Happy Birthday Mom


No one loved to celebrate birthdays more than my mom so it is fitting that since today is her birthday, we all go out and celebrate in her honor! We will head to The Reservoir of course….it was her favorite restaurant.  Twenty of us getting together to celebrate her.

I had considered going to the cemetery to visit with her today. I am not a big fan of where she is buried. The cemetery itself is beautiful, but she is in a mausoleum and I don’t like the coldness of it. The artificial flowers and forced air don’t make me feel welcome and I don’t find myself going as often as I feel I should. Instead, yesterday, I went to her bench in the park. It is my peaceful spot to go when I am missing her or feeling sad. A bunny and a butterfly where right beside the bench when I arrived. More signs from mom? Maybe… Regardless, it made me feel like she knew I was there. I sat for a bit and wished her a happy day. It is the same place where we have released balloons for her birthday in the past.  I hope you have caught some of those yellow balloons and are celebrating up in heaven. We miss you!



hate is learned

The title of my blog seems so inappropriate today.  I am embarrassed for our country. We are not living in a kind world.




We are falling apart as a society.

As I have been scrolling through social media over the last few days, it seems many people echo my sentiments so why are we witnessing this chaos right now? Why is this happening? My heart is aching.

I refuse to take sides. How does this happen to a society where so many of us are teaching our children the complete opposite of hatred. Where does it come from? Why? Who is perpetuating it?

This is senseless. Hatred is a learned behavior. It needs to change.

peace mother theresa



Dad’s Progress

healing therapy

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

butterfly heaven.jpg

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

teacher quote

“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…

new year blank book

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.