Tuesday, March 31, 2015

{#sol15} new beginnings 31/31

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

I was trying to think of some clever way to share my thoughts about the month long writing challenge today, but instead I decided to just write.  Here's how I'm feeling right now ... 

{celebrating the end}
It's the end.  The end of another Slice of Life Story Challenge.  And I did it.  I wrote for another thirty-one days.  And you did too!  The Slice of Life Story Challenge party was packed -- and that is exciting!  Teachers, mothers, fathers, daughters, grandmothers, authors, poets -- all coming together to be writers and write for thirty-one days in a row ... 

Sharing story after story. 

{celebrating story}
I started this blog because of a nudge from Ruth.  (I thought she was really just talking to me, but I have many other friends who started this journey five years ago too!)  I was being brave and going to show the world myself that I could write, even if it was really just for me and my mom.   I thought this blog would be dedicated to writing about my life in the classroom, but I quickly learned that writing about my life at home and with my girls was where I wanted to share my words.  They were nine months old when I started this journey, and this May, they will turn five years old ... 

That's a lot of stories to remember.

{celebrating remembering}
So many stories that I don't remember writing.  Thankfully, my Mom and Dad have given me a gift that will live on forever ... for me and for my girls.  For every birthday and Christmas, I receive my slices and blog posts in a published book.  Just a couple days ago, I received volume 8 of my writing.  I now own eight published books of my writing and stories and slices of life.  I flipped through book eight forgetting all that I had written and ... 

Eight volumes of my slices!
All your thoughtful comments.

{celebrating you}
This community is amazing.  So supportive.  Always knowing just the right thing to say.  I still smile every time a new comment is left behind.  I'm always so thankful that you stopped by, leaving your thoughts and letting me know that you were here, especially during this challenge during a busy, full life we all live.  Me?  I stayed in my comfort zone this year.  I feel with so many participants, it was harder for me to venture out and connect.  Also, time to read your slices was limited between teaching full time and being a mom the other full time.  I felt comfortable reading my friends' in real life and friends' in the real world that have been with me on this writing journey ...  

Push me out of my comfort zone. (Next year, I need to sign up for the welcoming committee.)

{celebrating writing}
31 days
for the month
for 5 years
and every Tuesday in between
is all about
finding my happy 

bittersweet and sad
writing this last slice
habit formed
itching to write
more stories shouting out to me
but i need to {breathe}
and rest and live in the moment

It's the end ... but really a new beginning.  I hope I'll see you back here on Tuesdays. 

{celebrating new beginnings}

Monday, March 30, 2015

{#sol15} my happy 30/31

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

Sunday was just a gray, cold, rainy, windy day.  
It was also my birthday.  And there was a little sunshine.

My parents left to return home after a weeklong visit,
I found my happy in all the new memories made.

After a weekend of celebrating with my family,  
I found my happy in a nap on the couch.

My husband went grocery shopping this afternoon,
I found my happy in only having to put the food away.

We ordered in Chinese food for my birthday dinner, 
I found my happy in the delicious crab rangoon.

I watched a half an hour "birthday" circus show presented by my two girls,
I found my happy in the singing and dancing of "Happy Birthday" on the high wire.

After an enjoyable but busy nine days home with my girls,
I found my happy in transitioning back to our routine ... and early to bed.

As we return to our schedule, think about the next birthdays to come,
I will continue to look for the sunshine and my happy in every day.


Thank you Stacey and Kim for the "find your happy" slice inspiration!  Some days we need to dig deep and find our happy ... to celebrate, write a list, even if it's the little things.  Even on a gray yucky day that happens to be your birthday, there is so much to be happy about!

Early to bed preparing for a new week

Sunday, March 29, 2015

{#sol15} For Me 29/31

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

Every year of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, for the last five years, slice #29 is just for me.  I celebrate my birthday today usually with a list that grows by one each year.  In previous years, I have shared the joys in my life, what I am thankful for, and birthday wishes that have come true.

