Friday, March 31, 2017

Slice of Life, March 31st--"Writing and Communityr"

Fair Warning: Overly thoughtful, reflective post ahead. 
On the last day of #sol17, I just couldn't help myself.

Tonight I worked at our school fundraiser. Surrounded by hundreds of people swirling around me, I was far from lonely. Students, children, parents, and colleagues were everywhere. To say I spoke with only a fraction of them would almost be an overstatement! I interacted with those that came by my booths and waved to friends and students, but mostly, we were just all in the same place at the same time.

But, it was a community. My community.

I can't help but find the parallels on the last night of writing. I haven't gotten to comment and read as much this year as I have in the past. Sometimes my writing felt silent, although I knew people were reading and many left comments. The crowd, like tonight's crowd, was a just too big to feel like I'd made dent in the blogs.

And yet, like tonight, the community was there. The feeling that I'm not alone in wanting to write, to share, and to reflect on life. Our lives.

After 4 years, the Slice of Life community feels like home to me. I'm not self-conscious anymore sharing my thoughts and feelings with people I've never met. I've said it a million times before, but I think this year I must continue. Slicing grounds me in a way that nothing else does. It makes me a better writer, observer, and teacher.

I'm so appreciative of the group of people that have gathered here for so many years and for the beautiful writing group you've created. If you don't mind, I think I'll join you this year. :)

Until Tuesday!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Slice of Life, March 30th--"Currently I'm..."

I found this post format here from a fellow SOLC blogger and she linked to this page for most ideas. I love this format and can't wait to try it!

Currently I'm...

PROUD: I love the end of March because every year my students surprise, amaze, and pass any expectations I had for the Slice of Life in my classroom. They are such hard workers, and I'm so proud of how so many of them have stuck with their goals and are going to reach them!

DETERMINED: The end of the year can be hard for students and teachers to stay focused. I'm determined to finish strong and have a wonderful ending to this semester!

COOKING: Super healthy. -sigh- I'm on an elimination diet that is helping with inflammation in my body. I haven't had dairy, gluten, processed foods, nuts, eggs, nightshade veggies, or added sugar for 3 months. I've seen a decrease in pain and some other positive effects. I'm just starting the reintroduction phase to see what I'm sensitive to, so I can eat in ways that help my body in the future. (Background: I had brain surgery last year for a disease {primary generalized dystonia} that caused a ton of damage to my body for 7 years. I'm so much better {I can walk again!} but need help reducing inflammation. This is giving me hope!)

ANTICIPATING: I am heading to Indiana in a few weeks to speak at a State Ladies Conference about how to endure illness with faith.  I'm not sure I'm the best person to speak about that particular subject, but I have had experience with illness and definitely wouldn't have made it without Jesus! ;)

INSPIRED: We lost our school custodian on Sunday to a sudden illness. It was unexpected and overwhelmingly sad for the whole school community. Even though it's been only 5 days, reflecting on his life and the legacy of positivity and love that he left has inspired me. It's amazing how much one person can affect a community. I hope to be half the person he was.

ORGANIZING: Okay, let's be real. When am I not organizing? I'm a messy person by nature,  so it's a constant battle for me. I like things to be neat and clean and perfect, but I don't have the everyday patience to maintain it. I'm working at home and at school to get it together! Again.

HOPEFUL: I am excited to see what the future brings, near and far! I believe that life is a beautiful gift, and I want to be grateful for it everyday, which I believe fosters hope.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Slice of Life, March 29th--"Thoughts on Slicing"

This is my 4th year to slice with the community at the Two Writing Teachers. I enjoy reflection (like most teachers!), so as I thought about how much I've changed over those years, and more importantly, how my writing has changed, I wanted to record my thoughts. I wonder if others have experienced the same changes as I have?

-I've loosened up at bit. I don't seek perfection in my writing or in my ideas. I do labor over words and think about creative ways to say things like all writers. I try to pursue excellence, but I don't put the pressure on myself that I did the first few years to make it all a piece of art (not that it ever was, but I did try...).

