family · life

One crazy week

The weekend is here. This past week was CRAZY around here. It was my first full week of teaching. My class this year has 13 children. Let me tell you compared to the crew I had last year, who I enjoyed, this years crew is a lot calmer and excited to work. I do believe part of this is a numbers game. The more students you have, the more they feel they need to do to get your attention. This means children who struggle with self control are doing a lot more attention seeking actions. Children who are struggling with picking up on the academic skills need more help because they are distracted during the learning because they feel they are a step behind. I’m excited to see what fun things I can do with my students this year.

On the home front, Richard was traveling this past week. He left for San Francisco on Sunday. His flight was delayed twice. He returned yesterday and we were all happy to have him back home.

Blake’s school had a bomb threat on Monday. Some kid wrote the threat on the bathroom wall. They had to be evacuated to the HS, which is on the same campus. They were back in the building and learning in about an hour. Then on Wednesday there was a cyber threat made on the whole campus and they closed both the middle school and the high school for the day. Blake was furious at this disruption and was especially upset that this threat was made on 9/11. He saw this as disrespectful to those who lost their lives on that day. I love how much he loves school and the country. I love that he sees that this type of behavior is stupid and understands that most of it is attention seeking.

Both the boys had dentist appointments on Wednesday and I had one on Thursday.

Thursday afternoon I got a text from my neighbor telling me that Dixie had caught a groundhog in our backyard. Dumb groundhog! The dog is out on a run in the backyard and is out all the time. I don’t know why it got so close to her as they usually scurry away. But, this meant that I had to deal with the groundhog. Ugh.

Oh well… Richard is back home now. Today we are having a quiet morning and then we will watch the UCF football game and have pulled pork nachos for dinner. I need to go get out my crockpot and start the pulled pork.

I hope you had a great week and Friday the 13th with a full moon didn’t disturb your life too much.

blog hop · life

Back to School Blog Hop- Day 6

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!Image may contain: text

Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

Make New Friends

I think this is one of those topics that I’m not even close to an expert.  I grew up in a small town and went to school with a lot of the same kids for years and years. I didn’t make a lot of friends in that group of kids. My junior year at school I changed schools. I was able to make friends. This was a small all girls school.

When I went to college, I also went to a small college. I found that I did a lot better when I’m a big fish in a little pond.

What I find with me is I have a hard time making friends, but I’m a good friend to those who do befriend me. I am still in contact with some of the people at the second hs as well as from college.

I tend to be a good co-worker, but that doesn’t mean I’m really friends with them. I have neighbors and acquaintances, but I’m not sure I have friends here.

This dynamic is very different from my parents and my brother. They have friends and make friends easily. Colby has a lot of friends too.

I guess there is something about some people that make people drawn to them, and that isn’t a part of who I am… and in a lot of ways I’m ok with that now. When I was younger I didn’t understand it. Every child wants to have friends. They want to be liked and have others want to be around them. But, then I think there comes a phase when you realize that you don’t need a ton of friends. You need  few good ones. I’m just glad that I’m married to my best one.

blog hop · life

Back to school blog hop- day 5

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!Image may contain: text

Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

You can go back and read my posts here, here, here, here AND here. Also go check out AJ at A Petite Slice of Life and Alley Bean at Spectacle Bean to see their posts on my blog hop. Are you ready to join in the fun? Please join in and post on my blog hop topics… it’s fun to go on a trip down memory lane… or talk about your children starting school…. or even you teaching or going to college now!

Onto today’s topic….

A New Box of Crayons

There is something special about opening up a new box of crayons. Everyone has it’s perfect tip. No one has used them yet… I get to be the first to imagine with these perfect beauties.

That being said, I’m going to make a statement that will shock many of you… I don’t like to color. I loved to color as a child. I had all kinds of art supplies and would color all the time. But, when I was in college we had to do all these creative coloring projects to present for my education classes and after that I never wanted to color….ever… again! So, I don’t.

When my children were little we used crayons more to draw than to color. I almost never put out coloring pages in school. I’d rather people use their imagination and be more creative than coloring in the lines. I present things to create and provide multi-media in my classrooms.

So while each year I open up brand new boxes of crayons for my classes, you will not see me coloring with them. (this also means I don’t get the whole adult coloring book thing, but that’s just me!)

So what do you think of with a brand new box of crayons? Did you always want a bigger box? Did you like to color… do you now? Can you explain the coloring books for adults?

Education · family · life · through my camera lens

First day of school

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Yesterday was a tough day for the boys. They are not ready to start school. They asked me if I felt like summer went fast or slow. My answer? I said I felt like it’s been forever since the end of the year, but it seems like the start of school came too fast. This is very true. I can’t believe the school year is here. We had a great summer. Our vacations were good, but more important than that, the boys had fun. They were always off on their bikes going and doing things with friends.

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This is the first time the boys will be in different schools since Blake was in kindergarten and Colby was in preK. Colby asked to set his alarm early enough to say good-bye to Blake.

