Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas in da U.P., eh?

Our family

Mallory's diaper cake at the baby shower.


Matt and I on Christmas Eve.

Matt and I are back in Virginia after spending Christmas in Kingsford. We flew into Wausau, Wisconsin this year because it was the closest we could get without spending over $1000 on our airfare. My Dad and sister picked us up, and we drove home in less than desirable conditions.

It was great to spend time with my family. My Mom cooked up a storm, and I was able to have some homecooked meals. Nothing beats cheese ravs, porketta sandwiches, and turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes. On top of that, my Mom added a new Christmas cookie to her tray. It was a pistachio cookie dipped in chocolate.

My nephew, Landon, started crawling a few days before Christmas. He is the most adorable thing. There is nothing like a cuddly baby. After spending the week with him, I can't wait until April. I can only hope our baby girl is as happy as him.

Like every year, my Dad, sisters, Matt, and I played board games. This year we played Scrabble. We also went to the movies to see "Marley and Me".

My sisters and Mom also threw me a baby shower while we were back home. My sister had the Knights of Columbus Hall decorated very cute, and she even made her own diaper cake. It was so nice to see people who I wouldn't have time to see since we weren't home very long. I received many wonderful gifts for the baby.

The only downfall of our trip was getting the flu. (On the plus side, the baby didn't like the flu very much so the next day she was VERY active, and Matt was finally able to feel her kick. I was so happy to finally be able to share the experience with him.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A New Christmas

On Saturday, we celebrated Christmas with Matt's parents and sister and her husband because we leave for Michigan on Tuesday. After opening a few presents tagged "To Baby", I realized that this would be the last Christmas as just the two of us. Next year brings many wonderful changes. For starters, our baby girl will be celebrating her first Christmas. She'll be around eight months old, and while this memorable event is probably more for us than her, she'll get presents from Santa for the first time.

Now, I know I have over a year to think about this day, but I've been thinking about family traditions. What traditions do we want to create for our family?

Change of Plans

Each morning after I get our lunches together, I usually sit at the kitchen table to eat my breakfast and read the daily reading out of the Advent book we received from church. Friday was a hectic day due to our 7th grade breakfast at school (Our team was in charge of it.). I needed to be at school early in order to get things in the ovens. Well, when I get frazzled, I tend to forget things. This Friday I simply went to school with no morning readings. I know...I know...and after the day we had, I wish I hadn't skipped over it.

I'll save you from the drama, but by mid-afternoon I was so upset with everyone. By the end of the day I was exhausted, and I shouldn't have been. As soon as I got home, I saw the book on the table. I picked it up and read the daily reading only to see the following prayer at the bottom.

When my plans get upset, Lord, help me not to get upset. Help me to choose the path of generosity and love.

I'd been teaching the theme of generosity all week at school since we are reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, but when I need to show it the most, I got upset.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Win a Baby Sling

Mod Mum is giving away three baby slings throughout December. Check out the link below to register. There are many choices to choose from, but my favorite is "Bella".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Know You Teach Middle School When...

1. Three quarters of your class writes all over the test even after you have told them repeatedly not to do so.
2. They still ask to use a pen even though it is scantron and must use a #2 pencil.
3. They are done with their test in less than 10 minutes.
4. Even with reading deadlines soon approaching, they still refuse to read a book during their reading time.
5. You tell them they have to dress up for the field trip to a theatre, and they immediately start complaining and stating they don't own anything but jeans.

Notice a trend? Even on days like this, I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else.

Belly Progression

23 weeks (above)

15 weeks (above)
10 weeks (above)

Well, it is pretty obvious now that I am pregnant!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas movies

It's beginning to look a lot in the recliner watching my collection of Christmas movies. I think when we first started dating and even the first year of marriage, my husband had no idea how much I love Christmas. One part of my tradition and now our tradition is to partake in a movie marathon consisting only of the very best (in my opinion) Christmas movies. Since Matt can only take so much, he only watches four of these movies, which I have *.

1. Miracle on 34th Street (black & white versioin and the color version)
2. It's a Wonderful Life
3. White Christmas
4. Charlie Brown Christmas*
5. Christmas Vacation*
6. Elf*
8. Home Alone 1 & 2
9. The Holiday
10. The Grinch
11. A Christmas Story*
12. The Polar Express
13. Meet Me in St. Louis

Notice: There is no clay-mation.

What is your favorite Christmas movie?

The End

I can officially say "The End" to my thesis. I finished it about a 1/2 hour ago. Finishing it is a relief, not only because it is due on Wednesday, but because this thing had been a huge part of my life since June. I've read countless articles, ran over 15 graphs, and typed over 40 pages. It was time consuming and at times a pain, but now I can turn it in and say, "The END."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Baby Update

I had another check-up tonight, and everything sounds great. Her heartbeat was 142 bpm.

Slowly, but surely, we are preparing for this little one. Matt has started painting her nursery. Well, at this point, only half of it is primed, but eventually it will be a light purple. We are planning on buying her crib and changing table after the holidays.

My preparation is learning all I can about cloth diapers, since that is one thing we have decided to try. I even bought my first diapers on Monday. Granted, I'm nowhere near having my stock pile yet, but it is a start. I'll keep plugging away on the internet searching for deals.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Be Watchful

With today marking the first Sunday of the Advent season, I wish for you all a very blessed Christmas season. It is during this time that we must be watchful and live for hope - hope born in a manager. This past week we all gave thanks to the many blessings in our lives, but we can't stop looking and recognizing these daily blessings. As we continue to move toward Christmas, we also need to be watchful and live for others. What can you do for someone today? While it may seem that a Merry Christmas comes from that must-have gift, we must remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Give Thanks To...

Waking up to a frigid morning only to realize you hogged all the blankets the night before, so your husband only had the corners (poor guy).

Anticipating the never ending Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and waiting for the Detroit Lions to lose for the 12th straight game.

My Baby Butterfly

Clear blue skies and sunlight glistening off the grass and trees, knowing that back home it is probably gray skies and a blanket of snow. It really is a toss up to what I enjoy more. Although for the long haul, I'll take the sun, but at Christmas I'll take SNOW.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Little Butterfly

I finally felt the baby move. I originally felt her Friday night during the movie Twilight, but since I wasn't sure I wanted to wait and see if I felt it again. Well, I've felt it every day since then, so I'm pretty sure the little flips I feel are the baby. At first, I didn't think it felt like flutters, but it really is the only word to describe what I feel at this time.


Since I had my students write today about gratitude, I thought I should do the same.

