Merry Morning Sunrise (Not a Minecraft One)

The coffee pot gurgled; the last few drops of caffeine sunshine drop into the craft. 

This noise holds special meaning to Cody and Carter as it signifies that they may ask to play their beloved Minecraft.  We instilled this morning rule many years ago to stop the persistent asking to watch t.v. or play video games. 

~“One may not ask to use (or use) electronic devices until the coffee is done.”~

Controller in hand, they were on the couch waiting for their Minecraft world to load.  I was feeding the dogs.  As I walked past the window, the orange glow of the sunrise caught my eye and I exclaimed about its beauty.

Cody leapt up off the couch.

cody:  Wait, Carter!  I want to see a real sunrise.  Whoa!  This real life one is much cooler than the Minecraft ones!

Not a Minecraft Sunrise Collage

And then, back he went to disappear into his Minecraft world where days are ten minutes long and you get a lackluster sunrise every morning.

I’m glad Cody thinks that real life sunrises are better than Minecraft ones.

Sky on Fire

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Pumpkin Muffins, Spice, and Everything Nice

Yesterday Carter and I made mini pumpkin muffins.  Cody was going to help us but when I asked him to get the necessary spices, he was so distracted by my unkempt spice basket he spend the entire time organizing the spices instead.

Spice Basket 1

First he took everything out.  Then he started organizing them by the type of container they were in: glass, plastic, large or small.

Spice Basket 2

Somewhere along the way, he changed his mind and organized them alphabetically by spice name and/or company name.  I am not really sure.

Cody with Spice Basket

I am, however sure that my spice basket looks neater than it ever has before.  And it sure made Cody happy to do it.

Meanwhile, Carter set to baking.  He did most of the work while I cleared dirty dishes out of his way and offered tips. 

Carter baking with Haley

Haley was hopeful something tasty would drop to the floor.  She was most disappointed. 

The boys enjoyed the batter while the muffins baked.

The boys with batter

An awful picture, I know, but it cracks me up.  I’m sure the boys, given enough time, will forgive me for posting such things.

I have no photographic evidence of the end result of the baking.  We packaged up the muffins as little gifts for our neighbors – the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves making Christmas feel closer. 

We did manage to keep a few muffins for ourselves as it is important to sample baked goods given as gifts in case something in the process went horribly awry. 

Nothing did, so we kept a few more to sample…

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Kitchen Counter Clutter

When the boys were younger, I used to find all sorts of various creations and random items set up for display at the end of our hallway.  They would spend a lot of time building with their cardboard bricks – stuffed animal zoos, mazes, brick bookshelves, statues, and robots.  It was entertaining and allowed me to write several humorous, or what I thought were humorous, blog posts.

As they have gotten older, the clutter of their play has branched out to the kitchen counter and dining room table.  Here is a picture of the counter from this morning.

Items found on the Kitchen Counter Collage

The plastic vampire teeth tucked behind Husband’s spiced rum cracks me up.

I needed the counter space to make lunch so I asked Carter to clear it off, but first I wanted to take a couple pictures of it.  Carter decided he wanted to be included and so he came up with this mathematical equation based upon the kitchen counter clutter (of which I doubt he considers it such).  Here it is:

Carter Math Equation Collage

Chemistry kit + Holiday nut mix = Happy Boy 

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Hair of the Cat?

Urban Dictionary defines hair of the cat as : drinking non-alcoholic beverages to relieve a hangover, especially when others in the area are engaged in consuming alcohol to feel better.

At our house it happens almost every morning – but not in the Urban Dictionary kind of way.

It happens more in the getting-out-of-the-shower-to-reach-the-towel-only-to-be- greeted-by-a-cat-who-happens-to-enjoy-rubbing-around-your-legs-to-get-herself-wet-and-in-the-process-transfers-her-long-cat-hair-onto-your-wet-legs-leaving-you-with-hairy-cat-hair-legs kind of way.

Chloe, our cat, apparently only does this to me based upon the blank stare I got when complaining to Husband about it.

Once she has transferred enough of her fur onto my wet legs so that I could pass as a satyr (minus the hooves), she then enjoys a brisk towel drying.  This final step in the process ensures my towel will be sufficiently furry enough for the following morning.

I am not sure whether I should feel honored that she has chosen me for this daily routine or more like a well trained monkey.  Either way, I will continue doing it because she is so darn cute.

And I am a sucker.

Chloe on dog bed

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Simple Sunday – Early Pre-Christmas

Friday was the last day of school for two weeks (hooray!!) 

In the classroom, we combined math and art to make these “Merry Math” trees.  As you can see, we have been working on the inverse relationship between multiplication and division. 

Merry Math Trees

Friday night we packed up and headed down to Tucson for an early pre-Christmas.  We stayed at my Mother-in-Law’s house and Husband’s sister and her family came over.

The boys were bored, waiting for their cousins to arrive so we took a walk to the park.  Carter brought his soccer ball and we ended up making a game involving the ball and the slide.  As you can see, the boys really liked it.   

Soccer Slide Collage

This week, I will do some baking, clean the house (a little, no need to get too crazy), and have fun hanging out with the boys.  Husband, who works out of the house and does not get two weeks off, will simply have to put up with our shenanigans.  Poor guy!

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Simple Sunday – Chairs for the Guests (?)

Each year, about a month before Thanksgiving, we host a Practice Thanksgiving.  It is a fully involved Thanksgiving dinner with family, friends, and turkey with all the trimmings.

Practice Thanksgiving 2016 Collage

And why, do you ask, are the plates turned upside down? Look to the middle picture for the answer.

This year our Practice Thanksgiving was on the second weekend of October and due to the nature of the gathering, it required us to bring in extra dinning room chairs from their storage place in the garage.