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This morning they were both in good spirits and found their independence and were ready to go. Richard drove Blake to the bus on his way to work, Colby set off walking to the bus. Dixie wasn’t sure what to think about everyone leaving. I wonder what she will think on Monday when I have to go to work too?

So here are my thoughts: I wish for them both a year of learning, growth and discovery. I hope they find their voice, confidence and sense of self. I hope they remember they are loved, they have a space and a purpose, and that the world is theirs to grab. I hope they are kind and understanding and yet strong and independent.



Education · family · life

School visits

The last two days found me driving around from school to school. Yesterday we went to the middle school. We spent time walking Blake’s schedule, practicing locker combinations and just getting accumulated to the new school.

Today we went to check out Colby’s class. He already knew where it was and it is actually the same teachers Blake had last year. I really wanted to go so we could get his supply list.

While we were there, Colby discovered a few people who would be in his class this year. He has other friends in his biome (collection of 4 classes who travel together for lunch and recess). We stopped in and chatted with the librarian. The library is always a place my sons love to hang out.

Blake saw a few other 7th graders and found out that he knows a few people who will be in his class as well. This was a big relief to him. Up until that time he hadn’t found anyone who was working on the same rotation schedule never mind the same classes.

Over the years, I only had a few moments where I was concerned about the boys starting school. I was NOT the mom crying while dropping off for pre-K or kindergarten. All the grades moving forward while in FL were fine. I had moments of concern more in wondering who would be in their class and would there be someone there for each of them.

When we moved to PA, I was concerned about Blake going into 5th grade. Colby was entering 4th, which is the major transition age in our school district. There are three elementary schools that service children K-3. Then they all transition to the upper elementary school for 4th-6th. This meant that while some children would know each other, there would already be a mixing of students from different schools. Blake was entering when the mix up was already complete.

This year, Blake is entering middle school. I hope that he has a better middle school experience than I had, or Richard for that matter. These years are so tough. It is such a personal transition for all the kids. I just want him to feel comfortable in his place. To find an activity to get involved in. To have people to sit with at lunch. To feel safe in the hallways. To be confident enough to show what he knows and not too cocky that he tries to outshine. I hope he continues to have a love of learning and begins to figure out what he wants to do with this knowledge going forward.

So we went back to the middle school today and practice opening his locker again. We went under the premise of bringing in his school supplies, well his binders anyway. We will spend the first part of the week adjusting to the new sleep schedules (he will have to wake up at 5:45 to be ready for the bus).

A week from today. I will send him off on the bus to start middle school… I just hope I’m ready.

blog hop · life

blank screen

I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to write. I could write about the boys getting their schedules/teachers, but why? I could write about the bread I’m making to go with dinner tonight. I could write about the fact that today is a do nothing but rest and read kind of day here. But, none of these sound like worthwhile topics.

It’s funny, there are times when I have a lot to write. Richard has often said to me “that sounds like your next blog post” when I make a comment or we are doing something. Then other times I sit here and stare at the screen and wonder, what would my readers like to read about?

I often feel like my day to day life is not exciting enough to garner daily posts about what I do or do not do on a regular basis. Typically we have other things going on that are blog worthy, but then there are times like now where it’s just status quo here.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished today:

  • worked out
  • got the mail/mailed off my class’ postcards
  • showered (of course!)
  • vacuumed the main floor and upstairs
  • fought with the website to the boys’ school district to get their class info
  • read blog posts
  • read my book
  • had lunch
  • started the bread dough for the rolls I’m making
  • chatted with Colby about the bird book he got from the library and the birds in our backyard
  • sat and stared at my computer to figure out what to type….

While this is a lot of bullets, I have been up since 5:30am and spent most of that time reading. Now I’m not complaining as spending time reading is a summer perk, but still it doesn’t make for a great blog post. Anyway…

Something that I’ve been toying with in my brain is doing some type of back to school blog hop. I was originally thinking doing something with the letters of the alphabet, but that is a LONG blog hop as there are 26 of them. Now I’m thinking something based on school items. A weekly/twice weekly topic that people could write about, photograph, or post however they wished. Anyone think they’d be interested in something like this? I would start it in Sept. Just curious to see if anyone would play along or not.

family · life

What to say, how do you cope

It saddens me, that yet again I’ve had to talk to my sons about the crazy injustice of mass shootings. I’ve spoken about this multiple times here on my blog (here, here  here and here).

Yesterday, the boys were listening to The Daily, a podcast they listen to all the time. On the podcast, they were talking about the latest two mass shootings. It saddens me how many times we have had to talk about this in their short lives. No person should grow up knowing/feeling that there is a good possibility that they could be part of a mass shooting. While we know logically that this possibility is slim, it exists.


That is the question that doesn’t have a good answer. Why do they do this? Why can’t we stop this? Why does this continue to happen? What can we do about it?

I often have people ask me about schools and what schools are doing. More importantly what can they do to help their child while at school.

