10/31/11

Would you like fries with that?



Today was the day we celebrated Halloween in kindergarten, which was quite convenient, as it really IS Halloween!  (My head is pounding and to be honest I'm not sure I lived through it.)


I wore an adorable and uncomfortable “hot dog” costume that belonged to the son of another kindergarten teacher, and my paraprofessional wore a hamburger costume that was worn by her son last year.



We went together like mustard and ketchup; we were two peas in a pod.  Frankly, I think we were incredibly clever.  But guess what?   We were not nearly as clever as Francis.




“HEY!  Mrs. Smythe!” she yelled excitedly across the room, “ You know what?  If YOU get hungry, you can eat Mrs. Jones.  And if Mrs. Jones gets hungry then SHE can eat YOU!   And since you guys are friends, it would be okay!”  








Try keeping a straight face after that revelation.






(Let the candy gorging begin.)

I hope you all brought your permission slips.


Yep, we're heading on a field trip.  I'm over here today- after an interview with a friend of mine.


Just remember, NO singing on the bus.  (I have enough around here to give me a headache.)



10/29/11

The (e)merge.




I was alone in my classroom this morning preparing for the second day of parent/teacher conferences.  I glanced at the white mesh butterfly house perched on top of the wooden kitchen in the playroom, and said a quiet good morning to the chrysalis’s sleeping inside.  They were formed in the last week or so, and varied in size and shape.  I knew they would need at least another week of deep sleep before they emerged as beautiful monarch butterflies.  (Or at least I hoped they would.)



I was wrong.


One of the tiny pods clinging to the roof of the net house had turned a dark brown overnight, and I immediately decided it was my “gifted” butterfly.    Apparently insects, as well as children, bloom when they are good and ready, and not one minute before or after.  My heart leapt, a mix of excitement for what the day might bring, and disappointment that the children weren’t there to share it with me.




I returned to my table and enjoyed a busy morning of conferences, sharing successes and goals for the coming school year.  During my lunch break I remembered the miracle occurring in the kitchen, and ran back to check its progress. Ms. Perky peeked into my room, and together we marveled at life's miracles.   We perched on stools and watched in wonder as the monarch slowly emerged from its cocoon.  Its wings slowly unfurled bit-by-bit, and its antenna rolled down its back.   Each foot grasped onto the fragile cocoon, instinctively holding on while it stretched and opened for the first time in its life. 



I was transfixed, speechless as this miracle unfolded along with the orange and black wings.



It spent the afternoon drying itself and stretching its wings.  Before I left for the day, I reached into the cage and held out my finger as the butterfly gingerly stepped aboard.  I walked carefully outside and stood in the sun with my arm outstretched.  My heart skipped a beat as I gently tossed the fragile being into the air and watched it slowly flap its wings. 


It flew, a bit wobbly at first, and I stepped back.   I put my hand at my side and moved even farther back, allowing it to fly on its own, tentatively at first and then with the ease and grace that I knew it possessed.

 

I watched it fly away and knew in my heart that this simple act is what I repeat twenty times each year.  It’s my charge, my life’s work and my passion. 



I help the children that enter my classroom settle into their comfortable learning cocoons.   I wrap them in words, sounds, stories, opportunities, challenges, wonder, security, warmth and love.  They perch in the classroom, along with all the other cocoons, and they awake when they are ready.  Some will open their wings and fly a bit early, and others will wait until they feel they are ready.







But in the end they will all open their wings, and I will gently toss them in the air and sit back and watch them soar.  





10/28/11

The Morning Meeting; Frankly, it's the best part of the day.



I remember my senior year at Hicktown High School I was both shocked and thrilled to be voted “Most Outgoing” by my fellow classmates.  (We won’t mention the year.)    I might have been even MORE thrilled had I been voted Most Beautiful or Most Likely to Succeed, but was thrilled and surprised nonetheless.   I like to think that I received this honor because of my happy nature and my ability to make friends – two characteristics that I owe to my upbringing as a “Navy Brat.”

