Tuesday, June 26, 2012

So Cool

I'm sitting at the counter in the kitchen and I'm checking the comments on my Tuesday Slice of Life post and reading other slices during the girls nap.  I see my dad slide onto the computer at the desk in front of me.

I've observed over the last few days that he's good about checking the stocks
"Stocks are down 100 points."
and the weather
"Still says it's 96 degrees."
or playing a quick game of Hearts
(in which he insists he wins almost every time).

Instead, at this moment, I see him pull up my mom's blog. He reads her post and laughs about poor ol' Max trying to survive with my two little intruders.  He then scrolls through the comments and ventures over to my blog.

There is something strange or awkward or cool about seeing someone else reading your blog on their computer screen.

"Oh, I guess the next time you write you are going to have to write about your trip from the girls point of view.  And everybody loved your no to-do list!"  I guess that was his way of leaving his 'comment.'

"I just think this is so cool!"  He exclaimed.

Every week my dad reads my mom's blog and my blog.  I think that's pretty cool.

soLs: a week

Slice of Life Stories hosted

I can't believe it's already been one whole week.

Sometimes vacations are over in a blink, but other times vacations move slowly to enjoy every moment.  That's how this vacation is going - slowly, but with so much to enjoy.

Of course, it is hard being away from home and the every-day-usual, but what I have truly enjoyed the most is the evenings.  After the girls are tucked in bed, it becomes my time to do what I choose to do because I have NO to-do list!  Nothing!  No cleaning, no laundry (thanks Mom!), no dinner (thanks Dad!), no dishes, no nothing.  Instead I have guilt-free time to read books, browse Twitter, catch up on blog reading, scrounge on Pinterest . . . or write a slice of life.

The moments my girls and I (and Grandma and Grandpa too!) enjoyed together last week:
  • Playing with a few of our favorite toys from home
  • Throwing the ball to Max, the dog, and watching him wonder why we are playing with his toys when we brought our own
  • Taking Max for walks up the big hills and back down again (Mommy doing all the work pushing the stroller)
  • Reading book after book after book
  • Reading the same book over and over, including a new favorite: Piggies by Audrey Wood and Don Wood and I Love Trucks! by Philemon Sturges
  • Visiting the local library for story time and making a craft 
  • Discovering a park with big slides and a spinning merry-go-round 
  • Listening to the girls talk and sing and say silly things
  • Finding and fighting over Grandpa's truck and tractor magazine
  • Stopping by the fish hatchery to watch thousands of trout swim and splash about
  • Attending church, sitting, reading, coloring quietly through an hour service - only adding an 'amen' after everyone else said it
  • Spotting many deer nibbling on Grandma's bushes or the dry, crunchy, thin grass
  • Meeting lots of Grandma's and Grandpa's friends, but we're not too sure . . .
  • Swimming, floating, lounging, splashing in the warm lake
  • Skyping with Daddy and seeing that he is (barely) surviving without us!
Many memories captured through words (and lots of pictures!) and moments to always remember all from just a week.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Found Poem: What Happened . . .

When Twitter is a-buzzing and I'm browsing, some days there are just too many blogs, articles, websites, etc. to check out and read thoroughly in one sitting.  So, I always have an open virtual "sticky note" on my desktop, where I drag and drop the web address to read at another time.

I had about ten sticky notes each full with at least 10, 15, or even 20 items to revisit.  Now that summer is here and I'm on vacation at my parent's house (where in the evenings there is only time for me because I'm not home thinking about everything on my to-do list), I have a little time to go back, read, reread and share.

I stumbled upon this poem from Kate Messner that I wanted to capture and remember.

Enjoy this excerpt of a found poem reminding us why we need to write and why I am so thankful for all who write books, illustrate books, and take part in any of the process of making books!  Oh, and thank you Kate Messner for this treasure!

What Happened to Your Book Today
by Kate Messner
Somewhere, a child laughed
on that page where you made a joke.
Somewhere, she wiped away a tear,
Just when you thought she might.

Somewhere, your book was passed
from one hand to another in a hallway
busy with clanging lockers,
with whispered words,
“You have got to read this.”
And a scribbled note:
O.M.G. SO good.
Give it back when ur done.

Read the rest of the poem HERE.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

soLs: being home

Slice of Life Stories hosted

I'm sitting in my parents' living room.  Feet up.  And exhausted.  But I'm happy about being here.

My parents "retired" over twelve years ago.  Up and left.  Leaving behind my brother and I in Illinois. (Okay, not really that dramatic.  There was quite a bit of planning involved in the process.)

They now live 570 miles away.  About 9 hours.  A long, long way to Arkansas.

After having my girls two years ago, my mom and dad have made numerous trips north to visit.  So, a couple months ago, my mom hesitantly inquired about the possibility of bringing the girls down for a visit this summer.

