Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tramps Like Us . . .

I love everything about being a teacher.  Believe me, I do.  I love . . .

sharing anything and everything I know about literature and writing
watching light bulbs go off when kids get it
seeing kids grow--physically and intellectually
being a mentor/role model
reading kids' writing
sharing my writing with kids
reading to kids
sharing my own love for learning
learning from my students
getting to know new kids/families
working with colleagues who feel more like family than co-workers

and mostly

but sometimes
like any job
it just gets so hard

and that's why I have little rituals to help me make it to that last day of school.

like . . .
getting facials during our breaks
making Saturdays totally school-free days
using spring break for my own personal writing retreat

and, my favorite . . .

making that last day, which is a teacher work day with no kids, a BORN TO RUN day!

By the time I get to the last day, that is exactly what I want to do--run.  It really does feel like the school, the job, the politics, the stress

rip the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
'cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

And so I always wear my Born to Run shirt on this last day, the only day I would ever wear it to school, and blast Bruce all the way to and from school!
Let's RUN, girls!!!

Thank you, Bruce, for helping me find reasons to believe every single day--especially the LAST DAY! 

Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
'. . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nothing Terrible about These Twos!

I recently made a quick trip to Nebraska to help celebrate Ethan's 2nd birthday.  And celebrate we did--Ethan style!  Two year old Ethan is nothing but smiles and laughter, and that is exactly what this weekend in Kearney was all about. 

It was clear from the beginning that the theme for this birthday boy would be cars.  Ethan LOVES cars!
"Cars falling in the mud" cakes!
The minute we arrived at his home, we were playing cars.  He has cars of all shapes and sizes, but mostly he likes the little ones.  He "drives" them all around the house on imaginary roads and courses.  My favorite course:  down my legs and crashing to the floor.  I think Ethan wore a new faded stripe down my jeans! Most of you know that I use a wheelchair for long distances, and Ethan LOVED tucking his cars in my "car seat" as he sees it!  Suddenly, using that wheelchair has taken on an entirely new feeling--I feel close to E and can hear his sweet voice and feel the cars near me!

Ethan also LOVES to draw and color, and he loves others to draw shapes for him, especially moons and stars.  His attention to detail is amazing for a two-year-old--he truly appreciates the artistic flair in anyone who draws for him. 

Ethan got showered with presents on this 2nd birthday, and he LOVED them all.  He even loved the clothes, although he definitely didn't spend as much time examining them but rather just gave a quick smile and said, "clothes!" and tossed them aside to move on to another gift!  From cars, to bikes, to Lil Red, Ethan cashed in on this birthday!
Tractors, bikes and helmets, oh my!
A birthday call from Kyle!
Lil Reds

Ethan is LOVED by so many.  He has grandparents and lots of aunts and uncles and cousins on his dad's side, and it was so fun to see him in the midst of them all.  On his mom's side (our side), Ethan is the only baby, and we are all absolutely gaga over him.  He has his great grandma (Grams), his grandma and grandpa (g g  and Jimpa), his only uncle, Jake, great aunts and uncles, cousin aunts and uncles.  To all of us, he is our first, and he has forever captured our hearts..And Ethan loves everyone!  He is so lucky to live close to so many of his extended family members, and for those of us not quite so near, FaceTime and iChat have made it possible for us to be a part of his life (thank you, Steve Jobs!)
Part of the fam!

Ethan is now a very cool two year old, and somehow it seems like he has always been a part of our family.   Of course, in a mystical sort of way, he has.

Happy Birthday, E!  May your life be full of millions of reasons to believe!

