There has been no shortage of complaints about the toll 2016 has had on us. From losing one of my favorite singers of all time Prince to the country breaking my heart with the president elect, I have like many have had enough. With that being said, I have seen so much that warms my heart and makes me realize how much I have learned this year.
This year I learned how children can truly celebrate a friendship. One of the most heartbreaking experiences I have had in my life happened this year and it was the death of my daughter's friend Bella. I took her death personally and was pretty pissed off at God. When I started working at the children's hospital I made this pact with God that I would give everything I had to these kids, learn about their disease, trauma, injuries so that I could help them the best way I could. The deal was that my loved ones were left alone. I felt at time of her death that God broke the promise when he took Bella. Bella showed us a rainbow a couple of nights after her funeral when I was with about 20 of her best friends. When the girls saw the rainbow they cheered, they yelled Bella's here. They truly celebrated her life and what her friendship meant to each of them. They will never forget her, the love and bond is forever and I know that God has always kept his promise to me.
This year I learned how to be a leader. I have through graduate school learned that path is what I envision for myself next in my career. I was chosen to be the project manager for the huge final project in my instructional design class and while it was a challenge to work with 4 other individuals from across the country, I found myself very connected to them and wanted them to succeed as much as I wanted to succeed in the project. I got great feedback and realized that with all this experience and education that it would be a natural progression to become a leader in Child Life or where ever the path takes me.
This year I learned that I am a tech nerd! I love to code, I love to make things on the computer and I love designing websites. My co-worker started a new company called Child Life United and asked me to design the site. Rather than hand coding I used Weebly and found it to be fantastic! Because I have coding experience I was able to go into CSS / HTML and change things if we didn't like it. I was honored that she asked and trusted that I could help her and was thrilled with the outcome. I am going to use weebly for my Final Portfolio (which is our capstone project) since making changes are easy and it offers free web hosting.
Last semester was a big one! Instructional Design, Into to Technology in Schools and Diffusion of Educational Innovation. I learned a lot and was challenged in more ways than one. New semester starts tomorrow. This is the last full semester with one last class in the summer and I will be finished!!! I couldn't be more thrilled with the University of Missouri program and how my advisor and cohorts have embraced me as a non-classroom teacher and have been open minded to my discussions and ideas. Feeling pretty lucky to have found it and while I'll be glad to wrap it up, I'll likely miss it.
So on to the next semester
Intermediate Web Development
Electronic Portfolio Development
Learning with the Internet
Lots of coding this semester and I could be more geeked out about it!
Dear Mr. Trump,
On the morning after the election I posted this conversation with my daughters on Facebook.
Me: I'm sad to say that Trump won.
older child: oh no. What does that mean?
Me: it means we respect the office. But we don't forget that we are beautiful, strong, independent women who will make the world a better place by loving our friends, remembering that a family comes in all different shapes and sizes and that love is love. Bigotry and hatred have no place in this family.
younger child: it's ok when I'm president I'll fix it.
God love their sweet young souls!
What I didn't mention was that my youngest then asked, "Mommy can I still marry S__? He's brown you know" It was at that moment I knew that America had just broken up with me and my heart shattered.
You said in your speech to those of us who didn't support you, "I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country"
Alrighty then, let's get started.
Mr. Trump, that is just the start of my list for you. I hope to KEEP America great and will give you guidance when I think you have stepped out of turn, because you told me too.
I understand my tagline "The Day America Broke Up With Me" is dramatic, but that's what it feels like. My heart is broken and I feel like I just got dumped when I wasn't ready to give up the relationship. I hope tonight you will pray for the millions of hardworking American Immigrants, the LGBTQ community, the women of America, and the millions of people who want to be treated with equality no matter the color of their skin because we are afraid when we should feel protected.
I respectfully ask that you work your heart out to prove me wrong. Show me that you will be a leader to this country and that you want me back in this relationship.
If you do the work, I'll do the work.
I've stayed fairly quiet about the election on social media. Silently absorbing and listening to ALL parties as I truly feel that having an open mind helps me make good decisions. I posted once about what I want in a president. Sadly it doesn't look like it's going to happen. With that being said, I just want to be clear about a few things as I can't believe that these are still reasons why someone would choose to vote one way or another.
TRUTH: You can get an abortion at your doctors office. It's time to stop picking on Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men and young people. Pro-life, Pro-choice it's a doctors office. Here read for yourself: Planned Parenthood Services
TRUTH: Why do you care who chooses to marry who? How does a couple loving each other and wanting to spend their lives together affect you?? If God really cares so much he'll deal with it when they get to the Promised-land. Not your problem. Just for the record, so far so good. According to early research same-sex marriage
VALUES the sanctity of marriage a little better than traditional marriages. Here read it for yourself: Williams Institute - UCLA
So onto the election.