-In my lack of perfection, I think I've become a better writer. It's counterintuitive, but something I say to my students all the time: "It doesn't have to be perfect to be good writing! That's why we have erasers!" I've become more fluent, less reticent, and just have more fun!

-I don't look far for my ideas. I remember spending an hour just in the brainstorming stage of a slice during my first year. My ideas were good, and I'm glad I recorded the stories. However, I like my day-by-day style better now. I write in the moment and try to find my ideas hidden in the messiness of my everyday, rather than retelling a gem of a story from the past.

-I like writing more now. It is becoming more effortless and I love that. Like my students, as I write more, it become easier.

-I don't struggle to see myself as an author anymore. Somewhere along the way I began to believe my own words that, "Everyone is an author!" (Usually said during the first week of school with enthusiasm!) I write, and therefore I am an author. It took 4 years, but I got there.

I know all to well that feeling of loss tinged with relief that I will feel on April 1st. It's always welcome--extra time in my evening, etc. But, I always wish I had the perseverance to join the Tuesday Slicers that go all year!

Maybe this year is the year!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Slice of Life, March 28th--"My Day in Numbers"

I saw another blogger do this kind of post. I'm sort of changing it around, but here goes!

2 Golden Retrievers trying to distract me from my blog, putting their paws on my chair and their noses onto my computer

100 students through my classroom today and 100 smiles

1 hamburger eaten for dinner, wrapped in lettuce with avocado

37 bars on the music volume this morning while heading to work

5 teachers gathered at the end of the day trying to figure out how to make a schedule for an unusual day coming up

4 o'clock was the time I left work, headed to the grocery store again

8 little, tiny pieces of smoked salmon, roasted in the oven, and tried for the first time (I might like it. I haven't decided yet!)

5 little pieces of salmon put back in the fridge in a baggie to try again tomorrow

12 hours until my kids come back to school tomorrow ready for another day!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Slice of Life, March 27, 2017--"A No-Words Monday"

The sweet custodian at our school passed away unexpectedly yesterday. Words can't express how our school was affected today as we grappled with the loss of our family member. 

It was a no-words Monday

As some kids had their first brush with death

And many others brushed against it again,

Familiar with the feelings,

But still helpless against the flood of emotions

It was a no-words Monday

As staff members embraced

Remembering our last memories with our friend

Choking back tears

As we comforted those in our charge and they comforted us.

It was a no-words Monday

As we mourned together as a family

Overwhelmed by the impact of one person

The reach of a true role model

Into the lives of so many, young and old

As tears ran down our faces,

My mind came back to one thought over and over:

How much he would want us to smile, to dry our tears

To remember the good times and laugh---but today was hard.

It was a no-words Monday.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Slice of Life, March 26th--"Observations on the Last Day of Spring Break"

Tonight is our last night of Spring Break here, and I'm just noticing and recording some things that I see and feel tonight as I sit on the back deck and type.

--A dear friend died, and I am so sad. I'm reminded of how much one person can affect the lives of so many. He was a special man and many will grieve the loss of his life this week and beyond.

--It seems like Spring Break ushered in the green this week. Suddenly, the yard has bright patches and flowers are blooming.

--This week passed as quickly as all of them do, it seems. Sometimes I feel like life is speeding up. I know the last 8 weeks will be the same blur that 3rd quarter was.

--I'm not dreading going back to school tomorrow. Sure, I'd like to wake up to no alarm and sip coffee instead of gulp it, but I'm okay with it. This break was long enough to recharge, get some rest, and be ready to finish strong.

--My Golden Retriever, Yadi, is turning 3 this week. He is soooo much more grown up than he used to be, but then I catch him digging a whole in the yard (like 3 seconds ago) and am reminded how much of a puppy-at-heart he is!

--A storm is rolling in here in Missouri. It's nearly here and the thunder is in the distance. I love storms, but hate the damage they can bring this time of year. I'm hoping for a storm that brings good rain, but nothing else!

