The month of December is flying by as usual. I know the month has 31 days, but sometimes it feels more like 20 with all the activities going on. It definitely has turned colder here. I have even contemplated turning on the furnace. This thought has not been turned into any action yet, but it is only December! We are expecting some winter storms next week. Of course winter storms here will mean cold rain with temperatures in the low 50's as highs. It will probably keep us from hiking until next weekend. We hiked the four mile trail last Wednesday. It is amazing how much easier it is getting. It was dark when we were coming back, but between the moon and the flashlight it was actually fun.
School is going pretty good. I have the opportunity to attend a critical reading workshop this next week. It is two days, but it is close to home. I might even be able to come home for lunch. It is geared more for high school and junior high students, but I think I will still be able to apply the main ideas to my intermediate school. And AVID will be here on Thursday and Friday. They are bringing some more people this time, so that should be interesting.
We spent Friday evening with our former Ohio neighbor's daughter who was in town for a conference. She had never been to Arizona, so we had several places we wanted to show her. We ate downtown at a Mexican restaurant that was within walking distance to her hotel. It was good and it allowed time for the traffic to thin out before heading to the other side of the valley. She thought it was so funny to see cactus with Christmas lights. I think the highlight of her night, however, was visiting Sprinkles Cupcakes. She could not get over that a store would only sell cupcakes! If only the bundt cake store would have been open we could have kept the sweets rolling. Well, I guess I did. She came back to our house for angel pumpkin cake. This makes me sound like I should be really overweight with all the sweets it seems I eat. I guess this is why I hike. So I can eat!
Yesterday morning, we helped our church with a community outreach in one of the poorest areas of Phoenix. This was the fourth year for Christmas in the Park. They had taken one of the local schools and set-up a carnival like atmosphere for the families (minus the rides). They had games, climbing walls, face painting, basketball, crafts, Christmas music, hot dogs and even presents for the kids. I work in one of the poorest schools in my district, but it seemed like the Ritz Carlton compared to this area. One mother came in with her three kids and said they had just moved into the area. They had been homeless for three weeks. As the families were leaving they were thanking everyone for making this Christmas special for their kids.
Last night I attended the annual Sylvan holiday party. There were lots of great food and it was nice getting caught up with several people who I don't see much anymore. I even won one of the door prizes! Let's just say I think I have one of the best looking bathroom around now!
I guess I have rambled on enough. Hope everyone has a great week!