Tuesday, December 17, 2013

sols: project time

Slice of Life hosted at the 

Last Wednesday I enjoyed time together with four friends from my church small group.  We organized a "Pinterest Party" where we pinned possible craft project ideas onto a group board.  We each selected our project of choice, gathered the necessary materials, and met eager to get crafty.

We chatted.  We laughed.  We crafted.  We snacked.  We sipped.  
We enjoyed every minute together.

It was time together I will treasure.  Just the girls.  And a final project too!

Two days later, Daddy was working on his own project in the basement.  My three-and-a-half year old girls and I decided to plan our own "Pinterest Party" with another project.

I glued popsicle sticks while they watched and waited.  And waited (almost patiently) as the popsicle sticks were transformed into snowflake ornaments.

Finally, after all the gluing and holding, they painted.  Everything.  Everywhere.

I cringed and tried to focus on my project.

We chatted.  We laughed.  We crafted.  We snacked.  We sipped.  
We enjoyed every minute together.

As we were diligently working, P. announced, "Mommy.  This is the best night.  Ever."

"Yeah, Mommy," M. agreed.

"Awwww.  It is the best night together."  It was time together I will treasure.  Just the girls.

Then I realized what I already knew about what our children need and want from us the most --

Time together and our undivided attention.

After the paint dried, we added the final touch:  Glitter.  On everything.  And everywhere.

I cringed again reminding myself what is truly important.  And we also have our final projects to remind us of that special time together.

My BIG snowflake creation.

The girls' snowflakes are nestled in the mantle decor.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

sols: and today

Slice of Life hosted at the 

And today
I needed my go-to
writing idea.

today: another day to make connections with students and inspire greatness
want to be: (secretly) snuggled under the blanket to finish reading Allegiant
blessings: my girls and the new (imposed) daycare opportunity beginning in the new year
thinking: the chores will never be completed ... there. is. always. more.
planning: to reclaim Christmas and honor the gift of a newborn baby
writing: my deep thoughts and questions to ponder in my notebook
loving: the glistening white lights and pops of red on the Christmas tree
grateful: for the warmth of my home during our first winter snowstorm

and today {again}: I'm thankful to be writing and connecting with a community of mothers, teachers, writers knowing I am not alone on this journey


{This go-to easy-format quick-thinking in-the-moment writing idea is compliments to Rachel Martin at finding joy and her idea of Sunday Stills.} 
"It's a single print out of the busy cycle of life, a pause, a way to plan, 
and to remember to breathe in the midst of the everyday." 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

sols: clothing concerns

Slice of Life hosted at the 

I woke up to the click of the light switch.  I thought to myself, "It is way too early."  Grabbing my glasses from my nightstand, I rolled over to face the clock, squinting at the fuzzy green glowing numbers.

5:24 AM.  "No," I whispered out loud.  I quickly threw the blankets off and climbed out of bed.

I walked down the hall to see the girls' bedroom light glowing beneath the door.  I quietly opened it to see P. slip beneath her covers and close her eyes.

I tiptoed over to her bed, noticing that M. was curled in a ball, still sleeping.

"P., honey, it's too early to be up.  Mommy and Daddy are still sleeping.  You need to go back to sleep for a little bit longer," I whispered in her ear as I ran my hand over her hair and slipped it behind her ear.  As she nodded in agreement, I stood up and kicked something on the floor by her bed.

"P.?  Did you take off your diaper?" I asked.  "Do you need to go potty?"

She whispered a yes, climbed out of bed, and followed me to the bathroom.  "Oh, and Mommy, I did all the buttons on the aqua shirt all by myself too," she told me proudly.

As we unzipped the new jammies with feet, she stopped me to explain why she was wearing a shirt underneath.  A hand-me-down shirt that was stuck in the back of the closet with three other shirts that were extras to keep on hand.  Yesterday they were discovered in the closet.  The newness was prevalent.  The girls wanted those shirts out of the closet, even if they were just extras.  They each coveted two of the shirts to wear this week.

P. was now wearing one of them under her pajamas.  I also realized that she has been awake for some time to accomplish so much.

"I want to wear this shirt today, not M.  So I put it on.  And Mommy!  I did it all by myself over my head!"  P. exclaimed.  (We are growing in our independence to dress ourselves, but sometimes putting the shirt on over our heads can be challenging, especially when you try to put your face through the hole first.)

"Is this why you are up so early?  Because you are worried about the clothes you want to wear?" I wondered out loud as I shook my head in disbelief.  "We can't be thinking about the clothes, and that reminds me, we should go back to our routine of picking out our clothes the night before school.  Let's take off the shirt."

"No!!!  I want it on!"  I was not going to fight this battle early in the morning.  I let it be.

P. settled back into bed for a little longer.  I was now up and awake.  I might as well use my time wisely, so for the second day in a row, I hopped on the treadmill and read more of Allegiant by Veronica Roth. (A celebration, right?)

A little later, as I was getting ready for the day, I pondered what this little story means for our future . . .

And was brought right back to reality when I heard M. screaming, "Mommeeeeeeeee!!!!  P. has my shirt on!!! Mommy!"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

sols: release

Slice of Life hosted at the 

I'm in need of a mind release
just quickly writing
what's weighing heavily
on my mind, body, and soul.

But so much is personal --

Between the struggles of
being a giving and nurturing wife
trying to be a patient mother
wanting to be there as a friend
striving to be a supportive colleague
hoping to be an inspiring teacher.

And because it's personal --

I am so good about keeping
all that stuff bottled inside,
where it's safe between
only me and God.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

sols: want to write

Slice of Life hosted at the 

I want to write but
my brain is heavy
with all that
needs to be done.

