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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

So...
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.


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

Today:
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.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ten Things I Know For Sure Today


Today we celebrated birthdays.  My husband had a birthday last Saturday and my son has a birthday on Monday.  Today we celebrated them together with our families.  It was a nice day with a full house and now that the clean up is done, I'm enjoying a few moments of quiet.  My mind, however, is running in a million different directions.  Time to dump a few thoughts out 


1.  On Monday I will have a 12 year old.  When did this growing up happen exactly?  I'm positive that just yesterday he was 2. 

2.  There are exactly 4 more days of school until the almighty SPRING BREAK!!

3.  I may have paid more for Subway to make subs for our birthday party instead of me, but it was worth every penny.  The most taxing part of getting the food ready for the party was opening the bags of chips! 

4.  Spending time with family is always interesting.  There are always stories to be told, laughs to be had, and memories to be made together.

5.  Snuggling with a cute puppy while writing a slice during a small bit of quiet time is a great way to spend a few minutes.  But, let's be real, it won't last long.  :)

6.  No matter how many game systems you have, there are never enough to go around when you have several kids.  They have literally thousands of toys to choose from but they all want to do the same thing at the same time, but of course, never in the same way.

7.  Tomorrow, for about an hour and a half, I will get some time to myself.  To go grocery shopping.  Does that really count as me time?  I'm not sure, but I am sure that it will happen.

8.  My three year old had an encounter with orange Kool-aid and a monster was born.  "I want some orange stuff please!"  Kool-aid has officially become a treat in our house.

9.  Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting makes people of all ages happy!  A little vanilla ice cream on the side doesn't hurt either.

10. Writing everyday has taken away from my reading time.  I need to work to find a balance between the two.  This is my newly established April goal!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spread Some Blog Love



I have thoroughly enjoyed the SOLSC this year! I have had the opportunity to follow some new bloggers this year during the challenge and I have so enjoyed getting to know them through their writing.  Each has shared several slices that touched me in some way from making me laugh to tugging at my heartstrings to inspiring me to try something new with my writing.  So, today, instead of sharing a story of my own, I'd like you to check out a few new slicers.  Maybe you have already met them this month, maybe not, but here are some of my favorite slices from eight new slicing friends.  While you are visiting their blogs...click around a bit and check out a few more slices - there are so many great ones!

From Kathleen at theonewiththebooks:

Loitering
This Day

From Kim at Single Mom So Far:

Taking Stock
Duel: Action Movies vs. Romance Movies
Lazy Ode to a Sidewalk

From Readwithmemommy:

Amazing Socks
Rainboots
Grandma

From Jill at JillPickle:

Letter to Netflix
So Long Brenda
Chapel Attic

From Yesi at Outside the Box:

Peaceful
Rest

From Jennifer at Hay's Daze:

Snow, Oh How I Loathe You
Great Views

From Jenkotbressanelli:

Winter Timeout
One of Those Days

From Gael at Small Circles:

Teaching Teddy Bears
A Puppy Waits
Ode to a Morning Cup

From my friend Kris at I Survived Today:

Salvaging
Life Before...Life After
Sharing

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Should Have Known



I should have known when...

she whined about the fun part of her homework.
 
I should have known when...

she wanted to lay down and watch a movie instead of playing with toys while she watched.

But I didn't.

I should have known when...

she didn't want to eat popcorn during the movie.

But I didn't.

I should have known when...

she didn't quite make it to the potty in time (it's not like her at all).

But I didn't.

I was in full denial. 

I didn't know until...

it was all over the living room floor, making a trail toward me.

And then it was too late.



You probably already guessed it.  My current misery.  My little sweetie has the yucks.  My hubby is out of town.  My mom is in Florida.  It's just me.  Me.  The one who is in charge of blood, broken bones, stitches, and shots.  I'm not the one who handles the vomit for good reason.  But I am.  I'm doing a good job of it too.  Now, please join me in praying that it only takes out one child and not all four.  And...for good measure...that it doesn't take me down too. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Music



My daughter and I were driving home today from her field trip to the zoo.  She was playing deejay with my iPhone in hand.  We were enjoying all her favorite songs (and many of mine too).  Then, quietly, she looked at me and began explaining music to me, as only a nine year old can.

Emma: Mom?

Me: Hmm?

Emma: Did you know that music paints a picture?

