family · life

Never leave with out saying I love you

I am not posting from present not perfect, but this post could easily be part of the reflection from the book.

I like so many people were shocked and saddened by the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter. But, they were not the only victims and/or the only family shattered in this horrible crash. There were 2 other teenage girls as well as 5 other adults who lost their lives.

It is times like this that people realize that time is precious. Life is unpredictable and unforgiving at times.

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I grew up hearing over and over… never go to bed angry and never leave without saying I love you.

The last words you speak to your loved ones should always be I love you. We need to put the anger and frustrations aside and find peace and kindness.

Every night Richard and I still go up and say good night to the boys. Good night, see you in the morning, I love you.

Every morning I walk each of my guys to the door and give them a kiss before they walk out the day. Have a great day, I love you, see you when you get home.

I never want to leave or go to bed without hearing those words. While I know at some point they won’t want us to say it in front of others, these are times when it is just our family.

So hold your family closer. Forgive those who you haven’t forgiven. Say I love you to those you love, and yourself. Today is a gift… remember that

 

 

 

life · present not perfect

January 26- mistakes

Image result for making mistakes is better than faking perfection

This quote not only is in the book Present not Perfect, but it also goes hand and hand with both the activity I’ll share today, but also what I write about in this activity.

Think about one mistake you made recently, no matter how big or small, and write about it.

My mistake has to do with the last blog post I wrote. In my last post, about colors, I reflected on the end of the day at work on Thursday. Many of the staff were frustrated and upset because we learned about changes being made to the program by reading it in a flyer that was being sent to the parents.

Well, this post was read and misinterpreted. There was a feeling that everyone was angry. That the staff felt the change should have been discussed/passed by us. Not the truth.  Administration is administration and we realize they can unilaterally make changes. Our annoyance was having to read it in a flyer instead of just being told.

I realize that before we left work on Thursday, one of us should have voiced our concern with our boss, but sometimes you just need to sleep on something to figure out what to say/do next.

Write how it might not be such a big deal after all and what may have come out of it.

While I’m sure whoever at my job that read that blog might think that I feel my mistake was blogging about my feeling.. it’s not. My blog is a place to talk about how I feel and at the time I felt frustrated with work. Who doesn’t feel frustrated with work from time to time. I did not disrespect anyone in my piece about work, I just stated my frustration. You can read what I wrote here and make your own judgement.

What I left seeing and feeling:

  • The staff was frustrated because we read about a change that we felt administration should have shared at the staff meeting the day before. We did not like reading about a change when we’d just met the day before.
  • Administration was upset because they found out we were upset by reading about it on my blog. They said we should have come to them and voiced our frustration.

Hey look… these are the same frustrations! People do not want to read about changes, annoyance, or other things that effect them. They want to be told, brought in on the conversation, and/or acknowledged.

People we need to talk. We need to respect each other enough to share facts and frustrations face to face.  Communication is a two way street.

 

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.

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.

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.

Why?

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 · 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

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.

 

 

family · life

still learning

The other day Blake made a comment to me… he said if learning doesn’t end at the end of the school year, shouldn’t you be still learning too. I was almost shocked to hear him say this. I’m an avid believer that you never stop learning.

I am always learning different things, but I guess some of that learning doesn’t translate to what the boys see as learning. I learn new ways of cooking. I learn new recipes. I learn things in the books I read and the shows I watch. I also learn when I do professional development for work, which I usually do when they are busy doing other things.

But, what they don’t see is that I learn every day from them. I learn to be more patient. I learn to listen to what is said and what is not said. I learn to wait. I learn that I don’t have all the answers. I learn that people don’t want me to have all the answers. I learn to be a better parent and forgive myself when I’m not. I learn to show them how to move forward in life.

Each stage of their learning and growth brings about learning and growth in me as well.  I am not the same person, parent, teacher… as I was when they were little. I have learned different things from each of them and for that I’m proud. I parent them totally differently and I had to learn that this is such an important thing to convey to them. That this difference does not equate to loving different amounts… it is just treating each of them in a way that helps them move forward in life.

I have learned what to share. When to joke around or be serious. I have learned that there is no right answer.