And those are my thoughts this Sunday night before the start of 4th quarter...wishing you well!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Slice of Life, March 25th--"A House of Kids!"

After a long travel day last night, I got in late and woke up early...for a good reason! The house was bustling with the sounds of my sister's kiddos, a 5 year old and 15 month old. Their voices and thumps through the house roused me out of my sleep-coma and reminded me that times like this are few and far between.

Even though a few more hours of sleep sounded good, spring break only comes once, and out of bed I jumped to spend a few hours with them today.

We played peek-a-boo, snuck up to (fake) surprise people, and just were silly. My arms are tired from carrying the little one around, even though it was a short amount of time. 

One of my favorite images is my dog, Yadi, laying under the high chair waiting for a little something to make it's way over! Sometimes, it's an accident, and sometimes Cal just throws over part of his meal to share with his best friend, "Yaya." 

They are all off back to their place, and the house is quiet tonight. I'll admit, as my eyes grow heavy, I'm okay with a relaxed evening, but they sure brightened the day!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Slice of Life, March 24th--"On the Road"

Endless road stretches ahead

Snacks gather close

Podcasts and sports radio competing

For the entertainment

As semi-trucks zoom by

Our small car moves purposefully


Towards home

And sleep

And a warm bed

On the road, yet again

**Written in the car, literally, knowing I won't be home in time to meet the midnight deadline!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Slice of Life, March 23rd-- "Oh, Podcasts, Where Have You Been My Whole Life?"

Today was another travel day for me, and I spent my time in the car with my dad. We have a hard time deciding on a common interest on the radio, so I introduced him to my new favorite thing: podcasts!

So, I know, 99.9% of you are thinking, "What rock has she been hiding under for the last 10 years?"

And I'll tell you.

It's called the un-updated phone rock. It's a dark place where podcasts cannot shine their bright, informative, and entertaining light. It's a rock that does not allow downloads at a speed that supports healthy stress levels. It's where I've been for a long time thinking to myself, "If one more person tells me to download another podcast, I'm going to drop their phone in my coffee and then ask if there is a podcast about fixing drowned phones."

Yes, my friends, it was a dark place.

But! I got a new phone! It downloads! It doesn't crash daily! It takes pictures you can see and be proud of and...wait for it...plays PODCASTS!

I am seriously in love.

I'm a fairly random person and now I can find someone to ramble on about whatever is flitting through my brain at any particular moment.

History? Check!
Devotions? Check!
Healthy Eating? Check!
Random unsolved crimes? Check!

Also, the best part of coming to the party late? There are like 6,452,890 episodes of every podcast already recorded, and I don't have to wait for anything new.

Wow. Game-changer. -wink-

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Slice of Life, March 22nd--"Just a Boy and His Dog"

My nephew, Cal, has a very special relationship with my dog, Yadi.

Cal is 15 months old, and Yadi is almost 3 years old. When Cal was born, Yadi was still mostly a rascal who could not be trusted around little people. His ultimate goal for the first 9 months of Cal's life was to get a chance to lick the baby's face. Turns out that was not the way to make friends with Cal, or to win popularity with his parents, either.

So, Yadi started using a new tactic about 6 months ago. When Cal was in town, Yadi followed him everywhere. And I mean everywhere. He didn't mess with him much; he just trailed him and laid beside him when he could. After a few month of this, Cal started to warm up to Yadi. He would reach out and pet him or walk over to him on his own.

Lately, just seeing a picture of Yadi causes Cal to scream, "YaYa!!" and break into the biggest grin you've every seen. He will sit and look at pictures or videos of "his" dog and talk to him like he's in the room.

It's precious. I can't wait to see what good friends they are as they both grow!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Slice of Life, March 21st--"A Night Out in Branson"

Tonight my family went out in Branson to take in an evening show. We have always come to Branson (2 hours from home) for as long as I can remember, but I can literally count on one hand the amount of times we've gone to a show. We are more of the Silver Dollar City season pass holders, pack your lunch, and (especially when we were little) camp type of Branson visitors. We came so much that we didn't do things fancy. Branson was our backyard growing up--a part of my childhood that will always be cherished.

