Tag Archives: Slice of Life

I can’t write

Part of Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers

this is boring
and I don’t expect you
to read it

writer’s block
must mean I’m actually
a writer

even my journal
the self-love guided one
is closed

oh, I was gonna write
but then the cat fight happened
woke up the dog

now every line
is interrupted by my shouting

he can’t stop
the cat food is just sitting there
calling his name

even at 6 am
there are too many distractions
around me

easy roadblocks
around me but also in my head
I am a distraction

this is why
I can’t write anymore

A Slice of Letting Go

Slice of LIfe

This is part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life. Find out more, and join in here!

Home. It’s where the heart is. Home is where your family is. It’s certainly not the big box you keep all your furniture in, right?

Let go. This is my mantra these days, as we have gotten our house ready to sell.

I said it to myself as I boxed up, threw out, gave away stuff. I said it as we staged the house, making it look like we would never in a million years leave legos all over the floor, or crumbs on the counter, or clutter on the dining room table, or laundry in the washer.

Let go. I said it as I stood outside in my green backyard next to my apple tree, painting the last of a few doors that needed to be finished. I repeated it as I looked at the view of mountains and blue sky.

I say it each time I ask my husband  to remind me why we decided to move. (We need more space, it’s time to move closer to my school, it’s good for the kids in the long run, it’s best for our family. Repeat after me; We need more space, it’s time to move closer to my school, it’s good for the kids in the long run, it’s best for our family…)

Let go: As we turned on all the lights, put never-used white towels on hooks, never-used tablecloth on the table, never-used throw pillows, for showings and open houses; and as we took all those things off again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat, each time we ushered kids out of the house.

I remind myself to let go when I tell L that, “Moving is hard. And, we can do hard things.” I also remind myself that deciding to move when your daughter is 12 is maybe not the best decision.

Let go: As we initialed 20 times accepting an offer.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 6.39.08 AM

Now I sit in my dining room. It’s pleasant. It’s clean. There’s no clutter. (Well, a little has crept back on shelves and the coffee table, corners…. if you know where to look, to be honest) Our personal pictures are packed away from the staging, and Mr. Thought tells me this is good. We are slowly letting go of this being our home.

So I work to let go. I focus on the positives.We finally made the decision to move after years of debate, and we followed through! We had a fast sale! (Well, knock on wood… still lots of hoops to jump through, t’s to cross, i’s to dot…) We are blessed with the chance to get a house that fits our family better! A new young couple gets to start their life in this great house, in this wonderful neighborhood! It feels good to think about their excitement.

But, I still tear up when I talk about it, and it’s still hard for me to think about this not being our home.

A Slice of numbers

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for info and links to more Slicing!

*I'm not teaching math this year. . . my numbers may be a little fuzzy...* 

It's a new record: A Slice of numbers and gratitude

It's a new record!
2 weeks in, and I'm behind
3 stacks of assignments to assess
12 evaluation domain descriptors to describe
2 workshops; reading & writing to get up and running
I mean, we're up, but we aren't running.
Or maybe, we're running, but we aren't up. . .
1 reading unit to try out
3 writing units of study 
2 read alouds
4 parts to a new Positive Behavior Management System - It's pretty Fancy, so I capitalized it.
2 new iPad minis to set up  
50 kidblog accounts, classroom library accounts, chrome books and their cases, binders, assignment books, pencil pouches. . . 
50 times I've raised my hand for attention..magic!

It's a new record! 
50 kids to get to know
100+ parents too
2 snack coordinators
10 allergies

It's a new record!
1 migraine
5 headaches
20 cups of coffee
10 soda stream seltzers
1,000 ounces of water
14 two-minute bathroom breaks
I'm not going to count the Advil
...or the chocolate

It's a new record!
2 weeks in, and I've needed
2 substitute teachers in a row
5 students exclaim, "You're back!" and "Are your kids feeling better?" 
50 smiles
10 hugs
1,000 "hellos," "have a good nights," "see you in the mornings," giggles and jokes
4 mindfulness practice sessions
20 more books on my To Read List
1 Apple for the teacher, wrapped in a napkin, left on my desk

It's a new record!
2 weeks in 
50 kids I'm getting to know
2 learning communities, starting to grow
1 classroom we are starting to call home


A Slice of people watching: Middle Son Edition

Slice of LIfe  . . . and. . . 11037905_10154067646782516_5750329657918691438_n

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for info and links to more Slicing! Today’s slice inspired by today’s prompt on #TeachersWrite