I remember my very first election that I could vote for when I was 18. It was the famous 1992 ticket. People were excited! Signs were up in lawns. Bumper stickers were proudly displayed on the back of cars. Ross Perot actually busted through as a 3rd party candidate. The world was looking forward to Tuesday, November 3rd.
Flash forward 24 years. Outside of 1 trump sign in the middle of Nevada I haven't seen a single sign hanging in lawns. No bumper stickers. A few friends on FB who have stated they are "with her", a single cousin who thinks that Trump is going to make America great again. One or two friends who like Gary and Jill.
That. Is. It. Excitement has left the building.
What has happened? I see all the meme's joking about how we want to "find ourselves" and how we wish Obama would go "month to month" until we figure this out. Some of them make me laugh but then I just feel sad, our system is damaged and corrupt and we aren't happy. I wish that Hillary was a better choice and was trustworthy. I wish that Trump would just be a business man and stop saying stupid things about women and about beliefs that honestly I don't think he means. He is a liar trying to get the vote of people who care only about a woman's reproductive rights and same-sex marriage. And her, well you know all about that.
So who am I voting for? Great question.
I still have a couple of weeks to make a decision between Clinton, Stein and Johnson (let's face it although I listen to all parties I have never voted Republican and don't intend to start this year). I wish that they all were in the debates tonight so that I could stack them up against each other, but the system won't let that happen. So I'll keep my mind open and fingers crossed that I will have a clear head to make a tough decision on November 8th.
........Until then time to make a cocktail and watch the debate.
It was a regular Friday morning. I sent the girls off to school. I was still in sweat pants drinking my tea. I logged on to school and was getting some schoolwork finished. Around 9:30 I get a call, I recognized the number as my girls school and thought with a bit of annoyance, who is sick or who forgot what?
It was the school secretary, this was our conversation:
Ms. G (kinda frantic): Hi Kristen, Stephanie has been stung by a wasp or maybe a yellowjacket.
Me (calm voice): Oh that's a bummer
Ms. G: The whole class has been stung
Me: Oh wow, what happened?
Ms. G: The paramedics are here, they want you to come and pick her up
Me: Seriously? Is she Ok?
Ms. G: She is hysterical
Me: Sounds like Steph, I'll be right down
I'm still not feeling much urgency, but I do throw on some clothes and jump in the car. I round the corner to the school and see all the emergency vehicles and my heart finally jumps a bit. I park quickly and walk into the cafeteria where I find Steph's class.
All of a sudden it felt like I was walking in slow motion. I look around the room and it's like the aftermath of a horrific accident. There is an odd calmness, yet some kids are crying, some are red and puffy from crying, most are holding ice packs on various parts of their bodies, paramedics and teachers are comforting the kids and then I see the stings and bites. I notice one boy has his shirt off and he is covered with several huge red welts on his skin.
I know that my first thought should have been what normal mom's think, "Where's my kid?" but no....my first thought was:
IF I EVER HEAR ANOTHER DOCTOR OR NURSE EVER SAY TO A KID AN IV OR BLOOD DRAW FEELS LIKE A BEE STING I'M GOING TO LOSE MY MIND!!!!
Because let me tell you; those kids were hurt, those kids were terrified, those kids were traumatized. Stings of any kind, just plain hurt. You can't prepare for it, you can't use numbing agents, and you can't calmly find a happy place and just let yourself get stung.
IV's and Blood Draws CAN:
So my tip of the day: Don't tell a kid it feels like "a little bee sting"...unless of course you want to peel them off the ceiling.
So to wrap up the days events: The class was running laps, ran over a yellowjacket hive which due to being late summer/ early fall was at full capacity and very aggressive. A swarm attacked the 6th graders and their teacher (who was a substitute on her first day-first 20 minutes of being a sub). By some miracle of the 26 or so that got stung 0 were allergic.
....and my tween, dramatic as ever, had a full on panic attack and had to be isolated. I guess I should touch up on my child life skills with the ones I love. #winning #momoftheyear
2nd semester is in full swing!
I have 2 courses right now 1 / 8 week and 1/ 16 week. Another 8 week will start after the first one ends.
Technology in Schools - required course
This class is exactly what is sounds like. Its an intro course to all thing tech in school. A little out of my league but glad that I have 2 kids in school so I can talk it up with their teachers if I need support.
Instructional Systems Design - required course
Also exactly what is sounds like. Might be a little challenging but I'm excited to hopefully be creative and make some innovative programs.
I am also volunteering at my kids school this year with the media teacher. So hope to pick up a few new digital video skills taught to me be middle schoolers. Yikes!
Well onto the new year!
Tomorrow is the California primary and all I am absolutely sure about is that I am voting for Measure D and E. I support the effort to bring money to our Pacifica schools.
The rest I just don't know.....
Here is what I want:
Yassssss! The first semeseter of graduate school is a wrap! I feel like this may be a little braggy but for those who kicked it with me undergrad know that the fact that I made my first 4.0 in my life is a big deal. I know!! I can't believe how much I love it. I actually learned something and can't wait to get back to it in August.
