Tuesday, August 27, 2013

sols: time

Slice of Life hosted at the 

Tick tock.
Tick tock.


I'm always curious how everyone spends their time.  There are not enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything that I need or want to do.

Between family time, reading time, writing time, school time, prayer time, lounging time, exercising time, quiet time, laundry time, cleaning time, loud time, playing time, sleep time, and fill-in-every-other-blank time.

Oh, and that little known thing as me time.

Even though there are not enough hours in the day, I don't think I would do better with more time.  I need to prioritize and find that balance.  But I need time to do that.


Tick tock.
Tick tock.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

sols: guilt

Slice of Life hosted at the 

I had nothing to write about last night for today.

Maybe my brain is tired from transitioning from summer mode to school.

This morning my thoughts bounced around.  I could write about this or that or the other, but never committed to a slice idea.  So I waited until the slice found me.  And it did.

Yesterday I had no guilt dropping the girls off at school (their daycare).  I was ready to get back to school and allow them the opportunity to play and learn with others.

Today, my morning began like any other morning until it was time to drop the girls off.  I had talked to the girls yesterday about the change in the routine during drop off.  I was putting slippers on and washing hands with the girls before kisses and hugs goodbye, but Ms. K. decided it would be easier if she did that to make the transition quicker.

I remembered to talk to them yesterday.  I forgot today.

We walked in the door with smiling faces.

"Ok Mom. Thanks! See you later!" Ms. K. said to help speed up the transition.

The girls' eyes bugged out and the tears started falling.

"No, Momma! Put on my slippers!  Wash my hands!"  P. pleaded.

"Mommy, please.  Please just put on her slippers!" M. screamed.

"I love you both so much," I whispered in their ears as I kissed their cheeks.

I walked out.  Closing the door behind me only to have P. throw it back open.  I continued to walk without looking hearing the cries and feeling my heart breaking.

"They will be okay," I told myself over and over and over.

I sat in my car and started to sob.  Now I felt guilty.  Guilty for leaving them.  Guilty for rushing.  Guilty for not saying our complete goodbyes.

Less than fifteen minutes later, Ms. K. called to let me know that within a minute after leaving, they were calm.  I was so thankful for the phone call but still felt guilty.  It is not the way I want to start the morning.

After school, I picked them up with lots of hugs and kisses.  When we pulled into our driveway, I apologized for the morning.

"I'm so sorry what happened this morning at school, but Ms. K. has new rules at her house and we have to follow them.  Do you remember what happened?" I asked.

"Yeah . . ." they both responded.  I cringed.

"What happened this morning at school when I was leaving?"

"I don't know . . ." they both responded.

Hmmm.  Some guilt was just lifted.  This moment weighed heavy in my heart all day and now they don't even remember.

This mom guilt is tough.

But tomorrow I will remember to talk about the transition before we get to school.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

sols: count down

Slice of Life hosted at the 

Many of you, like me, are holding onto the last few days of summer.

I'm enjoying my slow and easy transition back to school.  Monday I had a half-day meeting.  Today I'm home with the girls.  Two days at school in my classroom and a family day out on Friday. Before everything officially begins next Monday.

I think I might meander over to school today to show my girls my new learning space and really see what I'm getting myself into.  I packed up my room that I made a home for ten years and I'm moving into a smaller room.  I'm actually excited about the transition.  A fresh start.  Newly organized.  (That's the part I still need to accomplish this week.)  And perhaps a little decorating.  Nothing fancy.

I just said to a friend and colleague, Chris over at Reading Amid the Chaos, that this year seems different.  I don't know what it is.  I can't put my finger on it.  I'm not nervous.  I'm not worried.  I'm pretty calm and ready to return when the day arrives.  I'm feeling confident in my role and excited about the hopes of the school year.  I'm in a good place right now.

Perhaps the last two years were difficult transitions with the girls -- that guilty gut-feeling leaving them as I returned to work.  Yet, this year I'm ready to return without the guilt.  I love my baby girls and we had many celebrations and great moments this summer, but there were many challenging days too.  I think Chris mentioned this yesterday:  I'm a better mother because I go to work.  I can say that is fitting for me.

