Monthly Archives: March 2015

#sol15 March 21 Celebrate Friends

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

 

celebrate-image A double post! Celebration Slice time! Thanks Ruth Ayres for this wonderful link up! 

 

Did you know I walk like I’m dancing? My feet are the hardest to diagnose. They don’t make shoes for my kind of feet.

I ran down to the running clinic downtown this morning. My friends met me there, and we began with a mobility screening. Stepping over a bungee cord line without turning my ankle was my least favorite test. Although my friends’ laughter throughout that station was the best part. We had a core stability exercise station, where we happily knew most of the exercises, and were reminded that we really need to do them more often. The last station was a gait, shoe and foot evaluation. This was by far the most interesting. I guess I didn’t even know there was a “right” way to walk. We practiced, and now I’m sure I know just enough to be self conscious of my walk.

Walking lift your leg
place it down, without your weight
Next leg, on and on

Yesterday, when I reminded my friends of the clinic today, they weren’t sure they wanted to spend a Saturday morning driving to my town. It’s hard to be in the mood for something like this. Maybe they just decided to go so I wouldn’t be alone, but they were laughing when I joined them, already having fun. The coffee shop after was an hour to celebrate too.

Celebrate real friends
who join, encourage and laugh
who listen for real

Women who decide
Early Saturday morning
to drive and meet me

Grateful this morning
Lucky, amazing to find
True friendship seems rare,

 

#sol15 March 20: Before that. . .

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

Trying out today’s inspiration… Thanks to make.share.give, for the awesome format. 🙂

Tonight...
I had an oatmeal cookie and seltzer water as I started my slice.
Before that, I snuggled L as she fell back to sleep.
Before that, H jumped in the bed, chatted and fell asleep on my arm.
Before that, I fell asleep while E fell asleep on my arm.
Before that, E told me he was going to be very shy.
Before that, I asked E what he thought the best thing about Kindergarten would be. 
Before that, I looked at E, amazed at how someone so little is so big already! Kindergarten! My baby! 
Before that, my phone was down to 1% as I tried to sneak in some reading
Before that, I made a late dinner for my kids. 
Before that, Yoga, relaxing music, children not so relaxing
Before that, cleaning up. 
Before that, reconnecting with kids and husband. 
Before that, driving home, repeating to myself: "It doesn't matter how messy the house is! Just chill out!"
Before that, treadmill walk. 
Before that, waving goodbye to students, "Have a good 'spring' weekend!"

#sol15 March 19 Choices

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

 

Choices. Mr. Thought’s video editing world has a choice to offer. “Fast, cheap, or good – pick any 2.”

I was thinking about this a lot today… the choices I have to make each day. Sometimes I can pick 1, sometimes any two…

Morning: Press snooze, shower, or gather my coffee and lunch?

Drive to school: Radio, mindfulness, or plan?

Planning: Fast, thorough, or copies made?

Grading: On time, efficient, or  thorough?

Planning Period: Students, paperwork, or recharge?

After school: Catch up on work, get home early, or exercise?

At home: Kids, dinner, or work?

After kids go to bed: Clean, write, or prepare?

After writing: Pack lunches, read or go to bed?

What choices are you making each day?

 

 

#sol15 March 18 The Case of the Missing Thermos

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

 

The case of the missing  thermos.

You know when your husband texts you to vent that he forgot to put a thermos in your daughter’s bag? You happen to be in a meeting, about to go to another meeting… and not teaching. So,  you actually can help in the middle of the day. You know how it feels so good to be able to help, because usually you are stuck in your classroom, unable to help anyone beyond the walls of the school? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful wonderful job to have… but you are trapped in those 4 walls from 8 – 3:17,  and there’s no time, no way to leave…even for a lost lunch thermos.

But not today! Today you miraculously have time.  You go to Wegmans and you get your daughter something yummy she’ll love. And you  look at the mac & cheese that is your son’s favorite and you think  maybe you should get  some for him so he isn’t jealous. But you stop yourself. “Oh it doesn’t make any sense to get that for him… he has his thermos.”

