SOL March Challenge Day 5 #sol20

Well today I am mentally preparing for a very long day. We have our spring parent-teacher conferences tonight from 5:30-8:00 so I am at work for 13 hours!! Ugh. It is going to be a LONG, LONG day.

However, I got in the car for my 15 minute commute to work this morning and the universe took care of me. How you ask? By giving me two great songs back to back that I could crank up the volume, sing along with, and pretty much have a little dance party in my car! There is NOTHING better than hearing a song from your childhood or adolescence that you know every word and still just brings such great feelings of nostalgia. So hearing TWO in a row back to back was nothing short of a miracle!

Needless to say, I had myself quite the time singing along with The Outfield and EnVogue on my drive in! It changed my whole mood and my outlook on today. Not to mention, as I write I am still singing along in my head. The power of music. It really is like therapy! I am so ready to take on today.

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SOL Challenge Day 4 Hump Day- #SOL2020

What is it about Wednesdays that make them soooo long??? I get the whole “you get over the hump” of the work week, but for me, they tend to just DRAG. I notice that for some reason that 3rd day in a row of getting up at 5:30 am when the alarm goes off it tougher. I just don’t have as much energy in my early morning workouts on Wednesdays that I do Monday and Tuesday.  I feel the school day itself is just so long, and of course…. it’s the day that we usually have our staff meetings. Ugh.

On a positive note, it’s sunny, it’s 50 degrees here in Boston, and… my husband is grilling turkey burgers (yum) for dinner tonight! So there is that! Also, when I go to bed tonight, I will only have two more early wake ups/workouts instead of three! There is that too!! Thursdays and Fridays at school are my favorite. Just the way the schedule goes and that I usually don’t have any extra meetings or appointments those afternoons, makes the end of the week not seem so bad. (Although tomorrow night is our parent/teacher conferences so I’m here LATE.) So here is to us all getting through today and over the HUMP!!!

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SOL March Challenge Day 3- Back at It #SOL20

March 3rd, 2020

On this third day of the slice of life challenge, I am feeling really, really good that I decided, VERY LAST MINUTE mind you, to give this a go again. I did the challenge back in 2017 and finished all 31 days. I loved it so much. It got me writing daily again, and that continued for several months after the challenge too! I was back in a good habit. One that was REALLY good for me. Like my Yoga every morning and drinking lots of water, and carving out 20-30 minutes a night to read just for the pleasure of reading. Not for work or the news, but reading a book just for the joy of reading. These little moments or snippets of the day, these small habits that I had formed, were huge. They helped me stay calm, find peace, and made me a better mom, wife, and teacher.

In 2017 not only did I complete the March challenge, but I then had my students do it also, and they LOVED it. They wrote every day in journals and shared them with me. They got so into it, and I thought I would be doing this as a writer myself and with my students every year from then on. Then…. I am not sure what happened.

Why? How did I let go of  this habit I had started to create? How did I let this go the last two years!?? Ok, I a few challenging years at work. One year it was the make up of the class, and then last year it was new administration and just so many changes and demands and it was tough. Two years went by so quickly!! Somehow, I had got out of the habit of writing. 😦 Even though I had promised myself back in 2017 that I would make time, even a few minutes, for myself to write everyday. I stopped. Knowing how happy it made me, and how getting my thoughts/feelings out in my writing was so theraputic for me… I just somehow stopped. So, to say that I am happy to be back at it is an understatement!

Ok, I know that it is only the third day! I know there will be days where I am super busy, or distracted, or just do not know what to write and get frustrated. There will be days that I want to skip. Yet, now that I have committed to this challenge again, I am making a promise to myself (and to anyone who is reading this) that not only will I complete the SOL challenge for March, but that I will go back to writing daily. Not for work, not for my kids, not even because I said I was going to. I will do this for me.

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SOL March Challenge Day 2:

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March 2, 2020

 

Yesterday when I sat down to write my first post, I realized that what I thought I would write, and what I actually did write… were VERY different! This is what happens when I check work email and am thinking of work stuff that brings me anxiety before I begin to write! Lol. 🙂 Today, I want to focus on something more positive!

On this Monday morning, I want to come up with 10 things I love about my job, still.

