Date Night

So what’s a couple to do when your 3 kids are spending the night with friends??  Date Night, of course!

My husband and I made date night the 15th of every month.  That’s the date we met and the date of our anniversary.  Although there have been months when “date night” didn’t happen for one reason or another, we still try and get a night out (alone) sometime each month.

It’s usually dinner and a movie-I can’t believe how much I love being able to watch a movie that is something WE want to see rather than what our kids want to see.  It makes me appreciate this time so much (and the popcorn is great too!)  Last month my husband received tickets to a Pacer game.  Just not any tickets though.  We had access to a restaurant AND our seats were IN THE FRONT ROW.  Now that’s what I call a great night out!  Plus, the Pacer’s won!!

We have no definite plans yet for tonight  but I am sure we’ll think of something.  I’m looking forward to the time we’ll have to  just talk.  Talk without interruption and talk as long as we want to!  I am sure it won’t take too long before our conversation finds its way to the subject of our kids, but that’s ok.  We’ll probably talk about our upcoming vacation (only 2 weeks away!) and discuss plans for our son’s First Communion and our daughter’s 8th grade graduation. 

It’s a busy time of year for us but I’m thrilled we are still making time for each other!

“Sweet” thoughts

I just love how our kindergarten, first, and second grade students get involved with encouraging our 3rd and 4th grade students who are taking the ISTEP test.  Every student prepares a note and includes some sort of “sweet” (candy) on the note.  They are very creative and the 3rd and 4th graders look forward to receiving it every year.  Some examples include: “I know you’ll do great on the test because you’re no AIRHEAD”  and they attach an Airhead candy.  Another example, “you’ll do great because you’re on a roll (attached is a Tootsie Roll).

I know it’s not much but it’s the thought that counts!

Take the Lead

A student says to me today, “I’m not sure how to start my story.”  I reminded him of the different types of leads we’d worked on before and he quickly turned back to his story and began working again.  As I walked away, I started thinking that the lesson I did on leads was one of my most successful.  It was quite fun planning for it and finding examples to share with the students in one of our 4th grade classrooms.  In honor of that lesson, tonight’s post will be  a sampling of types of leads that could begin a story.  I’d love to know which you like best!

1. Dialogue:  “You’re a champ.  Always have been.  Always will be.  Now get out there and show ’em what you’ve got kid!”  I saw his mouth moving but I didn’t hear a word Coach said…

2. Question:  Have you ever wanted something so badly you thought you’d do anything to make it happen?  Something you’ve worked for all year and it’s come down to this moment? It’s like time is standing still and I’m the only one moving…

3. Quote:  Champions do not become champions when they win the even, but in the hours, weeks, months, and years they spend preparing for it.  The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.  T. Alan Armstrong


4.  Figurative Language:  As the locker room door swung open I stood in amazement at the crowd.  Every seat was filled.  I could normally find my parents among the few others that felt it was their obligation to attend the game.  This time was different.  The fans were as numerous and noisy as a swarm of bees working on their hive. 

Thinking of Things

My heart is aching for all the people in Southern Indiana.  Last Friday several tornados made their way through several counties and 13 people were killed.  Our local news has been covering the disaster every day. They bring us stories and pictures that give us a glimpse into their world. I am amazed at the power of Mother Nature.   I am particularly thinking of the baby girl who was ripped from her mother’s arm and found in a field.  She later died in a hospital and joined her mom, dad, and 2 siblings in heaven.  Also for the mother that lost her legs covering her 3 children as the monstrous storm leveled her beautiful home.  Thankfully, her 3 children survived.

I know we see and hear about tornados all the time so I’m not sure, exactly, what has me so upset.  Is it that fact that the storms were in my own state?  Perhaps.  Is it seeing the actual survivors and hearing their tales of the horrific moments as the tornado went through their home?  Maybe.   Or perhaps its how the survivors are dealing with their losses.  We see their bruised bodies laying in the hospital bed and we see pictures of what used to be their homes. Yet the message I get from them is that all those “things” are just that, “things”.  They are thankful to be alive.  It has really made me think about what matters most in  life.

For the past of couple of days, I’ve been taking things a little slower.  Soaking up conversations I have.  Remaining calm during situations that normally get me worked up.  I am relaxing a bit more when I notice my kids’ clothes on the floor-at least we have clothes, and a floor, and a home.

For the Love of Kindle

Have I mentioned how much I love my kindle?

I bought it thinking it would be a cool way to read books. I’d no longer have to figure out where I’d store the books when I was finished with them or which ones I would donate.  Instead, the books would be neatly stored on my Kindle.  I love this about the Kindle but what I love most of all is that I have been reading sooooo much more!!

It’s amazing the way technology has made it so easy to get new books.  And, if you haven’t yet discovered, you can “check out” books virtually from your local library for FREE!  Although they don’t have all the books I want, and many I have to go on a waiting list for, it is worth the wait!

