Tuesday, May 10, 2016

{box by box} #sol16


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It's been a whirlwind of a week that has felt more like a month with the official moving day:

Packing and emptying a 1950 Cape Cod family built and owned house full of 11 years of ... stuff.


A move to just the next town over ... but far enough away to find newness in it all.

A new house with bedrooms and bathrooms for everyone ... and an extra for Grandma and Grandpa.


Setting up room by room with the help of family ... even when I don't know where I want that.

Arriving at a new school ... for the first time on a school bus.


A new teacher, new routines, and new friends  ...  only for a month.

It seems like we are on vacation settling into a rental home that we will leave in a week or two.  It's still surreal eating breakfast at the new dining room table and making dinner in the new kitchen.

But box by box, unwrapped item by unwrapped item, memory by memory, this house we are making into our home.  A vacation that will last many, many years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

{I could write about} #sol16


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I could write about ...

the crazy mixed up schedule
and the look of sadness and despair
when I informed my friends
that small group and book sharing
would be temporarily put on hold
due to PARCC testing.

I could write about ...

the excitement that's been building
since January is finally happening
in the next week and the feeling of
anticipation and sense of urgency to 
pack, make numerous phone calls, and
create checklists for the move into the new home.

I could write about ...

the daily moments and stories
that make me smile with love
as I think about who they are
as almost six year old girls
navigating school, a move, and a birthday --
my beautiful, funny, caring, wonderful daughters.

I could write ...

but instead I spent the evening
playing games and reading books
doing dishes and folding laundry
creating more checklists and
party planning as I watched HGTV
and realized I still needed to write.

I could write about my day ... and I did.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

(uncertainties} #sol16


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Life is full of so many uncertainties.

Right now, family, friends, and colleagues
are dealing with a multitude of uncertainties.
The uncertainty of what's to come.
The uncertainty of the right decision.
The uncertainty of just not knowing ...

Surgery and treatments
Infections and infusions
Sudden death of a student
New positions at school
Decisions to stay home
Hopes of a growing family
Concerns about words said
Frustrations with students
Busy overbooked schedules
The end of the year pressures

These uncertainties can tear us apart
create a layer of stress and frustration.
Or our uncertainties can grow us
and make us stronger in who we are
trusting in the One in control of it all.

Even when life is full of so many uncertainties ... there is still so much to be thankful for.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

{that book} #sol16


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I have a hard time squeezing in all that I want and need to do.  Every day priorities shift and change depending on the schedule and the little things in life that come up.

Until I find that book*.

Then everything in life stops.  Priorities are set aside.  And I read.
Every waking moment that is free from responsibility, I read.

A couple pages during my breakfast while I watch the time tick-tock and I shuffle girls along.
Relaxing at lunch with my book open, falling deep into another world.
After school, waiting while the girls tap and dance, I jump into this other life.
The girls are tucked in bed, I'm on the couch desperately holding onto the last word.
Later at night, I click on my side light and reenter the pages of that book.

Every waking moment that is free from responsibility, I read.
Then everything in life stops. Priorities are set aside. And I read.

Until I finish that book.

This is what I hope and dream about for my students, my readers.  That book that they can't put down.


teachingliteracy:

pinkenzyme
Image retrieved from tumbler
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*That book that I'm reading right now:  salt to the sea by Ruta Sepetys. It's amazing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

{glitter gift} #sol16


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A week ago I celebrated my birthday.  It was a big birthday of sorts.  After living with that birthday for a week, it really seems as if not much has changed.  

Another year, another number.  I guess I'm good with being forty {sigh}.

This weekend I was lucky enough to meet up with a dear friend and fellow slicer.  She gave me one of the best birthday gifts ...



My very own sparkly and purply and glittery board (with a side of delicious chocolate).  

I remembered seeing visions of the fabulous #glitterboards on Twitter mentioned by the always sharing and inspiring JoEllen McCarthy.




It didn't take me long to find the perfect spot in my classroom, right by my door and across from my classroom library, to share words of insight and inspiration.



Thank you, Chris, for one of my favorite birthday gifts that will bring me -- and all those that visit my classroom -- the joy and power of words!  And, of course, a little reminder of you ... every day!


Thursday, March 31, 2016

{solsc reflection} 31/31 #sol16


The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!
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I did it.  I wrote for all thirty-one days in March.

This being my sixth year participating, it felt different than any other year.  I never stressed about the writing.  I never worried the stories wouldn't be there.  I wrote for me, to capture stories, to live in the moment. I let go of any worry about my writing.  It was quite a relaxing March challenge.

All my slices were written in real time. The true meaning of a slice of life.  A story from the day.
None of it was perfect.  Some slice were well planned, thought out, and crafted.  Others were just written and shared.

I usually like to write at night.  Reread, edit, and publish the next morning.  Usually didn't cooperate this year.  My schedule and life didn't allow myself this time or energy.  Many late night posts squeezed in and published in the last hours of the day.  But I wrote every day.

I usually spend my down time reading your slices.  Each year there are more and more and more writers joining in this journey.  It makes it difficult to keep up and read all my special slicers' writing and new slicers' stories.  Again, time did not permit me to join in and read as much as I had hoped.

However, it still mattered more than ever that you were here to read my stories. I appreciated each and every comment, adding your voice to the conversation and connecting with my story.  The community at the Two Writing Teachers amazes me.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.

I believe that over the last five years, I found that I had the urge to continue writing days into April. That writing habit was formed and the writing bug bit me.  Hard.  This year is different.  This year I'm looking to put my laptop away and refocus my life on other priorities.  I need time for my family. I need time to read.  I need time to reflect.  I'll still have my notebook and I'll still capture stories.  But I need this time for me.

