Thursday, March 31, 2022

This is it...

 Wow! I don't think a person realizes how quickly time moves until you are taking note of the days.  I completed a burpee challenge in February and was amazed at how quickly 28 days past.  Now, this is not to say that during the challenge all the days move quickly or there is not a period in which time seems to stand still because there are slow days and really slow days. But all in all - time is a thief - and the days of March flew by. 

Many slicers take today, the final day, to take stock of what was learned, what was gained, and overall their experience with daily slicing.  It is a way to grow as a writer, and a teacher - isn't that the goal? I am no different, so here is my take on the experience on this final day.

  • There are some fabulous writers in this world, and I am humbled by them
  • Inspiration can - and should - be drawn from mentor texts, ie fellow slicers
  • Writers' block is no joke
  • Sometimes just starting to type (write) gets the creative juices flowing
  • I enjoy writing
  • My writing has evolved but has lots of room for improvement
  • I have more empathy for my struggling writers and my non-struggling writers
  • Doing something for 30 days builds character
  • Writers like to share their work
  • I will be back next year!
Thank you to all my fellow slicers for all the inspiration!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Symbol

The giant piece of workout equipment, the Gold's Gym weight system, is being dismantled.  It has been set up in my formal living room since April of 2020.  You guessed it, we assembled it during the early days of Covid.  The home gym became a solace to my family, an inside joke, and the topic of many blog posts and writing assignments.  Now it stands as a monument of what has transpired over the last two years.  

Like Covid, it is slowly being downgraded and will be moving on to a new place.  It will no longer stand sentry over our house. It will no longer peer at us as we move through the house as if to say come here let me show you what I've got. It will no longer signify all that was lost.  It will no longer be a topic of conversation.  It will no longer be here. 

Maybe somewhere, some other time we will use the gym or fear we need it.  For now, the constant reminder of what was is being dismantled. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Right Now...

 I was inspired by a fellow slicer to complete a different kind of slice.  Here goes!

Right now I am…

Sitting: I’m sitting at the counter drinking my first cup of coffee, about to go to school.

Wondering: I’m wondering if my students will finish their RBQ by Friday and if my youngest will really go to the college he decided to go to on a whim last week.

Savoring: I’m savoring the hint of caramel in my morning coffee along with the amazing aroma of a just brewed pot of coffee

Avoiding: I’m avoiding creating morning slides for my homeroom, sometimes they are so tedious.

Hoping: I’m hoping that the weather improves for Spring Break.  I really need it to be above 73, so that I can enjoy the beach.

Hearing: I’m hearing the sound of the birds as daylight breaks.  The sweet chirping signaling that the day is beginning.

Crafting: I’m crafting the responses to my many emails about student homework and poor reading comprehension grades. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

I Am

My class recently completed this poem activity based on the book, I Am Every Good Thing  by Derrick Barnes.  It is a fantastic book!  This is the first year that I have used it during my poetry unit.  Anyway, the kinds wrote I Am poems and we hung them in the hall.  Here is my take on the poem.

I Am shy yet sassy

I Am the green trees blowing in the wind 

I Am the sound of ocean waves and children's laughter

I Am homemade mac' and cheese

I Am an endless run, a good pump, and a downward dog

I Am the "ah-hahs" when they get it, the smile on my kids' faces, and the light at the end of the tunnel

I Am the glue that holds it all together

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Getting old...

 I was inspired by another slicer to write this post! Thank you to each and every slicer who inspires me and countless others. 

If you have read any of my other posts, you know that I am a bit of an exercise fanatic.  Up every school day at 4AM to get in my daily workout - a mix of weightlifting and yoga.  I am in decent shape - not magazine-worthy but ok for my age.  I eat pretty healthy, except for the Friday night treat I allow myself. 

Fast forward to last Tuesday... I am eating lunch with my partner teacher and we are just chatting away.  We decide we need to check something on the computer, which is located around my desk near the front of the room.  I make my way to the computer at a totally normal pace.  I move the chairs around my desk to the side and stand in front of my computer.  I casually turn to look to the right... not a full turn but a half turn sorta turning my head more than my torso. And BAM, the spasm hit my lower right side.  Like a full-on spasm that took my breath away and caused me to grab frantically at my back.  My coworker asked if I was ok - I guess the pain was evident. She kept repeating, "You just went to your computer!"  

All I did was walk to my computer, but sometimes muscles tighten.  My back was fine within a half hour or so. It was needless to say a humbling experience - a reminder that we all age and with it comes random inexplicable injury. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Roosters, Roosters, and More Roosters

 My class hatches and raises chickens. We incubated the eggs earlier this year, in November, at my request.  I thought that it would be really cool if we kept the chickens long enough for them to lay eggs.  So here we are in March and the hens should be laying anyday now.  

Starting earlier than in prior years, came with a few hiccups.  We had to incubate at home since the school gets so cold on the weekends and that makes it really hard to maintain temperature and humidity in the incubator.  We had to build nesting boxes for the hens, which changed up some of the lessons we did in prior years with the chickens. We had to come up with a heat source for when they went outside. I subsequently spent lots of time worrying about catching the coops on fire.  Then the chickens water froze and we had to come up with a way to keep the water warm.  All of these hiccups provided great real world problem solving activities for the kids. 