I am grateful for:
1. a loving husband
2. a little one on the way
3. ultrasound machines (It is so amazing to see the baby.)
4. Father Jim's homilies
5. not traveling this weekend (I'm saving the craziness for December.)
6. a four day weekend (maybe I'll get some work done on my thesis)
7. all the help from friends about cloth diapers
8. feeling like a little kid when I put extra marshmallows in a mug of hot chocolate
9. gel pillows

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby Timeshares

I've sat through my fair share of timeshare speeches, but never would I have imagined that a program advertised for baby safety would turn into a baby timeshare episode.

Here is what we took away from the day:
1. The world is full of idiots without common sense.
2. Exersaucers are just as bad for kids as walkers. (Matt loved this because it was one less thing we would have in our house.)
3. Apparently, (according to the timeshare dude for babies) everything from bouncers, highchairs, walkers, exersaucers, swings, cribs, etc. are extremely dangerous for all babies. Everything is dangerous except for his companies TWO products. Sorry, I'm not paying $900 for their crib or $600 for their highchair/everything else thing.
4. Free gifts are not free gifts. Well, unless you want to pay a $15 shipping charge. Can we say scam?

Here is why the timeshare dude lost my respect:
1. He tried to sell us his highchair thingy (it looks like a table with a chair dropped down the middle) by showing us pictures of his daughters and telling us that they sat in this thing for hours. HOURS!
2. He said the thingy saved his father one weekend while he was babysitting. Apparently, the grandpa got sick, and just left the kid in the thing for the better part of the weekend. He thought the chair was a great babysitter.

Oh, I did get a great handout on child safety recalls and listservs. One good thing from a baby timeshare.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I just got back from the movie Twilight. I had high expectations for this movie because I loved the book. Well, it lived up to my expectation. It was great. A little disappointed by their portrayal of Jacob, but it didn't really matter because I was always an Edward fan.

Interested in a synopsis of the book? Check out

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One More Day Until....

the premiere of TWILIGHT!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Daily Gratitude

Today, I'm thankful for:
1. Lotion - for my itchy stomach
2. Good health - mine and our little girl
3. My husband - for way too many reasons
4. Job Safety
5. Funny TV shows - Big Bang Theory, Kath & Kim, Two & A Half Men, and The Office - great stress relief


I keep waiting and waiting and feel my little girl move. I've read many different accounts on what it is supposed to feel like, and that I'll know it for sure when it happens, but I'm not very good at waiting. I wonder if the muscle twinges are the baby or just muscle twinges? I guess for the time being I'll just keep waiting.

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's A Girl

It's a GIRL!

We had another ultrasound today and found out that we are going to have a baby girl. It was pretty amazing to see all her tiny bones and the spinal cord. She was very active this morning kicking and flipping over, but I have yet to actually feel her move. We are still looking at names, but at least I can officially say my child will not be named Hamish, Arn, or Onsted. Yes, those were names Matt threw out in discussion. Thank goodness his choices for girls' names are more in line with mine.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Pile of Essays

I have been grading one class of personal narrative essays for over an hour. This is the one area of teaching English in which I can't find any joy. I love reading the essays, but I don't like grading them. The end of the first marking period is on Friday, and I have a stack of essays at my feet that I can't seem to pick back up. I was on a roll, but now I am at a standstill. Ten essays are left in one class and then three full classes remain. Oh, how I wish I had a magic grading genie.

I guess I shouldn't have slept the day away yesterday.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

1. Pickles
2. Pickles
3. Pickles

Yummy! I seriously eat a jar of dill pickles a week.

Monday, September 22, 2008

And Baby Makes Three

A welcomed addition will soon be joining our family. The original due date was April 11, but after the ultrasound today, the tentative due date is now April 15.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sounds of Silence

School starts tomorrow. In anticipation for the upcoming hectic week, I decided to indulge in the LAZIEST WEEKEND. And I did just that. I watched college football, went for a few walks around the lake, did the crossword puzzles in the daily newspaper, went to the movie theather to see Traitor, and that is basically it. I am ready for the new year and do not anticipate the high blood pressure that came with the group of kids we had last year. Let the new year begin.

Monday, August 18, 2008

10 Things I Love

1. Being back in my own home with my husband.
2. Taking a walk around the lake at night when the humidity has dropped.
3. School starts next week for teachers.
4. Books by Stephanie Meyer
5. Videos of my nephew Landon
6. Gel pillows
7. Reading the newspaper in the morning versus after 5:00 p.m.
8. Smell of clothes hung on the line outside instead of in the dryer.
9. Baking/Cooking anything
10. When all feels right in the world.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Our 5 loaves and 2 fish

I never miss a chance to go to church back home. I miss hearing Father Joe. I love our new priest, but I love Father Joe's stories. Today, Father Joe spoke of Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War he would go to church and sit in the back pews so not to be notice. After one service, his assistant asked him if he liked the service (cause he did). President Lincoln's response was that the priest failed because he never asked the congregation to do something great.

What great thing will you do?

Home Sweet Home

I am lucky to be able to spend 2 weeks up in the U.P. I've been home since Saturday, and I'm loving every minute of it.

  • I know I'm home when I need to find flannel pajamas and quilts in order to stay warm in may parents basement.
  • I know I'm home when my mom tries to feed me every two hours.
  • I know I'm home when my mom makes pancakes and bacon the first morning I'm home.
  • I know I'm home when I hear Father Joe give a homily that I hope all will take to heart. I love going to church at home because of Father Joe, the pews, and the traditional feel.
  • I know I'm home when I have to take at least 2 walks to walk off the food my mother feeds me.

I spent the morning out at the Chain of Lakes kayaking. It was overcast and the lake was so calm. I actually was able to paddle right up to a loon.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Town

In the book What My Mother Doesn't Know, all of the main character's friends go on vacation during Christmas vacation. She decides to take a vacation in her own town. I find that to be a wonderful idea. With that in mind, Matt and I went to the Norfolk Zoo yesterday. It was a beautiful day with a gentle breeze, and the sun didn't constantly beat down. We saw the traditional farm animals, reptiles, amphibians, owls, lovebirds, zebras, rhinos, lions, giraffes, ostrich, and a ton of exotic animal of which I can't remember the names. One goat (I think it was called a pygmy) had these creepy eyes. They reminded me of those contacts kids now buy to freak people out. They were a golden color with a black slit through the middle.

I would also like to go to Chrsyler Museum of Art and the Backbay Refuge, but I think I'm on my own here as Matt really has no interest in birdwatching or looking at art.

