Thursday, March 29, 2012


I lost my school keys last week.  I went from thinking it was no big deal the first day to depressed resignation at this point.  I have yet to make the leap to the office and admit defeat, but it may happen soon.  Ironically, we are writing lost and found stories in our classroom this week.  The kids have used story wheels to organize their stories.   For some reason, I have called them maps instead of wheels.  Today, I shared with them that lost my keys.  I was starting to tell them all the places I had look, when a little boy (Omar) said, "I think you need to make a map.  Then you'll find it!"  I love that children reduce life to simple terms.  I'm half tempted to give it a try...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

a peanut butter day

Tonight, I was on the phone with my mom when I could hear her start to cry.  We had been scheduling a busy evening with my kids tomorrow, so I didn't think it was anything we had talked about.  I asked her if she was okay and she said no, not really.  Really concerned now, I asked what was wrong.  She told me it was just what my grandma used to call a Peanut Butter Day.  It was a day that really didn't make sense, but it was that way anyway.  I had never heard that story before, but I understood the sentiment entirely.  It also made me feel better.  I know she'll be okay, she just needs to slog through the sticky, clingy muck and emerge herself again.  Maybe tomorrow will be a jelly day for her!  Of course, that word doesn't make much sense either...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ah, nuts

The squirrels are back in our neighborhood and I love hearing them eat their nuts while I locate them in the trees.  Today, a squirrel was just going at it for what seemed like forever, which is just about how long it took for me to find him.  He was fairly far up, but what made him hard to find was his size.  He was just a tiny critter. I had never seen such a little one, so I paused to watch and listen.  Since I had heard him for so long, I assumed he certainly must be almost finished, but he wasn't.  I watched him for several more minutes, just making a racket and enjoying his nutty nourishment.  As time went by, my mind drifted to pondering how much our children are like this little squirrel.  They may be small, but they often work really hard, even when no one is watching over them.  And, isn't this our goal? So, I went back inside to more closely observe my little home nutcrackers to see if I had been missing some self initiated work they had been doing.  Sometimes, I need to listen a little more closely, speak less often,  and follow along. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

ice is nice

I love ice cubes.  They crunch and cool you down.  The square ones out of the bag are the best.  They are mostly such proud individuals, with the occasional social group solidified together.  They make my drinks happy and my teeth crush and pulverize.  It's worth the risk of that one little piece that seems to sit on a tooth a little too long and ZING it touches that nerve.  So, you wait a minute or two and tap that cup again.  A new, slightly melted, slippery soft cube rushes in and you start all over.  I love ice.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

the laundry, the whole laundry, and nothing but laundry!

Our children have chores.  None of them are very good at them, but do attempt when prompted.  These chore rounds last a month.  Our theory is that you should do one until you get better at it before moving on.  Typically, they start strong week one and then the enthusiasm slowly wanes to the frequent pity party near week four.  Anyway, our oldest (14) had the laundry job last month.  He is a very smart child with little motivation for mundane tasks and so I dreaded his laundry rotation, but headed in with a mother's hope.  By the middle of week one, we realized there was a problem.  No one had any clean clothes.  Now, I knew the loads were going in, heard the dryer, saw him folding, so it took a while to get it.  Around day 6 I peeked in the washer and dryer.  The washer was half full and the dryer had maybe 8 pieces of clothing in it.  For the life of me I could not figure this one out.  We had Mount Kilimanjaro forming in the laundry room, so there was no lack of items.  I called him up from the gaming dungeon downstairs.  This is what he said, really.

"Well, if I have the washer full, that's a lot of clothes to fold.  So, if I don't put in so many, there won't be so many to do."  My dentist has been gently speaking to me the last few years about the wearing down of my teeth.  He lives in my neighborhood.  I may invite him over to let him understand my home situation.

It was after this conversation when I understood that he was also taking out half of the half load to dry it so he had even less to fold.  At this point I called my dentist for an appointment and decided to go on a walk before I did something good moms don't.  I tried to put on my socks to walk.  I had one wet one and one dry. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

fire me up!

We had a bonfire at our house this evening, in the 84 degree heat.  I loved it!  We just moved here in September and have many old bushes and stumps we are slowing burning over time.  I love almost everything about a fire. The smell, the company of my husband while we tend the fire.  I love the 'smores we make with the kids as well as the occasional hot dog.  I feel alive being outside with the other living creatures and searching for more things to burn, little twigs, a pinecone or two.   The flames are mesmerizing.  It's sort of a challenge as well to keep the flames going, yet add more leaves and stumps at the same time.  I was sad to come in for dinner, but happy to know there will be many more in our furture here. 

