Welcome to kindergarten! Join me as I share my experiences in the classroom, my professional learning and reflections and my love of teaching. Teaching is an exciting journey - come along as I share mine!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

There are days...


There are days when frustration is at the forefront of my being
When everything up my sleeve has been tried once, twice, three times
Days when I can’t imagine one second more or I might just explode

There are days when joy is brimming over the edge of my cup
When everything has been brilliant, fulfilling, successful
Days when I can’t imagine feeling more victorious

There are days when nothing fits in the box
When everything stacks up, higher and higher, trembling, tilting
Days when I can’t breathe for fear of dropping all the spinning plates

There are days when giggles fill the air and feed my soul
When everything shines a little brighter, warmer, happier
Days when I can’t believe it could get any better

There are days
When everything makes me wonder, worry, value
Days when I can’t decide what to decide

There are days.
What kind of day is today?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

One Little Word

My OLW last year was light.  You can read about my inspiration here.  I chose this word because I wanted to celebrate all the wonderful things that bring light into my life: my family, my friends, a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning, my student’s laughter and learning, etc.  I wanted my word to remind me to appreciate those things, to remind me to notice the “lights” in my life.  I think it was a good word.  I don’t think it was the right word.  I have been very absent from the writing and blogging worlds.  My last blog post was in September, just before the start of the school year.  What?!  I haven’t blogged, I haven’t written in my notebook, I just have not written anything.

I have continued to appreciate the “lights” in my life.  I have enjoyed watching my children grow every day.  I have enjoyed watching my students take on learning and improve behaviors.  I have noticed all the little things that make me happy and create light, but I have not written about a single one.

My word wasn’t enough to inspire me this year.  I don’t know why I haven’t written.  I actually feel better when I write with some consistency.  I notice more, things feel more in place, and I feel more content.  But I haven’t been writing.  I have no grand reason or rationale for this.  I just haven’t.

As I began to think about a new word for this year, I knew it had to be good.  I knew it had to inspire me to write again.  I knew it needed to be something that connected to everything else.  It had to be a word that wouldn’t easily be forgotten.  It had to be intertwined in my life so fully that I couldn’t resist it.  That’s a lot of pressure to put on one little word!  After some suggestions from a friend and a little soul searching, I think maybe I have found it, and it makes me laugh because it’s a pretty simple word.


There are many stories I want to write.  The ones that belong to my children.  The stories that are from my students.  The stories from my head and my heart.  The novel/story I began writing last year and haven’t touched since.  I just need to write again and begin to restore the balance that writing helps me maintain.

As I began to think about my OLW, I wanted to find a way to share it.  A friend shows her’s through beautiful art.  Others share theirs through stories.  What was I going to do?

I started to notice quotes that I have around me in my everyday life that are about story.
There is the quote that hangs in my classroom:  “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” by Maya Angelou.  There is the quote that hangs in my kitchen: “Your story matters.  Share it!” that was given to me by a great friend.  “Know your heart to find your voice,” which is on a magnet hanging next to my computer.  

And, finally, there is a new quote I found by Neil Gaiman, that seems to fit just perfectly.  “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”

I hope that my OLW, story, will help me do just that.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Time: A Friend or Foe?

I can't believe how long it's been since I last blogged!  September first...which means it was before the school year began.  It makes sense looking back.  September was a long, crazy month.  I have some difficult children in my class this year and September is like a black hole that I don't care to remember with all it's trials and tears and tantrums.  Fast forward three months...things are SO much better!  My kiddos have shown amazing growth in so many ways.  The behavior from September is pretty much gone!  That's not to say it's an easy group now, but in comparison, it's like night and day. 
My own children have adjusted to a new school year and are thriving.  This year I have a sixth grader (what?!), a fourth grader, a first grader, a three year old, a nine month old four-legged furry baby and a pretty great guy to share it with.  Life is busy every day but it is filled with so many blessings.

This holiday season I have been noticing all the things that are the same.  The traditions that we carry out from year to year and enjoy again now like making Christmas cookies, Charlie - the special little elf that has been hanging around our house again, getting milk shakes and driving around to look at Christmas lights (yes, I know, milk shakes in the cold...fun, right?).  It's all there, all being enjoyed.

I also have been noticing all the things that are not there.  My dad will be gone for eight years in January.  I honor him in the decorations (he made me some fabulous wooden pine trees that grace my kitchen shelf display each year), I honor him in the memories being made.  My mom has moved on, changes being made as she goes.  My children are growing up.  There is evidence of that in the gifts they are receiving this year.  There is evidence of that in the pictures that I enclosed in Christmas cards.  Life never stops, it never slows down, it both stays the same and changes forever.

These are the thoughts that inspired this poem.  My little slice of life today and every day.

The winds of change blow gently
and time slides by unnoticed
It’s in the slimming of cheeks
and the growing of legs
It’s there in the deepening of voices
and in the worries that develop
Time is by our side
when we bid our birds farewell
It the gusty breeze as they fly away
found in the freedom of their new wings
It’s there in the proud tear
as they sail their own life’s ship
Time is there as we look back
on loved ones grown old
It sweeps along both pushing and pulling
raging and billowing
It’s there as we grieve our losses
comforts the heart in memories
The winds of change blow
time slides by in the blink of an eye

Merry Christmas and I hope to be back more often in the new year!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Freezer Meal Day!

