Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Adventures of Google Earth

One time I found this awesome lesson practicing latitude and longitude that used Google Earth. It was perfectly played out in my head and practiced on my computer. The students would find locations on a map using latitude and longitude. They would follow it up by using Google Earth on their computers to find several U.S. state capitals. Sounds awesome right???

Insert reality...

We went through and made an anchor chart together on Latitude and Longitude. They copied it into their journals like they should have. Check!

They found some locations on a map using latitude and longitude...with some guidance because it was the first time they have ever done this. Check!

I pulled up Google Chrome on my Smart Board. I typed in the first location to model. Instead of the degree mark we used the word degree...FAIL! "Ok class. Let us try it without the word degree." I retype the coordinates and BAM it takes us to our location. We avidly search our Google Earth surroundings to figure out that we see The White House. We use our context clues to decide that we are in Washington D.C.   (Insert cool teacher vibes here!!) They were hooked.

Continue modeling with the first location. Use clues to search surrounding area to discover we are in Harrisburg, PA. I ask for questions....none. Then set them free to get to Google Earth on their own devices. (My class is BYOD laptops)

>Insert excited students and hands in the air everywhere<

Did you know...Google Earth really only works in Chrome? Otherwise it will make you download it to your computer. (Palm to forehead) Some of the students were able to download Chrome on their own computers within minutes. I then told the students who didn't have that ability to partner with someone who already has chrome and take off. Many of them continued to try on their own computers. Some quickly gave up realizing they were wasting time. Others kept at it and wasted all of their work time.

>Inserts more hands flying in the air<

"This isn't working Mrs. Lewis." "Okay let me check it out. Do you remember what happened when we typed in the word degree as a class and it didn't work?" Blank stare. Remember we just tried a space instead.  Try that out. BAM! It works! Yeah!

Summary of the class- half of them begin working on #1 (which we did together as a class). Many or most are raising their hand because they typed in the word degree. Many of them are writing down the things they see such as Harrisburg University. Some of them are ending up in the ocean because they are not typing the right coordinates. Many are writing only the state even though we discussed twice that these are all U.S. state capitals.

Let's get real- this lesson was AWESOME, but exhausting. As a teacher I learned (for the 9,00th time) to OVER model what you are doing. I also learned to have students try out the site or program before ever expecting them to open it and use it. This would have worked a lot better on a classroom set of computers and not each students having their own computer. HOWEVER, I am confident that we will be able to start a new day tomorrow and practice what we all learned from this lesson. We learned technology related things and we learned about places in the earth using latitude and longitude.

In my 8 years of teaching I have never stopped learning. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new. I feel like my students and I have grown as a family and individually in our first (almost) two weeks of school. Today was a reminder to NOT sweat the small stuff and look at what we can learn. I had students working together who I would have not pictured working together. This to me was a success. I feel like overcoming our failures is a lesson well learned. One last thing I have taken from this is to show your students how to react when things do not go right! I never once lost my cool or composure. I was able to laugh with them through it. I maybe a little more tired than usual, but it was a great day in 5th grade.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Living in the Negative...

So I started this post over a month just really never went anywhere. Until today. Maybe it is because my grad class ended last night and I have 4 days of school left and am starting to see a little time to think for myself again! Or maybe it is a God thing :)

This week has really been a struggle. It is teacher appreciation week and I am loving being spoiled. BUT I really need to drop some pounds and the food is just getting the best of me this week. On top of that I am just stressed with things in general. Then today I see a beautiful Facebook post from a parent of a former student and I knew it was just what I wanted God wanted me to hear.

