Posts Tagged With: slice of life

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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Categories: Slice of Life Challenge, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Currently

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I’m always intrigued by Slices of life in different formats.  This slice was inspired by Fran’s post from a few days ago.  Since I’m struggling today I thought it would be a great time to play with something new.  I don’t know if the picture really goes but I told myself I’d do one for each post so, yeah…

Currently…

Listening to the joyful sounds of a girl and her Pappou playing hide and seek.

Planning for the week ahead but really thinking about spring break.

Sipping Jasmine tea hoping for my stomach to settle.

Stalking my friends facebook for picture of her baby.

Hoping the weather is beautiful this week so I can go for a walk.

Ruminating on a blog post for the Educator Collaborative.

Waiting for my BreakoutEdu box to arrive, wondering if I’ll have to go buy supplies at Home Depot instead.

Searching the internet for a new house.

Reflecting on the fact that things aren’t so bad, in fact they’re pretty great.

 

 

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

I’m Sorry About the Toddler

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Dear Baby,

I’m sorry about the toddler.  I know she is loud and bossy, emotional and forceful.  She can shine her love like the first rays of sunshine after a long cold winter and shut it off just as quickly again.  She’s unpredictable and wild, sassy and sweet all at the same time.

She argues with me.  She likes to think of you as her baby.  She has bathed you, tried to help change you, frequently considers picking you up and carrying you around.  (Although with your meaty baby thighs you’re quiet a load to love these days.)  She tells me what you think and want, which just happens to coincide with what she thinks and she wants.  She is your BIG sister and I suspect she will never let you forget it.  (She’s a Dragon what can I do? You’re a goat, I don’t think you’ll mind.)

But despite whatever happens in the future.  Whatever sisterly spats you have over toys, then clothes, following rules, boys, friends… I want you to know.  Each morning when she sees you her face lights up, she squeals your name, she barks the commands.

I want to see her.

I want to snuggle her.

I want to kiss her.

So I’m sorry about the toddler. They are unpredictable creatures.  But so far you don’t seem to mind too much.  Because as the antics continue on a daily basis you watch the family circus with a mixture of wonder and amusement.  And your eyes are locked on her every moment waiting for a burst of love to come your way.  You are my gift to her, and she is my gift to you.  Sisters.

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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.

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

Hello Old Friend

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Hello old friend, it’s nice to see you again.  It’s been a long time.  Let’s catch up.  I haven’t sliced or at least sliced well in a long time.  Sure I’ve dabbled here and there but life has had me running.  I’m entering this month with a mixture of joy and trepidation.

It’s been two kids, two books, a new job, living with the inlaws, and many years since we’ve been together.

So much is different and yet so much still the same.

I still read your posts even if I don’t always comment.  I still greet each morning with a cup of coffee greedily devoured-more so now because of our new little one.  I still write a lot more in my head than I do on paper.  It’s something I’m working on.

Can we be friends again you and I?  Can you forgive me for all the days, months, and years I didn’t write?

Can we walk hand in hand once more laughing, crying, and wondering together.  Friends?

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

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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Day 1: The Kitchen Table

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

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

For the past year I’ve been spending most Saturday mornings at a little coffee shop on Damen Ave. with my writing partner Kristin.  Over the months our newest book has been taking shape fueled by massive amounts of coffee (what else?), the smell of bacon smoke in the air, occasional 80’s power ballads, and the general feeling that we’re trying to make a difference in the world.

Most of these mornings were spent on a big green leather couch stationed at the back of the room.  An ideal place for writing, people watching, and generally overseeing the goings on of the coffee shop.  One recent morning I walked in to find that the couch had been moved.

My first thought was “what the heck? why did they move the couch?”

My second thought was “what is in its place?!?”  There in the back of the room hogging the space that our beloved couch had once lived in was a retro reddish orange kitchen table.  I glared at it in disgust and distrust.

Our beloved green home had been moved to the front of the coffee shop, right in the middle of the chaos and was now joined by another couch.  It was an overall unwelcome change.  Now chaos abounded around us, other people invaded our space, and our writing mojo was thrown by the constant din of the door banging shut.

“The music is too loud.”