This year, though, some tickets to an evening show called "The Haygoods" fell into our laps at ridiculously cheap prices, and so we found ourselves sitting in the balcony of a huge, packed theater ready to take the excitement.

I'll admit. I came into the whole experience with a healthy dose of skepticism. Normally, I'm a little bit of a snob when it comes to live music and theater; give me the symphony and Broadway and I'm happy. Anything else...I'm just not a fan.


Tonight I had to eat my words and take it all back.  My family was captivated by this show. The lights, the variety, the personalities...everything I thought I would hate, was totally and completely entertaining!

I took a few pictures of the kids loving every minute. Thankfully, we had the back row, because we had quite a dance party going in our row.

It was a fun night of making memories and laughing with the people I love the most!

The show getting started!

My niece,  loving every second

Me, bouncing the baby behind the seats

Popi and the baby enjoying!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Slice of Life, March 20--"A Travel and Catch-Up Day"

Today was a travel day for me. I drove to meet my family in Branson for a little Spring Break fun! I don't do very well with just driving because I get bored fast, so I spent my time on the phone (hands-free, of course!).

I normally do not enjoy phone calls. I prefer to text, or better yet, meet in person! But...when I'm driving, it is the best way to pass the time!

School (and life!) has been a little crazy lately, so I haven't caught up with my best friend, Heather, for ages. She lives in Ohio so we sometimes go years without seeing each other, but thankfully for phones, we've stayed close despite the distance.

From my recent adventures, to her family, to just sharing stories from our lives, we chit-chatted my way across Missouri, making the 2 hour trip feel like a blink. As I pulled into the restaurant to meet my family for lunch, we said our goodbyes. What a fabulous way to spend an afternoon and a drive!

Friends are a blessing!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Slice of Life, March 19th--"Spring Got the Memo!"

--happy sigh--

Spring is here.

Today, in my corner of Missouri it was beautiful. Like, the kind of beautiful that you dream of during cold, icy mornings in January beautiful. The weather could not have been more perfect.

I love this time of year (like most people!) because, of all the weather changes, I think spring is the most dramatic. The slow changes, followed by the all-of-a-sudden-ness is something that I look forward to all year.

One of the first arrivals are the daffodils, one of my favorite flowers, because of it's perfect timing. Just when you can't take a second more of winter--enter, the daffodils! Then, slowly, all the other pops of color start to dot my drive to work, as the rising sun casts an ideal light on the foliage. Last, the grass and trees follow suit, filling in the missing spots of color with vivid greens of all shades.

I feel like it is a show designed just for me each morning. The brightness, the simplicity, the sheer beauty captures my heart and makes me feel anything is possible.

Even the rain, the part that people find fault with, to me, is a gift. As my mom would say, "It's the rain that makes the flowers grow." Spring rain is welcome at my house.

Spring is here, friends....spring is here!!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Slice of Life, March 18th-- "A Spring Day in Snippits"

Sipping coffee


A few hours spent outside

And an unhurried nap

Spring has come on time

The warm sun

Covers the yard

My dogs play

Aware that today is different

Today is quiet



And lovely

Spring Break

Friday, March 17, 2017

Slice of Life, March 17th--"Dear Spring Break"

Dear Spring Break,

Listen, friend. I've played this game before. I know how this works and I know what's in store over the next week.

First, we have tonight and tomorrow...let's call it the euphoric stage. The 9 days stretch ahead of me, hours slowly passing as I ignore the clock for the first time in--well, let's be real-- for the first time in months. Tonight and tomorrow are all spring break was meant to be.

Then we start what I like to call the "unconscious countdown." I try to avoid it, but I can't. Sunday night I will inevitably think something along the lines of, "In one week, I will be..." And the end of that sentence will make me sad.

This will last until around Thursday when I will start the conscious countdown. 4 more days, 3 more days...and so on...until, well, you know...

