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!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Day 20 - Just barely under the wire

I had heard others talking. I knew it was potentially coming my way.

But really.

I had no idea.

I had no idea that this would be my life.

Wake and shower, catch the weather on the morning news
Wake kid three and four, encourage/threaten/bribe them to get out of bed ;)
Make breakfast for kid three and four, hug and send kid one and two out the door for school with hubby
Hubby drops kid one and two at school and drives to work
I drive kid three and four to school, hugs for kid three who hops a bus to the middle school
Turn on computer, get ready for the day while kid four entertains herself drawing on the white board
Parent meeting to share report card
Hugs for kid four who heads down the hall first grade bound
Bell rings, students arrive, day begins
News, attendance, ELA block, Writing block (publishing today!)
Lunch/recess for kids, eye drops for kid four before lunch, lunch/relax for me
Kids return from recess, drinks, bathroom, story time
Math block, high school helper dips her toe in the teaching waters and teaches a math game to class
Specials for students, chat "how do you think it went" with high school helper, correct/return math papers that have been piling up for three days (yes! finally!)
Classroom prep - switch out books on bookshelves to spring/easter themes, add non-fiction tubs to the library for the next reading and writing unit...coming soon! Must. Get. Ready.
Kid two calls - oops forgot about Girl Scout meeting, can I go, yes, see you at 5, hang up
Kid one arrives just in time to help room prep, book sorting, two extra hands :)
Pick up students from special, get ready for home, deliver kiddos to end of day destinations
Greet kid three and four, hear highlights of the day, settle in to get to work
Stay after school 45 minutes getting ready for tomorrow, sub plans for an observation, copies
Kid one, three and four hanging out, drawing, reading, phones, "being bored"
Kid two at Girl Scouts
Hubby leaves work at 4:30, a half-hour late, has to stop and get kid one's baseball hat for practice
Leave school with kid one, three, and four, pick up kid two at Girl Scout meeting
Drive to town pizza place with kids, arrive at 5:00
Hubby arrives at 5:15
Eat pizza, discuss day, review evening line-up
5:45 I leave for kindergarten round up meeting for school
Hubby drives kid one to baseball practice at 6:15
Hubby drives kids two, three and four home
Kids shower and do homework
7:15 I drive to the store for birthday treat ingredients
8:00 put gas in car
8:30 I return to pick up kid one from baseball practice
9:00 Home, pick out clothes, give meds, share hugs and kisses, tuck in kids
9:15 Wrap gifts for tomorrow's birthday celebration
9:30 Make and bake a yellow cake
10:00 Whip up some coveted peanut butter frosting
10:30 Still waiting for cake to cool, clean up kitchen, read report card for kid three, smile :)
11:00 pray cake is cooled enough, be disappointed
11:15 open the computer and finally type the slice for today
11:30 frost the cake, it no longer matters if it is cool enough or not
11:45 bed, essential oils on feet for immunity and sleep (not taking ANY chances), sigh, pull covers up to chin, pray my eyes will close and my brain will shut off long enough to go to sleep
12:00 with any luck...zzzzzzz

Yep. It's here. This hectic life. It arrived before I was ready. It isn't going anywhere. All I can do is hold on for the ride and try to smell the roses as much as possible.

I may not have been ready.  I may not have welcomed the stress of hectic-ness.
I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I'm blessed with a wonderful hubby of 17 years...
                                         ...four happy, healthy, amazing kiddos...
                                                                  ....a job that I enjoy and appreciate...
                                                                                      ...and the understanding of how good I have it.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Day 19 - It Was a Good Day

I just had the privilege of typing/publishing my student's first opinion piece books.

We have a literacy night at school this week and I published them for the kids so that they can illustrate them and show them to their parents.

These pieces are so cool! I gave them a bit more support that I will for the next opinion book but the ideas and supporting reasons they came up with literally blew me out of the water.

Today was a good teaching day and this was the perfect wrap for it.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Day 18 - Please stop, Father Time!

I love that my girls can enjoy each other's company.  They spent the whole day together today and rarely came up for air.

Their morning started by eating breakfast together and watching a cartoon. 

And then the real fun began...


They played Barbies in the basement play space for the whole morning. Came upstairs for lunch. Then immediately went back down to play until I called them up for dinner.

I realize it won't always be this way. There are days now when they aren't so happy to be together.