My father, a JAG officer, brought us up with some very strict rules.  You treat your elders with respect, you respond when people greet you and you listen when spoken to.  Some days I feel that these very basic rules of courtesy have been somewhat neglected in the busy-ness of our lives.  (I’m just as guilty as everyone else.)  The one rule that really sticks out to me is very basic.  When meeting someone, or greeting a friend, you look them in the eyes and shake their hand.  That is a rule that many teachers have incorporated into the beginning of each day with something we call “The Morning Meeting.” 


Morning Meeting, a crucial part of my day, is a great way to build community, set a positive tone, increase excitement about learning and build those basic social skills.  It’s founded on the principles that each child is important and should be given some time and attention each day. Let’s just say that some very important people doing very important research have published very important papers on this very important topic.  Teachers incorporate Morning Meeting into their daily schedules not because research tells us to, but because we know in our hearts that it is essential to build community.


 During sharing time we get a peek into their lives, and give them a peek into ours.  We hear about pets being naughty, a skinned knee, brothers being bad, visits fromthe tooth fairy, and remote trips to Africa.   Most of the time this sharing can snowball into a chain reaction.  Here’s an example of a recent “sharing” episode:


“I went to Egypt last night.”
Last night my mom and date had a date in the bathroom.”
“Last night my mom let my dog poop in the house.”
“My dog ate my dads chips while he was watching TV.
"Oh… one time I ate potato chips!"
"My dad got poker chips for his birthday"
"Hey, my mom's birthday was last week!"
"When’s my birthday?
“Hey, my birthday is in the next season.”
“Today is the second day of the season of fall.”
Fall? I falled off my bed last night.”

Yeah, our morning routine is made up of many ordinary moments. We greet, we share, we play a community building game and go over the schedule of the day.  But, sprinkled throughout this routine is often an extraordinary moment.  The morning that our precious girl Julia, who had been a selective mute most of the year, decided to greet her neighbor Hailey, and then turned to greet Ben. That was a moment I’ll never, ever forget.  It brought tears to my eyes and cheers to the mouths of her fellow students.  Had we not spent many a day laying the foundation of trust, compassion and “sharing” we might have missed this special moment when Julia felt safe enough to say hello. 



We know tests are important; we know kids need great scores to for college and schools need high test scores to maintain funding. (Thanks George.)   We also know that parents want to be proud of their children’s achievements.  But, as teachers, we never, never forget one of our most important jobs, helping EACH child feel important and valued.  When we teach each child that caring about their fellow classmates and their community is an important lesson, we are helping them, their classmates, and ultimately their community. 




(And a little funny story never hurts.)

10/25/11

She might be the death of me. (But I'll be laughing as I draw my last breath.)


The kids attend their “special” classes once a week.  These include library, gym, art and music.  They love these classes ALMOST as much as the teachers who drop them off do. (Bring ‘em early and pick ‘em up late.  BEEPL, my friends.)


Today I slipped into the music room a bit early because I always love to watch the singing and dancing that our amazing music teacher inspires each week. (She’s hands-DOWN incredible.  I kid you not.)


I tried to slip into the room unnoticed, but quickly saw Francis sitting on one of the risers a bit away from the group.  (What a surprise.) Her arms were crossed and she raised her eyebrows and shrugged her shoulders when I glanced her way.



I sat next to her without a word, and watched the class quietly.   Mrs. Periwinkle said to the class very dramatically,  “Now, we’re going to sing that song one more time- and use your best, most beautiful voices!!”



Francis turned to me  as if we were two friends lounging at the pool talking about the woman in the bikini, and said “She always says that.”  And with her hand in front of her mouth so only I would hear, “She’s kind of crazy that way.”







God I love that girl.  L. O.  V.  E.  




(And five-years old?  I think THIRTY-five is more like it. Her real self is inside her mother's body combing the town for the woman with the fortune cookie who cast the spell upon them.)



10/24/11

Silence of the Lambs. (aka when good ideas go bad)

We watched an adorable Sesame Street video today called "Learning to Read".  The children loved the songs, and were particularly enamored by the singing scientists who wore sunglasses and did a spectacular performance on word families.




(AND OMG here it is!! Thank you You Tube.  Please watch- it's hysterical.)





They took it upon themselves to make their own masks in an attempt to mimic the adorable muppets, and wanted me to video their planned performance of their "At" family song.