First off, 28 fifth week of school left...need I say more :) Second, HAY SEASON. Yes, hay season has begun. We managed to dry up enough to bale wheat this week. Which to those who don't know is not a small process. We chose to bale ours dry which means it is cut, let to dry out, and then baled. It turns out to be a 4 day process. My husband and favorite 3 year old spent many hours in the tractor this week and thanks to family we got it off the field before it rained again. Now, it is time to start on fescue hay. Unfortunately we live a lot farther from the family than we used to and it takes a day just to haul equipment from one side to the other. We are done here at our farm, so now we take on the task of moving everything back to Elkland and get started there. Basically all of this translates into lots of trips from Conway to Elkland, lots of late nights and cold dinners, lots of hours in the tractor for my husband, lots of prayers that nothing breaks, and even more prayers for a break from rain! On top of that we still milk our cows twice a day. That means that Addison and I are the nighttime milking crew. Are you noticing a trend here....ZERO time to do anything in my own house.
Sis and I getting the cows up for milking.
(Don't judge...long day...haha)

My little chore helper.

If you plan on being at my house in the near future...I apologize in advance. Until school is out there is not a chance of it being nice and tidy. Add in the stress of being an adult and life can seem a little on the side of dreary and challenging. It is SOOOO easy to look at everyone's Facebook posts and think "Look at their pretty little life. I bet they don't have to stress about __________." I am too often guilt of this.

Insert brilliant Facebook post... "I'm hoping that I'm not the only mom who feels like this...Sometimes Facebook and Instagram can allow us to see into the lives of other moms who seem to have it all together when I clearly dont!..." She continues to list her frustrations to the tune of getting kids to school on time, taking their "last day of school picture" and creating a side-by-side of their first/last day of the school year, being late, being overweight (can I get an AMEN here), not always making a home cooked meal, having that perfect clean house, not having a million loads of dirty laundry to wash, or in my case 5 loads to wash and at least 2 that still need put away, lack of fancy vacations, an excess of income....and the list could go on. At this point in her beautiful post was what I needed to hear most...

"It was as if the Lord said STOP! Am I not enough for you? Look at the treasures I have already given you!" 

That is just what I needed to hear in my life. I have a job that I can be late to if needed. :)  I have two beautiful children who make me laugh and smile constantly. I have a husband who literally and figuratively breaks his back every day. We have a dairy farm that we are blessed to have. We have the ability and health to work our tails off everyday. We have family that is there to support us and lend us a hand. We have friends who are there for use all the time. We have a roof over our head, a washer and dryer to clean our clothes, heck we have clothes to even wear! I am blessed with the opportunity to work towards my doctorate degree. 

Sometimes we just need to stop and thank God for the many blessings we do have. Contentment has always been one of the greatest challenges in life, but with God we should always be content. I guess that is my new summer challenge (aside from lose about 40-50 pounds...hahaha). May your day be blessed and have a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! 

My blessings from the great Lord above! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Flash Back...What have you missed...

Most of my readers know to them this is not news...but for anyone who might not this is what the last year of my life has consisted of...  (OK so more like the most exciting news of the last year...)

In April/May we announced that we would be adding a baby GIRL to the family!

This little guy continued to light up our lives (and he still does).

Then on December 19th arrived this Momma's girl...Addison Faye Lewis. I won't bore you with the pregnacy details. It was much more difficult than the first time around. I had heart problems and she was a growing girl! This time around I had a scheduled c-section. Other than many appointments to check my heart problems, a rough go with a stomach virus requiring fluids, and a big baby girl all was well. The c.s. went wonderfully and my recovery was so much faster and smoother than the long labor/cs from Cole. She lost a lot of weight from the beginning and was slow growing unlike her hoss of a brother. After about 4 weeks and a formula switch she began sleeping all night and gaining weight more rapidly. She is just like her mommy :) Her brother is her #1 fan and loves his Sissy so very much. We are very blessed! 

Addison at about a week old! 

 Proud Brother

Just over a week old

Happy Family :) 

This was now over 7 weeks ago :( 

Well that is it in a small condensed nutshell! More to come including weekly pictures of the little one when I can get to it! 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Back at it!

