Tuesday, August 31, 2021

10 Questions About Lifelong Learning

I haven't done one of these '10 Questions' posts in a while and with us starting week 3 of this school year, this seemed like a good one to answer! Thanks, as always, to Natasha for posting first, so I could copy. {grin} Original link-up here.

1. How old were you when you started school? Did you attend pre-kinder and/or kinder or just go straight into 1st grade?

I was in daycare from 1 onward so had a lot of preparation for formal school. My elementary school started with Kindergarten, so my official start was with Kindergarten when I was 5.

I didn't have my kinder picture on my computer, 
here is my pic from when I was 4.

2. Were you a good student? What was your favorite subject?

I was a very good student. Both of my parents were teachers and not doing well in school or being disrespectful in class were NOT options. I graduated in the top 5% of my high school class, was class President, in National Honor Society, etc. 

Speaking at high school graduation as the class President #nerd

I would say History was probably my favorite subject. I did not like Chemistry or Physics and thought Math was fine. I enjoyed English but didn't enjoy the books that were picked a lot of them time, ha. For a short stint I thought I would be a History teacher/professor.

3. As a child did you take music lessons? Or play a sport? Do you still plan an instrument now?

I took piano lessons from Kindergarten through middle school, and then I played the flute in middle and high school. I can still play the piano but am pretty rusty. I love that we got a piano this year and that Drew is taking lessons - it's helping me too!
7th grade band photo #bandnerd

I also did gymnastics from preschool through elementary school. And then in middle school I played volleyball {mediocre at best}, basketball {poorly}, and ran track {was actually good}. Then in high school, I continued to run track where I ran the 400m and 1,600m relay. We almost made it to state my senior year in the 1,600m relay!

4. Did you attend any kind of training or classes beyond high school? If so, what did you study?  Did you wind up working in a profession or job for which those classes or training prepared you?

I went to Texas A&M University and majored in Accounting for my undergraduate degree and also received a Master degree in Management Information Systems. I got my CPA license and was an Auditor for 11 years. I moved over to HR working for the same Accounting firm almost 7 years ago. 100% used my degree for those first 11 years and think that experience set me up well for where I am now.

Graduating magna cum laude from A&M

Have you taken any personal growth or adult education classes for fun? During the year that was Covid, did you home school, learn a new app to work from home, teach yourself to do something you might have paid someone else to do for you?

I've dabbled in photography a little but think our iPhones are too good nowadays for me to use my 'fancy' camera very much anymore. I would also put my Body Pump certification in this category - I took the training 7 months ago and have been teaching for 4 months! And I've been taking tennis lessons since the end of January and love it!

We did a minimal amount of home schooling over Covid - trying to do that while working a full-time job was insanely stressful. I think I *might* have enjoyed virtual school and getting to participate more in the kids' education had I actually had the time to do it. We were very lucky to have my parents come over most days and be in charge of school. I did a post about what our homeschool routine looked like, very glad it only lasted 5 weeks.

What would you like to learn how to do that you don’t know how to do already?

I've always wanted to learn to play the guitar and maybe the violin. I've also been scared to do it - not sure why? I still plan to...someday!

7. Name something that you learned easily. Then name something that was a struggle for you to learn to do.

I think school was relatively easy for me. I learned to read early which definitely helped. I am very worldly in a book-learning way, but the flip-side of that is I'm not often worldly in a real world way. Brent teases me about this a lot - if it's in a book, I'm great...if not, look out! He is so much more real world smart compared to my book smart. I used to think book smarts were more important, now I think you 100% need both.

8. What’s the last thing you remember learning? What kind of learner are you: visual, auditory, hands-on/kinesthetic, verbal, logical/mathematical?

Tennis! I am having a blast with my lessons. I am mostly a hands-on learner - I really don't like a lot of theory and lecture about something, I want to get in there and do it with some oversight. I don't like to just play around by myself - I do need some structure with learning but definitely learn by doing.