So you drive to their school. You smile at your son in the hallway. You are thrilled to see him in the middle of the day. He shrugs his shoulders in that “I’m too cool to care that you’re here” way. But, you give him a hug anyway, because, well… of course! Then you go downstairs to the middle school and give your daughter her special lunch and you watch her choreographed dance she and her friends have been working on at recess and you hugged her too, right in front of her friends.  They notice you have green glitter on your cheek. “I’ve been in this school for 5 minutes and I already have glitter?” you say. “Must be from the hug.” your daughter says.

Then you walk back upstairs to give your son one more hug and an “I love you.” Even though it’s the beginning of lunch, he’s putting his lunch box away and his teachers are asking, “Are you all done eating?”

He says “I have nothing left but that’s okay, I’m not hungry anymore.”

You hesitate and ask, “Didn’t you have a thermos?”

He looks at you and he says, “No.”

You are calm as you say “Oh honey! I’m so sorry! I wish I had known. I would have brought you something.” Because, you know….  you wish you had known and you wish you had brought him something (for example… that just-in-case mac & cheese!)

But your son assures you that he’s not hungry, that he had enough food with his snack and fruit.  So you check with him a thousand more times, just enough to make him annoyed. You make sure he knows that if he’s hungry later he can ask the teacher for some extra food.  You talk with him about what he’s going to do while all the other children eat, and he makes a plan for art. You get one last hug and you leave, watching him get books with help from his teacher.

 Your whole drive back to your meeting you feel a little bit guilty about that stupid mac & cheese that you could’ve bought.  You hope that he has something appropriate and calm to keep his hands and mind and body busy while everyone else is eating their lunch. You know you have left him with one more challenge to face in his day.

You text your husband, wondering where that thermos could be. It’s not at home. It’s not in your son’s backpack. It’s not in your younger son’s lunchbox at preschool. Where is it?

A thermos has never been so mysterious.

And, you know how at the end of the day you find out that your son’s thermos was in your daughter’s lunchbox?

#sol15 March 17 A lucky day

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

 

The leprechauns came to H’s school today. He told me all about them. The traps were set, and the kids were excited to investigate the mischief. I wish I had pictures. Not just of the leprechaun mischief, but of H explaining it to me, with the magic still in his eyes. “I know it wasn’t just the teachers, Mommy. There were fish in Penny’s bowl of water! She had water so they could take a bath, but they left fish!….The basket was hanging here, and then like a second later it was all the way down on the ground. The toilet water was green, and there were boats in there! They had a wedding! There were little chairs set up. Mushroom chairs.”

Let me back this up for a minute. The Leprechauns came into my son’s second/third grade classroom and created such creative mischief that my usually-quiet-about-school 8 year old could not stop talking about it. They left fish! (“Fish?” I worried, “What is your class going to do with fish?” But H assured me that Penny’s fish recently died, and her family happens to have an empty fish tank.)

H raced to show me what the leprechauns had done to his trap.

Yesterday when he brought his trap to school, I warned him that his thumbtack fortress of gold may not be understood. We planned out what to say if someone thought he was trying to hurt the leprechaun, and he ended up having to use those words, as his classmates were convinced that he had created a deathtrap. He came home sad and sensitive.
IMG_0432Today, he smiled as he showed me how the leprechauns had made a dartboard and used his pins as darts.

IMG_0433

 

 

 

 

 

His teacher must have an in with some mighty clever leprechauns. She deserves many thanks for letting those mischief makers into her classroom to make such a mess. I hope she enjoyed a spot of tea tonight, and I’d venture to guess she is already asleep. It’s tiring work, hosting leprechauns.

Tonight, as H snuggled in (“This is the comfiest bed we have… because you’re in it” he told me) he must have had those fish the leprechauns left on his mind. He told me his plans for next year, “You know what I’m going to do? Make a giant cat bed. Next St. Patricks’ day…and then I’m going to get kittens!”

