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Car Wash

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Car wash rinses the winter away.

I watch as the thick brushes

roll, pound, bounce, spray, scrub, slap

the windows-sides of the car

Lights flashing, sprayers spraying, blowers blowing

Dirt and salt obliterated from view.

Sweet spring air greets gleaming windows.

Tires dripping with new life, fresh roll.

The world blinks it’s eye carefully,

looks up tentatively with renewed soul.

A seed of hope grows carefully

into a flower, then blooms.  Explodes!

 

 

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Searching for Home

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Last summer we made a drastic decision to move to the suburbs.  With a second baby on the way and a job that fell in my lap we had to think fast, so we readied our condo to put on the market and bit the bullet.  Most of the bullet biting came with the decision to hold off on looking for a home and live with my in-laws until the spring.  <go ahead and make the face>

It hasn’t been terrible.  Frustrating at times, yes.  There are things I will never understand such as why everything in the pantry is not in it’s original packaging but transferred into large jars.  But it has also been good for the children, to have this special time with their grandparents.  Gigi’s Greek is excellent, and having a few extra sets of hands around with a second baby has been nice.  I know I will greet our move to our own house with joy, but I think it will be hard for Gigi.  She is so used to having her Papou to take her to the swings in the evenings.  It has been a special time for us, one that we will never forget.

Fellow slicer Michelle Nero reminded me yesterday of the importance of story and family in a home.  She reminded me that while we’re looking for houses we need to make sure we are looking for a home.  Families leave their imprint on a house, I believe this to my very core.

We lived in an older house growing up.  When we moved in my parents set about erasing years of poor interior design decisions; terrifying carpet, horrendous wood paneling, tragic wall paper.  The family that lived there before us had a few amateur carpenters in the mix.  They weren’t very good.  Whenever my dad encountered one of their messed up home improvement projects he would affectionately call it a “Henning.”  (The name of the family who lived there.)  Then I would learn some new swear words.

Eventually we made that house our own.  My parents had done as much as they could and right about the time I left to go to college they moved.  To a brand new construction.  I guess they were tired of fixing Hennings.

I don’t know what our house hunting journey will show us.  But above all I will remember that I’m not just looking for a house I’m looking for a home.  Preferably not one that the Hennings ever lived in.

 

 

 

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Welcome Baby!

Welcome

I was overjoyed when I opened my facebook this morning to see that my dear friend and former teaching partner had her baby.  There is something so glorious about watching a new soul enter the world.  But more than that I have a bit of a motherly connection to her mother.

Four years ago I met Amber as I was interviewing to find someone to take my maternity leave.  I knew at the interview she was the girl for me, she didn’t disappoint.  Wise beyond her years- she was a born teacher from the start and slid right in to replace me when I left that January to have Gigi.  She also kept quiet every time I snuck into the coat room to eat a nutty bar…so there’s that.

A year later she took the other fifth grade position and we became partners and friends.  I tried to mentor her in my own way, offering support, but leaving her lots of space to grow and experiment.  To find out who she was as a teacher.

 When I left last year she moved into my room and I willed her 90% of the furniture, books, and supplies that I had won from grants over the years.  She has been with me through two babies, two books, three DVD filmings, a strike and countless trips to Chipotle to restore our souls. She also braved the classroom slice of life challenge with me for two years, not an easy undertaking.

Congratulations dear friend and welcome to the world baby!  And text me as soon as I can come see her.

 

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You Greet Me

 

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You greet me at the door, dressed in your snowsuit.  “I need my boots, I’m going outside,” you state with confidence.  Before I even set my bags down and unload my work day you are searching for your hat.  Yia Yia arguing with you about wearing gloves.  You are shouting, “Papou! Pame!”  (Grandpa, let’s go)

You look at me and smile.  You have done this yourself.  Gazed out the window all afternoon waiting  as the snow fell.  I can imagine you asking to go outside over and over again while Papou and Yia Yia tried to distract you.  I can see the moment the snow stopped, you were tired of waiting so you went to the closet, pulled your step stool close, and yanked your snowsuit from the hanger with fierce determination.

You’re out the door in a whirl.  Bossing Papou into pulling you on the sled-barely enough snow to make it slide.  Falling on your back, you make a snow angel even though no one ever taught you how.  You are as wild and as free as the snowflakes themselves.

When did you get so big?

I turn my attention to your sister, kicking her legs furiously in the swing.  Her smiles have given way to impatience.  She uses grunts and kicks to communicate.  A stark contrast to your three-year-old independence and fire.  As I approach her she squeals with joy.  I hug her to me feeling her warm little heart beating.  We stand at the window and watch you take on the world.

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New Beginnings, for really real this time!

The phone call came at exactly 2:11 today.  The nurse went down the list of instructions.  No eating for 8 hours, wash with a special soap.  She forgot to mention the most important one…don’t freak out!