Me: It does? What do you mean? (yeah, I know, always a teacher)

Emma: Well, the song is about a boy and a girl so I think it's a boyfriend and girlfriend.  It says they were sitting and talking so I imagine them sitting on a bench and talking to each other.  Then in this part (where the drum beat becomes more prominent) I think they aren't very happy and they aren't talking anymore.  Then at the end (when the music quiets again) I think maybe they are happier and they are probably talking again and smiling.  I can picture it in my head.  Kinda like a movie.

Me: You know what?  I think it's pretty cool that you pictured that but I pictured something a little different.  I pictured two people in a house, sitting at the kitchen table, talking.  Then they start to argue and fight.  I imagine them pacing or walking around the room as they argue, waving their arms because they are so upset.  Then at the end I imagine them making up again and sitting back down to talk, maybe even giving each other a hug to apologize.

Emma: Yeah, you might be right.  Maybe.  But, I think mine is probably more right.

Me: [thinking] Who cares?  Look at all the great thinking and inferencing you just did girl!  Hooray!  I will be wrong all day long if it means she's thinking like that.  My little girl is growing up!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Word Collector



I've always been a collector of words.  I love a good quote and always have.  I have a Pinterest board full of them.  I have them posted in my work area at school.  I have them written randomly in notebooks. I've kicked around how to write a post about my love of quotes but until today I've come up empty handed.  Today I was reading and looking for inspiration for my slice and it occurred to me that many of my quotes fall into these three categories.  I chose a favorite from my workspace to share.

What I know is true...

"Teaching is a work of heart." -- unknown

What I am learning is true...

"Know your heart to find your voice." -- unknown

What I want to be true...

"Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.  Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it."  -- Wilfred Peterson

Monday, March 23, 2015

I Wonder...



I haven't done a lot of slice finding today.  I feel like my mind is pretty blank of writing topics and pretty jammed up with testing and report cards.  There isn't space for the writing to live and play and roam around.  But I did hear a great conversation in my reading area.

I overheard a few kids reading magazines.  They were discussing the animals on the page and a couple kids wondered things out loud.  No one had an answer and no one expected one.  They were just thinking out loud and talking about what they were noticing.  I made me wonder about wondering.

Do you ever just wonder?

I wonder what my kids will look like as adults.
I wonder why there are 5 days for work and only 2 days for play.
I wonder how many stars are in the sky.
I wonder what the world would be like if computers were never invented.
I wonder where all those lost socks really go.
I wonder if there is life somewhere else in the universe that we just haven't discovered yet.
I wonder how many times I hear the word why during a single day.
I wonder what you are wondering right now.

What would you add to the list of wonders?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

School Bag Stems Poetry - Who Knew?

I cleaned out my school bag tonight.  It always surprises me to see what is lurking in the bottom.  I mean, it's not like I eat over my bag or even put food in it, but there are always crumbs in the bottom.  There are little pieces of paper and glitter and what looks like a small bit of the sandbox.

But...

Among all the ick was a little gem.

As I was sorting the contents into piles of need it and don't, I stumbled onto a poem I wrote in the fall.  Up until this point in the day, I didn't know what I was going to slice about.  I was determined NOT to write about the high levels of frustration we were experiencing due to science projects that are due Monday or the dining room chair that broke tonight as my (tiny) daughter stood on the side brace bar thingy.  Sigh. 

This poem quickly became just what I needed to get to the computer and write!

Cottony white couds
Caress the brilliant blue sky
The sun glows warm
Highlighting vivid oranges
Reds and yellows
Flamboyant in the trees
A stunning display
of autumn's beauty

The poem also started me thinking about spring and inspired a new poem!


Grass greens
Sky blues
Buds burst
Flowers bloom
Birds sing
Breezes warm
Kids call
Bikes emerge
Clouds puff
Spring unfolds

Who would have thought cleaning out my school bag would be so profitable?  Maybe I should do it more often!  What might you find in the bottom of your bag?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Birthdays, Bubble Baths and Basketball


Today is my husband's birthday!  My sister offered to watch our clan while I took him out for dinner and some shopping.  With four kiddos, we don't have this time alone very often and we snatch it up when we do!

She lives in the town where we went to school.  I enjoy returning for visits, seeing the things that have changed, etc.  We dropped off the kids and listened as the girls chose their nail polish colors and the boys talked about which basketball games they were going to watch.  Everyone was content so off we went!

Our first stop was an antiques mall.  We toured the aisles and my husband found two Star Wars pieces that he wanted for his collection (yes, he collects toys!) and used his birthday money to buy them.  We caught glimpses of toys we had as children, we drooled over beautifully redone dressers that we would love to get for our girls if we had the bedroom space (someday...) and we did our fair share of people watching. We did a bit of clothing shopping and bought our son's birthday gift for next weekend.  We took the car for a bath at the local car wash (which is owned by an old friend from high school) and finally we wound up at the steakhouse, which was the intended goal.