Friday, March 16, 2012


I admit I am a hot person.  Not physically, not anymore anyway.   I mean hot, like temperature hot.  When my husband is all snuggled in the winter blankets up to his chin, I have a leg out.  When others in my school are wearing sweaters when the air conditioning is on, I have short sleeves on and may even be a little clammy at certain times of the day. 

For the past few days, the air conditioning has been on at school, but not at home.  That would be ridiculous, right?  Air conditioning in March? However, I have been HOT the last two nights and have not slept well.  I have not admitted this at all, especially at home with the energy-saver husband.  I haven't said anything at work, but have relished the cool air. I have been feeling rather alone with my internal furnace raging.  Until tonight.....

I went on a walk after dinner, thinking it would be cooler then.  I was wrong, but was enjoying the walk nonetheless.  Suddenly, I heard a wonderful, man-made whirring sound as I passed a house near mine.  I quickly glanced up to see if the windows were closed...confirmed.  I slowed down (if possible) as I came closer to the outside unit...gentle whirring!  I am not alone!  How happy I am to have temperature challenged neighbors!  By the time I got home, I counted two more homes where comfortable families will sleep tonight, all snug in their beds.  They may even have to throw on a blanket.  Maybe June.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Have you ever woken up grumpy?  I rarely do, but today was one of those grump fests for me.  I won't go into the whole morning drama.  If you have home kids and you teach, you get it.  However, one of my school kids, Alex, came up to me at the end of our reading block and said I want to show you something.  Alex never asks me to do anything (really!) and he's very quiet, which I needed right then, so I followed him to the science station.  He said, "I found this part in one of these books on rocks about weathering."  He proceeded to look at the covers of 4 or 5 books until he found the right one, then  found the word weathering on the page, and read the page to me.  As he was quietly reading, I started to think of all the steps it took him to get to that one passage that related to what we had talked about the day before in science:

looking at and reading multiple texts, nonfiction, no less
thinking of what we had learned in science
relating the book he read to what we've studied
remembering the passage until the end of our reading block
telling me about it
showing me a specific place in a text that he remembered
all on his own.

I showered him with compliments on his hard work and my day became happy in that one instant with that one child.  I love my job.  Thanks, Alex!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

count your brushes!

Like every morning, I went through my mental list of kids and made sure everyone had brushed their teeth before school.  When it was finally my turn to brush,  I had the urge to feel the brushes just to make sure everyone had brushed like they claimed.  While I was doing this, I realized there were four brushes.  We only have three children. 

When I was all ready to leave, I asked my threesome about the toothbrushes thinking one of them had gotten a new one somehow from the orthodontist or something.  My youngest said, "Oh, that's the one we use for Ricky".  He's our turtle.  They clean him with an old toothbrush, which is now stored WITH THEIR BRUSHES!!

Count your brushes tonight.  You may be surprised!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

grill me

I swear you could put a ten inch rat on a grill and it would taste good.  In some places they probably do.  We had an old favorite of chicken fajitas tonight and I thought it was July.  I'm glad it's not.  The sad thing is that our family really only likes about 5 things on the grill and we've almost done them all, in March.  I think it may be time to expand our horizons, our waistlines and our thoughts this year.  Since it seems we may be in store for the longest summer on record, I'm making it my goal to gorge on the grill with some new grub.  I may ask neighbors, friends, scour the internet.  There is no safe place for a relishing recipe to hide.  Watch out world, hear my grill!

Monday, March 12, 2012

all the pepols

A few days ago, I received a card from one of my first graders.  It read simply:

I love you.  You are nis. to all the pepols.  

I'm not sure it gets better than that for a teacher.  My heart feels happy every time I read it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Millrace talks

I love to go walking along the millrace in our city with my kids.  I enjoy it the most when all three are with me, but today it was just me with our youngest son.  We saw seven robins (a first for us this spring), watched the ducks squabble, and commented on cute and not-so-cute dogs.  We talked about nothing of real importance, but it hit me at one point as we passed a group of older teenagers in a group, that the days of him wanting to walk with me instead of friends may be numbered.   I always cherish these walks anyway, but I will see them and other outings in a new light now.  As I walked on in the sunshine with him after that awareness struck, I smiled a little more and listened a little more closely to words that may have passed over me before. 

