2019 Summer Week 2

Day 8 Soggy Starbucks Run

This morning Jay was photographing a race, so I had a short window of time to get my not-very-long long run in before I needed to be home with the kids.  It was slow, soggy, and almost cold, but I never regret a run once I’m out there.  The best part was running into Jay with about one mile to go.  My new watch has a tracking feature that allows certain people to access where I am along my route.  (No, this does not feel creepy stalker-ish when my husband’s the one doing the tracking.)  He surprised me along my course, and we chatted for a few minutes before I had to keep moving to get warm.  I like that guy.

Day 9 Put a Bucket on Your Head

At some point this weekend Bubba turned an old popcorn bucket into a helmet.  I guess if you have to unload the dishwasher, doing it with a bucket on your head is the way to go.  I just tried not to think about what nastiness was getting in his hair.

Also today, there are no pics to prove it, but I met Emily and Alissa for Starbucks and race stories.  My friend is strong, brave, and able to run 100 miles in less than 24 hours, and now she has the belt buckle to prove it.

 

Day 10 Camping Prep

This coming Friday we leave for our annual family camping trip.  The kids have been busy prepping by spending many hours in their hammocks.  Jay has installed hooks both outside and inside, and they’ve alternated back and forth with the rain.  Here’s a picture he sent me of Chica asleep for the night right beside his desk in the basement.

 

Day 11 Professional Development

Today I led two different math PD sessions for LCS teachers.  The first was a repeat of a training that I led in the spring.  I tweaked a few things and planned for it to be twice as long, and I think this one went beautifully.  I led a second one in the afternoon that was longer and had many more teachers in attendance.  This was a training that I planned during one of my Master’s classes, so I was excited to have a chance to try it out.  Facilitating something like this with people that don’t know each other is always tricky, especially if participants are a bit hesitant to share.  I was pleased with how things went overall, but I definitely know elements I will change if I get a chance to lead it again.

Day 12 Picnic

Today we enjoyed the annual University of Lynchburg faculty and staff picnic.  I think this was at least our third year attending as a family.  Chica spent the whole time cuddling kittens that one of the librarians is fostering, Bubba got me soaked in the water balloon toss, and Jay stalled in the shade as long as he possibly could before returning to his office for a meeting.  I’m so thankful that U of L has been such a great fit for him and our family.

Day 13 More Camping Prep

To me the worst part of camping is not the bugs, lack of air conditioning, or sleeping on the group.  It’s the packing.  For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get my butt in gear and get ready until the last minute this time.  We altered our usual final night dinner from hot dogs to hamburgers, so this is the picture I sent Jay from Walmart to make sure I was getting something he’d approve of.  In case you’re wondering, these were great.

 

 

Day 14 Finally On Our Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the picture I sent Jay around 11am, just one hour after I was originally hoping to leave for Twin Lakes State Park.  I was so proud of myself for getting everything in the van and all of the bikes on the rack without a great struggle, so I sent a text to brag.  He was appropriately impressed.

The past few years we’ve gone to James River State Park, but we decided to try a new spot this year.  We were so excited to find that friends of ours are the camp hosts at Twin Lakes this summer.  They have kids almost the exact same ages as Chica and Bubba, so the four of them spent countless hours together riding bikes, exploring, going to the ranger programs, and swimming.  I don’t have a ton of pics, though, because I purposely let my phone die and put it away for most of the weekend.

Day 15 Kayaking

 

 

 

 

 

We spent the morning lounging, reading, and watching the kids ride bikes.  In the afternoon I took them to the lake to try kayaking.  Much like last year’s tubing debacle, Bubba hated it.  That child literally pouted and scowled for 35 minutes straight.  Turns out he was scared of jellyfish, but his fear gets translated straight into anger for whatever reason.  I tried all the mom tricks I knew and finally declared, “I am NOT going to let you ruin my hour of kayaking too.  I am choosing joy!”  (Fake it til ya make it, anyone?)  Well, some switch happened, he suddenly decided he was fine, and he paddled out to the center of the lake to meet up with Chica.  With our 20ish minutes left, we explored the entire left side of the lake, and that stone-cold kid even cracked a smile or two.