At first, the masks seemed to come along nicely as they rummaged for supplies through the scrap box and my craft cupboard.












And then Mr. and Mrs. Lector showed up.















Yikes. 




I might not sleep tonight. 







10/22/11

You will never, ever believe it. (I don't know why I'm surprised. It was time to be shaken up.)


Some of you old-timers might remember way back when I got into a tiny bit of trouble for my blog.


It was handled by the “powers that be” DOWNTOWN, and after a lot of hysterical sobbing, talking, more sobbing, perhaps a spanking and even more talking, I chose to take this lesson and use it to improve who I was as a person, a writer AND a teacher.



I see myself first and foremost as an educator, as this is what I have devoted most of my life to; but I am equally comfortable with the fact that I am a writer.    Writing has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember, but actually sharing it with the world is still fairly new to me. 




The administrator that handled my “case” did so with a firm hand, but all the while treated me with respect, intelligence and professionalism.  He listened to what I had to say.   He pointed out that I had to protect the identity of our schools, our children and our co-workers.  Additionally, I was to remember that during the day I had a responsibility to the children entrusted to me, while at night I could (of course) continue to work on my writing and my blog; just no pictures, no names and complete anonymity.   


I value my job, so I had to pay the piper.  I did so with a smile and a renewed determination that this would only improve my work, and my writing.   Frankly, I am sure it did.  I was also encouraged to use this to mend some rifts with my principal that had been neglected.  I can honestly say that fixing that particular issue has been a good, good thing.




But that is not the end of the story.   Oh no it isn’t.



We have recently hired a new leader in our school district, and he came to town this summer with his young family- honored and excited to lead our large, well-respected school district.   The members of our educational community were excited for this change, but didn’t envy his coming here at a tenuous time.  It’s a tough gig, people.  He’s where the buck stops, if you will.



He called me towards the end of the summer asking for a bit of advice for his presentation at the “first day of school” presentation he was preparing.  I was shocked and honored that he would call ME.  Sure, I write a well-received column (and thank GOD every day that they still let me do it) for the local paper, so I assumed that was how he got my name.  When I first saw his name in my emails my heart stopped- I won’t kid you. 


We had a great discussion, laughing and sharing stories about kindergarten children as he had a daughter entering that particular grade this year.  He shared some great reading material, and I was impressed with his engaging personality and his obvious intelligence.  (I guess the interview team got one right this time.)



I ran into him tonight at the Arboretum located on the grounds of the Smith and Wesson University here in town.  They were holding a huge pumpkin “carve-off” and he was there with his children to judge the pumpkins.  There were many, many people there and I was shocked when I ran smack into him!  (Although, basically, that's what I do.)



We chatted happily about the year, some of his experiences, and about his children.  He pointed to the kids laughing and admiring the pumpkins and told me their names.  



The last one, an adorable rascal running circles around the others, turned and smiled.



“That’s Jack!” he said with a laugh.  He turned to me and said under his breath,    “He’s my Frank!”




Say what?




WHAT?




He wished me well, smiled a genuine smile, waved and followed the kids down the path.




I couldn't move. 





I picked my JAW UP FROM THE GROUND and shook my head.   No.   That’s not what he said.  He didn’t say Frank, did he?  FRANK?




I think he said, “He’s got a bank."   Or, "He’s sometimes called Hank."  Or, "He needs a spank!"    Or maybe "Sometimes he smells rank.”



Cause I am pretty SURE he didn’t say Frank.







Oh my Lord.





10/21/11

Today I raised the white flag.


Things I learned today...under duress.





1.     When someone tells you that her sandwich smells like her grandma, take her word for it.  (I’ll never eat bologna again.)

2.     When Sasha says she wants to be the na-boosh and that she never EVER gets to be the na-boosh, it might take eight minutes to figure out that she is saying caboose.  





3.    Jack’s poop looks like a dinosaur.   (At least that's what he told everyone at lunch, in the hall, and in front of the teacher he didn't SEE on the carpet.)








Shaken, not stirred - and make it a double. 

Teaching an old cat some new tricks.