So… I know that I learn every day. Even if my son thinks I don’t learn.

family · life

I know you know

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Happy Easter to you all. Today has already been an interesting day. The boys came downstairs and their baskets were sitting on the table this year. They dove into their baskets and were happy with everything they found, but that was the end of the happy.

In the past, we hid the boys Easter baskets. The boys would find plastic on the table (one each). Inside the eggs there would be a clue. The clue would send them to the next egg with the next clue. This would go on for 5 or 6 eggs until they found their hidden basket.

Why was it different this year? We had decided a while ago that both boys knew that Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy etc were all fictitious.  There have been so many clue over the year that they knew. Over the last few years we have known that they were suspicious.

Just like in so many various situations of life, this whole situation worked differently than most families expect. While in most families the parents are not ready for the children to admit they know. But, I guess in this family one of my sons was not ready to admit he knew.

I had to spend the morning explaining that this was not us being mean. We were not trying to ruin the holiday.  Life is about change. Change is hard, but change is good. We will continue to do many of the traditions we have always done, but now they can be part of the traditions. They can help create new traditions.

Holidays are a time to spend with family. It is a time to relax and enjoy spending the day the way we went. So after a while of talking, crying and explaining life and change, we moved on with the morning.

We knew it was time to admit that we knew they knew. I knew it was time to make changes. It will be strange change, but it was needed.

 

Education · family · life

Failure needs to be an option

This is a post that has been bouncing around in my head for a while. I needed to make sure I was in the right head space as well as had the time to post it. So…. today it is!

I often post about parenting. First let me tell you I am NOT a perfect parent, who is? I do not feel that I have all the answers to how to parent, but I do have some incite into children. Being a mom and a teacher puts a lot of perspective into dealing with children. I work with children who are 4/5 years old and then come home to an almost 11 year old and one who is just about 12.5. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some advice.

Let your child(ren) fail! Yes, you read that right…. you need to let them fall flat on their face (literally and figuratively). You need to stand to the side and watch them fail. Then you need to stay glued to that spot and coach them to get back up, dust themselves off, and move forward. And yes, there is a good chance they will fail, or fall, again…. but that is ok!

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Will Smith has a YouTube video out talking on this topic. I showed it to Blake and Colby when it first came out, but I think I need to pull it up again.

Failure is how we learn. Think about scientist. What would happen if a scientist never tested out theories in order to find things that don’t work? What if they gave up the first time they failed? What if your child gave up the first time they tried to take a step? What would happen if you never let your child or yourself fail? How do they/you learn? Grow? Change? Move forward in life? Know what true success feels like?

There are so many times where I see parents trying to protect their child from failure. Why? Why? What do you think will happen if you child misses the ball? Lose the board game? Trips over their untied shoe? What are you Image result for prepare the child for the roadtrying to prevent?

The only way you can do that is prevent your child from failing is to never let them try. Let your child try! Let your child try to tie his shoes, pick out her clothes, write their own name, read a book. Let your child try… they will fail. But, they will also succeed. They will find their own pride when you let them try. They will find their own sense of self when they set their own goals and find their own motivation. They need to fail… pick themselves up… try again, repeat… one time they will succeed! When they do finally succeed then and only then will that success mean something.

Image result for fail early fail often fail forwardThat success after failure is the success that builds pride. How can I be proud if someone did it for me? How can I be proud if I didn’t work for it? If I didn’t try? When I struggle to complete a task, and then understand what I needed to do… then I feel success, I feel pride, I feel excited. When you do it for me, I don’t feel these things. I feel like I am obligated to you. I can’t do it without you. I have to have you do this or that.  Children should want to learn. Want to try. Want to explore. They should naturally just be willing to accept that life is about trial and error (which is also failure… it’s a mistake… it is a step on the road). Children naturally learn with inquisition, but when we stop this step. When we prevent them from testing out their thoughts and theories. When we tell them no that won’t work… they stop trying. They give up. They wait for you to say “Do this, it will work”.

Image result for prepare the child for the roadWhen children are told that failure is not an option we are telling them that learning is not an option. That growth is not and option. Failure isn’t the opposite of success… it is a part of it. Be their for your child. Encourage, support, but do not fix, do not set them up for success…. they need you as the person who will tell them get up, do it again.

Let them fail. Let them fall. Let them get up. Let them try again. But, do not carve the road for them, let them carve it themselves!