Trips to Cucumberland…and Other Summer Adventures

Sadly, Cucumberland does not exist.  But one cousin decided it sounded way better than “Cumberland Farms” when we had to do a turn-around on the way to dinner tonight. This past week has been filled with cousin adventures, sharing crazy family stories, car dancing like fools (okay it may have just been me) and eating ice cream. Every. Single. Day. Like summer should be. Oh, and tonight cousin adventures meant “gluten-free girl meets the mac-n-cheese burger and can’t say no.” I was a little jealous I didn’t order it myself.

ImageSummer has been good to me so far. Which is making it that much harder to think about the fall, though I am so excited for my own classroom. Tutoring has kept me thinking like a teacher at least one hour a week, and the four-year-old sibling yelling “me next!” when I’m working with his brothers has given me a nice ego boost (though it might have something to do with the Starburst I bring 😉 ).

Last but not least….drum roll please….I have started running again! I’m nowhere near where I was pre-injury, but two times a week of this

Imageand strengthening exercises at physical therapy is definitely helping. “This” is muscle stimulation and ultrasound, and while neither are comfortable, they are doing something right. I nearly passed out on Sunday, part from excitement, and part from near heat-exhaustion, when I made it 4 miles. For the first time in nearly two months. I’m definitely ready to get back to it, and leave the jog-walking and 19 minutes of running behind, but trying to be cautious. I keep reminding myself that a run is a run is a run.

Summer is more than halfway over, and has presented me with the challenge of balancing work and free time (a luxury for now, it will be gone in the fall!), which I think I’ve handled okay so far.  I’m ready for some more summer shenanigans, and who knows, maybe I’ll fit another visit to Cucumberland in during the next few weeks.

If you’re gonna teach fourth grade, you need to know that!

This blog has always been a place for me to share stories from teaching, running adventures and cooking experiments…and okay, it has also hosted the occasional pity party. I thought that once the school year ended I’d find more time and inspiration for blogging, and slowly but surely I am. The last month has been hectic, but isn’t every month hectic, in at least one way, for everyone? The high point of June was finally landing a teaching job. A fantastic one at that-fourth grade! I was immediately excited and overwhelmed by the 2013-2014 school year, and it still doesn’t seem real to me. I think Judy Blume wrote Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and apparently I’ll be writing Tales of a First Year Fourth Grade Teacher 😉

The close of the school year, the never-ending saga of packing my life into my car, avoiding unpacking my life at home and having to leap over heaping duffel bags into bed at night. I swear I’m organized, just have clean out and donate-add that to the to-do list.

In my quest to avoid giant duffel bags, I’ve been hanging with some very cool members of the 10-and-under crowd and learning some important life lessons. #1 Learn to spell Volkswagen without hesitation. In an intense round of Logo Quiz (I don’t spend my free time playing this-but maybe I should), I hesitated to spell Volkswagen, and a 6 year old spectator informed me “if you’re gonna teach fourth grade, you need to know that!” Forget studying curriculum and national standards this summer, I need to watch more TV and learn my logos!

Lesson #2-I need to get a rainbow loom. Something that occupies kids’ time and helps you make jewelry? Win. If only I had come up with the idea of weaving and connecting tiny multi-colored rubber bands. In all honesty, I definitely need some practice with it, but until then I have gifts from my favorite jewelry designers 🙂

photo

I know that the month holds many more lessons for me, which I will definitely have to share.

In running news (or maybe lack-of-running news) I got out for the first time in a month on Saturday AND didn’t collapse! PT starts tomorrow for my shin/calf/sucky leg, so my fingers are crossed that it works the miracles it did last time. Alright, time to go watch some TV so I can memorize spellings of company names!

Visiting Fudgeries and Eating Lobstah

Summer is finally year. And it happened to coincide with the first day of summer on the calendar. To celebrate the arrival of warm weather, I thought I’d do a little recap of my adventures today. I convinced a friend to venture up to the North Shore this morning, and we were off on our adventure to Rockport. After we finally found a parking space on a residential street, and received the warning that my side mirror might be ripped off by a passing bus, we walked into town.

Serious food overload. We walked pass at least five ice cream shops, including one actually named The Ice Cream Store, fudgeries, candy stories, and a strudel shop. It was a bit overwhelming to be honest, but we were able to settle on visiting a fudgery and ice cream store. After lunchin’ on some lobstah of course. Why choose between lobster tacos and lobster salad when you and a friend can each get one and share? That’s what we did. Pure genius.

We were eager to do a little sight seeing after lunch, well, let’s be honest, we were a little eager to take a few pictures 😉

ImageImageSeaside window shopping was pretty fabulous. Who doesn’t want a sign that reads “my grandchild is a cat?!” Somehow I passed on that shopportunity.  To console myself, I settled for a gigantic waffle cone of ice cream. Yum.

So we didn’t come home with the sign reading “I don’t skinny dip, I chunky dunk,” but a bag of fudge and chocolate was souvenir enough.

Catching Rainbows

The past few weeks have been a total blur.  Several times I remembered this blog I used to write, and then it got too late, my eyes wouldn’t stay open, lunches needed to be made and laundry done. There will always be excuses to be made, deadlines to be met, phone calls to return, and sometimes it takes stepping back, or in my case entertaining every thought in my head during commutes, to recognize what it is important. I really missed writing and running. Sadly, the running part needs to wait a bit longer–after a measly mile on Sunday evening my calf was in persistent pain all night. I have an appointment with a sports medicine doctor next week, so hopefully I’ll get some clarity on everything that is going on and how I can move forward then.

LOTS of wonderful things have happened in the last few weeks. I ventured out a few weekends ago and did a little solo beach exploring, and was amazed at how gorgeous beaches are up here on the North Shore.