  1. That every day is different. Truly. No day in a classroom is ever the same.
  2. The people I get to work with everyday. I have the most amazing Inclusion Co-Teacher in my classroom, and an incredible Reading Specialist that I am lucky enough to have in my classroom with me every Monday, Tuesday, and Wedensday afternoon.
  3. When I see my students engaged and excited in the lesson and/or activity!
  4. The stories the students tell me. The way they share (and overshare) it really is just amazing, and at times… hillarious.
  5. That we can be talking about the rock cycle and somehow in our discussion we go somewhere compeletely different and get completely off topic for a few minutes! (I am guilty of this as much as my 4th graders.) Lol
  6. On my worst days, there is always something that some student says/does that reminds me why I do this everyday.
  7. Watching them grow, progress, and get more confident throughout the year.
  8. The look on a student´s face when they do well at something, or finally get it. 🙂
  9. Everyday, at least once, we laugh. We have fun and I can honestly say, I really LIKE my kiddos.
  10. Ok, I have to say it… but the schedule is kinda awesome. (vacation weeks/summers off… I will take it!)

 

 

 

Day 1 – SOLSC: March Reflections

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March 1, 2020

I cannot believe that it is already March. This school year is flying by so far. Yet, what is it about March? It always seems to be the LONGEST month of the year! Here in Massachusetts we had a pretty mild winter (Only ONE snow day to make up!!) and even still I am so ready for the warmer weather and to put my boots, scarves and gloves away until next year! So, whatś coming up for my class. Well, of course the dreaded state mandated testing. (MCAS). The beginning of March signals for many of us, that itś time to start our test preperations. It is now crunch time. Sigh….

Before I got on to write today, I checked my work email to find one from my principal saying that our #1 topic at staff meeting on Wednesday will be the MCAS. How can we bring our kids scores up? What are we going to do about our IEP kiddos? Again… sigh. My class of 25 this year, almost half of them are on an Education Plan, and two are on a 504 for anxiety/adhd. They are a great group of kids. They are kind, and they are funny, and even though some are stuggling academically, for the most part they are happy. They feel safe in our classroom and they feel included and respected. Honestly, to me, that is WAY more important than how they perform on this test.

Really, what can we really do? The system is not set up for success for these students. If they have reading/writing disabilities, if there Independent reading level is two years below grade level, then obviously they are not going to come out Proficient on a grade level test!?! It would be like me having to take a test in German, and then being told I was not up to par. Ugh… it makes me crazy.  So how am I planning to go into testing season?? I will practice mindfulness, calm breathing, relaxation and yoga with my students. We will try to make sure everyday that ALL my students get to do something, create something, work on something that they will feel good about. To provide them with opportunities to be successful. I will remind them of all the growth and progress they have made this year, and that I am proud of their hard work. I will tell them… to just do their best and not stress. Oh, and I will do MY best to remember all of this myself… so that I too, do not stress. 🙂

March SOL: Day 11 – Right Now…

Right now I’m….

Realizing that I never posted my slice from yesterday!!! 😦

Trying to figure out why we have Day Light’s savings?!! Yawn.

Enjoying my second cup of coffee… 🙂

Thinking about all the stuff I need to do around my house today .

Praying that we don’t get any more snow from this upcoming possible storm!!!

Listening to the dishwasher running and my son humming as he plays in his playroom.

Happy that my husband did the grocery shopping for me yesterday!

Laughing at a text from my mom teasing my dad.

Hoping that Brayden picks out a movie for our “movie night” that I actually would want to watch.

Trying to plan my day so I have time for doing report cards, cleaning, and spending some quality time with Brayden.

Wishing it was summer…

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March SOL Day 10: Saturday Morning

Saturday.

Got to sleep in a bit.

Everyone else is still asleep.

Tip toe downstairs and make my coffee…

Enjoying the first couple sips while relaxing on the couch.

Loving the quiet of the house now.

Doesn’t last very long….

Pitter Patter of Feet upstairs.

Banging of a bedroom door as it flies open.

“Good Morning MAMA!!” Yelled as he barrels down the stairs.

So much for my peaceful, quiet morning.

Three hops and he’s on top of me.

Hugs and squeezes.

Kisses on my cheeks.

“I love you so much.” He says snuggling into me.

Peace and quiet are so overrated…..

