Welcome! Join me as I share my experiences as a wife, mom, and kindergarten teacher, and my reflections on them all. Come along as I share my crazy journey!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pile People

It's hard to believe it's the last day of March already! I want to sincerely thank the Two Writing Teachers Gang for all of the work involved in hosting the Slice of Life Challenge.  I am thankful to be involved each March.  

I was eating lunch with my kindergarten team this week and the topic of keeping a clean house came up.We were talking about the art of the pile, or piles, in some cases. Here's what I have noticed: it's all about the piles.

There are 6 different types of pile people.

The 1 Pile Person:
I have one pile of mail on the counter that I will be sorting and putting away as soon as the children go to bed this evening. This is a very small pile and is always gone by the end of the day.
I may have been this person briefly before marriage and children.

The 2 Pile Person:
I have one pile of mail and one pile of child or work papers.  The mail pile will be taken care of each week when the bills are paid.  The child/work pile will be dealt with during the week as well, as deadlines approach and paperwork needs to be turned in or completed.  These piles are generally small and come and as frequently as each day.
I was this person after marriage and before children.

The 3 Pile Person:
I have one pile of mail.  I have one pile of paperwork that I need to do something with soon.  I have one pile of stuff I don't think I can throw away but I don't know where to put.  These piles can be of various sizes.  These piles can be shuffled from place to place or be hastily tossed into baskets before company arrives.  But...these piles don't go away.  They rotate, they increase and decrease in height, but they do not leave.
This is me now. I work hard to limit the piles to this amount so that I can at least maintain them.

The I Know I Have That In a Pile Somewhere Pile Person:
I have more piles than I can count.  At one point, they were somewhat organized for a day or two.  There are typically too many piles to maintain any organizational system and for this reason, I have given up.  When asked to locate something, I begin looking in the closest pile and make my way through all them until I find the needed item.  I am the person that needs extra copies of things sent home from school.  I am the person who needs second reminders because I probably lost that paper in one of these piles, but it's probably maybe here somewhere.
I know people like this and it drives me crazy.  I am slightly too OCD to have this many piles or to not know where things are. My piles are at least organized chaos.

The Horder Pile Person:
I am just one life tragedy past this ^^ person. I have many, many piles.  I started putting piles in baskets to clean the house for company, but I never emptied those baskets.  Then I needed to go buy new baskets because my old baskets were full of stuff.  Suddenly, I couldn't walk through my house and I ended up on a tv show.
Um...no.  Just no.

The I Never Have a Pile Person:
I have a spotless home. I have the ability to put things in their proper place at all times. I have been known to clean my cleaning supplies.  I might need a hobby.  I am one of the wonders of the world.
This will never be me. Ever. Not even if I tried and had nothing else to do with my life. I'm completely at peace with that.

My colleagues and I were debating how many piles we have.  I'm pretty sure I fall into the 3 Pile Person arena.  I have the pile of mail that needs to be handled or looked at.  I have the pile of kid stuff that is either waiting to be put away as a keepsake or to be thrown away after the kids are in bed.  I also have the "other" pile.  This is the pile of stuff I can't throw away but don't know where to put.  It ends up staying on the counter until company is coming and then it gets moved to a basket that lands on my bed.  Over the years this is the technique I've developed.  If I put it on the bed, I have to move it or deal with it before I can go to sleep.  If it's in my way, I'm more likely to deal with it.  If I use a laundry basket I will have to empty it before I can do laundry, and in a family of 6, that is pretty soon.

Which type of Pile Person are you? 

Thursday, March 30, 2017


what to do
when the words won't flow
when you've looked
but inspiration hasn't arrived

what to do
when the words won't flow
when you've stared
but the page is still blank

what to do
when the words won't flow
when you've thought
but the ideas just swirl

what to do
when the words won't flow
when you've hoped
but the miracle evades

what to do
when the words won't flow...
you just sit down
and write anyway

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


This little face turns 14 tomorrow.


How did that happen?  I truly feel like it was just yesterday that he was smiling this smile.
It was just yesterday when he was starting kindergarten and next year he will start high school.
I used to look down into his sweet face.  
Now I look up and see a young man where my baby once stood. 
This little face just asked me when he will take driver's training.


When you turn 30, my child. 
Maybe by then I will be able to wrap my head around how old you are.
Maybe by then.  Maybe not.

But, in spite of my unwillingness to see him grow up, we are going to celebrate 14 tomorrow. 
14 years of hugs and cheesy smiles.
Can't really beat that, now can I?

Happy 14th birthday, Bugaboo!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday Tunes

I was able to watch my girl up on stage tonight.  Life is so sweet sometimes.  There she was in her fancy dress, picked for tonight with great care, and her special tights, and shiny black shoes.  She looked so precious.  It's hard to remember she's eight sometimes!

The third grade performed several songs this evening for parents.  Each class took turns playing the instruments and/or dancing to the songs being shared. 

