March 19

Today I’ve been wondering why time seems to pass by so much faster as my kids get older.  The days go by faster, the weekends go by faster, and the summers definitely go by faster.

I wonder if it is because as my children get older, they sleep in more, and our days seem shorter than the days when they would wake me at the crack of dawn?

Is it that as they get older, there are more things to do, and when I’m busy, time seems to pass my much quicker than when I am not so scheduled?

I decided to do some research on this topic, and I found out something very interesting.

Our early years are full of firsts, things like our first date, the birth of our first child, our first big vacation, first job.  First occasions are really special events,  and we tend to make more detailed memories of them because it is the first time we have experienced them.   When we repeat an event,  it is less exciting and it doesn’t leave a lasting impression.   This idea also applies to things like vacations.  For example, the first few days seem to be so relaxing and long possibly because it’s the first time we are there and we are making new memories.  But, before we know it, vacations are coming to an end, and the anxiety or stress associated with normal life start jumping in and taking over where memories were being made.

This makes me understand and think about my need to visit different places for vacations every year, not returning to the same place.  And why I sometimes get annoyed when my husband suggests the same restaurant for dinner that we’ve been to a million times.   Time passes to fast if I’ve already made memories there, and I’m always so sad that it’s already over!  I’m craving some new memories.

Hmmm…  So how can I make time slow down a little?  It seems like if time slows when I’m making new memories, then I better start making a list of things that I want to do, see and experience.

Camping for spring break at the beach?  I haven’t done that yet.  Exploring California during the summer?  Definitely haven’t done that yet!  New morning meeting activities?  Yes, that would make my mornings more memorable in a good way!  Planning something new for my family to try or do each week or at least each month?  I’m on it!  I want the next few years to slow down a bit…  my daughters are growing up too fast.  Watch out time!  I’m planning on outsmarting you!

March 18

“Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.”  -Anonymous

I am not a morning person.  I have always wondered what it would be like to be one.  I think about being the kind of person who wakes up the first time the alarm goes off, and jumps out of bed, happy to be awake.  I envision  being someone like the princess Giselle from the movie Enchanted, waking up, singing, dancing, and basking in the glory of the new day!

In reality, I’m the kind of person who sets three alarms and snoozes each of them at least twice.  I fall back asleep between snoozes.  I hate to leave my warm covers in the morning.  I wake up because I know my students will be counting on me, or because my family has plans and I know someone is counting on me.

Some of my best thinking and work happens between 9pm and 1 am.  So maybe I just have a reverse morning person kind of time clock.  I seem to work hard all day, come home take a break, then start working on my goals and finally go to sleep so I’ll have energy to put my goals and plans to work!

Even though I’m not a morning person…  I guess my goals do get me out of bed in the morning!

March 17

Unlike seeing, where one can look away, one cannot ‘hear away’
but must listen … hearing implies already belonging together in
such a manner that one is claimed by what is being said.

–  Hans-Georg Gadamer

I’m sitting in my living room with my husband, dog, younger daughter, older daughter and her boyfriend.  We have just finished a yummy dinner…. together…. on a Friday night.

I realize that this evening with two 15 year olds mostly enjoying our company is not something that will always happen, but for this moment I’m going to enjoy it.

I was thinking about the words, sounds, and thoughts I’m hearing and was inspired to find a quote that was matching my thoughts on what was happening in my house.  And I found today’s quote.  It made really think about how you can’t ‘hear away’ and how sometimes teenagers don’t want you to hear anything, and go behind closed doors with quiet voices, and other times, like tonight, they let you in on so much.  I’m feeling very thankful for these moments.

Here is a little snippet of words in my house tonight:

“Oh, here are our first texts to each other.  Let’s read them aloud.  ‘Hey. who is this?’ ‘ It’s me.  ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I just got home from practice.’ ‘What practice?’ ‘Dive, I’ve been doing since I was 7 years old.’ ‘Cool’

“Wow…  that’s funny.”

“Remember today at school….”

“Can I braid your hair?” (said to the teenage boy) “Okay, but don’t hurt me.”

“My mom bought a smooshed pie today and we made fun of her.” (teenage boy)

“Why?  She was nice enough to buy you a pie.”(my older daughter)

“Yeah, she told us we should appreciate it.” (teenage boy)

“Grrr…. come on Tanner.” (teenage boy to dog who is happy to have extra company)

“Do you guys want to hear a story I wrote today?” (11 year old to the teens)

“Nice, that was really suspenseful.” (teenagers complimenting instead of tormenting 11 year old)

“Oh, I know her dad, what is she like?” (husband to teenagers looking and commenting at phone.”

