Monthly Archives: November 2014

Shop Local

shop small

Living in a small town, and being a part of a family who owns a small business in that town, I have come to realize the importance of “shopping locally.”  November 29th is Small Business Saturday where people are encouraged to shop at small businesses.  Shopping small makes a big impact on your neighborhood. A few days ago, Dave and I were driving on Springfield Avenue, (the busiest road in town – still only a two lane road though,) and passed a sign that read, “fresh ravioli.”  I don’t know how I have lived around the corner from this place for all these years and never noticed it! Perhaps it was the new awning, I don’t know, but something caught my eye and we mentioned we should try it out. It is called Campy Ravioli and Dave went there today, got some ravioli and two kinds of sauce, marinara and Vodka.  A block away there is a tiny Italian deli, Di Pietro’s, that sells meatballs and fresh Italian bread so he stopped there as well. This was dinner tonight and Drew declared the raviolis were “as good as The Reservoir’s.”  The Reservoir is where we eat nearly once a week for our extended family’s dinner.  He was right…it has us wondering if maybe that’s where they get their raviolis from. Great prices, delicious food and we kept it local.  Not everyone who reads my blog can shop here in Maplewood of course, but think about seeking out a new place in your own town and try it out.  We were pleasantly surprised and will definitely be returning! Don’t just shop local on Small Business Saturday.  Do it often.  Without a doubt, local shop keepers are happy to have your business!

Read Aloud

read aloud

I am not sure when I stopped reading aloud to my boys.  Read aloud is my favorite part of the day at school. I read to my class every single day taking pride in the fact that those children are enraptured by my voice, my intonation and inflection when I read.  There are times when a day seem to be spiraling out of control.  When that happens, I grab a book and start reading.  No matter where the kids are in the room, they gather.  They listen, they calm, they relax.  They are focused on the story, focused on me.  I have reeled them back in!

I read to my boys every night when they were little.  Each of them had their favorite book that we read over and over again.  For DJ, it was Freight Train by Donald Crews.  I can still recite it from memory we read it so many times! For Drew it was Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.  It is still a favorite of mine to read to my Kindergarteners. Drew says he can still remember me bringing Knuffle Bunny Two to his Kindergarten Class the time I went in to surprise him for his birthday.

As my boys became readers themselves, we had a deal that for every book they read to me, I’d read one to them.  It worked for the longest time.  I don’t know when it stopped. I guess it just sort of slipped away, out of our nightly routine…we don’t even have a routine anymore.

Over the last few days, Drew and I have brought back the nightly tradition though and I realized just how much I missed it.  Drew has always been a struggling reader and when he was given an assignment to read, The Giver, by Lois Lowry, it actually brought him to his breaking point.  Last week, he had a complete meltdown while trying to read it.  He fell apart calling himself dumb and getting so frustrated that he couldn’t pull himself together.  My “teacher diagnosis” is that he can decode and he can comprehend, he just cannot do it at the same time.  When I was finally able to calm him down, I asked him if I could try to read him a chapter.  He let me, and we wound up reading the few chapters that were assigned for school.  I had never read the book so I had no prior knowledge of the beginning of the book and he was at chapter five.  He filled me in as we went along and I asked him questions throughout the chapters to see if he was comprehending it and he was.  The next night, he asked me if we could read together again.  Tonight will be our fourth night reading together and it has brought back his joy of reading again.

I know that I can’t read to him forever and I have already contacted his school and gotten him some audio services to help him follow along as he listens to the assigned books.  For now though…I will take advantage of these precious nights that he wants to read with me.  They probably won’t last much longer!

There’s a Hole

fixer upper

I can’t stop humming this old song from my childhood tonight.  You might know the lyrics from “There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea. ” (Here is a link to the original song if you aren’t familiar with it…)

I have changed the words to suit our home tonight…

There’s a wall at the top of my stairs,
There’s a wall at the top of my stairs
There’s wall,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall at the top of my stairs.

There’s a hole in the wall at the top of my stairs
There’s a hole in the wall  at the top of my stairs
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall at the top of my stairs.

There’s a pipe in the hole in the wall at the top of my stairs,
There’s a pipe in the hole in the wall at the top of my stairs,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall at the top of my stairs.

There’s a crack in the pipe in the hole in the wall at the top of my stairs,
There’s a crack in the pipe in the hole in the wall at the top of my stairs,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall at the top of my stairs.

There’s a flood in the basement from the crack in the hole in the wall at the top of the stairs,
There’s a flood in the basement from the crack in the hole in the wall at the top of the stairs,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall at the top of my stairs.

There’s a plumber in the flood in the basement from the crack in the hole in the wall at the top of the stairs,
There’s a plumber in the flood in the basement from the crack in the hole in the wall at the top of the stairs,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall at the top of my stairs.

There’s a hole in our checkbook from the plumber in the flood in the basement from the crack in the hole in the wall at the top of the stairs,
There’s a hole in our checkbook from the plumber in the flood in the basement from the crack in the hole in the wall at the top of the stairs,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall,
There’s a wall at the top of my stairs.

So let’s,
write the check,
pay the plumber,
clean the flood,
fix the crack,
patch the hole
in the wall at the top of the stairs.

cause no one wants a hole in the wall at the top of the stairs!

