Tuesday, November 24, 2015

{a writing battle) #sol15

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I have rarely missed a Tuesday Slice of Life over the last five years ... until this school year.  This year has provided many bumps in the road, ups and downs, straight up exhaustion.  Time, energy, and the balance of life have not been friendly.  I have not lived the writerly life.  Nor visited old and new friends to hear their stories each week.

Tuesdays would come and go.

Of course I would think about writing.  I would miss writing.  I would wonder about you.  I would ache not reading your stories.  Eventually I would open my laptop briefly. Then fight the tapping of my fingertips on my keyboard -- wondering where my story was hiding.  I have stories, just like all of you.  But my stories were captured inside me and silent.

And then Tuesday would come and go.

For me, I'm fighting my inner battles of what to share, how to share, how much to share.  It's nothing horrible, but it's life at its busiest, most stressful, trying to balance it all, and listening to that inner critic that shouts of disgust: your story is worthless, you have nothing to share, your reflections, thoughts, words are not good enough ... Yet, I know this is the story of every writer.

Tuesday would come and I would still write.

I used to write for me every Tuesday to share my words, my stories, to remember, to hold on to, to laugh and to cry, to connect, to practice and practice and write and write, to learn, to reflect, to be the writer I thought maybe I could be.  I would share stories about my daughters and stories about my students and stories about learning.  I had a story and I was willing to click that orange 'Publish' button without fear every Tuesday.  I'm not letting today come and go without stepping out on that ledge --

Tuesday is here and I'm writing.  I'm winning this writing battle.  At least for today.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

{today i write} sol#15

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It's been a very busy start 
to the school year. 

And nothing about it 
has been the usual.  

Priorities shifted and 
time has been limited.

I have not had the
thoughts or energy to share.

But today I write ... for me.
Stories about my daughters.


Last Saturday was more than just a holiday.

Sitting at the counter, eating breakfast, M. informed me that she had not one, but two wiggly teeth. Sure enough, the teeth moved slightly back and forth.  One wiggled more than the other.

We gave it a week or two.

All day long, the looser tooth was wiggled with her tongue and finger and tongue again. Back and forth.  That night the little loose tooth surprised us and fell out.

A quick message to the Tooth Fairy and a celebration of the first tooth lost!

Yet another milestone that I wasn't expecting or ready for -- and another reminder my baby girls are growing up ... and fast.

"Mommy, I look like a pumpkin now!" M. said, smiling big with a little hole in her smile.

In the meantime, her sister was a little upset that she has not one (nor two) wiggly teeth ... yet.  She decided to leave a note for the visiting Tooth Fairy.  A little insurance of securing future visits.  As a mother and teacher, this little note my five year old wrote with minimal assistance after school yesterday, just melts my heart ...

"Tooth Fairy when my first 
tooth comes out of my 
mouth I will put it in 
my tooth pocket. Tooth Fairy 
I can't wait until I get 
to see what you leave 
me. Tooth Fairy
Tooth Fairy I hope you 
had a nice fly (flight)."

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

{a slice of humor} #sol15

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At dinner the other night, just like every night, we talked about kindergarten.  I try my various ways of pulling out information from my twin daughters.  Some days there isn't much to share.  And some days ... well, I'm quite surprised what they share.

Me: So, how was school today?

M and P: (Silence.)

Me: What was your favorite part of the day? Share a "good" with me.

M and P: (Nothing but shrugs.)

Me (trying again to start a conversation): Oh, I received an email from your teacher today. She sent a letter to all the parents about some new rules.

I grabbed my phone to pull up the email and shared the first new rule.

Me:  Do you keep your hands and feet to yourself?

M: Yes, we always follow the rules.

Me: Oh, what about talking when the teacher is talking?  Do you talk when the teacher is talking, P?

P: No, but ...

Me:  Do you know someone who does talk when the teacher is talking?

P: Well ... Adrian says he want to marry me.

Me: Oh?!?

P: But I told him he has to kiss me first.

Me: Oh! No! No ... no ... no ...

P: (Walks away with her head down in tears ...)

Me:  No, honey.  Let's talk about this.  I'm sorry ... er, uh, I was just so surprised, but I'm so proud of you for sharing it with me.

M (Her sister chiming in.):  P! She just wants to have a conversation with you!

Me:  (Laughing at M and then changing the subject so that P could over hear.)

P: (Walked back into the kitchen with a blanket over her head ...)

Me: Come here. Take the blanket off your head, silly.  (I grabbed her and hugged her close to me. Close enough to whisper in her ear.)

I explained to her that I understand her thinking about weddings and kissing.  We had a great conversation about it not happening in kindergarten.  And not for a long, long time.  We talked about how they could both get into trouble.  We talked about her feelings.  We talked about how proud I was that she shared her story with me.

Oh, the innocence of a sweet kindergartener.


Follow up after a couple days:

M: Mom, I told Adrian today that he can't say he wants to marry P anymore.  If he does, then I told him that I was going to tell you.

Me:  Oh, really? What did he say?

M: Nothing.

Me: (Smiling.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

{some days} #sol15

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Some days ...
... are long and tiring
and I can't wait to fall 
into bed at the end of the day.

Some days ...
... are busy and quick
and I'm hoping to find
an extra hour in the day.

Some days ...
... are full and exciting
and my brain is ready
to explode.

Some days ...
... are just a day
to cross off the
quickly changing calendar.

Most days ...
 ... I need to remind myself
to stop the hurry. Wait. Breathe.
Enjoy this moment. Now.