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SOL Day 9:

I had to look at my slice from last year’s SOL challenge to remind myself what I did on this day last time. March 9th is the anniversary of the passing of my younger brother, and only sibling. I can’t even believe it’s been SIXTEEN years. It is crazy to me. I swear, this week, no matter what I am doing or what’s happening in my life, I always carry around a heaviness to me. A sadness to remind me, even when I’m not thinking about it, it’s “that time of year.” 😦

He would be 43 if he was still with us today. He would most likely be married with a family and I believe that we’d still be close and our kids would be as well. I think about the fact that my husband (who shares his birthday…) and my son, Brayden, never knew him. They only know of “Uncle Drew” from pictures that we have, and stories that they’ve heard from myself or the family. They never knew him, and they are the most important people in my life. It’s so strange to me…

I have 27 years of memories with my kid brother. Some are great, some remind me of how annoying he could be, and how we could fight as only siblings can! However, when we were in our “twenties” together, he stopped being my kid brother at some point, and became my friend. We hung out together, like on purpose! We shared the same group of friends, worked at the same part-time job when we were both back in school. Him for his Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, me for my Master’s in Counseling Psychology. We commuted together to Northeastern University in Boston, worked at the same restaurant, and hung out with the same “crew”. I will always cherish those last few years before he got sick, when we became “real friends.” I’m so glad we had that time. I just wish that we had had more. I would have loved to see him and my husband laughing and joking (probably teasing me as they both love to do) at holidays and family parties. I would have loved to have him at my wedding, and to have been the godfather to his nephew, Brayden. I would have loved to see what he did with his life, who he married, and how he would have been as a father. Yet, none of this was meant to be.

I was lucky to have him in my life. I don’t regret any of it, just wish we could have had him longer. I see him sometimes in my son. His humor, his mischief, so much like his uncle Drew. Brayden loves asking about him, and for me to tell him stories about the two of us when we were young. I Can’t wait to get home tonight, give him a big hug, and think of  another “funny Uncle Drew” story to share with him… This is how my son will know him. This is how we can remember him. Truth be told today, on this 16th anniversary, I just miss him. So. Much. slice-of-life_individual

SOL Day 8: Differences

As I sit here with my coffee, about to slice… I can hear my 7 year old son in his playroom. He is taking a video of himself as he “shows off” something “very cool” that he invented today. He is talking into his leap pad and I have to say, he is explaining the steps and what he’s doing very well in his “How to” video!

On one hand,  I’m very happy that he’s in there playing and using his imagination, but the other part of me can’t believe that he thought to get his leap pad and record a video of himself. However, This is the “new world” we live in now though. People document EVERY. THING. So, why wouldn’t my son want to document and share what he built? I’m laughing listening to him in there, as he’s so cute, but I’m also wondering… “Oh my god, how is he so good at this? How does he know exactly what to say to his “audience”. Clearly because he’s seen plenty of these types of “how to” videos before. So.. as I sat.. my mind started going very quickly down this road…

“Oh No! Is my son going to be one of those kids who just makes 1,000 YouTube videos that nobody cares about?” It just started me thinking about how different it is now and I began to go down the road of how it happened so quickly…. and how as a society, we just feel the need to overshare everything. Wait…What is happening to us??!

Teaching 10 and 11 year olds all day, I know that they are all on their phones, documenting everything on Instagram, Snapchat,  and creating music videos on Musically. This is how many of them spend most of their free time whenever they are NOT in school.  My students without phones, and the ability to SEE what is happening on these sites and apps, feel they are being left out. It really troubles and upset them. They need to be part of this “Cybersocial” world to be part of their social groups!

It is a different time and this is how our socitey lives now. It’s not just our kids either. As Adults, we are doing it all the time too. We share and overshare every. last. aspect of our days, our lives, our experiences. It is all out there. We know who is with who and where they are and what they are doing. We know what they ate and/or drank, we know if they went shopping or to the movies, what they are watching on tv, and whether or not they worked out that day. When did we care so much about what everyone else was doing every second? When did we all decide that it was important to share with everyone what we are doing, watching, listening to, feeling, etc.  When did it become so important for others to KNOW everything about us? It’s so surreal to think about it sometimes.

