Look how far you’ve come, you filled your heart with love…**

Dear SweetPea,

Today you are 7. My favorite number. My favorite girl. You are smart and sensitive. You practice your manners and are helpful and kind. You have a beautiful heart and a beautiful smile. 

You are a voracious reader. Most of the things on your birthday wish list are books. We are happy to oblige! You love building with Legos and coloring in “adult” coloring books (not the “baby” kind). You love to sing and dance, though my ears can only handle so much KidzBop, and I am so proud of your writing style. Your personality and voice shine when you write – when I read your work it feels like you are standing next to me, casually telling a story. It is just wonderful!

I am always so proud when strangers compliment you not on how beautiful you are, though you are beautiful, but on how polite, kind, or helpful you are. Though you still have a deep stubborn streak, we work hard to practice our manners and treat others as we would wish to be treated. You still assert your independence, but you are also really great at sticking to our routines. 

You are growing into a lovely girl. I owe it all to everyone who loves you and helps us raise you. We are lucky to have so many people in our family living close by that we see regularly. 

Your laughter makes my heart soar. You love to be silly and have your father’s funny bone. The two of you have a fantastic time with each other. You even put up with my lists and structure. You even like to help me keep things organized, though we are often tripping over your many piles of books. 

My girl. My 7 year-old girl. How time flies! I love you so very, very much. 

Your Proud Mama

** Title of post from Try Everything by Shakira

Could you take my picture? Cause I won’t remember…**

I keep saying I’m going to sit down to write a post, and the days turn to weeks, the weeks roll into months and then you blink and its the end of Spring Break. 

I post on Instagram, a lot, and if you follow me on Twitter you know my feed is basically links to my Instagram posts and an occasional retweet here or there. Sometimes I feel like I miss writing, especially when I’m scrolling through my camera roll and thinking about all the stuff going on, but mostly I’d just rather sleep. I know you can relate. 

So here’s a recap on what’s happened so far this year, with pictures to remind me, because otherwise I’d forget and just ramble on about nothing. 

January: SweetPea got this really cool set of story cubes for Christmas and we had some fun rolling the cubes and writing stories. Lego sets remain an ever-present part of our daily lives, and we have learned the hard way that if Mom steps on a Lego that piece is gone forever. We finally got some rain – in bursts that flooded everything, everywhere – and SweetPea joined a Girl Scout troop as a Daisy.  

 

February: Bella helped me hold down the couch as I recovered from a sinus infection, we survived Girl Scout Cookie season, I marveled at the ways the sky changes colors every morning on the walk from my car to my classroom, and I turned 40.  

 

March: Saw the optometrist a few times to check, recheck, and double-check my prescription. We got more rain (and more flooding), saw an improv troupe in the theater, and we went to The Broad.  My kiddos got to experience the joy that comes from using KleenSlates instead of boring old white boards, we survived Parent-Teacher Conference week, and I was told I’ll most likely be teaching 1st Grade again next year, which I’m thrilled about! I spent the first half of Spring Break trying to get the soundtrack from Cats out of my head, filing taxes, doing laundry, visiting with family from out-of-town, catching up on grading and lesson-planning, and watching our new baby clownfish nest in our bubble anemone. I spent the second half of Spring Break recuperating from LASIK. 

 

As my vision becomes more clear over the next few months, I’ll attempt to catch more moments and keep them from blurring together. I have 41 teaching days left of this school year – time to make each one count. 

**Title of post from Take A Picture by Filter

Fly along with me, I can’t quite make it alone**

Sunday Stealing: The 2015 Year End Meme

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? Saw the Foo Fighters in concert.  It was epic, and awesome, and all of the very best adjectives ever.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Didn’t make reservations.  Or resolutions, either.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Uhm… my youngest niece turned 1, and a few cousins had babies this year, but other than that, I don’t think so…  Oh!  One of the teachers on my team had her baby boy a few days before Christmas, so she’s one of my only friends who gave birth this year.

4. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2015? Save.  Keep saving.  Just when you think you’ve saved enough, save some more.  And don’t spend it!  Just stop spending every penny you get!

5. What was your favorite new TV program? I’m pretty hooked on Jane the Virgin.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? More personal time.  More energy.  A better handle on my finances.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Going to the I Teach 1st! conference in early July was pretty awesome.  September 19th, because that’s the day we went to the Foo Fighters concert.  October 28th, because I got some pretty great feedback from my principal after a weekly walk-through.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Finding my groove as a First Grade Teacher and feeling like I’m able to relax and have fun with my kiddos.

9. What was your biggest failure? I don’t feel like I managed my finances in the best way.

10. What was the best thing you bought? James talked me into getting a new computer, as my laptop was over 5 years old. We got a Dell XPS and it’s pretty awesome.

11. Whose behavior merited celebration? Like, that I know, personally?  I don’t know.  That’s kind of an odd question.

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted? Like, that I know, personally?  I don’t know.  That’s kind of an odd question.

13. What song will always remind you of 2015? Adele’s Hello

14. What do you wish you’d done more of? Saved money.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of? Spent money.

16. What was the best book you read? Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy

17. What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying? Being more mindful of my finances.

18. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. See title of post.

**Title of post from Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters

Written in these walls are the stories that I can’t explain**

Okay, it’s like this:

I’m on vacation. And I’m doing my part to fight off the forces of gravity by holding the couch down while the dog recharges her battery with endless naps in my lap. I’m also fighting a serious battle against the laundry. It had been winning, but the mound is lessening and the odds are now stacked in my favor. There’s been a bit of grading happening, and I’m also trying to keep SweetPea from dulling her mind while binge-watching episodes of Scaredy Squirrel on NetFlix.

It’s a tough gig, mind you, but I think I’ve got it covered.

The point is, I’m being lazy. I fully admit that. And I see these lovely “end of the year” reflections going on elsewhere and while it sounds like a good idea, I can’t even begin to wrap my head around such a staggering feat. At least not while the laundry still taunts me and there are unwrapped Christmas gifts hiding all over the house. Instead, I am posting an A – Z Daily photo challenge I did on Instagram back in October. If it makes you feel better, I did spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to get them all into one mosaic before I gave up and just used the Layout app on my iPhone.

Enjoy. And have a happy New Year. I might attempt to post more in the future. So long as my wi-fi and the battery in my iPhone cooperate. Because I’m still not sure this couch won’t float away if I’m not here to hold it down for the remainder of my winter break.



**Title of post from Story Of My Life by One Direction

It’s like this and like that and like this and uh**

Okay, it’s like this:

I am having a blast.  My kiddos are sweet and fun and, for the most part, eager to learn and follow directions.  The Kinder 2.0 season has ended and I feel like they have settled into the routines and expectations and are finally first graders.  They know that 2 snaps means, “Nuh-uh!” and straighten up right away, they encourage each other, are self-policing (for the most part) and even remember to apologize when they make an error in judgement.  Their fluency is improving, their writing is getting stronger, their math skills are getting stronger, they are making great progress.

That being said, it has taken a lot of hard work to get here.

And all that hard work?  Let’s be honest.  It’s exhausting.

I want to update more frequently, but when I get enough time to write a post, I get sucked into catching up on the feeds I read or scrolling through Instagram or doing something productive like attempting to cook a meal or clean the kitchen or do some laundry.  Or sleep.

So here’s one gem I can share.

We had a stretch of really cold days, and by “really cold” I mean we’d get to school and it would be in the 40’s, but then the afternoons would warm up to the high 60’s/low 70’s, but this is Southern California and people freak out at the thought of actual weather, so the kids would show up dressed like it was a snow day.  Long sleeves under their uniform shirts, sweaters under jackets, beanies, gloves, the works.  Then the afternoon temperatures suddenly jumped to the upper 80’s and the kids came in from lunch having stripped off as many layers as possible, sweat dripping from their temples, panting and begging for water.