Not long ago I tweeted that I was looking for some new material for my "teaching" routine.  I received many wonderful recommendations, and discovered a book the kids LOVE.  And guess what?  So does the teacher.



Enjoy.






Have an incredible Friday, and an amazing weekend, my friends.   I will spend it wrapping myself in the love of my family, and watching Sassy play field hockey in her last home game of the season.   These fall weekends in northern Oregon are fairly close to heaven.











10/20/11

There's a LONG list of what we can't do. (aka there is no kissing in kindergarten)



Do you remember your first kiss?  I don’t mean the one on the playground behind the jungle gym, I mean the FIRST KISS.  Mine was in 7th grade.  

I had a crush on my best friend’s brother, who was in 8th grade. This kiss had been planned all week, with representatives from both of our camps. That Friday night we sat together at a Smithtown high school football game.  During halftime the majorettes always had the stadium blacked out as they twirled their lighted batons to the oohs and ahhs of the hometown crowd.  It was a long-standing tradition, and one that adolescent boys and girls looked forward to every week!  Well, the moment came, and the lights went out and then it happened.   It wasn’t quite what I had expected.  There were no fireworks, the earth didn’t shake, and those braces we were wearing really DID prove to be inconvenient, and dangerous.

This memory came to mind yesterday in kindergarten when I overheard one of my little girls, Janie, explaining to one of our little boys exactly how kissing worked.   “Well, first you put your lips together, and then you put your tongues…” 

“WAIT!” I shouted, before she could get any further.  “In kindergarten we do NOT talk about kissing.  Class, I think it’s time we talk AGAIN about all of the things we can and cannot do now that we are in “big kid” school. “  I stood at the board and began to list all of the suggestions the children had for what never do in school! 


We don’t give free massages during read-aloud.
We don’t tickle other people.
We don’t put our hands in our pants or anyone else’s pants.
We don’t walk on the tables.
We do not poop in our pants, cause that’s digustin’.
We do not use potty words because they’re not propriate (We don’t even say pooh-pooh and we only say “p” when we are talking about the letter.)
We do not walk backwards.
We don’t get married in kindergarten.
We do not punch each other in the head because your eyeball might pop out and bleed and that would be digusting.
We do not pick our noses in school, only at home.


As I tried to squeeze all of these fabulous ideas onto the board, my little friend Janie piped up from behind me.

“Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Smith!!  WHY are you writing on the board, when you KNOW we can’t read?"

She certainly had a point.  I wondered quickly if I should tell her that watching me write left to right would show her how sentences flow; that each time I write a word I sound it out for her; that each time I put a space between a word and use proper punctuation that she is learning.  I knew there would be plenty of time for this information.  So, I just replied, “Cause it’s fun, Janie.  It’s just plain fun.”

Can we help our new little friends learn the rules? Can we teach them to be good friends, follow the rules, and that they should NOT be kissing in kindergarten?  Well, like the little engine we’ve all read about, I don’t just think we can.  I know we can.



 (I know this is a re-post, and I apologize.  I can't seem to lift myself out of this sad place in which I find myself these days.  While I know there are others who are hurting far more than I,  missing Golden Boy is crippling me.  I will fight to the death to bring him back to me.  Carry on.)

10/18/11

I'll see your FRANK, and raise you a George. (Who's been cleverly disguised for 32 days.)





Today before snack we were handing out squirts of "sand-hanitizer", when Jack declined.



"I washed my hands already."



"Hmmm.  They look a little bit dirty." I said, with my eyebrows raised.





"My hands are clean except for that brown stuff under my fingernails, but I can bite that out."









oh sweet Jesus.



10/17/11

The gift that keeps on giving. (His name rhymes with Bank. As in money.)




I was greeting the children today when I heard a loud voice booming down the hallway.  I didn't need to look up from the Hello Kitty backpack I was holding to know who that voice belonged to.  




It was Frank.




"Mrs. SMYTHE!" he was yelling, intent on reaching me to share some obviously important information.  "I went to the EYE doctor!"



"Wow!"  I said, genuinely excited to see him as he knocked me over with a huge bear hug.




"Yeah," he continued with a smile, "I gotta get glasses!  My own glasses!  I'm smear-sighted."



