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, November 24, 2015

Tango or Two-Step?

My pen has been on hiatus
My notebook in a box
Don't know what they been doing
But I know what they have not

No dancing across the page
Laying dormant
Sleeping in wait
Like spring's flowers during winter's snow
Collecting? Maybe.
Restoring? Recharging?
Who knows?
But dance I have not
No tangling with words
Uninspired busy-ness has kept me from the page

But now...
I've started reading
and proven that it's true
readers read like writers
and long to join in too

My pen will take the floor
No more wallflower standing silent
A tango? A two-step?
I cannot be sure just yet
but dancing shall be done

Looking back, I realize it has been months since my pen last hit the page.  May, to be exact.  Part of me can't believe it's been so long!  Part of me isn't surprised at all! 

Since May, many things have happened in this little life mine.  In my last post, I showed the photo of the for sale sign in my front yard.  We cleaned, held showings, cleaned some more, over and over and over until I wanted to poke my eyes out.  In August, we accepted an offer on our house and put in an offer on a new home. 

In September, a new school year began.  I won't lie...it's been a roller coaster experience this year.  Three weeks into the school year, just as things are beginning to settle in a little, the administration in my district decided that the class sizes were too small in kindergarten (16-17 per class) to warrant 5 classrooms and so they cut one out and redistributed those students into the remaining four rooms.  My classroom absorbed four new friends.  They are great but it caused a shift in the classroom dynamics.  It lead to another beginning, another round of settling in and learning routines.  Along with those challenges, there are two students in my classroom with physical challenges.  One is physically unable to do many things but mentally is able to participate in most things.  She has a one-on-one aide that helps her through the day, which is an enormous help to me, but it's a challenge to rethink the how of each lesson and activity ahead of time to ensure her success.  I also have a student who is unable to process what she hears or speak.  She is learning sign language and has a full time interpreter in the classroom with her.  This also sparks some new challenges for me.  She is capable of doing every task that her peers can do, but there is often a language barrier because her signing skills equate to the understanding of a two year old's speech.  She just isn't experienced enough in language and the signs for things to understand everything we ask of her.  It involves some pre-teaching of skills, lots of vocabulary building, and much trail and error.  We are all enjoying learning signs though and the kids are soaking it in like the little sponges that they are. We also have the typical behavioral challenges, those students who's parents are uninvolved and those who hover.  It's a quirky little group but I love them all the same.  They are a neat bunch of kids but I'm exhausted at the end of the day.

At the end of September, we closed on both houses, moved out of the old house and into the new house all in the same day.  It was quite a day!  It was mostly a blur and I think I'm ok with that. 

Now, we have mostly settled into the new house.  Most of the boxes are unpacked (just don't look in the laundry room or garage please).  We even have pictures and some decorations hung on the walls.  We are settled back into a normal routine and are enjoying the newfound ability to stretch out a little at home without being on top of each other all the time.

And so...
I think the time has come for me to unpack my hobbies.  I have begun to read again and with that has come the desire to write again.  I have no plans for great works but sure does feel nice to tango with my pen again.

Slice of life...here I come!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Breathe In...Breathe Out...

It's been so long since I have been able to sit down and write.
I've been pretty busy lately.
Doing this:

Our house has officially been on the market for 4 days.
We have 2 requests for showings scheduled already...one for today and one for tomorrow.

We spent last weekend working our tails off to get everything cleaned, de-cluttered and prepped for pictures and showings.  Now the waiting begins...

We meet with the loan officer tomorrow afternoon to start pre-approval for the new loan.
We have our eye on two houses and are waiting to get our visits arranged.

It's all happening so quickly!
And during the busiest time of the school year!
It's a little overwhelming.
But in a very good way.

Cross your fingers for us! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Playground Time!

It has finally happened!  We have finally had a few nice spring days!  It seemed as though winter was never going to end.  The cold days dragged on and on.  The dark mornings lasted forever.  The nights of eating dinner with darkness outside the windows are over!

My children have had a bad case of spring fever and it has been so nice to be able to get outside lately to play and blow off a little steam!  We are all happier for it.  Over the weekend we were even able to head out to the playground.  We live down the street from an elementary school, so when the weather is nice we often head down the street to play.  There is something for everyone to enjoy there!   

You may notice a couple things in these pictures:

1. It was a beautiful day and we were enjoying the nice weather for a change!
2. My daughters dressed themselves.  Honest.
3. My son doesn't love having his picture taken...I had to sneak up and zoom in!
4. The one heading up to the really tall slide?  Yep.  That's my 3 year old daredevil. 
5. Slides are the cause of major hair static.  :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break '15.....priceless

 Hello Slice of Life!  Nice to see you again!  I've missed you since March.

