14 in '14 Linky Party!

Hey, everyone! I'm linking up with some awesome bloggers to bring you... Fourteen in '14 an end of year blogger recap. So excited to hop around and see what memories everyone is sharing! Click HERE if you'd like to join in the fun!

Such an unbelievably simple statement! Such an unbelievably difficult concept for so many. I had a hard time with this, myself, for quite awhile. I think that as teachers, we give so much of ourselves to our students and their families that sometimes we let ourselves fall behind. I am blessed to have such an incredible husband who pushes me to truly focus on me. He reminds me of the importance of my own emotional health and reels me in when I need it. 

Those who know me personally will tell you -- I am all about that sparkle! I love anything that glitters! One student from my grade partner's class refers to me as "The Sparkle Teacher". 

I picked up this top at 2:00am on Black Friday at Old Navy. I saw it from across the store and knew that I just HAD to have it! I love that I can wear it when I'm having a lazy day around the house running crazy amounts of errands on the weekend or pair it with my wide-leg trousers for work! It is comfy (and not at all scratchy!) and fits my personality oh-so-well!

This was the movie of the year in my book! Besides the fact I am obsessed with pretty much anything "super" and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has me wrapped around its hypothetical finger... this movie made me want to learn more. It made me want to take up reading comic books... it made me feel for each character. I just can't get enough and I have my fingers crossed that it is under the Christmas tree on Thursday! :)

It is going to break my heart when this show ends in February. It makes me laugh harder than almost any other show -- ever! You know, those big belly laughs... I just can't get enough. I have now watched the entire series twice on Netflix. Gahhhh!! I don't want it to go awayyyy :(

I just cannot get enough of this place! I could seriously have it every night! My husband's favorite is the BBQ Brisket Tacos. But me? I love it ALL! Not to mention, the drinks are AMAZZZZZING! Hmm... maybe that's where I should go tomorrow after work! ;)

Honestly, I was super nervous coming into 1st grade. In Kindergarten, my team and I just... plain... gelled. We knew what one another was thinking without having to speak. I was nervous that I would run out of ideas to use with the kiddos now having them for a 2nd year. There was even a part of me that worried that I was so in tune with Kindergarten that I wouldn't know what to do next... where to take them... how to move them. But now... oh, how I love it! It is a thrill to see the growth they've experienced and I am honored that I get to be a part of it for another year. The ideas keep coming and there's always Pinterest when they don't! And my team? Well, it's still a learning curve, but we really do work very well together! We all bring something totally different to the table and that is refreshing!

So, I actually received this gift today! I had started this post and initially wrote about a watch from my husband, but then my little Chantel came in with a package wrapped up in Hello Kitty Christmas paper and this letter. This letter made my entire year! I am beyond touched by her sweet words, but even more than all of that... I look at this letter and think back to a year ago when these same kiddos were just learning the letters -- now they're reading and writing book reports all on their own! I am just so proud of all that they have accomplished. 

This is a more recent pin, but... OH MY GOODNESS these cookies are SO good!! My husband is a huge fan of sugar cookies and ultra picky about them -- and he purchased some Star Wars cookie cutters/presses over the summer on clearance at Williams Sonoma so I needed to be sure to have a solid recipe. We tried out the cutters on an old family recipe and the cookies blew up so much, you couldn't tell what the cookies were supposed to be. I came across this recipe and tried it out THEY WERE A HIT!! My mother in law even asked me for the recipe... (WHAAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!) I have now made 6 more batches totaling over 40 dozen cookies this month! So crazy! Click the picture for the source! Seriously... trust me on this one, they are DELICIOUS!
My favorite post this year has got to be my post about our number portraits that my kiddos made. We had a BLAST making them and the kids were really able to show off what they had learned. Anytime we can integrate concepts, I am a happy girl! 

In April 2014, I was awarded Early Childhood Teacher of the Year by WeCare Community, Inc.
It was a huge surprise as I didn't even know that I had been nominated! Receiving the phone call was absolutely surreal. I was truly humbled by the support of my colleagues, family, and best friends. I never expected anything like this... and it was nothing short of incredible!

In 2014, I ran my first 5K alongside 2 colleagues. As I have posted here, I am working toward my ultimate weight loss and fitness goals -- and this was the first hurdle I wanted to jump! I wore that dye like a badge of honor... and got some wild and crazy looks in the process! I hope to run more 5Ks in 2015... and maybe try a 10K? This photo makes me happy, proud, eager, and even a little disappointed (that it took me so long to try!). It feels me with more emotion than you would think a simple selfie (us-ie?) could.

My amazing husband (have I mentioned lately how truly lovely he is?!) set up an excursion while on our cruise to head to Blue Lagoon Island to play with SEA LIONS!!!!! They are my favorite animal and we had a great time hanging out with them and their trainers! Definitely something that I will never forget -- can't wait to do it again!!

More than anything, I want to get myself healthy -- for once and for all. I want to lose this weight and be able to run around with my kiddos on our new playgrounds at the new school next year. I want to be in prime condition to start a family in the coming years. I want to finally feel comfortable in my own skin.

This year, I really jumped into the blogging world, began the looping experiment with my class (and their families) and began working with the teachers' union's New Teacher Committee. I have really been feeling the need for being connected -- and all of the benefits of strong connections! I am eager to see what types of new connections will form in the coming year! So many things to be excited about!!

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