Friday, March 9, 2012



no cooking
family members in fuzzy lounge wear
fire in the fireplace
no alarm setting
no cooking
mindless t.v. viewing
short blogs
new novel awaiting me
no cooking

blissful sleep, everyone!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

it takes a village

These last few weeks of school have been very inspiring to me.  It's actually the time after school I am referring to.  Monday through Thursday we have a significant amount of our third graders working in very small groups with a teacher in each group working on their reading skills.  Every Tuesday and Thursday, we have a large number of our second graders working with volunteers one on one improving their reading and writing skills.  As I walk tiredly around the school after most of the children leave, I am thrilled to see all the learning continuing.  Yes, I have seen yawns and a few heads laying on arms.  But, mostly I see adults connecting with children and children responding the best they can after an already long day.  I see our community responding to the call of need in a way so strong, we actually had more applicants than paying jobs and enough volunteers we have a waiting list.  I see parents lined up to pick up our weary learners.  Parents who are trusting that our efforts will pay off to their children's benefit. 

I am inspired by this show of effort on everyone's part after school.  I step a little more lively, choose books for the next day a little more carefully, and smile a little more genuinely.  There is a lot to be thankful for in my village.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

the planets align

Tonight I went out to see a few of the planets that are very visible right now in our night skies with Thing Two (younger son) and my husband.  From the little I have paid attention to the whole phenomenon, it has something to do with the whole Mayan predictions of the world ending this year, etc.  Really all I know tonight is that we had a nice family dinner where we all conversed and laughed together for a while, report cards were opened and celebrated, and some of us viewed some planets.  For our family, that means the planets really are aligned and all is well. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I was sitting at my daughter's swim meet this evening with my two sons (Thing One and Thing Two), my husband, my mom and my dad. While we were all enjoying watching my daughter swim, there was plenty of time between her heats for us to talk. As usual, I found myself smack dab in the middle of the family, so I began listening and responding to those closest to me at the beginning of the meet. My youngest son (Thing Two) was talking to me about basketball and was wondering why I didn't write down his stats last year for that like I was writing down his sister's times. My dad was on the other side and talking about the races going on (imagine that). My mother was sitting next to Thing Two and she began to list the area restaurants and their differing qualities. Soon into this latest topic, Thing One decided to talk about gaming systems and computer servers. My husband came in a little later and was complaining about trying to find the school, then the pool (away meet) and I began to giggle.

My husband assumed I was laughing about his inability to locate the school, although I later told him we drove right past and had to turn around as well. I was really laughing about one's ability to understand and interact with so many people almost simultaneously coming from so many different perspectives on seemingly limitless topics. I completely understood each conversation and managed a few words myself to each person before I switched to the next. There were only 5 perspectives there tonight, but I had tried to see 25 student's perspectives on different topics throughout the previous hours of the day. No wonder I started to giggle.

I was still chuckling a little on the way home....alone.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Lately, my triad of home children have been bringing home some funny (to me) sayings that I'm assuming are floating around the middle school. My favorite this week is "chillax". I have heard them use it with each other and yesterday, it was thrown my way. Amazingly, it worked. I had to chuckle because I hadn't been the lucky recipient until then and it just sounded so silly. I was wondering what other two words we could merge, beside the overused blending of star couple's names. Sadly, I can't seem to think of any on my own. Maybe if I just chillax some more, inspiration will strike.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Swans a Swimming

I am watching the swans in the pond by our house. It is fun to watch them glide by and occasionally go bottoms up to catch food. I also like to watch the ducks and geese in much the same way. I feel absolutely no compulsion to find our more about the wildlife; I simply enjoy that they are there. Since moving here, I have realized I am more of an observer in life than a researcher. While many folks enjoy people watching, they also often wonder about their lives. I really don't. I don't wonder about the swans or the people I pass by or who may be in the car next to me. They are just co-existing with me, like the swans. Maybe if we all just co-existed more often instead of being in everyone's business, we could more easily glide through life. Then again, it's really fun to read that People Magazine periodically.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Keep It Simple, Stupid

Why is it that the easiest things are usually the most difficult?  I have a master's degree, but can't find my shoes many mornings.  I can teach 25 children for 6 hours, but can't get three at home to brush their teeth or change the empty toilet paper roll.

Today, I got all my home children to school, taught all day, planned for Monday, wrote the newsletter to my families all to realize I forgot to say goodbye to my husband this morning and didn't kiss my kids before they left my sight.

In all the craziness that is life, remember the KISS.  It may be a good place to start.