The "Treble Makers" group, a small ensemble of third grade musicians who have put in a little extra work outside of the school day, performed two songs as well.  My girl stood up there with her special group and she had the biggest smile.  She was so proud!

The kids were all amazing and they did such a great job -- it was a lot of fun to watch.  I think we are fortunate to have a music program with a music teacher that goes this extra mile for our students. I'm lucky to have my children in this district.  It was an evening to be proud, to celebrate my girl, and to enjoy our district and what we have to offer.

Rock on third graders! You were amazing!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Another One Bites the Dust

I have 24 kids in my class this year.  Maybe some of you are thinking that is a lot of kids.  Some of you might be thinking that number sounds nice compared to yours.  For me, it's a fairly high number.  The last few years we have been between 18-21, so this year when we were at 24 or 25 per kindergarten classroom we were a little in shock.  You wouldn't think that a couple more kids would make that big of a difference, but let me tell you, it does. 

Everything is louder, wiggly-er, more crowded, more giggly, more everything.  It takes longer to meet with all the reading groups because there are so many.  It's harder to hold writing conferences with each child because there are so many. 

But, every once in a while, a day like today comes along.  Now mind you, I don't wish any of my students to be ill, but it doesn't hurt my feelings when a couple are absent from time to time.  Recently, there have been several illnesses going around the school and the office has been more like a revolving door infirmary. 

This morning, as I took attendance, we counted three students who were absent.  This immediately takes my number down to the amount of students I had last year.  It felt nice, comfortable.

I couldn't help but think...

Another one bites the dust...

About forty-five minutes into our day, my amazing para professional gave me the heads up that one of my students had a red, gooey eye.  Yep, sure enough, it looked pretty bad.  I mentioned it to her and asked what was happening with it.  She immediately burst into tears.

A: My mom put eye drops in it this morning.

Me: Did you go to the doctor to check on it?  [fingers crossed that she had gone in over the weekend]

A: No.

Me: Can you tell me why you are crying?

A: It just really stings a lot!

Me: I think maybe you should head down to the office and have them check it out.

I called and gave the office a heads up and quickly got a call back saying A was going home.  We were all pretty sure it was pink eye.

And another one's gone...

Fast forward about thirty minutes.  I had paired up my now 20 students to do some partner reading.  All was going well, kids were reading like little rock stars.  Then...

M: I don't feel good.

Me: [feeling her forehead] You feel pretty warm.  How about you head down to the office and have them check to see if you have a temp.

M: [nodded up at me with the most ashen white face I've seen]

I called and gave the office a heads up and quickly got a call back saying M was going home.  She had a temp, an upset tummy, and a case of very pale and lethargic-ness.

And another one's gone...

Down to 19.

Fast forward about sixty minutes.  We were lining up, getting our hands cleaned with germ juice, and grabbing lunchboxes, when a the next kiddo was picked up early.  Luckily, she wasn't ill, but she was leaving for a doctor appointment.

And another one bites the dust...

Down to 18...and just like that...the magic started.  I'm convinced that 18 is the perfect number of kindergarten students in a classroom.  Everything flows better, everyone functions better, and everyone gets the 1-1 attention that they need.  Magical!

I couldn't get the soundtrack out of my head today, so here you go.  Now you get to enjoy it too!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Thorn in My Side

Day after day I slave away for you.
It never ends, does it?

Everyday I gather things for you.
I create things for you.

Evening rolls around and I'm so tired,
But you don't care, do you?

You still arrive every day without regard.
My feelings don't matter a bit!

Do you know how tired I am of taking care of you?
Planning for you? Preparing for you?

No matter; you just keep coming back.
Whether I want you to or not.

Why can't someone else deal with you for a while.
Just go away for a day or twelve.

A thorn in my side.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Baby Season

"Do you have any baby toys we could get out for Abby?" my sister-in-law asked me.

" Um...." I looked at my eight year old. "Do we Maddie?"

She stared blankly back at me and shrugged her shoulders.

"How about a doll for her?" my sister-in-law suggested.

I vetoed that idea before the American Girl dolls or Barbies were handed over.

We managed to dig up some plastic animals from the bin that used to hold baby toys but now holds Legos.  We managed to find one lonely board book from the book shelf that used to hold nothing but board books.

This exchange had me thinking.

There was a time when there were only baby toys in our house.  There was a whole shelf full of bins that held baby toys.  There was a whole shelf full of nothing but brightly colored board books.  There was a time when the dolls were soft and squeezable and there weren't Barbies with thousands of tiny accessories.  There was a time when the bins didn't hold Legos and tiny Playmobil toys.

There was a time when I didn't have to think about finding a safe toy or place to play because everything was safe. 

My how times have changed. We are in a different season in our house these days.  We are in a season where we don't have to worry about small pieces and parts.  We don't have to worry about plug covers or breakable items on low shelves anymore.