By far our biggest issues has been the issues of hens and roosters.  It's pretty hard to tell if the chick is a hen or a rooster when they are young.  We tried what seemed like a million different things to see if the chick was a hen or a rooster.  We went by weight, size, comb/gobble development and we even tried to look at their wing feathers.  The one thing we learned is that comb/gobble development and size are a pretty good criteria for determining who is a rooster. Anyway, as they develop roosters become more aggressive and eventually a little too interested in the hens 😉. So, we built a rooster hotel to keep the roosters seperate... we even had to have different "hotels" for different roosters.  One rooster fight was enough for me!  Anyway, last weekend some of the boys, that have been together since birth, began to pick on the smaller of their brothers.  I knew it was time for us to adopt out our roosters. I placed an ad and have had interest from two different people about adopting our roosters.  We have 9 roosters... so many to adopt out!

Today I meet with the first perspective adoptee - let's hope they want to take him!  These roosters need to find a new home before they fight anymore.  

Friday, March 25, 2022


 As teachers, mothers, humans we can be filled with self-doubt.  The constant bombardment of images, tweets, and posts doesn't help.  We spend so much time comparing ourselves to the other baseball moms, the teacher down the hall, or the lady at the gym.  The proverbial keeping up with the Joneses. An age-old adage that has stood the test of time and is even more pertinent today. 

Kids today have it worse than when I was a kid... in terms of self-doubt and comparisons.  When I was younger, there was no social media to constantly show me what I should wear, look like, act like, eat, and a million other things. These kids start seeing their mom's Facebook at an early age, or her have their own TikTok by fourth grade! They are presented with an ideal that is not attainable.  When I was younger - ok I sound about 100 years old here! - we just had Cosmo or the teen magazines to look at.  Those came out once a month and you could throw them in the trash.  Social Media is a constant presence and is continually upping the comparison game.

Now, kids aren't the only ones who fall prey to this social media or even television/movie comparison.  Adults fall victim to it too.  How many times have you looked at a tweet celebrating something in the classroom and felt that your lessons aren't enough? Or looked at an Instagram post or a TikTok video and thought, "Wow, that teacher is so cool... I need to step up my game."  This just leads to educators feeling less than in an already turbulent year.  

Some self-doubt is ok... it makes us try harder, be better and pushes us out of our comfort zones.  Too much self-doubt is not ok... especially in a time when people have been isolated because of the pandemic.  What can we do about it?  Celebrate who we are as people, accept yourself.... be YOU.  There is only one of you in the entire world and I imagine that you are AWESOME.  We also need to learn to celebrate others and their accomplishments.  It is ok to not have Instagram worth anchor charts.  Not everyone has perfect penmanship and can create all those awesome pictures and that's ok.  But kudos to those that can.  

So I challenge you today to find something that great about yourself.  Embrace it... Be YOU... learn to love who you are! 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Rambling Biography - My Take

 I read a slice yesterday, and the slicer wrote a rambling autobiography. I thought it was so different and something that I had to try to here goes!

I was born in a small town in Pennsylvania where everyone came home when the streetlights came on and the fire whistle blew. I adore sunshine, Swedish fish, a good workout, and being with my family. I bought a four-door jeep in 2019, right after my son went to college and Covid hit – my jeep provided such solace during the pandemic. I have two older brothers – way older – I was born when they were 16 and 17 years old. (The best flu my mother ever had!) I have never been to Hawaii or Europe, although they are both on my bucket list to visit. One of my nieces, who lost her mother two years ago, has become my quasi-daughter. (girls are fun!) When I was in kindergarten, I had a major concussion causing me to throw up on my teacher and be in the hospital for a week. My favorite place is anywhere my family is gathered but if we are at a beach somewhere it’s even better! I can still sense my parents and my sister-in-law’s presence with me, whether it is in the cardinal’s visit, the taste of pot roast, or the sound of music. I dated one boy all through high school, and no we didn’t get married… I married my husband after about a year and a half of dating. I gave birth to two fantastic sons; we decide two was enough but adding a girl would have been really cool. When I was eleven, I had a horse, Cherokee, he was my best friend, and the stables where I kept him became my second home. I am a teacher, mother, exercise fanatic, and the only girl in my family. I want to retire to the sunshine, peacefully reading books, exercising, and enjoying my family. 

If you haven't tried this you should... it was fun! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Decision

Sitting in the end booth at Taco Mac, a local wing joint, we ate our final meal before the oldest left for his junior year of college. The youngest was sitting to his left and lamenting all the bad things about his senior year of high school.  Since Covid, honestly, even before that, he has not been the biggest fan of school. The isolation a high school kid felt, especially one with a mom who stuck to the quarantine rules, was no joke.  He missed out on so many of the normal high school experiences, but I digress. He was going on and on about his lame classes, how he was going to have two PE classes, one academic class, and then minimum day. 

My oldest piped up with, "Why don't you graduate early?  Lots of kids do it. You would just need Gov and Econ, right?"  "I guess," the youngest sighed, "Mom, could I do that?"  "I think so, we could ask the counselor." 

