What Will They Remember?

I wonder what my kids will remember.

I think I will remember the sideways, white rain I saw through the window behind Jay.  It was the sound of stuff banging around on the porch and the sideways rain that told me it was time to take cover.

I will remember the strange calm that came over my two sweet kids as we sat it out at the bottom of our basement steps in the dark.  “This is an adventure. We will be fine.  Tornadoes are over very quickly.”

I will remember that all of the neighbors resurfaced from their basements at the same time.  “Are you ok?  Yes.  Are you guys ok?”


I will remember texting nearby friends…thanksgiving after thanksgiving as each one of them replied that they were safe.

I will remember learning through our spotty cell connection that friends had lost their entire home.  Everything.  In the dark of our living room there was no way to hide the reality from our kids.  Later, with tears running down my cheeks, Chica asked, “Mom, are you crying?”  Yes.

I will remember that Nana’s house didn’t lose power, and we had a place to go.  Unlike so many friends, we could get out of our neighborhood easily.

I’ll remember that I tried to do homework on our unexpected day off, but I spent much more time scrolling Facebook, overcome by thankfulness for the good in our community.

I hope my kids’ memories are slightly different.

I hope my kids remember playing Catan by headlamp.

I hope Bubba remembers losing his first tooth at Nana’s while we waited for power to return.

And perhaps most importantly, I hope they both remember that people are more important than stuff, and we will do everything we can to protect them when scary things happen.  And when we can’t protect them, God can.

There are reports of 20-25 families in Elon that lost their homes.  Here are links to a way to help two families that we know:




When It Rains…

…we make pancakes.  Today was my first day of sleeping in for many, many weeks.  And by sleeping in, I mean staying in the bed (not necessarily sleeping) until sometime after 6:00.  I was still wavering over going for a morning run, but the steady rain outside quickly helped me reach the conclusion that the run was a no-go.  I attempted to get a head start on schoolwork, but Bubba had other ideas.  Eventually I decided, if you can’t beat him, join him.  So together we made pancakes while Daddy and Chica snoozed. IMG_0025

I sent Bubba in to tell them about the surprise once our stack was hot and ready.  I overheard from the other room, “Guess what we made!?  It’s S-T-O-Y.  That spells pan-a-cakes!!!”  The pan-a-cakes of course got both of them out of bed in a second.  Good work, Bub.

…we remember who doesn’t own a raincoat.  Against Daddy’s better judgment, we decided to follow through with our plan to peruse Day in the Park.   It wasn’t raining that hard.  So I put on my raincoat, a green classic (read: dated) L.L. Bean coat I likely got in high school in preparation for my summer as a camp counselor.  Chica has an equally classic (but much less dated) Lands End hand-me-down from a sweet friend.  No worries that it’s probably 2 sizes too big.  This just means 2 more years I won’t have to buy her one.  Jay reluctantly donned his red one.  (He’s the only member of this house with 3+ raincoats, none of which are ever quite right.  I do love that guy.)  And then there’s poor Bubba with just his everyday hoodie sweatshirt.  How many times have I reminded myself I need to get that kid a raincoat?!  Thankfully Chica’s raincoat is green.  If he can wait two or three years, he’ll eventually have one that fits.


…I get lots of compliments on my footwear.  What else would you expect with these hand-me-down beauties from Nana?


…there are no lines at Day in the Park.  Our kids hardly ever ride rides because they either cost too much or the lines are too long.  Well, today we had neither excuse to deny them because the rides were free and only crazy people take their kids to play in the park in the rain.  So Bubba rode the train two times in a row, they both tried out the ponies, and all three of us rode the spinning ride until I was afraid I would get sick.  I hope to never forget the sound of all three of us giggling as we whirled round and around.



…you still run into lots of friends.  Apparently many of our friends happen to be crazy people as well because we still ended up seeing lots of them there.  Perhaps my favorite was seeing our friends together as a family of four instead of their usual weekend family of three. Yay for new a new job as a student that means dad gets to do fun things on the weekend!


…it doesn’t always pour.  Sometimes rain means just as much fun, or more!




