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 15, 2019

Day 15 - March Tired

There's a special kind of tired in March.

It's the...
we need Spring Break tired.

It's the...
hurry up and finish ALL THE TESTING tired.

It's the...
fill in the report cards by Friday, March 15th tired.

It's the...
schedule all the parent teacher conferences tired.

It's the...
prepare for all the conferences tired.

It's the...
hope they all show up while you are at school for all the hours tired.

It's the...
it's already the end of March? Yikes! tired.

It's the...
isn't it April yet? tired.

It's the...
won't it stop raining so we can go outside for recess tired.

But it's also the...
light bulbs lighting up tired.

And the...
look how much your child has grown tired.

And the...
it's the light at the end of the tunnel tired.

go to bed tired teacher.
sleep a week tired teacher.
time to re-energize tired teacher.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Day 14 - The Test

Let me start this story by saying with 11 snow days, we got a bit behind in math (and everything else). Because of this, I have felt like I was rushing through things and not feeling great about it. That changed today after giving the unit test to some of my kindergarten kiddos.

I pulled them over two at a time because, if you know five year olds at all, you know I have to read the test to them and show them where things are so they can follow along. It's a long process at that rate, but after giving it to several of them, I noticed they were all doing very well and it all seemed pretty easy for them. [High five to me!]

After the last twosome that I pulled over finished, they walked away from my table with smiles on their faces.

J: That was easy!
G: Yeah. That was pretty fun!
[High five to me!]

I don't know about you, but I don't remember thinking very many tests in school were fun?!


I sure hope they keep thinking that way!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Day 12 - The Little Girl

I can't stop thinking about her.

The little girl who barely spoke until November. The little girl who didn't know her name when she started kindergarten. The little girl who could finally write her name in January. The little girl who had so many ear infections she needed tubes in her ears. The little girl who's parents put off getting those tubes in her ears for three months before getting it done.

I can't stop thinking about her.

The little girl who can hear again. The little girl who suddenly talks so much she needs to be told to stop. The little girl who never learned appropriate times to talk and when to listen because she never talked anyway. The little girl who came to school knowing little to nothing about anything. The little girl who only counts to 7. The little girl who recognizes 6 numbers.

I can't stop thinking about her.

The little girl who needs extra help to learn but who's parents refused interventions for math. The little girl who has ELA interventions and is still hardly improving. The little girl who is scoring the same on all the March classroom assessments as the student who has special education services.

I can't stop thinking about her.

The little girl who smells like smoke so strongly it's like a slap in the face. The little girl who's parents can afford cigarettes and cell phones but can't afford to send in a snack for the class or a $5 field trip. The little girl who's parents miss their parent-teacher conference three times before attending one. The little girl who's parent sends two texts and answers a phone call during that conference. 

I can't stop thinking about her.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Day 11 - Book Fair

It's book fair week at our school and my daughter is all about it.  Her class went today so last night I looked at her wish list and she picked out a couple favorite choices to buy today. 

A: Can I buy an eraser too? They are only dot 99! [we're still working on the money thing ;)]
Me: Well, I think one is ok, but remember, the point of the book fair is to buy books, not toys.
A: But they are only dot 99, Mom. Could I get two? Or could I get one eraser and one little pouch for my backpack. It clips on and it's SO COOL!
Me: I don't know how much that pouch is but I would bet it costs quite a bit more. Let's go with one eraser for sure and if you have enough money left over, you can get a second eraser. [darn, she's a better negotiator than me!]
A: Ok, I'll get the books and two erasers then.
Me: Remember, you might not have enough money for a second eraser. You'll have to add it up and see when you look at the prices at school.
A: Ok, deal.

Later in the day, I meet her in the hallway by chance.

A: Mom! I got my books at the book fair! And I got an orange gummy bear eraser. And I got a purple gummy bear eraser too. I had enough money! Can I have $8 for the pouch now?
Me: Uh, no. It sounds like you already got an extra item by being able to buy two erasers today. I think that's pretty good. I'm glad you got your books! I can't wait to see them at home!
A: Yeah, but could I please get the pouch?
Me: No, not this time.
A: [pouty face with a scowl] But it's really cool, Mom!
Me: You had enough money for your books and two erasers. That's pretty lucky! Let's enjoy those. You can read me that new dog book that you got tonight at home!
A: No, it's too long. I only like to read long books to myself. I'm going to recess now.
Me: [quite possibly there was an eye roll and a big sigh...none of which she saw]

Ok...I love the book fair just as much as the kids. I mean, new and cheap books? Yep, it's kind of like a candy store, right? But come on. Can we PLEASE get rid of all the toys and trinkets for sale at the BOOK fair? I'm down with the rack of bookmarks. But please, for the love, nix the erasers/pens/pencils/pouches/calculators/pointer sticks/etc.