The conversation turned back to sports - what else with an all-boy family. We discussed LSU football in-depth, how well Joe Burrow was going to do coming off of his injury, and would the Bucs repeat. Some good-natured ribbing went on between the boys but the youngest seemed far off. He kept giving me the look... like he was thinking about something but didn't want to say it and needed me to tell him what to do.

Fast forward a few days and he brings it up again.  "Mom, can you reach out to the counselor?  See what I have to do to graduate early?"  "Sure, let me email her now."  The process was easy enough and he wouldn't take much to change his classes, he had to decide right away though.  They would need to get him into Gove/Econ ASAP.  So, long story short, after much deliberation or maybe just that teenager's "I can't make a decision" attitude, he decided to graduate in December.

Well, that put us on a fast track to college.  Applications were sent, acceptances were received and we began to scramble.  All while focusing on a new school year for the both of us.  I began to gather supplies, attempt conversations with the surly boy, who was questioning his decision at this point, and try and make a plan. FINALLY, he decided to go to the same college that his older brother goes to.  I immediately felt relief.  Whew, this baby of mine would be with his brother. 

Well, in typical teenage fashion, he grew more nasty and unsure as the end of the semester approached.  "Should I have done this?" "I am not sure I want to go here." "What if I don't go?"  "What should I do?"  These conversations were on the daily, sometimes multiple times a day.  One night, he called me to the basement and said he just couldn't do it.  He said I just am not ready.  He had great points - this is 8 months early, I am going from high school senior to college freshman in three weeks, I don't know what to do with my life... 

Fast forward four more months, and he is still here at home and hasn't decided where to go.  He still has the same concerns but knows another deadline approaches.  My college boy was home last weekend and ran into the roommate group that the youngest was originally going to be in. They told the college boy that they still needed a fourth roommate - they all assumed my youngest was in college.  We immediately told the indecisive teenager, who with a sparkle in his eye, began to reconsider this whole going to his brother's school.

Late last evening, he reached out to this group of high school friends who immediately were like room with us.  So, he signed up... he made the room request... and a decision was made to go to this college.  He had more spunk and spark than I have seen in a long time.  Let's just hope that this is his final decision... teenagers change their minds a lot! 

Monday, March 21, 2022

The Car Show

 Every year for the last 29 years, I have attended the international car show with my husband.  Early on, even before we were married, I went with him and his parents. We would stroll through the exhibit marveling at the cars, their costs, and dreaming big "one-day" dreams.  We would climb in and out of the cars and be in awe of the new features.  Each year the features and price seemed to change, what was once an option became standard, and stick shifts became a thing of the past.

 When we had kids, we continued to go.  My oldest has been going for 22 years, his first time was as a five-month-old. We pushed the stroller through the show, pausing now at cars and SUVs that could fit everything that went with having a baby.  "Do you think there is enough room back here for the car seat?", "That trunk doesn't look like it would fit the stroller.", "Do you think I could reach around and get him in this car, like if I needed to?"  Our conversations changed as the years progressed, but the one constant was the family went together.  

My youngest has attended his whole life... even in utero.  I was just coming off a brief period of bed rest and made my way slowly through the car show.  His first appearance at the showwas when he was six months old.  Again, the conversations changed... "Now, we have two... should we look at minivans?" "Ooh, this one has a TV and the doors slide open."  "That could be vital to my sanity... let's see what Chevy has to offer." We even picked out our next car at the car show!  We still dreamed and had "one-day" cars, my husband always looks at the Mustangs and the sedans.  I always go for the Jeeps and the day. (I should say, I drive a Jeep now 😀)

We have made it a point to go to the car show every year.  When the boys we both heavily involved in travel sports, we squeezed it in somehow.  Some years it was a quick trip, others we spent a little bit longer.  Some years we spent a fortune on food while we were there - my snacks were not enough for growing boys.  Some years we only bought water.  The constant was the family time together. 

This year, my college boy was home from school for the weekend.  You guessed it, it was the weekend of the car show.  We made a pilgrimage to downtown for the show.  My youngest, who doesn't get out of bed before noon, got up early to join us.  We walked through the exhibit.  This year pointing out the cost of the cars to the soon-to-be college graduate.  His dreams of a maxed-out Ford F150, slowly being crushed by the realization that they are out of his league for now. He decided he likes the cheaper version of the truck, a bit smaller but functional... he will now have a "one-day" truck dream.  My youngest one, decided that cars are too expensive and he is going to drive his until he can't anymore.  But if he had to choose, he seems to like the fast, sports cars... so maybe a Corvette or a Dodge Charger are his "one-day" cars.  

As we were making our way back to the car, my college boy said, "I am so glad I made it home for the car show." Then in typical brother fashion, they debated the wants vs needs of the cars and how expensive they are.  This quickly turned into the viral conversation about doors and windows... but that is for another day! My husband and I just soaked it all in.  What a great, simple tradition started by his dad all of those years ago. 

This is it...

 Wow! I don't think a person realizes how quickly time moves until you are taking note of the days.  I completed a burpee challenge in F...