Thursday, October 30, 2008


As I was updating my facebook account, my dear friend in Buffalo, NY, mentioned that I should come see I did! How's that for spontaneous?

She checked on train tickets. I went to kickboxing.
She checked with her husband. I showered and packed.
She called me. I called her back. She picked me up. I get to have three amazing days with her family and just enjoy a break away.

The most amazing thing is that several months ago I made the comment that I could come out here for fall break and she mentioned that her parents would be out here, so it wouldn't work...but the dates were mixed up and I ended up being able to come out.

How exciting! I'm such a planner that this is an amazing surprise and a wonderful way to spend my fall break.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Tonight as my friend and I were wasting time before the semi-final soccer game, we went to our favorite place, Target! Katie and I had bundled up and pulled out the under armor tights and shirts underneath our sweaters and jeans. I was a little warm as I had also added my green puffy vest (Land's End - only $29.50). We wandered through the tights, nothing was screaming my name and were cutting through the pj's before we headed over to sporting goods, when they caught my eye. Flannel pajama pants. Red, white, with a beautiful ribbon...I just had to feel them. After feeling them, I just had to try them on.

Dilemma - Do I go all the way to the dressing room or drop my jeans (remember, I had tights on) and try them on there. Yep...I saw an associate, got permission, and dropped the drawers. I did try and hide behind a rack as I did it and tried on the pants. Satisfied with the pants, I decided to throw the jeans back on. Wouldn't you know, many people started walking my way. I waited for the customers to go by and then I threw the jeans on, threw the puffy vest into the little carrying basket (seriously, Target rocks!), and threw the pants in too.

A few years ago (before losing weight) I don't think I would have been as brave and comfortable with my body...but every day is a new day for me to begin living and taking risks when for so long I just sat on the sidelines.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oh, be still my stomach...

Check out this article...anyone up for a road trip? Honestly, I don't think I'd be able to even eat a fourth of it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wow...this one is for Troy

Does this make you want to get a ping pong table?

Why am I not grateful?

For the past few weeks, I have known that a lymph node was swollen and the doctor that I saw wanted me to see a surgeon to have a biopsy. I went to the surgeon today and he decided that I don't need a biopsy right now. He wants me to watch it for the next two months and if it changes, to let him know.

I should feel happy that he doesn't think it's cancerous and that I shouldn't be alarmed...but to be honest, I feel like there is no closure. I still have a larger than normal lymph node and it's been that way for months. Why am I not grateful? It's been a bumpy ride the past few weeks and I feel like I haven't been able to give all of myself fully to my classroom...just waiting for time to pass.

Now that it's over, will I feel like I am back to my normal self? Time (once again) will tell.

My Day...

I woke to a phone was going off. My friend call and woke me out of my deep and dark slumber at 7:30. I laid awake and listened to the rain a bit and then trudged downstairs to begin surfing the blog world. I set an alarm, read blogs, took a shower, and then headed off for a massage.

WOW! I have always wanted to have my muscles kneaded and today that happened! She asked me if I wanted a firmer massage and I said, "Sure, why not?" I think I will stick with those from now on. They're a little more pricey, but the hour was so worth it. It was a small present to my muscles who work out so hard. I lift four times a week for 30-45 minutes and then do cardio for 30-60 minutes depending on the workout that day. My muscles are thanking me now as I sip on a Paddywagon (a local coffee drink) and sit in the coffeehouse grading and relaxing. It was what I needed. I'm glad I took the time for myself. I'm even thinking about buying myself flowers...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why it's important to get more info...

In our word study block, I was going to have the kids make a list of action words so we could look at what happens when you add endings to them. I told the kids that these action words are called verbs and could anyone give me an example? One of my students said, "A plant."

Hmmmm...tell me more.

You know, "Verb the plant. You cook with it."


You mean herb...not verb!

Lesson - Always get more information!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Need it...

What is it? It is a community, a group of others that love and care for who you are. I've been reminded how much I need this after watching my friends go through training for their marathon, wedding dress shopping (for my friend, not me), family birthdays, today's church sermon, and the stress I've been under while I wait for some results from a doctor (swollen lymph nodes and making sure it's nothing else). While watching tv tonight (and smelling the aroma of the brew of French Kiss from a coffee house) I saw this commercial and once again I am so appreciative of my friends, family, and loved ones.


200th Post!

This makes my 200th post. think I've tried writing 200 times now. I know that as an educator, reader, and writer, I am glad that I have ventured onto the blogging world. I've been able to look at the world with new eyes. I keep ideas in my head that I want to write about, that I want to remember, that I'm passionate about. And so begins a few thoughts...

Our corporation met a few days ago to go over basic requirements of our new adopted reading materials. In an effort to move our educators to a workshop style teaching reading, our corporation chose a certain program. When it came time to vote, I did not feel that this program would be as beneficial as the other that we were looking at...well, I'm going to try and let by-gones be by-gones. At our program training, the trainer said that we should teach the units in order the first year because that way we know how the program works...but we should also do what's best for our students.

