Friday, November 28, 2014

K is For...

We are nearing the end of our week of thanks!  I have truly enjoyed sharing some of my favorite things with you all!

Today is for the letter K, and for me, that has to mean the kitchen!

I love to cook, and love spending time in the kitchen while the people I love cook.  I have such wonderful memories growing up of nightly family dinners at the table in our little kitchen, and especially of my mom making big Sunday dinners.  Now, I love to spend time in the kitchen myself, as I love cooking for others (though I can't deny I still love family dinners and my mom's cooking).  A very sweet teacher friend of mine, Shadia, also loves to cook, and it's always fun to talk about delicious things we've made or recipes we've stumbled upon that we would like to try. 
To me, the time and thought put into preparing food for someone else is a real expression of love.  I adore seeing my guy in the kitchen.  He far exceeds me as a chef, and eating something he has thoughtfully prepared for myself (like tonight's delicious bacon and garlic brussels sprouts-yum!) and/or my family is not only delicious, but warms my heart. 
Someday, I hope to pass on my love for the kitchen to my own children (not that I currently have any, but someday) and give them wonderful memories of dinners spent with people who love and cherish them.  Without a doubt, I am so thankful for the kitchen and the memories it holds. 

Make sure you stop back in tomorrow for the final day of the week of gratitude!

N is For...

Sorry this is a day late, my friends!  I had such a busy day yesterday, full of fun and love, that I didn't feel blogging was the right thing to do.  I wanted to just spend the day in the moment with the people around me.

So, delayed as it is, I'm giving thanks today for my Nikon, Nook app, and Non-Delayed Flights!

First up, is definitely my Nikon DSLR.  Some of you may or may not know that I do a smidge of photography on the side, and I absolutely love my Nikon.  I have had the pleasure of capturing family memories for so many wonderful people, and have made some lasting friendships with some of my clients.  It doesn't hurt to have such a wonderful tool to take great photographs for your own home, as well!

Second up would have to be my Nook app!  I love, love, love to read.  During the summers throughout high school and college, I would average reading a book a day and was a frequent flier of our local public library.  I still love the public library and utilize it often, but there are times when I'm stuck without a book and without the ability to get to the library or the store to find something to read.  This is especially true while traveling.  Enter the wonderous Nook app.  I can peruse online, buy it, and have it in my hands (digitally) in mere seconds.  As much as I love a real, in my hand, book, I love having any book rather than no book much more.

Last, but certainly not least, I am grateful for non-delayed flights!  My wonderful love flew in last night to spend the holiday (and weekend) with myself and my family, and we were a little concerned about the weather.  We met and fell in love when I lived in Florida, but I moved back to New York almost a year and a half ago.  In upstate NY, travel can always be unreliable at this time of the year.  I am always so grateful to see my good looking fella, but this night in particular filled my heart with love and joy.  Thanks to all the pilots, flight attendants, TSA personnel, traffic control folks, and everyone else who made it possible to spend my evening with my family and the man I love.
They hug every time they're reunited :)

There you have it folks!  K will be up a bit later tonight!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A is For...

Welcome back for Day 3 of a week of thanks with the ladies at Blog Hoppin!  Today is A, and for me, that means being thankful for my Abby, Ally, and a Lexi :)


These pups all came into my life at different times.  Lexi is 6 and I've had her since she was six weeks old.  Abby is also 6, but was adopted when she was two after being abused, and Ally is the baby at only two, and I've had her since she was 8 weeks old. 

These girls mean the world to me.  They are fun, fluffy, snugglers who cause complete chaos around the house.  They are adorable mess makers, and sweet (though a bit obsessive) lickers when they think I need a little love.  They wrestle and growl at each other, then cuddle when it's time to sleep.  They are just the best and are wonderful additions to my life!  Enjoy a few more pictures of the sweeties :)

Happy Wednesday, friends!  Hope you have a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

H is for...

Hi friends!  Welcome to Day 2 of expressing my thanks for many things in life along with the ladies at Blog Hoppin'!

Today is H is for...and for me, it's hand sanitizer, happiness, and hope!

Hand sanitizer?  Really, Krystina?  YES!  Really, friends.  Better believe that I am oh so thankful for my hand sanitizer whenever the kid who's been sneezing all day gives me a high five, or after handling homework from multiple little loves.  Hand sanitizer gives me peace of mind when I don't have time to properly wash my hands, and so far, has kept me quite healthy in my teaching career.  So I say a big, enthusiastic "Thank you!" to the lovely people at my favorite bath and body store who create delicious smelling sanitizer for these teacher hands. 

Happiness is a no brainer.  I am so thankful to be happy in my life.  I have an education, a career, and amazing people surrounding me, and I recognize each day that is more than most people in this world are fortunate enough to have.  What more could I ask for?

Last but not least, I am thankful that I have hope.  I hope that someday many things will change in the education world, that I will raise strong, smart children who will do great things for others, and that I will be able to make a lasting impact in the lives of my students.  Why, you may ask, am I thankful for hope?  Because some people live their lives devoid of hope-they have become jaded and lost the ability to think they can make a difference.  I'm grateful I still believe there can and will be better things in the future.

Thanks for joining me for Day 2 of my week of thanks!  If you missed Day 1, you can check it out here!

Monday, November 24, 2014

T is for...