Do They Know It’s Christmas

Thirty years ago, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was released and instantly it became one of my favorite Christmas songs.  It was not  one of the typical happy joyful holiday song that I had always heard and loved.  Even to this day, every time I hear it I get tears in my eyes.  I can’t even sing the whole thing without getting choked up.  “Feed the World” the message was clear.

Today, thirty years later, a new version has been released.  This time, stressing the message, “Heal the World.”

All proceeds from the sale of the song will go to the Band Aid trust in the global fight against Ebola.

I know it might be a bit early for Christmas songs, but this one deserves to be played early.

2nd Place Isn’t So Bad

winnign-and-losing-quote

Last night we stood outside shivering in the cold as we watched Drew’s soccer team play in the finals.  Dave has been coaching these boys for years and they are good.  They are the epitome of team.  Each of those boys knows their position, they know how to be adaptable, they know how to work together and this type of playing is what got them all the way to the finals.

The temperatures had dropped down to the thirties and those boys were tenacious and they played through it.  They didn’t give up.  Even when they were a few goals down, they played hard.  They played the full game with determination and drive.  In the end, they wound up losing but truthfully they are all still winners.  They did their best and I think they may have even learned that once you accept that as long as you did the best that you could do, you are a winner.

Plus….they all got a second place trophy, and to twelve and thirteen year old boys, that trophy is still a pretty awesome prize.

IMG_1556

Who Was Kind to You Today?

something kind

A few days ago my friend Tammy, who was my biggest inspiration when starting my blog, shared this with me, writing, “I think this would make a great prompt for a blog post! How wonderful to have people share these acts of kindness with you!” I love the idea!  I love hearing about kindness shared.  Whether it is something big or a small gesture, a simple act of kindness can affect you.

I was touched by kindness today by the parent of a former student of mine.  She was cleaning out her sons’ bookshelves and wanted to donate them to my classroom.  I went to her house and went through them finding appropriate ones.  As I went through the books I was able to find ones that were fitting to share with another teacher in our school who is new and is in need of books for her classroom library.

That’s mine. Tell me something kind someone did for you today.  Keep the chain of kindness going. Kindness is contagious!  I hope you catch it!

World Diabetes Day

diabetes day

Today is World Diabetes Day.  The day was created to increase an awareness of the effects of diabetes and its complications among the general population.  The day was established in 2006.  Healthy living with diabetes is the theme for the next three years.

I did not know much about diabetes before this school year.  I am quickly learning. In nearly 20 years of teaching, I have never had a student with Diabetes. This year in my Kindergarten class, I have two students with Juvenile Diabetes. When administration knew that there were going to be two children with diabetes in the grade, it was decided that they’d be placed in the same class.  We have a full time nurse in our room to monitor them.  I have permission from their parents to share this.  They want to promote awareness.

I did not know today was even a “celebrated” day until one of the boys’ alarms went off in class this morning.  Fortunately, he was fine and it was just an alert, but the rest of the class was curious and we were able to turn it into a teachable moment.  All of the children in our class know that both boys wear a CGM, (continuous glucose monitoring device) and insulin pumps. The nurse checks them multiple times a day and they get their finger pricked often.  For the boys it is all just routine.  For the rest of the class, it has become the norm as well.  This is a good thing.  The boys told their classmates why the alarm sounded.  They told them why they needed to wear the pump.

It just so happened that the first time we all heard the alarm was today, on World Diabetes Day.  Our whole class became more aware today. These little boys educated us. None of the kids were phased by it.  They took it in stride and I am proud of all of them.  It is such a great thing when children may notice each others differences, but don’t make a big deal about it.  Kids are colorblind, they are accepting of each other.  There are no biases when they are young.  If only we could all see through the eyes of a child.

Stuck

laugh

Writer’s block.  I have it tonight.  My body is ready for bed -not for writing.  I waited all day for inspiration to write and although it was a good day, nothing really gave me that spark I needed.  I think that a day of teaching, followed by evening parent/teacher conferences put my brain on overload.  Now it just wants to sleep.

It was a good day overall. I was even able to squeeze in an impromptu lunch date with Dave in the middle of the day.  Conferences went smoothly too.  There was just nothing exciting enough to write and blog about so on these days I rely on quotes.  This one is a good one to think about.  A great reminder for us all. Do something everyday to make yourself laugh.  Laughter is infectious, priceless and free!  Don’t waste another day!  Get laughing!!

Furry Hearts Rescue

rescue pet

On Monday evening, I had the opportunity to take photographs of a really great event, the 1st Annual Broadway Furry Hearts Rescue Ball.

Furry Hearts Rescue is a 510(c)3 non-profit organization based in my town.  With the support of the local township they have implemented a TNVY (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return) program to reduce the town’s feral cat population.  Furry hearts also provides medical care to abandoned and homeless cats and dogs and has found foster and permanent homes for neglected animals. They rely solely on donations and the generous support of its volunteers and take donations from crates, pet food, litter or monetary gifts.

Our town is filled with Broadway stars and many of them came out for the evening to sing for the benefit. Each one of them sang a song that they either wrote for their pet or sing to their pet.
Everything for the event was donated and from what I have heard, it raised close to $11,000!  It is now the hope that this will become an annual event.
This is a link about the event and some of the talented performers who donated their time to help raise money for the organization.

On Veterans Day

veterans

I can think of nothing better to write about today than to offer a thank you to all of those serving our country and those who have served in the past.  I am grateful to all of them.