Tomorrow at 1:00 pm they will wheel me into the operating room and I, with the help of modern western sterile medicine, will have the least natural birth possible.  I’m okay with it.  I mean I’m petrified down to my very core.  But I’m okay with it.  Let’s face it, I was never going to give birth in a bathtub to chanting monk music and positive mental images anyway.

Mostly I’m just excited.  Tomorrow I get to be a mom again.  Tomorrow we become a family of four.  Tomorrow life changes drastically once again, and for the better, once again.  I know it will be hard and exhausting.  I have faint recollections of those early days with Gigi.  I also know it will be more challenging this time around, because “sleep when the baby sleeps” might work when you have one kiddo but not when there’s a toddler who will be demanding every inch of your sleep deprived attention.

For today there isn’t much I can do but worry, and wait, and pray that everything goes smoothly.

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New Beginnings

I haven’t posted on this blog all summer.  It’s been a busy one.

  1. We moved.  Yikes!
  2. I started a new job.
  3. Minime #2 will be here in less than three weeks.  Yikes again!

To say things have been a bit of a roller coaster is an understatement.  Not to mention…

  1. Minime #1 got her big girl bed.  Yikes!
  2. Minime #1 started a new daycare.
  3. Minime #1 still refuses to use the potty.  Oh well.

Oh and then there’s this…

I’ve been busily crossing the T’s and dotting the i’s on the page proofs for my new book.  Yay!

And yet so many things stay the same.

The hum of the quiet morning as I sip my cup of coffee.  The click of computer keys.  The whir of my mind.

And even without my own classroom I’m still comforted by the buzz of childrens’ voices on those first days of school, the early morning runs to Starbucks for my vanilla latte (half-caf these days), and the promise of a new school year.  This year is fill with new faces, new places, and lots of new learning experiences.  I am reborn.

Here’s to another great year and more exciting things to come!

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Packing Up For The Last Time

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

Nine years.  I dig slowly through the book bins, checking for beloved texts.  Sometimes flipping through, sometimes putting them in my box, most times returning them to the bin.  As the books tilt forward I see a sea of my name scrawled on the top of so many of them.  Nine years left behind.

The boxes I pack are few.  What good will these items be in a basement?  I leave them behind as a mark, as something to say “I was here.”  I taught in this room.  I learned in this room.  I laughed, and cried, and grew up in this room.

I’m left in the wood floor, the scratch behind the door.  I’m still here in the book shelves, the left over chart paper, the closet of neatly organized book club books.

Like a siren fading away, loud at first, then slowly disappearing with echoes off the buildings.  Silence.

Memories.

I hope you had the time of your life.

Moving forward into the unknown.  Hope for new learning, new energy, new connections, new inspirations, new idea, and new memories.

Like a Phoenix I’ve come to the end, burst into flames, now I sweep up the ashes of my own cycle, to be reborn again.

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Day 18: Big Sister!

Things have been a bit crazy here lately.  But I won’t give up on the challenge.  So back to slicing it is.  Here’s one reason why life has been getting a little nuts.  

Gigi was playing with her baby doll, rocking it in the crib and feeding it a bottle.  ”You’re so good at that!” I said.  ”You know, you’re going to be a big sister soon.”  She looked at me for a moment and then went back to playing.  ”Gigi a baby is coming.  We’re going to have a baby come live with us.  Do you want to be a big sister?”  She looked at me quizzically and said “baby?” then she looked around.  In theory, Gigi really likes babies.  She helps with all of the babies at daycare, feeding and rocking them just like she does with her dolls.  But I’m not too sure how she will react to having to share her mommy.  I guess only time will tell.

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Day 12: She swings

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The first thing she goes for is the swings.  Running past plastic towers of fun to creaky comets launching through the air.  First the baby swing.  “Up, up!”

push, swing, push, swing, push, swing.  Over and over and over again.  She never wants to stop.

You’ve never seen such joy in a child as when she’s flying though the air, shouting “Whooooaaaaa!”

Once she finishes with the baby swing she wants the big girl swing.  I carefully wrap my hands around hers on the chains and tell her “hold on, hold tight.”  Hoping she understands.

With each push my heart drops a little.  “Faster!  Higher!”

She yearns to swing, yearns to fly.

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Day 11: You sit stacked…

You sit stacked on my nightstand.  Your pile somewhat disheveled, a never-ending revolving door of friends.  Each one of you holds a story; waits patiently, hoping for your turn to be unfurled.  Some of you are lucky.  You barely sit at the top of the pile before I’ve snatched you up and devoured you, before passing you on.  Others of you continually pushed to the bottom of the pile, gathering dust.  You are good, I’m sure you are, it’s just that there others who stand out from the crowd begging.  You sit stacked on my nightstand.  Waiting for your day to shine.

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