Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Slice of Life: Reflecting on 2013 and Looking Forward to 2014

The ladies at Two Writing Teachers
host the Slice of Life every Tuesday.

2013 was a mixed bag of fun and amazing moments and some not so great moments.  Here is my list of the top five important moments of 2013:

1. My niece Lena was born on May 1st, 2013.  I was so happy when she was born both because now I had a beautiful baby niece and because my sister would not be suffering anymore.  Her pregnancy was awful.  I had never heard of Hyperemesis Gravidarum before, but I learned a lot about it during my sister's pregnancy.  At the end of her pregnancy, she was 10 pounds lighter because she was unable to eat for the most part.  Now she feels like it was all worth it because she has this little peanut to love.

2. The highlight of my year was going to Pasadena, CA to stay with my sister and help care for Lena.  I was there for three weeks and had some quality sister time as well as fun-with-baby time.  I love my sister and her husband and had a blast there.

3. My husband, Ramon, was supposed to do student teaching this semester as his university time came to a close.  He had the placement all lined up and had met with the cooperating teacher already to start planning his experience.  Then, a week before school was supposed to start, he got an e-mail.  A local high school was in a bind because their Spanish teacher had resigned on the first day back to work. The classes they offered in this high school were for heritage speakers so they really wanted to hire a teacher who was a native speaker.  My husband's professor knew that he would be a good fit for this job.  The professor called and talked to the principal and Ramon had an interview that same day.  By the next morning, he was hired and had to report to work the following day.  The paperwork was submitted for doing student teaching on the job and he went to work.  We both felt so blessed by this amazing turn of events.  The best part of everything was that now he would be paid for this semester of teaching.  Ramon has done an excellent job and I am so proud of the excellent teacher he has become.  Although it meant extra work for me (I basically took on the role of cooperating teacher), I have felt rewarded all semester seeing how happy Ramon is doing this job.

4. I was able to coordinate two author visits to my school through the local bookstore Boswell Book Company.  It was so awesome to see how excited my students got about being able to ask questions of a real author.  We had one visit last Spring from Amy Timberlake and another visit this fall from Jasper Fforde.  Both of these authors did fabulous presentations and our students were excited to meet the authors and get their books signed.  Being able to provide these experiences for students at my school made me feel so great.  I can't wait to set up more visits in the future!

5. This one is important, but not in a good way.  One day in September, my feet started tingling.  By the time a few days had passed and I started being unsteady on my feet, I knew it was time to visit a doctor.  I went through about two weeks of urgent care visits and testing.  A hospital stay and two MRI's later, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  This diagnosis basically consumed my energy for all of September.  I am now injecting myself every day with one of the medicines to try to prevent the disease from flaring up as often.  The diagnosis definitely explains a lot about the medical issues I have had in the last five years or so, but it was not very fun to hear.  I am doing fine and I have done a pretty good job of accepting that which I cannot change.  2013 will definitely always stick out in my mind as the year I found out I was not healthy.

Looking forward to 2014, I have a few things that I would like to accomplish.  Here are the top five things I hope will happen in 2014:

1. I want to eat better in 2014.  My husband and I both got lazy in the last few years while he was going to school.  Many of his classes were evening classes so we got into a pattern of quick, unhealthy alternatives for dinner, usually eaten late at night when he got home from class.  My plan is to eat following a diet outlined in The Blood Sugar Solution.  It is close to the Whole 30 plan with many natural, whole foods, and very little processed food.

2. One of the hardest things that we have dealt with in the last few years has been infertility.  Over the summer, my husband and I decided to move forward with a procedure.  Then when I was diagnosed in September, it seemed more prudent to focus on that health issue and learning about the disease.  Now, we are ready to move forward with the procedure.  I am crossing my fingers that this year will bring luck and a new addition to our family.

3. I am seriously contemplating some sort of career change in the coming school year.  I have really been itching to move or at least look around at the opportunities available in other schools, but have stuck with my comfort zone in the last few years.  This year, my principal is retiring at the end of the school year.  I am thinking about applying for a sabbatical next year and going to school full time for either a second Masters degree and a reading license or starting a PhD program.  I also might apply for a coaching position in the district.  Lately, our district has had a difficult time filling those positions so it might be time for me to try it out.  I also might just look around at the positions available in the district at other schools.  I miss working with students in 4th and 5th grade.  My goal is to really force myself to examine my options and not continue to settle for what I already know.

4. I look forward to spending some time in Spain this summer.  My husband and I have already decided that we want to do this because we are unsure how long it might be until we can do it again if things work out for us.  It is always a wonderful time staying with my in-laws at the beach.

5. Last, but not least, I plan to really get back on track with fitness this year.  I have a fitbit and it is really motivating for me to try to get my goals each day.  The new secretary at our school is a Zumba instructor and will be starting to do a Zumba class on Thursdays after school.  I also have my spin bike at home and will be committing to at least 2 intense spin sessions a week.

What are you looking forward to in 2014?  I would love to hear from you in the comments.


  1. Wow - what a year you've had, and what amazing goals you have for the upcoming one. Your niece is adorable. How serendipitous for your husband! You seem to have an incredible attitude about your diagnosis. I wish you the best of luck in all your goals, dreams, and accomplishments in 2014.

  2. You really have had an incredible year, Andrea. I have admired your optimism that always shines through in your posts, even when you were going through your diagnosis. Great goals for 2014! I can't wait to hear what you achieve and decide to do!

  3. What a year you had in 2013. It sounds like you have a lot of strength and grit, which will help keep you going now that you have your diagnosis. I wish you well in 2014 so you can accomplish your hopes and dreams.

  4. Andrea...I enjoyed your reflection and what you are looking forward to. I will hope that you will continue on your journey to get fit. I have a very healthy friend that has had MS for about 20 years...I think this will be key for you. Prayers for both you and your husband in 2014. xo

  5. I'm so glad you're feeling okay Andrea and wish you the best of luck with the possibility of that baby! You have had such a great year, and how lovely you were able to spend the time with your sister, and new niece! The travel to Spain sounded wonderful, and glad to know you'll be returning soon. Finally, terrific news about your husband's job, & it seems you have marvelous plans for 2014. Best wishes in all of those plans!