But, for today, I love it. Because let's face it...

when the girls are happy, everyone is happy.


My 12-year-old is basically a teenager these days.

She sleeps in any chance she can get. She likes to talk to her friends in some format on her phone or computer.  She's suddenly interested in clothes and shoes.  She has opinions and likes to share them.

She also hibernates.

She would spent entire days in her room with her:
   - drawing notebooks
   - books
   - movies
   - talking to her friends
   - did I mention drawing notebooks?

But even though she likes to hibernate, we like to see her smiling face. So, we require some downstairs time from her as well. Sometimes she enjoys this. Sometimes it's an exercise in patience...for us. ;)


I have an actual teenager as well. He's 14...for 12 more days.

I'm not sure when he went and grew up?

I don't remember giving him permission for that. I don't remember being ok with him growing taller than me. I don't remember being ok with him taking driver's training this summer? I don't remember any of these things, and yet, they happened in a heartbeat. They happened without my permission.

I need to find a way to stop this thing called time.

Anyone have a suggestion?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day 17 - Sick Day

I'm sick. I hate being sick. It was conference week last week so that means I get sick. Every. Year.

And so...
My day in a nutshell:

Soccer game - first win of the season

Girl Scout Cookie booth - drop off daughter

Grocery store - pick up dinner

Home - put away dinner items, empty dishwasher, return a few messages

Cookie booth - pick up daughter, celebrate surpassing a 600 box sales goal for the year

Home - lay on the couch


Wake for dinner and some basketball game watching from the couch

Ice cream run with the kiddos

Order groceries for the week online and schedule pick up from the couch

couch/basketball watching/sleep until bed

bed - sleep until morning grocery pick up

I barely have the energy to climb Mt. Everest/stairs to get my pajamas on.  This slice was a push. So now, it's back to sleep I go.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Day 15 - Unexpected

I expected to be teaching today.
I did not expect to take a nap.

I expected to be finishing conferences today.
I did not expect to spend the day watching movies with my youngest sweetie pie.

I expected to have to rush to make it to my dinner plans on time.
I did not expect to have extra time on my hands before dinner.

I expected my hubby to cook a nutrish and delish dinner of mac and cheese with chicken nuggets.
I did not expect to make it myself in my newly found extra time.

I expected to scarf down my lunch in the teacher's lounge while picking and choosing which conversations I wanted to associate with.
I did not expect to eat lunch curled up on the couch laughing at an episode of Friends.

The unexpected wonder of a broken water main led to an unexpected wonder of a day off.

Yes, I will have to reschedule some conferences.
Yes, I will *possibly* regret that nap later.
Yes, hubby got out of cooking. Again.

Yes, I so enjoyed and needed this day off. Even better that I got to spend it with my favorite 6 year old.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Day 13 - The Visitor

I had a visitor today. A friend, a mentor, a woman I adore. She has all the pep and spark of a woman half her age with the wisdom and kindness of a grandmother.  I was excited to see her, to say the least. It's been a few years and talking online just isn't the same.

After a brief chat at lunch, she dropped into my classroom right at the beginning of my math block. My experiences with her mentoring has all been in the area of writing.  I know what she is looking for in a writing lesson, in a writer's workshop, in a coaching setting, and in all realms writing related. I didn't know what to expect in this new area except enthusiasm.

What I saw was my classroom through her eyes.

I saw a VERY young five year old who is learning to write his numbers absolutely light up when she said she was proud of his hard work.

I saw a young boy who has a hard time forming relationships want to show off for this woman I called my friend instead of laying on the floor and making baby noises as he did for the science teacher minutes later.

I saw a young girl lean over and coach a friend on how to make the number 5 after listening to the "grandma" show her how.

I saw my mentor smile as I talked with my students.

I saw her laugh at the silly things they said to me as we began to talk about math.

I saw her snap pictures of moments of my history that passed almost without my notice because she saw something in those moments that struck her.

I saw the delight on her face when she talked to my kiddos and the love of learning and teaching that she still holds so near and dear after so very many years in the world of education.

I saw a person who can lead and guide with more kindness and gentleness than I can wrap my head around some days.

I saw a person I want to be like when I grow up.

I saw just how lucky I am to have a person like this as a mentor, but more importantly, as a friend.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Day 12 - Conferences

Welcome to Parent-Teacher Conference Week!

