SOLSC: Day 31: Reflections

So, I can NOT believe this is the last day of the challenge. While I am SO excited that I was able to write and read slices every day, I’m sad that it’s ending as well. Okay, the pressure every morning to get my slice done, will obviously be less, but I have really enjoyed being part of this challenge so much that I’m bummed it’s over. In looking at my slices and thinking about the experience I have had being part of this writing community, I have learned a bit about myself. Here are some of my reflections:

  • First, I really missed writing. Even the days when I couldn’t think of something and did something fun like a list, it was such a great feeling of accomplishment to post my slice everyday.
  • Writing for me has always been therapeutic and I’d forgotten that. I feel that by writing about what I’m feeling or thinking about helps! It also gets the juices flowing and my mind thinking which leads to me wanting to write more and more.
  • If I never decided to do this, I wouldn’t have done it with my class, which would have been so sad, as my students have embraced this challenge and done amazing with it.
  • Not only have I enjoyed writing and sharing my slices, I have LOVED reading about others experiences and feelings. Many have been so touching and inspiring and others have just made me really think.
  • I have learned that by writing, I am a bit more vulnerable and honest. I don’t have my “guard” up, my “everything’s fine” wall when I write. I am just… real.
  • I honestly feel that I have been LESS stressed out, more patient, lighter, and just all and all in a better mood since starting to write again and that’s huge!
  • I am so thankful and grateful that I found the TWO WRITING TEACHERS blog and was given this opportunity to take part in this challenge. It has been such a positive experience and I didn’t realize how much I NEEDED this, until I did it. 🙂

I can’t wait to continue on this journey in this wonderful community! I am very excited for Tuesday 4/4 when I can begin the Tuesday Slice of Life, and I’m already eagerly anticipating or March 2018 and my 2nd year of the challenge! 🙂 Wahoo!!! We did it.

SOL Day 30: No SNOW!!!!

So April is just around the corner and they are talking about snow for tomorrow and Saturday here in Massachusetts. What?!!!!! I literally feel like I want to cry! NO!!!! It’s spring! I need sun, and warmth and to NOT be wearing my black boots anymore! Ugh. I am surprised at how upset I actually am about this forecast. It’s not a big storm, just enough to be cold, gross, and annoying.

Saturday, April 1st, my cousins and I are all going into the North End in Boston for dinner and a show. It will be 10 of us, five couples, all for a kid free fun night out. We have been planning this get together for months and felt that April 1st would be “better” weather. I had a cute top picked out with wedge booties (that I can’t wear in the snow) and now it’s going to be yucky out and wintry. Ugh. So, back to my black boots and winter coat. So annoyed!

I realize that I am the WORST New-Englander ever. I should totally live somewhere south or west coast, or somewhere that is warmer and sunny and that they don’t have winter! I lived in Scottsdale, AZ for two years between college and graduate school and the weather was perfect. I LOVED it. I came home for Christmas and then I was back in the sun. However, twenty years ago when I lived there, it was “weird” to me not having seasons. I actually missed it. More so, I missed my family and my friends, which is why I decided to come back. Well, I also missed trees and real grass and seafood and the city. I missed New England. I try to remember that when I feel like this. I LOVE Boston, Cape Cod, New Hampshire, the beach.. all of it. I love it from April (usually) until right after Christmas. Then I’m MISERABLE from mid-January through March! 🙂 Clearly, when I eventually retire my husband and I need to be those people that “go south” for the winters! 🙂 Ha.

Well, I’m still crossing my fingers that it doesn’t snow, and this will pass us by! (Praying) however, I know I need to suck it up and make the best of it. The family is getting together and it will be lots of laughs and fun. I will stay positive and just enjoy the night even if I can’t wear my cute new shoes. 😦

SOLSC Day 29: Becoming a Writer Again

I can’t believe it’s already day 29 of this writing challenge. Just TWO more days to go and we’re done. I am feeling very accomplished, but I’m also sad to see it end too. I have really enjoyed writing daily, and also READING so many wonderful, thoughtful, slices and getting to know so many people in this community through what they share. I am 100% planning on continuing on with the Tuesday Slice of Life, and am excited that I have that to look forward to.