"Don't you mean near-sighted?" I asked, trying to help him out.



"Naw.   When I look at the board everything is all smeary, and when I get glasses, it'll be all not-smeary."  






And with that, he turned and raced down the hall in a cloudy, smeary ball of dust.







Money, baby.  That boy is totally money. 

10/15/11

It's just crazy not to love each day.


I spent most of the day in the car, listening to an amazing book on tape.   I drove four hours to Pittsburgh, Oregon to watch my Sassy play an amazing field hockey game.   (They lost, but that is a lesson in itself.)

I screamed, jumped and cheered for two hours, and then enjoyed the company of smelly, sweaty, amazing girls and their families.  I also ate some GREAT tailgate food, but we'll ignore that for now. (Can't one of you run a thousand miles for me tomorrow???)


I drove the same distance HOME afterwards, all the while thinking of my darling Bitchy - who was taking care of the animals who feel incredibly neglected as of late.   Sure, she's incredibly Bitchy at times- but she is incredibly amazing, as well.  (God, I love that girl.)


I also spent an inordinate amount of time missing my Golden Boy.  I thought about Parent Alienation- and what it really means.  (More about that soon.) My heart is broken in a million pieces, and missing my boy, but it is mended daily by the love and support  I feel from my girls.


I won't elaborate yet, but I WILL say that this particular snippet is a reminder of my life's motto.  I love each day. I thank God each morning when I wake up, and I am so thankful for all that i DO have.



And what I have?  It's incredible.



Enjoy.  (please, please watch.)


10/14/11

Francis-isms.



"Mrs Smythe, I wish I had a GPS.  Then I could find the libary easier!"








(The library is practically next door.  Can't get much easier than THAT.)


10/13/11

It's always been my lucky day.





Today I celebrate the day my life was changed forever.  I am reminded that being a parent means a lot of the things, but one of them is this: the love I feel in my heart for my child is unconditional, uncontrollable, unbelievable and unbreakable.  (Even when you ask me for a present that is absurd.)   I see her for the girl she was, for the woman she is, and for the person she is yet to be.  I know intimately all of her gifts, her flaws, her habits, her pet-peeves, and her strengths; and it fills my heart with pride.



I wrote my first-born this letter two years ago.  Forgive me, but I feel the need to share it again today.  (I will, of course, change her age.  She'll kick my ass if I don't.  She's bitchy like that.)





Dear Bitchy,

Twenty-two years ago today your entry into this world taught me the meaning of  joy. I don’t think I can adequately describe that feeling in my heart when I first laid my eyes on you. I’ve learned so many more things from you since then.


I’ve learned how to laugh from deep down in my soul. I’ve laughed at you, I’ve laughed because of you, and of late - I’ve laughed with you.


I’ve learned the true meaning of fear, and the many faces fear has: the first STEP fear; the bicycle with no training wheels fear; the dealing with mean girls fear and the watching you enter middle school fear.
But, my darling, when you turned 16, you showed my heart the toughest meaning of fear. The kind of fear that creeps into a mother’s heart late at night and grips it so tightly it almost stops beating. I also learned to live with that fear, so that you could live your life, and make your own mistakes. (That was a tough one.) I've learned to harness that fear and turn it into hope.


You’ve also taught me that no matter how many mistakes I make, no matter how many times I embarrass you and no matter how many times I scream at you – you still love me. For that, I am most grateful.
And so, on this very special day, I want to tell you this. I loved the little girl who ran away from home to the backyard when I wouldn’t make her soup; I loved the little girl who in middle school got detention for spraying perfume on Jack Sprat; and I loved the young woman who in high school learned some tough, heartbreaking, valuable life lessons. You took them to heart and paved a new path for yourself – and that made me very, very proud.


Most importantly, I love you for who you are right now.


You are a part of my heart, my soul and my dreams. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.


Happy Birthday my darling Bitchy. I love you more than you will ever know. Well, except when you have a bitchy of your very own. Then you will know........only then.



love, 

The woman who apparently embarrasses you every chance she gets.  And is @#*#  proud of it. 






(I'm also over here today- a little field trip with Frank, if you will.)