The Trash Heap

My flashdrive has found a new home...the trash.
I realized this afternoon I lost more than my thesis and TWP scrapbook, although those two were enough. I also lost the list of quickwrites I wrote for my other grad class. (Thankfully, I found my rough drafts in the trash can up in the loft.) I lost the pre-survey I created to give to my students at the beginning of the year before I start collecting data. At this point, I have washed my hands of the flashdrive.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why I Hate My Flashdrive

1. My entire thesis draft was lost in less than a second due to a corrupt file.
2. My entire powerpoint presentation containing a 50 page scrapbook detailing the summer of the Tidewater Writing Project was lost in less than a second due to a corrupt file.

*I can now be seen sitting at the kitchen table recreating the 20 pages I lost. I am almost back to where I was two days ago. Once I hit that point, I can continue on like I never lost it to begin with.
*It is quite amazing how much the brain remembers.
*I guess that is why it is recommended to back up files in more than one place.
*At least I have a week and a half left until the thesis is due.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fresh Cut Grass

Things I Love Today...
1. Fresh Cut Grass
2. Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
3. Cran-Apple Juice
4. Laughter
5. Getting new ideas from fellow teachers at the Tidewater Writing Project
6. Finding books on for $0.75.
7. Writing
8. Reading
9. Planet Green on Channel 286 (DirectTV)
10. Relaxing in either my rocking chair or hammock outside.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Three years ago, I married the man of my dreams. I remember our wedding day like it was yesterday. It was over 90 degrees and humid. The U.P. is never supposed to be that hot, but it was on our wedding day. I remember Father Joe pronouncing us husband and wife. I remember Colleen, the photographer, having us trek through the woods for the 'perfect' spot for a photo. The heat was making people grumpy and irritated, but I have the BEST wedding pictures. I remember people talking about the food. All I remember is the Italian turkey sandwiches, but the food was a hit. Thank goodness, my husband wasn't in charge of the food; he only wanted vats of cheese and chips. I remember the groom's cake I secretly added a few days before our wedding. It was a 3-D football with my husband's football number and high school name, so he could relive the glory years. I remember Garrett and Annie dancing. Let's just say, if it was on t.v., it would be on the late late shows. I remember dancing, and dancing, and dancing some more. I remember dancing with my husband even though he hates to dance. It really doesn't seem like this all happened three years ago. I hope we can create more memories throughout the years that will be as vivid as our wedding day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Creepy Crawlies

Thank goodness for sprays to get rid of the creepy crawlies. Yesterday, we had an encounter with a GIANT spider in our kitchen. Ugh, oh how I hate spiders. It took us about three rounds to finally kill the giant beast, but then I immediately hit the Internet to determine if it was poisonous or not. Thankfully, it was not a black widow or brown recluse, but having spiders - poisonous or not- is nothing something I want. For the next hour, I felt like there were spiders everywhere, even in my hair. That was yesterday, but today when I came home, I noticed this black speck in the carpet. I thought it was just a piece of mulch we might have tracked in. I wasn't that lucky. As soon as I got closer the creepy crawly took off. It doesn't take you too long to scoot across the floor when you have over 100 legs. Ugh. It was so disgusting. This critter would not die. I finally had to scoop him up in a magazine and fling him outside. He simply would not die; I even slammed him few times with a hardcover novel. He was a tough little guy. I am hoping not to come across any more creepy crawlies any time soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Switch It Up

Sometimes you just need to switch it up. I'm talking about dinner. Ever have a nice big breakfast for dinner? Some may look at you like you walked out of the Bizarro-World episode of Seinfeld, but cut them some slack. It's just because they don't know what their missing.

I remember sitting down for dinner and the only thing in front of me was every single box of cereal from the cupboard. It was fend for yourself night. We could have just one kind or mix them all together. My favorite was Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but sometimes I'd go for the Cocoa Krispies only to let the chocolate seep out into the milk, so I could have a bowl of chocolate milk to drink at the end.

I also remember having pancakes for dinner. Yummy! Homemade pancakes drizzled in butter, maple syrup, and of course POWDERED SUGAR. We would usually have sausages with them. I'd cut the pancakes up and the sausages. Each bite would contain one piece of sausage and pancake. I would save the pieces of pancake with the most butter and powdered sugar until last.

The last breakfast food I remember eating for dinner was eggs, toast, and bacon. My Dad makes the very best fried eggs.

Guess what I had for dinner tonight?

gluten-free waffles drizzled in maple syrup, butter, and maple syrup with side of bacon.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Only Gets Better

If you haven't read Harry Potter, I must tell you to drop everything immediately. It is time for you to walk, run, bike, or drive to a bookstore and start from the beginning. On Friday, as I left school, I happened to grab the seventh book off my desk to reread. (I needed the A.R. Points for our teachers vs. students reading competition.) I'm currently on page 374, and I can't put the book down. I've taken it everywhere with me: outside, in-laws, beach, etc. Yeah -so maybe I should be grading essays, but the book is more than a book. The book is a vacation. Yes, that is it. I should not do school work seven days a week. With gas prices so high, who needs to travel anywhere. Grab a book and go outside and let yourself be transported to another time and place. To truly get the vacation you deserve, you won't be let down with Harry Potter.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Rain, Rain, Go Away
Come again another day (preferably when the pollen is in the air)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

for my Mother

Happy Mother's Day!

I wish you were here or I was there
to celebrate with you today.

I wish we could share a cup of coffee together in the morn,
eating chocolate on the porch, watching airplanes.

I wish you could see all the baking and cooking I can do
because of what you taught me.

I wish you could taste my bread, chocolate cake, blueberry-banana bread, pizza, etc. and think it tastes just like yours even though it is gluten-free.

I wish you could go to garage sales with me down here,
I'm sure you'd find a ton of glasses to add to your collection
or a random lamp.

I wish we could go to a movie and I could hear your laugh
at a moment when no one else is laughing, and
then you can't control it, and
we all start laughing and people start looking.

I wish you a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

I'm Back

It seems that I have let life take control of me again. I really hate it when I feel overwhelmed by the little things. It's raining outside. And windy. So windy, that I am afraid my rhododendron that has finally bloomed will be nothing but blooms scattered around the yard by the end of it. Already the wind has knocked around what little we have out back. The cover to the grill is in a heap near the wheels, and my rocking chair is upside down. We are supposed to be in for some nasty storms tonight. The skylights in our room actually make it seems like we are 'outside' when it rains. At times, it is soothing to listen to the rain, but when I'm really tired - all it does is make me angry.

On an entirely different note, Matt and I are trying to go green one step at a time. We bought a retractable clothesline today and set it up. We hung out sheets and towels and got about a half hour in before the rain. We don't buy bottled water, but rather have our own 2Liter water bottles that we take back and forth to school. I bring my own cloth grocery bags, and recycle what plastic bags I get. My next purchase will be the dryer balls that are supposed to cut drying time in half (for when I need to use the dryer) and also I can get rid of fabric softener sheets.