Can I get an amen?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Day 10 - How I Met Your Father

Baseball game
Hanging out
Phone call
Baby 1
Baby 2
Baby 3
Baby 4

How did you meet daddy? Well, it's a long story.

We met at college.

And then you got married and had all of us?

Yep. Something like that. :)

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Day 9 - The Great Tooth Race

My sweet girl is seven.

She's the youngest of four kids and she often feels like she is the last to do everything because the big kids do it first.

She and her ten year old sister both noticed loose teeth about the same time recently and she was convinced her older sister would lose her tooth first.

But, being the youngest myself, I told her a little secret. They might to things before her, but she would always be my baby and that was pretty special. I also told her the secret to losing teeth...keep wiggling!

I happened to know that her big sister doesn't like to wiggle her loose teeth and they often stay loose for a L O N G time. This child really took that to heart. She was determined to beat her sister in the great tooth race and she wiggled that thing endlessly. She even enlisted the school counselor to try to pull it out...twice. When he couldn't get it out yesterday, he made it a point to come check on her today to see if she had lost it yet. Nope. He tried again today with no luck. You see, she was really counting on loosing that tooth at school. She WANTED that tooth necklace that the office gives you to hold your precious tooth until you get home and she knew if she lost it at home there would be no necklace.

Apparently, Mr. Counselor felt badly enough that he couldn't get it out for her today that he came to see her after school to check one more time. He told me he knew how much she wanted that necklace so he sent one home with us just in case it came out at home this weekend.

It was the topic of conversation at dinner. Both girls updated us on the status of their wiggles. We came up with all kids of ideas for getting those teeth out but neither had any intention of trying all our amazing ideas. Instead, they went out to play basketball.

It took all of 5 minutes and the front door burst open! Mom! Dad! My tooth came out! I just needed to play basketball! Where is that necklace?!

And then, of course...

I lost my tooth first!!!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Day 8 - I Should Be

I should be relaxing on the couch.
But I'm writing a post.

I should be planning my weekend enjoyment.
But I'm packing my suitcase.

I should be thinking about lesson plans for next week.
But I'm reading session titles.

I should be thinking about the errands I need to run over the weekend.
But I'm making sure the kids school papers are signed, sealed, and ready to deliver on Monday.

I should be getting ready for the slow pace of Saturday and Sunday.
But I'm attending a conference instead.

I should be a lot of things.
But I'm not.

I should be happy to go to this amazing conference and I am.
But I'm not happy to leave my family and weekend behind.

I should be recharging my batteries this weekend.
But I'm filling my mind instead.

I should be just fine.
But I'm going to be tired next week. :)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Day 7 - Baby Smiles

Babies make me smile. It doesn't matter what else is going on around me. Babies just make me smile.

As I sat quietly attending a funeral today, I was secretly enjoying the soft baby sounds coming from the pew a couple people over. I love the little sounds they make as they happily play with a toy, as they reach for their parent's face, as they take in all the things around them. This little guy was no different. He wiggled and snuggled and played in his dad's lap. He was pretty quiet - just making the occasional little noise. His dad was trying hard to keep him happy and quiet. I thought he was doing very well and at some point he snuggled in and fell asleep in his dad's arms.

I watched everyone around us look at this sweet child and smile at some point or another during the funeral and it struck me that I was not alone in appreciating this baby and the fact that he could make everyone smile so easily during this time of sadness.

Babies are a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. Their newness is special. 

This child will never know how he touched all those lives today. He will never know that he brought smiles on this day to many who needed them, nor will his parents. I don't even think those who smiled at him even realized how he impacted them today. It was interesting to watch and appreciate.

Turns out, babies make everyone smile.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Day 6 - RIP teen love

I am from a time when kids talked to each other on the phone. Actual spoken words on actual house phones which may or may not have had a cord.

I am from a time when the internet and email weren't a thing. Young girls wrote notes to each other and folded them in fancy ways and handed them to their friends or slid them into their locker between classes.

I am from a time when teen magazines were the way girls learned about life...from hair to clothes to makeup to friends to boyfriends. We learned it all from the pages of the magazines and we shared the good stuff with our friends.

I am from a time when teen heartthrobs were featured in every girls bedroom hanging in glossy glory on every bit of available wall space. 

I am from a time when Dylan, Brandon, Kelly, Brenda, Donna and David were living in Beverly Hills and the 90210 zip code was THE place to be. We loved those boys...Brandon was the nice, boy next door type, David was the cutie with the baby face, and Dylan was the bad boy with the leather jacket and motorcycle. We liked the girls too, but secretly plotted ways to take over their (fake, tv) lives so we could have a chance with those handsome guys.