As I was finishing up washing dishes after dinner, the kids told me they were going to go on a bike ride with their friends.  I said okay, then asked if they would mind waiting for me to join them.  Well, IT happened.  I got a heavy sigh, bit of an eye roll, and a totally unconvincing “okay” from Chica.  My brain jumped from hurt to understanding to back to hurt, I told them to go on without me, and I trudged back to the campsite to pout to Jay.  That wise guy encouraged me to suck it up and go on my own bike ride…a perfect solution to get my mind off the idea that my kids are entering a new stage of independence that I’m not sure I like.  I rode three hard miles on the Beaver Trail and forgot all about her heavy sigh.  I was mostly just thinking about how I should have brought water, and hoping I’d make it back before dark.

Oh…and one more story I don’t want to forget.  Jay decided to sleep in the hammock tonight.  The kids were already in the tent, I was trying to finish up the last few pages of a book, and he was turning in early.  All of a sudden I hear the distinct sound of a tree falling from his direction.  Then silence.  Nothing.  I instantly knew what had happened, and the moments of complete stillness were so frightening.  Yep, you guessed it…the part of the tree where he had attached the strap of his hammock completely snapped off.  He came down with it, and he was laying flat on his back tangled in the hammock when I finally got over to him.  He had managed to roll out of the way while the huge branch was coming down, and he was laughing by the time I got to him.  Someone from a nearby site called out to see if we were okay, but by that point all we could do was laugh…and laugh, and laugh.  I finally helped him up, he tied the straps around a thicker part of the same tree, and got back in the hammock.  He made it through the whole night without breaking anymore trees. 🙂

Day 16 High Bridge & Legos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our camp host friend, Becky, is training for an upcoming half marathon, so she needed to run 10 miles today.  I was so excited to join her on the High Bridge Trail, another nearby state park.  We hit the bridge at the most beautiful moment of the sunrise.

 

 

 

 

 

For Father’s Day we gave Jay a 3 in 1 Lego set, and he had completed all three by the end of the day like I knew he would.  The kids and I decided on another spin out on the lake, and this time Chica and I tried their stand-up paddle boards.

Day 17 Home and Back and Home Again

 

 

 

 

 

I had an interview back home this morning, so we got up early to have breakfast and start packing up our campsite.  Our breakfast choices were limited because SQUIRRELS!  Saturday one of the kids left the food tote open, and while we left the site for a few minutes, a squirrel got in a helped himself to some of our bagels.  Well get this…on Sunday the plastic tote was completely shut, but they still found a way in while we were out.  Those suckers chewed through the tough plastic top and got to the rest of our sliced bread and more bagels.  Lesson learned:  Food. Stays. In. Van.

Anyways, I traveled back home in the morning, showered so I wouldn’t reek of campfire and sunscreen, completed the interview, then headed back to the campground for a few more hours on the beach with my kids.  And guess what crazy thing happened while I was at the bathhouse trying to help everybody cleaned up before heading home again?!? I received the call that I GOT THE JOB!  I’m so excited to share that I’m staying at my same school, but I’ll be moving into the role of Instructional Coach.  Basically that means that I will do whatever I can to help teachers teach better.  What a great end to a great vacation…probably the best our family of four has ever had.  We celebrated the new job with dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and many excited texts with friends and family.  Woohoo!

 

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Summer Week 4

Day 22  Honey-Do

This morning I went for a ride on the New London Tech Trails.  This was my first time trying these trails, and they were perfect for my beginner self.  I’m slow, but I’m having fun.  Also, I learned why most bike shorts are black.  #mudfordays

Lately Saturdays have been busy with Jay taking pictures at races.  This week there weren’t any that interested him, so I hit him with my Honey-Do list.  First up….power wash the house!  Check out this pretty dramatic before and (almost done) after.  We borrowed Papa’s pressure washer and Jay worked his tail off most of the day.  I’m thankful for that guy.

