Dad’s Progress

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For the many people who have asked….just a quick update on dad. He is doing much better.  He was admitted to the hospital on Sunday for shortness of breath, nausea and excessive sweating. Of course the first thought was his heart – he had a quadruple bypass in 2005 – but fortunately all of the tests on his heart came back clear.

After hearing a lot of wheezing, ER doctors decided to give him a chest x-ray. Diagnosis… and it sounds much worse than it is… “Congestive Heart Failure.” It sounds terrible, but fortunately, after being put on medication he is doing much better and should be home by Wednesday.

When dad, who rarely complains, calls one of us and mentions that “he might need to go the the ER” you know something is up. The awesome Maplewood Fire Department medics and the police officer who arrive at his house were terrific and helped calm his nerves, getting him to the hospital in no time at all. The staff in the emergency room was great and it was oddly quiet while we were there allowing for quick treatment and he got admitted a room in record time!

So…thanks for all the well wishes. He appreciates it and my brothers, sister and I do too.

He should be home in time for the duck race!

A Sign – 3 Years Later

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It has been forever since I wrote. Things are so busy with work and grad school.  My grad school course is on line and in a discussion forum format so I write several times a week there and a lot of it is reflection – so I haven’t stopped writing completely -just not here.

Today, I needed to share.

Three years ago today was the day my mom stopped breathing and was put on life support. It is NOT the day she died, but it was the last time I spoke to her. She had called me that morning around 9:05 in the morning. I only remember the time because I was teaching and about to start our morning meeting. She never called during the day so when I saw her number, I answered it, thinking something was wrong. All she told me was that she was making dinner reservations. I was quite abrupt with her telling her that it was a typical Friday so why was she calling me at work to tell me.  we did the same thing EVERY Friday night so what was different about this one? She really had no reason, just said good bye and that was it. The last time we spoke.

I am one of those people who sees “signs” everywhere. When I see pennies on the ground, I think it is a message from my mom. Butterflies were always my good luck sign, but since my mom died, I like to think they are her sending me a message.

This morning, I was getting ready for our day to begin at school. As I walked in my room, I almost stepped on a little pin that was on the floor. I bent down to pick it up and noticed it was a butterfly. At the same time, I glanced at my phone. The time was, 9:05. Perhaps just a coincidence, or maybe, just mom saying hello. I had sent her a message of my own on her facebook page this morning. We never deactivated her account.  My message to her was just a little heart. Nothing more, but maybe she saw it and was letting me know.

I asked each of the kids in my class if it was theirs and one little girl realized it was hers and that it had fallen off her jacket. It was broken. At the end of the day I shared the story with her mom. I gave her the broken pieces of the pin in a bag. Shortly after that, the little girl came running back and gave it to me and told me I could have it because she knew it was special to me – even if it was broken.

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Cynics might just laugh – but I love seeing signs and I think that was truly one today.

An Evening with Ruby Bridges

Last night I had the opportunity to have a (partially) private interview with Ruby Bridges. I cannot put into words how incredible this was. Here is a link to the story I wrote for The Village Green.

This is a woman I have admired for years and wrote about her in 2013, long before I ever thought I’d have the chance to meet her in person!

She is an incredible role model and I am thrilled to have been in her presence.

Winding Down

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“Vacation” is winding down. We didn’t go anywhere, but the break from work ends tomorrow night. I have done bits of work nearly everyday to prepare for going back. I even went into school twice to get some work done but this always happens on the weekend – and I begin to feel overwhelmed about all I need to do to get ready for my 22 kiddos.

Most of us put in many more hours than the “cushy” 8am-3pm job so many people think we have. Many of us, myself included, work in the summer and have other jobs to help supplement our income.

I know that I moan and gripe about all the work I have to do outside of school, wondering how many other jobs require bringing home so much work in the evenings and on “vacations” but in the end, I  wouldn’t give it up for anything. Teaching is what I love to do. Seeing the awe and wonder in the eyes of these kids as they learn and absorb the world around them is magical. 

I have so many great ideas and things I want to try with them when we go back. I always feel rejuvenated after a break but even more this year after an incredible workshop I attended in December. Dr. Jean is an amazing educator who believes that children need to move and play and explore, at all ages, but especially in the younger grades. She also understands the constraints of common core and how much has to be done in the classroom and this workshop has inspired me to bring some of her ideas into my classroom and mesh them into the curriculum to keep Kindergarten fun and engaging!

Sometimes when we are feeling overwhelmed a coworker of mine likes to remind us, “Remember, these ‘babies’ were in diapers only a few years ago.  If they can’t write a paragraph right now, it is okay! Just like they were potty trained in their own time, they will get these skills their own time too!” She is right -and it takes someone like her to keep us grounded and on track!

As We End 2015…

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I feel like I blinked and missed 2015! It went by so fast.