The days this week will go by and I'll try my best to hold onto this relaxing speed and pace as we transition into the school routine.  But before I know it, I'll be a month into school, into that daily schedule that we all thrive upon wondering where those last summer days went . . .

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Picture Books Galore: #pb10for10

Ten picture books I can't live without in my classroom.

Check out other favorite 10 for 10 Picture Book Lists

Books are like old friends.  Especially the books that you continually go back to, and trust, and rely on for their words, pictures, and messages.  Besides trying to pick only ten books, my other problem this year was that I had to pack up my classroom and all my books at the end of the school year.  They are sitting, waiting patiently, in a new learning space.  Waiting to be picked up, flipped through, and smiled at softly with book love remembrance.  Waiting to be shared with new students.  I'll be able to greet them on Monday.  My old friends.

So, this year, I cheated a bit -- due to lack of book browsing to jog my memory and time, I decided to look back at last year's #pb10for10 post.  This prompted me to visit my Goodreads picture books bookshelf and I was quickly reminded of all those books that I fell in love with this last year.  It's quite sad to delete the picture books I shared last year from my list.  No Elephant and Piggie. No Stellaluna or Something Beautiful or Swimmy. 

This is (almost) a brand new list for 2013.  One author (two books) remained.  

Different books speak to us 
in different seasons of life.

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Here's my list for #pb10for10, in no particular order -- just ten books that I go back to over and over:
Product Details

I fell in love with Ralph. Adorable and true in so many ways.  We all know a Ralph (or even have a little "Ralph" in us) searching for a story to share.  Perfect for Writing Workshop and those days when we are stuck staring at a blank page when we are writing.  

There are many, many bear books.  But this is one bear book that I continue to read over and over and fall in love with it over and over.  I adore the illustrations.  Bear is such a sweet friend, a sleepy, sweet friend with a story to tell, but his friends are busy preparing for winter to arrive and agreed to help.  A story about friendship and patience.

I could not take away either of these books. They are both touching stories that lead to many thoughtful questions, wonderings and conversations death, war, and homelessness. 

I loved this story.  We all know a Maya.  There's a Maya in each of our classrooms.  There's also a Chloe.  A Chloe who is not an out right bully, but one that does those little things, like ignoring or whispering or laughing, that all add up.  Chloe's teacher, Ms. Albert, shared a lesson about ripples and she learned a BIG lesson about kindness.  It broke my heart that Maya didn't know that, but I'm guessing that was the point Woodson was trying to convey.  Now Chloe can move forward remembering Maya and each kindness.

A book that I first fell in love with because of the pictures and then the message made me gasp, "Awww." I love this book about an adorable pig just trying to fit in.  A great book to read at the beginning of the year or even when a new student moves in.  Great discussions about acceptance and friendship.  

Product Details
We enjoyed reading this book during "Screen Free Week" and connected with the idea of getting disconnected, experiencing the world one leaf at a time.  Powerful illustrations that remind us that there is a world to discover beyond our clicking and swiping on our electronics.  (But don't hesitate to click now to add it to your Amazon basket.)

Yes, the crayons quit.  And they let Duncan, their coloring owner, know exactly what their issues were -- well, all except green crayon.  He's happy with his situation.  Each crayon wrote a letter to Duncan expressing their concerns.  Quite amusing from their point of view!  (A great mentor text - Look! I tried it out here!)  Oh, and let's not forget to give props to the illustrator, Oliver Jeffers!

 Another *fun* read!  Go on and make your mark in the world!  I love the intro on the front cover: 

"This is a story about an exclamation mark. And this exclamation mark's story is really everyone's story. It's about fitting in . . . and standing out . . . and, with the help of others, finding your way. Because we all have our inner exclamation mark. The question is, how to find it . . ."

(Oh, and don't forget Little PeaLittle Hoot, and Little Oink and . . .)

Words + Numbers = Life's Little Equations

Picture Books + 10 = #PB10for10

Want more? See my little equations and samples of classroom equations.

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Thanks for checking out my #PB10for10 list!  I look forward to your selections! 

Share a comment about ... one book you will be adding to your bookshelf -- no, let me try that again:

100*(1 book) + bookshelf = happy reader

*The 100 is for the hundred new titles you'll be wanting to add to your wish list!
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Be sure to check out other favorite 10 for 10 picture books at
On Twitter: #pb10for10