I think, as a parent, I was aware of the seasons changing.  I celebrated and enjoyed each season and each change to a new season.  Today it hit me just how far we have moved away from the baby season.  It's a little bittersweet.

Friday, March 24, 2017

One Of Those Days

On a typical day, my older two kids come to my classroom when they get out of school, which is about an hour before I get out of school.  They hang out and do homework until their two little sisters and I are finished for the day.  Today was one of those days.

I will say, if I'm being honest, this is not my favorite time of day.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my kids very much, but I am still working during this time of day and my children sometimes, even at 11 and 13, forget this fact.  Then, when the younger two join the party after school, it can get a little crazy.  Today was one of those days.

I love the days when they all go their separate ways and have things they want to do in the classroom.  Those are peaceful, relaxed days when I can wrap up what I'm working on and pack what I will take home and probably not take out of my bag that evening.  Today was NOT one of those days.

Today, the bickering started almost immediately upon seeing each other.  I know they love each other and they enjoy being together sometimes.  They can laugh together and play games together and even help each other from time to time.  But they are normal siblings who bicker sometimes also.  Today was one of those days.

Until we got into the car.

Today was a rare 74 degree March day in Michigan.  It was sunny, breezy, and warm.  It was just beautiful!  Once we got into the car, we put the windows down a bit and that is when the magic happened.  All of the sudden, there were fingers fluttering in the air coming in the window.  There were happy giggles coming from three little girl mouths.  There was a happy teenage boy kicked back in the seat and loving the wind in his face.  Things went from bickerville to pleasantville.  It was lovely!  Today was one of those days.

It could have been a long, irritable ride home.  But it wasn't.  Instead, I listened to the girls laughing at the tickles from the wind, laughing at the hair blowing around their faces, and laughing at each other. Today was one of those day.

"Hey Mom! Guess what?"


"The wind feels like whipped cream in my hand! Except it's not wet."

This caused another ripple of laughter and a few small hands up next to the window trying to feel the whipped cream air.  I guess you just never know what one of them will say next.  Today was one of those days.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Vacation

I'm dreaming of a spring vacation
just like the ones I used to know
before kids cost money
and dogs who act funny
and bills
my enemy and foe

I'm dreaming of a hot sandy beach
a long trip away from home
where the sunscreen's flowing
and warm winds are blowing
the waves
into salty foam

I'm dreaming of a spring vacation
just like the ones I used to know
maybe someday I'll travel
to sunny weather
and laying low

It's almost spring break! Can you tell? I'm looking forward to a week of relaxing and doing as I please (as much as I can with four kids).  I'm looking forward to going to the bathroom, eating meals, and wearing jeans whenever I want.  And while I will be doing that at home, I will look out my window and dream of a day when I'm on that beachy vacation.

Isn't it ironic...I'm dreaming of spring vacation and my mentor text is a Christmas song? That's something to ponder.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sleep...or wishful thinking

My husband has been out of town since yesterday and won't return until later this week.  This happens a couple of times each year for work conferences.  I have come to realize that I can handle these small stretches of single parenthood just fine. Don't get me wrong! It's not easy and I'm so very thankful that it isn't my norm, but I CAN handle it when I need to.

The routine changes on these days.  Normally, he takes the older two kids to school before he heads to work because they are on the earlier start time.  I follow behind him with the younger two kids, about 45 minutes later because we start on the later start time.  At the end of the day, I play taxi and run kids wherever they need to go, attend whatever meetings/concerts that are on the calendar, manage making or purchasing dinner, taking baths/showers, and checking homework.  True, the household chores might not get done like usual.  The house might be a little messier.  The kids might even miss a bath one night.  But, we all make it just fine.

I can organize myself so that I can manage the details just fine.


I can not sleep when he is gone.
I can not get comfortable.
I can not get warm and cozy.
I can not stop tossing and turning.
I can not stop opening my eyes every hour.
I can not sleep when he is gone.

None of the organizing, managing, or anything else can help that little problem.

So if you see me this week, please pretend you don't see those dark patches under my eyes.  They will go away again next week once I can sleep again.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What's Your Why?

Today was staff meeting day. 

I don't know how other schools do staff meetings, but ours are before school.  One hour before school to be exact.  This means that on staff meeting days I have to get up earlier than normal, drop off the older two kids at school, and then get to my staff meeting on time.  Not my normal routine.  It's fine, it's just different than the normal routine of getting the two little kids to school.  To say that I don't enjoy waking up early on these staff meeting days is a bit of an understatement.  I'm more of a night owl than a rooster. 

This morning was no different.  I dragged myself out of bed and through the morning "stuff," finally arrived at school a few minutes later than I had planned (darn that early morning drop off at the middle school).  I slid into a seat just after my principal had started the meeting.  He was actually just introducing a funny Gerry Brooks video (and if you don't know who he is you need to stop and Google that name right now...go ahead...I will wait).