Let me just say how frustrated I am! And without going into details, I am upset that those of us in the corporation that have spent time reading, time discussing, time planning and creating have to take 500 (okay, maybe not that much) steps back and use a basal cleverly designed as a workshop method.

How would my corporation like it if I made all of my higher students stay on course, because we need to all be on the same page and work together to move forward?

I'm going to do it, but at the same time, I am going to make sure I am still pouring in as much as I can of what I know is best for my students.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


To those of you who actually read my blog, thanks...I guess right now in life I'm just a little frustrated...frustrated with life, with school, with my blog, with the lack of feeling that my workshops are coming together, with writing workshop (why won't they write??? ugh!), with housework, with everything.

I think things will be better in 24 hours and I will post once my frustrated mood has disappeared...I'm almost afraid to write something for fear of what might be said.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why it's important to listen...and wait.

Today while the students were working on math and I was looking at something on the computer (part of the math program - I was doing my job), I heard a very loud, "Suck on this..."

I whipped my head around (what second grader knows that phrase???) and saw one of my students holding part of his cereal telling another friend that he should suck on the piece of cereal.

Ahhhhhhh...gotcha! Now I understand.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


If you read my post about last years Halloween party (Milk Dud)...I'd like to have a better costume this year. Anyone have any ideas? Something cheap and easy to put together, but yet good enough for a party!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Calling all Writing Ideas - HELP...

Sometimes I really don't know why I teach a unit for writer's notebooks...I just don't know what to do. This is what some of my students are doing (I would say maybe half).

They add the pictures...maybe a title, BUT NOTHING ELSE. How do I get them to see the bigger reason that they're putting it in their notebook is because there's a connection to it? Also, does anyone else have kids drawing in their notebooks? What am I doing wrong? How can I change my tactic that notebooks are not for their drawings of the same flower over and over, but a place to store ideas. Yes, I've showed them mine. Yes, I've written in mine. And yes, I do have some students that get it. I am going to try and have one of them teach what she did...but I'm kind of hitting a wall and just want to get rid of them...I know horrible!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Experiment - Six degrees...

Okay, so this may be a little out of reach...BUT, I'm going to try an experiment. So for those of you who read my blog pretty regularly, I'm going to see if it can happen. I want to see if I can get Debbie Miller (author of Reading with Meaning) to leave a comment on my blog. If you know someone that might know someone that might know her...etc, please pass on my blog site.

And in honor of her maybe reading this post (and I may have to pay royalties), a small story. I say to the kids, "Happy reading" at the end of my focus lesson and it's their signal to move to their book nooks with their book bins. After the conclusion of my focus lesson in Writing Workshop, one of my students asked if I should say, "Happy writing." Smart concept! I love how my kids engage with me.

So, readers...check back in and see if I can get a comment from Debbie within six Debbie, if you read this...thanks in advance for being a part of this. I get to hear her speak again next year and not only one day, but TWO. I'm already excited!

Happy October

I thought I'd update you with some great stories from my class.

- One of my students came up and told me that another student had called him the b word. Hmmm...this could be a variety of words, so I asked him what the b word was. He replied with pumpkin butt. Another student told me that the child had said pumpkin head. Regardless, I let the situation go. However, I did have to bite my lip to keep from grinning too hard.

- We studied some animal habitats - rainforest, wetlands, temperate forest, etc. First off, my students cannot remember temperate...they say temporary all of the time. I was out Wednesday morning and was asking the students about their things went. They told me everything was good, but their noise level was a little too high. "Not all of the time, though, a little loud here and there," they said. "A little loud and a little not...kind of like the temperate forest." - I grinned at that one - they got the concept and the word right!

- Today we were playing two games while I had some students being serviced. One of my boys that was with me laid a six-sided domino in a great spot and I said, "that was really smart." He replied, "That was e-word." You might wonder what e-word means. I don't let my students say easy, simply because I don't want others to feel bad if something isn't for them. However, he got around it by saying e-word. Apparently, MANY of the students have coined e-word for easy and they use it in that context too. I had to laugh at their cleverness.

- After having a small fluency lesson on how to change your voice with question marks and exclamation points, I had them ask a question out loud to practice raising their voice at the end. One boy piped up with, "Why is your mom wearing her bathing suit in the shower?" He did an okay job on the question, but not raising his voice, so I asked him to say it again. All of the kids joined him (woo hoo - all practicing). So that was funny...but then one of my boys asked another question, "Why is your father wearing your mom's bathing suit in the shower?" How could I not giggle...the whole class was laughing and we definitely did not answer that question.

- I have been reading (okay, not lately) a book called, Oh Yuck!. It is FILLED with disgusting topics that my boys LOVE! We have read about boogers and bats. Well, in the part about bats, it talks about beetles that are in the the guano (bat poop). The boys (see two stories above) told me that they shouldn't have gone into the bat cave at the zoo because of the beetles that were in the bat poop. I asked them if they remembered what that was called and my e-word boy said, "tobacco." The boys giggled and I told them "guano." E-word boy kept talking and said, "Yeah, people eat tobacco, not guano." I didn't have the heart to tell them that "eating" tobacco was probably pretty gross.

All in all, I can say that I beginning to enjoy them more...