This year I decided to share a  love, loathe, worry, wonder  list.  I have to mix is up a little bit for my own pure enjoyment and fun!

1.  I love my husband, Jon.
2.  I loathe that I don't always tell him how much I love and appreciate him every day.
3.  I worry about what I would ever do without him.  He's my soulmate.  He's my one.
4.  I wonder what will be our next adventure together.  We make a great team.

5.  I love my almost-five year olds daughters.  More than almost anything.
6.  I loathe that they are growing up so fast.  Too fast.
7.  I worry about them every day.  Wishing to protect them from any little hurt or worry.
8.  I wonder who they will become as they grow older.

9.   I love my Mom and Dad, who support me in all that I do.
10.  I loathe that they live so far away.  Too far away.
11.  I worry about them as they grow older, even though in my mind they do not age.
12.  I wonder where they will live and what they will do in their next chapter of their lives.

13.  I love my brother and sister-in-law, who would do anything that I need.
14.  I loathe that even though we live close to each other, we live busy lives.
15.  I worry about not spending as much time as I would like to with them.
16.  I wonder what their future holds together: a dog? children? a new home? 

17.  I love being a teacher and working with super students.
18.  I loathe the additional stress and drama that is created in education today.
19.  I worry about not meeting the needs of all my students every day.
20.  I wonder how schools and education will change in 5, 10, 15 years.

21.  I love eating healthier and eating less food. 
22.  I loathe taking the time to exercise, even though after I exercise, I feel better.
23.  I worry about not setting a good example of being healthy for my girls.
24.  I wonder if I'll ever drink a mocha frappe again.

25.  I love being on vacation far away from real life.
26.  I loathe planning for vacations and packing -- everything before the real vacation.
27.  I worry about how much vacations can cost, lots of savings before too.
28.  I wonder where our next trip will take us.

29.  I love learning and reading and writing.  This equals me time.
30.  I loathe never having the time and energy for all three every day.
31.  I worry that I have too many book when I can't read them all ...
32.  I wonder when I'll have more me time again to learn, read, and write when I want to.

33.  I love being in my home that was built in 1950 by Jon's Grandpa.
34.  I loathe always being on the go, go, go and the to-do list is always too long.
35.  I worry about keeping my house clean and organized and always trying to stay ahead.
36.  I wonder if we will ever decide to move ... to a new home ... to a new city ... to a new state.

37.  I love gaining knowledge and experience as I grow older.
38.  I loathe the idea of being ...  I can't say it ... yet. 
39.  I worry about turning {cough} next year. 

So,  I wonder  if I'll enjoy this year and embrace this number 39.


My previous birthday lists ...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

{#sol15} real saturday 28/31

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

"What's tomorrow Mommy?" 

I think hard before I answer, not so sure.  "Saturday."

"Real Saturday?"

I think again, just to be sure.  "Yes, real Saturday."

You see, all this week was spring break.  Nine days with no big plans.  So every day was a Saturday.

Today is real Saturday.  
Our day to sleep in -- especially after a late night of 
early birthday celebrations with family.  
Delicious dinner out, cake and ice cream in,
laughter and talking in between.

Today is real Saturday.   
Time to snuggle in the big bed,  
lounge in pajamas all morning 
because we have time to take it slow
with no big plans or places to go.

Today is real Saturday 
before real Sunday 
before we head back to school on real Monday
when we're dreaming of 
more Saturdays to come all summer long.

Image from Pinterest.

Friday, March 27, 2015

{#sol15} painted toes 27/31

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

My mom promised me a date to get a pedicure while she was visiting.  A little early birthday treat for my toes to be ready for what we thought was spring.  We've been going, going, going all week.  There really hasn't been a moment that the two of us could get away.  I suggested that we bring the girls with us.

I called a new nail salon in town in the morning.  They had two openings for us right away.  I happened to ask how much a kiddie pedicure cost.  A reasonable $15 ... times two, of course.  I thought since my mom was treating me, I'd treat my girls to their first salon pedicure. 