My husband is a steak lover.  I am not.  Not even close.  Needless to say, I'm not a steak maker either.  I love to cook but that's not my area!  For his birthday, I figured he'd enjoy this treat.  We had a lovely meal, saw friends of my parents that I haven't seen in years, and walked out absolutely stuffed silly.

We waddled to the car and talked about what didn't happen during dinner.

We didn't have to refill anyone's cup.
We didn't have to clean up any spills.
We didn't have to cut anyone else's food.
We didn't have to tell anyone to turn around, sit down, chew with their mouth closed even once.

We talked about what did happen during dinner.

We ate.
We talked without interruption.
We sat.
We took our time.
We enjoyed.

It was a great day!  I got some cute pictures of pink and purple and blue finger nails and girlies who were chin deep in bubble baths and giggles and a boy who was lounging in the man cave in front of a big screen basketball game.  I had a nice dinner with my husband.  He had a nice birthday. 

I'm calling this day a win for everyone!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Possibilities






I decided to try a quick write based on the picture I took from my car window this morning on my way to work and, from there, a poem emerged!


Each day dawns with a new sunrise.  Sometimes it’s full of hope and brilliant rays of possibilities.  Sometimes it’s a bit cloudy, but still there, hiding in the shadows.  Sometimes it’s gloomy and dark.  But, as the song says, “the sun will come out tomorrow” and each tomorrow holds new potential.



Possibilities
As endless as the sunrise
Spreading out into the world
Reaching each corner
Sometimes in brilliance
Sometimes in shadow
Always there
Always coming back
Everlasting potential

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Return of the Penguins

A couple of years ago, when my oldest daughter, Emma, was in first grade, she studied penguins with her class.  It was a big deal!  Her teacher was a master at weaving the penguin unit throughout the day.  They were working on measuring in math...so they measured the heights of different types of penguins and themselves to see how they compared.  They incorporated a study of fiction vs. nonfiction books by reading penguin books of all types.  They were working on researching for informational writing during writer's workshop, so they researched penguins.  Of course, they also wrote about penguins in an amazing all about penguins style book.  She was immersed in penguins all day long for a few weeks at school and she immersed us in penguins at home, teaching us each evening at the dinner table.  I even sliced about it then!

Fast forward a couple years...

My middle daughter, Maddie, has the same first grade teacher this year and she is immersed in the same penguin study!  Each day in my classroom she grabs the globe and shows me places where penguins live.  She has taught me about the chin strap penguin, who has a stripe that wraps around it's chin and who lives in the South Sandwich islands. She has schooled me on the difference between the macaroni penguin and the rockhopper penguin.  She loves this unit and all her new penguin knowledge just like her big sister did.

Each morning, the girls ride to school with me and hang out in my classroom until it's time for school to start.  Yesterday, Maddie asked if she could draw on the easel.  Usually this means she is drawing a picture with a rainbow or a dog or sometimes even me!  Yesterday was different though.  Yesterday she chose to write and draw about penguins.  It made my heart smile to know this unit is meaning so much to her.  I took a couple pictures and sent them on to her teacher too.

The beginnings...

The end result...

  Chinstrap penguins live in the South Sandwich Islands. 
(look on the globe to see)
It's true!

The penguin in the middle is labeled "chinstrap penguin" (notice the line drawn around his chin?).
On the right: bird (that eats baby penguins)


I love that my sweetie has the opportunity to learn the content through this fun and engaging unit.  She's still learning about math, reading, writing and science, but now it has meaning that she can apply to these little creatures that she's fallen in love with.  It's also become a shared experience that she can enjoy with her big sister, which is a cool dynamic.  While it's still a unit about penguins, there are things that are the same and things that are different about their studies so they can compare notes and also educate each other, which they love. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Music To My Ears



Just after Christmas my husband and I bought our first brand new car.  It has so many cool gadgets and bells and whistles that I never expected to have and one of those is XM radio.  It's not something I ever really thought I would be willing to pay for but now that I have it I really enjoy it.  I have been listening to the "90s on 9" station mostly.  Every day I hear a song that takes me on a trip down memory lane.  The 90s, for me, span from middle school to College and just hearing certain songs can really take me back to place or a person from that era of my life.  Come join me on a little journey...