Day 23  Honey-Did

Up next on my Honey-Do list…more shelving in the basement.  We’ve been talking about this for a while, and Jay really wanted to build some.  Then we both came to our senses and realized we’d probably be still waiting for that to happen in 2020.  So he bought some this weekend, and assembled them this afternoon.  Obviously we have no shortage of totes to fill them up.  I’m slowly working on regaining order on my section of the basement too.  Images of nights creating/crafting at my little desk with all my supplies organized on the shelves next to me is motivation to get it done!

Day 24  Basement

This afternoon I had my first class of the summer semester.  I was already finished with all of my prerequisite work, so I planned to spend the rest of the day working on the basement.  This was the one and only picture I took today.  I sent this shot to Jay when I realized that these big totes fit on my yard sale special bookshelves.  Wow.  I’m three for three with lame, adult-ish posts this week.

 

 

Day 25 Cinn City

Ruth and I tried out the new cinnamon bun place downtown after our run.  I got cream cheese frosting, bacon, Heath bar, and caramel drizzle.  I brought Jay one with maple frosting, bacon, pretzels, and vanilla drizzle.  The morning went downhill after that because the kids were oh-so-grouchy.  However, Jay came home at lunch and helped us forget we were all mad at each other.  We survived the afternoon with a trip to the Kids Gym and Y Pool with Patsy’s granddaughters.

Day 26 Mom Dates

So this was supposed to be a picture from our morning play date mom date with Lesley and her kids.  (Let’s all be honest.  The best play dates are just excuses to get together with your friends and talk while their kids entertain your kids.)  However, we were having so much fun chatting it up that we forgot to take a picture.  We recently put a deposit down in a far-in-the-future Disney vacay, and Lesley gave me all her insider info.  (Shhhhh….DON’T tell my kids.  I do not need 18 months of “when are we going???” in my life.)  So instead of a picture of her cute kids, here’s a cool shot I took when I left school after my grad class was over tonight.

Day 27  Mr. Goodies

Today:  Run, homework, more homework at the Y while the kids play, lunch with Jay at home, even more homework, 15 minute power nap, then class.

Tonight:  Dinner of champions.

 

 

Day 28  Hatching Eggs

This afternoon was our second book club, and it was every bit as encouraging as the first.  I challenged everyone to bring in an example of real world math they encountered in the last two weeks.  I ended up sharing a Pokemon GO example because it’s all Bubba talks about these days…..

On our way to LC, he was commenting on how far he had to walk to hatch his next special egg.  First he wanted to know just how far a kilometer is because the goal for that egg was 7 km.  Then explained that his egg was at 6.7 km.  He said, “Next it will be six point eight, then six point nine, then six point ten.”

This is what the book we’re reading calls a juicy mistake.  It uncovered a great misconception and walked us right into an opportunity for him to discover how decimals work.  So is that what happened??  Noooooo, cause old habits are hard to break.  I just up and told him, “No, after six point nine comes 7.”

The book talks about the work of math being moving from mistake to mistake to truth.  I just tried to jump him straight from mistake to truth, and I know it’s not any clearer now form him than it was before.

But tomorrow’s another day, with another egg to hatch, another juicy mistake, and another opportunity to ask and not tell.

Summer Week 3

Days 15 – 18

Check out my post about camping here.  We had such a good time I decided to share it early.

Day 19 Book Club

Today was the first day of our Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had book club.  I left feeling so encouraged by this group of educators.  We shared our math stories with each other because the first chapter was all about how our own experiences as math students impact the way we teach.  Many of our teachers struggled through math at some point in school, and I am SO PROUD of them for sharing their experiences and striving to create something different for their students.  I can’t wait to see our growth as a school next year as a result of the work they are each putting in this summer.