I wish our local city government would get their act together in terms of a better recycling program. When Matt and I lived in Battle Creek, we could recycle EVERYTHING. We maybe had a bag a trash a week. Now, we can only recycle #1 and #2 plastic, aluminum cans, glass, and newspapers. It is sickening to see all this potential recycling go into a landfill just because the local government can't get it together. In the news this past week, we even found out that the lawn clippings that were supposed to be recycled into compost were being put in the landfill. What a waste!

Tonight, I am grateful for perserverance and finding my routine again. I am grateful for curling up on the couch with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa. I am thankful for baking homemade pizza and blueberry-banana bread.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Banana Bread
1 3/4 cup flour (I use 1 1/2 cups white rice flour, 1/4 garbanzo bean flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
(mix above together)
In a separate bowl,
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons canola oil
(blend together and add to dry ingredients)
add 1 cup. frozen blueberries
pour into a greased/floured baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Aunt Rosie: Devon, how do you want your spaghetti?
Devon: Naked

On my return flight to Norfolk, the man behind me talked the entire flight. At first I was annoyed, but soon my annoyance turned to laughter as I truly listened to what he said. At one time I grabbed a piece of paper to write it down.

Man: My wife says I have man-love for Marky Marky.

Man: I think she was in a fire. She had no hair and wore a wig.

Man: It was like guarding lightning. (referring to a pickup basketball game during his college years)

Ideas for writing just seem to sprout up at anytime, anywhere.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Life's Treasures

Since Tuesday night, I've been visiting Paula and my nephew Landon. Spending time here has opened my eyes to even more amazing wonders placed here by God.

1. Nothing compares to the smell of a newborn and holding them tight as you lull them to sleep.
2. Watching Landon sleep: such peace. Sporadic smiles emerge; sometimes one eye opens slightly (maybe just to check if he's missing anything); other times his eyes are open for seconds and then he is out again.
3. Taking walks with Bella, Landon, and Paula in the suprisingly warm Michigan weather.
4. Taking 4 mile hike with Mallory and Bella on trails I never knew existed.
5. Funfetti Cake - so yummy in my tummy and it envelopes the kitchen in a sweet scent of homemade yumminess.
6. Thankful to be able to cook homemade meals for Paula and Mallory
7. Grateful for my husband and our home in Virginia.
8. Grateful for organization and cleanliness
9. Thank goodness for Lysol Kitchen Disinfectant
10. Gel pillows to rest my weary head
11. Grateful for Laughter (watching The Office with Mallory) and playing with Landon

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Tiny Clone

Everything about Landon reminds me of his mother (my sister Paula). I'll have to go through the photo albums and see if I can scan an image of her at this age. His little button nose, mouth, eyes, everything is a clone of Paula.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blast from the Past

If you want a blast from the past, check out DarkCopy. I felt like Doogie Howser, M.D. typing his nightly journal entry.

Stranger than Fiction

set your timer: Writer about an example of wishes coming true in your life that no one would believe if it were in a short story or a novel. Or write about something that happened taht was just too strange, that you yourself would have a hard time believing, if it hadn't happened to you. (from Pen on Fire)

"I'm leaving for Taiwan in the morning," James said he walked into the kitchen. He never knew how Julia would take the news of his business trip. Sometimes she would cry for days before he left and other times she seemed to handle it.

"What?" Julia questioned. "Why tomorrow? Can't it wait?

"No. I wish it could, but my boss needs me there tomorrow for a meeting with all the managers."

From the tone in his voice, Julia knew she couldn't talk him out of this trip. She never actually talked him out of a trip, but she sure did try. Can't they send someone else? I hate it when you leave me all alone? Do you know I cry myself to sleep when you are oversees?

Dinner was silent except for the occassional whimpers coming from Julia. She tried to contain herself, but she always became upset when James left. Even more disturbing, was this sinking feeling that something else wasn't right. After dinner, she went up to bed to cry.

James left alone to cry. Usually when her tears dried, she was back to her usual routine, but after two hours, Julia was still crying. When he went upstairs, he found her snuggling her pink baby blanket from her childhood. This was always a bad sign. The baby blanket remained in the wicker chest at the foot of the bed unless Julia was sleeping alone when James was away or when she upset. Her face was splotchy from crying and used kleenex scattered the comforter and floor.

"Please, don't go," Julia sobbed. "I know I'm a mess and making this hard, but something doesn't feel right about this trip. Something is going to go terribly wrong, and I can't live without you. Please, call your boss. Tell him you can't go. Please, James, please."

"Julia, I can't. I wish I could," James said as he gathered his wife in his arms. She continued to cry holding on tight until she had nothing left and fell asleep.

At 12:47 a.m., the phone rang. James gently shook his wife awake to let her know his trip was cancelled.

When I was in middle school, my dad had to go on a business trip. I cried and cried because I had the sinking feeling that something was going to go terribly wrong just like Julia. I cried and cried wrapped in my pink baby blanket. I remember praying to God over and over again to keep my dad safe and to cancel the trip. I cried myself to sleep that night and was awakened by my dad somewhere near 1:00 a.m. when my dad told me his trip was canceled.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Netflix Rentals

The Jane Austen Book Club - I really don't know what made me decide to add this movie to our queue because it took me three times to read Pride and Prejudice. The plot revolves around six members of a book club. Basically, their lives start to resemble different novels written by Jane Austen. My favorite part was when they actually meet for their book club. Maybe it is the English teacher in me, but I just loved listening to their different perspectives about the same novel. In the end, I decided to read some more Jane Austen.

Into the Wild - This movie is a true story about a young man who gives up everything to lead a solitary life trekking through the Alaskan wilderness. I won't give anything else away about the plot, but this is one movie that you won't forget. I'm still thinking about what that young man learned on his journey. Happiness is best when shared.

Landon James Shemanski

I'd like to introduce you to my nephew, Landon James Shemanski. He was born on April 1, 2008 at 6:59 p.m. He weighed 7 lbs. 1 oz. and was 19 1/2 inches long. My sister, Paula, is now home and adjusting to life with a newborn. I keep going to the internet to look if she posted new pictures. It is times like this I wish I was a little closer to Michigan.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rummage Sales

When I went to the rummage sale this morning, I really only went because they advertised bookcases. I'm always on the lookout for bookcases for my classroom. I really didn't mean to come home with an oak rocker, converted antique ice chest, a bookcase/hutch and matching pieces including a three-drawer unit and a small five draw file cabinet.

This addiction was passed down from my mother. If the sale is selling glasses (goblets, wine glasses, etc.), my mom is buying them. She has a hutch in the basement full and numerous cupboards. I don't have the love of glasses, but I love going to rummage sales. Books are my weaknesses as well as furniture.

