunt is a master potato peeler and handled 15 lbs to feed all of the guests. In between preparation, we utilized the amazing playground out back and took in the gorgeous weather with Elijah. He was a rockstar all day and contributed his cheesy smile to the guests.

The day was emotional, and hearing people’s stories was inspiring. I can’t say much more because of confidentiality, but I’ll tell you it was the best Easter.

Seattle Highlights

I learned my way around downtown Seattle quickly. I had breakfast and coffee at the market every morning, and I usually wandered down every afternoon, too. Since the original Starbucks is located in this area, early mornings were the only time without a line all the way down the street. I walked right in, ordered my Venti coffee with hazelnut syrup, and I was on my way for the day. I’m not one to purchased souvenirs when I travel, but a Starbucks ceramic mug from the original shop was a must.

Another highlight from the trip was the Josten’s adviser appreciation dinner Saturday evening. This event was held at the Crab Pot right on the water. We took in a ferris wheel ride prior and were then served wine and more
seafood than we could consume. It was a night of trading stories and strategies with other yearbook advisers. Check out the ferris wheel views! The beautiful sunset helped me forget about the cool temperatures.

I returned home with a handful of goals to accomplish before next year’s conference. These include spending more time on our newspaper’s website, submitting student work for contests, and completing my own JEA journalism certification with the hope of someday presenting at the national level. Just typing those make me need another cup of coffee…

NHSJC Seattle

NHSJC = National High School Journalism Conference

Sunshine greeted me when I arrived in Seattle yesterday afternoon. I even had time to explore downtown a little before the convention officially kicked off at 7 p.m.

The time change of two hours behind made this tough. Thankfully there is a Starbucks everywhere you look, so a venti Americano helped me through the adviser meeting, keynote, and adviser reception.

The time changed worked in my advantage this morning as I took in Pike Place Market while most people were still sleeping. Gorgeous flowers, fresh fish, and an endless supply of coffee keep this city running.

My sessions today included a lot of adviser collaboration. We talked about grading, meeting standards, and being able to retire without an ulcer. An adviser luncheon introduced me to adviser from all over the United States.

What I’ve learned so far- We’re doing a lot of things correctly in my school’s JLAB.

Doctors In Concert

Saturday night’s date night was unlike John and my typical night out, thanks to my brother Matt and his girlfriend, Meredith.

For Elijah’s birthday, Matt and Meredith gave us tickets to Doctor’s in Concert. This event was a fundraiser for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. In addition to a gift close to our hearts, Matt and Meredith arranged their schedules to babysit Elijah while we attended the concert. In fact, they encouraged us to be gone as long as was wanted and they spent the night.

From the snaps I received, it was obvious Elijah loved time with these two chasing him around the house.

For us, our evening started with a reception at the Coralville Performing Arts Center before the concert. The show was put on by doctors at the university, and the event was hosted by Kirk Ferentz and his wife, Mary. Acts included anything from the University Faculty Pep Band to solo piano and vocal performances. Talk about talent!

Intermission included Scratch cupcakes, AND we made a detour to Hurts Donuts- Open 25 hours a day! just down the hallway of the performance center.

After a rough teaching week, it was just the escape I needed in every way.

Alumni Basketball

John plays basketball two-three times a week depending on the season. Tuesdays and Saturdays are with a group from church, and Sunday nights are through a rec league just outside of town. He’d like me to mention that he recently won the championship with his rec league team.

Even though John rarely misses one of these opportunities to compete, I haven’t watched him play in over a year.

Saturday’s alumni basketball tournament back in our home town allowed for Elijah and me to cheer him on for multiple games.

Graduating classes created teams to compete against other classes. Each team member paid an entry fee, and all the proceeds went to the high school boys’ basketball program. It was fun to recognize faces and watch the young guys take on the “old” guys. John was admittedly pretty stiff and sore following three games.

John was supposed to play in the tournament last year, but we were spending every waking hour at the hospital with Elijah. This year, Elijah clapped for his dad, and he got mad when John was playing and ignoring him. It’s safe to say Elijah wants in on the action and won’t be sitting on the sidelines for long.