So, I have a new plan this year. I'm going to toss the calendar, forget the day of the week, and focus on the moment. That may sound easy, but for a recovering "countdowner" it's going to provide just enough challenge to keep me sharp for when Monday does roll around.

Because the truth is, I don't dread Monday; I just create a scenario each year in which the "day we go back" is the enemy. I'm going to work on that.

So, if you could provide a few sunny days, a few super-productive days, a few amazingly fun days, I will try my hardest not to count your days.

I'm going to get back to my first Friday of Spring Break if you don't mind, dear break. Let's work together and make it the best ever.

Love, Katy

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Slice of Life, March 16th-- "St. Patrick's Day Fundraiser Fun"

I run the Service Club at school, so we planned a fundraiser to raise money for teacher appreciation week and to buy the students something special during state testing. All week we have been selling St. Patrick's Day themed messages that could be paired with the gift of a chocolate coin or a green rope bracelet.

My club kids went around to all the classrooms this week at the end of the day, armed with their product posters and Chromebooks to take orders on. They had a blast. I had a little less of a blast as I managed excited kids in all corners of the building. We made it through, though.

Today was the day I was dreading. We had to make the 229 messages, organize them by classroom, attach appropriate gifts, and do it all in under 45 minutes. When all the kids got there, I thought, "There is no way. I can't believe I got myself into this."

About 20 minutes into the make-shift leprechaun-elf gift making, I stood back and looked in amazement.

Everyone was working.
On task.
Without me.

It was beautiful.

They were so proud of themselves, too. I'm sure there are mistakes. I have run the spreadsheets so that I can have a few trusted kiddos proofread and go through all the messages tomorrow...just in case. But, all in all, it went better than I could have imagined. It was so much fun to watch them work with purpose and drive towards a common goal.

I can't wait for them to deliver the messages around the school tomorrow, and better yet, to figure out how to spend the money! Their pride will only be exceeded by my own.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 15th, 2017- "Enrollment Fears"

Today my 100 sixth graders learned more from the counselor about something exciting that is coming up in their lives! Seventh grade enrollment! I am so thrilled for them as they look with anticipation at the change, but my heart sympathizes with the looks of fear.

As the counselor passed out sample packets with classes, I could see their faces become serious. My normally chatty kids became silent as she began to talk. Slowly, hands went up around the room to ask questions. Some of the questions were "obvious" like, "Will we get lunch?" But even those questions revealed just how much their lives are being rocked right now.

Other questions revealed deep insecurities. Will I see my friends? What happens if I'm tardy? What if my teachers are mean?

Our reassuring and understanding answers did little to assuage the fears hidden behind their placid, sixth-grade masks. Even my brave, confident kids were wondering what was going to happen to them in a few short months.

Of course, I know the end of the story. They're going to be fine. They will love 7th grade and the junior high, and many of them will come back to tell me how wonderful it is.

But, right now, all I can do is tell them what I know to be true.

You'll be fine.
You are strong.
It will all work out.

And, in a few years, I know they'll come back, too, and tell me I was right.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 14th, 2017--"Doggie Bath!"

This afternoon I took my Golden Retriever, Yadi, to take a bath at the self-service dog wash down the street. He used to hate baths, but he is getting more and more used to the process at this new place. I started taking him to save money initially, because it's only $10 a bath--and the best part is that they provide everything and clean up! When you have a big, long-haired, shedding Golden the cleaning up part is super important!

Even though it used to be to save money, now we both love going to the dog wash. He really likes getting brushed and scrubbed down (except the ears--no ears!). He even likes getting dried with the big vacuum-looking dryer. He chills out so much that he ends up just relaxing against the side of the tub while I do all the work. I have to remind him to stand up so I can get him all rinsed off.

The absolute best part is how proud he is when we're done. It's like he knows he looks pretty and prances around the house like a king. It's adorable, and it's one of my favorite things to do with my dog!

Yadi--showing off!

Monday, March 13, 2017

March 13th, 2017--"The Voices of My Students"

There are so many things that I love about my job, but as a writing teacher, one of my absolute favorites has to be reading their writing.

