After dinner, I make school lunches for Cody, Carter, and myself.  Tonight was no different.  As I was pulling items from the fridge and formulating the lunch menu, Carter walked by.  He peeled open the container of sugar snap peas and loudly crunched into one of them.  We chatted a bit as I made sandwiches and put them into the lunch containers.

Carter helped himself to another fistful of peas.  He called out for me to look at him.  There he was jauntily leaning against the kitchen door frame, pea pod held between his fingers as if it were a cigarette.  His face was puckered into a scowl, his eyes narrowed and dark.  Then he smiled and laughed as he proclaimed himself to be a Vegetarian Thug.  The Veggie Thug took a pea puff or two and then chomped off the end of his prop and smiled again.  I asked him to recreate his Thug so as to photograph it.

Livin’ the Veggie Thug lifestyle.

You’re welcome.

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Simple Sunday – Webcam Toy App

Carter has a new elective class this semester, Information and Technology.  Last week they were given a  project to create an “All About Me” digital poster of themselves using a variety of apps.

Carter was excited to share his with me, but more importantly he wanted to share with me one of his favorite apps, webcam Toy.  So, of course, we played around with it.

One , two, three -strike a pose. One, two, three…

Cody wanted to get in on it too.

The mom photo bomb!

And one more…

A lovely selfie of Cody’s mouth.

Whatever do they teach kids in school these days?!?  😉



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Simple Sunday – Necessary Dining Room Table Items

On our dining room table can always be found several items.  We’ve got your typical salt and pepper shakers, napkin holder, and sugar bowl, with a candle for mood lighting. We also have the more atypical salt alternative and the cinnamon sugar shaker.

And there is Chloe, our cat, lurking in her basket in the background.

Apparently there are other items that have recently been deemed as dining room table worthy.  Anyone up for mealtime math?

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Lost Day

Yesterday was a lost day, meaning that I went to bed Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. and did not wake up again until yesterday around 3 p.m.

I’m not sure what it was that drug me down into the depths of sleep, made my face feel like it was a punching bag, and caused my nose to run continuously.  I dreamt in snippets – one moment I was knees to chest on the floor of a wet boat, trying to keep warm and the next the school nurse was performing an emergency tracheotomy on me as I clawed at my throat unable to breath.  It wasn’t pleasant to say the least.

Today is better.  Today I woke up, drank coffee, and ate breakfast.  Today I am in a semi state of dress, lounge pants, a tee shirt, a sweater, and slippers that may be passable as shoes.  You would almost not be able to tell that I am coming off an 18 hour sleeping sickness but the telltale signs are there.  The sides of my nose are red, my eyes are a bit glazed over, and my lips are of those you would expect to see in a topographer’s dreams.

Sorry Burt, but your Bees are not simply not up for the task.

Image result for burt's bees

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Not Another Post About New Years Resolutions?!?

When asked if I make resolutions for the New Year, I will tell you that no, I do not.

But that is not entirely truthful.  I do reflect on the year gone past and consider actions I can take to alter my life path moving forward.  Some of these considerations I weave into my daily routine and they stay with me, others I reject or allow to gently and quietly fade, allowing no judgement to fall upon me.

I don’t tend to share my “resolutions”.  Once they are spoken they take on a weight that I find uncomfortable.  Expectations can be heavy.  But then there is this – what if I simply don’t allow them to take on this unwanted mass, what if I just write about them and let them float out there for me to ponder on?

My thoughts on 2019 (formulated while showering this morning):

  1. Hour of Action – This thought goes something like this:  I will set aside one hour every weekend (or maybe each weekend day) that I will tackle some task that I do not normally do.  A short list of such tasks could look like: clean out the refrigerator, bathe and brush the dogs, wash the baseboards, clean out a closet, organize my dresser, bake banana bread, pull weeds in a forgotten area of the yard.  You get the idea.  These are tasks or events, unlike vacuuming, dish washing, and laundry, that are not typical (at least not typical to me!).  They don’t have to be things I dread like deep cleaning the toilet (is that even a thing?) or doing a complete litter change and bleaching of the cats’ litter boxes.  It could be something as lovely as baking oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with the boys.  Not something I typically do, but something that really should be done because I want to but never seem to do.
  2. Picture a Day – This one may be cheating because I’ve already started doing this.  Last week I sent a text to my longest time friend with a picture of a Christmas ornament she have given me many years ago.  I don’t remember how it got started (and I am too lazy to get up from my desk to get my phone and read over our text thread) but I told her I would start texting her a picture a day until she was sick of me.  Well, she has not been, rather quite the opposite, for she texts me back with a picture too – pictures of random moments in our lives.  Pictures of cats, pictures of cousins dancing with their grand kids and Santa, pictures of rainbow colored stuffed animal owls wearing glasses, and pictures from our backyard.  Have I remembered to send one everyday?  No.  Do I beat myself up over this?  No.
  3. Lose Weight – Healthy Actions – I am not overweight, but I wouldn’t mind being a bit more trim and fit.  I would like to have a more healthy body and mind, a more healthy lifestyle.  This thought entails being cognizant of actions I take to improve my health, in whatever form this may take and writing down these actions to hold myself accountable.  It could be as simple as not having seconds at dinner or starting my day with a positive thought, or it could be something larger such as joining (and actually utilizing) a gym.

