My husband Tommy and I celebrated 1 year of marriage last weekend! It’s so crazy to think a year has already passed by. I feel like we got married just yesterday and can’t believe how quickly time is going. I wanted to surprise Tommy with something fun and unique for our anniversary and stumbled upon Hot Tub Boatswhich is exactly as it sounds, a hot tub in a boat!
We rented our private Hot Tub Boat and cruised around Lake Union. It was SO MUCH FUN! Also so very easy to drive. There is a small joystick which you maneuver around to determine where you want to go. It felt like a video game. The boat goes about as fast as kayakers and felt very safe. It’s large enough to hold 6 people. There was also plenty of room around if we got too hot and wanted to sit outside the tub (I jumped into the lake to cool off).
We brought some boxed wine (super classy but ya know it’s a hot tub), put some music on the speaker and soaked in the views. Our rental was for 2 hours and this allowed us to make a loop by Gas Works Park and back.
We had an absolute blast! This was such a unique experience and definitely an adventure I won’t forget, especially to celebrate our 1 year of marriage. If you are in the Seattle area, I highly recommend renting a Hot Tub Boat, no matter what month it is. We are already looking forward to doing this again with a group of friends!
Lately it feels like I have heard many opinions about teachers with schools being closed due to COVID-19 and the plans for reopening in September recently coming out. Opinions on what it takes to become a teacher, how hard/easy our job is, how much money we make. Opinions from politicians, parents, random people – many coming from those who are not actual teachers. So I thought I would put together a list to clear up five common misconceptions about teaching that I regularly hear and read about.
Myth #1: Teachers don’t make any money.
I hear this phrase or some form of it all the time, “Why would you ever want to become a teacher? Teachers don’t make any money.” First, there are endless reasons why I became a teacher. Check out my blog on 10 Reasons Why I Love Being A Teacherif you’re curious about this. Second, this myth depends on so many factors. Where do you live? What district do you teach in? How many credits to you have? Do you have your Master’s Degree? Do you have your PhD? How many years have you been teaching? Do you have your National Boards? All these factor in with how much money a teacher makes. I’m very fortunate to work in a district where teachers are highly valued compared to other districts in the country and our pay reflects that. Starting salary for a first year teacher with a bachelors degree in Washington State (in my school district) is about $58,000 a year. After teaching for 14 years the salary jumps to about $124,000 (this does not include all stipends). I know $124,000 isn’t much compared to an Amazon or tech employee, but I feel many can live happily and comfortably off this salary.
Regardless though, the teachers I know don’t teach for the money.So please stop asking teachers, “Why would you ever want to become one since you don’t make any money?” Instead, try asking teachers what they love about their job or what drew them to the profession.
Myth #2: Teachers constantly work every weekend and at home each night.
Sure, this was true for me with my first year teaching. I spent hours working at home after school. Many times I would go to my classroom on the weekend, creating resources and making sure I was prepared for the following week. Designing, laminating, cutting. I was fresh out of college, learning what I needed for my students and was learning what I needed from myself. Now, eight years later I don’t need to go to my school after hours. I try to leave at 4 pm each day (our designed time) and I don’t take home unnecessary work. Over the years I’ve learned how to successfully manage my time throughout the day so that I can feel accomplished while I’m at school. It’s all about time management. This being said, who knows what this year will bring since teaching and learning will take on a whole new environment with at-home learning. Bring on the challenge!
Myth #3: Once teachers have their degree, they don’t need to learn anything new.
Getting a teaching degree is the first step to becoming a teacher but it is certainly not the last. In Washington State, once you earn your degree and pass your tests, you are awarded with a residency certificate that is valid for 3 years. During that time, the goal is to earn a continuing contract where you then renew your residency certificate every 5 years. In order to renew your certificate, teachers must have at least 100 clock hours and complete the STEM renewal requirements. Clock hours are earned through professional development trainings, seminars, online workshops, etc. Clock hours also help teachers earn credits and move up on the pay scale. This means that teachers are consistently taking classes, participating in book studies, attending trainings, etc., to further develop their knowledge and teaching practices. Many teachers are in this profession because they enjoy learning and enjoy growing. And think about it – in March teachers were required to drop everything they knew and were comfortable with and learn how to teach kids remotely in a matter of days. If this isn’t resilience I don’t know what is.
Myth #4: Teaching is easy because teachers just teach the same thing each year.
To me, one of the most amazing things about being a teacher is that each year is so different. Different kids. Different families. Different learning styles. Different behaviors. Different strengths. Different struggles. No two years are ever alike. One year I had a student who came into 2nd grade not knowing his letters and sounds. The following year I had a student reading at a 5th grade reading level. Another year I had a student who didn’t speak English and a different year I had a student who didn’t speak at all (selective mutism). These are only a few of the many examples of how each year is so very different (just think about Spring 2019 to Spring 2020 – WOW!). Teachers are constantly adjusting their practice and their instruction to meet the direct needs of their students for that particular year. This skill is far from easy.