The IKEA bookcases/hutch/drawers are now in the loft and will be the future home of all my crafting/scrapbooking/photography/writing supplies. I have already established the three drawer unit as gift wrapping. One drawer houses the wrapping paper, one the tissue paper, and the third holds ribbon, tags, gift bags. I am so excited.

The ice chest is now a hutch in my living room, the rocker will soon be outside as soon as I put a protective coating on it, and the rest of my bookcases are awaiting me in the loft.

Did I tell you I was excited?

Summer Tease

Nothing can prepare the body for a 40 degree temperature DROP! Yesterday, I spent the day outside in 85 degree weather. I slept with the air conditioner running only to awake to the frigid temperature of 40 degrees. I hoped it was a fluke and that the temperature would soon be warming up and the sun would come out. That was not the case however. The past two days were simply summer teases. Look what is coming, but wait - not yet. I have not been able to warm up all day. My bones are cold and achy. How in the world did I grow up in the U.P.? How did I survive 7 months of winter and temperatures well below zero?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Get a Move on - OUTSIDE

When the weather is 80 degrees, one must GET OUTSIDE. Forget the electronics - move on outside. Here is how I spent my day (mostly just trying to get a little color on my pasty, white, glow in the dark skin):
1. Enjoyed the warmth of the sun sitting OUTSIDE
2. Drank my morning cup of coffee OUTSIDE
3. Completed (or at least tried) the daily crossword OUTSIDE
4. Finished reading the first Pendragon Book: The Merchant of Death OUTSIDE
5. Put down new red mulch in the front flower beds OUTSIDE
6. Read the NEA Journal and Virginia Reading Association Journal OUTSIDE


7. Ate lunch OUTSIDE
8. Went rollerblading with Matt (he actually ran, but I'm not much of a runner) OUTSIDE

Thank goodness my allergy medication works wonders; otherwise, I would have had to abandon all this time OUTSIDE and spend a glorious day inside. I wonder what I'm going to do tomorrow OUTSIDE? It's supposed to be in the 80's again. What would you do?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

Take a moment this day to reflect on the significance of this day.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Take a PEEP

Now, I am not fond of Peeps, but when I saw this recipe in Taste of Home, I immediately thought of Matt's Dad. It was because of this recipe that I volunteered to make dessert for Easter. The original recipe called for a packaged yellow cake mix, but since Matt is allergic to gluten, I had to make a homemade cake. I switched it to a chocolate cake recipe I found on The true taste test will come tomorrow, but if it tastes anything like the batter, I'll be happy.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Thank goodness it's FRIDAY!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Power of Listening

Listening gives you power. Power to hear the entire converstion. Power to hear what really is going on. Power to understand the TRUE nature of problem. Power to decide a course of action. Power to calm down. Power to be effective. All because you LISTENED instead talking. Listened instead of getting involved. Listened instead of reacting. JUST LISTEN.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hidden Potential

I love to cook and bake. I recently stumbled upon a blog by a 16-year-old girl who is a self-taught baker. She bakes cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. It is amazing to see her dedication and risks. Quite frankly, I am not about to undertake baking a wedding cake for someone or bake hundreds of cupcakes, but it put me in the mood to cook more than my usual. My usual consists of the homemade food needed to get around Matt's gluten allergy. Today, I baked blueberry-banana bread and for dinner I experimented with a recipe I found in Rachel Ray's magazine. It was Chicken with a Gouda Sauce. It was YUMMY! I also am preparing for another experiment. For Easter, I am baking dessert for our Easter dinner with Matt's family. In the Taste of Home magazine, I saw a cake surrounded by Peeps and I immediately thought of Matt's dad who absolutely loves these disgusting things. Anyway, I loved everything else. The recipe originally called for yellow cake, but since I've never made a gluten-free yellow cake (and didn't want to experiment for Easter dinner), I changed the recipe to a dark chocolate cake. The cake is frosted and then chocolate chips are arranged in circles on top. The finishing touch is surrounding it with yellow peeps. It is supposed to resemble a sunflower.
Today, to get out of the house, I went to Michael's to look. I walked out with 2 packs of notecards, meringue powder, red sprinkles, #12 tip, disposable piping bags, and a daisy cookie cutter. I'm planning on experimenting with a buttercream recipe I found on Kelsie's blog. Maybe make cupcakes with it or make daisy sugar cookies and have fun decorating. The potential is there. My desire it there. It is time to get cooking.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I make lists. It is what I do primarily because if I didn't I'd forget and my life would run amuck. I currently have many lists running my life. Want a sneak peak into my loony life?

To Do: Letters to Write
1. To my unborn nephew
2. Denyl
3. Mary Jo
4. Stacy
5. Melanie

To Do: Grocery List
sour cream, milk, coke, frosting, cleaning sponge, dryer sheets, rice noodles, white rice flour, ground chicken breast, tomato sauce, eggs

To Do: Grad School
write grant proposal
teach a writing to learn lesson
finalize portfolio pieces

To Do: School
copies - tests, projects
sub plans
professional leave form
lesson plan for research unit

To Do: Home
organize closet in guest room
learn feng shui principles
plan, t hydrangea plants
order flowers for aunt birthday

I also have lists for books I want to read, things I want to write, dreams I have, etc.

Learning to Listen

These are the stories I would love to listen to.
1. Stories about me and my imaginary friend Emily.
2. Stories about my childhood.
3. A story about my aunt smelling roses.
4. The story of my wedding day.
5. Stories about my parents as children.

Stories are around us everywhere. Too often we use the excuse, "I have nothing to write." My advice - just listen. Just listen to your surroundings. What do you hear? Just listen - then write. Listen for the stories are need to have a voice. Listen for the stories that are out there waiting for listening ears. Just listen. Just write.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Arrivals

You know it is spring when:
1. Allergies go crazy - itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; runny nose; sinus headaches; nasal congestion; drainage - YUCK
2. Barlett Pear trees in bloom - pollen in the air
3. Lilies are sprouting up through the mulch - (I didn't kill them!)
4. Sunshine - warm weather that makes you want to stay outside
5. Bathing suits in stores
6. Strong desire to go to the beach
7. Start counting down the days until the last day of school.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Rituals? What rituals? I have no writing rituals. I would love to say I have a dedicated spot for writing, such as a large desk faced in front of a window that overlooks a garden in full bloom or the beach or the red rocks in Sedona. I think all three would be awe inspiring views. However, this desk and window are imaginary. I have no such desk, no such view, no such ritual. The closest thing I have to a ritual is picking up Pen on Fire, reading a chapter, grabbing the laptop, and start writing. I really don't even think I can count this as a ritual, because sometimes I don't even read a chapter. I just write. Doesn't sound too bad to me. Just write. For the time being, while I am creating my writing ritual, I will focus on my see-saw writing ritual. Some days I'll read then write, and other days I'll just WRITE.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Child at Heart

Life is too short to grow up too fast. Kids fascinate me. Their innocence is much appreciated in an age where seventh graders have seen, heard, and experienced more than they ever should at that age. I anticipate the stories from my co-teachers who have young children, as well as, the stories from my cousins. Kids say the darnest things was a wise choice for a television show. It is true. They are trustworthy, but don't forget when you let them down.