I'm linking up with the ladies over at Blog Hoppin' for a week full of thankfulness, acrostic poem style!  Today being the first day, T is for...time spent with people I love!

I am truly blessed to have the best people in my life.  I have an amazing family, and friends who make me laugh and feel so very loved.  Whether they are near or far, these people mean the world to me and I am truly grateful every day that I have been so lucky to have them in my life.  In case I don't say it enough, thank you for being such an important part of my world; I love each and every one of you.
My ladies-Beth and Lex.

Amazing, long time friends, Kim and Aaron, and their sweet little boy.

My wonderful dad.

My sweet guy, who will hike a mountain to make me happy!

One of the best roommates and friends a gal could ask for-my Ricky.
My strong and spunky Jenna!
My beautiful mom and sister. 
The newest addition to our family-my cute little nephew.
My goofball brother, Sean.
My "little brothers", close family friends, Ethan and Noah.
And of course, my littlest pup, Ally.

There are several wonderful people I couldn't track down photos of, and many great teacher 
friends I have met via blogging and other social media, but know that I am thankful 
for all my close friends and family, even if I didn't post a photo!  
I'm also so thankful for you, my readers!  
Thanks for joining me at the start of this blogging journey; I hope it is a fun adventure for us all.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Made You Want to Be a Teacher?

I never wanted to be a teacher (stay with me).  I didn’t grow up loving to play school with my sister, or dreaming of the day I would inherit my own chalkboard and golden apple.  I grew up wanting to be a lot of things, from author to artist and just about everything in between, but never a teacher.  I was raised by two teachers turned administrators and I saw how hard they worked, and always thought “Why?  My parents are so smart, and they work so hard, they could’ve been anything they wanted.”  It had never occurred to me until the end of my college career that maybe that’s exactly what they wanted to be.

I was a good student in school and got good grades.  I read a lot of books and learned a lot of things.  When I was in high school, I thought I had it all figured out-I was going to go to college and become a doctor.  I shadowed a doctor for a few weeks, a really great orthopedic surgeon, and loved it.  Off I went to college, to a fairly exclusive human physiology program that filtered into a fast track program where you could complete your undergraduate and MD in 6 years total.  My parents tried to talk me out of it, but I’m rather stubborn.  Here’s one of the many times I should’ve listened to my parents.  It took me until my senior year of college to realize I shouldn’t pursue medicine.  I took an elective in Children’s Literature, as I had always loved picture books and reading.  I thought it would be a nice and easy course to round out my last year as an undergraduate.  As part of this course, we were required to tutor underprivileged students in reading twice a week.  And that’s when I very reluctantly admitted what my mother claims to have always known- I may not have always wanted to be a teacher, but I needed to be one.

Some of you may be shocked-how can a teacher blatantly admit this isn’t their dream job?  It may not have always been my dream, but it has definitely become the job of a lifetime.  Why was it not my dream?  I was lucky to have many stellar teachers growing up, but I also had some real duds.  I think the duds stuck with me, and made me have a more negative view of teachers.  I came to think the teachers who went the extra mile and loved their students so fiercely were the rare ones, like my aunt who taught kindergarten with such magic, I swear to this day she must have a wand.  It was in tutoring these underprivileged students, and seeing that some of them had some real duds for teachers, that I saw I NEEDED to be a teacher.  I knew I could put more passion, love, and enthusiasm into the job than some of the ones I had as a student, and that these students had.

So, as a senior in college, I began substitute teaching, I finished out my degree in the health field and began applying to graduate programs.  I even fielded calls from admissions representatives asking “Are you sure you applied to the right program?  We could easily fit you into our Occupational Therapy program, or Physical Therapy, maybe?”  As much as I had dreamed of being in the medical field, I knew that wasn’t my calling anymore.  I remained adamant and began graduate courses that summer.  I continued as a substitute teacher for the two years I spent to complete my two master’s degrees.

There you have it.  I didn’t always want to be a teacher, but I can say I am truly grateful every single day that I am.  Every night I pray that I will be one of the good ones, and never one of the duds, because that’s what every student deserves, and the reason I am a teacher.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Living History

Today was a great day in the land of fifth grade.  We like to learn, and we like to have fun, but there’s nothing better than being able to learn from someone who is an expert in a given field.  Today we had the absolute honor of having an Army Veteran visit our classroom, and answer all of our questions about Army life, leadership, and West Point.

My best friend is a West Point graduate and captain in the Army, and I truly could not be more proud of her.  She is an incredibly smart, driven, and dedicated person and I can’t imagine a better representative of our armed forces.  My students asked some amazing questions-from “Where do you live when you’re deployed?” to “What inspired you to become a part of the Army?”  They were not just engaged, but enthralled, and truly took in every bit of information she could give them.  I even had kids trying to hang back in line on the way to lunch to squeeze in more questions!  Captain Wagner is great with kids and took the time to answer their questions thoroughly, and show them that she cared about what they thought or wondered about.

I think the best part of our day with Captain Wagner was seeing the respect and adoration my students had for her and what she does for us.  I had students thank her for her service, and several others asked me if I could get her autograph for them!  It’s great to know that we are helping to educate students on the importance of our armed forces and why we should respect and honor what they do.

I hope everyone has a great Veteran’s Day tomorrow and takes a moment to think about those who have served our country.  If you have served, are currently serving, or stand behind a loved one who does, I genuinely thank you for the hard work you put in and the sacrifices you make on a daily basis.