However, getting back into writing this past month has felt amazing, almost as if a part of me that had been asleep had finally woke up! Going forward, I really don’t want to give that up, and I know how easy it could be, as I’ve done it before. Life gets in the way, we get busy, and before we know it, we’ve stopped.

So, I’m calling this post my accountability post that after 3/31 I continue. I challenge MYSELF to writing at least FIVE days a week. My goal will be to do all seven, but realistically, I know stuff happens, and 5 will be my minimum. Now, to figure out what I do? Do I continue with my blog? Do I start to write fiction again, as I did when I was in my 20’s? Do I just open a google document and see what comes out? Or do I do all three??!

As you may have read in a previous slice, my students have also been involved in a March Writing challenge and have been LOVING it. They have asked if we can do it again, so we’ve decided that since we have vacation in April, we will do another 31 days in May! 🙂 I plan to do this daily writing challenge with my students as well. I feel it will be a great way to connect with my students! I am so thrilled at the way they took to the writing challenge, and how some of my reluctant writers, have thrived with it!

So to wrap up, I’m just feeling very thankful for this community and the opportunity it gave me to get involved in this writing challenge. It has not only been an amazing experience for me, but also for my students.

SOLSC Day 28: What’s in a number?

Today, I really didn’t know what I was going to slice about. However, after looking at the title SOLSC Day 28, and the date 3/28/17 on the wall… I’m really thinking about the #28. Hmm. It has actual real significance and meaning to me which I know sounds weird but it’s true. So what is it about 28?

Well, to start the house I grew up in for the first thirteen years of my childhood was 28 Chapel Street. It was a very old house owned by my great-grandmother and her sister. It was also the “first” home I knew, and it holds so many memories of the “early years” with me and my brother.  I remember it all so well. The hill in our backyard we used to run and sled down. The creepy dark attic, the old tub with the lion paw feet. The way our voices would echo in the hallway upstairs. The house was old and drafty and I’m pretty convinced it was definitely haunted, but it had SO much character and I miss it.

Fast forward about 25 years and Randy and I are looking to move out of our condo and to buy our first home. I remember the day in April, 2010 when he was at the firehouse, that I decided to go to a few Open Houses. It was the third house I pulled up to that day. A small white cape with blue shutters and a porch. 28 Crane Street. “This is my house” a voice in my head said as I shut off my car. I had such a calm feeling as I walked up the walk way and to the front door. Something about it just felt “right” and I hadn’t even seen the inside yet. Well, I went in and fell in love with this cute, little, cape house. As I was walking back to my car, I called my friend Lauri, who was my realtor, and Randy and told them both that I may have just found our house. I told my husband he needed to come see it the next day. Lauri called and made an appt. for him and her to go check it out. Randy love it as well, so we decided to make an offer, which they accepted.  We bought our first house, 28 Crane Street. Ironically, we signed the P&S on April 28th and we closed.. June 28th, 2010.

So, my last “real” connection to the #28 is the date of August 28th. My brother, Drew, and my husband, Randy both share this date as their birthday.  I still remember the night I met Randy. I was still working my 2nd job as a bartender and he had come in for dinner with a friend of his that I knew from being a regular at the restaurant. We got to talking and he jokingly asked me if I was going to card him. So, of course, I did. When I looked at his license and saw his Date of Birth, that same little voice was in my head. “This is your husband.”  Obviously, I didn’t get married to him right away or anything but he did come in the next Friday night, by himself, and asked me out on a date. So, four years later, he did become my husband. 🙂

Which brings me to August 28, 2008. Drew was gone then just over six years, and Randy and I had been together one month shy of three years. He knew that while I loved celebrating HIS birthday, it was a bittersweet day for me as it was also my brother’s birthday, and Drew was no longer here. At that time, I was still teaching first grade and on that date, 8/28/08,  we were having an “Open House/Meet and Greet” for our new students.