Roughly, what that means is...

a week of assessments
a week of report card prep
a week of a dirty house
a week of a dishwasher not being emptied
a week of dishes piling up in the sink (see above)
a week of fast-prep food or eating on the run
a week of late nights
a week of extra coffee
and a couple snuggles missed

But also...

a week of handshakes
a week of smiles
a week of sharing good news and progress
a week of reconnecting
a week of proud kids
a week of growth
and a couple hard conversations

This is the week I both enjoy and dread all at once. It's exhausting to prepare for, exhausting to schedule, and exhausting to carry out. It's hard to miss my own children's after school activities. It's hard to get to my own children's conferences. It's hard to miss dinner. ;)

But, it's rewarding to sit and share all the good news with parents. It's rewarding to see their child smile. It's rewarding to see the satisfaction on parent's faces when they see how much their child has grown over the last couple of months.

So far...
I've completed 2/22 conferences.
The tunnel still looks long.
I'm pretty sure there is a light at the end.
I'm mostly sure it will get brighter each day.
I think I can. I think I can.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Day 10 - They're Everywhere

Yesterday I read a great slice by The Life of a Mom, Teacher and Wife and I giggled as I read.  It was like she was describing my house. Like she knew my own battles. I couldn't stop thinking about how funny it is that while we all have our own unique problems in life, we all share a few common battles...and this poem was born.

I think they multiply at night...
Probably watch me in my sleep.
They creep up slowly
Overtaking every empty space.
They sometimes stack
And sometimes spread.
They've been known to wander
And occasionally get lost;
So many they muddle up the room
They're most certainly a chore
To get them organized
is a never ending task.
It's not like they can be avoided.
They are a must.
Different kinds for different jobs -
just adds to the chaos
And the losing battle.

Those dreaded...


Friday, March 9, 2018

Day 9 - Festival

As a middle school and high school student I used to think it was a little funny that my mom was so enamored with my orchestra performances.  We had an excellent director/teacher who knew how to get the best out of us. So, yes, we were good.  As a member of that orchestra, I could recognize that we were good as a whole.  I also knew the members really well, having been with the same group of students over many years, so I knew who practiced a lot and who didn't.  I knew who gave it their all and who took it like any other class without much commitment or attention to the craft.  Because I was in the middle of it, and probably because I was too young, I didn't realize just how amazing it really was.  Don't get me wrong. I LOVED orchestra, my violin, my quartet, fiddle group...you name it, I loved it all.  But, I didn't see the wonder in it.

Fast forward...ahem...25 or so years...and now I'm watching my daughter up on the stage.  I realize now just what my mom was always saying.  It's pretty amazing that you can take a group 12 and 13 year olds and plunk instruments in their hands and hear those beautiful sounds coming out. I mean, let's be honest.  That same group of kids have a hard time remembering to take a shower without reminders, to finish their homework AND return it to their teacher, to run wild through the bus stop knocking down kindergarten students...not because they don't know better or aren't paying attention or just don't care, but because they are learning to navigate this ever-changing body of theirs.  The hormones.  The friends.  The relationships. The heartaches.  The hurt feelings.  The rambunctious giggles.  The rolled eyes.  All of that working against them and yet look what they can do!

I watched my 12 year old play three songs today for an auditorium full of parents and 3 judges.  These were songs they'd been perfecting for a while and they were beautifully executed.  These were the same songs that sounded great a couple weeks ago at their concert but even better this afternoon.  But the real kicker was when they were handed a brand new piece of music, given 5 minutes of talk time to prepare, and then they were asked to perform the new piece.  I figured they would do alright, but that's a pretty tall order for a group of kids with a bigger group of parents watching and listening. 

I was astonished.  If I hadn't actually known it was a brand new piece, I would never have guessed it.  It wasn't totally perfect, but it certainly wasn't a rusty, bumbling, first-attempt that I thought it might be.  And that's when it hit me. That's when my mom's words all made perfect sense all these years later.  I'm so glad I was able to watch this process today.

I'm one proud Mama!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Day 8 - Visitors

The visitors were coming today.

I prepped my lessons. I prepped my materials. I even cleaned up a bit in my room.

I set the stage for my students. I told them we would have visitors who wanted to see what we did during reading time. They wanted to see what I was teaching and how we were learning together. I explained that they may sit by them, talk to them, ask them questions, or listen to them read,  and I explained that mostly they were watching me because I didn't want the kids to feel uncomfortable with anything. I told them that they were teachers and a principal from another school who wanted to come learn with us.

