Slice of Life Challenge


When I decided to do the Slice of Life challenge this year I knew I wouldn’t write every day.  (Although I didn’t mean to let this many days go by!)  With a newborn in the house my expectations for what can be accomplished have been wildly adjusted.  It’s as if time has bent and there is an entirely new clock in the house.  Sometimes is speeds up and sometime it slows waaaaay down.

Things that used to take me 10, 20, 30 minutes can now take up to two hours.  Small household chores are entirely dependent on how long the baby naps or if the baby is in a good mood.  Trips to the store or the coffee shop take more strategic planning than a military operation.  I honestly have no idea how people with more than one child ever leave the house.

On the the other hand there are daily activities that happen in a fraction of the time they used to.  Eating a meal…five minutes tops.  Showering…3 minutes, 4 if I wash my hair.  Bathroom…30 seconds.  Like I said, time has bent and the days pass with their own rhythm.

I rarely know what day it is any more.  I only know what time it is in relation to when the baby last ate.  I don’t distinguish between sleeping clothes and daytime clothes and I only change outfits when they get puked on or stink so bad that even the baby is offended.  It’s like I’m in my own little universe and any attempt to interact with the outside world turns into a hiccup.  Sort of like that moment when you step of the moving walkway and it takes a minute for your head and body to reconcile themselves.

No matter how wonky my clock has gone it’s a joyous wonky.  One I’m happy to accept in exchange for a toothless baby grin here and there.

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | 10 Comments

Each Little Breath


I listen


each little


you take.

I wait,

hovered over you,

watching for the

rise and fall

of your chest.

A movement,

a sign.

With each breath

you take

my heart fills

a little more.

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An Open Letter to the People at Target Who May Have Seen “The Goods” Today

I’d like to take this time to apologize to the people who were recently subjected to a near full frontal flashing at the Target on Peterson Avenue today.  You’ll have to excuse me, you see I am a new mom and a breastfeeding one at that.  Every 90 minutes to a few hours I rapidly yank down the front of my shirt and whip out the goods to quiet the yowling pterodactyl child that I have given birth too.  She feeds hungrily all the while scratching me with her mini talons and may or may not spit the contents of the feed back up to ruin both the outfit that I have just put her in and my shirt as well.   Sometimes this scene is accompanied by a sneeze/fart or, more commonly, a full out diaper blow out.

In the midst of this drama I sometimes forget to put “the goods” back in.  Even if I do the chance that my shirt will actually cover them is slim.  This has been caused by several factors.  One, my goods have grown three sizes, ok four, well maybe five sizes from their usual state.  Two, my shirts have also grown as they have become a bit stretched out at the top from being yanked so frequently and vigorously downward.  And three, I’m just not that aware of my personal appearance these days, I’m a bit busy and forgetful…sleep deprived…hungry…you get the idea.

So, people of Target, I apologize that you may have witnessed a bit more of me than you bargained for on Sunday afternoon.  Thank you for not laughing or staring, too much, or attempting to shove dollar bills down my shirt.  Just consider yourself lucky I was wearing a bra.

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | Tags: | 13 Comments

On Saturdays I Shower

CascadeWell that’s an ominous title.  I don’t mean to make it seem that I only bathe once a week like some European hippie.  I get a rinse off here and there.  But on Saturday mornings, after the baby has had her breakfast and is fast asleep, after my husband has emerged from the bedroom bleary eyed, I shower.  I take a long, hot, soapy shower.  I fuss over myself.  I wash my hair twice.  I may even actually blow dry and straighten it.  I do all of those things that help me remember that there’s still a me inside this mom.  I emerge from the steamy bathroom, hair dripping, refreshed.  On Saturdays I Shower with a capital “S.”

photo credit: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget via photopin cc

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Slice of Life Challenge 2013! A Reason To Write


The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted at Two Writing Teachers.

I can’t believe it’s Slice of Life Challenge time again.  It would have been easy for me to not participate this year.  But I always participate, at least I always try to!  The truth is there isn’t always time for writing, we have to make time for it.  In fact, I would argue that the times in your life when you have the least time to write are those most worth capturing.  I certainly have some life to capture these days.


It’s a rare day when the sun peaks its head out in these long winter months.  My car sits cold on the street, wondering where I’ve been.  Although I rarely leave the confines of my two bedroom apartment these days, my life bustles with activity.  You see, I’ve just had a baby.  I change diapers, I rock, I breastfeed, I lament over the state of my body, I change diapers, I nap, I change diapers, I breastfeed, I do laundry, I change clothes, I do more laundry, I change more diapers, I breastfeed, I maybe shower…maybe.  You get the picture.

It might sound a bit repetitive.  I suppose it is.  But in between these predictable moments are little surprises.  Tiny gifts that make the long days and nights so worth while.

A tentative first smile.

A giggle in her sleep.

A sneeze and a fart simultaneously.

Her eyes locked on mine studying my face.

Watching my husband melt with her in his arms.