I had been there all morning, setting up the classroom and making sure it was read, when Randy came in to visit me with lunch and flowers. It was about noon time and Open House began at 1:00 pm. I was happy to see him, and for the Greek salad, but I was preoccupied with making sure I was ready for the families coming in soon. He asked em to come to the table to sit down and eat, and I was still walking around doing stuff. I finally did, and was opening my water, when he shocked me by getting down on one knee. What was happening?!! Right then and there, in my old classroom, less than an hour prior to 19 first graders and their parents coming in, he proposed to me. On his birthday. On Drew’s birthday. I was shocked. Even today, I still remember what he said,

“the best birthday present I could ask for is for you to be my wife.” Swoon. It was kind of perfect.

So needless to say the #28 holds a very special place in my heart.

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SOLSC-Day 27: Much Needed Shout Out

So I have to say that I had a great day yesterday! I really accomplished a lot and was able to make a nice dinner for my family and enjoy some time with them last night. It was a perfect Sunday! However, I DID have every intention of nominating someone for the First Time Slicer challenge yesterday, and the day got away from me with doing stuff around here and the family, and I never got back to the computer to do it.

Let me start by saying, that I am so proud of myself for writing every day and getting to Day 27 without missing one day. I made it this far, and we’re in the home stretch, so I’m pretty confident I’ll get in the last four days! It’s a huge accomplishment for me, and I have enjoyed it so much. While it feels very good to be in this writing groove, I am a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to complete the couple weekend challenges this time around, and as I mentioned the one this past weekend.

I also think part of the problem was that I can only nominate ONE slicer who has motivated me and inspired me and the truth is there were many. Everyone who READ and COMMENTED on my post, motivated me. From their comments, I was able to read their stories and it was just an amazing process. I have loved getting to know some of the people in this community through their own slices and their comments on mine.

With that being said, I do want to take a second to just give a shout out to three slicers that have consistently, pretty much daily, left positive words of encouragement on my blog, and truly have inspired me through this process. Drum roll please..

Big thanks to:

vanessaw2007@Vanessa’s Voice, svalter@Read.Reflect.Teach and Adrienne@booksandbassets

Your comments have pushed me through and kept me going, so a huge thanks to you all for making me feel welcome and part of this awesome community. 🙂 I look forward to reading your slices for the rest of this challenge and as we move forward!

I really do appreciate everyone’s comments and all that take the time to stop and read my slices, so thank you so much to you all! Have a great day and a great week. slice-of-life_individual

 

 

 

What’s happening in the Here and Now

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This slice was inspired by another slicer who did a similar format a few weeks ago and I really liked the idea.

Thinking about: What I can write about for the next five days, my course work I need to complete for my online class, and how much I can get done before my yoga class at 4:00 pm.

Thankful for: Brayden, my husband Randy, my family and friends, my health. Oh and Also, that April Vacation is just three weeks  away!

Wishing For: That the snow would all melt, Spring would come and stay! Oh and to win the lottery so we can buy our dream house!

Planning For: How I’m going to complete my coursework in the next two weeks, what I will be teaching next week, and Randy and I’s get away April 18th-20th. 🙂

Reading: Presently I have been reading a LOT of slices and blog posts and have been loving it. Have the book The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware ready to go for my book club.

Watching: Currently loving the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies based on the book which I loved. Also, Scandal and Designated Survivor are two shows on the DVR weekly. Otherwise it’s HGTV, Friends or Big Bang Theory reruns on TBS! Oh and I’m having withdrawls already from This is US.

Listening to: In this very moment I’m listening to Shrek that’s on TV in the living room. However, in the car and on Pandora it’s been a lot of Live Police and U-2! 🙂

Drinking: Water and about to make a cup of green mint tea! 🙂

Mood: Happy. Relieved that I got the house clean yesterday and grocery shopping is done! I have no where to be today and can just hang out at home with the family.

