Writing Wisdom

When I began this challenge, I took a leap of faith as I made a commitment to “write” daily.  Some days, my writing ideas came easily to my mind when I was driving to school. On these occasions, I would jot a few remarks in my notes application when stopped at a red light, always making sure this was brief so I was ready to be a courteous, safe driver.  This quick stop and jot was a precaution, as I did not want the idea to be lost when I arrived and began the hustle of bustle of being a first grade teacher, often not taking a moment to pause.

On the days that I was able to begin a paragraph or two in the morning, I felt like I was ahead of the game on this writing challenge.  Other days, I taught, played with my daughter, made dinner, cleaned house and did not open my laptop until my final hours of the day.  On occasion, I feared that I would fall asleep before getting my daily slice published.  A few times, I was stuck and did not know what I was going to say.  On the weekends, I would sneak away in the afternoon to a quiet empty bedroom to compose my slice for the day.  Other nights, I typed while NCAA basketball games were on in the background.

As I look back at the challenge, I wrote when I was able to, not at an exact time or place each day.  I also found that some days my thoughts came more easily when typing on my phone instead of on a larger screen.  It’s ironic that I never actually picked up a pencil, pen or marker to write, which is very different than writing looks in my classroom.  The freedom to choose when, where and how I would write gave me ownership as a writer. It reminds me that in my classroom, writers need choice, which could include, where they work, when we write and what tools they use to write.  I wonder if a reluctant afternoon writer, may have more enthusiasm to write first thing in the morning. I wonder if the kid struggling to write in his desk chair, would write more under a desk or in a corner of our classroom.

Aside from the logistics of being a writer everyday, I put in a lot of thought to determine the topics I would  filter and share with a larger audience of writers. Topics I thought I may touch on prior to the challenge, I kept to myself.  Other days, I shared a small moment of my day that may have been insignificant to someone else, but eye opening for me. On days I received comments, I was encouraged to continue to share and write my thoughts, as I was feeling supported as a writer.  For 31 days, I grew as a writer and a teacher of writing.

Hip, hip, hooray, completing my first March of slices feels really nice.

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Easter Bunny

“Does the Easter Bunny wrap presents?” I asked my husband after we tucked our daughter in last night. We both chuckled at this question and wondered the best way to surprise our daughter when she stumbled downstairs this morning. You see, last year, the big bunny brought a book, sticky earrings and other items to Papa and Grandma’s Home. But my little, curious kid questioned how the EB knew we weren’t at our home.

So this year we decided, just like Santa, the Easter bunny was making an early delivery to our home as we won’t be home on Easter morning. We stuffed plastic eggs with a variety of fun, colorful socks. It took some patience to squeeze socks into the plastic eggs. Another larger egg was filled with new flower, hair clips. We carefully planned where the eggs were placed around or living room.

Once our eggs were scattered, we stuffed a lego set into a spring coat, rolled a small box of chocolate eggs into a new dress, and wrapped a sand treasure kit with hidden princess gem into a new shirt. We filled these items in her play shopping cart that lingers in our living room and placed her Minnie water shoes on the bottom of the cart. Lastly, When Spring Comes a book by Kevin Henkes was propped on the top of her cart. I was flummoxed on not writing a message on the inside cover like I usually do with the books I give her. Playing Easter Bunny requires some serious thought.

When she finally went downstairs she was excited to hunt for eggs in our living room. In fact, she was more excited about the hunt than her colorful socks that were inside. I smiled to watch her excitedly open and admire her new treasures. I was also thinking that a big bunny making Easter deliveries gets all the credit…for now.

Tulle & Talk: Making Spring Wreaths

When I arrived on Sunday afternoon, a long folding table had a five wire wreaths, dozens of spring colored tulle rolls, and some sparkly eggs awaiting for us to begin.  We had a date on the calendar to make Spring wreaths. As our friends appeared, we placed snacks in the corner and sat down with no set plan for starting our spring wreaths in a specific way.

Being a visual learner, I needed to do a quick Pinterest search for some inspiration before I would dive in.  My search contained: Spring Tulle Wreath, which retrieved many options . I decided to do one that look more like a spring scene than a spring collage of colors.  

I began wrapping green tulle from my wrist to my elbow a few times to ensure the same length of strips before I used my scissors to make a few snips.  After I had a stack of green tulle, I began by wrapping the tulle around the wire and knotting it twice. This continued until the bottom of my wreath was green.  