Anyway, the heart of my principal's meeting today seemed to be celebrating our passion.  He started out by sharing some nice notes from staff that were on the staff shout out board in the teachers lounge. He followed that up with an email from a parent that thanked the teacher, administration, and the whole staff in general for taking care of her child. He was deliberately building us up. He was reminding us to look past the things that aren't so great about teaching (the paperwork, the angry notes, the behavior struggles, etc.) and to look at all the good things we are happening around us every day. He shared a conversation he had with two friends who said they wished they had jobs that mattered and made a difference. He reminded us to remember why we chose to teach; to think about why our jobs DO matter.  He reminded us that we can all go home at the end of the day and reflect on something that we did to make a difference to a child.  After all, that's why we do what we do.

Every one of us in that room chose to teach, not because of the money, the fame, the vacation time, the paperwork, but because our passion is helping children learn.  It might be because of some stellar teachers we had in school who inspired us to be like them.  It might even be because of the not so stellar teachers we had in school who we wanted to do better than.  We all have a different "why" but all those reasons led us to the same place...teaching children.  We all share that passion.

It was a wonderful reminder this morning.  It's a reminder that many of us, if not all of us, needed to hear at this point in the year as we count down the days until spring break and a much needed rest.

So, I challenge you today to think about your "why."  Why did you choose to teach? 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Story Element Surprise

A couple weeks ago we had a professional development day at school.  My reading specialist did a training on some things we could do to help our students make predictions, think through the elements of a story, and to make connections between self and text.

One of the things she showed us was to take bits of lines from books.  Without looking at the book, students will think about the line from the book and decide what story element they think it might be (characters, setting, problem, and solution).  This is a way to think about what the story elements sound like and also to make predictions about the story.

Many of the teachers really liked this activity and thought that it could be used in the classroom with their students. I wondered if my kindergarten kiddos could handle this activity. I wasn't sure if they knew enough about those story elements to sort the lines from the book and I wondered if they would be able to complete the activity orally, being that they couldn't really read the lines from the book.

Well, they blew me out of the water!  I took bits of lines from the book Leprechaun on the Loose for St. Patrick's Day.  I gave them the following lines, each one on it's own sticky note:

Mrs. Yoder
the classroom
leprechaun trap
green footprints
a leprechaun was loose in the classroom
fish tank
the leprechaun whispered in his ear
juice went everywhere
It was just what he needed to save the party
Sidney was caught inside

I read each line and then the kids decided where to put each sticky note on the story element chart that we used for the activity.  Here is a picture of the finished product.  If you look closely, you might notice there are check marks on many of the sticky notes.  That means we put that line from the book in the correct spot when we made our predictions. 

This was the third time we had done this activity (the third book we used) and you will notice we only had one in the wrong spot when we made our predictions!  I know! Blew me away!  The first time we tried the activity, we had 7/13 correct, the second time we had 8/10 correct, and this time only one wrong! The kids were so excited and proud of themselves. 

You know you have a great learning activity when the kids ask to do it every day!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Big 4-0!

Today we celebrated my husband.  His birthday is on Tuesday but he will be out of town, so we partied today instead. 

We gave him his presents this morning...a shirt, a gift card, and a game system that plays old Nintendo and Super Nintendo games.

This evening we ate his favorite meal of chicken and noodles.  It didn't taste just like his mom's but it was pretty good, even if I do say so myself.

Tonight we ate cake and ice cream.  It was white cake with peanut butter frosting...made with Wow Butter (soy butter) because of his nut allergy.  But it was really tasty!  We found a new frosting recipe for sure!

Overall, it was a nice day.  But...

He will be 40 on Tuesday and we won't be there to celebrate with him and that kills me a little.  It's a big deal birthday!  I guess I better come up with a plan for celebrating him by phone on Tuesday instead. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

QR Code Magic

Just a short post tonight...

I'm working on publishing some student writing.  We have literacy night on Monday at school and I need to finish getting ready!

We recently published a typed and illustrated copy of our best opinion pieces.  On Thursday, we got video footage of each child reading his/her book.  Today I am uploading all the videos to my private YouTube channel and I will turn that video link into a QR code.  At literacy night, each family will be able to pick up a postcard that has their child's QR code on it.  When they scan this code, it will take them to the video of their child reading the book they published.

I will also have a few books on display at the kindergarten grade level table but I can only feature a couple of samples.  With the QR codes, every family gets a video of their kiddo!  I will also send the finished books home next week, once the kids have a chance to read them to a few adults in the building. Many kids wrote about their favorite special class (gym, library, music, science) and they want to read their books to the teacher who teaches their favorite special.  Those who wrote about their favorite food will be able to read their books to the principal or counselor.

Well...I still have several videos to upload, so I better get back to work!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Day 17!

Today we had an after school party at school. Two of my girls participated in the party.  While they partied, I hung out in my classroom and did some planning for next week.  I had a couple of nice moments as the party unfolded.


