Mindful Moments

3.21.19

Thursdays are a special day in first grade, when an expert in mindfulness is a guest in our classroom.  We are so lucky to have an opportunity to have someone guide us in checking in with our feelings, awakening our senses and moving our bodies purposefully.  

Eyes watching, ears listening, and voices quiet were a few expectations my students were reminded of today before we began our Mindful Practices activities in my first grade classroom.  For twenty five minutes, a member of the Mindful Practices team, guides my class through a variety of breathing, stretching, and teamwork activities.

My students listen attentively and follow her directions. When a prompt is given, most of the students respond quickly and accurately.  There are a few kids that are disengaged, but the majority enjoy taking a break from our traditional curriculum.

At the end of this time, there is a sense of calm that comes over my classroom.  The students are rejuvenated and focused on the subsequent tasks. It also gives me a moment to pause and reflect.  Our mindful practices time has been so valuable in shaping our classroom environment. 

I am sad that our Mindful Practices coach spent her last Thursday afternoon with us today.  But maybe this sacred time in our schedule will give me an opportunity to continue to grow, guide and implement more mindfulness activities with my firsties. 

An Accidental Twin Day

3.20.19

As I arrived at school today, I caught my grade level teaching partner standing at the end of the hallway.  At first glance, I blurted, “Oh my goodness,” and continued laughing down the hallway until we were standing right in front of each other.  

We did it again.  We both were dressed very similarly, and it wasn’t twin day, it was just a coincidence.  The best part is that we were not wearing staples in my opinion. Instead we had on:

Floral top

Denim Jacket

Mauve pants

Tan booties

Gold heart necklace

What are the chances?  She confessed her outfit had been selected a few days in advance.  However, my outfit decision was more of a game time decision and made at about 6:30 am.  We are pretty in sync when it comes to planning our first grade instruction, but on occasion we are even in sync with our outfits.

As kids began to arrive they were all laughing and repeating, “Mrs. Zasadil and Mrs. Dennis are twins!”  “Twinsies,” a few other kids exclaimed. 

As the day continued, more kids began to notice and we would all exchange smiles…all because two teachers ironically dressed a like. 

Another Restless Night

3.19.19

Cheep, cheep.

Cheep, cheep.

What time is it? Where is that noise coming from?

Cheep, cheep.

12:46 am illuminated on my phone.  I nudge my husband, who was not yet stirring, and asked, “Which one do you think it is coming from?”

He popped up and I meandered down the stairs to find a 9 volt battery.  He responds, “I think it is this one in the upstairs hallway.” As I return upstairs, he has navigated up a step stool, turned the smoke detector to release it from the ceiling and unloaded the old battery. I exchanged the old battery with a new battery.  

Before he finishes the job and steps off the ladder, I have already crawled back into bed and pulled the covers up around my shoulders.  As I hope to drift quickly off to sleep, my head is overcome with thoughts. I am grateful our daughter, whose bedroom is near ours, did not stir at all.  Meanwhile, I am wide awake. Those few chirps made my heart race and it took me a long time to be able to go back to sleep. I was trying to relax my mind and settle back into a deep sleep.  

I swear our smoke detectors only chirp in the middle of the night, but I am glad we had a backup battery on hand.  Eventually, I settled back to sleep.

Now, I wonder if we should change all the rest of the batteries as we installed new smoke detectors at the same time.  Do other people set a reminder to do this every six months or are you also awakened by the cheeps and chirps reminding you to do this?

Clean Car

3.18.19

The last time I brought my car in for a routine oil change, my invoice stated: low oil, come back in 1000 miles.  As I was driving around this weekend, I was approaching the 1000 mile mark on my odometer. I called to inquire if I could just drop in or if I needed to make an appointment.  The man on the phone insisted that I make an appointment and come when they have a rental car available. I know if he was considering that I needed a rental car, I must do a little tidying of my car before I went in.  

I hustled to my car in the garage and quickly picked up all of the miscellaneous items that have been filling my car recently.  I thought that if my car was going to be at the dealer for a while, I should make an attempt at finding what is laying on the backseat.  A raincoat, an extra sweater, two pairs of mittens, a scarf, a busy bag, two umbrellas, a stuffed hippopotamus are among a few of the items stretched out along the my backseat. While a yoga mat, snack bag, and returns to make sat in my front seat. It took a couple of trips in and out of my car to my house, and I finally felt like my car was ready.