I want to write but
those report card
comments and graphs
need to be completed.

I want to write but
the binders of running records
and conferring notes
need to be analyzed.

I want to write but
the two chapters of
our district book study
needs to be reviewed.

I want to write but
that big black bag that
I drag home every night
needs to be organized.

I want to write but
Twitter and Pinterest
easily distract my
need to be connected.

I want to write but
the stack of books
(waiting patiently)
need to be read.

But, the truth is --

I need to be creating
a Tuesday slice
all because
I want to write.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

sols: a book to remember

Slice of Life hosted at the 

In celebration of Picture Book Month, we are reading picture books.  Picture books to remember.

I shared the title of a recently published book with our school librarian.  I shared it with our school social worker and psychologist.  I shared it with a teacher who mentioned she had a student crying every day at recess because she was feeling ignored. This is a picture book to remember.

My second grade group of four boys spotted the new book on the whiteboard ledge first.

"Oooo, can you read that book?  Pleeeease!"

"I'm sorry, our time together is up.  It's time to go--"

"C'mon!  Just read the first page!"

"Ok! Ok!  I can't say no to that, especially because it is one of my newest favorite books!"

And the story began about The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig.

The invisible boy

I couldn't read just the first page.  I had to read the first two pages and they could not wait to hear more.

I was ecstatic over their response to the book and shared their excitement with the author on Twitter.

I was finally able to read aloud the book to three of my developing reading intervention groups, and their words could not be contained in 140 characters.  Here are some of their thoughts and words:

"I love her book because she showed us friendship."

"I liked how the illustrator made Brian black and white to make him look invisible."

"I'm starting to see color.  He's not invisible to Justin, his teacher, maybe everybody!"  

"I learned to be like Justin.  Be a friend, be nice, be kind."

One of my favorite questions on the resource/discussion page in the back of the book is "How many people did it take to make Brian not feel invisible?"  Many students quickly responded, "Two."  I repeated the question and we had a thoughtful discussion that it only takes YOU.

"I learned from the book that anyone can feel invisible, but it takes one person to feel better."

But Ms. Ludwig asked us to think about this BIG question:

"I think being laughed at is worse.  I get laughed at, but I try to ignore it." - Lavar

"I think being laughed at is worse.  What if you were that person?" - Rachel

"I think being laughed at is worse because it's like bullying." - Evelin

"I think both because they are both horrible." - Chris

"I think being laughed at is worse because they are making fun of you and it's embarrassing." - Nathaniel

"I think being laughed at is worse because it's a sad feeling." - John

"I think feeling invisible because no one will notice you or play with you or invite you." - Saachi

"I think being laughed at because even if you feel invisible, you could always make a friend like Bluebird." - Luke  (We just read this book a day before.  Love his thinking and the connection!)

Ms. Ludwig, Rachel has one question for YOU:  "What do YOU think is worse?"

A must read.  A book to remember.  All my students said:

"Thank you for sharing this book!  Write another!"


Additional notes and resources:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

sols: writing to learn

Slice of Life hosted at the 

Have you ever had a comment that made you stop and think?  Or a post that you can easily connect to? It happens quite often here in this writing community, but I rarely take the time to share my thoughts and reflections beyond my comments.  Today, I am.  I am writing to learn.  To learn more about me.

I've thought a lot about Terje's comment:

Also, her SOL post about learning about herself through her writing has me thinking too.  I can relate to her reflections:
"Blogging and being part of SOL community has helped me to learn about myself.  Deciding what to write about and how to write has helped me to see what really matters in my life.  Sometimes people who comment see things in me that have gone unnoticed to myself or they bring out the best in me."
My slice of life writing rhythm has been interrupted.  I used to write religiously on Monday evenings on my couch after the girls were tucked into bed.  Then school started.

And I'm exhausted.

No thoughts of a story.  No hopes of creating a little magic.  My brain was, is, and always seems to be tired.

So I did what I could do best:  Write in the moment late Tuesday nights.  Or as Terje stated, "what really matters in my life" right now.

But I learned about myself as a writer, even in the late, tired nights.
  1. My stories still mattered.  
  2. My words still created a little magic. 
  3. It's important to JUST WRITE.
  4. Writing in the now is as important as capturing little moments because that is what really matters in my life right now. 
  5. I could not and would not miss a Tuesday Slice of Life.  (I actually felt a sense of guilt waiting into the late Tuesday evening!) 
  6. I did not want to miss the connection of words and support from those readers that stumbled into my little world to read my posts...
  7. because those comments teach me more about me and give my words weight.
  8. I did not want to worry my Mom and Dad if I didn't write! 
I wish I had more time to write, but with two three-and-a-half year olds and teaching and learning full time, life is quite, shall we say, super-duper busy.  Balancing and doing-it-all is difficult.

I still need to get my priorities straight.  I need to dedicate the time appropriately.  I need to be patient and understand that I can't do it all right now.

But I will continue to write.  And I took a step in the right direction:  I wrote this Monday evening.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

sols: time

Slice of Life hosted at the 

I stare at this blank page.

Not feeling anything to write.

Even though I'm finally feeling about 94% healthy.

Celebrating those that celebrate the BIG and little.

Reflecting on those that take time to reflect (and reflect publicly).

Wondering how I can do even more --

But I feel this sense of guilt.

Guilt not writing.  Guilt not slicing.

I can never give myself a break, a pass, an it's okay

To not be-all, do-all, super-mom-and-teacher.

I stare at this page now with words that hold more than one story.

But only time will allow for more stories to be shared.

When will that time come?

Patience.  The time will come.

And the writing, and the stories, and the captured moments will be there.