He waved to me from across the room with a shy smile.  He was in my class two years ago and was possibly the most challenging student I had up until that point in my then 13 year teaching career.  I wondered if he would come over and talk to me or if I would just get the wave.  I didn't have long to wait to find out that answer.  About 30 seconds later he was standing behind my desk next to me.

Him: Mrs. S, look at the sticker I got in that other room!
Me: Awesome! Spider-man!
Him: He's my favorite super hero, I mean, him and Batman and the one with the red eye but I don't remember his name but he's on Teen Titans Go too, and I like them all the best, but Spider-man is my favorite one mostly.  (whew!)
Me: Spider-man is pretty cool...I like him too!
Him: Yeah, I like them all.  Did you know I have all the superhero movies? We get them as soon as they are done editing them and we have them all on disc.  I watch them online sometimes, but my dad has to help me with the wifi because I haven't gotten into wifi too much and I still need a little help with it sometimes.
Me: Me too, buddy, me too.


They tumbled into the room all out of breath like they'd just been running a hallway race.  They smiled and waved and called their hellos to me before going about the business of making a craft.  The high school helper sat at the table with them and gave directions.  They happily followed them and got right to work on their craft.  As they worked, conversation unfolded.

AK: Do you remember being in this class?
JG: Of course.  Kindergarten wasn't THAT long ago, silly.
AK: Did you see the kitchen?
JG: Yep, it's new.
AK: I know.  Ours wasn't that pretty.  It was kinda ugly and old.
JG: Yeah, but there was a lot of food to play with.  More than we have now.
AK: True. Remember Mrs. S?
JG: Um, yeah!  She's right over there!
AK: I know.  She was cool.
JG: And nice.


Tap, tap, tap. I felt her finger tapping my arm at just the same moment as I heard her voice trying to get my attention.  She gave me her biggest smile and a happy wave.  She had come in to make a craft but she had no idea what the directions were and even though the helpers were trying to explain to the small group gathered around the table, it meant nothing to her.  You see, AR is deaf.  Luckily, I was able to sign enough of the directions to be able to tell her what to do.  Still, no one noticed that she wasn't listening and following directions in the same way as the other kids...or that she didn't say anything. It made me a little sad for her, remembering that she faces that challenge every day of her life, but I was very glad I was there to help when I could.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Memory Lane

I have a love/hate relationship with social media.  It has it's good points and bad points.  Today though, it made me pretty happy.

As I scrolled through my news feed I came across one of the "one this day" posts.  It made me smile...there were several pictures that were just so sweet.

I've always been someone who enjoyed each stage that my kids have gone through.  I loved the baby stage, I even enjoyed the toddler stage, the preschool stage, the early school years, etc.  Each stage has fun parts.  These pictures today reminded me of a fun time in our lives.

Then, this evening, my husband re-posted some of the pictures that popped into his news feed too!

In this picture, our youngest was 7 months...old enough to play and laugh and show off her personality.

Our middle daughter was 5 in this picture.  She was in kindergarten and was excited to be visiting our new puppy, as shown by her sweet smile.

In this picture, our oldest daughter was 6 1/2 .  It was such a sweet age. She was so in love with her baby sister, she enjoyed playing Barbies with her middle sister, and she was still in awe of her new American Girl Doll.

Finally, our oldest kiddo was just days away from turning 9 in this picture. We all had a good chuckle from this picture because he looked so much like his Grandpa sitting in that chair.

It was a nice little walk down memory lane today. I miss those baby faces, sure.  But, I also really love the big kid faces of today all at the same time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What is that thing?

I consider myself a tech savvy person.

I know how to do a lot of things, technologically speaking.
I'm not afraid of learning.
I'm comfortable trying new things.
I'm not afraid of messing something up.


I will admit, from time to time, my children teach me something new. 
Having been born in this age of technology, they are quite savvy too!
My son taught me about Google Classroom.
My daughter taught me how to fancy up my text messages with new features I hadn't even found yet.


Sometimes, in spite of all the technology that my kiddos seem to know, I'm still surprised.
There are still things that I can't quite believe they don't know.
Last night I had one of those moments.

My daughter just rearranged her room over the weekend.
There is a new empty spot in her room now and I asked what she was planning to put there.
She glance over and said she wasn't sure yet, but she was wondering something.

What is that thing?

Oh. my. goodness.

I guess some things really do change.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


The mind of a five year old is an interesting thing. 

As we drove to school last week, when the weather was fairly warm, my kindergarten sidekick started a line of questioning about the weather.

Avery: Mom, when will it be hot outside?
Me: It will be a while yet. It's still winter right now.  Then we will have spring and then summer, when it's hot.
Avery: But its kinda warm right now, so it's spring now.
Me: Well, it is a little warmer right now than it usually is, but it's still winter for a little longer.
Avery: Oh.

Three miles later.

