Saturday, March 31, 2018

{challenge complete} 31/31 #sol18


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

I open my laptop. And I sigh. It's the last day of March and I think about what to write. There are no stories worthy of the "last slice," but today I share some thoughts at the end of this journey ...

This year the challenge was different. It was easier for me to write my slices of life -- about my every day, ordinary, small moments of life.  I wrote mostly about my girls. I wrote to capture memories that I knew I would soon forget. I wrote to share those stories with them.

In the past, I thought I never wrote for the comments. I thought I wrote for myself and the comments just came. I thought this was still true, but this year the commenting was different. I had my core visitors that I have connected with over the years (thank you!), but rarely anyone new. This surprises me as there were over 200 committed to the writing every day and I wonder why. I would have over 50 - 60 views of a post, but as little as 4 or 5 comments. Did I not connect with the reader? Did I link up at an odd time? Was the catch line not catchy enough? 

Sometimes I wonder if the community is too big. I started this challenge eight years ago with about 60 slicers. It was manageable to visit blogs several times throughout the month. You get to know each other and the styles of writing. I am happy to see the community grow and more teachers are writing, but I think about the impact and the challenges it brings. 

I did my fair share of visiting and commenting on at least 3 other slices, and usually I did way more than the expected. Yet, I still feel like I didn't do enough because most new blogs I visited had only one or two comments ... and some usually had none. Is everyone doing their fair share? Are all slicers visiting and commenting? Yes, the goal is to write every day, but the goal is also to support the other writers. Comments matter.

In years past, I was sad that March came to an end and I continued to write anyway. That habit of writing and creating and posting was alive. This year though I am relieved that the challenge is over. I don't have any more to give. With such a busy life, I try to participate without interrupting my daily life, but you know how that goes. I'm still going to take more photos and capture words and stories in my notebook. But that daily writing habit is just plain old tired and needs a break.

Yet, I will be back. I am closing the door on March with a sense of accomplishment and also with a sign that says: See you on Tuesday! Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Friday, March 30, 2018

{reflecting on my writing} 30/31 #sol18


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

My birthday is over, but I am so thankful for all the birthday wishes and reflecting back on all that I believe in. I also love to reflect back on my year of writing. However, I rarely take the time to click through my own blog.

I have something even better.

You see, my parents give me the best gift of all: My slices and blog posts from each year published in my very own book. This week I received volume 13. Over 100 pages -- from January's first post {Sigh.} to my last post of 2017 in mid-November, my interview with my friend/educator/momma/writer Ruth Ayres. I guess I took a break from writing in December!

I took time yesterday, on my birthday, to read and ponder all the words and stories I created over the last year. I'm still amazed that I started this journey in 2011, when my baby girls were a mere nine months old. And in a month they will be 8 years old! I have captured many stories, not all, but so many stories that I will treasure and share with my daughters.

This amazing book also includes your words. Your comments, your words of encouragement, your opinions, your thoughts, your stories too.

Thank you for being a part of my life -- here, in my little corner of the world. Some of you live near, some of you live far, some of you I know in real life, some of you I have been lucky enough to meet, and some of you I will meet one day with a big hug ...

But ALL of you have a big heart for stories and connecting and supporting.

That's the foundation of this community that Ruth and Stacey created many years ago through Two Writing Teachers. I am still in awe that I get to be a part of something so amazing.

And there is still one more day to go in this March challenge. So, I encourage you today: Keep writing! Keep sharing your story! Keep being a part of this something amazing!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

{birthday::believe} 29/31 #sol18


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

Today is my birthday. Over the last (almost) eight years, I have celebrated with a list of some sort on this day. Today is no different. Today I write about 42 things I BELIEVE in -- my one little word for 2018. (In no particular order, just what came to mind ...)

I believe in ...

