Sunday, May 31, 2015

Stuff Students Say: May Edition

You guys, we have 3 and a half days left. That's it! I am so so so excited for summer because I've been sprinting to the finish line over here, and am currently drowning in report cards. That being said, I want to hang on to every single day with my kids because this class is so special to me. Here are some of the great things they said this month:

(Discussing different historial flags during Social Studies)
The don't tread on me flag is my favorite because it's like we're telling England you can't walk all over me so watch out!

I was going so high on the swings at recess that the sun almost melted my face!

(After answering a math question correctly in front of the class)
That's how I ROLL! 

(Our principal let the second graders bring their bikes to ride around on the pavement during recess one Wednesday)
This is the best day in the whole world to me! 

Student: Mrs. Whartnaby I have a secret for you so come closer. 
Me: Okay, what do you need?
Student: If I was a grown up and I had a ring I would say will you marry me and give the ring to you.

(Discussing the Last Supper in Bible class)
Wait...isn't this communion? When all the adults get snacks in the front of church? 

Mrs. Whartnaby I didn't know you were a bear hugger!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Face Palm

You guys. Can we talk about my face wash?


How is this okay? Should something that I apply daily to my skin alter the chemical composition of a common household textile? I use Proactiv each day and it seems as though the company has mistaken the classic formula for straight bleach.

I've run this washcloth through the washing machine accidentally with bleach before and it didn't have this effect. I wash my face wash off with it once and it looks like I've forgotten it in a pool with a toxic chlorine content for 48 hours.

The crazy thing? I need to keep using this bleachy bleach on my face because it never seems to be consistently working. Nice that they keep themselves in business that way. So is this my lot? Do I have to have horrendous skin AND it's going to burn off from the chemicals I lavish upon it each day? Woof. I think it might be time to just embrace the annoying skin I have and quit now.

I'm off to buy some white washcloths so I can live in denial about what I'm doing to my skin. Solidarity to all you other girls with blotchy gray towels. You hang that up in your bathroom with pride, sister.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Think Happy Thoughts

I had a rough little day of self-esteem. I won't go in too deeply, but let's just say a bad dressing room session and horrendous skin situation (it's bad, people) combined forces to shake my pride pretty badly today. I've decided to not feel guilty when I whine write about these stupid feelings because they are, although stupid, 100% real. I am trying to live well in spite them instead of ignore them. Maybe I'll let you know more about that soon (hint: it has a lot to do with a book I've freshly finished called Daring Greatly). Anyway, one of my solutions to a big self-confidence setback is bouncing that energy off of my main man, who tends to reflect back to me a healthy vision of my worth. Brian is good at helping me through a bad day, as long as I am willing to let him help me through it. Funny how, if you make up your mind to be, you can stay miserable as long as you'd like. Today, though, I decided to let him help me through it. We talked to each other over (I must say, delicious) dinner (high-five Anna, you domestic goddess, you) and he listened to my fears and problems without making me feel like a crazy person. Isn't that all you could ask for to sort through a bad day? A real conversation and a "no-I-don't-think-you're-nuts-and-in-fact-I-love-you" attitude? I appreciate him so much for that.

Another solution I have to bad days is remembering the really good ones. This weekend was a string of some really good ones. I'll share them with you in case you need to borrow some good day vibes, free of charge.


Saturday was a whirlwind of a day, as Karley and I had the privilege to be our cousin Becky's personal attendant. Now, sometimes the job of personal attendant gets a bad rap, but in our case, it was a long but fabulous day. It was basically an excuse to hang out with Becky, one of my favorite humans on the planet, and share in her joy as she married the man of her dreams. Kaleb really is the exact guy I would have cooked up for Becky, and I'm so glad they found each other. My day was spent following the photographer's second shooter (I may or may not have dubbed myself the "third shooter") and saying things like, "Okay so what shot are we looking for her'e? and "Are we trying to get the groomsmen getting ready in the horrible lighting?" I kept saying "we" in hopes that I could pretend that I was getting into wedding photography. Or just photography in general. I suggested one angle for a picture of theirs and immediately felt like I should start charging people thousands of dollars for my services. See, this is why I can't be an artist. The ego would just consume me.


Needless to say it was a day of dancing and happiness and peacocks. Yes, there were peacocks. The best part? Seeing my family, this ever-growing, ever-changing organism, come together and support one another, as they always do. I love being a part of a family that is so unconditionally supportive. As a member of it, you know that you have a crew of people standing witness to your growth, your promises, and your imperfections, loving you through all of them. It's a freeing and empowering thing, to be a part of such a family.