Avery: Will it snow today?
Maddie (eight year old sister): No, it's too warm for snow today.  I saw the weather this morning. It's not going to snow at all this week.
Avery: BUT MOOOOOOOOM (go ahead, say it with inflection, you know that sound)!!!!  I didn't even get to make a snowman this year!
Me: [and this is my fault how?] Well, sweetie, remember when I told you that it's still winter? Just because we aren't getting snow this week doesn't mean we won't get more this year.
Avery: Are you sure?
Me: I'm not sure if we will get more snow or not, but we could!
Avery: Then I'm going to make a snowman when we get more snow.
Me: That sounds like a good plan!

Ten days later.

Avery: Mom! Mom! Mom! It's snowing outside! [jumping up and down]
Me: It sure is!  And, guess what? It's going to snow all day!
Avery: Whoa!  That's a lot of snow!
Me: Yep! Probably a few inches. Maybe you can go build that snowman you wanted to make!
Avery: No, I don't want to anymore.
Me: [sigh]

At least she keeps me on my toes.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Day 13

I had to laugh.

I had no idea what to write about today. It's been such a busy day that even in the midst of a million things to write about, I can't pick one.

What to do? What to do?

I decided to look back on day 13 slices from last year to see what I was up to. 

Last year, on day 13, I wrote a poem about not knowing what to write about.

I had to laugh!

I guess day 13 is hard, but it made me decide to look at all my past day 13 posts.

There was one about my three girls setting up the tent and camping in the basement.  Another about my son's last Boy Scout cub cake...we made a minion cake.  There was another that was an attempt at writing a fictional story. That one was pretty fun and makes me want to try my hand and writing more of that story!  Maybe a writing task for April? Finally, I wrote about the choices we make in life.  I like this one a lot, even if it makes me cry to reread it.

I guess not every day 13 is hard. Maybe this one isn't either, since I have now written a post. :)

Interesting how that happens, isn't it?

I just have to laugh!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Troll Sighting!

Each year, the local Theater shows a special Sunday movie matinee for the Girl Scouts.  This year, the movie was Trolls and today was the big day!

The four of us piled in the car and ventured out to the theater.  My oldest Girl Scout is eleven, and "too old" for Troll hair and pictures.  My eight year old Girl Scout made the Troll hair with her troop and made one for her movie guest, her little sister.

Everyone had popcorn, candy and a drink with the movie -- a special deal offered just for the Girl Scout event -- and the girls were blissfully happy.

As I looked around the theater, I had to smile.  There were girls wearing Troll hair all around the room.  The sounds of popcorn munching filled the silences, and there were plenty of giggles and smiles on all the faces, both little and big.

It was a good movie, with a good message, and a good time was had by all.

Sometimes life really IS all cupcakes and rainbows, just like Poppy said!

Saturday, March 11, 2017


I love Saturdays.

I know. Everyone loves Saturdays.  That's nothing new or earth-shattering, but it kept coming to mind today.  We had a lovely day of nothing.  A Saturday that was full of only what we wanted.  It was glorious.

hitting up the local, and amazing, donut shop
our breakfast of champs
off we go on our own ways

curled up with HGTV magazine
so much glossy goodness

Christmas money
burning a hole in his pocket
to the video game shop
scored the game he wanted

taxi driver
quality time with the boy

two older daughters
two heads bent together
stickers and paper and Youtube instructions

the littlest one
playing dolls
dressing her baby, preparing a bottle
cuddles and coos

to the kitchen at lunch time
poking into cupboards
the menu: make your own

the girls-cereal
the boy-a sandwich
me-melty cheese on chips
hubby-corned beef hash
or, Alpo in a dish

Oklahoma friends on Face Time
American Girl Dolls over the internet
guys watching basketball
and maybe the insides of eyelids
keeping the couch warm and held down

pulled out the school bag
the week planned out
Mr. Principal coming to observe
type up the ol' lesson plan
excellent Saturday fun
or not...but at least it's done

new recipe time
waited all week
new chicken recipe
kids turning up noses
nothing unusual there
sweet and spicy chicken
Italian brown sugar chicken
rice and fruit on the side
turned out great
kids ate like champs

ice cream from the local shop
ordered in the bitter cold
shivered as we ate

Saturday comes to an end
Sunday Funday up next
it's all good

Friday, March 10, 2017


When my husband and I first got married, we lived in an apartment.  It was a new place and the landscaping consisted of grass.  And frankly, I didn't care one bit.  We had a few plants inside and that was good enough for me.