When I pulled into my appointment, I was greeted by the man I spoke to on the phone.  I unbuckled the car seat, snagged my reusable shopping bags and proceeded to the counter.  He inspected my mileage, opened the hood, and looked at my oil. To my surprise, the oil level is right where it should be.  The man suggested that if I had a moment, he would run it through the wash, finish up the paperwork and I’d be on my way. Back in 1000 miles to double check my oil levels again was his next recommendation.

In the meantime, I am going to try to keep my car more organized for the next 1000 miles.  Perhaps, I should share this goal with my daughter as so many of the items belong to her. Regardless, I am glad I followed up on my last appointment and I can appreciate that I now have a clean car inside and out.  

Celebrating 5

3.17.19

Plan a party.

Choose a date.

Reserve a space.

Pay the deposit.

Choose a theme.

Send the invites.

Wait.

Order the unicorn cupcakes.

Look for decorations.

Order party trays.

Buy goodie bags.

Assemble treat bags.

Gather party supplies.

Decorate.

Play and tumble.

Enjoy snacks.

Sing “Happy Birthday!”

Blow out the candles.

Clean up.

Play outside.

Open presents.

Say, “Thank you!”

Eat again.

Play with gifts.  

Celebrate!

A lot of thought and energy goes into planning a party, but it is so worth when everything falls into place.  It’s even sweeter when birthdays fall on a weekend and allow you to stretch out the celebration. We enjoyed our time celebrating our sweet girl turning a whole handful today.  It was wonderful to see the smiles, hear the laughter and feel the love and friendship throughout our day!

My lucky, little five year old makes my heart so proud.  I am lucky to be her mama! 

A Morning at the Salon

3.16.19

Throughout our week, my daughter, Cara, kept saying, “I want to go to the salon to get my haircut.”  I believe her desire to do this stemmed from seeing recent photographs of her cousins that are close in age going to get their haircut.  As we talked about our upcoming weekend plans, Cara was persistent, “I want to go to the salon.”

Our morning began way to early for a Saturday and we enjoyed a little extra pajama and playtime at our home.  We Facetimed with my mom and Cara told her, “We are going to the salon to get my haircut today.” I had mentioned it, but did not actually make an appointment yet.

Once our Facetime call, ended I looked up a salon within walking distance to our home.  I inquired about any openings they may have throughout the remainder of the day for a five year old girl.  Luckily, the lady on the phone mentioned she had a few and one in thirty minutes if we could make it. Cara corrected me after I hung up and said, “I am still four today, mama.  I’ll be five tomorrow. Why did you say I was five?”

We quickly grabbed our coats and walked about a block to a salon.  As soon as we walked in, they led us back to the shampooing station.  Cara crawled up on the tall chair to get her hair washed. She looked content in a new environment with lots of new surroundings as she has never been to a hair salon before. She needed a few reminders to keep her chin up as she had never before had her hair washed this way.  It was her first time at a hair salon, because in the past, my mom and I have both done simple straight across trims. Now that she was nearly five years old, I agreed that it was time for her first trip to the salon.

When we were there, she kept reaching to hold my hand as the stylist washed out the bubbles.  I reminded her that she was doing great. Once she walked from the shampoo chair to the styling chair, she kept a tight grip on my hand.  I stayed as close to her as I could without interfering with the stylist trimming her hair. When the lady asked her to look down at her toes, Cara was being such a great listener.  She lifted her legs out as straight as they could go so she could see her toes. We encouraged her to relax her legs and simply look down. She sat so still, enjoyed a little pampering while the lady blow dried her hair, too.  

Her hair looked beautiful.  She stood confidently and was so proud to have this opportunity at the salon this morning. We decided to celebrate with a sprinkle doughnut and a latte after we left the salon. This was a special way to celebrate her last day as a four year old.

 (You can see her squeezing my hand in the first attached picture if you look closely.)

Get Out and Play

3.15.19

One evening this week, we did what we haven’t done in months.  We stayed outside and played for hours after we got home from school.  Bubbles were blown, bikes were rode, and scooters rolled up and down the back alley.

My daughter bounced in and out the garage in search of her treasured outside toys that have been shelved for months.  Only in the Midwest we consider weather in the 40s as a warm up and opportunity to stay outside a little longer.  In a matter of minutes, she had a variety of her favorite outdoor toys spread across our driveway.

Then, she asked one of her routine questions of outdoor play time, “Let’s play monkey in the middle, mama and daddy!”  

“I’ll be the monkey first,” she shouted.  

