life · present not perfect

January 23rd- which color?

UGH. Some days life feels crazier than others. Our home life is very busy right now as we have  a lot going the next few weeks.

I decided that today would be a good day to do another Present not Perfect activity. So here is the one I picked today.

Look at the paint colors below and choose the one that defines your mood today. (this is not the pic from the book, but same concept)

Image result for color squares images


Pick your color and notice how you feel when you look at it. Accept whatever mood you are in, but give it a name.

Today was a variety of color day. I woke up and it was an ok kind of day. I’d say it was a green kind of day. Sort of mellow and ok to move forward.

When I got to work and started my day it was either rose pink or lavender kind of day. Things were either really good or kind of deceitfully crazy. The children are enjoying learning about penguins, but their behavior was a bit off the wall too.

After work, it was more of a red mood kind of thing. Almost every teacher was in my room because our boss sent home paperwork talking about next year, but made changes and didn’t tell any of the teacher… oh and we had a staff meeting yesterday. Everyone was fuming!

Headed to the grocery store and now I’m home… life is sort of aqua, almost back to mellow, but not quite there yet.

So what color was/is your day? Does one moment of your day affect the rest of your day? Do you have the same moods at work and at home? I hope that my day ends up sunshine yellow, but I’ll be ok to go back to mellow green.

life · present not perfect

January 22nd- mantra

This week in class we are learning about penguins. When I was in high school I dislocated my knee and wore an immobilizer for three months. During that time my nickname became penguin. While the nickname didn’t stick after the immobilizer was removed, my love of penguins was born.

When I was in college I actually had a pretty decent collection of penguins in my dorm room. My favorite hockey team was/is the Pittsburgh Penguins. There was just something about this flightless bird that endures the coldest lands around. They all look a bit different, but also the same. There are so many cool facts to learn and I’m having fun teaching my students about them and even learning some new facts myself.

Over the weekend I got a new watch. This is hybrid watch. It looks and functions like an analog watch, but also keeps track of steps and sleep cycles. I can set it to vibrate and move the hands to notify me if certain people contact me via text or phone call as well as set alarms. I have found myself watching my steps, being aware of my sleep habits and much more.

Ok what does this have to do with today’s post… the info about school… nothing. I just wanted to share that. But the watch does.

Today’s activity:

Take a minute to choose your own spirit-rousing mantra. Need help? Think of the words you wish someone would say to you each and every day.

Here are a few suggestions they provide:

  • I’ve got this
  • I am the sky. Everything else is the weather
  • I am invincible
  • Perfection is overrated

Now think of your own mantra. Post it somewhere you can read it every day.

My first thought when I read this was: Image result for one step at a time

One of my favorite MLK quotes:

Image result for take the first step

I think I often need a reminder that you don’t have to get to the finish line each time… but you have to start. You need to figure out what the next step is, not every step.

Some things I need to remember more:

Image result for mom of teen boys

Image result for everything is a choice








What is your mantra? What is something you need to think of but don’t right now? Do you think focusing on a mantra would help?

One last quote to share… my favorite line from a poem

Image result for two roads diverged in a yellow wood

book · food · life · present not perfect · through my camera lens

January 14- sensory rich foods

No photo description available.

Good morning (or afternoon or evening depending on when you are reading this). Yesterday I began writing my blog post in the morning and it seemed to make life a bit less crazy in the afternoon, so I’m jumping onto this again this morning. (I posted that photo on I/G this morning, do you follow me on there? @lorif_my_life)

Today’s topic in Present not perfect is sensory foods. I guess the fact that I’m typing this while drinking coffee makes sense. But, let me tell you a bit of a back story. I didn’t drink coffee for a long time. I drank it a bit when I was in grad school and right after, but then stopped. I gave up all caffeine for a long time and only used it to help with migraines. When we moved up to PA I needed something to drink that was warm. I tried hot chocolate and herbal/flavored tea, both of which I like it didn’t do it for me on a regular basis. I already had a Keurig for visitors, so I decided on a whim to pick up some flavored coffee and creamer and now I drink 1-2 cups a day. OH well… I know I was better off without the coffee, but now it is part of my morning and afternoon routines, well at least during the cold months.

What are your favorite sensory rich foods? Use them to help you push pause in a crazy day.