First, the smiled. Then, the started to wiggle.  Next, they began to bounce. "When do they come? How many people? Will the listen to me? Can I read to them? Do they want to see our writing folder too? Do they know about our book boxes?" 

I was excited by their excitement. I didn't really think they would be so pleased to have visitors.  We have had visitors earlier in the year and they enjoyed the extra adult attention but I guess I didn't realize just how much!

In the last few weeks we have been STRUGGLING with behavior.  I was honestly a little nervous about the visit, not because of being observed but because of the behaviors I was afraid I would have to deal with during the observation.  No one wants to do that with an audience.

But, I was very pleasantly surprised. My kiddos were rock stars! The only reminders I needed to give were minor and very few. I was proud of them.

The observation went well all around. The lesson went well, the independent practice went well, the small group went well, the independent reading went well, the literacy centers went well. The visitors seemed pleased. I was pleased. They left the room at 10:45. At 10:46, three kiddos fell apart. At 10:47, several more followed their lead.

At 10:48, my "teacher voice" came back out and we were full out back to the the STRUGGLE again.

I took a deep breath, felt grumpy, and threw in the towel. I thought, if they could hold it together so well for an hour observation, why couldn't they hold it together all the time?

And then I thought again.

They held it together for an hour long observation and that was amazing, especially for this crew who has challenged me and pushed the limits of everything every minute of every day of this whole year. I took another deep breath and this time when I threw in the towel, it was because these kids had worked hard and I recognized that they were ready for a break.

So, I reached for the tried and true. The gray and pink. The Elephant and Piggie.  I reached for Mo.  These kiddos love Mo Willems (who am I kidding? I love him too!) and all his funny books. I grabbed a book we hadn't read yet, settled into my chair, and felt every little body lean in toward me. We enjoyed every second of that book together and by the end of the first page I had those kiddos back into the palm of my hand...or maybe Mo did. ;)

Either way, we were calm and ready to head to lunch by the end of the book.  When we returned to the room after lunch and recess, the kids surprised me again.

"Are we having visitors this afternoon too?"
"Can people come see us tomorrow too?"
"When will we have visitors again?"

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Day 7 - Dad

Happy birthday Dad!

I woke with this thought this morning. I wanted to pick up the phone to tell you, but I knew you wouldn't answer.

I thought about my day as I got ready for work. I had a hard conversation coming up today. I thought of you and what your advice would be: you can do anything if you set your mind to it.

I scraped the snow off my car this morning. I thought about you when I smiled and realized how pleased I was to have gotten gas after work yesterday instead of needing to stop this morning. I could let my car run longer and warm up like you told me to AND still stay above a half tank as you said I should always try to do.

I said happy birthday to my principal when I got to school. I thought about you and how you both have big number birthdays - 40 for him and 75 for you.

I thought about you a lot today.

I hope there were lots of friends and loved ones gathered with you around your cake today Dad.

Happy birthday in heaven.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Day 6 - Drowning


This is me right now.

Just trying to survive. It's report card week. Next week is conference week.

Every day is a struggle to balance school, home, and mom duties. I feel like I'm being buried sometimes.

But I am also very thankful.

I feel this way because I have a good job.  I have a family to love who is involved in great activities.

Yes, I'm busy. But, I know one day I will miss it. I also know I'm lucky to have all that I have. There are many people who wish they could have the good job I have or the sweet kids or the awesome husband.

So, I will continue to do my best to stay afloat.

As Dory says...just keep swimming!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Day 5 - The Red Panda

I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon at the zoo with my daughter today. Her school partners with the zoo to encourage the kids to learn about science. The fourth grade classes at her school spend a week at the zoo.  The zoo is not yet open to visitors for the season so they are the only ones there, along with the zoo keepers.

The kids get to do all sorts of fun things throughout the week.  Today they toured the zoo. Tomorrow they will be learning about animal scat. On Wednesday they will have the opportunity to feed the giraffes. Thursday the will be meeting with a zoo keeper to get some of their wonderings answered. Friday is reserved for making enrichment boxes for the animals.  And that is just the morning!