It was on one of these strangely cold morning/hot afternoon days when my Most Enthusiastic Pup came running back from lunch, sweatshirt in hand, long-sleeves shoved up over his elbows, beanie askew.  The rest of the class had already filed in and was getting started on the math warm-up, so he knew he was a little bit late.  He was yelling that he had left his sweatshirt under the slide and had run back to get it and was being as quick as he could so he wouldn’t get in trouble.  I nodded and put the “Shhh!” finger over my lips as I held the door open for him.  I could see the sweat glistening on his cheeks as he huffed and puffed his way over.

He got to the bottom of the ramp and sort of hiccup-burped and froze.  He looked at me, wide-eyed.

Me, not moving: Hey Buddy! Gonna throw up?
Most Enthusiastic Pup, coming up the ramp, nodding: Yeeeessss…
Me, grabbing the trash can I keep by the classroom door and pushing it toward his chest: Have at.
MEP, panicked: What do I do??
Me, pointing toward the bottom of the ramp: Aim that way and don’t come inside!

He turns away and I close the door behind me.  I walk to my desk, fill out a pass to the Nurse, and wait by the door until it is quiet again.

Me, cracking open the door: All done?
MEP, pushing can toward me: Yeah, I think.
Me, shaking my head: Nuh-uh, leave that outside. [Wave pass at him.]  Take this and go see the Nurse.

He sets the trash can down and leaves, I close the door and call for the custodian to come empty the trash can and check the ramp to be sure there was no spillage.  Meanwhile the rest of the class worked on the warm-up without so much as a clue as to what was going on outside.

And that, friends, is a successful day in first grade.

*Sigh*

**Title of post from Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang by Dr. Dre (Feat. Snoop Dogg)

Hey all right! If I get by, it’s mine. Mine all mine! **

Sunday Stealing: That Alphabet Thing Meme

A: Accent — Southern Californian
B: Breakfast — coffee & a Kind bar
C: Chore you hate — cleaning toilets
D: Dad’s name — El Guapo
E: Essential everyday item — Blistex Silk & Shine
F: Flavor ice cream — Baskin Robbin’s Gold Medal Ribbon
G: Gold or silver — silver
H: Hometown — somewhere in Southern California
I: Insomnia — nope
J: Job title — 1st grade teacher
K: Kids — SweetPea, age 6
M: Mother’s birthplace — somewhere in Southern California
N: Number of significant others — just the one I married
O: Overnight hospital stays — 2
P: Phobia — losing loved ones
Q: Quick at — typing
R: Religious affiliation — none
S: Siblings — younger sister
T: Time you wake up — on a school day: 4:30 a.m.  Weekends: 6:30 or later if I’m lucky
U: Unnatural hair colors — not currently
V: Vegetable you refuse to eat — parsnips, beets, turnips… There’s a big list.
W: Worst habit — #CoughOCD
X: X-rays — most recently?  Right foot, but nothing was broken.
Y: Yummy — any form of potato
Z: Zodiac sign — Aquarius

Swiped from Kwizgiver

**Title of post from Been Caught Stealing by Jane’s Addiction

And I have no concept of time other than it is flyin’**

I just looked at my lesson plan book and realized we are in Week 10 of the school year. Already a quarter of the way done!?!? How is that possible?!!??!

I have so many fun stories to share, but this is my favorite.

Scene: “Fun Friday” = students are putting together a cut up 120 chart “puzzle” in lieu of filling in their blank 120 chart as part of practicing counting amd writing numbers to 120 (1.NBT.A.1, because we have to have it posted and damn if I don’t get a walk-through while they’re “playing games” and I don’t have a way of justifying it other than the generic “practicing number sense” and “team building”). 

My most animated, Minion-Loving Pup, sliding a chunk of the puzzle into place, so excited he forgets to raise his hand: TEACHAH! I love First Grade! I was nervous it was going to be hard but it’s really FUN!


**Title of post from All I Really Want by Alanis Morissette