Monday's trip to the dentist.....20% of the total
Having decent insurance.....priceless

Tuesday's trip to the dealership for recalled tires......$5 for gas
Four new tires and knowing everything is now safe.....priceless

Three happy meals and three value meals at McDonald's........$32
Smiling faces huddled in a booth for six.......priceless

Six tickets to see the long-awaited movie Home.....$31
Hearing giggles from the seats next to mine......priceless

Popcorn, candy and drinks for six.......$51
Watching munching crunching faces light up.....priceless

Good thing we went to a matinee........$3 saved
Not having to fight a crowd.....priceless

To Come:
Wednesday's trip for the boys to a Tiger's game.....$happy birthday!
Dad watching a game in the rain with his boy during opening week.....priceless
Thursday's trip to the museum for six to see the pirate exhibit.....$69
Spring break schedule.......priceless

Friday brings a day of rest and a pizza.....$25
Mom knowing she doesn't have to cook......priceless

Knowing we saved money by not going on a big trip......$??? many Franklin's saved
Not being stuck in a vehicle having four kids on a long car trip......priceless

Spring break is off to a great start with more fun ahead!  What are you up to this week?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It's Hard To Say Goodbye

It's hard to say goodbye

It's hard to say goodbye when you don't want to
when you would rather stay in the moment

It's hard to say goodbye when you wish the end wasn't near
when you want to continue on to more tomorrows

It's hard to say goodbye when you are enjoying yourself
when you are happy in your current place

It's hard to say goodbye when you know it will change everything
when you know your view will be different

It's hard to say goodbye when you know you found a good thing
when you see and enjoy the benefits you are reaping

It's hard to say goodbye when you reach the end of March
when you flip the page to a fresh month

It's hard to say goodbye when you type that last slice
(even) when you know there are still Tuesday slices to write

It's hard to say goodbye

This has been a great month of writing, encouragement from peers, and finding my writing groove.  I will miss connecting through writing to you and your lives shared through slices.  I will miss checking in each day to catch up with all my blogging buddies, old and new.  I have found it very rewarding this year to be a part of the welcome wagon.  The new slicers that I had the opportunity to follow and get to know were amazing and did a great job on their first challenges.  I encouraged each of them to join in on Tuesdays to keep the fun going.  So...instead of saying goodbye...I'll say...

Until Tuesday!!! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

You Will Always Be My Baby

Today my oldest baby turned 12!  I can't believe it!  I have thought about how to write for him today and have composed many times in my head, playing with form.  I debated a letter, a poem, a story about him, and finally I just kept coming back to the repeating line.  A poem it is!

You might be more independent that you used to be
you can do many things for yourself
but you will always be my baby

You might be the oldest child in the family
you may be responsible now
but you will always be my baby

You might be owning a deeper voice now
you may be eye to eye with me
but you will always be my baby

Happy Birthday Matthew!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Dream: 4+ Bedrooms, 2+ Bathrooms and Room To Breathe

When my husband and I got married in 2001 we lived in an apartment.  It was brand new, we were the first to live in it.  It was a bright and shiny two bedroom, two bathroom unit with a huge walk-in closet.  It had brand new appliances, a nice little patio space, two parking spaces (one covered) and quiet neighbors that we hardly ever even saw.

When we had been married for about seven months, our nephew was born.  We knew immediately that we needed one of those cuddly little creatures for ourselves.  That's when the house search started.  We knew we wanted to be settled into a house first and then a baby second...but we also knew we didn't want to wait very long for any of it either.  We didn't have to either!  Things fell into place easily, just as we planned it in our wishes and dreams.

We bought our first home in late May.  It was a 3 bedroom/1 bathroom house with a partially finished basement and an attached 2.5 car garage.  There were a few things we wanted to do before moving in and our apartment lease was paid through the end of June.  I spent the first days of my summer vacation stripping wallpaper (ducks? really?), painting walls, and cleaning carpets.  We moved into the house in mid-June and it was perfect for us.  We found out we were pregnant in August.  Everything was just right.

We brought our fourth child home from the hospital in 2011, ten years after we were married and nine years after we bought our house.  How things had changed in those nine years!  We had accumulated a considerable amount of furniture and other house clutter and, most importantly, four children and everything that comes along with them.  Our perfect little house was completely bursting at the seems.  We now had six people in a three bedroom home, six people using one bathroom, and six people trying to cram their belongings into every nook and cranny available.

Now, in 2015, we know if we don't get out of here we will lose our minds.  We are creeping closer to having teenagers each day.  We may have made it through sharing one bathroom during the potty training phase (no small feat, let me tell you) but we have come to realize that there is no way we will live through three teenaged girls sharing one bathroom.  And so, the search begins again.

We have begun to go through cupboards and closets and basement spaces and started to pack the things we seldom use.  We have started to look at our house through the eyes of a home buyer.  I've started thinking about how I can pare down the closets and cupboards to make them seem more spacious than the over-crammed spaces they are now.  I've started looking at our decorations as something to enhance the space, not to be able to look at pictures and items with sentimental value.  We have started to pack away some of the toys that go months without being played with but aren't ready to be parted with...yet.  My goal is to make our house look more like a warm, inviting home than the Toys R Us show floor.  It's not going to be easy.

I recently reconnected with a childhood friend on Facebook.  He was a neighborhood friend, we attended school together from preschool through college and remained friends the whole while but I haven't seen him since graduation day.  When he popped up in my "people you may know" section of the screen one day, of course, I clicked on his name and did a little stalking.  Guess what?  As luck would have it, he's a realtor!  I contacted him right away and we are planning to sit down together soon to take a look at our current house and begin to think about what we are looking for in a new house.  Today I took some time to make a list of questions I have for him and a list of things our family is looking for in our next house.  Boy, oh boy, it's quite a list!

First, we are terrified of having two mortgage payments, so many of my questions revolve around that line of thinking.  I also want to know what things we should do to our house to best prepare it for selling and getting the most out of it.  And our list of desires?  It's about a mile long.  Will we find the perfect home that has everything on the list?  Who knows.  What I do know is that we will find a house that works better for our family as it is now, not the family we were ten years ago, and we will make it our home; a home that will work well for the teenagers who we know will arrive in the blink of an eye.  That is what will make it perfect.