Facebook, Twitter,  Instagram and Snap Chat are not just for the “youngsters”. Plenty of us are posting and documenting photos/videos daily! While I am quite proud to say that I don’t “Snap” or “tweet”,  I am guilty of not just checking Facebook daily, but at times “checking in” somewhere as well.  Why though? I ask myself. I guess so everyone will know where I am and what I’m doing. For what? I wonder… In case I go missing?? Yikes.. what am I doing?? Yet, it’s WHAT WE DO.

It’s so bizarre when we stop and think about it. Definitely A different time,  and a different world. How did I get HERE from listening to my son making a video on his leappad (that nobody will ever see)?  I guess it just scares me a bit that my son will be a “cyber social” person, but maybe won’t really be SOCIAL in real-life face to face situations with people”?? I know it’s probably silly. He’s seven. He has friends. I shouldn’t worry that he can’t even look up when he’s on the Ipad right??? Hmm. I hope the tides turn soon, and we all go back to just living our own private lives and not caring so much what everyone else is doing. Just a little. Just some of the time….

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SOL Day 7: 10 Fun Facts! :)

So as I struggle today to come up with a topic to write about, I figured that maybe I would come up with another list. So, what should I list? Well, my students are still sharing their Biography slide show presentations and one of their favorite things to include are “Fun Facts” about the person they chose to research. So, I figured.. Hmm. I guess I can come up with 10 Fun Facts about myself. So here we go…

  1. I didn’t start teaching until I was 30 years old. I actually also have a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and was a Licensed Adolescent/Child therapist for a few years in my twenties. I found it sad and a bit depressing and worked in Human Resources (Corporate Training) for years before I decided to go back for my degree in Elementary Education.
  2. I CANNOT ski or ice skate. Actually, I have NEVER been on skis in my entire life. I live in New England, and I have NEVER tried to ski. (Nor do I have any desire to either. ) I did go ice skating a couple times in elementary school, but haven’t been since. I am not a winter person. Or a snow person. I did try snowboarding once with my husband though when we were dating. I liked it for a few hours and then I just got cold and wet and wanted to go have wine in the warm lodge! 🙂
  3. I drove cross-country with my college boyfriend the day after graduating from college. We landed in Scottsdale, Arizona. Although we broke up pretty quick after we arrived, I stayed living in AZ for two years with a friend from college who decided to move out there with me! I LOVED it. I moved back to go to graduate school  in 1998 and haven’t been back since.
  4. My husband and I adopted our son, Brayden, from Moscow, Russia in 2012. We first met him when he was 8 months old and we were able to bring him home right after his 1st birthday. We took 3 trips to Moscow in the process and less than a year afterwards, Russia shut down their international adoption program. 😦 He is the best thing we ever did. It was a long, grueling process but so worth it! I don’t even think about it anymore as we are just a family and he’s so much our child.
  5. In 2015, I was nominated to do “Norwood Dancing with the Stars” dance competition and won! It was so much fun!!!
  6. My husband and I love to see live music. Even though we are in our 40’s we still try to go to as many concerts as we can in the summers. I have been to hundreds of shows and seen almost every band that I ever liked! My favorite is U-2 and when I see them this coming June it will be my twenty-first time seeing them in concert. Can’t wait!
  7. This isn’t really “fun” but.. I am allergic to a TON of foods. Eggs, soy, dairy,  gluten, crab and probably more that I don’t even know about. I didn’t have ANY issues with gluten until about 10 years ago when I was officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Luckily…. red wine is free of ALL allergens! 🙂
  8. My favorite time of every day is between 7:00-7:30 pm when I sit with Brayden on the couch and do books. We “cuddle” and he reads to me or I read to him, and it’s the best part of my day. Every. Day.
  9. I am phobic of bees/hornets/wasps. PHOBIC. Like crazy, psycho… have LEFT my HOME because there was a bee inside, and wouldn’t go back until my husband, dad or father in law… went there to kill it. It’s bad.
  10. I absolutely LOVE to binge watch GOOD shows with my husband! I don’t know WHAT I did before Netflix/Amazon Prime video!! 🙂 Right now we are in Season 4 of Downton Abby. (Love it!) Some of our other favorite binge shows we’ve done are Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, The Tutors, The Crown, Black Sails, Turn, and Sons of Anarchy. (Recommendations welcome!! 🙂 I love watching “older” shows that I never saw when they were “on”.

That’s 10 so I guess, that’s a wrap! 🙂

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