Now I am in a time when kids text or snap each other on phones that reside in back pockets and cost more than my first car.

Now I am in a time when WIFI is a way of life and emails fly fast and furious and written notes are mostly extinct.

Now I am in a time when magazines are dinosaurs. We learn from the internet from Google and YouTube on an internet we can't function without.

Now I am in a time when daughters are hanging glossy posters on every bit of wall space and mothers don't know who those heartthrobs are.

Now I am in a time when Brandon, Kelly, Brenda, Donna and David are going to return to Beverly Hills for a reunion and 40ish moms are giddy with anticipation.

Now I am in a time when those same moms grieve the loss of the leather jacket wearing bad boy...the cowboy hat wearing bull rider...the heartthrob from the bedroom wall. 

Now I am in a time when time flies faster than the speed of light and life changes in an instant for better or for worse.

Now I am in a time when I say things like rest in peace and I feel both old and young all in the same breath.

RIP Luke Perry.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Day 5 - Inspired

My school was fortunate to have non-fiction children's author Ginjer L. Clarke visit last week. We had, of course, been reading her books and loving them in all the K-5 classrooms. My daughters had come home multiple times talking about the books they had read and which animals they had learned about that day. They especially liked the gross book and the fun and weird facts they were learning.

The day of the visit they each saw her present with their grade levels. Both of the presentations were different, as she adjusted them according to the age of the kids. Both were fantastic and the kids loved her. We also had the opportunity to have Ms. Clarke present again in the evening for parents and students at our school's Literacy Night. After her presentation, she signed copies of her books and the kids had the opportunity to meet her.

It was a great day and my girls loved every minute of it.

The following morning I listened in the car as they discussed everything from the day before.

M: Did Ginjer talk about the Gross Out book in your presentation?
A: No, but she showed us her meerkat and her alligator stuffed animals!
M: Oh, I saw those on her table. They were cool!
A: She was nice. I liked her. I brought my books to school today to read during read to self time!
M: I did too!

M: Hey mom? Is it possible to be a surgeon and an author at the same time?
Me: Yes, a lot of doctors write things and have them published in journals so you could do both.
M: No, that's not what I mean. I mean could I write books and be a surgeon. Like Ginjer Clarke and the surgeons on Gray's Anatomy?
Me: [thinking: oh this girl of mine is ambitious!] Yes, you could! You'd be a pretty busy lady but you certainly could. You can do anything you want to do if you work hard.
M: Yeah, I know. Ginjer told us yesterday that when she was little she didn't know girls could be authors. I already knew that.
A: Yeah, I think I'll be an author when I grow up.
M: Me too. And a surgeon. I'll be both.
A: Maybe we can write together!
M: [smiles her big sister smile that means 'not a chance' and quietly looks out the window, probably mentally planning her first book.]
A: [satisfied with her suggestion and big sister's smile, she goes back to reading Cheetah Cubs by her new favorite author.]

To all the authors who inspire their readers everyday...thank you!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Day 4 - Algebra

I remember being in high school math classes and actually asking my dad when I would ever use that stuff as an adult. At that point I already had decided to be an elementary teacher. I knew with a whole lot of confidence that I would never use that math beyond passing my tests in school. Because of that, I didn't retain that math learning any longer than needed for the purpose of the class. I did well in my high school math classes, but that didn't mean I enjoyed it. It meant I was a student who knew what it took to get good grades and I did that. It also meant that I didn't really understand the "why" behind what I was doing and learning in math.

Now, looking back, I'm not sure if that is because I wasn't taught the why or because I didn't care about the why. While I am CERTAIN I didn't care, I really don't think I was taught it either.

Fast forward...

My eighth grade daughter is taking Algebra I. She is smart and is a great math student. She has deeper understandings and is more advanced at her age than I was at her age. She also has a fantastic teacher this year! However, there are still days when she needs help with her homework.

My hubby is usually the one who helps with math homework but he's out of town for work.  So...here she comes with homework tonight. She actually tells me that she will probably have to call dad tonight because she will need help, which I mentally note he won't be able to do over Facetime because of the nature of the problem.

But of course, I figure I can do this. So we sat down at that table and fumbled around a bit and finally figured some things out. Fist bumps may have happened and everything. ;) And then we hit a road block and couldn't finish.

Remember I said that she had a really great teacher this year? Yeah, well, she'll be spending some of her lunch time with him tomorrow learning how to do the rest and probably telling him her mom has no idea how to graph equations with exponents. And that will be true.