Long after the last guest drove away and the last plate was washed, dried, and put away – some of the extra chairs remained.  For you see, they had been claimed.

Chairs for the Guests

Who am I to tell the monkey and the cat to get off the chairs?  Well, the monkey, maybe, but the cat – no.  Leia, our sweet black kitty, takes her morning nap on one of the two chairs every day.   And not always on the same chair, so I can not even bring myself to remove just one.

On the upside, at least we are ready in case an unexpected guest or two arrives and would like a place to sit.

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A Long Time Gone


There is something I neglected to write about, something that has significantly affected my life and has been the cause, or partial cause, of my lack of blogging.

It happened back in April.

It was a one line email from Carter’s teacher letting me know that there was a job posting. It was in the same grade I was currently teaching and it was at Carter’s school. Carter’s teacher and I had, previous to this email, discussed my interest in working in the same district as Cody and Carter. But I did not expect her to be on the lookout for posted positions.

I was not planning on this. But there it was, in all it’s one sentence glory. I felt honored that she had thought of me. I met with her later in the day and found out she had emailed me from her phone while she was in a staff meeting and had, herself, just hear about the position.

Very long story short – in two days I revamped my resume, created a school-specific cover letter, informed my boss about my intent (and asked for/received a letter of recommendation), and submitted myself for the position.

Crickets… It seemed like weeks but it was really only a couple days.

And then I received a phone call. It was from a principal, but not the one I was expecting. In my rush and excitement to throw my hat in the ring, I had neglected to consider my audience, not just the school of my focus, but the entire district. I was called in for an interview that afternoon to a school I will describe as one of the most coveted schools in the district. It had a reputation. And I will admit that I was more than a bit intimidated.

Let us fast forward…

I was offered and accepted a third-grade teaching position at this rather well-to-do school. The learning curve for me is great and the expectation are high. Third grade is the grade where students get held back if they are not reading at grade level thanks to Arizona’s Move On When Reading law. (I will refrain from speaking about this law because my mother taught me that if I have nothing nice to say, I should not say anything at all.) There are many big and scary standardized tests.


I am busy learning and reworking this craft of teaching. And that is part of why I have been a long time gone.

There have been a lot of blogworthy events that have come and gone that I will simply let be. But I miss blogging and so I will try to keep it in the forefront of my brain, and allow myself the time to write.


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Simple Sunday – Cookies and Cheese

This weekend Carter wanted to bake cookies with me. He decided on peanut butter with chocolate chips.


After all the ingredients had been carefully measured and mixed – well, as carefully as an impatient eight-year-old boy can be – Carter picked up an empty 1 teaspoon measuring spoon and blew kisses into it. He tipped the final ingredient into the bowl, gave it one last mix and declared that it was ready. The cookies had been officially made with love.

Cody was not involved in our baking project as he was deeply engrossed in creating an Excel spreadsheet. He is a big fifth grader, and one of his elective classes is computers and technology. They have been working with spreadsheets recently. And so it was that Cody decided to meld his love of gourmet cheeses and spreadsheets. Apparently I agreed to purchase expensive gourmet cheeses, one every couple weeks, for us to sample. Cody will be documenting the date of purchase, cheese type, location of purchase, price, size, and each family members’ opinion of each cheese on a scale of one to ten. I rather love it.


The first cheese he chose was a Havarti with caraway. We will be tasting it this afternoon with our lunch. And having cookies for dessert.

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From the top of the driveway

We emptied a container of salsa during dinner this evening.  As I was walking back from the recycling bin at the top of our driveway, I stopped and looked down the drive, my eyes traveling the road leading away.  I could hear the boys in the backyard.  They were hollering and exclaiming as they jumped into and out of puddles left behind only moments ago by a brief monsoon storm.  The substantial gray clouds were already distancing themselves from us, not ones to linger in any one place too long.

For some reason a thought lodged itself into my head as I continued to look past our driveway and onto the road leading into our neighborhood.

In ten years…

In ten years Cody will be 20 and Carter 18. If I am lucky, I will have seen them grow up and mature.

In ten years Husband and I will be in our fifties. I will have been a teacher for 14 years.

Maybe. Or maybe not. Nothing is certain in the march of time. But I do hope I will be around and that I will take a moment to pause, my ten-year older self, and reflect on what has come and what will still be before me.

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Diarrhea and Diabetes

It started with an arm fart.  You know the noise.  The one that is produced when lips blow onto the skin of the arm close to or on the crook of the elbow.

It was a juicy one.  Produced by Cody in the back of the car on our way to school and work.

carter:  EEEEWWW!  It sounded like you had diarrhea.

Long pause…

carter:  or diabetes.

me:  Welllll, diarrhea and diabetes are two very different things.

Short pause…

me:  But they can both kill you.

cody:  choking on his laughter – diarrhea can kill you?!?

Insert here a lengthy – too lengthy, perhaps – discussion on various ways people can get chronic diarrhea, diseases such as Cholera, and the necessity for Cholera cots.  (Believe it or not this same subject has come up in the past and I have written about it here – but be warned there is a picture in that blog post that cannot be unseen (and another, maybe even more horrific picture if you click on the Cholera Cot link).

We got to the stoplight and turned left.  We were almost at their school.  I felt it only fair to attempt to allow Diabetes the same amount of time under the spotlight as diarrhea, but time was running out (and to be honest, my background in Microbiology provided me more knowledge and talking points about diarrhea than it did Diabetes.)

The boys had lost interest.  The arm farts in the back of the car became more and more infrequent.

We pulled up to their school and in a moment they were off, backpacks in place, with friends to meet and play equipment to conquer.

I was left alone for the remainder of my drive to work, shaking my head over the Diabetes and diarrhea conversation.

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