Yesterday I spent my day in the kitchen doing a different kind of back to school prep.  I made 17 crockpot meals for the freezer!  After posting about it on Facebook, several people asked what I made and for the recipes.  So, here is how it all went down and links to the recipes.

I started by looking for way too long on Pinterest for recipes.  There are so many to choose from I didn't know where to start.  I ended up just making a list of the ones that sounded good to me that day and that I thought maybe (ok, its a big maybe) my kids would eat or at least entertain the thought of trying.

Next, I printed out the recipes and made a grocery list.  This is a no joke shopping list people!  It's a full page long!  I'm pretty sure my shopping cart has never been so full.  But...Meijer was also having 10 for $10 sales and they had chicken/hamburger on sale, which certainly helped my wallet!

Anyway, the next step was to chop all the veggies.  5 green peppers, 3 red peppers, 4 potatoes, a million baby carrots, 5 onions and lots of tears and stinging eyes later, I was done!  I wish I had timed this part...it felt like I chopped for hours, but it made it really nice and easy to put the meals together!  Totally worth it!

I chose to chop the chicken as I prepared each recipe rather than all of it ahead of time because I didn't want it to sit on the counter that long.  Doing it as I went along meant more hand-washing but it kept the chicken cold!

Next, I just jumped in!  I started with the first recipe, wrote the name of the dish and the cook time on a freezer bag (make sure you get the kind with write on labels) and if I needed to add anything to it before cooking I also wrote that on the bag.  Then I added all the ingredients to the bag!  I started with the meat on the bottom and dumped everything in on top.  After everything was in and zipped closed I mashed it around a bit to mix things together.  A few bags were really full so I double bagged them just to be safe.  I don't enjoy cleaning my freezer very much!

I made 17 meals - from chop to freezer - in exactly 5 hours.  I had another soup recipe I wanted to make but forgot one ingredient.  Wouldn't you know it?  No biggie...I will make that one this week.

So, what did I make?

From Ring Around the Rosies I made:

Sweet and Tangy Meatballs (makes 2 bags)
Sausage and Peppers (makes 2 bags)

From 6 Cents :

Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches (makes 2 bags)
Salsa Chicken (makes 2 bags)

From Stick a Fork In It :

Crock Pot Chicken and Rice (for this one, I left out the cream cheese and will add when cooking)

From Six Sister's Stuff :

Black Bean Taco Soup (double bag this one!)
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
Hearty Beef Stew (double bag this one!)

From Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour :

Crock Pot Potato Soup (this is the one I haven't made yet)

From Allergy Free Cooking :

Enchilada Wraps

From Squidoo :

Teryaki Chicken
Beef Stroganoff
Divine Chicken
Chili (for this one I decreased the beans by half and added 1 lb. of hamburger) (double bag!)

I will say...I have not actually tried any of these recipes except Crock Pot Chicken and Rice from Stick a Fork In It, which we all loved! 

So there you have it!  Five hours, 17 meals done, 1 more to finish...whew!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Anniversary Timeline

I decided that a 13th anniversary deserved some reflection.  For my slice this week I decided to celebrate by sharing a timeline of our lives together...starting from our first meeting 18 (WHAT?!) years ago.

As you know, we have an anniversary coming up next week...13 years!  Can you believe it?  So much has happened since we met, both good and bad, and through it all I gave my all to you and you gave your all to me. 

September 1996 – first met
I visited your dorm room with my friend.  I liked all four of you, but on our walk home I told her you were the one that I liked best.  It *might or might not* have taken you four months to ask me out.

January 1997 – first date
We went to Fazoli’s.  You ate spaghetti and I had pizza.  It was the first time I had ever seen anyone eat spaghetti by twirling it with a fork and spoon.  It was the last time I ever saw you eat it this way.  Best day ever!

1999 – Engaged
You brought over dinner from Fazoli’s – spaghetti for you, pizza and a ring for me.  Best day ever!

July 2001 – Wedding
We had a wonderful day surrounded by our family and friends.  Best day ever!

May 2002 – We bought our house!

March 2003 – Arrival of Matthew William
He took long enough!  After three attempts at inducing labor and a long weekend of labor pains, he finally arrived on Sunday morning, weighing in at 6 lbs. 14 oz.  Best day ever!

November 2005 – Arrival of Emma Grace
Emma arrived four days late, mostly because I didn’t want a Halloween baby.  She made her way into our world in the evening, weighing in at 8 lbs. 8oz.  Best day ever!

June 2008 – Arrival of Madison Elizabeth 
Maddie came into the world on a rainy morning weighing 7 lbs. 7 oz.  Best day ever…even if I missed the last day of the school year and even if the basement flooded while we are the hospital!

July 2011 – Ten Year Anniversary
I was very pregnant but that didn’t stop us from hitting the casino and staying at a beautiful hotel for our anniversary.

August 2011 – Arrival of Avery Rose 
Avery arrived a few days early to greet her siblings weighing in at 8 lbs.  She was so happy she even smiled for her hospital picture!  Best day ever! 

July 2014 – Now
As we approach another anniversary…I find myself thinking if I had to do it all over again, I’d still choose to give you all of me.  Happy anniversary Bill!

My favorite song right now seems to fit the occasion.  Take a listen!