I'm back at it! Hopefully I will stick to it this time around :) 

This week has been very trying to say the least. I have not been the easiest person to get along with. This morning as I was in my classroom I went to put on my favorite Jim Brickman station on Pandora to create a calm atmosphere for my kiddos. (Trust me today it is MUCH needed) The first song that came on was Amazing Love...

I have been stressing and worrying about every tiny possible thing this week. I needed to find my focus and get back to giving it all to God. There He was telling me just when I needed it most that it is all in his hands. 

It is so easy to let everything weigh you down (or at least it is for me). Between the dreary weather this week, talkative kids at the end of the year, and really missing my babies on top of the typical stress of life and farming I really just let it all get to me. (Please ignore the dysfunctional run-on sentence) 

Hearing these words put everything in perspective for me.

I'm forgiven cause You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me
'Cause You died and rose again

That You, my King would die for me?
Amazing love, I know its true
It's my joy to honor You
In all I do, I honor You

Amazing love, how can it be?

So my goal for the rest of the week and weeks to come, is to give it to God. I have to be better at this for the sake of all who surround me. :) 

I will be back with an update on life since my last post. Luckily most of you know me so it isn't new information, but for those who don't life has changed a lot in a year :) 

Happy ALMOST Friday Friends! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Look Back at March

March was a good and busy month! Here is our month in a picture recap:

We gained 5 new members at the farm...chicks!
They are growing rapidly and ready to move from the empty stock tank to the chicken coop! 

I helped throw a baby shower for Ashley and baby Cooper. His arrival is expected in less than two weeks!! :) 

Over Spring Break Ashley and I took Cole and Jami to Jump Mania.
Cole wore me out! They had a blast! 

This was the BIG slide that he just had to go up multiple times. I had to go with him each time. I think he is a better climber than I am! 

The jumping kids!
*Note to Self- Take bigger kids with us next time to keep up with these two! :) 

Cole got to have some Boone's BBQ! That place is one of our favorites.
He might have eaten an entire order of fried pickles by himself! 

We helped Grandpa Rick and Wendy haul some hog housing equipment. Cole was quite the worker! 

Mr. Messy Face off to feed his chickens. 

Uncle Dylan paid a visit finally!

After spending the day with Grammy Patty, she left an Easter basket full of treats. 
Cole had his first Peeps and he loved them! He also got a fishing pole and can't wait to use it! 

My yard got a much needed make-over thanks to the handy hubs. He took down a tree and knocked out some bushes that were not attractive! See the before picture ON THE BOTTOM...and the after on top. Not the greatest after picture, but it is so open and clean looking now. 

We dyed Easter Eggs!

After milking (of course) the Easter Bunny had paid Cole a visit. He brought some good stuff!

My little baseball star! He just loves baseball! 

He also got Play Dough from Nana and enjoyed playing with it! 
*No he isn't actually eating the P.D. Trust me :) 

Finished out Easter Sunday with some piano from the boy.
He could play that thing forever! 

Happy April!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Grey Hair Moments! (First Edition)

I decided last night while standing in the milk barn on a new "series" of posts that I am going to start. They will be called...


Yep, you guessed it! This mama is going grey. I have been fortunate to keep the grey hairs to a minimum, but recently they seem to be making a fierce appearance on my head! So how does this tie to anything you ask? Well last night the hubs had to work a little later so that meant Cole and I were set out to get chores and milking started.

Let me give you a little background. Every night when we get home, Cole jumps out of the car and takes off for his toys and the chances of me pulling him inside anytime soon become few. The boy would live outside most of the time, and if he is going in the house it is only to get more toys for digging in the dirt. This is great other than the fact that the fight to get his "barn clothes" on and into his rubber boots is typically on. Luckily last night a trip to the potty helped cut this fight for me in half. (Okay Heather get to the point...) Cole plays while I do the feeding and other chores and then I have to do some serious bargaining or dragging to get him in to the barn at milk time.