Sixth graders can be guarded in person. They can also be unbelievably honest, open, and vivacious, but their smiles quickly fade when the pressures of life creep in in ways they've never experienced. It is in those moments that they write.

They write their dreams.
Their hopes.
Their loves.
Their fears.
Their joys.
Their sorrows.
Their lives.

When they write, they are free with their words and feelings, and I am afforded a rare glimpse inside their minds and hearts. It is a privilege.

I love that about my job and my life. Their writing speaks to me and to the world.

People say all the time that their students inspire them, but really...they do.

They lift my heart, remind me what's important, and, yes, inspire me to be better, stronger, fearless, and brave.

Their voices are unique and precious. It's my honor to teach them.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March 12th, 2017 - "The Last Week Before Spring Break"

Well, we're here! The last week before Spring Break! It feels long overdue and too soon all at the same time.

It literally feels like my group of kiddos just walked in the door of my room for the first time just a few months ago, when it reality, it was 7 months ago! How is it possible that another year has slipped through my fingers in the blink of an eye?

On the other hand, there seem to be days that stretch on for miles and hours that pass by so slowly I feel as though my life is in slow motion. But when you look back, it's a blur!

My mom taught for 33 years, and I remember her saying that the first 10 years feel like 10 actual years, but that after that, they all go so quickly you can hardly keep up. Maybe that is what I'm experiencing this year during my 11th year...the years are speeding up and I can't keep up!

In any case, it's March and we are so close to Spring Break, I can taste it. And that is not a bad thing no matter how you look at it!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March 11, 2017- "Embrace the Journey"

"Embrace the Journey"

I saw this quote today and it hit home for me. Oh how tiresome the "journey" can be at times! I am a cut and dry person. Give me the facts and let me make a decision. However, the journey isn't always that simple!

This quote reminds one to not just enjoy, but to embrace, to hold tight to, to appreciate the journey. 

This is especially hard for someone like me that just wants to get to the destination. I prefer to know where I'm going, the time table, and to have a map. I'm not sure that having all of those things allows you to truly embrace the journey.

Perhaps if you have your eyes fixed too firmly on the destination, you miss the beauty of the journey entirely? I certainly don't want to do that.

There is so much to be seen and embraced in life to miss it because I can't take my eyes off of the proverbial map! Embrace the journey. What a wonderful reminder! 

Friday, March 10, 2017

March 10th, 2017- "The Perfect Meal"

I ate out tonight. It has been awhile since I've eaten something cooked by someone else, and it was pure pleasure to tell someone what I wanted, sit, relax, and voila! Out it comes!

No veggies to chop!

No messy prep!

No dirty dishes!

No work! At all!

Yes, it cost more than if I'd made it at home, but tonight it was sooooooo worth it. I enjoyed every bite, chatted with friends, and caught up on the latest gossip...all over my meal made by another.

I remember a time in my life when I ate out a lot. After awhile menus looked the same, meals blended together, and it became "normal." There's nothing wrong with eating out, of course, but it is nice to have the opposite experience!

It was special night because it's rare. A simple night with simple pleasures.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Slice of Life, March 9th- "Observations from the Car"

I smell the hot coffee beside me
As the early morning sun streams through the window
Cars buzz by me
But I am serene

Stoplights blink
As commuters rush
Eating breakfast as they stop
Multi-tasking the day before it even starts

My car is quiet
But some of the backseats I see
Are filled with the questions of young ones
Excited to begin life on Thursday

I observe
As they all file by me
On their way to start today

I enjoy these moments
These unobscured glimpses into the lives of others
Views into their every day that reveal so much
If you take time to notice

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March 8th, 2017-- "A Check-in for Year 3"

A few years ago I tried this format from someone else on whim, and now it's become a Slicing tradition for me. I check-in with myself to see what's the same and what has changed in my life from year to year. You can see my post from two years ago here and from last year here. Enjoy!