Once we arrived, we were the only ones in the salon and four ladies were ready and waiting for us.  We were directed to pick out our nail color of choice.  It didn't take the girls long to pick out a perfect purple for their toes.  Grandma and I picked out our shades of purple as well.  We walked over to the big chairs and the girls were in awe.

P. had no issues adjusting to her new surroundings.  She climbed up in the chair and was ready for this new experience.  She was all smiles.  

M. wasn't quite as sure.  She watched me as I rolled up my pant legs and dipped my feet into the big bowl of warm water.  She slowly followed my lead.  

I told M., "Relax.  This is special.  Listen to the soft music and enjoy while we get pampered."

A smile crept across her face.  

The girls then provided a play-by-play of everything that was happening to each of us.  From scrubbing to trimming to filing to purple lotion to toe separators -- and everything in between -- until all forty BIG and little toes were painted purple.

As we waited for our pretty purple toes to dry, M. looked at me with a sense of urgency, wiggled her fingers at me, and asked, "Mom, what about our finger nails?"

"Not this time, honey," I winked and whispered in response.

On the way home, the girls continued to gush about their first nail salon experience.  Then M. quickly asked, "Mommy, does Daddy know about our toes?"

I laughed, "Not yet."

"Can we tell him?" she questioned.   

"Of course!  You have to show him your purple toes!" I have been known to tell them that "this" is our little secret.  I guess she was just checking.

After we arrived home, M. took a photo of her freshly painted
purple toes with the iPad! They were HUGE on the screen!

I'm not sure if introducing my almost-five year old daughters to the nail salon was a good idea or not ... but P. already requested that we return to the nail salon for aqua toes before their Frozen birthday party in May.

Oh boy.  

Or shall I say, oh girls ...

The final product: Our varying shades of purple toes.
Grandma wrote about our adventure too! Click HERE to read!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

{#sol15} stories 26/31

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

Yesterday was a busy day full of slicing story opportunities ...

A trip to the big city 
to visit the quaint Apollo Theatre 
to watch the phenomenal Elephant & Piggie Show.
Impressed with the production!

A trip to the local library
to pick up more Elephant & Piggie books
to reread, remember the show, and laugh again.
Disappointed with no books available!

A trip to The Tap House Grill
to have a dinner date night out
to connect and talk life with my hubby.
Satisfied with sharing a delicious meal (and dessert).

A trip to Feed My Starving Children
to volunteer with our church family
to pack meals to nourish hungry children.
Fulfilled with helping in a little way.

A trip to my comfortable bed
to thinking about all the memories
to dream about our busy, exciting day.
Relaxed with sleep even without a slice written for today.

Yesterday was a busy day full of slicing story opportunities ... 


I would highly recommend the Elephant & Piggie Show!  It was amazingly fantastic and entertaining.  Elephant & Piggie and their books came to life on stage -- singing, dancing, and lots of laughing!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

{#sol15} confident together 25/31

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

I decided to take the girls to a free "give hockey a try" skate yesterday.  Usually, I'm on the sidelines, helping the girls lace up and encourage as Daddy hops on skates to skate around with them. Yesterday was my day on the ice.  Grandma and Grandpa participated in the sideline duty.

My daughters now attack the ice with no fear.  Slip and slide and glide on the ice.  A few falls, but no tears any more.  We've learned to get right back up and try again.  Falling is just a part of skating.

I awkwardly made my way onto the ice, joking with my girls that I would need assistance as they skated around me.  I now understand why it's important to try new activities early on in life when fear has not fully taken over the brain.  I managed to skate a little and stand around lots.

The girls skated, hit the pucks around, raced across the ice, hung onto the side boards popping up and down showing their smiles above the glass, tried to push each other around on the chair on the ice, and took frequent breaks off the ice to check in with Momma, Grandma and Grandpa.  

 I stayed on the ice for less than twenty minutes.  My feet started to hurt. 