Doctor to Conner: Okay, young man, we are going to just have to lean back now.
Conner to Doctor: Why?
Doc: Well, I just need to to examine you. It is nothing to worry about.
Conner: I don't think so. The last doctor told me that, and the next thing I know he yanked out a tooth.

Kids are amusing. On the morning Amy's Kailey learned how to crawl out of the crib, she heard her knocking on the door and yelling, "I'm out. Let me out. Let me out."

My little cousing Peyton is a neat freak just like her Dad. When she saw her baby cousin Hannah eating, she was disgusted to find food all over her face, hands, and on the highchair. Looking at my Aunt Rosie she said, "Grandma, aren't you going to do something? Get her a towel. She's full of food."

I think it is important for all of us to remember our child at heart. When the stresses of the day overwhelm us, we need to step outside of the adult world and look at things from a child's perspective. What can you do tomorrow to renew your child spirit? How about puddle jumping after the rain? Make a pitcher of lemonade. No, you don't need to set up a stand outside selling it for quarters, but why not if you have little kids. Take a break and watch a movie for kids. Go outside and play. Find yourself again. Have fun. Don't let your life pass you by.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What makes me happy?

Right now I feel stressed, overwhelmed, and sick. I know what makes me happy, but for some reason this last week, I have been shoving aside happiness. Let this be a lesson: when you put aside your happiness, stress seeps in and takes over. Starting tomorrow I will regain control over my happiness.

I will stop trying to control everything.
I will get all the paperwork, books, and supplies ready for small group novels in the morning.
I will start walking the track again.
I will continue to write.
I will be consistent with my allergy shots.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Smell the Roses

I've got another first line to add. I thought of this one after speaking to my mom on the phone.

She can smell death. I'm not talking about sniffing corpses or road kill or anything. Smelling death has nothing to do with holding your nose trying to desperately search for fresh air. She can smell death coming. She smells roses and waits for death.

Monday, March 3, 2008

First Lines

I am a list maker. Post-it notes and scraps of paper can be found anywhere. There are lists on my fridge, in my car, on the table, and on my desk at work. I need lists; without them I would be at a loss. The recent chapter in Pen on Fire talks about first lines. Obviously, the first line is important. It will make or break it for the reader. Quite a daunting task if you ask me, but low and behold her suggestion was to create a list of first lines in part of my notebook. I think I can manage that. After reading the chapter, I remembered a sticky note on my desk at school. I wrote the two words "unfinished life" after reading the sentence, "Without love, life is unfinished." I think I will start with this.

I am currently reading "The Merchant of Death: Book 1 in the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale. I grabbed the book to see the first line. I'd have to say it is catchy. "I hope you're reading this, Mark." I will now be on the lookout.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Daily Gratitude

1. My husband for making sure I'll be okay alone this weekend.
2. My graduate class Writing for Teachers because now I am forced to do the type of writing I've been saying I want to do. Now I HAVE to, and I'm loving every minute of it.
3. Taking the time to write each night.
4. Those quiet moments in the morning when Matt is still asleep.
5. I appreciate the students who donated books to my classroom library.
6. Choosing the appropriate attitude - POSITIVE THOUGHTS

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mail Bag

Letter writing is soon becoming a lost art form. E-mails and text messages are in and handwritten letters are out. I will not be one of these people. I love to write letters. I love buying stationary and cards to send out. In the past, I've even attempted at making handmade cards. There is something personal about writing a letter; a card says you've taken time to think about that person, time to find the perfect stationary or card, time to write, time to send. It is a tradition I stand to continue - even with the increasing price of a stamp. Also, it is not just about me. When I grab the mail each day, I love to find mail that is not a bill. I feel blessed to be able to put a smile on someone else's face so that for that one day they have something else in the mailbox other than bills. Matt thinks I'm crazy about this letter writing. He laughed when I said I wanted stationary for Christmas. He doesn't understand why I send so many Christmas cards, and why I need to send thank you cards. I send letters and cards because it is the write thing to do. I have nothing against e-mails (I do use this feature) or text messages (not fond of these), but personal letters are just that - personal. They carry a meaning a computer screen can not. I'm a pack rat, so I have saved many a letter, but even if I wasn't I look at the movies and in books and on tv of family members who have found letters from their grandparents or letters written to children or bundles of love letters. Our kids are never going to be able to find bundles of letters because people are not writing letters. They won't be able to read our e-mails because e-mail is disposable (hello trash bin) and because everything is password protected. When was the last time you gave out your password to anyone? It warms my heart to think of the people who have been able to connect with loved ones lost through the letters they found. Their lives continue through the letters. Maybe I'm too much of a romantic or old-fashioned, but what are we leaving our grandkids by embracing technology and forgetting the past. I realize not everyone saves everything they receive, but there are people who treasure the heartfult letters. I remember rummaging through my grandparents dresser at my Aunt Mary Jo's house a few summers ago. I found a letter my dad had written to my aunt in 1982. The letter was all about me and how I had taken my first steps. I fell in love with that letter. Here was a piece of my history in a letter. Are our kids going to be able to find letters about their history in a dresser somewhere? Technology is a good thing, but we shouldn't completely throw out everything else. Future generations need to know how to write a thank-you note and they need to leave their mark for their grandkids. Leave a legacy. With letter writing on a decline, we are slowly erasing a history. What's your legacy? Will anyone remember it?

*The above was simply a freewrite (no proofreading done) about letter writing. It's been on my mind lately.

Rain Down

During my 15 minutes of writing last night I focused on writing a rough draft of a poem. Here it is.

Rain Down

Rain down, rain down
cleanse me from my sins
wash away the pain and hurt
and break the chains I'm grasping
free me to forgive.

Rain down, rain down
soothe my soul and heal my heart
open me heart to find forgiveness
for a friend, a cousin
who caused me pain
it's time to nourish the family tree.