Sunday was also just bliss. We slept in and totally skipped church. (Sssshhhh, don't tell. Well, I mean, I don't actually care. TELL IF YOU MUST. #SORRYNOTSORRY) I love our church and love our Sunday routine. Our church is actually one of my favorite places on earth. This weekend, though, was time for us to pump the breaks. My brother Rudi used to tell me that Christians absolutely love skipping church, because it makes you feel like you're getting away with something. Kinda true! But you know what? I think God understood. I talked with God all about it and it's good between us. Brian and I got a full night of sleep for the first time in absolutely forever and we woke up with ridiculous happy faces at the decadent 9:45 in the morning. Pure bliss I tell you.


The day just got better from there. We went on one of our food adventures for brunch up north. We trekked up in the direction of his parents' house and stopped at Once Upon a Bagel in Highland Park. Even though we were on the north side of Chicago, it felt very Philadelphia in there. I was loving the culture. Brian loves these kinds of places too. What can I say? We bond over food! #truelove

We went from there to procrastinate get a few things done at Hansa Coffee Shop in Libertyville, the town where Brian's from in this area. This was a complete favor to me, because Brian knows I love this place. I want to go every time we visit up there, and this time my wish was granted. It's in a refurbished garage with a great atmosphere. I sipped black tea out of a mug the size of my face while making up backstories in my head as I people-watched and it was awesome.


We finished the night at the Whartnaby establishment in Libertyville, where SuperBeth was hosting a party for all of Ed's 20 salesmen who were in town for a business thing. The place was packed with personality and funny comments and I loved it. It made me feel super proud of my father-in-law, super proud of my mother-in-law, and super proud to be considered part of their clan that they want their employees to meet. We left, of course, with leftovers in tow for Monday night's dinner and headed back to la casa de Ovaltine. It was the end of a string of two very, very good days. Ahhhh. Happy thoughts = happy Anna.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

My Kids

Brian and I don't have kids. We don't plan to for a while at least. That conversation is a funny one to have when you're not ready to have kids yet (Well, when are you ever truly ready? Do you ever become ready? YOU GUYS I FEEL LIKE I WILL NEVER BE READY.). I'm all like "Uh, no kids on the horizon, right?" And Brian's all like, "Uh, yep. Let me know if and when you change your mind and I'll do the same." And I'm all like, "Great. Same page! Wanna go out to eat without having to book a babysitter?" **High five!!**

I went through a phase earlier this school year where I was so tired, so worn down, that I proclaimed to Brian every day on my return home from school that HOW COULD WE EVER HAVE KIDS? I HAVE 23 KIDS ALL DAY LONG AND I NEED A BREAK. WE ARE NEVER HAVING KIDS. He, being equally tired, was all good with my proclamation. We aren't so militantly against children now (hey the doldrums of January really get to a teacher's brain) but we really are toast by the end of the work day. How do you people do it? How do you manage the feelings, spiritual growth, academic goals, and social development of two dozen small humans all day and then have an ounce of patience left in you by the time you get home? How?


As long as my brain is wandering in this direction, what if we never did have kids? My mind freaks out: would my parents or Brian's parents be devastated? Would people judge me? Ack! All the silly insecurities that come with adulthood decisions seem to pile up if you let them. I've had random pangs of that guilt or the potential of letting people down and decided to ignore them. A perk of adulthood is that you get to make those decisions based on what works best for you, not on the obligations projected upon you by society. So I suppose that's the game plan for Brian and me at the moment. We don't have a timeline, or really even a set plan. We just know that the next best thing for us is to not have kids right now.


I was thinking of that next best thing, and having a time without having kids yet, because it allows me the energy, creativity, and opportunity to call my students "my kids." I love my kids. My kids are all different shades of skin, all different types of brains, and from all different types of families and churches. My kids love each other, mess up together, love to learn, and crack me up on the daily. If Brian and I one day decide to have kids, I hope they turn out to be true individuals, just like my kids now. I hope they like singing, dancing, clapping, and selfies just as much as my kids. I hope they love reading, building, and writing letters just like my kids. I hope they love Jesus, live kindly, and show a care and concern that says when you are hurting I am hurting too, just like my kids.

Sometimes I come home from school exhausted from helping to raise other people's children, but then I remember that they're partly mine too. As a teacher, you're constantly helping little people navigate the social transition between their home environment and a school environment and how to do that. It can be hard to help children translate what it means to share, encourage, compete, and grow together when they all come from different places themselves.

But you know what? The differences? And the rich diversity that happens when all 24 of us step into our classroom each day? That's what I love about my kids. I'm so glad God gave them to me.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Ankle Rankle

I found out through extensive online research that "rankle" is an archaic term from Middle English that is used to describe when something is painful in a nagging way. How can you not just love the Oxford English Dictionary?! It is perfect for this blog post! On to the topic of the day:

Check out this beast.


Now THAT is a cankle. 

As per usual, I was my graceful self and disaster ensued. I fell down sideways on my foot after I went up for a block during a game of pickup volleyball with some coworkers last night and this is the result. It is a really silly feeling to miss work because of a sprained ankle, but driving nearly an hour with my left foot down a 4-lane highway isn't the best choice, and so I'm thankful for a principal who gently suggested that we find a sub and that I forego the journey.