 

SOLSC Day 25: A Good Deed

So it’s 1:12 pm EST and I’ve already had a VERY productive day.  Worked out- check, cleaned the house-check, laundry-check, grocery story trip 1 (whole foods will be tomorrow)-check and now getting to slice before my cousin comes over with his family for a “play date” for the kids and the adults! 🙂

This morning I ran to the supermarket to pick up a few things that we needed before doing my big shop tomorrow. I was playing “beat the clock” a bit as I wanted to get home make Brayden lunch and shower and get ready before our guests arrived. Per usual there was only one “Express” lane open and there was a bit of a line. No biggie, I thought. I was sort of daydreaming as I waited until I was close enough to put my 12 items on the belt. The woman in front of me, was a petite, older woman, maybe in her 70’s. She reminded me of a grandma that they would be illustrated in a children’s book. Down to the scarf tied around her head. I wasn’t paying too much attention to what she was buying or how she was paying until the cashier told her there was not enough money on her card. It was then that I saw it was an EBT card.

“You don’t have enough to cover this.” The cashier said with a bit of annoyance.

The older woman looked very confused. “What? What do you mean?”

“You have a balance of $6.41.” She snapped at the old woman.

Okay, I get she had a long line and was a bit stressed out. I watched the older woman look in her wallet and the sad, confused, look on her face.

“I think I need to put something back.” She said softly.

At this point, I am looking in my own purse if I have cash on me as I was planning on paying with my debit card. I had a $10 bill. Phew.

“Well, now I have to void everything out because I already ran your card. We have to take everything off and ring it back in.” The cashier was talking at the woman, not very nicely I might add.

It was then that I just reached over and handed her the $10.

She looked up at me confused.

“Take it out of that.” I said quietly.

“Are you sure?” the cashier asked surprised. She was looking at me like I was a crazy person.

“Yes.” I smiled. “Go ahead.”

The older woman looked confused as the cashier cashed out her order and for a minute I don’t think she realized what had just happened. She looked over to me with a look of relif, appreciation, and a bit of surprise.

“Thank you so much.” She said smiling to me as she was handed her receipt. “Thank you.”

The cashier never even said good bye to her or told her to have a good day or anything. I don’t know why, but this is what I remember the most. It felt good to do something nice for someone, to do the right thing. However, what sticks out to me was how annoyed and actually… rude the cashier was to this poor old woman. Even when she rang me up. She never made eye contact, never mentioned what had happened. Just robotic, cold and it made me think that there really needs to be a bit more kindness and good in this world. slice-of-life_individual

SOLSC Day 24: Happy Birthday Bampi

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Today I am remembering my grandfather, Joe Curran, who would be 87 today. He was truly the most wonderful, loving, caring man I ever knew. Yes, I love my husband and my dad, and they are both wonderful, but there was just something about my grandfather that was so special. He was always positive and proud and filled with unconditional love. He made me and everyone he was surrounded by feel like they mattered. His name, Bampi, was given to him by me, the oldest of his nine grand children, who when I started talking, called him “Bampi” instead of Grampie and it just stuck. I have so many wonderful memories of him from childhood right up through adulthood, and I know how blessed I am to have had him in my life as long as I did. I also am so grateful that Brayden got to meet his great-grandfather and to have him in his life for a little bit of time.

On this day, four years, ago, we celebrated his 83rd birthday with him. It was the last birthday that he was here with us, as he passed in May just six weeks later. He was so happy to be with his family, but especially with his great-grandchildren. At the time, it was just Brayden and my cousin’s daughter Chloe. Brayden was only two at the time, and Chloe just three months old, but he adored them both so much. Brayden and him were like “best buds”, every time we’d visit, my grandfather would take out a big bowl of strawberries, both of their favorite, for them to share together. It was the cutest thing. They would sit together and chat away and eat their snack together and they had a very special bond. I was the oldest grand child and my child was the oldest great-grandchild.

I still find it fascinating that even though he was only two years old when we lost him, Brayden still remembers his Bampi, and talks about him a lot. He tells me he remembers his chair at the house that they always sat in, and that he had a boo-boo on his face. This was actually true, as my grandfather had surgery to have a mole removed from his face a few weeks before he passed and had a big bandage on his cheek the last time Brayden saw him. He truly remembers him.