(Press play and turn up the volume to hear the pure, innocent laughter of a two-year-old playing basketball for the first time--ah-dorable!!!_

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Coffee = My Mom

Even though I have a Masters degree and more graduate hours than I'll ever need, I still love taking classes--especially English classes.  One of my favorite classes EVER was a class I took a few years ago, Creative Journaling. (I highly recommend this class if you need some graduate credit, or if, like me, you love to journal!)
One assignment for this class was to make a list of smells and what they remind you of.  I listed such things as chocolate, baby lotion, coffee, etc.  The final step was to choose one and answer a series of questions based on senses.  Without intending to, I ended up writing a little sensory poem inspired by my mom, and I wanted to share it with her, and you, this Mother's Day weekend.  Here you go, Mom:


I smell coffee brewing in the kitchen.
It brings back memories of my mom, the ultimate coffee drinker, something that I never have been.   
Whenever she visits or when I go home, I wake up to that smell.
I sense her presence.  Her motherly ways.  Her strength as she begins a new day.
I taste something burnt.  Something scalding.  Something bittersweet.
I know that my mom is in the house.  That she is beginning a new day.  That I am safe.  That I am loved.
I hear my mom’s feet padding down the hallway, the pouring of coffee into a mug, the quiet morning waking up.
I see the sky beginning to lighten, my mom in her nightgown.
I feel unconditional love.

Happy Mother's Day to my mom--Juliet's grandma, my traveling companion, my roommate, my go-to person, my confidant, my friend . . . my reason to believe!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Journal or Blog?

My journals

One of my goals is to write every day, whether in one of my many journals, with my students in class, or, now that I am experimenting with blogging, online.  This goal is not a difficult one for me, especially since I pretty much write Monday through Friday with my students, and . . . I do love to write.  The problem that I have isn't the writing part but rather the format for writing.  Am I going to write in my journal today, or am I going to blog?  Such a dilemma, considering I love doing both!

I credit my big sister for making me fall in love with journaling.  When she was in junior high, she had one of those diaries that locked.  I was fascinated with every aspect of that diary! She wrote in it religiously, and I would watch her from my corner of our bedroom as her hand moved across the page.  Sometimes she would write what seemed like pages and pages while other times she would quickly jot a few lines.  When she wasn't home, I would take her diary from its hiding place (under the bed) and just hold it in my hands, marveling at the look and feel of it.  It was the lock, symbolizing secrets too scandalous for a ten year old, that mesmorized me, drawing my eye to it with hypnotic force.  It didn't take long for me to figure out that a little ol' bobby pin could unlock the secrets that my big sister spent so much time writing in her diary, carving her tiny teenage history.  And I have been in love with journaling ever since!  I think it's the beauty of the hand written words on the crisp pages of a journal.  Or maybe it's the variety of beautiful journals available--I have tons of them, and I write in all of them at some time or another!  My favorite journal (which isn't full yet!) dates all the way back to 1982.  The very first entry is about my dad's unexpected death.  After that, I didn't write in it until 1984--it took me two years to open it and read that first entry.

Whatever the reason, my fascination with journals is neverending, and I know I will always fill their pages with my own stories and secrets.

And then there is the blogging world.  This writing format is still so new to me, and I continue to play with words and pictures.  I find myself having a love/hate relationship with blogging.  I feel more like a writer when I blog, probably because I know it will be published online, and so I write in a very different style and choose different topics than I do in my journals.  But oh, how I agonize over every little detail!  Blogging, for me, is much more work and way more stressful than journaling. I'm not sure what direction my blog is heading, and that is a little disconcerting right now.  There are just so many directions to go--there are family blogs, teacher blogs, baby blogs Crystal,wedding blogs, travel blogs Allison, food blogs, diary blogs about every day happenings and little things in life Lindsey, health blogs RA, exercise blogs, dating blogs, and on and on.  Right now, I'm not ready to simply go one way. I am drawn to blogging, nevertheless. As I find my place as a blogger, I hope the stress level will calm down a bit.  I was encouraged to try blogging by my amazing friends Hannah and Kari (please check out their blogs--they're amazing!)  They have been my teachers and cheerleaders as I try to discover my blogging voice.  If only one day I can be half the bloggers that they are, I will be happy!

Until then, I will continue bouncing back and forth between my journal and my blog site, leaving little tracks of reasons to believe along the way!.