Just like we try to do in writing, I am also trying to venture outside my comfort zone (which is Nicolas Sparks’ books) by reading other genres.  In doing so I found a mystery/thriller titled Before I Go to Sleep.  I read this in less than 2 days.  I couldn’t put it down. Memoirs have recently become a preferred genre of mine.  Two of them include The Glass Castle and one I’m currently reading, Once Upon A Secret.

I am looking forward to trying out different writing genres this month as I continue with this challenge.  Just yesterday I attempted poetry by writing what I was thankful for and I am actually looking forward to trying a poem again soon!

Perhaps the message of my post today is something I’ve come to realize-don’t be afraid to try new things, you just might find yourself loving it.  And that’s exactly what has happened to me in reading AND writing!!

I Am Thankful!

For all of you-

for your support, your ideas, and your love of writing. It inspires me to want to write

I am thankful!

 

For my family-

For my hubby who gets up early to make lunches just so I can sleep in a few minutes more.

For my kids–they are healthy

For my mom who brings over dinner when I’m out of town so my family can still have a home cooked meal.

I am thankful!

 

For other things-

For warm baths, a good night’s sleep, and a job of love.

I am thankful!

Sick and Tired-literally

It’s amazing how quickly your day can go from good to bad when you know you are getting sick. Of course it hit Friday night-just in time for the weekend. As with most weekends, we have a lot going on.  Somehow I was able to make it through a 4 hour retreat with one of my sons and my husband but felt a little guilty hoping the time would pass quickly so I could get home and rest.

And here I am, gathering some strength once more, to be sure I make a post and keep up with the challenge!

I won’t say much this evening but want to be sure to let anyone reading this blog know that I am starting to get into the routine of daily writing after only 3 days!   I think about the challenge several times a day.  It’s like a voice is saying, “Don’t forget to blog today!”

I hope this feeling continues and the achy feeling goes away…..soon!  Here’s to tomorrow and to writing and to feeling better.

Good night!

Rainy Days and Fridays

“Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old. Sometimes I’d like to quit, nothin’ ever seems to fit. Hangin’ around, nothin’ to do but frown. Rainy days and Mondays always get me down”  The Carpenters

I couldn’t get this song out of my head today since we’re having a rainy day here in Indianapolis.  The only thing that’s different is that it’s Friday and not Monday.

“Hangin’ around, nothin’ to do but frown?”  Not me!  As a wife and mother of 3, there’s not much time for ‘hangin’ around’.  Tonight we started off the weekend by attending our church’s fish fry and enjoyed the company of our friends.  Our kids ran around, laughed, paused for a few minutes to scarf down some fish, then took off again to mingle with their schoolmates.  They enjoy this time as much as I do.

Saturday, we’ll attend a retreat as we prepare our youngest son for his First Communion Celebration.  Can’t believe he’s already a 2nd grader.

As Sunday rolls around, I’ll awake wondering where the weekend has gone, then begin my usual routine which includes hitting Target (my favorite store), finishing laundry, and preparing for another week of school.

Part one of our state’s high stakes test begins Monday but I’m not going to let that get me down.  We are ready!

Purposeful Sharing

“It’s how we choose to use the time we have that makes the biggest difference in our students’ growth as writers.”  Carl Anderson

This afternoon I had the priviledge of co-facilitating a workshop that includes many elementary teachers across our district.  The focus of our workshop was “Purposeful Sharing: Bringing life and purpose to the share session!”.  This group has been together for two now and we meet monthly to deepen our understanding of Writer’s Workshop and then we share what we’ve learrned with other teachers in our schools.  Today, we were able to share many ideas from Leah Mermelstein’s book Don’t Forget to Share.  A colleague of mine coined the term MVR for  “Most Valuable Resource” and that’s exactly what I consider this book to be!

We began the workshop by giving the teachers 4 statements about the share session and asked them to reflect on their current practices.  Things such as, “I provide relevant feedback during my share sessions” and “My students are actively involved during our share sessions”, etc.  Next, I read a section from the book where Mermelstein is very candid about the way her own share sessions used to be.  This “confession” so to speak, created an instant connection between her and the teachers in the workshop.  We’ve all, some more than others, had the same experience with our own share session.

Our goal for the workshop was to show  teachers how to bring life back in to their share session by including different types of shares and teach them how both the teacher AND the students have important roles.  We introduced the content share, the process share, the craft share and the progress share.  We  explained the roles of the listener and the speaker and provided “cheat sheets”  that included the nuts and bolts of each type of share to use as references when they were ready to launch a new share.

The teachers in the group will now return to their buildings, spread the word about the share session, and hopefully try some of the ideas presented today. If your school is like mine, it only takes 1 or 2 teachers to try something new then others start asking about it and then voila! it’s all the rave. I am looking forward to this happening again with our shares….