10/11/11

I gave you LIFE. Shouldn't YOU be sending ME a gift???


  
Dear Bitchy,


Call me crazy, but I’m a  TAD bit confused here.   Sure, I know your 22nd birthday is tomorrow, and that you are expecting some outrageous gifts; however, when I opened the link to the $400 necklace that you insist is the ONLY PRESENT YOU WANT, I fell off my chair.    Mostly, cause I was SURE you sent it to the wrong mother.   I'm sure you mean to send it to the OTHER one, you know, that RICH one that you claim is your birth mother who lives in France.


Hello?


Have you been living with me for the last year?  Do you watch me clip coupons, decide which bill to pay, send spousal and child support to someone who shall not be named, and roll my coins every weekend?   Do you see me take clothes and fake jewelry to the consignment shop and jump for joy when they give me TWENTY BUCKS?  Have you watched me take the bags of cans I’ve been collecting to the can man?  (Note to self:  not worth it.  I got 4 bucks.  FOUR BUCKS.  The gas money there was double that.)

So I was floored when you called me to tell me how MAD you were when I said I couldn’t afford to get the necklace for you.   The fact that you were so furious with ME that you went out and bought yourself Frye boots with your own money?  To punish ME?   That’s where the confusion comes in.





Cause I’m pretty sure that it didn’t cost me a penny. 






(Five billion dollars to send her to college and this is what she does.  I want my money back.    P.S.)


It's like Groundhog Day. (Only more painful and the players are 5.)







As I prepare for Show and Hell tomorrow, I can’t help but think about Professor Kim.  (Sigh.)  I miss that little rascal.  (I'm sure he's preparing his speech for when he's the valedictorian.)



Boys and girls, today at kindergarten show and tell we need to be very good listeners. Okay, Let’s get started.


Janie: This is my doll. She is my favorite and I sleep with her. I love her dress because it’s pink.


Carol: This is my sister’s blanket. Don’t touch it though; it still has her boogers on it. (Notice the semi-colon people, are you impressed?)


Haley: This is my Barbie mermaid. I love her. I sleep with her. My mommy got her at Wal-mart.


Jack: This is my Bakogaon. It sticks to metal. I have a hundred of them at home. I got them at Wal-mart.


Jay-Han: This is my encyclopedia on Egyptology. It is extremely informative and it is my favorite thing to read. This photograph is of the Pyramids that are on the Nile River, the largest river in the world. The ancient Egyptians who constructed them used hieroglyphics to write on them. Also, if you were alive then you would NOT want to live in the pyramids, as they are extremely hot and uncomfortable. Any questions?



Silence.




Me:  Well, thank you Professor Kim! That was amazingly informative. Next?






10/9/11

It just feels better when someone else gets the gift. Didn't you learn that in kindergarten?





Do you remember two years ago when I was struggling with the idea of letting Sassy choose what college she was going to attend?  It’s a defining moment in parenthood, the one where you literally hand over that decision making process that will alter the course of your child’s life.



But it’s an important one.



I stepped back and watched as Sassy followed her heart and her gut- and have thanked God that I had the courage to do that.  (Or stupidity, depending on who you’re talking to.)


I was so excited to attend Sassy’s field hockey game yesterday, as they have had many away games this year that take them to the other ends of the earth!   It was nice to see many familiar faces, and we smiled and laughed, floating on cloud nine as the girls won a hard fought game in overtime.  These are the kinds of games that exhilarate you; that get your blood pumping and that remind you of the glory that a fall afternoon in a cheering stadium can bring to your soul.



We waited after the game in large room inside the stadium for the victorious team to join the traditional tailgate.  The walls were wall-to-wall windows, allowing the sun to stream in and afforded us a glorious view of the array of color lining the mountains that surrounded us.   Parents were busy readying the tables; students and sibling were telling stories and laughing; and some parents new to the process stood around the periphery, curiously waiting for a cue of what to do. 


I made eye contact with a woman who looked familiar and smiled a hello as I moved around to find a table. 


The team soon joined us and we ate to our hearts content, all the while catching snippets of stories from the hard-fought game that were making their way around the room.   I enjoyed it so, and didn’t realize how much I needed it.  It was a reminder of how important it is to live in the day, and how important it is to share it with others.  


