Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lifelong Friends Day 26 of 31

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge.  Please visit their site to read and comment on other slice of life stories.  

We met each other as freshmen in high school.  There was a group of 7 of us who hung out together, but Marlene and I had a special bond.  She is the friend I've had the longest (almost 40 years)!  As teenagers, we drove around the town square on Friday nights, often going out for pizza.  There was the night we stalked the boy she had a crush on when he took one of our friends to the school dance.  (That boy is now her husband of over 30 years).  She was the one I cried to when I found out that I was moving across the state when I was a senior in high school.  We visited each other in college and then were in each other's weddings after graduation.  Before our kids were born, we'd take turns bringing craft ideas that we could do together each time we visited.  After the kids were born, our visits were consumed with kids and sharing the ups and downs that come with parenting.  It never mattered how long between our visits, we could always fill our time together with conversation, picking up as if we had just seen each other.

Today was one of those days filled with stories, laughter, and good food.  I drove to visit Marlene and we spent the day filling each other in on our kids and husbands.  She shared all the preparations for her son's wedding, and as always, we shared titles of good books we're reading.  Our afternoon together ended all too quickly.  As we hugged good-bye, she reminded me that the next time I hugged her would be at her son's wedding.  How does that happen?  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was standing next to her when she married Chris and then a year later, she was standing next to me when I married Keith.

As Oprah would say, What I know for sure is that taking the time to nurture these lifelong friendships is one of the most important things you can do.  Life throws lots of curve balls and there's nothing like having that special friend who loves you no matter what.   They help you through the hard times and celebrate the good times.

I am so glad that Marlene has been in my life.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Family Day 25 of 31

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge.  Please visit their site to read and comment on other slices.

I was on the road by 9:00 am today, excited to see some of the most important people in my life.  You see, I grew  up in a family where not only did I have a mom and dad, but also aunts and uncles who were just like my parents too.  In fact, my cousins, sisters and I didn't stand a chance when all the aunts and uncles were together.  If we stepped out of line, someone was there to correct us.  If we had trouble, there were always open arms to fall into with an ear ready to listen.  Time to celebrate? We had our own cheering section.  To this day, I know that I can count on any of them for any kind of support I need.  Who could ask for anything more?

Lunch with Mom and Aunt Janey

Visit with Uncle Jack

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Can We Play? Day 24 of 31

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the March Slice of Life Challenge.  Please visit their site to read and comment on other slice of life stories.

"I wish we could go out and play with the neighbors."
"Why do we always have to sit in the house and miss all the fun?"
"Maybe Mom will notice that we're sitting here and let us go outside."
"They sure look like they're having fun.  I'm pretty sure they need us to come out and run around with them.  We could chase sticks and bark like crazy while we jump as high as we can."
"Darn, they're going inside.  Maybe we can try again tomorrow."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reflections on 30 Years of Marriage Day 23 of 31

Please visit Two Writing Teachers to read other Slice of Life stories. 

Today my husband and I celebrate our 30th anniversary. He gave me the framed the picture below, which was taken on our honeymoon. It made me cry because those 2 young people thought that as long as they loved each other, everything was going to be ok. They didn't know how hard it would be. They didn't know that their marriage would almost end as they neared the 29 year mark. They didn't know that they would have to reach to the bottom of their very beings to find what would make that marriage continue.

This morning, I asked my husband to make a list with me. If we could go back in time, what advice would we give that young, naive couple who were so fiercely in love. This is what we came up with in no particular order:

1.  Being married is hard work. You both need to give 100%.
2.  Live within your means. Refer back to #1. Adding money problems to the mix only makes it harder. 
3.  Have each other's backs. 
4.  Find something that you enjoy doing together and do it on a regular basis. 
5.  In the same way, find the things that you love doing on your own and do those too. Don't lose sight of who you are. 
6.  Expect your marriage to go through cycles. There will be ups and downs as you maneuver through life. 
7.  When you're in the downward cycle, don't give up. Be willing to fight for your marriage. 
8.  If the cycle continues, get help.  A good marriage counselor can help you weed through all the garbage and yucky stuff. 
9.  Share your highs and lows with each other. That personal trust is what builds intimacy in your relationship.
10.  Be honest.  Be kind.  Be strong. Be willing to forgive and last but not least, be willing to love.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the March Slice of Life Challenge. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Anniversary Trip Day 22 of 31

Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary. It's been a lovely day of meandering through antique shops, dining on exquisite food, and hiking serene trails.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the March Slice of
Life Challenge and Margaret Simon for hosting DigiLit Sunday.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Something in Common Day 21 of 31

Something in Common

I have the unique opportunity to work with a group of very talented teachers on a summer writing project.  We will be writing a book about digital writing in the elementary classroom as part of the summer institute for the Columbus Area Writing Project.  In total, there are four groups working on books.  I was asked to gather a team of teachers to write about the topic of integrating technology into reading and writing workshop.

Today was our first gathering.  As we ate lunch and talked about our classroom practices, I sat back and observed.  Each person in the group comes with a different background, but there are certain qualities they all have in common. 

Each of them is passionate about kids.  They are reflective practitioners and they're not afraid of the messiness that comes with good teaching.  They respond to kids and if something doesn't work, they try something else.  They know that what works for one student might not work for another and what works one year might not work the next.  The foundation of their classrooms begins with community.  They know from the bottom of their hearts that in order to be successful, they need to build a strong community of learners.  They take risks and they admit when something doesn't go well.  But they don't stop there.  They figure out what needs to change and they make those changes.  They are willing to ask questions and they are comfortable with the uncomfortable.  They are good teachers.

Thank you Tonya Buelow for taking a picture!
The next few months are going to be exciting as we start to gather our stories and think deeply about our practice.  We will ask questions, push each other's thinking, and grow as learners.  I am so fortunate to have these amazing folks by my side.

Please visit Two Writing Teachers to read other slice of life stories.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Surprise 20 of 31

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life March challenge.  I will be joining other bloggers and writing every day in March.  Please visit their site to read other slices and leave some comment love.

"You've got quite a few packages in the office," the secretary told me.
"Yay!!  That means my order is here!"  The afternoon just got a little brighter.
I went out to run some errands and got back to school just in time for my duty and then to begin seeing my reading groups.  The lure of that stack of packages slipped my mind.

An hour later, T showed up for his reading group.  He came alone as the other 2 boys who usually join him were completing a special project in their classroom.  As I quickly tried to figure out how I might change my lesson, I remembered.

"C'mon, T.  There's something in the office for us."
"What is it?"
"Remember when you helped me choose books the other day?  Well, they're here."

A smile slowly spread across his face.  You see, a few days ago, T was by himself for reading and not wanting to start something new, I asked him to help me order books for my third graders to read independently.  He sat next to me at the computer as we scrolled through titles.  He'd either approve or dismiss books as read summaries of books and looked at pages online.  His was an important job, because it's been a long time since the library in that room has been updated (like 10 years) and many of the books are more geared toward the first graders who used to have reading groups in there.

We brought the packages back and tore into boxes.  T rummaged through the books, looking for certain titles.  I told him he could take them home for spring break.

He left my room a happy boy, excited to have some new books to read over break.