Circle (underline) your favorites from the list and then add some of your ownImage may contain: dessert and food

  • hard candy
  • breath mint
  • chocolate
  • hot tea

For me, many of my sensory rich foods aren’t instant things: fresh baked cookies, pizza hot out of the oven, and homemade soups/stews. These are things that make my mouth water. The smells, the textures, the tastes… it hits more than just taste.

For the I need it now sensory foods-

chocolate! (but it has to be good chocolate not a Hershey bar, but something on the line of ghiradelli dark chocolate or a Lindt truffle)

coke– the flavor, the fizz, the caffeine

Image may contain: foodcoffee- I’ve always loved the scent, now with a bit of flavoring I like the taste too

peppermint- true peppermint is the best. I love these soft peppermints, but eat way too many of them. The container is almost gone, this is a good thing!

What are your favorite sensory rich foods? Do you gravitate towards them when times are stressful?



life · present not perfect · through my camera lens

January 13th- quiet your mind

Ok, yep I might seem like I’m slacking on posting lately, but I’m being present because I’m not perfect. I would rather not post then post out of the feeling of have to or need to.

Image may contain: people sitting, screen, table and indoorThe end of January is parent/teacher conferences for me. I have a 50 topic form that I need to complete on each child on top of assessing letters, sounds, numbers, shapes, color and more. While most of it can be done just from knowledge of the children I to take my time and reflect on each child while filling them out. This has taken time both after school and on the weekends on top of the actual assessment time during the school day. Also, I try to complete my work before the boys get home and/or while they are doing homework. So, blogging took a backseat.

Today I decided to look at the book in my 30 minutes of alone time before work. My mornings look like this:

  • 5:30- Blake gets up- showers, dresses etc…
  • 5:50- Richard gets up- showers, dresses etc…
  • 6:05- I get up- brush my teeth, toss on a sweatshirt and check on the boys and head downstairs to keep the wheels moving
  • 6:10- Colby gets up- – showers, dresses etc…
  • 6:15- Blake should be heading downstairs for breakfast, packing etc.
  • 6:35- Colby heads downstairs
  • 6:40 -Richard come downstairs
  • 6:45- Richard and Blake leave
  • 6:46-I take my shower and get ready
  • 7:25- Colby leaves for the bus
  • 8:00 I leave for work.

Normally I eat breakfast after Colby leaves. Today I ate breakfast before he left leaving me a bit of time to get on here.

Today’s activity:

Close your eyes and try to quiet your mind for one full minute, imagine the static of your thoughts getting quieter and quieter

What thoughts did you have a hard time quieting?

Even though I just rambled off about work and my morning schedule, when I closed my eyes and was just still I stopped all the noise. I could hear the white noises around me, but I didn’t distract my thoughts.

I figured I’d be thinking about work and what I need to do to get ready for today. Monday mornings tend to be busy because I need to set up for the week. But, I was able to shut out work.

I figured I’d be thinking of dinner, the boys, Richard and all of our normal day to day life stress. But, I didn’t.

I was able to shut it out. Shut it down. Put it aside for a minute. I guess that means that none of those stresses are that stressful. That nothing is that important that I can’t put it aside. And that, my friend, is what I wanted to learn how to do. To realize that even the things that feel stressful at the time, aren’t… or don’t have to be. That life isn’t about moving from one stressor  to the next… it’s moving from one moment, one experience, one day, one whatever to the next and living! It is living in the here and now.

So, I’m going to head off to work and plug through more assessments. Then come home and plow through my life here… and realize it’s all good (even when it doesn’t feel that way)





life · present not perfect

January 7th- perfectly imperfect

Today I went out to lunch with some of my co-workers. It was a nice change of pace. But, this meant I missed out on my quiet time. I actually got home after Blake.

I didn’t want to skip taking the time to reflect on my life/day and work through Present Not Perfect. So, I opted to skip ahead in the book a bit and came across this page:

Circle (or in my case underline) your favorite items from this list of beautifully imperfect things:

  • A wrinkled note from an old friend
  • An awkward first kiss
  • Sea glass
  • A child’s drawing
  • A worn but well-loved book
  • An un-posed family portrait

Add more beautifully imperfect things to the list. Here are some of mine…

  • auto corrected texts that make you smile/laugh
  • listening to a young child struggle to read
  • a broken cookie
  • ice that gets stuck in the middle of the glass
  • my life… it is the best perfectly imperfect thing

What beautifully imperfect things make you smile?





life · present not perfect

January 6th – 3 up 3 down

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekends. I have decided that I will not be blogging on the weekends. I will check in on other blogs if I have time, but I’m not going to make time for my own blog.