I mentioned to Sassy that I needed to leave, and gathered my things to go.   I maneuvered my way around the tables, and felt a hand on my arm.   It was the woman I had smiled at earlier- the one who was a bit new to the family, but a familiar face nonetheless.


I stopped and smiled.


“I just wanted to tell you something,” she said.   “Last year when we came to visit, you were the only one who smiled at us and took the time to talk to us.  I just wanted to tell you how much that meant to us.” 

I was a bit speechless.   And then, “Well, you know, that’s what kindergarten teachers DO!” I laughed.



She smiled.  “Well.   I’m not so sure about that.  Probably just the nice ones.  Anyway, thanks again.”



I turned and felt a tear in my eye as I walked to the door. While Sassy’s team and all the parents gave me something glorious today, I was even more grateful that I was able to give a little something to someone else.





Now beat it.   Go make someone else’s day.







(winner for this tonight.  Gotta go mow the lawn.) 


10/7/11

Things I learned today in kindergarten. (Sometimes ya gotta talk less, and listen more.)

1.  Grace's sister has striked froat.


2.  Sometimes when your swimmin in the summer and you jump off the board wif your gloggles on you, will lose your GLOGGLES!!

3.  When you notice a little fella who has had an accident, and you ask him if he has to go potty, he'll say,   "No Fanks.  I already did."  


3.  If you sit in a chair too long you will get very-us veins.  (You know, rainbow veins.)



4. If you have a group of rowdy boys, who surprisingly LOVE to play in the playroom, odds are great that keys from your cool "key junk box" will go missing.   After several "pocket-checks" and a few emails, they will miraculously return.


5.  I've learned that five year old girls have WAY cooler shoes than me.










Yes, those are Frye boots.   FRYE. 






Happy Friday, people.  Happy Ding Dong Friday.







10/6/11

Tweens, Sweat, Shaving and Vera. They DO go together.



(Courtney!! YOU WON!!  Email me asap so we can send you the goodies!! Thanks to all for entering!!)




I don't remember the first time I realized the true differences between boys and girls in terms of hygiene, but I do remember the smells.   If I were in charge of finding new ways to torture enemies on the battlefield, I would recruit a group of mothers and we would make a list that would enable us to RULE THE WORLD.

I'm talking about field hockey socks worn from morning 8:00 a.m until 6:00 p.m. during a field hockey tournament in the sweltering heat.  That'll  kill someone at 20 yards.   And boys don't have to do ANYTHING, and their smell is just as powerful.  Combine that with 50 ounces of AXE and we could conquer an army of Genghis Kahn's.  (Bare-handed.)


A group of moms recently hosted a discussion over at The Motherhood, and we listened, laughed, swapped stories and were encouraged by the many stories and insights we had in common!  (Have you ever been over? Go visit- they are amazing.)   It was hosted by none other than Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wanna Bees, and Boys and Other Hazardous Materials.    The recap is here, if you would like to take a peek!


I am happy to offer one of you a glorious gift bag from Unilever, who sponsored this lively discussion!  In addition to samples of deodorant (gold, people) and Rosalind's BOOKS, you will also receive an amazing Vera Bradley Bag!




This contest will run until Sunday, and I will announce the winner at the top of this post that evening.


What is your job? Okay, here's your list of choices.  Do one, all or NONE.  And yes, you can enter as often as you like, and I WILL use the randomizer to choose the winner AS I ALWAYS DO.  I wasn't shouting, merely being clear.  It's my teacher voice.


1.  Say a prayer for Anna and her family, and go here to see how her Margaret is lifting them up.

2.  Read twenty of my old posts.  In random order.

3.  Take my dog for a walk, feed my cat, and send me a shipment of heating oil.  Apparently it's NOT free.

4.  Tell me a funny story about Show and Hell.   ("Are there any prisons or comets?" from yesterday.)

5.  Make me laugh.  Please.  I'm BEGGING YOU.  (Depression hurts.)




But the only MUST DO??  Visit the Motherhood.  Tell 'em vodka sent ya.