I’m driving and my attention is on the road, but with three kids in the backseat, my rearview mirror glances award me more than a road view. I’m watching you. You are joking with your sister and brother. I hear you. Your laughter is a delight. You are funny, but your words quickly become cutting. I don’t know why. Your little brother is growing a thick skin. I give you reminders to be kind, and tell you to stop. And then I watch as you decide to put your hands out your window. All I see is your hands raised to the sky, and I know that feeling: the air pushing on you, the wind so loud. Your hair is blowing from your face, and I wonder what is happening in your mind. I’m hoping you are feeling peaceful with the white noise, and the chance to let go of impulse control and just breathe. The next time I glance back you have a water bottle hanging out of the window too, and you are experimenting with drops. They are falling out of the bottle directly into the car. You have invented a misting air conditioner, and nobody else in the backseat seems to mind. I wonder about the water since I can’t see it leaving the bottle, but I can see it on your face and hair, and I can hear your brother and sister laugh as you say “Our own rainstorm!” I’m proud of myself. I smile at your antics, and your joy. Checking myself, I don’t feel an urge to have you stop.

We turn down the road that leads to the coffee shop, and suddenly your brother and sister complain loudly, “Ugh!” and “He dumped the rest of his slushy out the window!” and “It’s all over the car!”

I’m annoyed, and I’m sure the drive through barista thought it was weird, but that’s okay. I decided that it’s no big deal. My annoyance is easily forgotten if I just picture you: hands out the window, hair blowing in the breeze.

Slices: Bikes, rides, and getting back on

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for info and links to more Slicing!


It’s a long story, why everyone needed a bike at the same time –Why we ended up at the store even after other, more sustainable, cheaper options were suggested. But that’s where we were. All the other shoppers looked at me like I was crazy – buying 4 bikes at once. I wanted to explain to each evil eye: “My bike was stolen 2 years ago! My daughter’s bike is too small and broken! My 8 year old has been riding my hand me down bike for 2 years! It has no gears! My 5 year old tried a goodwill bike last year and it wouldn’t pedal, and the training wheels bent…” But instead, I smiled and laughed at us… the kids riding their bikes to the checkout, me wheeling mine while I shouted after them.

“Be careful! Slow down!”


Even the woman ringing up our purchase seemed mad. I told her that the Assembler had told us my youngest son’s bike was $50, not $80. Even after her manager gave her the go ahead to charge us $49.95, she scoffed at us, annoyed, I guess, that I was getting a better bargain on my smallest bike purchase.

IMG_2949The next day we strapped our bikes on to the van, and headed to a nearby bike path with my sister, Aunt Awesomeness. After a small mishap of using the bike rack incorrectly (Note: don’t strap it to the window!) we were on our way. Aunt Awesomeness kept up with the big kids while I followed E. He was a trooper for 5 whole miles on his training wheels, and this is the true slice I want to remember: My bike ride with E.

I tried not to bump into him when he slowed down, and I tried to limit my yelling of “Be careful!” as much as possible. I tried to teach him how to use his brakes on the downhills, and how to keep pedaling on the uphills. I tried not to scream as he gained speed going down the steep parts, and not to cry when he fell. I told him it was okay to fall, and that he needed to get back on. (I only took a picture of the fall after he was okay. I promise.)

I breathed it in: the beautiful day and his little voice calling to me from his bike:

“This uses energy!”

“Is this exercise?”

“This isn’t motorized so it didn’t use gas.”

“Doesn’t this feel like we are going across the country? And I’m not even thirsty yet!”

….(5 minutes later…) “I need a break. I’m thirsty.”

“Did you see me going down that hill? It’s as fun as LEGOS! Even funner.”

IMG_2959 IMG_2962 IMG_2963  IMG_2957

A Slice of Comment Codes

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for information and links to more Slicing!

Dear Students,

When you see your report card and it says Comment 07: “Behaves appropriately,” will you know that what I meant is that I see how hard it is for you each day? Will you know I appreciate how you listened to my reminders, even though you wanted to roll your eyes?

When you see Comment C13: “Works well independently,” will you know that I respect your quiet way? That I wish I had sat down next to you more often?

How about Comment C05: “Positively contributes to classroom environment?” Please know that I appreciated your smile, and your kind words, and your positive leadership. Keep choosing happy as much as you can!

Comment C17: “Often requires prompting to focus and stay on task.” I don’t want to put this comment on your final report card. You and I both know that focus isn’t your strength yet. You have taken my prompting, and you have moved on. Sometimes you were annoyed at my prompting, and sometimes you took it in stride. School is hard work, thank you for bringing your best.

Comment C20: “Needs to make better use of work time.” Me too. Comment C28: “Needs to improve organization.” Don’t we all?

Your 6th grade report card will all too soon be a thing of your past, just like your 6th grade year. I want to make new comment codes for you:

I heard you.

I saw you.

I learned something from you.