As I look back and reflect, I realized that the last two years, writing my end of the year blog was easy to do since I wrote everyday. I could remember everything because I wrote so often. It was like a journal

This year, I feel like I have gaps since I stopped writing.  So, I tried to come up with a list of my highlights from 2015 and here they are, in no particular order…

  • DJ off to college – more than 4 hours away – and loving it and doing so well. I am so proud of him!
  • ME – starting grad school – it will take awhile but when I am done I will have a MS in Restorative Practices which I find fascinating!
  • Starting the winter of 2015 with A LOT of snow, and ending the winter of 2015 with the warmest December on record!
  • Finding myself working with two independent sales companies, Chloe and Isabel jewelry and Jamberry nails.
  • My dad in and out of the hospital and rehabilitation centers (fortunately doing much better now.)
  • My grandmother turning 100 years old and celebrating with family from all over the country.
  • Lots of time spent with our extended family, which is always time well spent:)

High points and low points throughout the year, but that is what makes life interesting I guess!

I am looking forward to an eventful 2106 and I wish everyone a healthy, prosperous and happy year filled with love and compassion.

My Vision Board

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If you follow me – or my blog – you would know that I “dabble” in a lot of different things. This goes beyond my career of being a teacher. That and being a mom are the two greatest jobs I could have and I love both of them but even with a full time job , (I work summers too,) and part time photography gigs, there isn’t much “fun money” for the extra things we like to do.  With DJ in college and me in grad school those extras don’t happen as often as we’d like.

In January of last year, I became an independent consultant for chloe and isabel jewelry. Their jewelry is really pretty and I love wearing it and selling it. Some months were definitely better than others and I wish I could find more of a demand for it because I know that I could sell a lot more. I found it hard to get hostesses and I know that I am not aggressive enough – and that is something I need to work on this year. It is great “fun money” though and it let me do things like dinners out , manicures, pedicures and that sort of thing that I’d have otherwise felt guilty spending money on.

A friend of mine sells Jamberry nail wraps and recently, we did a small vendor event together. She and the other vendor were pretty successful but mine had only one sale. We talked about it a bit and realized that “consumables” are the reason why. If you like the nail wraps, you will want to order more. With the jewelry, no matter how beautiful it is, there is only so much a person will order. I am not giving up chloe and isabel. I plan to keep working the business but decided to also venture into the Jamberry world and become a rep for them too.  They go along well side by side actually – pretty rings on a well manicure hand!!

One of the first things I was asked to do by my lead consultant with Jamberry was to create a vision board. I didn’t know what that was but it is not much more than making a list of things I hope to get or accomplish in the future. Right now, I am keeping my vision to one year. My vision board includes:

  • Paying for grad school
  • DJ’s tuition
  • A vacation
  • Girls’ Nights Out
  • Date Nights
  • More charity work

So my first step – to hold some parties! They can be in person or online. Hostesses can live close by or across the country (and with Jamberry – around the world!) The hostess rewards for both companies are amazing and I would love to help people earn free stuff – because getting stuff for free is one of my favorite things!

Check out both my sites and let me know what you think! Let me know in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

https://clairesinclair.jamberry.com

https://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/clairesinclair

You can also follow my facebook pages to find out about big sales and specials. Just give it a like!!

https://www.facebook.com/Chloe-and-Isabel-with-Claire-Sinclair-818706738175643/?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/clairesinclairjamberry/?fref=ts

Skipping the Diet

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For Christmas, my dad gave me a Fitbit. I am hoping that it, along with some healthier eating choices, will help me create a healthier life style. I am not overweight. I don’t even need to lose more than five pounds but I am hoping that the new year helps motivate me to make some changes. I don’t like diets. I love food too much. I need to learn to eat in moderation and to choose healthier options.

If you know me well, you know that I am quick to jump on a new idea or project. I thought, “Wow! I can turn this into a new blog! A staying healthy blog.”  I have a name for it too! “Skipping the Diet.”  I even began writing it and getting the website ready – but after a few days, (no surprise there…) not being an expert made me feel limited to what I would post. I shared a couple of recipes, an inspirational video – but I can share that stuff on Facebook if I wanted to. So….I think I will just add it to this blog and try to get myself writing again. Maybe it won’t all be about “Kindness” but more inspirational.  I never know where it will take me – usually I just write.

For nearly 2 1/2 years, I wrote daily on this blog. It had been my New Year’s resolution in 2013 and I stuck with it for much longer than I had imagined I could. I began slacking during the summer – maybe it was because I started grad school, my schedule was a lot busier – but it sort of fell to the wayside. I was hoping that by committing myself to a new blog with a new idea, I would inspire myself to write again nearly every day, but more importantly, hold myself accountable and be able to stick to this healthier way of eating.

There is too much “unhealthy food/health issues” in our family. My father and older brother both had major hear surgeries after heart attacks and my mother, who died from complications from COPD, also had several heart attacks. I need to be around for a long time for my two sons and my husband. I want to set a good example for them.  Maybe something is working because my 14 year old went out and bought himself a Fitbit with the Best Buy gift cards he got for Christmas.

This doesn’t mean I won’t eat treats and favorite splurges~ I LOVE food too much for that. I am hoping that I will eat less of them and not as often. I won’t deny myself of my favorite foods. I think that is why so many diets fail.  You will NEVER see me posting selfies of my body on this site. No “before and after” shots of me! I have a hard enough time with self-image and hopefully it will inspire others to make some changes as well.

I’d love to hear from others and find out how they are making healthy lifestyle changes. We can share recipes, tips and advice. I am looking forward to hearing from others and seeing the changes we make -no matter how big or small they are.

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