Day 20 No Jump

Our house is a mess.  I’m pretty sure it’s been a mess since the beginning of February when every single spare minute I had was devoted to course work and I Love Math Day.  I never recovered.  The kids have been asking me for play dates, but I refuse to invite people over until we can regain a little order.  Yesterday I laid on the “nobody ever helps me, so we might not ever have friends over again” pretty thick, and the little people finally seemed a little interested in helping.

At the same time, Bubba got invited to go to Jump this morning with a friend.  I decided to make a list of jobs that he had to complete in order to get to go.  To make a long story short, he whined and worked at a snail’s pace, he didn’t finish, so he didn’t get to go.  And then he got mad….the kind of mad where it was looking like he might hurt himself or break something, so I actually called Jay to come home from work as reinforcement.  It took that kid 14 hours to finally stop whining and finish, but he did tonight at 7:30pm.

Bubba is stubborn, but I’m stubborner.

Day 21 Put the Seat Up

I posted this sign yesterday for obvious reasons.  So. Over. Pee. On. The. Seat.

But then something unexpected started happening.  At random times of the day, that little booger hands me quarters.  Each time I’m like, “What’s this for?  Oh yeah….the toilet seat.”  I was thinking I was going to catch him and have to make him pay.  Instead, he just pays up on his own.

I can’t decide how to take this.  Perhaps he waits too long and is in a rush, forgets, reads the sign mid-stream, and gets me the quarter in remorse.  (Each time I accept his quarter, I can’t help but think, “Please tell me you washed your hands this time!?!?” )  OR….is he playing me?  Part of me wonders if he could care less about a few quarters.  He’s just stubborn enough that he might refuse to put the seat up and pay the quarters because he doesn’t care.  We’ll see….

In other news, the house is finally presentable enough for having friends over, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Camping at James River State Park

When Jay and I were dating, we went camping in Florida over winter break.  Most of the details of that trip are gone from my memory, but I do remember one pretty clearly.  We had just finished a really yummy dinner and he asked me, “If we get married, can we keep going camping like this?”  Um….YES!  Six weeks later, he put a ring on it.  Fourteen years and two kids later, we still love camping together.

Friday

Friday we left for our trip to James River State Park.  For dinner that night we had chicken & veggies cooked in foil packs, the same meal that I’m pretty sure convinced Jay he was ready to start talking about marriage 14 years ago.

Saturday

I’ve been counting down the years until Bubba would turn 6, the minimum age for tubing, canoeing, or kayaking at the park.  I ended up deciding to take the kids tubing Saturday morning because I remember enjoying that as a kid.  I just had a whole paragraph typed out about Bubba’s bad attitude during this trip, but I’ve decided I’m not going to let that define my memory.  Instead I’ll choose to remember the rapids that felt big from the water but look tiny from the bank, the magic of watching the bottom of the river zip by you in the shallow parts, and our stop on a sandy island to poke around.  Tubing was just as fun as I had remembered it.

I know Gerry Brooks would not approve of this photo, but I couldn’t help myself.   In the afternoon I took the kids to the Discover Area, a natural playground of sorts.  They played, and I prepared for my upcoming book club in the shade.  I love these slow moments.

 

Saturday night we took a wagon trip to the Tye River Overlook with a park ranger.  (Jay took this shot of us on the ride, and I happen to love it!)  The ranger had an electronic owl call to attract screech owls.  On our third or fourth stop, right about the point that Bubba fell asleep in my lap, we finally got one to respond!  It talked to us from a nearby tree for several minutes, but we never spotted it.  On our last stop we heard both the whinny and bounce calls, and two owls called back and forth to each other.  We joked that we had just helped to make an owl love connection.

Sunday

This day started out the best way…with a run.  I took the Cabell trail, and in keeping with tradition, got slightly lost.  The trail map and markings are great at the park….about 95% of the time.  But when there’s an arrow pointing left and no real trail going left, you just have to make your best guess.