Rain down, rain down
Renew my spirit
I long for the innocence childhood brings
where puddle jumping in green galoshes
brings joy after the spring rain

Rain down, rain down
on me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Finding Time

Where do I spend my time during the day? I've decided to take a look at a typical day and decide where my time goes. I have an idea that I do have the time, but I make excuses. Go figure! Excuses, Excuses. I'm sick of making excuses. There are no excuses, just fear. Here is what happened today.
6:30 a.m. - get up, shower, dress
6:50 a.m. - 7:15 a.m. - make lunches, eat breakfast, Lent reflection
7:15 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. - drive to work
7:30 a.m. - 8:20 a.m. - grade papers, make copies, school stuff
8:20 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. - SCHOOL
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Mondays & Wednesdays Coach Debate/Tuesday & Thursday Tutor
4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Make copies
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - Cook and Eat Dinner
6:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. - Read Newspaper and start blogging (does this count as writing)
I'm going to assume that from now until I go to sleep I will be watching t.v., reading, writing.

Okay, Okay, Okay. I definitely have time to write. I'm logging off now and going to write. I feel like such a schmuck.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

No Disclaimers

Somebody has to make it, why not me?

In the past I've always said reading was my thing. In my classroom, I would rather be reading than writing. My partition, my block from writing, was this excuse. I'd rather be reading. Really? Looking back, I see evidence that writing was just as important. I envied Stacy who wrote endlessly for hours. She filled notebook after notebook with her writing. I remember secretly wanting to go into her closet just to read a bit of what she wrote. I wonder if she is still writing that much today? In Battle Creek, I checked out a book from the library that had to do with writing. I can't remember the title; I think it was something like Your Creative Soul. Anyway, I remember after reading the book, I started getting up early just to write. The writing was three pages of freewrites and it usually was garbage, but the book said that getting the garbage and all of our whining out led to the good stuff. Why did I stop? Well, apparently, I'd rather be reading. The first time I read Pen on Fire, I actually read each chapter and in the beginning completed the 15 minute timer writings; then, I stopped writing, but kept reading. I guess I'd rather be reading.

I have come to realize that I need to write just like I need to read. There is no separation, and I need to stop making excuses to write. Procrastination creeps in and for some reason the writing does not get done. I want to write, and I want to be published. Maybe I don't write because of a fear of not getting published and having no one to read my writing. Take this blog for example. I have the privacy set so NO ONE can read it. It is not that I don't want people to read it - I do, but I do not want my students or anyone associated with school to read it. Privacy and security are a must. I need to feel appreciated, and I feel this with my writing as well. I want people to read my things, but I value some people's ideas and criticism more than others. Why? I don't know.

I need to take down the partition. I need to make time in my day to write and not let any excuse seep in and get in my way blocking me from writing.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


My list of what I am thankful for today:
1. Getting a good night sleep before the crashing thunder and lightning that woke me up this morning.
2. Blogs that reenergize me and make me want to start writing.
3. My love of cooking/baking - fresh blueberry banana bread is currently baking in the oven. I love the way my kitchen smells after something comes out of the oven. I am particularly thankful for this love of mine because of Matt's allergy to gluten. Just about everything we eat must be homemade.
4. The sound of rain hitting the skylights.
5. Using coupons and saving money.
6. Great books
7. Weekends
8. The time each morning after the lunches are made when I sit down to read from booklet I received at church for Lent.
9. Netflix
10. Snuggling up in a giant comforter on the couch and falling asleep at 7:30 p.m. on a school night.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Windy City

Looking outside, I am first taken in not by what I see, but what I hear. Out front, the neighbor's broken shutter bangs and claps against the brick. I wonder if it will be able to continue to hold or will it admit defeat and fall to the ground. Out back there are numerous sounds. Wind chimes creating a musical arrangment, pine cones hitting the siding, and my little green table scratchingb against the concrete as it inches its way out from the corner. The wind is most visible by watching the giant pine tree that reaches over into our yard from the neighbor's. It is a giant of a tree, but with the wind gusts, it looks like a sapling just taking root. The branches move in all directions with an immense force. The sunlight that streams in highlights the multiple colors with each passing sway. The yellow green is particualry beautiful today. I'm sure by the night's end, I'll have to scrounge up the grill cover.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


What am I going to give up for Lent? Growing up, I always thought I had to give up something, but then during one homily, I remember Father Joe talking about Lent. He said Lent is not only about giving something up, but rather gaining something as well. We should be using this time before Easter to grow closer with Christ. Since then I have used Lent to grow with Christ. This Lent I want to focus on the positive aspects of my students. I need to weed out all the negative, and not only focus on the positive, but in some cases, find the positive aspects. Secondly, I am going to read the Bible. I go on spurts, but hopefully this time I'll continue and find some Spricture that speaks to me.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Two summers ago, I attended the Tidewater Writing Project. This is a branch of the National Writing Project. During the summer, I experienced first hand the benefits of the writing to learn philosophy. I was hooked from the first moment I put my pen to the paper. Two a year, the Tidewater group gets together for a continuity meeting. I look forward to these meetings. They are are renewal I need, and they seem to come at just the right moment. The summer institute is intensive, but then we go back to our regular lives. I need these continuity meetings to remember exactly how I felt during the institute. I need it for renewal and more ideas. Thank goodness I went last night. I received a wonderful idea for research writing. Sometimes all we need in our life is the TIME to remember what our goals were, where we want to go, and simply reflect and begin anew.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blessings of the Day

  • Recliners - I finally get to put my feet up after a busy day at school.
  • Whiteout - for fixing my gradebook (I accidentally left a student off my gradebook for the 3rd marking period.) All fixed now, and my OCD doesn't take over because it is now alphabetical.
  • Finally feeling well - no more sneezing and itchy, watery eyes
  • Netflix - Able to watch Brothers & Sisters and Curb Your Enthusiasm when there is nothing on TV. Note: There is a cool show on MOnsterQuest tonight. Some man/beast (werewolf) siting in Wisconsin and Michigan. Matt is all excited.
  • Watching the looks on students' faces when they finally understand idioms
  • Reading a good book
  • Silence

Monday, January 28, 2008


Battlefield at five
bumper to bumper - high stress
bridge opening now
chirping bird in morn'
awakes me from my slumber
good morning, robin
colors of the sea
blue sky above, waves roll in
sand between my toes

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good Things

Father's homily today focused on original sin and our choice to go and do good things. Our world is bogged down in quite the opposite. Turn on the news tonight. What will you see? Death, war, starvation, women murdering the children, men murdering pregnant women, fires, politicians telling lies, and the list goes on. Whenever the newspaper highlights a positive story, I am sucked in, uplifted, and given a sense of renewal to try and do good. I wonder how our world would change if we didn't give front page to "bad" news. Why not focus on the good things in our nation?