“The light is all wrong.”

“There’s a draft here.”

“It’s too far from the outlet.”

The next week I felt anxious walking in the door.  I trudged slowly to the back of the coffee shop and set my bag down tentatively on the table.  I unpacked slowly, hesitantly as if the table might blow up at any minute.  As I set up my computer I ran my fingers over the tacky laminate surface noting the old coffee stains, the scratches along the edge.  This table had history.  This table had a story to tell.  It was then that I thought perhaps it was fate, that this table was put here for a purpose.  A storytelling table for two storytellers.

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No testing?

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

Join the Slice of Life community at Two Writing Teachers.

February is normally a stress-filled month.  Every year since I began teaching we’ve had testing the first week in March.  This year there is no ISAT test the first week of March and it’s made for a wonderful and strange month.  Over the years I developed strategies for preparing my students for the ISAT tests (not prepping them) that minimized the impact on our day to day.  But since school started back up in January I haven’t given testing more that a fleeting moment of a flicker of a thought.

In fact the only thought I’ve given to it is wondering if we will even be taking the PARCC test this year.  No one seems to know.  Chicago is in a battle to not take the tests citing that the schools aren’t technology ready.  The federal and state government aren’t happy.  Will we?  Won’t we?  Who knows?

At any rate we’ve done nothing to test prep.  I’m confident my students are as prepared for the challenge as they should be because I’ve been teaching hard all year long and honestly, that should be enough.

For now, I will enjoy it; focus on getting myself back to weekly slicing and getting my students prepared to take the month long slice of life challenge.  That seems like a much more worthy use of my time.

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Smack!

I stepped gingerly onto the ice covered parking lot clutching Gigi in my arms.  As I mentally calculated the distance from my stairs to my car I began to shuffle my feet slowly.  My gosh, I thought, we’ll never make it!  shuffle, shuffle.  shuffle, shuffle.  Ten minutes later I was buckling Gigi in and soon inching my way down the equally slick side streets.

I decided to park illegally at the bank across from the daycare.  The streets were still congested with snow and now ice and I didn’t want to risk getting stuck.  Unfortunately in my haste I momentarily forgot about the ice.  It only took me about three steps up the slight incline before I found myself in the air and then on the ground.

“Ow,” I screamed as my tailbone smacked the pavement hard and my right arm, which had shot out to break my fall, plunged into a chunky icy snow bank.  My bare skin burned with the contact of the cold.  Somehow my mother instincts made sure Gigi landed on top of me and she just giggled, thinking the whole thing part of some silly game.

I slowly got to my feet and dropped her off, thankful that she was okay, but sad about the now growing pain in my back.

I will be very happy when winter is over.

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Up

Tuesday.  It’s Mommy Baby day!  As a special treat I decided to take Gigi to the Chicago Children’s Museum today.  Although Gigi was skeptical when we got in the car (By skeptical I mean she screamed at the top of her lungs and made her body as stiff as a board) she started to perk up when we arrived at Navy Pier.  It might have been the smell of cinnamon roasted nuts or the sight of Build-A-Bear. (Thank goodness she doesn’t know what that is yet.)  As soon as I released her from her stroller she was up and moving.  Literally.  See she really just learned how to walk in the last week or so.

“Up, up,” she commanded.  This is her word now.  “Up!” Up means give me your hand so that I can drag you all around where ever I want to go.  “Up” also means pick me up so I can play flop my body on the couch while you desperately try to keep me from flying off the couch.  Occasionally “Up” means pick me up and cuddle me I’m tired.

So Up we went.  Up to the bubbles exhibit where she toddled and pointed wildly.  Up to the fort exhibit where she climbed on an upside down table.  Up to the babies room where she tried to eat a chunk of wood meant for the light table.  Up to kid town where she pushed a little shopping cart around into people legs.  Up to the Big Backyard where she giggled along with fake flowers.  Up, Up, Up.

 

 

I originally had the title of this post as Big Flowers and Bubbles but as I got to the end of my writing I realized that I had kind of gone off on this tangent about her new word “Up.”  Although she knows other words this is the one you hear ALL DAY LONG.  So I decided that would be the best title for this piece.

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