 

The night before, Bubba asked to join me on the morning run, but we all knew that would be fun for like the first 5 minutes.  So I promised him a short run together when I got back.  He turned out to be a much better running partner than expected.  We took the Cabell trail in the opposite direction from what I had just run and figured out where I went off course.  I’m still sticking with the fact that it was a signage error….not mine. 🙂

Later that morning we went to two programs led by the rangers.  We watched Cobb, the corn snake, eat his weekly meal of a tiny thawed out mouse, then both kids held him.  We also learned lots of interesting ways to start a fire, and Chica got to try it out with a magnifying glass.  When I asked the kids at lunch today what their three favorite parts of the weekend were, both of these were mentioned.  I was slightly underwhelmed, but they were enthralled.  Doesn’t it often work that way??

If I’m being honest, I feel like I have a hard time connecting with this one these days.  I’ve written about that a bit, but that feeling keeps nagging at me.  So when she expressed interest in kayaking, I jumped on the opportunity to spend some time just with her.  We rented two boats after lunch on Sunday, and it was everything I hoped it would be.  She was (is) brave and strong and chatty and positive and encouraging.  We docked our boats twice and explored.  At lunch today both of us voted kayaking as our favorite part of the trip.

As if we hadn’t already packed enough into this day, I ended up sending the kids on a scavenger hunt before dinner.  I hid some Dollar Tree toys around the campground with clues, and they rode their bikes to find them.  The hunt was followed by a few (mostly drama free) hours of playing together.

Monday

I was feeling brave this morning, so I decided on a morning bike ride instead of run.  I’m still so green at riding trails.  I picked the longest, easiest trail in the park, the River Trail.  Most of it was a really wide, grassy path, but the end had several super steep downhill sections.  I’ve been reading about taking risks in my math teacher book, and I know risks are how we learn.  So…..I leveled my pedals, stood up, stuck my elbows out and butt back, cried out “Jesus! Jesus!” a few times, and went for it.  I lived to tell about it, y’all.  It was kinda fun.

The rest of the day was just packing up and hot.  Real hot.  The most exciting thing that happened was that we found a black widow spider building an egg sac on the top of our tent, under the rain fly.  I snapped this picture and took a short video before Jay killed it.

 

And finally, a few more pictures just for fun!  I asked Jay to send me a few of his best photos from the weekend.  Apparently he either really likes funny face photos, or that’s all we ever do when he pulls out the camera.

   

 

 

 

Summer Week 2

Day 8 Home Alone

Nana and Papa took the kids for the day, so I had great intentions of being super productive on my kid-free day.  I know you’re surprised but….that didn’t exactly happen.  I did catch up on emails, clean up a bit, and do some planning for next week, but mostly I spent the day finishing up this book, The Hate U Give. I picked it up from the library thanks to the Facebook recommendation of a camp friend.  I’m still trying to figure out what to say about it.  Saying “I love it” just doesn’t feel quite right for a book that’s all about police brutality.  To borrow my friend’s words, it rocked my world.  I was struck by how the main character struggled to fit in and be herself, both in her own neighborhood and in her almost all white school.  I can’t help but wonder if this is the reality of some of our students, especially Chica’s classmates.  I was also struck by how the author was able to describe the real, personal, raw experience of people who are victims or witnesses of police violence.  These real life events become so politicized so fast in the media.  We forget….I forget….that behind them are real people with stories so much deeper than we will ever know.  This is the kind of book that changes you.

Day 9 Yes, We RNUTS

After a downtown run and my first trip to the Community Market this summer, we headed to Roanoke for the Roanoke Non-Ultra Trail Series (RNUTS) picnic.  The food was good, the company was great, and we finally got our sweet jackets.  I’m not embarrassed to admit that the purple jacket is what pushed me over the edge to sign up for the series.  Now we just have to wait for an appropriate time to wear them…

*Update:  Monday was rainy and uncharacteristically cold for June, and I was thrilled. 🙂

Day 10 Indoor Picnic

What’s better than a picnic in the park?  A picnic inside!  There’s no worry of kids wandering off too far, no need for sunscreen, way less sweating….it’s pretty great.  That’s what we did this morning at church!  Here’s my crew enjoying lunch, including Nana and Emily.  My favorite parts of the morning were playing games with Bubba in the gym and watching Chica ham it up on stage as Gideon’s servant.