Here are a few things my sons and I talk about whenever these conversations come up.

  • Don’t live in fear
  • Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of your environment
  • Stay calm
  • Listen

One situation that I often tell parents to talk to their child about is what do you do if you are not in a classroom during a lock down. Often times parents get upset when they hear that teachers will not open the door of the classroom if they hear a child knock on it. But, I ask you this… how do you know it is a child? We are trained to protect our students. Hide the students. If we open the door, we aren’t hiding or protecting the students inside the room. Yes, it could be a child outside the door, or it could be the threat. So, what should a child do?

First, as soon as you hear there is a lock down, head to a classroom… the teachers are told to check the hallways while locking down and bring any child into the room with them.

Next, look around, where can you hide? Trash can? Closet? Stairwell? Go to rooms with multiple doors, they take longer to lock down. Can you get outside? If you can, do not leave campus, but get away and hide. Hide under a car, in a storage shed, in the bushes far away from the building.

What can we do for our children…. listen to them. Be honest. Let them know your concerns. Do not shelter them… truth from you is better than misinformation from a peer. Answer their questions.

We have many conversations about this sadness. We have talk about the fact that it is isolated even thought it feels like such a big issue. We do not place blame.

As a parent, it is hard. But, if we give into this fear, they win. If we change our daily lives, they win. If we place blame, we do not deal with the reality of life. So we hug our children a bit harder. We listen a bit more. We continue to be open and honest. We hope, we pray, and we go on with life…. then we win.



family · food · life

July 31st

Can you believe that today is the last day of July? This has been such a fun and busy month for our family. In some ways it feels like the end of the school year was months ad months and months ago, but at the same time I can’t believe that the school year starts again soon.

The boys start school the 22nd of August, I don’t start until after Labor Day. I have yet to do any school supply shopping. We did go through the boys clothes and decided they only needs a few new t-shirts and they were good. We picked up a few on our vacation so we might be good to go on clothes. I don’t want to deal with jean/pants and/or long sleeve shirts at this time. I’d rather wait until we get closer to the cooler weather. I hate buying clothes and then they have a growth spurt and things don’t fit.

I had all these plans for things I was going to do to get ready for my school year, but I’ve not done any of them. I wanted to go through the state standards and figure out when I was going to teach which standard. I wanted to revamp all my themes and then resort my book boxes… yeah that didn’t happen either.

I did complete some professional development courses. I guess that counts for something?

I went to the store today, so I’ll share with you our menu plan for this week:

  • Wed: sous vide chicken fajitas
  • Thur: Fend for yourself- biking
  • Fri: out and Costco
  • Sat:- steak and sweet potato hash
  • Sun: BBQ chicken
  • Mon: FFY
  • Tues: Alton Brown’s Chicken parm meatballs and weeknight spaghetti (Blake is cooking)

I also bought Grands cinnamon rolls. I want to try making them in our pie irons. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the apple pies we made in the pie irons on Saturday night. We love our fire pit and are enjoying spending time hanging around around the fire on the weekends.



family · life · through my camera lens

15 years

15 years ago today I was walking through the Florida Mall. Yep I know this for a fact…. why you ask? 15 years ago today I married my best friend. It was fun to go through my F/B photos to find some pictures of the two of us together. There aren’t many actually, but that’s ok. There were so many memories to see… In our fifteen years we have lived in 3 houses in two different states. We both have changed jobs too many times to count/list. We have stood side by side to cope with loss and joy. We both see that we bring out the best in each other. We make each other laugh, think, grow and smile.

I’m excited to see what the future hold, but one thing I know for certain… we will be together for the adventure and it won’t be dull!

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blog hop · life

Question for you…

The other day, I responded to a question that Abbey from Three Cats and a Girl posted on her blog. She asked for you to tell 5 honest things about yourself. You can read my response here.

On Facebook, I belong to a group of moms of tweens and teens. On there the other day, they asked a question which I felt would be fun to post here for you my readers. So, play along… answer in my comments or on your own blog, your choice.

If you could go back in time, what is something that you would tell your teen self?

This was my reply on F/B:

–even when you feel like this is the worst moment of your life, you are strong enough to push through and you will come out on the other side stronger.
–the only person who can define who you are as a person is you
–you can’t change other people, you can only change yourself

There are so many other things that I could have said to this statement. There are so many things that I have learned from the time I was a teen until now. But, at the same time… the mistakes I made, the errors in judgement, the failures as well as the success, right decisions, and times I stepped up and did the right thing…. ALL define the person I am now.

I went through a lot in those growing years and much of it has helped me to be more understanding and accepting of others. It has helped me with my sons and seeing that failure is needed. That you need to learn to brush yourself up and get up again. That you can change how you deal with life and how you deal with others, but you can’t expect them to change and you can’t change them.

So what would I say to myself… all that I wrote above as well as… take chances. make mistakes. get up. try again. and again. and again… change yourself until you think you’ve found the best version of you … and then realize that you will need to change again and that’s ok.