I might not leave the house much these days.  I may not have any pants that fit.  I may spend hours slathering creams on various parts of my body in hopes of helping them recover to their former glory.  But it’s all worth while.  These little moments are already going to fast and that is a reason to write.


Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | 10 Comments

Too Sick to Slice?

or is it to sick to slice?

Is it possible?  Yes it is.  My last slice hints at the impending doom, but little did I know how bad it would be.  I have NEVER missed a day of the SOL challenge.  EVER.  Alas, you CAN be too sick to slice.

Today was my first day back to school in days.  My principal took one look at me and practically begged me to go home.  She even brought the cadre in “just in case.”  I was proud of myself.  I stood upright.  I ate a bagel; 1/2 at breakfast and the other 1/2 at lunch.

If the cough doesn’t get you the fever will.  But you really know it’s bad when you aren’t hungry.  When you have to force yourself to eat a slice of cheese.  That’s sick.

I suppose my SOL challenge may end a bit anticlimactically this year.

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | 6 Comments

Midnight Misery

The smoke detector beeps.  My body surges with panic.  It’s only the single warning beep but still it’s enough to wake me from fitful sleep.  My husband is looking at it.  “Is it the battery again?” I ask.

About a year ago the battery went south in the middle of the night.  We both awoke to the dog wedging himself between us, a shivering mess.  Ever since then the smoke detector and any loud whistle noise send him into a panic.

“The power just went back on.”  Oh, I thought.  Funny how the power goes out and so easily escapes notice but has to announce itself like a child returning from school.

“Is the dog okay?”  Kons goes to check.


I lay for awhile feeling the pressure in my chest.  Cursing the empty package of Musinex.  Finally I decide to get up and make a Theraflu Tea. I brush my foot across the dog as I pass checking to see that he’s calmed down.  Poor guy.

I muddle around with the microwave, finally get my tea and decide to check in on slices.

Nothing like a middle of the night wake up call and a chest cold. boo.

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | 19 Comments

It starts with a….

It starts with a dry hacking cough.

It starts with a single word, Go!

It starts with the pop of a cork.

It starts with warming up the spine.

It starts with a single word, Go!

It starts with the rev of a motor.

It starts with warming up the spine.

It starts with the honk of a horn.

It starts with the rev of a motor.

It starts with the ring of the bell.

It starts with the honk of a horn.

It starts with a simple word “hello.”

It starts.

It starts.

It starts.


Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | 3 Comments

Feeling Lucky Again

I wrote a slice about feeling lucky for the great school culture and PD that I’ve had in my career. I agree in many ways we do make our own luck. Today I am feeling lucky again to work with such an amazing staff of teachers. Back in the fall Steve Zemelman and Harvey Daniels came to our school to take footage for a DVD that will accompany their new edition of Best Practice. Yesterday the trailer for the DVD came out. I was so proud to see my fabulous teaching partner on there along with other teachers from our school and some amazing looking teachers from Chicago. Let me tell you, Chicago needs this. We need it bad. There’s even one still shot of me pointing my finger at some life changing image, no doubt, my mouth open and poised to say something brilliant, I’m sure, and my hair frizzed out with the sheer electricity of my instructional genius. At least I picked a dress that hid my gut. But honestly I can’t wait ’till it comes out. If only so I can learn even more! Here’s the trailer if you’re interested.

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Yesterday I didn’t confer with any students during writer’s workshop.  Yesterday I grabbed a new notebook, a beautiful azure leather notebook given to me by a student.  Yesterday I sat down on the carpet and I decided to write with my students.

I’ve teaching poetry forms and I’m really trying to stay AWAY from some of the “kid” forms of poems.  I haven’t shown anything that rhymes.  No concrete poems.   I like those forms but I know my fifth grade writers won’t grow as writers unless they struggle a little.  So, I’ve been using styles and poems from Nancy Atwell’s Naming the World book.   I don’t ask kids to spend the whole period writing in a specific style.  Each day I present a few poems, we draw conclusions about what the parameters of the style might be and then we have a go.  Some students find that they need to “break” the rules to make their poem great which I both discourage and encourage.  By that I mean that I tell them to try it both ways and then compare.  I’m a very tricky lady.

Yesterday I decided to join my students while they wrote.  I decided to step away from “teacher” and just be a fellow writer.  I spent the first five minutes staring into space.  I couldn’t think of one thing to write.  A good reminder that students need time to think.  I spontaneously turned to my neighbor and asked her what she thought of my idea, a pantoum about Katniss.  She thought the class would like that.  A good reminder that children need to talk before they write.  I wrote furiously pausing to frown in the air.  My other neighbor asked me what’s wrong.  “Nothing,” I said.  “I’m thinking.”  A good reminder for them that it’s okay to struggle and think through something.  That the words don’t always just appear before you!  When I finished I bothered the same neighbor because I just HAD to share what I wrote.  A good reminder that children need to share their work, get feedback, and feel honored.

Yesterday I took some time to walk in my students shoes so that I could remind myself how challenging and rewarding writer’s workshop can be.

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | Tags: | 12 Comments

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