About a year later, we bought our first house.  It was a small house and we figured we would live there for about five years and then we would be able to upgrade to the house where we would raise our family.  We purchased the house at the end of May and were all settled in by mid-June.  I spent that first summer tearing off wallpaper, priming, painting, decorating, and everything in between.  When school started again in the fall, we had just found out that I was pregnant.  We were extremely happy, but I was exhausted.  I didn't do any planting that fall like I had intended.  In March, we were blessed with a new baby boy and let's just say life didn't slow down to allow for time to plant anything that spring either.  That fall, we thought about it.  We even looked through catalogs and picked out bulbs to plant along the sidewalk.  I told my mom I wanted tulips and hyacinths to line the sidewalk up to the porch.  She agreed that it would look nice and we discussed how many bulbs I should purchase.  And...life happened but planting bulbs did not.  The next spring I actually purchased the bulbs, after the catalog showed up in my mailbox again.  I was determined to get them planted that fall.  By the time fall rolled around I was very pregnant with my second child.  My mom ended up planting the bulbs for me.  She came over, took one look at me sitting in the rocking chair and feeling like a whale and she went into action.  She went to the garage and pulled out a lawn chair.  She found the small shovel, a rug to kneel on, and the bags of bulbs I had ordered.  She sat me in the lawn chair and taught me how to plant the bulbs.  She did the entire thing and I learned as much as I could by watching best I could around my belly.  For ten more years I enjoyed those tulips and hyacinths each spring.  Each spring I would remember sitting there and watching while my mom planted them and how happy I was that she just did it for me...knowing they probably would never have happened without her help.

Fast forward thirteen years.  Four kids and eight years after we had planned, we finally upgraded to that next house.  We bought the house in August, moved in at the end of September, and were settled enough to enjoy the fall colors around us.  There are trees all around our house and a wooded area behind it.  It was beautiful with all the reds and oranges.  But, I was most excited to see what would arrive in the spring.  I knew the former owner, a science teacher and outside lover, had planted many things around the house and it would be a great surprise to see what would arrive.

That spring I watched carefully for signs of life popping through the ground.  I was delighted to see daffodils pop up, and excited about the little purple flowers that dotted the ground cover in front of the porch, and happily watched the bleeding hearts and hostas grow.  But no matter how hard I looked, I never found any tulips sprouting anywhere.  I found a catalog in my mailbox last year and even dog-eared several pages.  I had my tulip bulbs all picked out, but they never got ordered.  Now this year, on our second spring, I am wishing I had gotten some in the ground.  I have these pretty little peeks of spring popping up around the front porch, but they aren't the tulips my mom planted.

I may need to call in some reinforcements in order to get it done.  But...I won't be looking around a pregnant belly this time, so I guess I will have to get my mom the lawn chair so she can supervise while I plant those bulbs.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I think I will stop blinking!


It's happening people! My sweet faced little boy is turning into a young man.
I don't know when exactly he got so old.
I don't know when exactly he started looking eye to eye with me.
I surely don't know when he started to be able to see the top of my head.

My sweet faced little boy has a meeting tonight.
A high school meeting.
We are going to learn about scheduling classes, what it's like to be a high school student, and how to be successful as a high school student.

I'm sure I will understand all of the requirements.
I know I will be able to make sense of laying out his class schedule and plugging in electives.
I'm not so sure I will understand how and when this all happened. 

I think I will stop blinking.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What a day!

I'm not sure if it is because of the weather or because my students know that it's parent-teacher conference time, but my students have lost their minds.

It was extremely windy today.  I suppose it could be the cause of the chaos, except that they were nutty yesterday too.

The last two evenings have been filled with conferences.  I suppose it could be the cause of their craziness, but I don't think that's it either.

I think they are just tired.

I heard several parents say that their children LOVE school but they are struggling to get them up and out the door in the morning recently.

I heard several parents say that their children LOVE me and get upset when they are sick and have to stay home from school, but they have lost almost all bits of respectful behavior in the last two days.

I think they are just tired.

There are so many could be's, but I'm pretty confident that it isn't because of any of those things.

I think they are just tired.

Do you know how I know?

I'm tired too.

But guess what?

Tomorrow is a new day with new chances and new opportunities!

(And hopefully less wind.)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I can't believe it's been ten years...

I'm sending you balloons today
floating up to celebrate

I can't quite believe it's been ten years
since I've heard your voice
or felt your hug

I hope you have a heavenly celebration today
filled with stories and laughter

I can just imagine your request
to gather around a bonfire
and maybe roast some hotdogs

You probably asked for a cold beer
do they have that up there?

I bet you have a red fast car somewhere near
and probably a few friends
to watch you blow out your candles

At some point I know you will say
It just doesn't get any better than this

And I hope that is true
that your heavenly birthday is special
just like you

Happy Birthday Dad!

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's That Time Again...

It's parent-teacher conference week.  In the fall, I dread the conference but enjoy meeting the parents.  At that point, I know the kids but not the parents and it's good to meet them.  I do not enjoy the tough conversations that often arise at those conferences.  There are always the kids who have never had any school or social experiences...those often lead to hard conversations about behaviors or academic skills (or lack thereof).  Not knowing the parents yet, you just never know what to expect.

But now...

Nervous faces arrive
Nice to see you again
Let me show you
Look at the growth
Updating skills, surpassing goals
High fives and fist bumps

Even where struggles exist
Improvements are shared
Progress is made
Next steps planned
New goals to meet
Thanks for coming
Smiling faces retreat

And then...