Because somedays will be 
most days and they will
all become one day --

And I want to 
remember ...
All the days.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

(a BIG help} #sol15

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Many things have changed as we opened this new chapter in our lives.  Beginning kindergarten is a BIG step, and my two daughters have made this transition with ease. (Me? That's another chapter in this story!)

One BIG difference this year is lunch. We must provide lunch on a daily basis. In years past, lunch was provided by our day care provider during the school year. But this year, we have doubled our lunch making from two to four lunches every day.

I prepared myself for the BIG feat. I purchased the best little lunch bags to provide a healthy lunch with room for lots of variety and options. (I learned about this from a first grade friend from my school after having lunch with her last year!) I printed and laminated little lunch notes with sweet little messages. I scoured Pinterest for lunch ideas and suggestions.

I was ready to go.

Until day one ... when I found my husband up early making all of our lunches. (Yes, without me asking!) And this has happened every day of school.  Four lunches, including four varieties of sandwiches.* So sandwiches take some extra time (and careful planning) to make.

Sure, I've shared my thoughts of what to sneak into the lunch or changed out the lunch notes or added a napkin.  But Daddy has taken over this BIG duty ...

And I cannot thank him enough. It's one BIG job that is time consuming and necessary every day. It's such a blessing to know that he makes all of our lunches with love.  (And I've even received a few lunch notes too!)


*One morning my husband posted on FB: How do you PB&J? I've got one PB and grape jelly, one PB and blackberry jelly, one PB and honey, and one half-and-half of PB and grape jelly and half PB and honey. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

{a new chapter} #sol15

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Have I told you lately how thankful I am for this community?  I appreciated your words of encouragement, your tweets of wondering, and your silent prayers for us as we started a new chapter in our lives: Kindergarten.

Last Tuesday was an amazingly difficult, yet celebratory day as my twin daughters marched into school ready to take on the world ... or at least kindergarten.  I cried tears of joy and tears of worry as I walked away, leaving my 'baby' girls with strangers that I did not know.

I had to trust the very same system that I encourage other parents to do at my school.  Trust without even thinking or knowing.  Being on the other side as a parent has brought a new perspective on my thinking as a teacher.  And then I remembered ...

Image from Pinterest

Those two girls are my whole world.  We survived that first day of school and four more days since.   I didn't do it alone.  Your comments, Voxer messages, and DM tweets throughout the day lifted me up.  I also recently found out that my neighbor and other friends said they see the girls every day when they pick up their children.  Such a relief to know they see familiar faces during the day.  A calming thought knowing they are being looked after.

Their Daddy and I picked them up after the first day of school, and they both agreed emphatically, "Kindergarten is way more better than preschool!"  Every day they are excited about going to school.  
And then just yesterday I was told, "Mommy, you picked us up too early! We want to stay!"  I guess that's a good problem to have!  


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

{Today is the Day} #sol15

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Today is the day --
I wake up early and feel my heart
thump thump thump in my chest.

Today is the day --
I am full of excitement, wonder, and fear ...
wondering if you are feeling the same.

Today is the day --
I squat down to look into your sparkling eyes
imagining this first day from your perspective.

Today is the day --
I brush your hair to the side, rub your soft cheek,
and wonder how this day came so quickly.

Today is the day --
I give you the BIGGEST hug and kiss
to remind you that I am so proud of you.

Today is the day --
I pray over you, your safety, your teacher,
your open minds to continue to learn and grow and blossom.

Today is the day --
I give you three squeezes of your hand
to tell you again that I love you.

Today is the day --
You squeezed my hand five times in return
to tell me our "I love you so much" secret message.

Today is the day --
I watch you both slowly walk away,
holding hands looking at each other.

Today is the day --
I notice you turn back, smile,
and then wave one last goodbye.

Today is the day --
I close my eyes to capture this moment
forever in my heart and hold back any tears.

Today is the day --
I see only two big purple backpacks
that are now out of sight as you turn the corner.

Today is the day --
I quickly turn around as the tears start slowly
then flood the sidewalk.

Today is the day --
I can't wait to pick you up and ask about
your very first day of kindergarten.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

{summer learning} #sol15

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I love summer learning.

I'm reading lots of picture books with my girls.
I read two real big people books.
I have read and dipped my fingers in many PD books.
I've read a generous amount of articles and blog posts from educators I respect.
I've conversed with many educators on Twitter and participated in a handful of chats.
I attended ILA in St. Louis and also attended a four day interactive webinar last week.
I've even participated in a Voxer PD group and started another group to continue our learning.

It's been a full summer of learning and I love it.  To help keep all my learning, ideas, thoughts, suggestions and so on, I have several learning notebooks around ... I use various symbols to highlight and code my notes, like stars, hearts, dashes and arrows.

One of my daughters took notice and questioned me about my coding.  I later found a couple special notes waiting for me in my notebook to be savored for a long, long time.  (I think I see a theme emerging as well ...)

I do love summer learning. {arrows and hearts}

Photos by Michelle Nero - Compiled with Photo Grid

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

{a love letter} #sol15

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August 10th is a big day.  It's the day of sharing lists of your ten favorite picture books.

August 25th is also a big day.  It's the day my two girls start kindergarten.

I've been thinking a lot about both ... and then it hit me.

My #pb10for10 book theme was "I wish you ..."  I thought about all that I wished for my girls as they begin this special journey this year in kindergarten and connected the wish to a picture book.

And the words just poured from my heart ...

I shared my picture book list yesterday and I want to thank Susan for making this connection for me:

Here is my love letter to my daughters and all that I wish:  


My thoughts in my SOL last week:  A Whole New World