They are similar, my son and my grandfather, both being kind souls that see the good in people. It’s such a wonderful quality and I love that I see a bit of him in my son.

The picture below was actually taken on his 83rd birthday, and I’m so thankful that I was able to capture this moment. It’s so precious and I love it so much. Happy Birthday Bampi. We miss you and love you so much.

Bampi and brayden

SOLSC Day 23: A Nice Surprise

So, you know when you have those days when you just feel overwhelmed, stressed, and just “done.” That’s how I was feeling this week for some reason. I sliced about this on Tuesday actually, and many of us seem to be feeling it a bit this time of year.

Then as I was getting ready to leave for the day yesterday, I decided to check my email quick and had an email letting me know that I have been nominated for Teacher of the Year in the district that I teach in. Honestly, it made me pretty happy. It came at the perfect time when I just needed something to perk me up a bit and that email did the trick.

I have no idea which parent/student it was, and I won’t know until the “award dinner” on May 5th. I’ve been a few times, as this is my 2nd time being nominated, but have had friends in my building get nominated and have gone to support. It’s a nice night. Everyone is dressed up, they have dinner and cocktails, and  each letter that was written for each of the nominees gets read aloud. At the end of the night they will announce the winner. A “blind panel” of volunteers read all the letters and decide from that who should get the award for the year. All of us will receive a $100 gift card to a restaurant and a certificate,  and the winner also receives an award, $1000 cash and a donation to their school as well. It’s a really nice night celebrating teachers, and there are many amazing teachers being nominated, as there are ever year.

Honestly, I don’t even think about “winning” it at all, as it really is an honor to be nominated. Especially since I work with some  wonderful, dedicated, caring teachers that sometimes don’t ever get the recognition they deserve! We all know in this field that we sometimes will only hear from a parent when they are upset or concerned, but  hardly ever what we are doing right. We all work hard and dedicate ourselves to our students, so it was a really nice feeling to know that someone out there appreciates what we do.

 

This is what I walked into today in my classroom. 🙂

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SOLSC Day 22: Therapeutic Writing

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When I decided to actually do the March Slice of Life writing challenge, I became inspired to also do a daily writing challenge with my 5th graders as well. While, I was not ready to have us take part in the official student challenge through Two Writing Teachers, (a goal for next year) my students are writing daily in their marble notebooks or typing their entries into a google doc and sharing it with me. 16 out of 19 of my students are still “in” it. My students can’t wait to share their notebooks with me and are so excited, they asked if we can do it again in May. Of course there are the students that I KNEW would love this, however, I really feel the best thing about it is the students that actually surprised me.

There is one boy in my class in particular that is standing out. This boy, who I adore by the way, has ADHD and really struggles with attention and impulsiveness. He also has a learning disability which makes academics more of a challenge for him. He is a great kid who is respectful, kind, and really tries to do well. However, he has not always LOVED writing as it can be a struggle for him. He will usually try to do the bare minimum and rush through it, as he’s not super comfortable with it. However, this challenge has CHANGED him. He has that black and white marble notebook with him always. It’s out on his desk all day, it goes to and from school every night, and some days he writes more than one entry. Not only is he writing a ton, he is excited to SHARE his writing with me. This “challenge” has become a way for him to express himself and his feelings.

Today while reading his notebook, I actually teared up. A few of his entries was about his grandfather that was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He writes about his feelings about his grandfather and how scared he is that he is sick. He talks about things they do together and that he’s worried as he “doesn’t look good.” The one that really got me was when he wrote how excited he was that he didn’t get in “trouble” with the substitute the day I was out last week.

His entries are so personal and insightful, and I find myself so lucky that he wants to share his private thoughts with me. To see the smile on his face, and the excitement he has about writing is amazing. I truly feel that this “challenge” allowed him a safe place to express himself and to get out his feelings, and that to me is the biggest indicator that the decision to do this challenge with my kids was a huge success!