ImageImageThis gorgeous scenery even inspired me to channel my inner 9 year old and do a little shell collecting…and donut eating…ImageGiven my sweet tooth, passing up a homemade donut was not an option 😉

After I finally got the news I’ve been waiting to hear for the last two months, the last year really-I have my first teaching job. As in I’m a real teacher, in charge of the classroom (well co-teaching) and 23 4th graders come September. Woah. Driving home the night I found out I saw the biggest rainbow I’ve every seen. Monday night on my drive home, I spotted a double rainbow. Seeing a rainbow never gets old, or maybe I just get way too excited by things.

As things continue speeding forward-setting up a classroom and planning for next year, figuring out how I’m going to decorate my bedroom in a new apartment, planning tutoring for summer, and hopefully speeding forward on my own two feet after the doctor next week, I want to remember to look up every once in a while. Take a minute and think about what I want to be doing and how I can make it happen. Maybe I’ll even catch another glimpse of a rainbow.

Finally Friday

I’m not sure that this week has only been 5 days. It feels a lot longer. I am sure that commuting makes me quite a bit grumpy and cynical…my apologies to anyone who I’ve talked to over the past few days and has gotten a taste of that.  Despite the long week, it is FINALLY Friday. Serious sigh of relief. Things are a bit chaotic, and I have been in such a fog that blogging has been a challenge (because there’s only so much boredom I can inflict on my lovely readers), but I’m determined to share a few of my thoughts 🙂

1. I’m pretty sure my calf strain is not healed. As someone pointed out yesterday, how could it possibly be healed when I have not rested my legs since the marathon? I’m not running the way I was pre-marathon, but I still am keeping active and trying to get back into running–which is proving to be a fail because of the aforementioned calf. I bit the bullet today and scheduled an appointment with a sports medicine doc in a few weeks, and until then will be icing and stretching like a champ.  I know I sound crazy, but I’m not sure I can stop running. It is the best stress reliever and I always feel best during or immediately following a run.

2. I get the idea behind compost but am not a fan of the logistics. “Ms. Sacco, does this bin (of slimy, half rotten banana peels and apple cores) need to go outside?” Yes, yes it does. Fast forward to a little adventure with one of my first grade buddies, opening up the compost container in the rain, and then dropping the bin in. Whoops. Of course, being the super teacher that I am, this went I went “compost-diving” through a swarm of bugs to get the bin. If not for the first grader with me, there definitely might’ve been some choice language.

3. I’m attempting to embrace alone time. If the weather clears up I think I’ll enjoy it a lot more, so fingers crossed the rain clears up tomorrow. Otherwise my grand plans for walks around this sweet town, reading at the beach and ice cream eating are going to turn into some serious couch and TV time. Not that that plan sounds all that bad…

So, legs up, ice packs on, let the good times roll. Thank goodness it’s finally Friday 😉

When Ketchup Explodes…and Monday Happenings

Allow me to set the scene, it’s lunch time for first graders.  I am doing my best to open barbecue sauce, thermoses, milk cartons and start peeling oranges without getting my hands TOO dirty. I opened one sauce packet for one of my kiddos and asked him if he could try to do the next one before I stepped in. Well, try he did.  He opened the packet so face that it exploded all over the pour kids shirt and pants and face and neck. Being the good teacher that I am, I quickly jumped back and avoided getting any ketchup on myself.  The giggling that followed from my ketchup-covered friend was truly awesome, and refreshing, since I know that most other kids would not have had that reaction. We both laughed and were stunned, but managed to get it together to clean him up….well, as much as you can “clean up” ketchup that has been rubbed all over clothing.

Moving on from my daily dose of first grade comedy, I was excited that the rain cleared up and the humidity dropped because I really wanted to get a run in.  The plan was to run to the beach. And it WAS a great plan. Despite the lovely sights and playlist pumping, my calf strain started acting up. I’m wondering if it hasn’t healed from pre-Boston Marathon, or if I aggravated it again getting back into running. So my run turned into a jog, turned into a walk, and then amped back up to a run-walk for the last 2 miles. Good thing the sights were pretty 🙂

Image

ImageIf I go back to “a run is a run is a run” then I guess it counts. I’m just hoping a few rest days and an icing regimen will get me back in tip-top shape again. I’m off to ice and recover from the ketchup trauma, and indulge in a little Bachelorette before bed.

For those of you who have had calf strains, or other kinds of muscle injuries, how long was recovery time? Any tips to speed it up??

I Love Commuting…

…said no one ever. Spending more than two hours a day driving is no fun. But, getting to come back to run down streets like these makes it all worth it.

ImageThis could be a running ad-how could you NOT want to run down a street like this?!

Or at least, mostly worth it. Yes, the drive and traffic and lack of good music on the radio before 7am is no fun. And performing a daily balancing act, eating peanut butter toast and drinking coffee without spilling any on my work clothes, can be a little tricky. But I’m loving where I am.  I am embracing the North shore, the wonderful company I have and the peace and quiet I get to come home too. Not hearing the T, cars bustling by and yelling from our neighbors (I never figured out why this was a daily occurrence),  is really wonderful.

I’m determined to make the most of June, to enjoy myself amidst the craziness of life at the current moment. I’m going to run more. Read more. Do more of things I like (how’s that for a lofty goal?). Spend more time with friends. For now, even though it’s still May, I’m focusing on run more. 2 days in a row so far this week-which hasn’t happened in a very long time.

ImageI’m hoping to get back to sharing more about the exciting adventures in first grade, and the amazing lines that you’ll only hear a 7 year old (or 6 3/4) say, but for tonight, work is staying at work, and I’m thinking about my next run.

Let’s be honest, I’m actually thinking about how early is acceptable to go to bed with my new 5:30am wake up call 😉