Sure enough we lined up in a row and proceeded to throw the ball over her head as she hustled between us in an attempt to steal the ball.  Laughter erupted and smiles were shared as we debated who would be the next monkey in the middle.  We were certainly enjoying the fresh air and our family time together.

We even had our first grilled dinner of the season, which smelled awesome.  As the sun was beginning to set, the air grew more crisp and she begged for a few more minutes of fresh air.  We enjoyed the extra daylight and outdoor fun that evening.  However, we are anxiously looking forward to the rising Spring temperatures and more outside playtime together.

A Rainy Wake Up

3.14.19

It was the middle of the night and I was in a deep sleep.  Suddenly, I was awoken by something.  

My heart began to race, my brain began to try and understand why I was now awake.  I paused and listened.

The sound was coming from the nearby window and overhead. It was intense.  It sounded like buckets of water were being dumped nearby.

Instead of pulling myself out of my warm bed, I reached to my bedside table for my phone. I clicked on my weather application.  Sure enough, a yellow blob was on the radar. Chance of rain 100%.

I took a deep breath, tried to calm my worries and quickly drifted off to sleep again.  It is only rain I reassured myself.

I can’t remember the last time I woke up because of rain.  I guess I forgot that March is the season for downpours and unpredictable weather!

A 3 on 3 Basketball League

3.13.19

This fall I received a text message from a friend that stated, “Would you be interested in playing in a 3 on 3 women’s basketball league this winter?”  I quickly responded, “That sounds like fun (insert smiley emoji).” In the back of my mind I was a little hesitant as I have not played basketball in about 15 years.  “What day is the league?” I continued to inquire. I needed to make sure I could commit to being there to play as I am an all-or-nothing kind of gal. After a few more messages were exchanged, I finally said, “Yes, I am in.”

After being committed to play in an inaugural women’s 3 on 3 basketball league at a local park district, our team needed to make a few more decisions, which included a team name (Cluckin’ Hens), jersey color (Orange) and choosing our jersey number (32).  Many more messages were exchanged with my new teammates. My excitement grew as I was going to be involved in something that was such a huge part of my life throughout my high school and college days.

Prior to the league officially beginning, we decided it may behoove us to meet at an open gym before the league began.  When I signed up, I only knew one of my teammates. The open gym was an opportunity to meet up and meet each other while we shot around and played a little basketball.  We only stayed about an hour that evening, but I felt the pain for a few days as I had not played basketball in such a long time.

At first my upper back ached from trying to play solid defense that once came easily for me.  My shot was short and my dribbling skills were a little rusty. But it felt so good to be on the basketball court again, like riding a bike, but maybe not as pretty as it once was.  

When league play began, we found out quickly that even though most of us have not played in quite a while, we are competitive by nature.  We question the rules, laugh at the referees, keep a close eye on the scorekeepers and ultimately want to walk away with a win each time.  My teammates and I look forward to our basketball league nights as we laugh, encourage each other and help each other up. We consider it a success that no one has been sidelined by a major injury yet, even though small aches and pains are apart of being back on the court again.  

We have a few more weeks of regular games on the schedule and playoffs will follow.  For now, I am enjoying the camaraderie and JOY that comes from being a part of a 3-on-3 basketball league.

Coffee? Yes, Please

3.12.19

Last night, my teaching partner and I were exchanging a few text messages back and forth.  One of her last messages said, “I am stopping for coffee tomorrow! I’d love to scoop you up a large treat!  Tell me what flavor you’d like!”

She knows me so well that her message went on and even said not to think twice about telling her what I wanted.  Of course, initially I did not want her to pick up a coffee for me as she also treated me to a coffee on the morning of my birthday.  In the back of my mind, I wanted to repay the favor and bring her coffee before she did another coffee pick up for me. After some hesitation, I ended up sending her my coffee flavor of choice and know that she is sincere when she asks to make a coffee delivery.  

Naturally, today was my longer commute day and I pulled into the parking lot 1 minute early.  I prefer to arrive a bit earlier, but sometimes the sun actually comes out and causes a little sunshine delay on the expressway.  Those of you that travel East in the morning know that this is real cause for a slowdown. While I am usually grateful for sunshine, I was annoyed with the slow moving traffic during my morning commute.  Then, I remembered I said, “Yes, please. 1 pump caramel swirl,” to my coworkers question about my coffee order last night.

I hustled up to my classroom and she greeted me with her warm smile and large hot coffee on my desk.  Her kind gesture and delicious coffee delivery, started my school day off on the right foot. Tonight, I am asking her what she would like to drink in the morning as it is my turn for a coffee delivery!