Myth #5: Anyone can become a teacher.
This one really causes me to pause. Anyone can become a teacher? Anyone? I hear people say this all the time. Or there’s that other saying, ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’ In my experience, those who say this have never actually been in a classroom before and have no idea what it is like. To me, it’s not just about the what you are teaching. Sure, many people could teach a child how to add numbers – But what if that child has a learning disability? Or has a hard home life and can’t concentrate at school? What do you do if the child recently lost a family member and is acting out in the classroom? It’s not just about the what you are teaching but more importantly it’s about the how.How you interact with your students. How you model the behaviors that you want the kids to exhibit. How you teach young 7 and 8 years old to collaborate. To communicate. To have empathy. To show generosity. To demonstrate teamwork.To show kindness to one another. Anyone can spew out facts, but few can be called a teacher.
Teaching isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle – a calling. And those of us who do it and do it well can’t imagine doing anything else!
I’ve had this blog post written and saved for a while now but it never felt like the right time to share with all the coronavirus news out there. I decided today that I would share anyway in case someone is looking for a distraction from the news or looking to read about something other than corona. Enjoy!
Any excuse to plan something (birthday, night out, weekend with friends, vacation, etc.) gets me excited and this was the same for our rehearsal dinner. We decided to have our rehearsal dinner at our wedding venue at Trinity Tree Farm since we could easily do our wedding day walk through and then enjoy the rest of the time with our closest friends and family.
Rentals: Our venue supplied the tables and chairs for our outdoor dinner. We used Miller’s Rent-All in Edmonds to rent our dishes, silverware, napkins and tablecloths. Super easy to pick up/drop off and would recommend if you ever need to rent something for a party or event.
Flowers: One of my bridesmaids mom is a Master Gardener (her yard looks like something out of The Secret Garden, it is seriously so magical and so amazing). She offered to make centerpieces with flowers picked from her garden and they turned out BEAUTIFUL!
Catering/Bartender: We used Crescent Moon Cateringand decided on The Pacific North West Feast. We had salmon tarts (my fav item), caprese bites, green salad, roasted potatoes, mixed veggies, salmon fillets and rolls. The food felt elegant, healthy and was affordable. We had the bartender set everything up in warming trays to save money. She also helped break everything down, cleaned up and gave us boxes of the leftover food. I would definitely recommend this catering company! They have a lot of options to choose from and prices that reflect delicious food. For drinks we bought beer, wine and champagne from Costco and had our bartender serve that.
Glassware: I just love those classic little champagne/martini/cocktail glasses (not exactly sure what they’re called) and wanted to use them at our rehearsal dinner. I went to Goodwill and found a bunch that were mixed for about $8.00. (I told the clerk these were for our wedding and he gave me a discount. They typically give a discount if you ask and are polite). I loved how they looked on the table. We used these mini glasses for a champagne toast and my mom said the most loving and heartfelt words (made me cry). You could probably find some on Offer Up or Marketplace as well.
Decorations: My sister-in-law surprised us with a bulletin board full of pictures of Tommy and I growing up. There were lots of hilarious photos and in some pictures it was hard to tell who was who (since we were both chubby, curly blonde hair, blue eyed babies). For the dinner menus I used the same design template from our wedding and just changed the food items. Template found here. I had some fresh lavender from the weekend before when I went to the Lavender Festival and tied it to the napkins. My father-in-law built us a Corn Hole set for our wedding day and we brought that as well.
Gifts: I also gave my bridesmaids part of their wedding gifts. I purchased plain denim jackets from Target. Used myCricut to design and cut out “Babe” letters and ironed on the gold vinyl. Then I hand painted the flower in different colors and similar designs (I just used acrylic paint from Michaels). I remember being so excited to give them these jackets and loved how they turned out!
Beautiful weather + location, bomb food + drinks, the best friends + family, handsome hubby. Couldn’t ask for anything more.
My husband Tommy and I absolutely love dogs. Some might say we are a little obsessed with our crazy pup Edgar. He is a Miniature Australian Shepherd and requires lots of exercise and lots of love. But living in the Pacific Northwest means constant unpredictable weather, making it challenging to take Edgar out for walks (because I am not a fan of walking outside in the wet and cold).
Luckily we discovered this amazing indoor/outdoor off-leash dog park called Dogwood Play Park (just north of Seattle), for days when the weather isn’t so great or when we want to go out without leaving Edgar home alone. Oh and the best part, there is a bar there! So not only is this an amazing place to let your pup run around and play, but also great to go and socialize with friends.