From here, I added a little white on top of green to give an illusion of the horizon.  After this touch of white, I began wrapping my arm from elbow to wrist with more blue tulle.  The blue tulle would cover the top portion of my wreath and mimic the blue, springtime, sky.

After my wreath was covered in tulle, I was ready to add a few Easter eggs along the bottom to give it a pop of color and add another dimension.  The way I spaced out the eggs I thought I may included a bunny in the middle like my inspiration photograph. I even thought my daughter may “share” one of her stuffed bunnies to complete the look of my new creation.  

To no avail, she was not about to let me have one of her little stuffed animals.  Then when I was shopping this afternoon a little yellow chick with curly fluff caught my eye. Even though in my mind, I was still searching for the cutest little bunny to finish the project I began at the start of the week.  As I came home, I fastened little cute chick to the wreath on my front door and admired my completed project.

I underestimated the amount of materials needed for this project.  I also never imagined how much tulle it would take to cover my wire wreath or the amount of time it took to make it all the way around.  Surely, the time went by a bit faster as I enjoyed having conversations with the ladies throughout the afternoon. Anytime we are together, we are laughing, sharing stories and seeking mama advice.  Time with them is such a treat and making a wreath was a bonus. When I look at this Spring wreath, I smile at the process of crafting and joy of being with friends.

The Spring Break, Shoe Straighten

It’s the closet closest to our back door.  It holds everyone’s jackets, scarves and mittens.  It stores my daughter and I’s shoes. Its door was barely closing as boots and shoes began to  layer the floor. Coats were jammed in between hangers. In the last few weeks, it’s the closet I would quickly search for what I needed and I would close the door as quickly as I could before anything else emerged.  With a push or a kick, the closet would close.

This morning, I pulled every single shoe box, pair of shoe and entire shoe organizer out.  I had a pile of boots, sandals, dress shoes and quite the mess from one small coat closet. I began examining each pair of shoes with a closer eye.  I made a few more piles, which included keep, toss, and unsure.

After that, I was thoughtful about what would return to their original box, mostly those shoes you need to keep, but only wear once a year for special occasions.  I moved my boots back in boxes with hopes that we are done with chilly temps. By this time of the year, I am ready for sandals and summertime. I paired my sandals and lined them up on an accessible shelf with hopes for warmer weather.  I was even reunited with a brand new pair of running shoes, when I did the side by side comparison with my current running shoes it was evident I should begin lacing up the new pair.

My daughter was in her footie pajamas this morning, so I even had her unzip and try on a few shoes of her own to keep or move to the too small box.  Her shoes were straightened and organized from most worn to least worn. I even moved the shoes that are currently too big for her currently out of sight so there would not be any meltdowns if she tried to wear them before she was big enough.

The shoe closet spring clean took a lot more time than I ever thought it would.  I am glad that my closet door is opening and shutting with ease and the neatly lined shoes feels like a great accomplishment on this Spring Break day.  Surprisingly, I now have 22 pairs of shoes are ready to be donated or tossed. I had know idea I had that many pairs of shoes let alone, that many I was ready to say sayonara to.  The new organization and straightening of this closet will save me time and frustration in the future.

Face Time with Family

I grew up in a tiny town about 100 miles west of where I currently call “home.”  I have not traveled all the way home since Christmas. However, I feel like I have seen my parents a dozen times since gathering at their home over the holidays.  My parents are the type that enjoy traveling a few hours to explore new places, restaurants or to watch an athletic rivalry. They are also very supportive of all their grandchildren and made it to nearly everyone of my nephew’s football, basketball and baseball games.  In which, we have met them in the middle at some basketball games during the Winter months.

Luckily, we saw my parents the last 3 weekends as they departed and arrived out of a local airport to head to Florida for a week. They stopped by our home to visit, play with our daughter, and go out to lunch on two consecutive Sundays.  Last weekend, they came in to celebrate my daughter’s fourth birthday. They are the couple that likes to stay busy and does not mind hopping in the car for a few hours to visit us. When we are not hanging out together, we rely on FaceTime to catch up on our weekly events.  

Today was one of those afternoons, where we FaceTimed my mom and dad to catch up.  Depending on the day, FaceTime can be hit or miss with my daughter actually sitting for more than a couple of minutes to have a conversation with them.  Half of the time, she is running around from every corner of our home to show them something she has created or recently played with. She loves to share all of her projects from school, give glimpses of her library books and tell about our recent adventures.  

