Sunday, August 30, 2009

Greatest Snack Ever

Heat oven to 350º.
Unwrap Rollos.
Place Rollos on waxed paper on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 2 minutes.
Immediately push a mini twisty pretzel onto each melty Rollo.
Let cool.
Pull the waxed paper off the cookie sheet to remove the Rollos/pretzels.

So delicious!
Thanks, Liz!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for students in my new school district. A big day! We have all been working so hard to have things ready for today. I have loved being in the trenches and being part of the effort to ensure a great educational experience for our students. I love the team I work with, our department, and our district leaders. Our superintendent is a great leader - caring, intelligent, energetic - and the IT department directors are too. I feel so happy to be part of such a great team.

Now I am anxious and excited to really get to work with teachers and students. It feels good to work hard, problem solve, and really make a difference. I am working hard to earn the trust of the teachers and principals at my assigned schools. I have loved the teaching and presenting I have done so far.

First day memorable moments:
  • Wearing a bright yellow district T-shirt and having everyone stare at me all day
  • Sitting in the computer lab working on teacher laptops and looking up in time to see a 2nd grader making funny faces at me as she walked down the hall
  • Talking with the superintendent for 20 minutes and having him genuinely enjoying conversing with me
  • Being able to say hello to my former principal and coworkers as I traveled from school to school
  • Helping a lost 2nd grader find her bus - and her smile when we found it
  • "Thank you"s from teachers when their laptops were returned and ready for use
  • Passionate conversations about how best to help students through good teaching practices and technology use
  • Sharing in everyone's first day experiences via Twitter
  • Jethro puncturing his Coke can with a plastic knife and causing it to explode
  • Liz sharing her ugly stick doll with everyone
  • The enthusiasm and nervousness of first-year teachers
  • Hard-working, dedicated teachers, students, administrators, and district employees
I feel fortunate and excited to have my new position as an Educational Technology Specialist! I love being a part of the new district! It's going to be a great year!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Multimedia Summer Classes

I’ve been super busy over the last few weeks. What I thought was going to be a nice summer break with a few days of work has turned into work every day. Fortunately, I am loving my job and the people I am working with. I finished up the two summer classes I have been taking. My final project was a web site I built to teach kids dance from various decades. I think it’s pretty cool. But I am having trouble posting it. It keeps getting written over by my 30 Minute Lab Lessons site. When I get the problem solved, you should check it out: . Now I just have to apply to get the multimedia endorsement I earned by taking the classes.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pioneer Trek

The biggest recent event for me was the stake youth pioneer trek. I was called and set apart to be an “aunt” for the trek. We spent 3 days and 2 nights out in the wilderness southwest of Utah Lake reenacting the experiences of the Mormon pioneer handcart companies. We wore pioneer clothing, ate pioneer food, sang pioneer songs, and pushed pioneer hand carts. Everything we packed for the trek, except our sleeping bags and pillows, had to fit into a 5 gallon bucket. That was not an easy task. I admit I rolled up my PJs into my sleeping bag because I couldn’t get them into my bucket. :) We were assigned to families with a Pa, a Ma, about 9 children, and an aunt or uncle. Our family was great. It was so fun to get to know them so closely through our experiences together.

We walked a total of about 20 miles in 3 days. That’s not too terribly far, but we did have to push the hand cart with all our belongings for all 20 miles. The first day we had many casualties. Two people sprained their ankles and many had really bad blisters. The sweet Karen speaking kids -- refugees from Myanmar -- have never really worn shoes before, and their feet really suffered. We had 2 sweet girls in our “family” that had been given donated shoes to wear. One of them was walking in shoes that were 2 sizes too small! Every one of her toes, both heels, and the soles of her feet had blisters. But, they smiled the whole time and never complained. I ended up literally carrying them to the first aid truck because they could no longer walk. That night at camp they invited me to eat with them. And when it was decided that they needed to go home, they hugged me and hugged me when we said goodbye. They were so sweet and such good examples.

One of the most emotional and spiritual experiences on trek was when the men were taken away on the second day to serve in the Mormon Battalion. The women were left to pull the carts alone through the most difficult part of the trail. Usually to get the carts to move, 4 people pulled on the handles in the front and 4 people pushed from behind. But, many of our families only had 3 or 4 women left after losing so many kids the first day. We knew right away it would be a struggle. As we watched the men march away, one of the leaders told us the story of a woman who was not even LDS but had come across the plains because her husband, who had joined the church, asked her to. She loved him and she trusted him, so she went. He died on the journey, leaving her to pull their cart with their 7 children. Within 21 days of her husband’s death, 5 of their children also died. And yet, she continued on to the Salt Lake Valley, finishing the journey her husband had believed in. Of course, that story caused all of us to start our women’s pull with our hearts full of emotion.

The women’s pull was hard. We pulled in total silence for a quarter mile so we could think about the difficulties the pioneer women had faced. The lead hand cart struggled so much to pull through the deep sand that they had to stop and signal for help. I left my family because we had 5 women, and I ran up to the lead cart to help them. They were all in tears when I started to help them pull. As we approached the top of the hill we were climbing, we saw the men lined up on either side of the trail. As we pushed and pulled through, exhausted, thirsty, and out of breath, the men began to hum “The Spirit of God”. The spirit was so strong. For the women, it was incredible to experience the strength of the priesthood in this very literal way. And for the men, it was an awakening to love and respect they have for the women in their lives and their silent strength. The testimonies borne after this experience brought tears to my eyes.

I loved the opportunity to associate with everyone on trek. The youth have so much power to do good. And the Ma’s and Pa’s set such good examples as they worked together and supported one another. We all got extremely dirty, tired, eaten by mosquitos, rained on, wind blown, and blistered, but we had a blast. I danced and sang and told jokes with the kids. We cried when family members, including me, “died” and had to leave the family. We celebrated when we all made it to the “Salt Lake Valley” and were reunited with our “families”. It was a wonderful experience. I am grateful I was asked to participate.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I had a dream the other night that a friend of mine was a famous singer named “The Hood.” He wanted his true identity to be a secret so he wouldn’t be hounded by fans and paparazzi, so he always wore a big, red hoodie to hide his face. In my dream I was out running errands when he and his entourage passed by with a crowd of screaming fans following him. I asked someone who he was and what the big deal was, and an astonished girl (how could I not know who he was, after all?) told me, “That is The Hood! He’s only the greatest hip hop singer EVER!”
Then, as he got in his limo, I somehow got a look at his face and was so confused. “But that’s my friend,” I said.
The crowd froze and stared at me. Then they all went crazy again and started yelling things like, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe you know him!”
Strange dream. My two other dreams that night were about my boss not saving me seats at a concert just to be mean to me and people changing into fish when exposed to intense heat. So having a friend who is a hip hop star with a secret identity doesn't sound so strange after all.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Life Update

Work has been pretty hectic. We only have a few more weeks until this brand-new district has to be fully functional! We are frequently asked to drop whatever we are doing to help the techs with the grunt work. We all pitch in wherever we are needed. It’s pretty cool actually. I really feel like I’m part of a great team. I did get my school assignments, so that’s exciting. I will still get to work with my former principal! Hooray! I’m looking forward to working with the teachers and principals once this initial running around helping with tech issues is done.

I am still busy with things around the house and with both my church callings. Softball season is going. We were finally able to get the city to allow us to play at Granite High School Thursday nights. Everyone whined so much about having to get up early on Saturday mornings last year, so we changed it. And now they whine about the sun setting in their eyes. Oh well. :) I need to convince the stake to let me buy some decent mitts. My hand is bruised and swollen from using the lame little mitt we have. It’s fun though.