Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hello, World!

(In my best sports announcer voice.... ) Weighing in at 8lbs 14oz at a length of 21 inches with a 3:32pm arrival on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, it's OOOOOOOWWWWEEEEN MATTHEW!!!!

That's right...our li'l man, Owen Matthew Leiker, has FINALLY arrived! And after 2 nights now at home, Jared & I are proud to say that we're now members of the "Sleep Deprivation Club." :)  Seriously though, it's been just as awesome, humbling, emotional, and celebratory as so many of you have told me it would be! The craziest part to me right now is that I just look at that sweet little face and find myself wondering what his personality will be like. What's he going to be passionate about as he goes through the stages of life? How will he see himself as a contribution to society? How will society seem him as a contributor? (I guess these are all the wonders of parenting, eh?) 

As I went to the hospital to be induced for labor, I had so many messages of encouragement from friends and family saying good luck and things like "you're so strong and mentally together" that I just laughed to myself and thought "Ya'll are NUTS! I'm a hot mess right now of uncertainty just trying to do the best I can for what I knowingly 'signed up for' 9 months ago!" Or how about day 2 at the hospital post-delivery when I got a text message from my twin sister (after she & my parents came to visit) that read, "Mom is stunned at how well you're up & moving already. I reminded her you're in great shape & you feel no pain." Ummm.... PRETTY sure that was pain I felt during labor & glad you think I'm in good shape,but I always feel like I can do better. #growthmindset  

The exact same question I was pondering about Owen, I'm now pondering about myself... how DOES society really see me? How do I "show up" to the world... professionally & personally?  I strive to be an easy-going, optimistic problem solver. If I'm not actually showing up that way in personal and professional life, I'm hopeful I've surrounded myself with all of you and other family and friends that would tell me! Clearly I'm showing up as a workout fanatic and maybe even a source of strength with tough-skin. (Not upset at all if that's how others see me, but I hope they see more to me than that too! If not, I want to change my (inter)actions with others and myself so that I show up as the "whole-package" of optimism, problem solving, strength and 'toughness'.)

So.... how do YOU show up to others? No, really... when you enter a conversation or social gathering or work meeting, what do those around you anticipate as your contribution to the moment? Do you show up as the person who can relieve an awkward moment but still be serious as needed? Perhaps you're the "rally cap" guy/gal who others know will encourage ideas of all kinds? Or, do others perceive you as the person to sit at the table as nothing but a nay-sayer?  Maybe you're the "yeah, but..." person or someone who only talks about you & never curious about others??? Pay attention out there, friends... others certainly are! I learned that hard and fast the last few days and I only want the world to see YOU as you want to be seen to the WORLD. 

Peace, love, and 1st all-nighter since college! 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pre-Holiday Prioritizing

Here we are, friends.... only a few weeks away from holiday break and you're probably beginning to enter each week with swirling thoughts of the HUNDREDS of things to do before you exit the building for the last time in 2015. Don't worry... that's pretty normal!!!  (That's at least what I've been telling myself for the last few weeks as I anxiously await Baby Leiker's arrival and prep for maternity leave!) What's not HEALTHY, however, is letting those swirling thoughts get the best of you and not doing anything about it. While we each have our own way(s) of sorting, organizing, and prioritizing those to-do lists, I wanted to offer up a favorite of mine and/or at least a reminder to actually TAKE THE TIME to sort through what NEEDS to be done and what would be NICE to have done before break begins. (After all... "need" and "want" are two different things!) ;)

Might I offer up the Merrill Covey Time Management Matrix?! If you've never seen or used it before, it goes a little something like this:

Not Urgent

Do It Now

  • Crisis
  • Emergencies
  • Persisting Problems
  • Deadline driven projects, meetings, etc.


  • Provide feedback to students on their project benchmarks/check points from last week!
  •  Entering grades for upcoming report cards
  • Touch base with Community Partners who are on presentation panels for current project!
  • Check in with staff on whole-school end-of-year celebration


Decide When To Do It

  • Exercise
  • Planning
  • True recreation/relaxation


  • Make sure entry event & rubric are aligned for first project of 2016
  • Check-in with team-teacher on your co-teaching contract (let’s get those grades entered first, hmm?)
  • Jump in on the student volleyball game happening in the gym during lunch

Not Important


  • Interactions, some calls
  • Distractions
  • Some mails & reports


  • Finding the perfect Ugly Sweater for the upcoming staff party
  • Run through your choreography for the end-of-semester celebration talent show.
  • Print copies AND upload to echo the resources for workshops this week. (Choose one method for making the info available this time around, eh!? Or have a student leader print what you upload to echo and make copies for you!)

Dump It

  • Trivia Tasks
  • Busy Work
  • Time Wasters
  • “Escape” activities


  • Downloading a “handwriting font” that will make your Entry Document look like it came straight from a community partner.
  • Searching for a clever title for your upcoming project

This particular "planner" helps to identify the purpose and value of your tasks and to minimize or eliminate time-wasters (even though I will never FULLY admit that my time spent on Pinterest is a TOTAL time waster!!!) Just make sure you have a method in place to help you avoid unproductive busy work and to accomplish your goals this time of year in a productive manner. I'd love to know what you've found useful as a time-management system and even more importantly... how do you model for, talk to, and support your student's agency in managing their time well also!?

No need to waste time stressing when you really just need to "do it, decide when to do it, delegate it, or dump it!"

Peace, love, and sweater weather... ,