9.  Hard to teach an old dog new tricks, school of hard knocks, pass with flying colors, learn by heart, burn the midnight oil, pull an all-nighter, play hooky – which of these expression best fits your life lately? Why?

I would say 'burn the midnight oil' not because work is THAT time-consuming {although the last year has been rough} but a lot just due to being a working mother and having all the things to do. I find that I crave that alone time at night and don't prioritize sleep like I should. I've been doing better with it but could still do better!

What is something you’ve learned from past mistakes?

The importance of owning up to your mistakes. I want my children to see me make mistakes, take ownership of them, apologize for them, and try to do better. 

11.  Bonus: Share your favorite learning/education quote.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Currently: So Long Summer

Current Book

Current Song

Chains by Nick Jonas
25 year-old Allena is appalled at how many Jo Bro songs I love. {grin}

Current TV Show


Current Podcast/Audiobook

I just finished the audiobook version of The Road to Jonestown - amazing!
Still continuing with my re-read {listen} of the Outlander series - I'm on book 8!
And just found out there's a new season of Cold - season 1 was CRAZY!

Current Drink

Just got a chai earlier...sigh...damn that sugar!

Current Food

I had tennis tonight {when I'm typing this}, so I made a frozen pizza.
I am so #momgoals.

Current Shame-Inducing Pleasure

Well my day consisted of chai and pizza...
I don't think it takes a genius to guess this!

Current Outfit

It was insanely hot during tennis, and I walked home after.
But I haven't showered yet, so I got chilly from all my sweatiness.
So workout clothes PLUS a cardigan. I ooze sex appeal!

Current Celebrity Crush

Ted Lasso and Roy Kent - love them both!

Current Mood

I am struggling with all the latest stuff about Covid.
Not so much fear of it but fear of what the world/governments are going to do.
It felt like just a few months ago we were so close to normalcy...
and now it feels like we are swinging back the other way.

Current Anticipation

Spa day with my mother-in-law is next week!!!!!!!!!!!!
I tried to find a link to my post about this but couldn't,
so quick explanation - 
every year Brent gets my mother-in-law and me a day at an amazing spa
for Mother's Day. Our tradition has become to go the Friday before Labor Day.
I cannot wait!!!!!

Current Wishlist

Brent and I really need new bedding for our bed.
I'm on the hunt but nothing has jumped out at me yet.

Our bedding when it was new - it's just dingy looking now and I'm tired of it, ha.

Current Movie

I still need to take Trent to see Jungle Cruise and Paige REALLY wants to see the Paw Patrol movie, so I think my next adventures are going to be kid ones!

Current Picture

Found this gem on my phone today! Ha!

Monday, August 23, 2021

First Days 2021-22 School Year!

We did it! We survived our first week of school!! The kids went back on August 17 {a Tuesday}, and I feel like things have gone really well. We just slipped almost seamlessly back into our routine from last year and have hit the ground running.

The kids are all still going to Goodwater Montessori - it is such a blessing to have all 3 kids at 1 school instead of 1 in daycare, 1 in elementary, and 1 in middle school, ha. 

Now let's talk about the kiddos!

How cute are my babies?!?!

Trent is in 7th grade this year, which is the first year {of 2} in the Montessori Adolescent program, and their community is called Bluebonnet - y'all know I love this. This is structured a little more like a traditional classroom as they are working to get the kids ready to transition to a 'regular' school for high school {there are no Montessori high schools near us and very few in the US}. They still do some really cool Montessori things - our school has an orchard and it's the Adolescent program who takes care of it, and they also take care of the school chickens! They will also create a micro-economy and make snacks and gift items to sell on-campus. 

Trent has 2 really good friends from the last few years in his class plus lots of kids he knows, and he seems to be settling in really well. The only struggle with him is getting him out of bed in the morning! He is definitely embracing the pre-teen life! He told me they took a quiz to help determine jobs and one for him was a psychologist, and I loved that idea for him! He for sure marches to his own drum beat, and the thought of him helping other kids warmed my heart so much. So curious to see what this kiddo is going to do!
Kindergarten ~ 7th grade
Drew is in heaven - school is her happy place. She is back in Ms. Danushi's Roadrunner Lower Elementary community {1st-3rd grades} for her last year in lower elementary. She has her 2 best friends {Zara and Alice} still in class with her, and she is happy to go to school every day.