 

 

#sol15 March 16 Stress

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

 

I’m so excited to travel in the spring to see my sister and her wonderful art show. We booked what looks like an amazing, off the grid, sustainable living cottage that we will share with my parents. The kids are excited for the long road trip, and the mini vacation. Not to mention how much we all miss my sister! I’m proud for getting it all set 2 whole months in advance. I imagined that this week, I’d send the FYI to my kids’ teachers, but that maybe that was too soon to let them know.

Then yesterday I read the email from H’s teacher, with the date for his class play.

Yep. The day we are leaving.

And today, after my hasty email to L’s teacher, I find out that her play is the day we are getting back home.

These aren’t just any plays. These are THE plays. Every spring, every class K – 8 puts on a class play. They are more than fun. They are community building, full of learning, and very very important. This is what the children work on for weeks, if not months. It is defining, and magical, and important.

This stress!  What will my kids do? I have some ideas… Number one: switch the date of the play! Not my finest selfless suggestion…and one that I have already heard is not possible.

Maybe they can still be involved in some way.

Hopefully this won’t impact my 8 year old’s behavior.

Maybe a solution will be uncovered.

Hopefully this will all feel better after some brainstorming and help by their amazing teachers.

What an annoying slice of this already yucky day. 

#sol15 March 14 Celebration Slices

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

 

celebrate-image Celebration Slices! Thanks Ruth Ayres for this wonderful link up! 

 

1. “In 35 minutes, I’m going over to Granny’s.” H tells me. Then 5 minutes later. “What time is it? In 30 minutes I’m going over to Granny’s.” At 10:53, he was set. “At 10:56, I’m going.” He told me. Every Saturday, my mom takes one of my kids out for lunch and then spends some quality time with them. They each look forward to the time, and I’m so thankful for it too. Watching H race across the street, dutifully looking both ways was a joy to celebrate. What lucky kids I have… getting to spend time with their grandparents. 

2. E wanted to use his gift card for a lego at the store. While we stood in the lego aisle, L looked up at the giant sign that said “BOYS.” She grimaced and said quietly to me, “That is so sexist.”  I’m so proud that she noticed that, and that she spoke up about it. I hope she keeps noticing things and speaking up, louder and louder as she grows.

 3. Yesterday my team celebrated Global School Play Day. Yes, we were a month or so late… but what a celebration! The students were excited, as they carried favorite games into the classroom: Monopoly, Pictionary, cards, Battleship, Clue. Kids these days are stressed and anxious, and they don’t get the chance to play enough. I was happy to dedicate a day to play. Even if play wasn’t the work of children, and wasn’t ripe for opportunities to learn, I would still think it was worth our time. But, play does create learning opportunities, and time for kids to learn how to be in control. Win-Win! One of the TED Talks I watched, by Jill Vialet mentioned the philosopher, Bernard Suits’ explanation of play:  “Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.”  She goes on to talk about the work of play: “They choose it, it’s a challenge. No longer should you think of play as the opposite of work or the purview of slackers. It is the fundamental sign of our inner drive and ambition.” The other TED Talk was on the decline of play. Sad to watch, but important.

game day

#sol15 March 13 Friday Flashback 20 years ago

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

 

20 years ago

there was a gun backstage
my senior year of high school

we kept it it there, locked in a metal toolbox
I think it was locked

I remember the meeting
my principal, my friend and I,
around a table in the back office
there may have been a few other people there
my memory is hazy

we explained how we needed the gun
it was the only way

it had to be believable
concessions were made
our principal understood

our show must go on
so the gun was disabled
we may have gone through a few different kinds of guns
and suppliers
before the gun
and then the starter pistol 
were allowed to be stored
so our characters could use 
the real deal
and our show could be 
the real deal

can you imagine today?
a student asking their principal for permission
to keep a weapon backstage?