I am a teacher, a daughter, and an aunt to the cutest nephew and niece ever.

I keep everything. I am a pack-rat and have real issues with throwing things away. If you ask me when I'll use "it" in the future as a way to help me "let go", I will come up with a good reason and probably convince you to let me keep it.

I wish I could have the power to make things different for some people. Why some humans get so much pain and hurt in their lives is a mystery to me...especially children. 

I love my Golden Retriever, Yadi. He's sleeping beside me as I write, and his presence is comforting. 

I sing in the car. Everyday. Really loud. On the way to work and on the way home. It's not a pretty scene.

I think that people should just be kind. Cliche? Maybe. But really. Can't everyone just do that? Pretty, please?

I really love to teach. My job is the best in the world, and I just can't imagine waking up and doing anything different. 

I need to clean out my closet. Badly. It's a sorry mix of winter and spring clothes, all of which are badly hung and sometimes not hung at all. Spring Break project, anyone? 

I should sell some of my books. I have crates and stacks and bookshelves full, but every time I think of selling doesn't happen.

I can find the positive in just about anything. I got that from my mom. It can be annoying sometimes, even to me, but it's been something that has come in handy during some difficult times in life.

I like to travel. I went to Iceland this summer with one week's notice. It was fabulous to go somewhere I'd never been and see things I never imagined I'd see on a whim.

I make really slow decisions (which is why Iceland was a big deal for me!). I like to think things through and really weigh the pros and cons.

I always try to believe the best about people. We all make mistakes. Let's move forward!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 7th, 2017-- "One Little Word"

I've seen a lot of posts (mostly around January) about people choosing their "one little word" to focus on for the year. I decided to make my Slice of Life today about my word. To start, I read more about the project here. Then, after browsing their ideas, I chose...


According to dictionary. com, nurture has many different definitions:

verb (used with object)nurtured, nurturing.
to feed and protect:
to nurture one's offspring.
to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster:
to nurture promising musicians.
to bring up; train; educate.
rearing, upbringing, training, education, or the like.
the nurture of young artists.
something that nourishes; nourishment; food.

I chose this word because I think I am pretty good at "maintaining"--but nurture implies growth. I am also very adept at taking on more projects and spreading myself too thin in the process. I have so many things in my life that I think, with a little nurturing, would be able to take off and be successful. 

This word also applies so perfectly to the teaching profession. Nurturing is a natural part of my day, but when things get crazy (as the end of the year can get...), nurturing can take a back seat and opportunities are missed.

This word challenges me to focus on the areas and relationships in my life that need growth. It doesn't require me to take on more, but rather to focus on what I have going that is already worth my time. 

It is a word that challenges, but doesn't overwhelm me. 

It's the perfect word to remind me what is really important and to keep my eyes on those things.

Nurture my goals; nurture the kids in my life; nurture my relationships; nurture what's important.


I think it's going to be a good year.

Monday, March 6, 2017

March 6th, 2017-- "A Redo Poem"

I need a redo today.

Nothing quite went right.

I'm not sure where things got off track.

Or why.

But they did.

And I'm so very tired.

Can I have a redo?

Or better yet,

Maybe a good night's sleep.

And then,

A new day.


The hope of tomorrow will be good enough for now.

Brand new

Clean slate



Sunday, March 5, 2017

March 5th, 2017- "The Chuck-It: A Doggy Mom Lifesaver

I bought my dog, Yadi, a wonderful little contraption this last week. For about $6, this was delivered in the mail on Thursday in a long, skinny box.

It is...a  Chuck-It!

This toy is essentially a long plastic arm with a claw-like end that holds a tennis ball and allows you to throw it faster and farther than ever before. My dog is in love. I have been known in my family as someone that "throws like a girl"-- not a compliment in an athletic family of fast and accurate throwers. My poor golden retriever has clearly suffered. Until now.

I keep it on the refrigerator and sometimes he just sits in front of it and stares longingly at the beloved toy. When I do get it out, he dances around frantically at my feet and herds me out the door.