1. my God
2. my husband and his patience and love
3. my parents and family and all their love and support
4. my daughters and for who they are becoming
5. a few really good friends that I trust and adore

6. choosing kind, always
7. prayers
8. new adventures
9. experiencing life through my daughters' eyes
10. snuggles and kisses goodnight

11. all children, their future & for making this world a better place
12. hope, hope, hope
13. chocolate and the power it has to make me feel better
14. working out and growing stronger
15. drinking ice cold water

16. reading and writing
17. that both make us more compassionate humans
18. the power of words and stories
19. laughter
20. a cozy, safe home

21. a cleaning lady for a clean home
22. the smell of clean
23. sunshine and happiness
24. a new pillow and small decor
25. a fresh bouquet of flowers

26. singing praises
27. audio books
28. a really good night's sleep
29. saying yes (more than no) to my girls
30. manicures and pedicures

31. peace and quiet
32. learning and growing and reflecting
33. beauty that comes from the inside
34. power of puppies
35. unconditional love

36. being a light
37. encouraging others
38. immense patience
39. loving everyone, always
40. doing hard things (see above)

41. I believe in me and
42. I believe in you


My previous SOLSC birthday lists ...

41: I missed due to being in Disney on my birthday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

{graphic novel readers} 28/31 #sol18


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

My almost eight year old girls are swimming in the seas of graphic novels. They started with the popular "classics" of Smile and Sisters. I read these books years ago, but cannot recall the details of the content. I wonder if it's appropriate for second graders, but I understand that some things will just go over their heads. I decided I better reread these books, but also thought about introducing them to another graphic novel series I thought they would enjoy: Babymouse.

I brought home the first five books in the series and Peyton devoured three of them in two days. I agreed to bring home the rest of the series -- all 20 of them -- for spring break. She finds pockets of time to read and she told me tonight that she only has three books left to read in the series.

I teased her, "So, when someone asks you what you did over spring break, you can tell them you read all 20 books in the Babymouse series!"

"Yeah. I wonder what series I should read next," she pondered.

"Well, I also brought home the Bad Guys series and you started The Babysitter's Club graphic novel series too. You could also read something that is not a graphic novel ..." I suggested.

"Nah. I'm really liking graphic novels now," she stated matter-of-factly.

That's what I love to hear: A reader who knows what she wants to read and is already thinking about her next book.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

{Right Now} 27/31 #sol18


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

Right now I am:

::sitting in the family room watching over the puppy who is resting from her surgery yesterday

::hearing the laundry flip and turn in the dryer dreading the final buzzer

::planning a return trip down to the Science and Industry Museum tomorrow

::celebrating how easy the stories have come to me over the last 26 days

::wondering why now -- on day 27 -- I don't know what to write

::borrowing this slicing format from my friend Terje

::accepting her gift of words because it's just what I needed to get me through another day of writing!

Right now

Monday, March 26, 2018

{what if ...} 26/31 #sol18


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

"Mommy ... what if ..." Madison whispered to me yesterday morning as we were picking out clothes for church.

"What, honey?" I asked, wondering where her concern was coming from.

"Well, what if Harley has her surgery and she dies?" And this came with a flood of tears.

"Oh, come here," I whispered in her ear and hugged her close, "Harley is going to be just fine."

Our six month old puppy is going to the vet today to be spayed. We've talked about this appointment for weeks and tried to explain the surgery to the girls. I talked through the surgery again reassuring her that Harley will be okay.

"The vet has done this surgery many, many times. There is nothing to worry about. She'll be sleepy and sore when we pick her up and our job is to keep her calm," I pause. "How long have you been worried about this? Please, anytime you are worried about something, anything, please tell me. Okay?"

I shared this brief conversation with my husband as we made our way into church. He looked at me with worry too.

"What? You too?" I asked him. Apparently, he is also worried about his new baby and the recovery afterward.

All these worries. I guess we need more family meetings to talk and share our feelings. A worry that I wasn't worried about ...

Harley is going to be just fine.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

{believe in me} 25/31 #sol18


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

Last December, my friend Jen invited me to check out a new Orange Theory Fitness that was opening in the area. I told her I'd think about it.