I did spend part of my weekend thinking more about the concept of feeling the need to be perfect. But, I’m not going to get into that again today, as I rambled about it enough last week.

Today we are going to participate in one of the activities from the book. I encourage you to do these too. You can do them on your blog if you want, or else just grab a piece of paper and do it there… there is no right way!

So today’s activity: Write down three things that bring you joy (use brightly colored pens, or in my case font). Then write down three things that have been bothering you (write in pencil) erase (or in my case strike through) any items you have no control over.

Three things that bring me joy: Well I could go easy and just write Blake, Colby, and Richard, but you know that so I’m going to take this a different route.

Three things that bring me joy: hearing positive comments, baking/cooking new things, watching the ah-ha moments of life

Three things that have been bothering me: not knowing how to solve/fix/limit the dramas of life (parenting tweens/teens is tough!), work frustrations and accountability, others complaining about things at work/home/in life/wherever 

We need to realize that we control the joys and frustrations of life. We can’t control others. But, we can control how we act and react to our environment. I believe that we need to focus on the good and push the good onto others. Just as when you smile, others will smile back, when we bring others joy, they will mirror joy back.

Find three things that bring you joy. What about those things that frustrate you? Can you control them? Or do you just need to control how you react to them… what control you give to them.

life · present not perfect

January 3rd

Yesterday I found myself listening to life after writing my blog post. I was sitting in the morning room after dinner and just took time to listen.

I could close my eyes and know what everyone was doing. Dixie was eating dinner because I could hear the metallic ting of her tags on her bowl. Blake and Colby were packing their lunches as I heard the fridge and pantry open and close multiple times as well as the banter back and forth of them being in the same space. Richard was finishing up his dinner and then washed the skillet I used to make dinner.

When life is routine you find yourself going through the motions and it was nice to stop and focus on something in the moment, even if it was just the noises of life.

This is today’s quote from the book.

Image result for you were born to be real not perfect"

I will do the activity today another day. I wanted to talk about this quote a bit today. Over the years I have had people tell me that I think I’m perfect or that I believe everyone has to be perfect or other ideas based on this topic. BUT… all these are far from true.

I do not believe myself to be perfect. I believe that I am very flawed, and in some ways I probably see more of my flaws than I should. While this is true, I will not always show my flaws to others. I only try to show the best parts of me. The parts that show what I can do, and not what I can not do.

I always tell my sons “Be the best me that you can be.” I tell them they do not have to strive to be perfect, but they can not be less than their best. Maybe this in itself shows to others as perfect as you are showing the best you are able to do? I began saying this to my sons to prevent them from giving up due to lack of not being perfect. Over the years of teaching, I have seen many children who either give less than what they are capable of doing or give up totally because they can not achieve a perceived level of expectation. I feel that because of this people have often lowered the bar of the expectation in order for more people to reach the bar. But, is lowering the expectation helping or is it just giving others a false sense of achievement?

Getting straight A’s, all 100s or perfect scores in other ways does not show mastery. Just as being the first to finish, the fastest to cross the line or getting the most points does not show that you are the best at doing something. Sometimes being the best means doing it better than you did the last time, and continuing to improve. Sometimes it means practicing until you can do it over and over without thinking about it.

But, is there such a thing as being perfect? Doesn’t that mean there is no where to go but down? No way to improve? No way to go forward in whatever you are doing?

So, no I am not perfect and I don’t want to be.


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.

blog hop · life

5 things about me

Every year for my sons’ birthdays I post things that you may or may not know about them. I try to keep it real, but also respect them as people.

I know that I post a lot about our lives and what’s going on in my mind, but how often do I actually talk about myself? What makes me tick. What I like about myself? Ummm never, that is just not something that I do. I tend to be very modest and I like to be the hidden narrator of life behind the camera and keyboard.

I know that like most people, I find it easy to point out the things that I need/want to change. I can talk about how I want to lose weight. How I like to eat and know that isn’t the best thing to lose weight. I can talk about the things I bake/cook, the books I read and even the things I purchase. I can even talk about the difficulties of being a parent, but can I strip it away and talk about what I like about me?

Well, Abbey at Three Cats and a Girl, put this out as a challenge on her blog “List 5 things that you love about yourself. (appearances, personality, achievements)”. Instead of answering it on her blog, I am putting it out there for my own readers to read… so here we go!