Hot showers – free from the needs of kids and sheltered from the lurking cat who likes to rub against my legs and then randomly attack them – are where some of my greatest ideas form.  I am not sure that these are some of those greatest ideas, but they sound good enough to try out.

I raise my glass of champagne, or mug of coffee as it may be, to you.

Laugh, love, listen.  Be kind to yourself and others.

❤ ~Shoes~

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Simple Sunday – Seahawk Scare

We are Seattle Seahawks fans.  Or rather, I am a Seattle Seahawk fan and Husband and the kids have simply taken the path of least resistance.  I have fond memories of sitting in a large brown beanbag next to my dad watching the Hawks lose game after game.  It was the 80’s and the Hawks were not a good team.

We now live in Phoenix and are supposed to be Cardinals fans.  But we are not.  Or rather I am not and Husband and the kids continue to follow that path of least resistance, at least for now.

Football, American football, is not a sport I would ever want my boys to play and so I was a bit concerned when Carter informed me the other day that the Seahawks are the world.

carter:  Mom, the Seahawks are the world!

Perhaps my enthusiasm for my childhood team has been too much.  I have tried to curb it by, for example, yelling “crush them” instead of “kill them” at the t.v. when our defensive team is on the field.  I only wear one or two of the various Seahawk related items I own – socks, shirt, pajamas, apron – at a time.  And we only fly our massive Seahawk flag on game days.

I was thinking all this in the 3-5 seconds between his exclamation and my question.

me:  Hum, what do you mean by that?

What have I done?  Am I raising a child who will place too much value on a football team?  Will he grow up to be a beer-can-to-the-forehead smashing man every time his favorite football team scores a field goal?  Ack!

I held my breath and waited for his response.

It came quickly, immediately putting my worries to rest.

carter:  They are green and blue, just like the world.

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Be Careful What You Wish For

The last week of school before winter break can be a tough one if you are a school teacher.  Most the students are excited about the upcoming holidays and the time off school.  There is a sense of waiting that gives an urgency to the time.

Or at least that was the vibe in my third grade classroom.  (It probably didn’t help that I had the scent of peppermint going in our oil diffuser either.)  I was planning to keep our schedule and routine as consistent as normal – morning work, morning meeting, reading and writing, lunch and recess followed by math, our mini afternoon recess, and social studies.

In social studies, we have been discussing how exploration leads to discovery.  As a summative assessment, and a very project based one, the students picked an explorer to research.  They then organized their learning into some presentable form, whether it be a Google Slide, a paper poster, or a biography poem and created an authentic looking paper doll of their chosen explorer.  There was a rubric to follow, so they knew what to focus on and how it would be graded.

They are third graders, however, and this was their first big research project of the year.  It was something that really needed to be completed by the time we went on break and our time was starting to get eaten up by non-routine events: our winter party, the school spelling bee, the half day on Friday.  I refused to cancel our thrice weekly small reading groups, but some other subjects started getting nudged out.

On December 19th, with a mere 2.5 days left of school, their project was in full swing.  And they were loving it!

Learning sure can be messy!  I took this picture while they were away at P.E., blurring names to protect identities.

It looked chaotic, but it wasn’t.  Each child was at a different point in their project.  Some were researching and taking notes, others were learning how to create a Google Slide, and yet others, were focusing on the details of the tools and clothing of their explorer so as to make their paper doll as authentic as possible.  They were learning with and from each other.  I did my best to stay out of the way and ask open ended questions to guide them towards what they were looking for.

Captain James Cook in his best travel attire.

In the end, they all finished in time.  I was so proud of them and the knowledge they took away from it.  Yes, they learned about their explorer, but they also learned how to research, to focus on the key details, and to present them in such a way that was not only logical, but pleasing to the eye.  They uploaded their creations to Seesaw,  a digital portfolio, and then spend some time looking at their peer’s creations to learn even more.