I thought it was a great idea -- until I thought about the drive! There was no way my hubby was going to be able to take time off.  So, how could I possibly manage driving that far with two little ones?  Well, it worked out that my mom was able to come up to my house and then drive back down with me to help take care of the girls during the long car ride.  Thank you Mom! And Dad for letting her come up again!

I wasn't sure what to expect traveling with two two-year-olds.  But we did it!  They were such troopers!  Our trip took us about eleven hours with the additional stops, leg stretches, diaper changes, and longer lunch.  It was filled with naming everything they saw, asking "What's that?" if they didn't know, songs to sing, cartoons to watch, staring out the window, quiet times, some screaming when baby dolls or snack cups dropped, and a (short) peaceful nap.

A long ride, but worth every bit of exhaustion because . . .

I'm 'home.' Home with my mom and dad and girls.  Home is where the heart is.  Home is family.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Well, so, instead . . .

I committed a week and a half ago to #TeachersWrite.  I was ready to jump in and try some different writing.  I created a plan and even though I had no idea what I was going to write about -- I was going to write.

So far, I have nothing.  (Here come the excuses . . . )

Last week was the last week of school and it was crazier and busier than I ever expected.  End of the year activities and last minute projects.  Prepared treats for birthday celebrations and attended a retirement dinner and staff outing.  Volunteered at Feed my Starving Children with my church community group - by the way, an awesome experience and hope to share more later!  Oh, and did I mentioned that I'm a wife, a mom of twins, and there is always a list of things to do around the house???

Yeah, it was that crazy busy!  Then I received an email:

"Oh, and that post for #IRAEngage?  Could you get that to me three weeks earlier?"

So, I was writing, just not what I thought I was going to be writing!

I'm excited to share my second post on the Teacher to Teacher IRA Engage blog!  They created a new column, The Social Life: New Media Tools for the Classroom and debuted with a post I wrote about Goodreads: A Reading Community Heaven.

I hope you check it out and find it helpful!  (If you missed the first post I wrote for IRA Engage, I wrote about the exciting and very addictive Pinterest: Do You Have Any Pinterest in Learning More?)  Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

soLs: you can do it!

Slice of Life Stories hosted

Running makes me tired and sweaty! 
Running makes me sore!
Running makes me hate running!  

It was the usual summer day in Chicago on Saturday.  Sunny and hot.  We were ready, waiting at the starting line.

This was my second year participating in Girls on the Run.  I was a running buddy for a fifth grade student.  It's an amazing program that empowers girls to believe in themselves, develop self-respect and be healthy.  The girls met for 12 weeks learning about physical as well as emotional, mental and character development and trained for a 5K.

Me?  I did nothing.  Zero, zip, zilch. (Bad idea.)

Six thousand (yes, 6000!) girls walking, jogging, and running with their buddies, teachers, moms, aunts, or dads encouraging them every step of the way.  There were girls and running buddies of all shapes and sizes. We spotted a girl using a walker with one running buddy beside her and another right behind her with her wheelchair.

I made eye contact with my running buddy.
"Wow," I said. "That's just awesome."  My heart strings tugged.
"It's really inspirational." M. replied.  She gets this.

We walked.
We jogged to the next turn.
We walked some more.

I listened.
I followed my running buddy's lead.
I encouraged.

Then, there was a stretch in the second mile that I thought. I. Was. Going. To. Die. (Exaggeration, of course.) My head was hanging low staring at the concrete that my feet were pound-pound-pounding on.  I was huffing and I was puffing.  I was willing myself to keep moving, to pick up my heavy feet.

I. Can't. Do. This. I thought.

"Come on Mrs. Nero!  You can do this!" M. shouted.  I picked up my head and smiled.

"I so needed to hear that." I huffed back at my running buddy.

And we did it!  It wasn't a record-breaking time, but the goal was to complete the 5K.

However, I did beat my time of 50 minutes last year. We completed the 5K in 46 minutes and 59 seconds.  For me, all without training.  Imagine if I did a little training.  This was my "summer kickoff."  Two days into summer and two days of working out!

I'm so proud of all the girls and their running buddies.  You GIRLS Rock!

Running makes me feel stronger!
Running makes me healthy!
Running makes me believe!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

soLs: chalk one up

Slice of Life Stories hosted

It was an absolutely beautiful weekend and the girls and I spent almost all day outside. It was that perfect.  Imagine: a bright sunshine, whispers of clouds, a towering shade tree, temperature oh-so-right.  We could do nothing but enjoy the outdoors.
We played in the sand table with lots of sand coming out. 
We drove our coupes "Flintstone" style in figure-eights. 
We pop-pop-popped bubbles in the green green grass. 
We drew pictures and words with chalk on the driveway.

And then it dawned on me --

The Chalk-A-Bration!  The celebration of chalk meeting poetry with our slicer-writer-poetry-chalker Betsy @Teaching Young Writers.  A little late for the celebration, but . . . I finally put the chalk to the pavement and created this poem to celebrate the glorious day!