Tuesday, August 26, 2014

{sols} old but new

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I picked up the girls after school.  I asked them about their day, but P. only wanted to know one thing.

"Mommy, did you wash the clothes?"

I know exactly what clothes she is talking about.  The hand-me-down clothes the girls picked out from friends from our old church.  They generously shared two large boxes of clothes in just-the-right-size for the girls.  The other night, after the girls were in bed, I dumped out the boxes and scanned the possibilities.

Most of the articles of clothing were not my style for the girls.  In addition, my girls are currently on a "let's dress alike" kick.  I wasn't buying two of everything.  I wanted them to have some choice. In our house, we said, "similar, but different."  Perhaps the same shirt, but one in pink and one in purple.  That's what I was going for, and then mornings came with tears.  Now, every morning (for more than two years), P. picks out her clothes and M. picks exactly the same thing.

There were no duplicates in the boxes.  So I picked out a couple items that I kind of liked or I thought were perfect to add to the dress up box and set them to the side.  Our friends mentioned that we could donate the clothes that we did not want.

The next day, the box was set to go for donation.  Until two little curious pairs of hands opened up the boxes.  The girls did their own shopping.  P. loved a colorful dress while M. picked out a cute skirt with sparkles.  The girls continued to pull out shirts, skirts, dresses, sandals until they filled a laundry basket with choices of their own liking.

And they were okay with different.  Maybe this is what I needed to help them be their own little person.  I was pleasantly surprised with the old hand-me-downs.

Today she wanted those "new" clothes.

"Oh, honey.  I was at school all day too.  I wasn't home to wash any laundry," I explained when M. jumped into the conversation.

"What do you think that Mommy's an octopus?"

I laughed out loud at her very smart comment.  And yes, some days I wish that I was an octopus!

"We can wash your new clothes tonight," I told them, imagining what I'd look like as an octopus and all that could get accomplished ...


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

{sols} deep breath

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This is a deep breath kind of moment.

Just a day before a new year begins.
Anticipation of the what's to come.

Smiling faces walking through the school doors.
A fresh start.  To begin again a year older.

Brand new clothes and shoes and backpack and supplies.
A missing tooth grin.  Fancy hairdo.  Looking too cute.

Excited to be with friends in a new class with a new teacher.
Nervous about the newness of it all.  Ready to start.

Me? I'm ready to foster new and old relationships.
To show them I care.  Wanting to make the difference.

To read and write and laugh together.
To laugh and write and read together.

Take risks, dare greatly, show some grit.
Learn from each other.  Make mistakes and push on. 

Butterflies of excitement of what is to come.
Just a day before a new year begins.

This is a deep breath kind of moment.

And I can't wait until Wednesday.  {Smiles.}

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

{sols} last days of summer

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The last days of summer are almost here.
Soon it will be time to trade in ...

Late sleepy mornings
Busy but no-rush days
Vacations away
Play at new neighborhood parks
Swimming lessons
Trips to the library
Grandma time
Bike rides around town
Craft and project days
Movie nights in the living room
Catching fire flies
Later bedtimes

For all the back-to-school routines ...

Earlier wake ups
Lights on, rise and shine
"Let's go!" mornings
Quick hugs-n-kisses drop off
Long, long days apart
Dreaming about summer ways
Missing the small moments
Thinking about our time
Rushing home for pick up
Squeezing what we can
In the late hours of the evening
Before early to bed, again

Until next week, we'll enjoy our time together.
The last days of summer are almost here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Possibilities #pb10for10

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Every year that I have participated in the #pb10for10 -- sharing ten (yes, only ten!) picture books that I could not live without in my classroom -- I usually shared my here-are-my-now-favorite ten picture books.  My lists had some standby solid favorites sprinkled with a few newer titles.  Never once had I thought about a theme like many of the other smart picture book lovers that were sharing.  This year I thought I would stand my ground and share my right now favorites.

And then I got to thinking a little more.

Oh, the possibilities ...


What Do You Do with an Idea?
1.  Possibility of IDEA:  
What Do You Do With an Idea? 
by Kobi Yamada

Love the possibilities of ideas that grow! A gift of nurturing your dreams, being unsure to share, watching them grow!  Just a beautiful story accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.  Let the ideas flourish!  Something I want to encourage in my children and my students.

2.  Possibility of WONDER:
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert EinsteinOn a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein 
by Jennifer Berne

An important book to encourage children to never stop asking questions, wonder, think, and asking more questions about all things BiG and small.  Kids already have this natural curiosity and we need to continue to foster and encourage that wonder and questioning in the classrooms.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend3.  Possibility of IMAGINATION:
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend 
by Dan Santat

Everyone needs a friend, even an imaginary friend is looking for a friend.  Beekle courageously sets out to find his perfect match to do the unimaginable.  Loved all the imagination that Dan Santat used in creating this book.  (Fabulous illustrations!)  And Beekle is just too adorable!