I breath a sigh of relief as one day comes to and end while looking forward to tomorrow and starting all over again.  There are more lessons to be taught and more parents to greet.  But first, I think I will go home and have a little 9:00 pm dinner.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday Funday

My teacher bag was enormous this weekend.  Well, if I'm going to be honest, it wasn't just a bag.  It was two large bags and a tub.  To say I had a lot to do was a bit of an understatement.  However, I knew I didn't want to spend all day Sunday working on it, so while my hubby took the kids to a movie on Saturday, I got down to work.  I was able to get everything done so that today I was free to do as I pleased.  I mean, as much as any mom can do as she pleases.  A mom's work is never done, but we had a nice day anyway!  Check out our Sunday Funday!

I went out early and did the grocery shopping so that it would be done and out of the way.  When I returned, the dining room table had been converted into Barbie's dream house.  My youngest two girls were having a ball together.

Next, it was reading time.  My youngest pulled the leveled books out of her reading folder and read me two books.  She's really come a long way this year and I just love to cuddle up and listen to her read.  She's found a confidence in herself that is very satisfying...as her mom and her teacher!

Once she was finished with the required reading...we dug into the new book order book pile! Gotta love Peppa, Pigeon, and Fly Guy!

Then it was on to games with my third grader.  She chose Battleship.  I've always enjoyed this game and remember playing it with my parents.  I always like the challenge of trying to guess how someone might configure their ships.  We played two games and each won one.

By then, it was time to start the preparations for dinner.  I enjoy cooking but don't have a lot of time during the week for elaborate meals, so when I can spend a little extra time on the weekend, I jump at the chance!  Today's menu? Lasagna!  I've been trying to tweak my recipe a little, so I tried some adjustments today and hit the jack pot!  Best lasagna I have ever made, even if I do say so myself.  ;)

As I was layering everything in the pan, movement outside the window caught my eye.  There was a large, chocolate lab wandering around in our backyard.  Our neighbors don't have dogs, so I knew this one had traveled a little ways.  My husband went outside to see if it had a tag.  It was wearing a collar but no tag.  She was a nice old dog.  She had big brown eyes and a little gray hair on her face.  She sat, she would lay down, she rolled over for belly rubs, and she would even shake!  She was obviously someone's dog and we were sure they were missing this sweet girl.  We stayed outside on the porch with her for quite a while.  No one came by looking for her.  We tried calling animal control to get her so she wouldn't get hit by a car but apparently they don't work on the weekend. (say what?) So, we got her some water, put down some blankets for her to lay on, and she hung around our porch for a couple hours.  She even stayed through dinner.  We posted her picture on our Facebook pages and the local buy and sell page.  Luckily, the owner happened to see our picture and realized that their sweet dog wasn't in the back yard like they thought!  They live one street over and came looking for her right away.  They were happy to get their sweet Bella back and we were happy to see her reunited with her family.

It was a good day! And now, after cleaning up the kitchen, it's almost time for The Walking Dead, my Sunday night guilty pleasure.  So, I'm going to go gather my cold drink, hop into my pajamas, and curl up with my fuzzy blanket on the couch.  Just a little more relaxing before Monday's reality begins.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

We Bark...A Lot

here we are
sitting in the chair
waiting for daddy to come back home

a squirrel scampers by
we bark
a lot

a car drives past the cul de sac
our heads turn as we follow it closely
we grumble quietly

a cat runs across the yard
we bark
a lot
and then some more
to be safe

the mailman arrives at the box
we stand and bark
a lot
just in case

the neighbor dares to come out his door
we bark
a lot
to remind him we know he's there

the man from down the block 
trots the fluffy white dog past our window view
we bark
a lot

the leaves rustle in the grass
we growl a bit
just a warning

the fast-walking man blows by
arms swinging, feet keeping time
we bark
a lot

the maroon van crests the hill
and we know
we bark
we jump
we turn circles
we wear out paths to the door
we bark
we whine
we pant
we wag
we bark some more
we put our noses to the door

it's time
daddy's home
we bark
just to say "hi"
and "we missed you"
but mostly "we're glad you're home"

and now we can rest
a nap in the chair
no longer with our nose to the window
because he is home
and all is right
with our world

we snore
a lot

Friday, March 3, 2017

Things That Made Me Smile Today

Today I smiled about a lot of things, here are just a few:

  • heated seats in my cold car this morning
  • watercolor paints on the tables in the science classroom
  • sweaty students all in a line leaving gym class
  • remembering it's FRIDAY!
  • trying a new essential oil
  • Dr. Pepper in my cup at lunch
  • a no-cook day...breakfast from a box, lunch on the go, a called-in dinner order
  • and, it's Friday!
  • hearing, "Mom will you cuddle in the chair with me?"
  • the barking and dancing dogs who meet me at the door each afternoon
  • a break from the normal...we drew our favorite book covers and decorated bookmarks
  • Did I mention, it's Friday?!

What made you smile today?