I’m going to try to do 5 different areas of me… (not in any specific order)

-I love that I’m a child advocate. Over the years I’ve honed my craft as a teacher. I am always learning and changing, but I will always back my students. Over the years, administration have learned that when I felt a child in my class needed something I won’t back down. I realize that I can’t make standardized testing or things like that go away, but I can help with the little things. I advocate for every child I encounter, not just the ones in my own classroom. I will stand up and try to get every child’s voice heard.

-I love that I can bake and cook and enjoy both. I know most people either like one or the other or neither. I have always loved to bake, it is very relaxing to me. I love that you don’t have to think, you follow the steps and magically you have cookies, a cake or bread.  Over the years, I’ve learned to love to cook as well. This taps into a different side of me. I hate following recipes for cooking. I love to “Lori-ize” recipes and make them work for my family. I love that I can cook healthy foods that my family enjoy eating and that I know are good for our bodies

-I like that I am a realistic parent/wife. I am not perfect. My husband is not perfect. My sons are not perfect. We will all do stupid things. We will hurt and upset each other. But, we also know that the loving bond between us is strong. The choices Richard and I make are done with love. The boys are at an age where they are trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into this big world. We need to be here for them. We let them fail. We let them succeed. We will be there for them no matter what happens… we will love them. Since they were little we’ve always told them I won’t always love your choices, but I will always love you… and I just hope that understanding continues as the years go forward.

-I love the fact that music has such a big roll in my life. I grew up singing and acting. I always have music on in the background. Both my sons have very eclectic taste in music. Music can transport me back in time, settle me when I’m upset or hype me up when my energy is low. While I do not sing or act anymore, I still love music and probably always will.

-I love that I don’t fit inside the box. I’m not girly, but I’m not a tomboy either. I’m athletic, but I’m not an athlete. I get along better with guys than most ladies I know. I never was part of a group growing up. I had friends, but often times they were people who I associated with in situations more than friends. I don’t like to talk on the phone. I am very loyal to people who are important to me. I have friends from HS and college that I know if we were together today, it would feel like I talked to them tomorrow. But, I don’t feel the need to talk to them every day. I’m very patient and give people way more chances than I should, but once you push me too far you will know it. I have a long fuse, but watch out for the explosion. Once you’ve pushed me too far, especially if it is more than once, I struggle to trust you again.  I am who I am. I change as needed to better myself, but at the same time I feel like… love me or hate me it’s your choice.

There you go… that was a LONG post for me. If you made it through the whole thing… thanks for reading a bit more about me. If you decide to join in the fun, hop over to Abbey’s post and read what other people are saying about themselves… lets see how much real we can post on the internet today.




Right now

I’m sitting here in my morning room, with my laptop on my lap. I have already had breakfast, cleaned the bathrooms, colored my hair and made the beds in the guest bedroom (not in that order).  Richard is off on a bike ride. Colby is up in his room doing something to avoid cleaning. Blake is laying on the floor in front of me annoying Dixie while torturing me by replaying Jeff Dunham’s autobiography for the 15 millionth time on the fire stick.

I have some of the windows open. The sun is shining and it looks like spring outside. I should go outside and mow the lawn. I should do more cleaning. I should do something.

Why is it that whenever we have downtime it is so easy to sit there and think of all the things you probably should be doing instead of sitting here doing nothing. It seems that the to do list never ends. It just continues to grow…. or does it? Is it really the fact that there are so many things that need to be done, or is it the fact that their is guilt in idleness?

Often times you hear people share joy and shame when they discuss doing nothing. Or doing something they enjoy for extended periods of time, if that thing seems to be inactive. Why should we feel guilty about reading, crafting or surfing the net? Why is time alone and time doing calmer/quieter things seem less than doing more active things?

There are times when I’d like to sit and just listen to the world. Watch the clouds roll across the sky. Enjoy the nature of my little world. I want to read a book just to read a book. I want to enjoy the quiet of life and not feel that there are so many other things I should do instead.

So I will finish typing up this post about why I should be doing something instead of typing up this post, then I will go do something “productive”.  I’m not sure what the thing is just yet, but I know it will be crossing something off the never ending list of to do.

I hope your weekend bring sunshine and relaxation for you. I hope your to do list is short enough to enjoy the quiet moments of life.