#sol15 March 12 Perseverance Perseverance Perseverance Perseverance

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

 

I almost got my electric car racetrack set out at Christmas time. I carried it down from the storage barn attic with the Christmas decorations. But then I  thought it through. Why would I add another  thing to my house on top of the tree, the wrapping paper, the decorations and the new gifts? I set it on top of a shelf by the barn door, and forgot about it.

Today, I finish putting the groceries away, and L asks, “What’s that thing that looks like racetrack in a box? H and I saw it while we were playing outside.” I  start straightening up the random legos, shoes, socks, toy animals, drawings, markers, etc., thinking.

“How did you see it while you were outside?” I accuse.

“It’s right there, in the window. We saw it through the window.”

I want to say no. Do I need to mention the legos, shoes, socks, toy animals, drawings, markers, etc. again? But, it is their spring break, and it would be fun. A new old toy.

“That toy needs a blank space, totally clear.” I say. “Clean up the toy area and then there will be space. I’m not trying to bribe you, it’s just the truth. It needs space, a hardwood floor, and no mess. I’m not sure it will still work, but we can try it if we have the space.”

A 2 beat pause, and she’s off, calling her brothers, telling them the plan. The play area is clean in record time.

It’s been almost 30 years since someone has played with this toy, but the box looks familiar to me.

photo 2

The inside is dusty in that old box sort of way, with crumpled paper that makes me feel old.

photo 3

We set it up: “START with a basic OVAL track layout NOT the layout pictured on the BOX,” Figure one tells us. “Racing on carpet is not recommended” it warns in bold.  Sometimes I am a direction follower. So, we move the carpet, and make an oval. photo 4

It would be nice if it just works.  But of course the cars won’t go. (Click link for a tiny video of our trials.) We try all the different plugs, cars, remote controls and terminal tracks. We polish the pick ups, and we kept trying. “Well, that was a good try.” H says, “Let’s pack it up.” A teachable moment of perseverance, if you ask me. So we keep trying. And I keep hoping that it will work, so my perseverance lesson won’t backfire.

Finally, while I make dinner and talk to my mom on the phone, I hear “It’s going! It’s going! It’s going! It’s going!” And what a lovely noise it is.  (Click link for a tiny video of our success!)

I think my slice is about perseverance, and if it is I should definitely learn to spell that without spell checker helping me out. But maybe I’ve stretched out the wrong part of this evening’s slice.

Maybe it’s about letting kids play. I watch and I listen to my kids take turns, fight about turns, race, make new track shapes, go back to the oval shape, fight about the shape, make a new shape, create obstacle courses, and the list goes on.

Maybe it’s about how the big(ger) kids had a hard time giving my 5 year old a chance, but how they did in the end. In truth my 5 year old is only now getting his real chance at the toy, while his brother and sister are making slow motion videos in the other room.

It’s like a dream in a dream though, I’m slicing while I am slicing. While I write, I am being interrupted. At almost each word,  E’s excited words are calling to me. “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Watch my car get trapped in this obstacle course/Watch my car go slow/How do you even untwist this?”

I’m frustrated because I’m trying to concentrate. I should know better. But, his little face is so excited, so my head bobs, as I watch in between my words.

“Okay.” I nod. “But then mommy needs to finish writing.”

“Okay. Just once. Wait. That wasn’t what’s supposed to happen. That’s wrong. Can you watch again?”

At one point, my head jumps up, exasperated about the 15th time I’ve been distracted. I immediately feel horrible, and he does too. “Sorry mommy. Can you just watch this one more time?”

“Of course I can. But then mommy needs to finish writing.”

My head bobs, my eyes peer over the table, and somehow I still write.

So, maybe it is about Perseverance.

Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance.

“Mommy! Mommy! It sparks blue if I make it go faster and faster. Do you smell that smoke?”

The racetrack has been fun, but I think it’s going back in the barn.

photo 2