And I'll still have my Tuesdays.  See you back here then.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

{a surprise} 30/31 #sol16


The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!
__________________________________________________

Yesterday was just another day.  It happened to also be my birthday. A special kind of birthday.

I don't like big surprises.  I did not want a big surprise for my birthday. I warned my family, particularly my husband, Jon.  I. Do. Not. Want. A. Surprise. Of. Any. Kind.

I got a surprise.  And I liked it.

You see, my husband woke up early at 4:39 AM as he usually does on a Tuesday.  He got dressed and said his quick goodbye to go play racquetball. I dozed back asleep.

My alarm buzzed me awake an hour later.  I hit snooze.  No need to get up early on my birthday.

Six o'clock glowed brightly in the darkness.  I dragged myself out of bed and trudged towards the bathroom.  After getting out of the warm shower, I overheard Jon getting the girls up and dressed.  I continued to take my time until they were all ready for the day.  This was a treat -- but not the surprise.

Once we were all dressed, we headed downstairs together. That's when it happened.  I turned the corner into the kitchen and saw this:




Crepe paper decorations, black tablecloth, a big 4-0, special birthday plates, donuts with candles ...

I smiled thinking about how Jon planned this all out.  I could handle this little surprise.  It was the perfect way to start my day that was just another day that happened to be my birthday.

"My fortieth birthday," I smiled and said without an ugh.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

{ugh 40} 29/31 #sol16


The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!
__________________________________________________

I've been dreading this birthday for over a year now.

When I say forty, an {ugh} comes before it. Why does a number bother me so?

It's just a number.  It does not tell a story, more specifically, my story.  It's merely a number holding my time here in this world.

Yet, I let it bother me. I hide from any thoughts of it.  Honestly, I don't really want to talk about it.

I tease my girls that I want them to stay five forever -- it's just such a perfect age to enjoy.

"Mommy, we can't! We have to be six and then seven and then eight! We can't stop growing!" So I'm told by a five year old.

My {ugh} forty comment came out recently with the girls.  The noise just escaped my lips.

"Mommy, I want you to be thirty-nine forever," P. sweetly repeated in her very grownup, serious voice to delight in my wishes.

"I know! Right?!?"

But I've decided -- like all the others who turned {ugh} 40 -- that it's ...

another new beginning
another decade to enjoy life
more time to make memories
more time to exercise and eat right
time to read and write more
time to learn more
to try more, and
just be a better me that I can be!

Positive thoughts even when turning 40 {sigh}.
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Advice I need to remember ... 
So, cheers!  Here's to just another birthday and 40 things that make me hApPy today!  (In no particular order, just one thought leading to another!)

1.  My God
2.  My husband
3.  My beautiful daughters
4.  My Mom and Dad
5.  My brother and sister (in-law)
6.  Family
7.  Friends
8.  Real homemade meals
9.  Peach green tea ice tea
10. Time to write
11. Time to read
12. Positive commitments
13. My happy journal
14. Manicures & pedicures
15. Massages
16. Hair therapy
17. Sharing books
18. Bike rides
19. Fresh air
20. Sunshine!
21.  Teaching
22.  Bitmoji fun
23.  Vanilla Iced coffee
24.  Lunch with a friend
25.  HGTV
26.  My new home
27.  Buying books
28.  Pinterest
29.  Twitter
30.  Photo creation apps
31.  New dangly earrings
32.  My daughters' drawings
33.  My daughters' writings
34.  My daughters wanting to read to me
35.  A compliment
36.  Did I mention chocolate?
37.  Being organized
38.  A clean home
39.  My cat CJ
40.  40 years wiser {sigh}
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My previous SOLSC birthday lists ...


Monday, March 28, 2016

{the end} 28/31 #sol16


The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!
__________________________________________________

Goodnight and The End

closing my heavy eyes
reading slices of your life
opening up my laptop
snuggled under the blanket
plopping on the couch

kisses and hugs and sleep tight tonight
girls tucked in bed and prayers
another chapter or two (or three)
pjs and bathroom and teeth
the nightly bedtime routine

dishes carefully loaded -- start
lasagna, garlic bread, and salad
homemade with lots of love
reheating my pre-birthday dinner leftovers
easy dinner plans

a full day back to school
sharing about our spring break adventures
lots of talking, chatting and writing
good morning! I missed you! So good to see you!
welcoming greetings and smiles

and the beginning of a new day, a new week
heading to the real wake up call
stretching as I stumbled out of bed
opening my heavy eyes
the alarm beeps me awake

Once upon a Monday ...



Sunday, March 27, 2016

{easter morning} 27/31 #sol16


The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!
__________________________________________________

The girls woke up this morning seemingly forgetting about the visitor.  I could hear them talking, but not quite able to make out their words.  Just a lot of chatter back and forth.  But no one was bursting from the bedroom wanting to rush downstairs.

Daddy went to check on them first.  He found them excitedly trying to get dressed in their new Easter dresses.  He suggested they leave their PJs on because we had some time before church.

"And ... aren't you forgetting something else?" I paused, waiting. "Happy Easter!"

"Oh! Happy Easter! Can we go downstairs?!?" It dawned on them about that special visitor.

The girls raced down the stairs -- "Wait!  I want to get a picture!" I yelled from behind them.  And then the egg hunt was on.  They searched high and low, near and far, from room to room. Filling up their baskets with eggs. Then returned to the Easter baskets filled with candy, chocolate bunnies, and little goodies.  They opened more colorful plastic eggs finding surprises inside.

After a big breakfast and a little play time, the girls were finally able to put on those new Easter dresses.  Together, we celebrated the true meaning of Easter with church and family.  It was a great day full of family, food, and fun all for that visitor that rose from the dead for us on this day.

Sisters enjoying this Easter in their new dresses.