“She isn’t a very nice girl.”

“Did you know that in the 1700’s pineapples were really expensive, so people would rent them and walk around with them at parties to look wealthy.” (teenage boy to me)

“Yeah, someone posted on their social media.”

“That was such a fun weekend even though those guys on the other team were annoying.  I met some really nice people.” (teenage boy to older daughter)

some whispers… “really?” “yeah, she brags about it.” “That’s stupid”

Everyone is happy, everyone is enjoying themselves, there is a sense of belonging and it’s nice to hear tonight.

March 16

“If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again.”

 

This proverb has been traced back to the writings of Thomas H. Palmer in his Teacher’s Manual.

Hmmm…  Interesting, a teacher in the 1830’s was thinking about how to keep people motivated when they didn’t succeed the first time.  He was probably thinking this was good growth mindset type of advice for his students, but I’m going to say this is perfect growth mindset advice for this teacher!!!

For those who are back to hear how my day was after yesterday’s post, well it’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and happiness.  But there are some good things to share.

 

Yesterday

Very few listened

Today

through musical transitions, I had a captive audience at the beginning of my lessons.

Yesterday

I was interrupted while trying to teach at least 542,938 times.

Today

there was still interrupting, but somewhat less.

Yesterday

I felt like I had tried every trick I knew

Today

I discovered that I had a few more tricks up my sleeve and some of them worked

Yesterday

My patience was completely tested.

Today

It was tested again.

This morning

I got two emails that added more to my overfull plate, I cried, but had two awesome colleagues who listened and didn’t judge.

This afternoon

I felt better.  There is still lots of work to do, still lots of things to try, and I know that there are going to be some tough days, but I also know I can handle it!

So I’m just going to keep on trying!

PS The smoothie was replaced with a lovely dinner with my kind, loving, and  encouraging parents!  loving parents power > smoothie power !

 

 

 

March 15

“A good teacher, like a good entertainer, first must hold the audience’s attention, then he can teach his lesson.”

This year I have felt like the biggest struggle is keeping my student’s attention.  This is my 20th year of teaching.  I taught first grade for 14 years, I have lots of tricks up my sleeve.  But this year, I seem to be searching hi and low for better tricks and new ideas.

I have pondered why I seem to be struggling in this area this year.  Is it that I am teaching in a very affluent school, and these kids aren’t impressed by my meager normal teacher tricks?  Is it that we have 1:1 devices and they provide a distraction and I didn’t have a strong routine prepared for how we would handle having these devices at the beginning of the year, instead I let the students help me create the routines and protocols? (I thought by including them in the decision making, I was using a best practice, pro-responsive classroom approach) Is it that I’m learning a new reading program and teaching a writing program  at a new grade level, so maybe I’m not coming off as confident and interesting?  Is it because I have an extremely impulsive student in my class who is very bright, and loves to interject into each and everyone of my lessons about what he knows or how I’m wrong (even when I’m not) and he commands an audience because of his confidence?

I don’t know if it is any of these things or all of these things put together, but on days like today, I’m one tired and frustrated teacher.  I have been told that I have the patience of a Saint, but my patience is running low these days.  I’m feeling a little empty.

But, tomorrow I will go to school with my ideas and thoughts prepared!  I will sing to get their attention!  I will talk quietly until they quiet down to be able to hear me!  I will use wait time like a pro!  I will use my reminding and redirecting language!  I will stop rude behavior in it’s tracks!  I will pep talk myself through the day!  And it might just work!  If not, I’ll get to try something different the next day, and I might drown my sorrows in a peanut butter banana smoothie.

March 14

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.” ~ Stephen Hawking

It’s so important to remember to laugh.  Sometimes I forget this.

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities, and I forget to laugh.

Sometimes my husband is a source of some of my frustrations, and it turns my mood sour. He unloads his frustrations on me, he complains and forgets to say hello first.  He forgets to appreciate me.  And then I get frustrated and start to think that sometimes life is kind of rotten.

Just about that time,  he usually provides the laughter I need!  He is a funny guy!

I think I probably forget to tell him how funny he is and how much I appreciate it.  But, today when I laughed out loud so hard it brought tears to my face and my stomach hurt, I was really thankful for the funny things and people in my life!

March 13

“Suspense is worse than disappointment.”  -Robert Burns

First a county  that is south of us announces those blessed words “No school tomorrow.” Next a county west of us shares the same message.  Just now the county I used to work for, the one that shares a border line with my school district has announced that their students and teachers will have the day off tomorrow.