Today was a little different as Cara was calm and cuddling me on the couch when we made the call.  My mom knew, as mothers do, that Cara was not feeling well. She could see it on her face and it was unusual for her not to be in motion.  My mom, continued to chat with us and give her advice for a speedy recovery as she was a nurse for over 35 years prior to her retirement last May. I was happy to share that we had tried nearly everyone of her suggestions to help my daughter feel better.  Cara nodded her head in agreement.

As the conversation continued, we laughed at my mom trying to turn the camera around to show us a few piles of lingering snow from last Saturday’s snowfall. Meanwhile, Cara is trying to give grandma tips on which button to press to change the camera view.  The call continues with Cara making a variety of faces and seeing how grandma will react to her goofy antics. For a moment, I was seeing a little bit more of Cara’s usual spunky personality. Especially when Cara takes pictures of Grandma while we are talking.  

Facetime, is the best time when we are 100 miles away from our family.

Well Visit or Cough Care?

After a restless night of my daughter coughing, I was comforted that we were already heading into the doctor’s office for her four year well visit this afternoon.  I was also grateful that we are on Spring break and could have a low key play at home kind of day before we would head to her appointment. I also enjoyed an extra cup of coffee as my Keurig was ready to hum and deliver caffeine goodness with a press of a button.

My husband and I discussed which side of the fish tank/waiting room we should be on and as we checked in for our well visit.  Plus we also shared she has a cough. There were not any other families in the waiting room to influence our decision. We decided to sit on  the sick side of the glass to play it safe. Throughout the day, Cara wasn’t really slowed down by her cough. However, it did not sound great.

As we went back to the check up room, her coughs were more sporadic than earlier in they day.  But as the listened to her chest as she took giant breaths, they heard some congestion. At first, they were thinking breathing treatments may help her, but we ended up with an inhaler that would replicate a breathing treatment.  

Our daughter responded to most of the questions asked of her throughout her appointment as she proudly shared her birth date without any prompts.   She was a trooper as she answered a variety of the nurse’s and doctor’s questions in regards to naps, eating, school, activities, favorite foods, etc.  The question that was most challenging for her was what’s your mom and dad’s favorite foods.  Aside from not knowing how to answer that, she did great at her appointment for not feeling well.  

She has been healthy most of the year and has not had to visit the doctor very often as a three year old.  So it was poor timing that her four year well visit also doubled as a cough care visit too.  Our fingers are crossed that the medicines begin to suppress her cough and she (we) can all get a good night of rest tonight.

Sunday Shower and Snuggles

“You look fancy, mama,”  she said as she looked up for a kiss as I rushed out the door.  I did not plan on leaving in a rush this morning, but it seems I try to squeeze in more than I have time for.  I was in a new floral dress and headed to a baby shower for our friend’s little lady that is expected to arrive in May.  My daughter’s words melted my heart as I headed out the door.

I am convinced that baby/bridal  shower concept began so moms could have a reason to get dressed up and attend a delicious brunch.  It was treat to eat without being asked for ketchup, ranch, a napkin, more water, etc. as I usually do not just get to sit and savor my meals at home without making a few trips back to the kitchen for someone.  At breakfast early this morning, when she was requesting lemonade, I reminded her that this is not a diner, and she should use her polite pleases when she makes a request.

The shower was lovely and the food was delicious. There is something to be said about seeing the parents to be opening gifts galore that will help prepare for the baby’s arrival.  It took me a moment to collect my thoughts when we were asked to share new advice for the parents to be. To summarize, I wrote a message which included hold them, kiss them, cuddle them, take lots of pictures of them, and let your village support you and your new bundle of joy.

When I got home, I enjoyed snuggling my big girl and hearing about her adventures with her dad this afternoon.  She gave a few extra kisses as I think she missed me a little. We read out usual bedtime books, but she was having a hard time settling in because of a pesky cough.  She even said, “I want to feel like my normal self, mama.” In which, I followed my words of wisdom today, and swooped her up into my arms to hold her a little longer, kiss and comfort her as we rocked in the rocking chair as she drifted off asleep.  

I can’t remember the last time she fell asleep in my arms, but I think it was her way of saying, “Mama, I need you and missed you a little today.”