Plans are in full swing to finish up next May. I'll take 3 classes (2 / 8 week classes and 1 /16 week class) in the fall. Then in the spring I'll take another 3 classes and an internship. I feel like Robert DeNiro in the "The Intern", oldest intern ever! Fingers crossed I can land something and that my fellow co-horts will understand and appreciate my 80s references!
In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my summer with the girls and Ry.
Happy Summer y'all!
I've nearly survived the first semester of graduate school and I can't believe how much I love it. I have learned and absorbed so much. What surprises me though is how well I WANT to do. I have nothing less than 100%. If you knew me undergrad you'd likely be laughing right now. What a difference 20 years makes!
I completed my Web Development class a few weeks ago and boy was that a challenge. My final project turned out pretty good. I would still love to tweek some things but for the most part, I am proud of the finished product. www.kristenbeckler.com/WebDevelopment/
I am wrapping up my digital media class. That class has been a blast. I'm finding I love making videos, working on photoshop and the final portfolio which was also a website. I am still working out the website/portfolio but this is what I have so far and you can see some of my project highlights in the class. www.kristenbeckler.com/DigitalMedia/index.html
The last class for the semester has been enlightening. It's called Technology to Enhance Learning. I am the only one in my class who is not a classroom teacher. The professor has been very supportive of my "alternate ideas" and the most common comment I get from classmates has been, "you have such a unique perspective". I have learned quite a few new platforms/ technologies I would love to tryout. Some of the favorites:
Do you know I actually remember meeting you in Kindergarten? We were reading together in the hall when I volunteered one day. I thought to myself, "this little girl is so cute....and so quiet, what a sweet thing." I also remember in 2nd grade when Steph said to me, "Mommy, I've been playing with Bella a little bit, she's really fun. Can we have a playdate sometime?"
I loved your friendship with Steph. You had your circle of friends and she had her circle of friends. It just seemed that once in a blue moon whenever she needed a break from the circle you found each other. With that, a very sweet and special friendship took shape. Steph was never scared when she found out you had Leukemia. Honestly I wasn't either. I thought, It's ALL, totally curable. It'll be a long road, but there is a finish line. Because of my experience as a Child Life Specialist, I jumped in there. Spoke with your teacher to the class with confidence that there was a PLAN, that childhood cancer was different than adult cancers and we all should have faith that it will all be OK.
I hope you don't think I lied to your classmates.....at the time it felt like the right thing to say.
Sweet girl, I never saw this coming. Maybe I did, I just didn't want to believe it.... I was worried when you wouldn't go into remission. I felt if we could just get you a match, it go away. Stupid cancer.
Steph has had a hard time saying goodbye to you. After we talked for a long time about all the machines and tubes that you were hooked up to, she decided that she wanted to remember you like you looked when you had that last playdate before being admitted for transplant. She made a voice recording and sent to your mom. I hope you heard it and know how much she loved you.
I have been surprised by her grief. Not that I am surprised that she is grieving, but by how desperate she feels about you. Your circle of friends has each other to lean on, sharing stories about their time with you. Most of the time you and Steph played it was just the two of you. Her stories are only hers....and yours.
Bella, you made my drama queen, calm. You made my sassy redhead, kind. You made my, at times selfish child, selfless. All the things that make her drive me crazy, went away when you girls were together. You were a perfect friend and right there when she needed a quiet reminder how to be a good friend. I'm really going to miss you too.
Bella, you are free to fly with the Angels. I have so many Angel friends-too many. I've said goodbye to a lot kids over the years. I prayed to many of them to come to see you and help you. I find comfort knowing that my little friends are with you and that you aren't alone.
I just hate you all had to go in the first place.
With love and peace in my heart,
*Pictures are from Facebook: many of the 5th graders and friends in the community at the beach. The overhead is from a drone that captured the candle-light circle, which at the time we didn't know was actually a heart and what we like to believe is Bella's view.
Last week was almost a balance fail. Kids were out of school for ski week, although we didn't ski. We slept in and hung out and I did 2 projects for school and worked my job. Finding time to work on school was no small feat, but I did it.
For Digital Media this week we were working on Digital Audio. This was so hard for me. I have an appreciation for music, but have never worked on anything with sound before. We had to use a sound mixing program called Audacity and after watching approximately 1000 tutorials I made a promo for world thinking day for the Girl Scouts. My daughter was my narrator (spending time with kid during break-check). I think it turned out OK.
check check, 1, 2...... http://www.kristenbeckler.com/DigitalMedia/audio.html
Then the biggie project was the pilot for my website. I must say I think it's coming along. It's still under construction, but I'm really proud that I have hand coded this all by myself and it's actually working. Below is what the front page looks like in code just to give you an idea of the work. Here is the site http://www.kristenbeckler.com/DigitalMedia/index.html
Back to work......I'll mom and school balance tomorrow. Life balance will have to happen on Saturday.