They have a large selection of beer, a small dog area, a large dog area, tennis balls to throw, a dog bakery for treats, and plenty of space (indoor and outdoor) for your pup to play and run around. They also have a separate space that is available to rent for events.
Since many of my friends are also obsessed with their dogs, one friend and I decided to throw a joint 1st birthday party for Edgar and his best friend Toby. We rented the space at Dogwood so everyone could get in for free. We went all out. Printed invitations, birthday cakes from The Seattle Barkery, bow tie souvenirs, treat bags to go, small bites and snacks for the humans and we even made a photo-booth area. Below is a video from the party.
The 1st birthday party event was very ridiculous but also so much fun. Since then Edgar and I have been back several times.
So if you are looking for a space to escape the Seattle rain, let your dog run wild and enjoy a drink with friends, check out Dogwood Play Park. It costs $12 per dog to enter and they must have current vaccinations up to date. An excuse to get together with friends and play with a bunch of amazing pups…who wouldn’t love that?
Looking for a fun, all-inclusive, affordable, beautiful beach vacation for a girls trip? Head to Punta Cana! My girlfriends and I traveled to the Dominican Republic in August 2018 for our annual girls trip and we had a blast.
We chose to travel to the Dominican Republic for a couple of different reasons.
Distance. The plane ride from Seattle to the Dominican Republic is very reasonable. We took a red eye flight from Seattle to Charlotte, North Carolina. Then had a 2 hour layover and flew another 3 1/2 hours from Charlotte before arriving in Punta Cana that morning.
Weather. We wanted to plan a tropical girls trip with beautiful beaches and scenery and that is exactly what we got. We went to Punta Cana during the last week in August and the weather couldn’t have been better.
Price. This trip was very affordable, especially since we chose to stay at an all-inclusive resort. The best decision with unlimited food/drinks (and unlimited bottles of our favorite drink – champagne). The total amount paid with round trip flights, transportation, accommodation, food, drinks and excursions was around $1,200 for 5 days.
We stayed at Majestic Colonial Resortand booked our all-inclusive trip through Expedia. We arrived at the resort and were immediately greeted with drinks and some small bites while we waited for our butler (yes we had a butler during our stay) to check us in and show us to our room.
While waiting for our room, we took the short walk to the beach, went swimming and got some pineapple drinks from our favorite bartender. That night we went to dinner at one of the six restaurants there and explored the resort. My favorite restaurant from the trip was Ma + Suri which was delicious hibachi style food with the best atmosphere.
We spent our next day at the beach, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine. Punta Cana is similar to Mexico where vendors will walk for miles in the hot sun and relentlessly attempt to sell you things. It really wasn’t hard for them to sell us souvenirs because we were eager to buy them. We all got henna tattoos and purchased jewelry with the famous Larimar stone. This stone is typically only found in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean so we stocked up.
The next day we had a pool day and lounged around the main pool areas. Our butler got us our own personal golf cart and drove us around the resort to whatever places we wanted to go. Swim up bars, pool snacks, inflatable floaties, music, sunshine and endless tropical drinks makes for a fun day in paradise. Mid-afternoon they also have a foam party, so the lazy river pool is filled with foam to swim in.
The following day we decided to do an excursion. The resort makes it very easy to plan since they have an excursion booth on sight and everything is within walking distance. We chose to do the Shark and Sting Ray Tour. We took a speed boat about 30 minutes out to this area in the middle of the ocean where they had the sea animals. It felt like a sand bar that was full of people and other tours (there was even a pirate ship excursion with pirates walking around). We put our fins and snorkel gear on and jumped in. The sting rays have their stingers removed and are held and passed around to tourists each day. You are able to swim around with the nurse sharks in this huge under water cage. It was a very memorable experience swimming above the sharks and being able to touch the string rays. But honestly it made me feel sad thinking about the sea animals living in this way and I wouldn’t do this excursion again.
We spent the rest of our days enjoy the sunshine and exploring the resort. They have a show every night and one night we went to see their number one hit, Michael Jackson. An impersonator with lots of singing and dancing. Later we went to the resort sports bar and watched/sang Karaoke with the locals and other tourists. One night we put on our bath robes, got on the golf cart and got some late night eats because why not, it’s vacation!
We had 4 nights at Majestic Colonial Resort and that was the perfect amount of time. Any more nights would have been too many in my opinion since we saw and did everything at the resort during our time there. The one thing we did not do was venture out and explore Punta Cana. If you are looking for an adventurous vacation where you are out and about exploring the city, Punta Cana may not be the best place to do this. Where it lacks in local bars and cultural sights, it makes up for in the all-inclusive food/drinks and beautiful beaches. Going to Punta Cana is an easy way to experience an exotic destination while feeling safe, comfortable and pampered the entire time you are there. If this sounds like your type of vacation, I recommend planning a trip! Plus, girls trips are the best.