James Cook looks as though he just told Neil Armstrong a dirty joke, but Neil didn’t really get the punch line.

They were proud of themselves and I was proud of them too.  Soooo… after I got home from school on Wednesday I did something I have not done before.  I emailed my principal to see if she could pop into my classroom to see their work.  The school I teach at is very large, there are seven third-grade classes.  I can count on one hand the number of times my principal has been in my room this year.  I guess that is a good thing and I shouldn’t complain, but I kept thinking – what about the good stuff?  What about the shinning moments that I know would mean so much to my students if they could share it with the principal of their school?

Sacajawea and Jane Goodall, perhaps discussing how to be strong, successful women in a male dominated world.

Well, early the next morning I got a response back.  Apparently the new school district superintendent was going to be on campus for a tour.  She said that both of them would stop in to see my students’ hard work.  Oh boy.

Erik the Red confesses that his favorite color is really yellow.

I rushed into work a bit early so as to tidy up my already rather tidy room.  I put lavender in the oil diffuser; I have heard it is a calming scent.  The bell rang.  I picked up my students and we walked to class.  We did morning work.  We had our morning meeting.  I did not mention our soon-to-be visitors, preferring to keep it organic and casual.  My parent volunteer came in to help run reading groups.

It was during the second reading group, our transition already complete, that they came in.  And it was frickin’ awesome!  The kids were so polite in their excitement and their learning was very evident.  One of my very academically low students was called on, the superintendent having no idea of this, and that little boy just rocked it.  He monologued up and down and all around about Christopher Columbus.   I could have cried.

Christopher Columbus with his compass and hat having no idea the impact he would make on the world.

It was a great way to end the week, a celebration of their success and learning.


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Arctic Sled Sloths

During lunch today, Cody commented on a story headline that flashed by on our Echo Show.  It was a story that had something to do with a person successfully crossing the Arctic on their own.

Feeling as though I had just survived an equally daunting and recognition worthy journey to Target that day (one involving the two boys and their Christmas Target gift cards), I flippantly replied that it would be much more impressive if said person had done it taking only a sloth with them.  Why a sloth?  I don’t know. But they are pretty cute.

Image result for sloths

There was a brief discussion of sloths in snow and then Carter got all excited.

“No, mamma, no!” he shouted, “Instead of a sled dog team, they had a team of sled sloths!”

He then proceeded to slowly act out a running sloth, mouth slowly forming into the word “no!”  all the while staying seating at the table.  Again, not sure why the sloth would be yelling no, but I guess if I was a sloth, tethered to a team of other sloths and expected to pull a sled through the Arctic snow, I would yell no (along with some other choice words) too.

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On how we got a Christmas Cockroach

Easley’s Fun Shop, an iconic family owned costume store here in Phoenix, is closing it’s doors after a good long run of 72 years.  Cody and Carter are very aware of this and have been for some time.  (Both boys have gravitated toward Theater as their Encore classes at middle school – Encore classes being a fancy name for electives – and their Theater teacher shops at Easley’s.)

Late November found the boys and I at Easley’s.  We wanted one last peek around the old place.  The boys picked out a massive birthday card for their Farmor (Swedish for Grandmother) and we headed up to the register to pay.  On our way there we were accosted by a small fluffy dog, who wanted us, needed us, to pet her.  This dog happened to be with one of the owners of the store.  The boys, never ones to miss out on telling a complete stranger all about our lives, proceeded to carry on a lengthy discussion with this poor woman and her dog.

Behind the counter Carter spied a large inflatable pool raft in the shape of a cockroach.  He exclaimed in his loud boy voice just how much his mom hates roaches and what a great thing it would be to have such a pool raft in our pool.

Well, the owner with the fluffy dog agreed.  She took down one, new in it’s packaging, and handed it over to Carter.  Free of charge.  But it didn’t end there.  Next to her there was a rack of Santa hats.  She picked out a large one and explained her vision of an inflatable cockroach, wearing a Santa hat propped up in our front yard as the focal point of our Christmas decor.

Christmas Cockroach Collage.

And so it was.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

And would have continued to be if the boys had not had the wild notion of bring Christmas Cockroach to bounce with them and a gaggle of neighborhood kids on our trampoline.

Christmas Cockroach is deflated at the moment and I am not sure he will make a full recovery.  It would take a Christmas miracle, one I am honestly not wishing for.

I do, however, wish you all a wonderful holiday in whatever form you celebrate.  Be on the lookout for those small moments, that make our lives magical.

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Simple Sunday – It’s a Dog’s Life

Sasha, lovin’ life as only a dog can.

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