And they didn't need me anymore.  They are confident together.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

{#sol15} loving hands 24/31

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

A day with 
Grandma and Grandpa means
an extra set of loving hands

Lots of conversations
and funny replies

Playing a variety of games
and then more games

 Grandpa's magic trick
and yoga poses with Grandma

Helping around the house
with dishes and laundry

Cleaning up after a yogurt spill
with extra love and patience

Distractions away from Momma
so she can sneak away upstairs

Phone calls and email responding
made in peace and quiet 

Playing on Grandma's Kindle
or practicing crocheting again

Extra smiles and laughing
with lots of hugs and kisses

An extra set of loving hands
Is a day with 
Grandma and Grandpa

Monday, March 23, 2015

{#sol15} ingenious 23/31

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

I flipped through the photos on my phone and one caught my eye.  I laughed to myself, remembering this story.

You see, a couple weekends ago, the weather warmed up and it was time to remove all things winter. 

My husband was busy working outside taking down the Christmas lights and folding up the multiple blow-up decorations that were once buried under all the snow.  

M. and I were busy locating every snowman, snowflake, and anything else that reminded us of winter around the house.   We made a pile that we eventually carried upstairs to put away until next winter into the walk-in attic.  

P. wanted something to do, but she did not want to put on her shoes and head outside to help her Daddy.  She also didn't want to help us on our snowman hunt inside the house. 

"Mommy, will you play the card game with me?" she asked.

"Honey, not right now.  Let me finish collecting all the snowmen.  Maybe in a little bit, okay?"

"Okay," she sadly replied.

"Did you ask M. if she wanted to play?"  I yelled to her.

"No!  I don't want to play! I'm finding snowmen!" M. answered.

P. walked into the playroom.  After about ten minutes, she was still quiet.  I went to go check on her and found her playing WAR ...

... with her buddy, Olaf.  She was content and happily playing.

"Hey, can I play now?" I asked P.

"No thanks.  Olaf is playing with me,"  P. informed me.

I quickly snapped the picture and showed my husband.  He laughed then wondered, "Is this a parent fail?" 

I told him, "No, signs of being independent and ingenious!"

Sunday, March 22, 2015

{#sol15} another bike ride 22/31

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

Only the second day of spring
and it was chillier than we wished.
Yet we enjoyed the sunshine
and the cool breeze
all before a blast of winter
reappears in another day.

Another trail-a-bike ride
through the forest preserve
much farther than we've gone before.
We pushed and pedaled together
up, up, up and down hills
around the many ponds.

It was a workout with the
extra weight of the girls
even though I wanted to complain
I pushed forward and enjoyed
hearing every muscle scream 
over the eleven mile trek.

And the girls were biking rock stars
pedaling more than ever
almost "running out of energy"
wanting to just turn around
but. kept. on. going.
because of the promise.

The promise of a stop on our
way back home on the trail
at the aqua blue park
where all their energy was
instantly renewed once 
we arrived to play.

A perfect bike ride before
winter briefly returns
and the bikes will be 
forced to hide in waiting until
the sunshine and cool breeze returns,
and we all slept a little better last night.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

{#sol15} except maybe 21/31

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

Spring has officially arrived
along with a much needed break.
Nine days of really no big plans
except maybe ...

Nine days of really no big plans 
except maybe
a weeklong visit of laughing and playing
with Grandma and Grandpa.

Nine days of really no big plans 
except maybe
a scheduled hair therapy appointment
to feel fresh and new again.

Nine days of really no big plans
except maybe
a visit (or two) to the public library
for books, crafts, and a puppet show.

Nine days of really no big plans
except maybe
a trip to the big city to see 

Nine days of really no big plans
except maybe
a date with my mom to get
our toes painted pretty.

Nine days of really no big plans
except maybe
one day for just me to probably 
do some catch up schoolwork ... or not.

Nine days of really no big plans
except maybe
a little birthday celebration 
with family and double chocolate cake.

Spring has officially arrived
along with a much needed break.
Nine days of really no big plans
except maybe ...