There are so many things I remember when I look back at my early years.  I mean, I had just gotten over putting Baby in the corner and having The Time of My Life and then falling in love with Maverick as he sang You've Lost that Loving Feeling to a pretty blond in a bar. 

Then, suddenly I'm in middle school and along come these five boys who changed everything.  Remember when Hangin' Tough was the only way to be?  My friends and I would play this song, and let's not forget Please Don't Go Girl , over and over and over.  We just thought Joey and Jordan were what it was all about. 

We were just catching our breath when along comes a bad boy with lines cut into his eyebrows and he had everyone's attention.  We all sang along (don't even try to say you don't know the words!) to Ice Ice Baby at the dances where the girls stood on one side of the room and the boys on the other.

Soon, we found ourselves in high school with boys were changing to men and they were singing about The End of the Road and being On Bended Knee.  We were wishing someone would serenade us by singing Everything I do (I Do It For You) but, to my knowledge, that never actually happened to anyone in real life, not that we let it stop us.  We continued to dream about finding that Love of a Lifetime. During this same time, saying I Swear became a good thing and to top it all off, the high school orchestra went rogue and played some Guns N Roses!  November Rain quickly became my all time favorite performance.  Ever. 

Before we knew it, the safety net of high school was gone and we were thrust into semi-adulthood.  There were classes to go to and friends to meet and football games to attend.  There were Thursday night trips to The Cabin, the local watering hole, affectionately called Da Bin by the students who liked to enjoy a game of pool or darts with friends rather than the drunk dancing scene found elsewhere.  There were Spring break trips where we dreamed in the sun of what we Wanna Be

These were the days when we thought we were busy and stressed.  Really?  We had no idea what those words even meant, but I sure do enjoy taking these little trips back in time.  I love that I still remember the words to all of the best songs!

How about you?



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

From Squeaks to Songs

It's hard to believe this little face 
is almost 12 years old!
 
My little man, my first born, will turn 12 in a couple weeks.  He's a big sixth grader this year.  Tonight was the band concert for the fifth and sixth grade bands.  I was blown away!  The summer before fifth grade we met with the band teacher and had an instrument fitting.  Matthew had the opportunity to try out a few different instruments to see which one he would like to play. 

I remember listening to the teacher explain how to hold his mouth to play each different type of mouth piece.  I remember how much he struggled to make his muscles do what they needed to do.  I remember when the teacher walked out of the room for a minute and Matthew turned to me with wide, surprised eyes and said it was a lot harder than he thought it would be.  I remember the smile on his face as we walked out that day; me with a lighter wallet and him with a shiny new cornet and a smile on his face.

I also remember those first few months of practicing.  Squeaks.  Missed notes.  Learning.  I remember the fall concert, only two months into the school year, that was filled with nervous, shaky, squeaky, hesitant notes.  Everything was still so brand new.

Now, almost two years later, this same kid stepped on the stage and played his heart out.  This group of 50-something sixth graders played some amazing music tonight!  It's so great to see how much this group has changed in just two short years.  They are no longer baby-faced, squeaky note playing kiddos at all!  They are taller and prouder and filled with a new level of confidence.

They were amazing!  Way to go little buddy!  You've come a long way!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Ten Things

I told a friend today, who also participates, today is the hardest day for me to think of something to write about.  Is it because I didn't have material all around me all day long?  No.  It's just not clicking today.  So, maybe I'll tell you a little about myself.  Here are ten things you may or may not know about me.

Ten Things

1. I am named after a bird (Robin - my dad chose this one just because he liked it) and Elvis (Errin is his middle name and my mom is a huge fan).  Thank goodness I'm a girl because my dad also liked Rusty and my mom may have believed Elvis was a great middle name.  YIKES!

2.  I have four kids, 1 husband and 1 dog.

3.  I played the violin for years but it sits in a case under my bed collecting dust these days.  Sad but true.

4.  With two daughters who sold Girl Scout cookies this year, I've eaten more than I care to admit in the last couple of weeks.

5.  I'm embarrassed to admit...I still have some Christmas decorations up in my house.  Why?  See number 2...I don't have a lot of free time and this chore hasn't made it far enough up the priority list yet I guess.  (I should say, most are snowmen and I leave them out a little past Christmas for that reason but this is ridiculous.)

6.  This might just be the worst slice I've written this month.

7.  I love to read and belong to a book club made up of people I work with.  It's fun to share our reading experiences, chat about school, share stories of our lives.  It's as much social as it is book-related. 