Eighteen Gifts Before Nap Time

70.  Accidentally sleeping in.
71.  Nana, who was keeping the kids, so that I could accidentally sleep in.
72.  Leftover pizza for breakfast, washed down with buttered tomato biscuits.
73.  My Saturday morning running group.  So. Fun.
74.  A new friend who slowed down to run with me while I (slowly) pushed my clunky stroller.
75.  Chica’s sweet spirit as we walked from the Depot to the Market.  “Mom…It’s just like we are on a play date.  I like being with you.”
76.  The zigs and the zags.  As we walked the new Lower Bluff Walk up from 9th Street to Commerce, Chica said, “Now we’re on the zig!”  And then we’d make a turn, and call, “And now this is the zag!”  Thanks to the zigs and the zags, we got up a really steep hill very quickly!
77.  The Community Market.  I can’t say enough how much I love that pace on a summer Saturday morning.
78.  The two tiny little kids eating some great big peaches on the back of a farm truck while their momma worked.  The older of the two was double fisting it, and the little girl had juice just pouring down her bib.  What I wouldn’t have done for my camera in that moment.  It was so perfect.
79.  The guy with the goat cheese.  Man, he is one friendly dude, even when I sample his stuff every week and only seem to buy it every thirteenth visit or so.  I’m thinking next week’s the week.  I’m might go for the spicy pimento flavor…it’s a winner.
80.  That extra $20 I found stashed in a pocket of the diaper bag.  The $4 I found in my wallet wasn’t going to make it very far.  My kitchen table is still loaded with tomatoes, new potatoes, green beans, zucchini, squash, an onion, Gala apples, and cucumbers.  This summer is going out with a bang.
81.  The lady who piled my bucket of apples til overflowing.  We had already devoured three of them before we were even home.
82.  A calm moment to just sit at the fountain and watch Bubba gnaw on an apple core while Chica hunted for pebbles.  The music, the little kids dancing, the bigger kids rolling down the hill…grabbing my kairos moment for the day right there.
83.  Living room picnics.
84.  Bubba’s giggles and giddiness when I finally convinced him to swing with me.
85.  Free hotdogs at Miller Park.  And that orange paste that can only be a result of kids eating Cheetos.
86.  Pre-K teachers that are (and always will be) magical.
87.  Nap time.  I’m certain I’ve probably already listed this somewhere in my list of 87, but I’m also certain it’s just that good of a gift to mention multiple times.  I know this won’t be the last.

Best (Daddy) Staycation Ever: Lynchburg Edition

Five nights from now I’ll be sleeping in a tent at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  My brother, Dad, and I will be hiking the 10+ miles to Havasu Falls, and I am beyond excited.

I’m super thankful for both my mom and Jay who are making this trip possible by watching Chica and Bubba for the week that we are gone.  That’s some big time love right there.

In preparation for Jay’s days with the kiddos in Lynchburg, I sat down and typed out every possible fun thing I could think of for him to do with them while I’m gone.  I fully realize that survival mode may kick in, and they’ll spend 95% of the time watching Elmo’s World and escaping to Nana’s house.  And I am totally great with that…I get it.

But sometimes the biggest barrier to doing something fun is just not having a fresh idea or all the info.  It’s not so easy to come up with the ideas when someone’s throwing a tantrum in the floor and you realize that NOW is the time to move on to the next thing…preferably  out of the house.  So thus the Best Daddy Staycation Ever: Lynchburg Edition list was born.

And after I finished typing it, I realized that I might just be pulling out this list again in those desperate tantrum-on-the-floor moments when I return home for to the remainder of the summer. So maybe there’s one or two of you that would like the list as well.  At least it might save you the time it takes to look up the hours of operation for some of the spots you don’t visit often.

So feel free to download the document below.  I edited the one I gave to Jay because, well, you don’t really need to know where we keep the sidewalk chalk or the phone numbers of friends to call to send out an S.O.S.  (Friends…you know who you are….feel free to call and check on them ’round about Wednesday or Thursday!)  I left off some obvious toddler activities that are just a given, like reading.  I’m pretty sure Bubba could do that all day, but one daddy can only read Barnyard Dance so many times in a 24 hour period. There were a few Lynchburg spots I didn’t include because I knew Jay wouldn’t be interested.  Ex. He doesn’t do pools.  Oh, and he’s going to have them Tuesday through Friday, so I only included activities that were scheduled for those days.

Finally, if you live somewhere other than Lynchburg, maybe you’ll be inspired to edit this list to include the best ideas and times for your own city.  Feel free to share it here if you want.

Happy Staycation!

Lynchburg Staycation  <—-Download here!

P.S.  I had totally intended to add links for many of these places, but the rumored storm is here and in full swing.  I expect we may lose power shortly, so I’m just going to post as-is.  I’m praying this summer’s derecho is nothing like last year’s!

Shameless Plug

I spend about 97% of my time each week teaching kids, chasing kids, feeding kids, cleaning up after kids, or sleeping in order to recover from kids.

Every once in a while, though, I am able to steal a few minutes of time just for fun not involving kids.   Most of that time these days goes to blogging, but I also look forward to time to run, be crafty, and make videos, among other things.

So when the second annual Lights, Camera, Lynchburg video contest was announced, I knew I had to participate if I could eek out the time to make it happen.  At the expense of a few lost hours of sleep and (traditional) instructional time, I now have three entries.  Yeah, I’m a bit embarrassed by the number, but after I got started, I just couldn’t seem to let any brainstorms go to waste.

So, read on to hear the background story for each video, or just skip straight to the real point of this post and go here to vote for any of the videos that say “Proffitt.”  I promise voting is really easy…no registration required!