The next day, I received a flyer in the mail about this new Orange Theory studio. Now I really started to think about it.

This is my year. My one little word: BELIEVE. I need to believe in myself that I can lose weight and grow stronger. But in order to do this, I need to do something different.

Orange Theory it is. I signed up, but had to wait a month before it opened. Which then turned into two months and then three months. A little frustrating, but timing worked out. We had the new puppy that needed to be walked, so I spent my time walking with her.

Finally, the studio opened last week. I attended the first class with Jen. I had no idea what to expect. It was hard. But fun! I was sore the next day. A good kind of sore.

Then, I attended the second class. Again, hard, but fun. More sore.

Half-way through the third class, I looked at myself in the mirror surprised to see me fighting so hard. I teared up thinking to myself, "This is hard and I'm doing this. I'm really doing this."

In that moment, I was so proud. Sore, sweaty, tired, but proud.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After each class, I give my family the play-by-play of what I had to do to explain my sore muscles -- muscles that probably haven't been used in some time. Muscles that hurt when I sit. Muscles that hurt when I stand and walk again.

I am not signed up for classes this weekend. However, my girls decided to take matters into their own hands and hold their own workout classes. You can sign up here:

"Sign up sheet Orange Theory Madison and Peyton version."
Signature, Days, Date, and Pick 5 Numbers
My guess is they hear my excitement and they don't want me to lose my enthusiasm. So, they branded: "Orange Thiry Madison and Peyton vertion" to keep me motivated! I'm signed up for the weekend (except we didn't have time yesterday), so today will be my first day. If you are curious, the "pick 5 numbers" are the number of reps I have to do for each new exercise - a twist on their version.

Wish me luck today! I hope I can walk after this class!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

{a moment to write} 24/31 #sol18


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

The weekend arrived
One would think I would have time
to write and read and relax.
But instead ...

I slept in (an extra half an hour)
Made breakfast for my family
Walked the dog
Cleaned and organized
Made a light lunch
Organized and cleaned
Stopped at the library
Ran to the sports store
Walked the dog again
Fixed dinner
Finally showered
Had date night at the movies
with the entire family

The house is now quiet
Everyone is in bed
I finally have a moment
to write this weekend.

Friday, March 23, 2018

{what should i wear?} 23/31 #sol18


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

Every morning ...

"Good morning! Rise and shine!" I softly say as I flip on the light switch, turn off the globe that is used as a nightlight, and push the off button to quiet the sound of rain.

I touch her leg to start the wake up process.

Then I repeat all of this in another bedroom with my other daughter.

I sit on her bed, usually chatting about the day ahead or about the weather, so she knows how to dress for the day. I may hear some groans. There is major stretching. One eye opens slowly. Then the other. Squinting at me in the bright light.

Then I repeat all of this in the other bedroom with my other daughter.

Most days I'm still getting ready as well, wrapped in my robe. So, I head down the hallway to my bedroom and remind both girls, "It's time to get up and out of bed and get moving!"

Within a minute ...

"Momma." A quiet three second pause. "Momma! I don't know what to wear!"

"Me neither ..." I whisper to myself as I stare at my wardrobe in my closet full of blacks, grays, and plum.

I poke my head out of my closet, "It's chilly again today. And you have gym!"

This response never satisfies.

"Momma? Can you just come help me? What should I wear?" She pleads.

I walk back to her room. We inventory her closet -- which is full of options, colors, and clothes that actually fit -- sliding the hangers from left to right. She makes her final decision.

"Thanks, Momma. I'm good now," she smiles and says sending me out the door.

I head back to my bedroom wondering what I'm going to wear today. I grab something black and gray and get dressed.

Before I meet the girls at the top of the stairs, I glance between my two Giving Keys and decide if I need {HOPE} for this day or to {BELIEVE}. I grab the word and feeling my heart needs, slip the necklace over my head, and we go downstairs.

The same time tomorrow this scene will repeat. The same conversation. The same frustration. The same end result.

The only difference? It will be my other daughter!