So today involved explaining to strangers over and over why I'm hopping to my car (No, creepy dude, I don't want your help, but I appreciate the gesture) or into my apartment on one foot until my crutches arrive (they are coming tomorrow thanks to my superhero friend Mel). Plus I had my purse around my shoulder, so that's bouncing around up and down as I hop, and as Karley commented while I explained this whole ordeal to her over the phone: There is just no graceful way to hop on one foot. Truer words have never been spoken. Once I hopped to my car I had the diabolical challenge of pushing the gas pedal. My left-foot driving was nothing short of ridiculous, as I nervously cruised around 10 miles per hour under the speed limit. I watched the actual shock of other drivers who passed me, expecting to see an elderly woman and found me instead.

When I finally reached the (second floor - woof) doctor's office I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. A very long tunnel in the shape of a hallway. Exhausted from all the one foot hopping, I slowly hobbled my way down the hall a few steps at a time, pausing to get my balance every few steps. In the midst of one of these pauses a man and a woman walked down the hall in the opposite direction, noticing my struggle. I said, "Hi!" The guy said, "Woah! Your ankle is huge!" I said, "Yeah, I am definitely aware of that, so thanks!" and we continued on our separate ways. I finally got to the front desk, they immediately sat me down in a wheel chair, and pushed me to the exam room. It made me feel like a total hypochondriac to be pushed in a wheelchair as a fully functional 25-year-old, but I was so stinking thankful for a break from all the hopping. The doctor finally saw me, was a super cool guy, and deemed it a severe sprain, in need of crutches for about a week and a month of physical therapy. My mind was all INSURANCE! HMO! WHAT'S PHYSICAL THERAPY?! But I kept a cool appearance on the exterior.

I thanked him for the air cast, hobbled my way back home, and left-foot-drove through Chik-Fil-A for lunch, adding a milkshake onto my order. Because you know about how dairy is a part of the food pyramid and everything.

In one big spree of feeling sorry for myself, I spent as much time on the social medias as I wanted (consider yourselves STALKED), watched a lot of Kimmy Schmidt on The Netflix, and didn't consider the idea of showering until 3:15 in the afternoon. I'm getting to that step now. All in all, my life isn't bad if the worst thing that's happened in weeks is a day to watch funny TV shows, drink milkshakes, and text nasty pictures of my pregnant ankle to my friends and family.

Happy weekend, friends!

Stuff Students Say: April Edition

How is it May? HOW?! Can I take five seconds to do a pro-Calvin rant? Calvin Christian uses NWEA MAP testing to gauge student growth and find areas of strength and weakness in our kids. We test three times a year: September, December, and May. We set growth goals based on those scores and use the data all the time to differentiate. Here's the thing though: last year? Using the same testing system? I was completely toast. At this point last year, I had the pressure of my paycheck, my students' livelihoods, the reputation of my teaching, and even my job security riding on how my kids performed on those spring tests. This year? No frantic April meltdowns on my part (or my kids!) as we got ready for this test. Why? Well, we believe that our school is a partner with the parents in raising kids, and that we use data to do our best to help...guess! What a novel idea! Not to rank schools, evaluate teachers, or kill-and-drill my 7-year-olds to kingdom come, but to get a truer and better understanding of each kid's individual brain, created by God and meant to give glory to God through growth, achieving goals, and discovering this world. So yes, MAP testing begins next week in second grade. But nope, I'm not panicking. The crazy thing? With this kind of atmosphere, with less emphasis on a number to define kids, with an understanding that kids are whole, multifaceted people, that's when students perform BETTER on said tests! It makes me smile and it makes me thankful to be teaching in an atmosphere like that. Anyway, here are some great things my kids said in the month of April.

Hmm. Rosa Parks was very ordinary. Or at least ordinary-ish. The only part that wasn't ordinary was that she stood up for her freedom! So you can just be ordinary like me and still change a lot of things! 
(Cue silent tears in my eyes as I get all choked up full of all the teacher feelings.)

Me: Hey buddy. I've noticed you're kind of distracted this morning. Are you okay?
Student: I woke up at 6:59 and that's why my brain isn't quite working yet. It will maybe kick in soon. 

Can you turn me into Barack Obama? 

Hey! I'm wearing a BRA today! And it's also pink! 

(On a field trip in Chicago)
Okay I thought I just saw the Statue of Liberty for a second! We're in Chicago but for a second it felt like New York! 

Me: I like your outfit today!
Student: I get outfit ideas on Pinterest. I have a Pinterest of my own with over 500 pins!

I wish we had a big wooden wardrobe at Calvin so I could go to Narnia whenever I wanted.
(Me too, kid. Me too.)

Calvin school is the best because you get to make piƱatas!