BC: "And in today already walks tomorrow." ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
FC: "A life without cause is a life without effect. " ~Barbarella 2010-2011
1: "It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time." Barbara Kingsolver
2: Much of my year was spent in the classroom at Valentine Hills Elementary School with my 5th graders. They kept me on my toes and up to date on the latest Justin Bieber news. A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image. ~Author Unknown
4: Laurentian Environmental Center Virginia, Minnesota | The fifth graders once again headed up north for their much anticipated trip to LEC where they skied, went snow shoeing, geocached, and sat in the sauna (pronounced "sow-nah").
5: Brian, Tim, Lindsay, Aldo, and I went as chaperones on the trip. | "It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it." ~Jacob Bronowski
6: "You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again." ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau
7: "All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind." ~Martin H. Fischer
8: Valentine Hills had their first Cultural Night when all of the families came dressed in traditional garb.
9: “There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity” Michel de Montaigne
10: The fifth graders looked forward to running JABizTown for the day. Their jobs included store owners, construction workers, mayor, radio DJs, and more. | Jade and Shelby | Jason and Conner | Ashley, Sadie, and me
11: Brianna, Charlie, Kyle, Sali, Kylee, Tiffany, and Thomas in the Cafe. | Brian, Tim, Liz, and me
12: Justin, Andrew, and Moses | Brian, Brianna, and Lucia | My fifth grade homeroom at the 5th grade picnic.
13: Below: Mary was my first grade buddy... getting me ready for teaching 2nd grade next year | Stephanie, Lucia, Brianna, Kylee, and Grette | Left: Lucia and Sadie | Right: Ellie, Zoey, and Olivia
14: "For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad." ~Edwin Way Teale | When I wasn't in school, I was enjoying the seasons that Minnesota had to offer. Autumn was a time for hikes, bike rides, and weekend getaways.
15: "Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn." ~Elizabeth Lawrence
16: 5K Monster Dash on Halloween. We were a rainbow. | Twins Game with Valentine Hills. Jacquie, Michelle, me, and Kaarin. | A road trip to Chicago for the Northwestern Football game with Mom, Dad, Patty, and Jeff.
17: Right: Katie and Aldo visiting MN for the weekend. | Michelle's birthday. A girls' night out to the Roller Derby and wine bar.
18: River Glen celebrated their 25th Anniversary, so Peter, John, Ashley, and I flew in from our respective corners of the country to surprise Dad.
19: Michelle and I took the opportunity for a 10 hour road trip down to Nashville over MEA weekend. We spent plenty of time enjoying country music, the sights, and of course the large Superman exhibit on the side of the road. | "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." ~Robert Louis Stevenson
20: Winter arrived (and stayed) with plenty of time to play in the snow and curl up inside with hot chocolate and a good book. | “Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, "I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway." Maya Angelou
21: Erin, Michelle, and I enjoyed the first (of many) big snows to go sledding with some other kids in Powderhorn Park. Remember: There's no such thing as bad weather...just bad clothing.
22: Back in Naperville for Christmas and Mom's surprise 60th birthday celebration. | "Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time." ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
23: 20 of us gathered at Tami and Barry's house in Baltimore for a DR reunion. A full house... thankfully 8 of them were under the age of 3. | Left: Jenn, Caroline, and Jack came to visit MN, and we enjoyed a trip to the zoo.
24: I participated in Mounds View Public School's annual college scholarship fund raiser, Chalkboard Capers in two skits: Photo Follies, and Minute to Win It.
25: Valentine Hills teachers represented: Kaarin, Alyssa, Jacquie, Staci, and me.
26: Spring was very late to arrive this year, with record breaking amounts of snow lasting until the beginning of May. But, spring finally managed to peek through. | "No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow." ~Proverb
27: Valentine Hills Student Council raised money for H2O for Life, an organization to get clean water to Africa. We bundled up on a chilly Saturday morning to walk around Twins' Stadium carrying jugs of water.
28: Even though it was a May Day Parade, it was still only 40 degrees while we bundled up to watch the bird-themed parade in Powderhorn Park. Dawn, me, and Ali.
29: The Powderhorn Park liberal and somewhat hippie neighborhood was the perfect place to comment on taxes, unions, and government.
30: Over Memorial Day weekend, we attempted to go camping at Afton, but we were rained out (sort of) and forced back to the cities. | Ali, Erin, Dawn, and Michelle.
31: "It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent." ~Dave Barry
33: In order for summer to officially begin, school had to end. After 3 years in 5th grade, I said goodbye to the Valentine Hills community and prepared to head down to Colegio Jorge Washington in Cartagena, Colombia. | Jacquie, Krista, me, Alyssa, Kaarin, Peter | Brian, Steph, me | Jody, Kristy, Alyssa, and Staci | Tammy and Steve
34: An OFCW trip down to Fort Meyrs, Florida for a girls' weekend. We spent our time laying out at the pool, eating good food, and enjoying each other's company.
35: Above: Dawn and me kayaking on the chain of lakes | Above: Odin, Anja, and me Left: Kristi's wedding
36: Erin hosted the Great Minnesota Send Off for Michelle, Ashley, Nick, and me. The weekend included all the Minnesota qualities including good beer, lawn games, paddle boating,a slip and slide, a tour of the winery, and rides on John Deere.
37: Right: Ben and Erin on the grill. Making some Spinach Asiago brats. | Jachin and Erin on the inflatable jousting | Above: Kaarin and me.
38: "Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson | Naomi, Dawn, Erin, me, Angie, and KJ headed up to Ely for a weekend canoing and camping in the Boundary Waters. It was the perfect opportunity to enjoy Minnesota's beauty (except for the flies and mosquitoes).
41: "How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places standing alone on the mountain-top it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make - leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone - we all dwell in a house of one room - the world with the firmament for its roof - and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track." ~John Muir
42: "The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart." ~Elisabeth Foley | We gathered in Powderhorn Park for the 4th of July celebration and fireworks.
43: After 4 wonderful years in the Twin Cities, I packed up my things into the Scion and got ready to move my things to Naperville and my self to Colombia. Erin, Michelle, Dawn, and I reminisced over Tikki drinks at Psycho Suzi's.
44: This year's family vacation was to Vancouver, British Columbia to celebrate Mom and Dad's 60th birthdays. We enjoyed the amazing view from our deck, road trips to the Pacific, high ropes course, and downtown Vancouver.
45: "The rainy days a man saves for usually seem to arrive during his vacation." ~Author Unknown
46: "If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable - each segment distinct." ~Letty Cottin Pogrebin
47: We ventured all over Vancouver Island from Victoria to Nanaimo to Tofino, then crossing over on the ferry to experience more of British Columbia
48: The City of Vancouver | Rain, rain, and more rain. | Birthday dinner at the famous (and delicious) Indian restaurant, Vij's. | After spending the night in a sketchy hotel, we needed a nap.
49: Another rainy day in Seattle on our way back to Chicago. Another wonderful family vacation.