I tweeted today’s other memory about Pokemon and talking math with Bubba here.   #goodbookchoiceafterall

Day 11 Summer Tomatoes

So today is a perfect example of why I am trying to post a memory from each summer day.  I have no trips, no play dates, and no funny stories to post.  In the morning I led a STEM class at an LC summer camp.  The kids spent the afternoon and evening with Nana, and I tried to get work done while they were gone.  I cooked rainbow chard to go with our chicken dinner, and Jay pretty much hated it.  It was just a regular ol’ day, and this is my only photo to show for it.

But the tomatoes.  Can we just talk about summer tomatoes for a moment?  I got these huge, ripe ones from the first lady on the right at the market, and I’m embarrassed to tell you just how much I paid for them.  But it was WORTH. IT.  Toast the bread, butter it, put on the big honkin’ slices, top with salt and pepper, and enjoy summer on a plate.  All the people in my house ask for more, and I couldn’t be happier.

Day 12 Puke

This has become a common thread this week, but Nana kept the kids again this morning so things would be a bit easier at my STEM class.  Bubba joined me in the afternoon for some errands, and he complained of an upset stomach the whole time.  He refused to eat dinner and fell fast asleep in Jay’s lap when the rest of us were done eating.

About 20 minutes later, Bubba started to rouse.  He took one confused look around and promptly puked right in Jay’s lap.  Twice.  Thankfully I caught the third time in a trashcan.  The look on Jay’s face was one of pure horror.  I was so sure Jay was going to puke in response, right on top of Bubba, but he held it together miraculously.

There are several circumstances in our house where I play the Mom Card….certain things I declare I won’t do or put up with, just because I’m the mom:  I won’t let sweaty Bubba put his sweaty head on me when it’s hot outside.  I don’t do feet.  Everyone’s been thoroughly warned that tickling and Wet Willies are a sure way to pull back a nub.  Well, Jay pretty much plays the Dad Card on puke, so I had the pleasure of cleaning everything up.  I snapped this picture after all the excitement had died down.  Poor guy.

Day 13 Yes
It feels like I’m always saying no during the school year.  No, I can’t do a Sunday afternoon run.  No, I can’t make game night.  No, work, school, the house is a mess, blah, blah, blah.  But this picture reminds me that there are way more chances to say yes in the summer.  Rachel posted that she was going for an after dinner walk, and thankfully, I could join her!  We talked about book clubs, school stuff, trips, being young with bodies that are starting to feel old, and everything in between.  Note the big ol’ ice pack on her booty and the fact that I still can’t figure out the posing thing despite her many lessons.  Whatevs.

Day 14  Pop See Ko

Go Noodle is the break of choice at our LC camp this week.  Today we watched Pop See Ko, a favorite for nearly everyone.  We had to go by school afterwards to drop some things off, and they were still singing Pop See Ko when we got there.  I was feeling grumpy as ever at this particular moment, but them getting along and enjoying each other helped to pull me out of my funk a bit.  Bubba’s move was to jump and cross both his arms and legs.

Also, tonight the kids made pancakes with no help AND packed their own stuff for camping.  That’s a Double Parent Level Up right there.

Wide Angle Lens

This week for my grad class I had to write a portrait of myself as a teacher.  Something about this process was so hard.  When the first question in the reflection asked me to describe how I handle my emotions, all I could think about was the class of second graders I had yelled at that afternoon.  Like really yelled.  It was ugly.

In my assignment I was also supposed to reflect on my use of rich tasks, classroom discourse, and evidence of student learning….and on and on and on.  But my ability to think objectively about all of those areas was totally clouded by my most recent mistakes.  It’s been a hot mess kind of week, and I just kept picturing the teacher I made cry, the class I made sit and listen for waaay too long, and the balls I’ve been dropping all along the way.