I look out the window, I am hopeful.  There is a dusting of snow on my car.  I start talking to the sky, “Keep it coming, cover the street, come on, you can do it.”  Each of my family members sporadically looks out the window.  The suspense is making us edgy.  We want it!  We haven’t had one this year!  This may be the last chance for this school year!

My students were a tough crowd today.  They were so distracted by the possibility of snow, convinced it was a sure thing even though I cautioned them that it might not happen.  I’ve kept the doubt in my brain all day to make sure that I could be happily surprised  tomorrow morning if we got to stay home.  But now, after hearing others have the day off, all of my pre-snow head games are not working.  The suspense is so frustrating.  I hope I don’t have to feel the disappointment tomorrow.

March 12

Part 2: “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” ― A.A. Milne

My dog is named Tanner.  He is an almost 4 year old Cockapoo.  He came to be a member of our family because one day my younger daughter, who was terrified of dogs, said to me,”Mommy, I’m ready to not be afraid of dogs.”  I replied, “Awesome, what do we need to do?”  She very seriously said,”We need to get a dog, and he should be small, and a puppy so I can learn to train him to listen to me.”  And then I asked, “You know if we get a dog, he will stay.  How much money did your sister tell you she’d give you if you asked for a dog?”  She answered me with the sweetest look on her face, “Mommy, I’m serious.  I think I won’t be afraid if I am with a dog everyday,  and I will learn how to be more comfortable around dogs.”

So, needless to say, we started our search for a small puppy to help her conquer her fears.  And we found Tanner.  Tanner who definitely listens to us when we talk about treats, food, or balls.  And lets us know he is listening when we say  or spell “W-A-L-K,:” by tilting his head this way and that showing us that he understands and is interested in this activity.

We listen to him too.  He scratches at the door to let us know that he wants to go outside, and if we don’t hear him, he scratches louder.  He also scratches to let us know he wants back in, sometimes he isn’t very patient about it.

He barks at those that pass by our window.  He barks when someone comes to the door.  He barks when people leave. If you are really listening, you can tell the difference in what he is saying.  Sometimes it’s, “Come inside and see me, I’m so excited you are here.” Other times it’s, “Hey, that’s my yard, stop smelling my grass.”  And many times it’s, “Oh, I haven’t seen you in so long, why haven’t you come to see me?  Do you know how much I love and miss you.”  And when we are walking out the door it’s, “I’m so mad at you!  Why are you leaving?  I don’t want to be here by myself.  Take me with you!”

He is a very special family member who gives the best snuggles and kisses, performs entertaining tricks, senses when we’ve had a bad day, and just wants to cheer us up, and makes us laugh.  He came along and cured one little girl’s fears and helped her learn to be brave.  We are honored to know him and will always try our best to listen.

 

 

March 11

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” ― A.A. Milne

My cat scratches at the door, my dog rubs his paw against his bowl, the dog stares at the door, the cat paces back and forth between our legs, the dog’s ball rolls under the couch and he stares longingly at it, he barks and shakes his backside when he sees a friend, the cat nudges my hand when he wants to be petted.  These are ways they talk to me!

Our cats were our first children, they came to us from our wedding photographer when we returned from our honeymoon.  “You said we could get a pet,” I said trying to convince my husband that these two sweet little furballs who had been playing with us as we looked at photos from our wedding should come home with us.  He agreed, but not excitedly.  “I’ll take them back tomorrow if you really hate them,” I had said as I walked out the door to purchase a kitty litter box.  When I returned, they were both cuddled up in bed with him and I gave a little fist pump in triumph.

19 years later only one survives, Amos, our very skinny, senile, arthritic, hungry, old man.  He meows to tell us he is hungry, he sees you with food and rudely jumps on the table to see if he can get some.  Apparently when you are as old as he is, you don’t remember your manners.  Not everyone listens to him, but I know he likes to sit in front of the fire and warm his old bones on chilly nights.  I also know he is starving even when I have just fed him.  Recently, I told my family it might be time for him to say good bye to this world.  I think something isn’t right, he is always starving and drinks so much water and he has lost so much weight.  The youngest called me a cat killer.  The oldest said,”Yep, you are probably right, but you know my sister is not going to be ok with this.”  My husband pretended he didn’t hear because he wanted no part in this big decision.  After a few more weeks, each of them quietly told me they thought I was right, and we took him to the vet.  The vet convinced us that he probably had diabetes or a thyroid problem, that would be a quick and easy fix after an expensive blood test told us which one it was.  So we took him home, and I felt like such a mean mama for misunderstanding and thinking his time had come.   A few days later the vet called me and said, “hmmm…. I really thought it was one of those, but it appears to be something else, most likely cancer.  We can do a sonogram and see and then come up with a treatment plan from there.”  I reminded him that this little kitty (who now only weighs 5.8 pounds) is 19, and most likely would not survive any things we tried to help him and told him that we didn’t think it was right to put him through so much when the end result might be the same.  So…  He  is still is a resident in our house, who is still hungry, enjoys the fire, drinks the dogs water when he has emptied his and we haven’t noticed, and loves a good snuggle sometimes.  I’m waiting for him to tell me when he is ready, I’m listening and hoping he understands that I can hear him.