She did great in 2nd grade with all the uncertainty and changes and continued to grow in her learning, and she has settled back in and is doing fantastic. I already got a request to have her bestie sleep over!

All her Montessori years!
Casita ~ 3rd grade
This is such a better start to the school year for little miss Paige! Last year when we finally made it on campus there were tears for a LONG time. It took her months to settle into her classroom. 

This year she returned to her faves, Ms. Liliana and Ms. Maria, in the Sassafras primary community for pre-K 4. Her BFF Lucy moved up to 1st grade, but she is hanging out with all her other friends and getting right back into her map coloring, sewing, painting, and general busyness. She is all smiles at drop-off and at pick-up and consistently tells me she had a GREAT day!
Nido ~ Pre-K 4
I am really excited about this year - parents can be back on campus and a lot of activities are coming back - I think we are going to have a GREAT year!!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Movie Review: Respect

As is our tradition, Allison and I hit up a movie for our shared birthday month. She suggested Respect, and I was definitely intrigued because I literally knew nothing about Aretha Franklin as a person and thought this would be really interesting.

Plot: Following the rise of Aretha Franklin's career from a child singing in her father's church to her international stardom, Respect is the remarkable true story of the music icon's journey to find her voice.

Review: Wow, this was really spectacular. Aretha Franklin had SO much happen to her. I was stressed out for a good chunk of the movie and fascinated for the whole thing. I will say it felt a smidge long, but Allison and I both couldn't decide what could have been cut down. It was a fantastic movie, and I could see Jennifer Hudson winning an Oscar - she was incredible!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Back to School 2021 Questionnaire

The Gurley kids are back to school TODAY! Last week was very exciting/stressful as we dealt with Covid 'things', finding out their classes {Paige and Drew's teachers both stayed so they will be in the same classes and Trent is moving into middle school but also with consistent teachers}, and getting our stuff together. We got everyone into bed in a timely manner {slight miracle}, and I am hoping for a great first day!

As is our tradition for the last handful of years, here is our 'Night Before School' questionnaire! I really like seeing how the kids answers change...or don't over the years. I will, of course, share later this week EVERYTHING about school and their First Day pics!!
Gearing up for their first in-person day last year!

Favorite Color

Trent: Blue

Drew: Blue or Purple

Paige: Pink

Favorite TV Show:

Trent: JoJo's Bizarre Adventures

Drew: I don't know

Paige: My Little Pony

Favorite Movie:

Trent: Dumb & Dumber

Drew: Harry Potter

Paige: Frozen 2

Favorite Toy:

Trent: Nintendo Switch

Drew: Slothy and Poppy

Paige: Legos

Favorite Book:

Trent: JoJo's Bizarre Adventures

Drew: Harry Potter or Wish

Paige: Drew the Screw

Favorite Food:

Trent: Hamburger and fries

Drew: Pancakes

Paige: Cake

Favorite Place:

Trent: Home

Drew: Home

Paige: Home

Favorite Part of School:

Trent: Recess

Drew: Everything

Paige: Everything

Favorite Part of Summer:

Trent: Everything

Drew: Everything

Paige: Playing

Favorite Holiday:

Trent: Christmas {it's like my birthday but better}

Drew: New Year's because it's the day before my birthday

Paige: My birthday

Favorite Thing to do with Mom:

Trent: Talk

Drew: Snuggle

Paige: Play

Favorite Thing to do with Dad:

Trent: Watch movies

Drew: Wrestle or I love you, I love you, Get out of here

Paige: Wrestle

Favorite Thing About Trent:

Drew: He's always corrects my mistakes

Paige: He's funny

Favorite Thing About Drew:

Trent: I guess sometimes she can be nice

Paige: She's playful

Favorite Thing About Paige:

Trent: She can be cute {this is after he called her a 'twerp'}

Drew: She always wants to play

What Are You Going to be When You Grow Up:

Trent: Let's figure that out later

Drew: A baker or an artist/photographer

Paige: An ambulance driver

Who Are You Going to Marry:

Trent: That's confidential

Drew: I don't know

Paige: David

How Many Kids Will You Have:

Trent: E

Drew: 2, hopefully 1 boy and 1 girl

Paige: 3 boys and 3 girls

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

My Library Holds 2

I wrote this post at the start of the year and thought it would be fun again to check in on my holds. We have physical library memberships to 2 libraries - the one in our town and in the next town. I got the second one for Trent to have access to more Manga books - kid is OBSESSED! I also have 2 e-library accounts - one through my local library and one through the Houston Public Library system {open to all Texas residents with a valid Texas ID}, plus I use a friend's e-library account {Hi Kathryn!}, so I have lots of ways to checkout and reserve books, yay!

Public Library - Physical:
Shockingly, we have nothing Reserved at our physical library! We have 19 books checked out right now between Trent, Paige, and me - it's mostly Trent though!

Public Library - Digital: 
I can have 5 books checked out and 3 holds. I currently have 2 books checked out and 3 holds.

Reserve placed: August 10
#3 on 1 copy
Wait time: about 6 weeks

Reserve placed: August 7
#27 on 13 copies
Wait time: about 14 weeks

Reserve placed: August 6
#1 on 2 copies
Wait time: about 2 weeks

Houston Public Library:
I can check out 15 books and have 10 holds. I currently have 1 book checked out and 15 holds.

Reserve placed: May 26
#15 on 3 copies
Wait time: about 10 weeks

Reserve placed: August 4
#19 on 2 copies
Wait time: about 18 weeks

Reserve placed: August 7
#12 on 1 copy
Wait time: about 24 weeks

Reserve placed: June 2
#18 on 2 copies
Wait time: about 17 weeks

Reserve placed: August 7
#6 on 3 copies
Wait time: about 4 weeks

Reserve placed: April 29
#20 on 6 copies
Wait time: about 7 weeks

Reserve placed: August 7
#7 on 1 copy
Wait time: about 12 weeks

Reserve placed: August 4
#7 on 3 copies
Wait time: about 5 weeks

Reserve placed: April 29
#26 on 4 copies
Wait time: about 13 weeks

Reserve placed: August 4
#303 on 8 copies
Wait time: at least 6 months {!!!}

Cloud Library:
This is my friend's account - I don't currently have any holds but have 3 books checked out.

Can't wait to see when I'll get these and what I'll think of them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Birthday Week at Lake LBJ

I had a great week off work with our family AND celebrating my birthday. It was a coincidence that the week that worked for everyone was my birthday week, but I'm going to pretend the trip was all about celebrating me. {grin}

Gurley gurl tradition - drinks picture upon arrival!

My bed partner at the start of the week, Trent - 
can you find him? He sleeps SO WEIRD!

Still got some workouts in - I love our virtual options!

There were so many amazing activities for kids, this place was AWESOME.

Swings {multiple swingsets}, sand volleyball, a rope swing, putt-putt, 
jet skis, aqua pedalers, just SO MUCH to do!

Roasting smores with Aunt Crystal

The smoke was hurting her eyes, ha

Doesn't like smores so just burned a marshmallow for fun - BOYS!


The house we had was so great - pool, hot tub, foozball, swing set, 
washer set, again so much for kids to do!

A happy birthday with my peeps!

My mother-in-law baked me a cake {I asked her to ha} - 
it was SO YUMMY.

We took the littles on the aqua pedaler and then the big 2 jet skiing

The last night there we sent the kids home with Brent,
and my MIL and I enjoyed a night just the 2 of us.
We read, ate and drank, talked a ton and watched Pride and Prejudice.

It was tough to come back to work this week, but I definitely feel refreshed and loved!