8.  I wish I belonged to a writing group.  I tried a TWT writing group but my group never got off the ground.  I tried creating a group with a friend and colleague.  It never got off the ground either.  I think it would be good for me to have people keeping me going year round!

9.  I started writing a book.  I like the concept of it.  I've written maybe half of it in first draft form and then I fizzled out for a while.  A writing group would help this immensely!

10. I have a staff meeting at 7:30 AM and I have a chapter from and RTI book that I need to read first.  I guess you know what I will be doing next!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

No Electronics Haiku

Because March is reading month, our school has many different reading incentives going on right now.  One incentive is a turn off all electronics day.  If you turn off electronics and have no screen time for a day, you can turn in a slip to be entered for a prize drawing.  My daughters decided (this a bit of prodding) that today was the day to accomplish this task.  So, the tv didn't turn on today, the phones and iPads and Kindles were all off.  We had a great day!!  My husband and I participated too and have just now, at 8:45 turned on the computer and tv.  I mean, after all, I have a slice to link and it IS Sunday, which means The Walking Dead is on.  There is no reading incentive valuable enough for us to miss that!  :)

Because of no electronics day, I tried my hand at a haiku today.  Simple and quick to reflect my day.

Silence is treasured
No electronics today
See you tomorrow!

 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I Don't Care



I love my husband dearly.  We agree about many, many things.  But...

My husband despises it when I use the phrase "I don't care." 

I despise that he despises it so much.

I feel the need to break this down a bit.  There are many, many different ways to use the phrase, "I don't care."

There is the teenager version, which loosely translated, means I don't give a rat's a$$ about anything or anyone besides myself and you should really just get away from me because you just don't understand anything.

This is not my version.

There is the "I'm trying to be polite" version, which means I could have an opinion on this issue but it's more important to me to let you pick and just be polite because it doesn't matter that much to me either way.

This is not my version either.

There is the rushed parent/teacher version, which might just be my least favorite of the versions.  This happens when a child is, for lack of a better term, nagging, because they want something and they haven't liked the first twelve answers you have given.  Said child knows you are very busy with something else and really do not have time to have a full blown discussion about your answer and if they continue to nag at you about the issue, eventually you will get so fed up with the situation you will just say, "I don't care, go ahead."  As I said, least favorite version.  It's not pretty.

This is not my version (most of the time, at least).

There is the crazy grandma version, which is probably the most humorous of them all.  This is the situation where well-meaning grandma just bought you and your sister new shirts.  A new, Hawaiian print shirt with hideously large flowers in two different but equally pukey colors and she asks you and your sister which shirt you'd each like to have.  Um, I don't care?  This may be the nicest way to reply because you couldn't care less which one she hands you.  You only care about getting it into the nearest trash receptacle before your middle school friends see you holding it.

This is not my version either, though I may have some past experience in that area.

Finally, although I'm sure there are actually more versions, maybe even countless more versions, there is the I'm so tired of making decisions today that I just don't care about this one.  Please decide for me this time so I don't have to think or decide again.

This is my version.

Let me explain further.

I am a kindergarten teacher.  I am the mother of four children ages 3-12 (in 16 days!).  I wake up with children, I spend all day with children, I transport children to and from everywhere, I come home to children.  By the time I get home from school, I have made roughly 9843 decisions throughout the day.  I just don't have the energy left inside me to make another decision that truly doesn't make a difference in the grand scheme of my day.

Case in point, the dinner table.  Our kitchen is small.  The space for our dining table is so small that we have the oval table pushed up against the wall on one long side (to be able to walk through the room which is the only path from the kitchen to the rest of the house).  This means that the 6 of us sit around the remaining three sides of the table.  It's close fitting but works.  We don't have a head of the table.  We don't have seats for parents and seats for kids.  We just sit wherever we feel like sitting that day.  Typically, the kids are settled at the table before my husband and I are which means there are two open seats as we approach the table.  This also means that I am either going to sit between child A and B or B and C or C and D or sometimes between a child and my husband.  Is there a bad choice in this situation?  No!  No matter where I sit, there is going to be one of my favorite little people on one side of me and either my husband or another favorite little person on the other side of me.  In this situation, I truly do not care where I sit.  I'm happy to sit in any open chair.  Please just let me sit down!  So, when I say, in this situation, "I don't care," I am not trying to be difficult.

I do give a rat's a$$.  I am not trying to be polite.  I am not rushed.  I am not trying to humor you until I can get out of the situation.  I'm just tired and like all my options so I can't lose.  Just pick a chair and don't ask me my opinion.  I'm good.

Where do you stand on this all-important "I don't care" issue?