To be continued tomorrow…  The  ways my dog talks to me are numerous!

 

 

March 10

Wondering…. What if the flowers bloom, but the bees have not appeared?  Do they get pollinated?  If they don’t and the flowers are all blown away before a bee finds them, what will happen?

This is the question I asked my daughter this morning as I looked out the window at our beautiful cherry tree starting to bloom with snow and freezing temperatures in the forecast.  My daughter said, “Yep, problem… that’s what global warming is all about.”

Well, my question kept me thinking all day.  Do bees hibernate?  Do they die? Do they lay eggs and incubate over the winter in a hive somewhere?  So I set out to find the answer with the help of my friend google.

Here is what I found:

“What honeybees do is even more fascinating than hibernation.  A strong, healthy hive will form a cluster.  This is basically a ball of bees that covers a number of frames and usually centers itself in the vertical center of the hive.  The size of that ball will depend on how many bees are in the hive and what the temperatures are outside the hive.” (https://brookfieldfarmhoney.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/what-happens-to-honeybees-in-the-winter/)

I continued to read and found out many interesting things about bees.  They huddle together, barely moving, but stretching their thorax muscles (like a shivery movement) and this movement keeps them warm.  Did you know that a worker bee only lives for 6 weeks and they only produce on average 1/12 teaspoon of honey over their lifetime?  Or that to make a pound of honey, a bee has to visit 2 million flowers?

While sitting in front of my warm fire, I continued reading, and I also learned that when there is a warmer day during the winter, a bee leaves the hive to get rid of waste.  This little tidbit makes me hopeful that while relieving herself, some little bee might have stopped by the day before yesterday when it was spring-like and checked out some of the flowers on my beautiful cherry tree, but is now back safe in her hive shaking her little body with the rest of her friends in the hive keeping herself and the queen warm.

Glad I was wondering this morning, for if I had not, I would now not have this great tidbit of info that might serve me in some conversation some day.  And if for no other reason… it gave me an idea to write about!

 

 

March 9

“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful.  It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life, no matter what.”

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These are my amazing, loving, kind, and giving parents!

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Growing up they always were there to support us and encourage us in whatever we chose to pursue. I have always known that I can do anything I want, and if I put my mind to it and put in the hard work, I will accomplish anything I set out to.  That wonderful wisdom has carried me throughout many endeavors.  I have this wisdom because of my wonderful, encouraging parents.

They are the kind of people who would literally give you the shirt of their backs, give you their last dollar, invite you to be apart of our family because they would never want you to be alone.  They give so much, love so much, and fill empty voids that you didn’t think could be filled.

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When I started dating my husband, he automatically became part of the family.  When I had my daughters, they became precious members of a wonderful family that loves and cherishes so strongly.  A friend, a neighbor, a friend of a friend, you are all welcome in this family.  My parents taught me such wonderful life lessons-how to be a kind person, hardworking person, not to be afraid of a challenge, help those who are weaker than you, encourage and befriend those who may not be easy to encourage…  I could go on and on.

Being in this family is a very special honor, one I cherish and love each and everyday.

 

March 8

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Thoreau

 

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I see a beautiful sunset.

She sees art.

I see the end of the day.

She sees colors mixing perfectly into a serene skyline.

I see a calm, peaceful atmosphere.

She sees things on such a deeper level than me, more than peaceful, more than calm.

I see my daughter growing up into a brilliant, strong-willed, independent, creative individual.

She sees a person with flaws who is “okay.”

I see her struggles with choosing who she wants to be.

She sees the limitations on what she wants to do because she is only 15 but feels so much wiser.

I see an amazing young lady who doesn’t give up easily and wants so many great things for the world.

She sees things that apparently I don’t understand.

One picture, two people, different thoughts.

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