We love dirt :) 

Begin grey hair moment HERE- As I drove the 4-Wheeler up the fence line with my boy to feed the bull and 53 heifer the pup "Wrangler" usually follows. Of course today was no different. He is a cow dog and is learning to chase them now. So he thought why not practice on 53. You see the problem here is I DID NOT NEED HER TO BE CHASED!! Being the cute little pup he is, he did not listen to my blood-boiling screams to STOP! Therefore, he chased her far enough that she jumped the fence and went into the manure pit. Not her first rodeo in there, but not because she wanted to this time around.

So enter frustrating "grey hair" moment when I had to open 3 sets of gates, walk around the ledge of the pit 15 times, and spend 20 minutes convincing 53 to get OUT of the manure pit. She sure thought she was going to jump out the way she came in, but had a little vertical problem on the inside. So after about 15 minutes of making "scary" or just ridiculous noises and using a stick as my "cattle stick" she finally found her way out. Then came the task of getting her from the pen she was in back to the place she belonged. Task accomplished. Thank you 4-Wheeler. In this amount of time I could have been happily milking and a quarter of the way finished.

Anyways, I am feeling lucky that there were no cameras around. It could have made for lots of laughs for everyone. Especially with the commentary provided by a certain 2 year old. He even said to me once, "It's ok Mom. Don't worry." He is a hoot! So we set off to the barn to get it read for milking. When said 2 year old found himself standing on the wall for being ornery and next lead to a pee-pants incident that resulted in another delay and trip inside for new clothes.

FINALLY, after about a 40 minute series of delays we were off to milk cows. My goal for each night is dinner before 8:00. Well, we failed on that one for the night. Maybe tomorrow. :)

So until the next "grey hair moment..."

**Disclaimer- The events in this story were quite humorous even if they were frustrating. It is ok to laugh at my expense. That is pretty much the goal.

Monday, April 11, 2016


I haven't walked away from this blog, but I haven't had time to put anything together either. I no longer have internet at home. That is the downfall to living out in the country. The only crazy part is that I don't live in the middle of no where. Actually my backyard is along the interstate. BUT apparently fast internet just doesn't exist right now at my house. So until something better than Total Highspeed comes is just me and the cell phone. Long story short, this doesn't make blogging easy! My phone is full to the brim so I can't even download the blogger!

Anyways...this post is about Grace. God's grace. I have been working on become a more graceful person recently. Gosh is seems like something that should be so simple, but it is not!

I read in a post from Rick Warren the following words:

"God’s Word says your weaknesses, doubts, and insecurities are no surprise to God. You may try to hide them from others, but you can’t hide them from the one who created you.
The truth is, God created you with weaknesses. And, since he’s God, he couldn’t have made a mistake. Is it possible he created you with weaknesses in order to keep you on your knees before him? With you dependent upon him, you’re able to do all things through him who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13–14)." Found HERE
The original scripture aligned with this post is: 
Graphic from HERE

My thoughts more recently have centered upon WHY is this happening? I know that all of the time we are all thinking that to ourselves. So with every struggle, stress, and frustration that comes in life I have decided to remember that God's grace is sufficient. I know that God does not give me more than I can handle. He gives me WHAT he has designed me to handle. SO when times of distress, stress, and frustration come my way I have been trying with all of my might to handle it gracefully. What do I mean by this? I have had to work hard to convince myself to GIVE IT ALL TO GOD. I tell myself everyday that I cannot make it on my own. God is my guide and I will rejoice in knowing that everything is going according to his plans and not my own. Handling life with GRACE is the hardest thing for me to do. BUT I know that God's plan is always greater than mine. 

One final reminder from God today...

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace” (Ecclesiates 3:1-8, ESV).
Join me in the venture of becoming a Graceful woman! All I can say is that prayer is the best medicine and God never fails. Even if we cannot see it right away. 
For now...I share my struggles with you and hope that I can post more often!