This lovely toy leaves my sweet, energetic puppy panting and lounging happily after half the time it used to take to wear him out. He's happy and I'm even happier.

Oh, Chuck-It, where have you been my whole life?

Yadi, the Chuck-It loving dog 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

March 4, 2017--"Hunting and Gathering"

I have a love/hate relationship with shopping.

I was never the teenager that begged my parents to let me go "hang out" at the mall. Actually, I still avoid it if I can. I'm just not into the "process" of finding clothes I like. I can kill some serious time at a bookstore, or, Lord help us, a teacher supply store, but shopping for clothes? Not so much.

I consider my shopping process to be more the "hunter and gatherer" approach. I know exactly what I want.

I go to the store.
I hunt it.
I gather it.
I try it on.
I pay.
I leave.
As fast as possible.

I avoid eye contact with the sales associates. I keep my head down. I get my business done and I get out.

You would think that would save me money, right? I wish. Excluding people with serious shopping addictions, I probably end up spending just as much as the next person, but I only enjoy it when it's all over.

Today I needed 2 or 3 specific items. My sister (bless her) volunteered to go with me to the mall. We found what I needed at each store I went to, paid, and left. And mostly got sale prices!

The drive home was wonderful...the shopping was done, the items were in hand, and I was happy. Shopping success!

~happy sigh~

Friday, March 3, 2017

March 3rd, 2017- "My Sister is Coming!"

I'm about to leave school, and all I can think is, "My sister is coming!" It's a family weekend, and they're coming to visit.

My niece, my nephew, and my brother-in-law are all coming too, but the highlight for me...


Sometimes I think back to all the times I avoided her growing up, teased her, and did all the things that sisters do which they inevitably regret in 20 years. Now, if we could live next door for the rest of our lives, I would willing do it.

Funny how things change, right?

Sister bonds.

Nothing beats it!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March 2nd, 2017- "A Dandelion Moment"

It was one of those days.

The rough, exhausting, never-ending race sort of days that teachers know all too well.

As I sit at my desk at 4:00 and reflect on the moments I experienced in this whirlwind of a Thursday, what comes to mind is a dandelion.

On the way in from recess, one of my students reached up and said, "I picked this for you. It's a dandelion." He grinned proudly and walked away to lunch.

It was a kind moment...colored in yellow, sweet-smelling, a bright spot in a day that needed one.

It was a peek ahead to spring, and a glimpse into the mind of a 6th grader who cared enough to pick me a flower today.

A lovely dandelion moment.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March 1st, 2017- "A Slicing Kind of Day"

This month I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge put on by the Two Writing Teachers. I am challenging myself to write for 31 days in a row about my life--the events, the beauty, the struggles, and the inspirations. My students and many of my colleagues are joining me, and I hope you will, too!

It was the last thought I had last night.

The first one this morning.

I even think I dreamed about it.

It's March and today is a slicing day! For the 4th year, I will be Slicing along with my students, my colleagues, and the bigger writing community at the Two Writing Teachers.  

Every year the challenge at my school has grown and with that growth, the excitement. At the beginning of Year 1, I was full of doubts. Would I be able to fulfill my commitment? Would I let myself down? But most of all, would I let the students that I convinced to join me down? Would the Slice of Life be a huge flop in my classes?

Of course, if I'm back for year 4, it's obvious it didn't flop! 

Instead, a writing community was born. Small at first, but growing every year to include about half of our school and faculty. Community pulls at people, compels them to come and to join.

So, dear Slice of Life community, I am so very glad to be back. I feel my heart and my fingers tingle with excitement as I type, as I write words that I know will be read by others who feel the same. Writing has a way of unleashing my soul with a freedom that makes me wonder why I ever let a day go by without it. 

Thirty-one days are ahead. Thirty-one days of writing. Thirty-one days of community. Thirty-one days of looking at the world through the lens of a writer, inspecting it for details that go by unnoticed for 11 months of the year. Thirty-one days of slicing.

Today is slicing kind of day. And I'm so glad.