Mad Math in Lynchburg

This was the first idea I had, and it was inspired by a book my class read together.  Since I teach math and science, I felt like I had to make a video that had at least a loose connection to what we were supposed to be doing in class, and this fit the bill.  My students brainstormed several Lynchburg places they would like to feature in their video, and then another teacher friend and I got to work figuring out a way we could share a bus to make a field trip out of this project.  (Check out her finished video here.  Vote for her too!)

Our day out on the town began with a stop at the Lynchburg Academy of Fine Arts.  The highlight for me was seeing the historic theater that is under construction, imagining what it was like in its prime and what it will be when it is finished.  I’m pretty sure, however, that the highlight for my students was either playing in the fog machine or squealing when our guide turned the lights off backstage.  Next up was lunch at Riverside Park.  After they played on the new equipment and ate lunch, they got to pose as extras for the playground opening ceremony.  We knew nothing about this event ahead of time, but our timing couldn’t have been better.  Our last stop was Rise Up climbing gym.  Six of my students had earned a chance to climb by collecting the most points in a math program during the previous week.

Back at school, my class wrote the math problems that they wanted to feature in our video and then recorded the narration using a voice recorder.  The final step was capturing the shots we needed in the classroom and in the dream.  We visited both the roof and the abandoned fourth floor classrooms, spaces that are normally off limits to students.  Though we lost a day or two of instructional time, I believe we made up for it with the memories that we created.  I hope they’ll be 30 and say, “I remember one time in fourth grade that my teacher took us to the roof to make a video…that was so cool!”

We Live in Lynchburg

I teach two different classes of students, and I really wanted my second class of students to have an opportunity to enter the contest too.  I told myself, however, that I couldn’t commit to it unless I came up with an idea that I could pull off in just one day.  I had spent so much time writing, recording, and editing the first one, that I knew I didn’t want to do something else complicated.

This was all happening right around the time of the election, and these kids caught my eye with their parody of an oh-so-popular song.  Figuring this would be an easy song to rewrite and then sing, I decided to give it a try.  Poor Jay had to listen to me try to match the tune for nearly two straight hours one night.  He’s such a good sport.

When I pitched the idea to my class the next day, a few boys were less than excited with my song choice.  Thankfully they quickly got over that when they realized there would be an opportunity to show off their dance moves after we got the words recorded.  They are all a bit obsessed with the Gangnam Style dance, and I agreed that this could be allowed in moderation.  We practiced the song, recorded it on my laptop, then spent the rest of the afternoon traipsing around school pretending we were music video stars.

Oh, and I must give credit where credit is due!  Sensing my stress when I realized I had bit off more than I could really chew, Jay agreed to edit this one for me.  I admit I was a little leery of his skills at first, but his musical ear turned out to be a huge asset to the project.  He did a great job, if I do say so myself.

My Lynchburg Story

So I entered my classes’ videos in the “Top of the Class” category for student groups and began the long process of waiting to find out if we would win anything.  The wait ended up becoming even longer because the organizers extended the deadline by about a month.  That’s code for, “We don’t have very many applicants,” so it got me thinking about making my own personal entry too during Thanksgiving Break.  Jay had recently shown me this girl’s work, and we had given Bubba a big, magnetic dry erase board for his birthday the week before.  Armed with a tripod, four markers, a lamp from Bubba’s room, and my camera, I sat down in the floor of my kitchen and gave it a try.

The idea with stop motion animation is that you draw a little, snap a picture, draw a little more, snap another picture.  Draw, snap, draw, snap, draw, snap.  Repeat….hundreds of times.  When you are done, you load each of the hundreds of pictures into the video editing software (we used iMovie), and then tell it to display each one for just a portion of a second.  Strung together, the pictures begin to look like a growing and moving drawing.  Think of it like a digital flipbook.

All was going well except for one small problem….the lack of batteries for my camera.  After raiding each and every remote, label maker, flashlight, etc. in my house for half-juiced  AA batteries, I decided I must go to the 7-11 and get some if I ever wanted to finish this project.  I’m telling you, only crazy people go to 7-11 at 2 a.m.  With two fresh packs of over-priced batteries, I finally finished my story.  Phew.

Once again, Jay agreed to help me with the editing a few days later, and I was thoroughly pleased with the outcome.  My mom said it did make her cry when she watched the final version, but I’m pretty sure it was a good kind of cry.


So, if you haven’t already, please click on the links below to rate each of the videos.  The video with the highest rating will be awarded the Viewer’s Choice Award.  Last year my students won money in the Top of the Class category, and they decided to use their winnings to purchase exercise balls to use in place of chairs in our classroom.  Who knows how they might decide to use the money this time if we win!?

Mad Math in Lynchburg
We Live in Lynchburg
My Lynchburg Story

You can vote once per computer for each video.  Voting ends January 7th, 2013.  Please “like” this post or leave a quick comment to let my students know you voted!  Thanks!!