4.  Possibility of HOPE:
Fly Away HomeFly Away Home by Eve Bunting

This is one book that has stayed on my list.  A touching story about a father and son living in an airport trying to live unnoticed.  This story is full of hope and a future beyond the glass doors of the airport, especially after the boy watches a trapped bird is freed.  It's sure to allow for many questions and wonderings.

The Invisible Boy5.  Possibility of KINDNESS:
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

This is one story that will never, ever be forgotten.  A heartprint book. (Oh, that would have been a great idea for a book list!) A story that needs to be shared in every classroom.  No one wants to feel invisible, especially Brian.  Yet, there are many students that feel invisible even in our own classrooms.  This is one story that tells about the power of one little, "Hello." The words and illustrations work together beautifully to tell the story about the invisible boy.

6.  Possibility of OPPORTUNITY:
Each KindnessEach Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Another heartprint book.  A perfect pair with The Invisible Boy.  We all know a Maya.  The new girl who wanted to be invisible because of Chloe and her friends.  Chloe wasn't an outright bully, but little things like ignoring, whispering, laughing still hurt.  A lot.  However, Chloe learned a BIG lesson about kindness, but after it was too late.  (A powerful activity to see and remember the scars of bullying: The Crumpled Paper.)

The Lion and the Bird

7. Possibility of FRIENDSHIP:
The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

I was taken by surprise by this book.  The simplicity of the text.  The unlikely friendship between the lion and the bird.  The lion's kindness.  The hope of goodness.  The soft, beautiful illustrations. So much to enjoy in this book.

8. Possibility of JUSTICE:
The Day the Crayons QuitThe Day the Crayons Quit 
by Drew Daywalt

If only the crayons could talk!  This book holds so many possibilities!  Every crayon shares a frustration with crayon box owner Duncan. And they are just not happy.  Quite amusing to read from their point of view.  Laugh out loud funny.  (A great mentor text too!)

Bear Has a Story to Tell
9.  Possibility of STORY:
Bear Has a Story to Tell 
by Philip C. Stead

Not your average bear book -- and there are a lot of bear books out there!  A story about Bear who is so sweet, so kind, so patient, so willing to help his little animal friends prepare for winter, even when he wants to tell his story before everyone is asleep ...

10.  Possibility of POSSIBILITIES:
The Most Magnificent ThingThe Most Magnificent Thing 
by Ashley Spires

All the possibilities are held in the creation of the most magnificent thing.  The struggles, the in-betweens, the wanting to give up, the sticking-with-it, the triumphs ... This books holds the power of teaching creativity and perseverance -- and even a little lesson about making mistakes. The perfect book for the perfect time - and I love that the main character is a girl!

*After thought:  I was amazed after compiling this list that the illustrations play such a crucial role in the power of a picture book story. (I know that's why they call it a picture book, but not all picture books were created equal.)  Almost every one of the titles I added to my POSSIBILITIES list was included because of the words and complimentary (and usually beautiful) illustrations. 

Oh, the POSSIBILITIES picture books bring into our lives.  
Enjoy ALL the possibilities today!

My previous #pb10for10 {non-thematic} selections:
2013                    2012                    2011


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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

{sols} solo shopping

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These days I never make the time to shop.  With two four year olds, slow-pace-easy-shopping is rare.  Let's just say I do plenty of online shopping.

However, today the girls and I took the fifteen minute drive to our local IKEA.  The girls have been asking to go to the play land.  Every time we shop at IKEA (again, rare), there is a long line of kids waiting.  We end up shopping together as a family.  Well, the quick version due to endless whining, "I wanna go home!" 

I thought we'd try visiting during the week when maybe it wasn't as busy.  We were sort of right: there was a wait to get into the play land, but only 15 minutes.  We sat.  We waited. We people watched.  And then finally the girls' names were called.  Shoes kicked off.  Kisses on the cheek goodbye.  And they were off and playing.

It felt strange leaving them, but I turned around acting like all was okay.   I was on the search for a few baskets, picture frames, and a lamp.  I walked away reminding myself that I n-e-v-e-r shop by myself, enjoy it.

Except, I didn't know what to do.  I wandered endlessly in this large store.  Usually, I'm eyeing cute (or practical) items for home or for school.  Filling my cart with stuff that I don't really need as my hubby rolls his eyes.

Not today. Nothing caught my eye.  Nothing stopped me for another look.  Nothing placed in my cart.

Instead, I continuously checked the time on my phone.  Waiting for my free hour to be up.  And I realized that I forgot how to solo shop. (My hubby was happy with the free shopping trip.)