Sunday, December 30, 2012


(this is from October, I didn't realize I had not published it! and now we are getting ready for the second benchmark!)

Whew.. most of our benchmark testing is over for the first nine weeks. I have 2 who still need to finish tomorrow with the special ed teacher. While this is a stressful time, I really like having the data to look at and use.

It's hard for third graders, because they have never really taken a big test before. Using bubble sheets (I always want to call them scantrons but I am thinking that is not "politically correct") is new to them. Being totally quiet for an extended period of time is also new. I understand the big push in stamina for students, I just wish younger grade teachers would catch on.

The best thing is that our district has subscribed to Mastery Connect. Have you tried it? You can find it at  You put your test in, the answers and align it to your state standards.Next you take a picture of your bubble sheet and it scores it automatically for you. It is amazing. It then scores it and you see instantly how your students did individually and as a whole class. I never knew it could be so easy!!

Coming back to third grade sure feels like I have come back home! While there are definitely bumps in the road, it feels good to be home.

The Top 10 Things I Miss most about Chicago (area)

I was a lucky kid. I grew up just less than 20 miles outside of Chicago in Bolingbrook, Illinois. At that time, Bolingbrook had only about 27,000 people (thank you Wikipedia.. I look smarter than the average bear now!). Today Bolingbrook houses over 75k!!! Amazing

I went back "home" this past fall to get my oldest, John, settled in at Wheaton College. He is a freshman and seems to be doing ok (thanks for asking!).
It really is as nice as it looks. 

I, on the other hand, am feeling homesick. For many of the past 20 (I hate admitting that, makes me sound old.. but I am not!!) years, I have not felt homesick for the area at all. But starting Thanksgiving 2011, I have been.

I want to share a list of what I miss most. Let me know your thoughts on what you miss about your hometown!

10. The way people talk. Never really realized it but having heard it, as well as some phone calls I have had with strangers lately, I miss it! Weird!! I know.... But I will tell you if I ever move back, I'm not giving up the y'all I have come to know and love!!

9. The beef sandwiches at Portillos. No way to describe how the gravy seeps into the bun and makes it just soft enough....yet not soggy. The rest stays harder, crunchier, for that just right taste!! A trip home wouldn't be the same without it.

8. The drivers. What?!??!!! Yes, the drivers. While they do seem to be more aggressive, they also are more polite. I noticed people always waved when you let them in ( no! not just with one finger), they seem more likely too to let you in. I like that!

7. Burritos. Football sized. Made by true Mexicans. No other explanation necessary!
My mouth is watering just thinking about the taste of this. Mmmm 

6. Life long friends. One of my best friends are from there. Well, she now lives in Vegas, but she can appreciate all that I know and love there. One of the best blessings this year is that John has met my high school best friend's sister, Annette. Annette and her family have somewhat adopted John. He is a part of their family now, they pick him up for church, have spent time with him, and truly seem to be loving him. This seems to go with #5 but not all went to high school with me, and how can you limit the amount you want to count the true blessings of friendship!
This is my friend, Ronni. Doesn't she look great!! She is the one who lives in Vegas, and while deciding which photo to choose, I figured one that shows her beauty (not sarcastic attitude) would be best. She is also a popular blogger. You can check her out here

5. High school friends. Believe me when I say there is nothing better than hanging out for the night with some friends that you have known over 25 years. The laughter, even some tears, just make you feel like your heart is home.
Some of my best friends, in life. 

4. Family. I am so fortunate to have a best friend in my brother and his new wife Glaiza. Growing up, yeah not so much, but today he really is one of my best friends. I also have a great cousin that I always try to connect with when I am lucky enough to be in town!

3. Always something to do. The museums are interesting enough that you could often and still enjoy them. The lake is amazing all year long. Once I went and was able to walk out on it all covered in ice. Train rides in and out are great for people watching. Lincoln Park Zoo is free. The Morton Arboretum is amazing. The list goes on and on. (I don't find Oklahoma City to be exciting, at all!!)
Arboretum, so peaceful
(photo courtesy of the Morton Arboretum)

2. Chicago style pizza. Whether it is Uno's, Giordano's, Lou Malnaty's, or any others.... Nothing compares. Many have tried (trust me, I've tried many who claim to be just like theirs), but none have succeeded in even coming close!! I personally prefer to go to Uno's downtown; it's just fun!!
Waiting just builds the excitement!

1. A few months ago, my number one would have been different, but now that John is in the Chicago area, he is the person I miss most there. I am so proud of him. I am so looking forward to seeing the plans God has for him in his life. I do, however, have to admit that I am slightly jealous of him being there. I hope he learns to love it there as much as I do!