I had my zoom lens on, and it wasn’t pretty.  Thankfully though, I got an email yesterday that helped me to begin to zoom out.  Then at lunch today I read an article that made my view a little wider.  Tonight, at the Chipotle checkout of all places, God reminded me a third time of the value of a wide angle lens: The portrait of me as a teacher spans 11 years, not one week.   Here are three snapshots that I must include:

*A mom of a student I taught four years ago emailed me for advice for her youngest daughter.  She told me her son was doing well in Algebra, and she appreciated the way I had reassured her of his understanding and ability way back in fourth grade.  She wrote, “So, as a teacher, what I so appreciate about you, among other things, is your ability to see the child and his mind, not just the results of his work.”  Her kind words have been incredibly encouraging to me.

*Today at lunch I read an article about local high school athletes who have signed with colleges.  One of my former fourth grade students received a full scholarship to play football.   I can only imagine the kind of determination and commitment it has taken for him to land this spot.  This has given me such renewed hope for my current students.  

*Tonight at Chipotle the girl ringing me up stops and says, “You look so familiar.”  I knew right away by her age that I must have taught her, but no names were coming to me.  (I don’t have that gift like my friend Ruth does.)  But as soon as she told me her name, I remembered exactly who she was.  And guess what that beautiful young woman said next?  “I still remember what you taught me, all those rhymes!  6 times 8 equals 48.  I never forgot it!”  I did a little dance right there in Chipotle.  No shame.  And I asked her if I could hug her.  Yep.  Again, no shame.  I told her that she had totally made my night, and continued dancing with my chicken bowl all the way to the door.

I know I run the risk of appearing like I’m tooting my own horn by recording these moments, but that’s truly not my intention.  I need to write them down to remind myself next month or next week or maybe tomorrow at 3:30pm that I am making an impact.  But more importantly than that, I want to remind my teacher friends that WE are making an impact.  My newest teacher friends, you’ve have never had the experience of meeting one of your students all grown up.  But your day will come too, and you’ll forget their names and embarrass them and be so stinkin’ thankful all in the same moment.

Carry on, friends.

26 Memories

Air Mattress – These days Jay and the kids like to camp out in the basement on the air mattress.  I hope this is a memory they’ll talk about when they are big.

BB-8 – Chica came into my room tonight to tell me she had finished five things on her to-do list, but mostly she wanted me to notice her super cool dangle BB-8 earrings she had just put on.  They were a most perfect Christmas gift from Aunt Rachel & Uncle Justin.

Coaching – I’ve been reading about content coaching yesterday and today for my next class.  I get overwhelmed and encouraged as I read, all at the same time.

Dessert – Our family has decided that these brownies are our new favorite dessert.  In case you’re wondering, a double batch is the way to go. Thanks, Mom.

Estimate – I spent one and a half snow days last week making this super cool Lego sculpture…times two.  Our students and staff have to now estimate how many Legos were used to make it.  I can’t wait to see if anyone will be close.

Finished  – Chica finished Chasing Space tonight.  It was so fun to watch her be excited to read about something other than dragons.

Groceries – Technology failed us tonight.  I made the grocery list on Google Docs so that I could keep updating it as Jay shopped.  However, it never refreshed on his phone, so he came home with about half of the things I was expecting.  We don’t argue over much, but we both almost got our panties in a wad over whose fault this was.  Conclusion: It was no one’s fault.

Hidden Figures – This is my new favorite movie, and this book is at the top of my summer reading list, along with Chasing Space and I Am Malala.  On the off chance that I finish all three of those, I think I also want to read Code Girls.  I usually spend my few free weeks of the summer reading fiction aimed at fourth and fifth graders, but I’m hoping to up my game this year. Maybe my two English teacher friends are rubbing off on me.

Integers – I helped a friend prep for making a video on integer multiplication today.  Red and yellow counters are the way to go if you ever have to explain to someone why a negative times a negative equals a positive.