Starting tomorrow I will be striving to focus on the good things. In order to make it until the middle of January, I cannot be hung up on all the negative things my kids do at school. I will not give up on them, but I need to focus on the good things. I need to refocus on the positives of the day. I need to find a positive.

My new motto: Lord, make me a blessing for someone today.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Written Photograph

On the floor next to the fireplace sits a peace lily plant in a red pot. Matt and I bought it after we decided to add some REAL plant life in our home. At the nursery, we learned that the peace lily also naturally cleans the air. We were sold! The bottom leaves are mottled brown and drooping due to the times I've forgotten to water it or forgot to open the window to let in light. New blooms are starting to sprout in the middle; it looks like I haven't forgotten the key ingredients to successful plant life in a while.

The electric heater oscillates on high near my feet. Our house has a terrible heat layout. Upstairs is dreadfully warm and downstairs feels more like an icebox. With the current temperature nearing 30 degrees, I am cozy under ther bear blanket (sometimes I call it the honey blanket just because Matt calls it the bear blanket).

The mantel is empty excpet for a mirror, one candle, and two hurricane lamps (We received these from Mr. and Mrs. Lewis for a wedding gift.). We took down all the Christmas decorations in the beginning of January, and I still have yet to dig out of the closet the rest of the decorations that are normally on display.

In a wicker basket near my recliner, I have a pad of paper for writing; however, lately, I've just been using the blog. I also have three books: Pen on Fire, The Dream Manager, and The Rhythm of Life. With the Writer's Guild on Strike, Matt has also been reading more. On the coffeetable near the coach where he lounges sits the book he is currently reading Total Access: Inside the NFL Network by Rich Eisen.

My Scholastic bag sits on the floor near the dining room table full of the papers I've put off grading. I brought them home with the hopes of tackling some of them because grades are due on Monday at 3:00 p.m. However, as soon as I finish writing, I am going to bed because I have a pounding headache. Tonight was not a productive grading night.

NOTE: The above writing prompt was from Pen on Fire. When you look at a photograph, you will only see the objects, but not the sounds or stories behind them. If I looked at picture of my living room, I'd just see a dying plant, instead of one recovering. I'd see an empty mantel, scattered books, and multiple blankets and the heater. The written photograph tells the story a picture just can't tell.

Dreams Update

I realized today after viewing Ben's Blog titled Yooper Pilgrims that I have really no clue regarding anything related to computers/webpage design etc. I'm lucky enough to figure out how to use this blog with the features. I know there are more features out there because everyone's blog doesn't look like mine, so another dream I am adding to list is to learn something about web-design.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Daily Gratitude

Today, I am thankful for:
1. Watercolor painting - My seventh graders are still little kids at heart. With paint brushes in hand, they painted haigas and haikus with no behavior issues to speak of. I think this is the first.
2. Sunshine - Driving to work with the rising sun sure beats the months of grey skies in Michigan. Plus, it got rid of all the ice from yesterday.
3. My Husband - I love and appreciate how much he helps me become the best-version-of-myself. I find more things to love about him each day.
4. Time - Time to grade two classes of projects. Time to sit and work out the daily crossword puzzle, even if I didn't finish it. Time to write. Time to pray.
5. Being a Pack-Rat - I mean it. Sometimes, it is overwhelming, but other times, like today, I was able to find my haiku from fifth grade to show my students. Also, I found a copy of The Old Man and the Sea from high school. Welcome to my closets.
6. No Procrastinating Tonight - Projects to grade - DONE!!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Open Communication

When in doubt, ask. Today, instead of assuming why my students disregarded a part of their grade, I decided to turn it into a writing assignment. I asked them. Granted, most of their responses turned out to be exactly what I was expecting, but now I'm using their own words during our discussions. I was so impressed with their openness and at times their high level thinking.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What's Your Dream?

I think it is time we start asking ourselves this question. Are we okay with the world as it stands? Are we okay with our country as it stands? Are we okay with our relationships? Are we okay with our jobs? Are we okay with how we are living our lifes? As our country reflects on the dreams Martin Luther King Jr. held for racial equality, poverty, and war, I think the time is now for us to form our own dreams for ourselves and our nation. What are your dreams? What are you going to do to accomplish those dreams? Step One: Identify the dreams you want to accomplish. Step Two: Create a plan. Step Three: Work towards your goal. Even when you encounter an obstacle keep moving forward. If you are ready to find your dreams, your first step is to read the book The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly.

My Dreams (as of 1/21/08)
1. To become a mother
2. Resume walking daily and pilates
3. Get published
4. Get Organized
5. Turn the loft into an area for my books/crafts/writing zone
6. Receive my Master's Degree
7. Forgive Denyl
8. Research family trees
9. Buy a house (with a porch)
10. Travel to Nag's Head
11. Travel to England
12. Travel to Ireland
13. Travel to Italy
14. Travel to Alaska
15. Travel to Cape Cod / B&B on the ocean
16. Travel to Boston
17. Learn to speak French
18. Travel to Montreal
19. Record family stories down in written form
20. Return to Sedona
21. Write a gluten-free cookbook
22. Read Imitation of Christ
23. Read The Bible cover to cover
24. Write daily
25. Put aside an hour a day for prayer
26. Have a Green Home
27. Go birdwatching at Back Bay Refuge at Sandbridge
28. Travel to Vancouver
29. Go Whale Watching
30. Finish the Welcome Sign (craft using wedding bowl Matt broke)

To Be Continued

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Well, the weather report miscalculated the amount of snow we were to receive. I awoke to a dusting on the grass and ice covering the cars. However, that was enough for the locals to stay in their homes. They even bypassed going to the morning Mass. I spent the day doing things I enjoy and others that I've neglected to do. After Mass, I drank my cup of coffee and read the newspaper. I baked chocolate cupcakes (gluten-free, of course) and blueberry-banana bread. I also did a deep clean of our home. Mostly, I've put off dusting stair rails and the loft until today. I relaxed in front of a fire reading my book, and watched football playoffs. I am totally relaxed, renewed, and refreshed ready for a new day. I'll leave with a quote from the homily at Mass today. "Are you doing God's will?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Winter Driving Tips

Morning News Weather Alert: Winter Storm Approaching - Winter Driving Tips
1. Clean off your car.
2. Drive slowly - especially when changing lanes.
3. I can't remember, but we had a good laugh over this one.

It is currently snowing in Virginia. I keep looking out the windows hoping to see more of it accumulate on the cars and grass. Nothing can beat the first real snowfall in Michigan when the trees are covered in snow. I remember driving down US-2 after a snowfall and being mesmorized by the flickers of light refecting off the tree limbs. Each tree was wrapped in a garland of diamonds. It was beautiful. I hope to see something that profound tomorrow morning.