I'm so glad she's a smarty pants. I'm so glad she has a fantastic teacher. But it still stings a little that I couldn't figure this one out. I mean, I'd probably be more successful in figuring it out if I had a book with explanation and examples to use. But I don't for this one so I'll take the sting, lick my wounds, and move right along fairly unscathed because I know I will only need to know how to do this two more times in my life...for the next two daughters only...and with any luck, hubby won't be out of town when they have to learn it. :)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Day 3 - In An Instant

Life is a crazy thing. I have heard that phrase my whole life. Who hasn't? But the older I get, the more I understand just what it means.

Just two days ago I was writing about the birth of my sweet great nephew. Today, I am thinking about loss. Life is a crazy thing.

In my family, I am the only child of my mom and dad. Before they were married to each other, they were each married to someone else and each had two kids. That means, I have a brother and a sister on each side. We were all raised together and all think of each other as regular siblings...none of this half or step business. We are just brothers and sisters. That's the way it's always been and that's the way it always will stay. However, it has also meant that in my world, my siblings have all had other moms or dads besides mine. As a child, that was a bit harder to wrap my brain around than it is as an adult. But, that's also all I have ever known. I have always known their other parent and their spouse.

In 2007, we lost our dad. It's a pain and a loss like no other to lose a parent. It can happen fast or slow, quick or slowly over years. It doesn't change the pain of the loss.

Yesterday, my brother and sister lost their mom. I believe in my heart that they lost her in the best possible way - in her sleep and without pain or suffering. But, it was unexpected and sudden and has created a huge hole in their hearts. They lost their mom, the one who kissed their booboo's and hugged them closer than any other, and was always their best cheerleader. I know how torn apart they are by this loss and there isn't a single thing I can do except hug them a little tighter and love them a little harder.

Life is a crazy thing. It can change in an instant, for better or worse.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Day 2 - T Word

The T word.

It slapped me across the face today.

I met a friend for coffee, an enjoyable "me" time, and came home to have it greet me at the door.

Luckily, it only half slapped me because my hubby took the brunt of the other half.

Yes, the T word. The dreaded TAXES.

We do them ourselves but both despise the job. We have had the paperwork ready and in a pile on the counter for at least a month, but both despise the job. We have been to busy to devote a chunk of time because we both despise the job.

So today was the day. I had no idea my hubby intended to work on it while I was gone today. I'm not sorry. In fact, if he could have just done it all while I was gone I would have thrown a party. But, instead, he had half of the work done when I arrived back home and was waiting for me to help finish the rest. And that's ok because...we both despise the job. Neither of us should have to do it alone.

I'm pretty sure when we said our marriage vows, we weren't thinking of doing taxes as being one of the things that fell into the "for worse" category. It could probably be argued that it still doesn't, that what really falls into that category is FAR worse and I would totally agree, but we both despise the job, so for us it does fall into that category.

Now...don't get me wrong. We have always, in our married life, gotten a tax return and have always spent it wisely and been very appreciative of it.  This year was no different, but I still dread it each year. It seems to get more complicated, more tension-filled, more irritating, and more blood-pressure raising to file each year, so we both despise the job. We always will.

Despite it all...the dread, the papers, the remembering, the finding, the crossing our fingers that we entered that number right, etc. that goes along with it...we always make it through. We always take the "for worse" and get it done with as much efficiency and confidence we can muster up as the good team that we are, and we come out on the other side. We will take that return and use it to inspire and pay for the "for better" list of items. We will take the yuck and turn it into something better. Because that's just what we do. 

Even though that T word slapped me across the face today, I was able to sucker punch it right back.

Until next year T word.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Day 1 - Rowan

EEEKKK! It's March!

As the alarm beeped this morning I opened one eye, realized the date, and immediately my wheels started turning. It wasn't but a few seconds and my mind settled on this first Slice of Life.

You see, it wasn't long ago...just a couple weeks...when I got a 2am text from my sister.

You're probably thinking, as I was in that moment, oh this could go one of two ways. This middle-of-the-night text is either going to make me smile or make me cry.

I'll let you decide. It said: Baby time!

Yep! That text caused me smiles for days.

Meet Rowan, my great nephew. My oldest nephew is now a Daddy, my sister is a Grandma, and I'm a Great Aunt! Oh my goodness! This handsome little fella made his way into the world taking his own sweet time and captured all of our hearts in one hot second. As my sister explained, he's a beautiful butterball, weighing in at 9 pounds 10 ounces. He's absolutely perfect!

While I am pretty great (wink), I was having a bit of an issue being called a Great Aunt. I mean, that makes me sound pretty old and gray. Before this little bundle was born I was thinking we'd need to come to an understanding and figure out some other name; something less old-sounding. Now that he's here??? I couldn't care less what he calls me. I am just so happy to meet him and watch him grow up, he can call me whatever he wants and I will love every minute of it.

Welcome to the world Rowan. We have so much to talk about!