Thank you.


solPart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

It was Christmas decorating time this weekend. Finally. We waited until the snowiest Saturday morning we could find to drive to the Christmas Tree stand… Husband (a.k.a. Mr. Thought) trudges outside to get the van all heated up, and ready for the great tree insertion, when it becomes alarmingly apparent that we need gas (because the van putters to a stop) The snow is piling up, the kids are anxious for the tree, and we wait as the van engine is turned over, turned over, turned over. E refuses to get his boots on, H is still playing, L wants to watch a show. I want to go get the tree, or at least to know we aren’t going, so I can adjust my day’s aspirations.

The van starts. Finally. Kids are loaded in and we slip and slide to the stand, where we pick the tree as quickly as we can, (“It’s freezing, this one is perfect!”) pay, and stuff the tree into the van. We realize we have blocked L’s access to her seat, so we insert her feet first as well.

The tree is up. Finally. H and E decide to water it using a funnel system that somehow requires a shelf, a giant bin, some sort of metal tube, a funnel, a few pitchers of water and my glass lemonade dispenser. Nothing like a little physics with your Christmas spirit. Ornament boxes need to be dragged in, and space needs to be cleared, and kids need lunch (every day!) and somehow the day goes by with messes to clean, work to do, and play dates. So tree decorating is put off until Sunday.

Decorating happens Sunday morning with all the favorite memory-inducing ornaments. Finally.   Have you ever decorated a tree with a 4 year old? I am okay with odd ornament placing and I fix some things while his eyes are off of the tree. However, the hanging of the beaded garland is the last straw for E, as he feels he should be the one to climb the ladder and place the string around the tree…

And then it is bedtime. Finally.  So, I do something that I wish I could do more often: I ignore the mess (and there is quite the mess of train tracks and crafts and have I mentioned that Mr. Thought is remodeling our kitchen?) and I turn out the living room lights, and just enjoy the quiet, and focus on the Christmas tree with lights. Finally.


My First Slice


Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Slice of life.

Today I free wrote and drafted with my students: our first ever Slice of Life piece! It was a good lesson. We used 2 slices that I found on my twitter feed this morning (The Honor of Watching Her Age by Katherine Sokolowski, and Because of Winn Dixie by Colby Sharp.) We closely read them to try to figure out the structure of a Slice of Life piece,  and then started our own pieces. As I free wrote with the kids, I started to write about my children at home this morning. I was trying to decide which piece of my morning slice I would choose: Waking up smooshed between the 3 year old, “E” and 7 year old, “H?” The chubby sleepy cheeks of both of them, looking even younger as they sleep? Remarking with H on how his brother still looks like a baby when he’s sleeping? The soft patter of H as he sleepily makes his way downstairs, already dressed because that’s the first thing he does? My 10 year old daughter, L, waking up bright but sleepy; her brightness turning sour as clothing tags itched and hair was brushed of tangles? Husband, with his gray knit hat starting the car for me, telling me to be safe? Leaving the house with a kiss and a goodbye to all? Watching my daughter in her daily routine of coming all the way outside with me to give the final wave goodbye? Driving to school only to get a phone call that little E forgot that he already said goodbye, is sad, and wants to say goodbye again?

The slice of my morning is often the same – rushed and stressful with snippets of cuteness built into the package so I don’t run away screaming before the lunches are packed. My brain struggles to take snapshots of the amazing moments, the soft snuggles, the cute expressions, and amazing smart ideas of my kids. I soak up all the hugs I can get as I rush to work…

As I sat down this evening to finish my draft of my morning slice, so I could post it on my blog like the big kid #slice13 challenger I hope to one day be,  I heard E start to cough, and then get sick in his bed. What happened next is by-the-book, night-time, sick-child parenting. Put down computer, run up stairs, grab towels and wipes (it was too late). Take whimpering child (“I’m sick! I’m cold! Mama!”) into bathroom, peel off jammies, put child in the tub, rinse and repeat. . . 

My new slice is this little guy, almost 4, sitting in our giant tub. The bathroom is a mess from remodeling and the laundry problem that is it’s own “slice,” I’m sure. The heater doesn’t work (Know a good heater guy who might actually call us back?) and the sinks need to be wiped down. But, the little guy! He has a soaking wet hot washcloth on his back, and is finally calm from the warm water. His eyes are closing and when I take the wash cloth off his back to rewarm it, he asks me to put back the “cozy towel.” He sleeps in the tub, totally confident and comfortable and trusting that my hands are there – letting him sleep and recover from the sick without falling in the water. He breathes comfortably. There are a few coughs here and there, but he is better than before. Out of the tub and into my bed he goes. And that is where I am writing this, with my not-still-a-baby-but-still-my-baby, cuddled up (on a towel, just in case!) Even though this slice is messy, and a little gross… I’m taking brain snapshots because I want to remember these cheeks, these snuggles, these middle of the night sleeping baths!