Jordan – One of our former students lost his life this week to gun violence.  This has rocked me in a way that I cannot describe.  So many questions.

Kids – And many of those questions have to do with the kids I teach today.  How can I convince them that what I have to offer is better than what the street has to offer them?  How can we expect them to care about improper fractions or series circuits or the Virginia Company of London when their most basic needs are not being met?  Am I doing enough?  What else can we do?

Little Dickens – I spent the morning upstairs at Little Dickens sharing my kids’ public school experience with a sweet friend.  Public school is the only option that we have ever considered, and I am over and over thankful for the ways that their teachers and classmates are influencing them.  There are so many hard things and much brokenness, but there is also so much good.

My bribe – The kids had to tag along while we talked, so I bribed them with a stop at the Humane Society if they let us talk in peace.  I sent them in the cat rooms and just watched from the window.  Parenting win.

Netflix – Please watch David Letterman’s interview with Obama on Netflix.  I came home from school on Friday just so stinking discouraged about our country.  I’m embarrassed to be represented by our current President who devalues people in such an ugly way.  But then I watched Obama’s interview, and I tried to cling to its message of hope.

“I think in the whole struggle, there may be some setbacks, some delays, some interruption…but you take a long hard look, we will get there.  We will redeem the soul of America.  We will make this little piece of real estate we call America, and the world, a little better.  We all have a role to play.  We all can do something, we all can make a contribution.” – Rep. John Lewis

Our Friend, Martin – Today my tiny contribution was watching this with my kids, educating us all on the man and the message that this day celebrates.  Chica said her takeaway was that, “he didn’t just fight for Black people, but for the rights of all people.”

Patterns – I’m still trying to figure out what my pattern lesson will look like for first grade tomorrow.  This blog was supposed to be a quick diversion.  Two hours later….

Quiet – At dinner last night we took turns asking each other deep and not-so-deep questions.  I asked, “What does the world need more of?”  Bubba’s response was, “Quiet.”  Yes, Bubba.  Agreed.

Rekenreks – My most fantastic husband has cut and drilled over 250 pieces of wood to make rekenreks, a math tool that’s similar to an abacus.  I’m so thankful for that guy.  I can’t wait to give them to our teachers.

Star Wars – Tonight Bubba listened to a Star Wars early reader book on CD.  He then insisted on reading the whole book back to all of us after dinner.  Jay and I had to tag team it was so long.  I love this age and stage because I feel like you can almost see them grow overnight.

Tomorrow – SNOW!  Who do you think will be crazier at school tomorrow in anticipation for the snow Tuesday night?  Teachers or students?  Yeah…definitely teachers.

Undone – As it goes almost every year, I started the year off with a clean house and all kinds of plans to keep it up.  And as always, week 2 left most of those plans undone.  I recovered the dining room and den today, but the dishes and laundry are still staring at me.

Vegetable – My new favorite vegetable is brussel sprouts.  No lie.  (Yeah…I was really reaching for a V word.)

Water bear – Chica has a fascination with tardigrades or water bears.  Today she found a stuffed one at Givens.  I’m saving this for a birthday idea.  #nerdtoys

eXpectations – A family in our life group had a baby, and an invitation was extended for each of the families to bring a meal.  Oh the pressure:  How am I going to get it there on time and feed my own family?  What if I make the same thing as the person before me?  What can I make that the kids will eat?  How will I keep it hot?  This bring a meal thing is second nature to some people, but it makes me break out in sweat.  So I decided to lower my expectations.  I’m going to figure out something I can bring that I don’t have to make…just pick up.  Like pizza. Or Panera.  Or a rotisserie chicken….whatever.  Lower the expectations, and I can do this!

YMCA – Jay’s been going on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  I’m proud of his consistency, even through the crazy cold mornings.

Zero – I have zero ideas for a letter Z memory, just like I still have zero ideas for my pattern lesson tomorrow.  Now back to it….