Every afternoon the kids spend 1 hour observing the animal they picked. They are given a task to do while observing each day to give them focus. They also do quick writes and share things they learned with a partner.  We spent the afternoon observing the Red Panda. We learned many things: he has long claws, he walks a similar path through his enclosure over and over, he "rubs his butt" on certain things on each trip around his path (the kids thought this was hilarious and didn't understand why he would need to mark his territory), and he likes to climb. We couldn't figure out what he was eating...it became our big wondering of the day.

It's all such a great experience for them. They were so excited today when I was there they could hardly contain themselves, but they did everything they were asked to do. They were enjoying their time at the zoo and out of the regular classroom setting and the learning that I heard being shared was awesome!

I wish all kids had an opportunity such as this. What an excellent experience!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Day 4 - Baller

"Mom, I'm sad basketball is over now."

My nine year old had her last basketball tournament for the season today. They had a lot of bumps in their basketball journey this season, but they had a lot of heart.

This was Maddie's first year playing and she absolutely loved it! She learned to be a little more aggressive. She learned she had to get in there and step outside her comfort zone. She learned the game. Mostly, she learned she loved the game. She was just happy to be out there on the floor!

Even though they didn't win all of their games this season, they stuck with it and played hard. They kept trying to get better. They kept honing their craft and it payed off. Today, they lost the first two games but they won the last one. She ended the season on the floor winning the game with her team. She ended a happy girl.

As we walked out of the gym she made sure to tell me she wanted to play again next year.

As she went to bed she made sure to tell me again.

This girl is a baller.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Day 3 - It Happened

Well, it happened.

I first started participating in the Slice of Life Challenge in 2012. I love it! It's always been a fun challenge to see if I could come up with something to post each day. I have always been slightly surprised and pleased that I have always been able to complete all 31 posts of each challenge.

Until yesterday, that is.

Yesterday was a different than usual day. Maybe that is why.

My hubby and I took the day off work to attend my sister-in-law's mother's funeral. After, we went for a nice lunch together...just us. That doesn't happen very often.  We also did a bit of shopping before picking the kids up from school. No one had any activities after school, which was very unusual. Maybe that is why.

My daughter changed her passcode on her iphone and must have goofed up the code because now she is locked out. I spent about 2 hours trying to figure out how to reset the phone to factory settings last night. She made dinner...cereal...which is unusual. Maybe that is why.

I fell asleep on the couch in the evening. Hubby did too. Maybe that is why.

(If I'm being honest, it probably has more to do with that last one than the rest.) 

Just before midnight we woke up. He let the dogs out one more time. I tidied up a bit, turned off the TV, and we headed upstairs.  I had just settled in for the night when my eyes flew open and I realized my mistake.

I quickly checked the time to see if I could make it!  The red numbers stared back at me. 12:01.

It happened. I had missed it.

For the first time in six years I had forgotten to post. And on day 2 of all days!

My first inclination was to run for the computer anyway. But then reality overtook my eyelids again, and I decided it was ok. All was still right with my world. My four "babies" were all tucked snug into their beds with happy thoughts dancing in their dreams. All six of us are healthy. Our two fur babies are healthy and happy as well (not to mention, curled up against my legs). So, it was ok.

I hate that I missed a day.  I hate that I won't be able to say that I completed all the days of the challenge. But, it's ok. Life is good.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Day 1 - Brushing Off The Dust

Let me be clear...I've never owned a vacation home.  All I know about vacation homes I learned from Hollywood's vision of a vacation home. That said, I couldn't help but feel like I was getting the vacation home ready for the summer season today when I logged into my blog.

It's March! I'm geared up and ready to write. I'm ready to notice and note. However, when I logged in I realized I haven't written on my blog since March 31, 2017. Whoa! How did that happen?

As I tried to remember which email account I use and which user name I use and actually getting into the writing space, I couldn't help but feel like I was fumbling around for the keys.

As I began to think about what I would write today, I couldn't help but feel like I was pulling furniture covers off some wicker.

As I strolled around my dashboard and peeked into the corners of my blog, I felt like I was tossing back curtains and throwing open the windows.

Suddenly, the sunlight is streaming back into the cabin...the blog...and it feels so good! Warm, bright, cheerful, full of hope and promise for the days and weeks to come.

I hope you all feel the same today as you gear up for the SOLC challenge this month. Like you have brushed off the dust and you are ready to get your write on.


ready or not March...here we come!