Birthday Girl

Usually quiet and shy Haley stood in the doorway to our classroom today in a vibrant outfit… rainbow tutu, sequenced unicorn top and hair done up with a new hairband. She stood there taking in her classmates doing their work. She stood there clutching her water bottle.

“Good morning, Haley,” I said approaching her quietly. “You look all fancy today. What’s the occasion,” I asked already knowing the answer.

The smile grew on her face, “It’s my 7th birthday!!!”

At that moment some of the other students in the class noticed her lively birthday outfit and began welcoming her.

“Wow! You look great!”

“Look at that tutu!”

“Mama Mia! You look AWESOME! Yowza!”

Haley’s smile, if possible, grew even bigger! What a way to start your birthday with so many compliments!

Hallway Mishap

“Guess what,” I announced to my class. “Today we get to go to computers. Your first time in the computer lab since you were in kindergarten!”

The class erupted in cheers and smiles. They could not wait to see the computer teacher in person instead of through a screen and be on a computer instead of a Chromebook. “When?” came a voice from the back of the room.

“We’re going to go right after lunch,” I told them… and remind them several more times.

Finally the time had come. “Remember,” I said as they lined up in the cafeteria, “we’re heading to the computer lab.” They surprisingly got into a quick, quiet line. Wow! They must really be excited. When we got to the computer lab I announced, “put your lunchboxes and water bottles down against the wall while we wait for Mrs. Doyle.”

I peeked my head inside the computer lab door and came back out with Mrs. Doyle. “Um, why are they all sitting on the ground against the wall?” she asked me. “Did you tell them to do that while they waited?”

“Nope! No clue!” I said hiding my laugh. This is just my class. Maybe I’m wrong about the excitement of being in the computer lab!

You Can’t Make It Up

“Mrs. Wetmore! I can’t find it. I picked it. Dropped it and now can’t find it to throw it in the trash,” Gavin says holding up his finger to me on Wednesday morning during reading time.

“What did you loose,” I ask confused.

Gavin looks at me as if I have 3 heads for not understanding him and replies “I picked my nose. Don’t worry it was a small bugger. But then I dropped it. It was small so I can’t find it to throw it in the trash.”

“Um, what?!,” I respond thinking I heard him wrong through his mumbling and mask.

“I picked my nose. And then I dropped the small bugger and now don’t know where it is. What should I do,” he asks in a dead serious but worried tone of voice.

“I think you should wash your hands,” I told him. “And keep your second grade fingers out of your nose,” I thought as he walked away in search of soap and water.

Curtains…

“I’m having a moment. I’m going to do some online retail therapy,” I announced to no one special. An hour later I had spent too much money on too many bathing suits and cover ups… knowing a lot would be returned.

Several weeks later I am at the mall making this large return (but not as large as I thought). “I’m going to browse while you return,” my shopping partner (aka my mom) said. A little bit later I rejoined her in the curtain department. “These would look great in your living room. AND are on a huge sale. What do you think?”

I LOVED them and bought them!

The changing of the curtains though lead to the rearranging of furniture, and picture frames, as well as a bag of items being brought to a donation center. It also lead to a smile on my face and a “new” room to relax in at the end of the day.

Creating a Mindful Environment

“I might take a grad class in the fall if I can get it approved by HR,” Dawn said one day over the summer.

“For what? Through where?” My mind was spinning with questions. I have toyed with the idea of taking more classes for a while now but never got up enough courage. It’s hard to go back to taking classes after so many years away.

But after finding out more information and researching myself I decided to give HR a try too. I filled out the paperwork and waited. And waited. And waited.

“I’d really like to start soon,” I said to my team mates at lunch on Friday. “But downtown hasn’t gotten back to me in like a month.”

Their advice… call. Don’t wait for the email.

So with shaking hands that’s what I did. And within 30 minutes I was getting the approval (and apology for taking so long). I got off the phone grinning to myself. Was I really going to do this? So I couldn’t back out I texted Dawn the exciting news and raced off home register for the class titled “Creating a Mindful Environment.”

So here’s to getting back to taking classes with a positive growth mindset.

Fun, Fun, Fun

What was the first concert you ever went to? My first concert was The Beach Boys at the outdoor Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT when I was around 9 (maybe) because my uncle was obsessed with them and essentially taught me every word to every song. I might not remember a lot about the actual concert but I remember the day leading up to it…

“Dad and I have a surprise for you tonight! Brett, you and I are going to meet dad at work for it,” my mom told me in the morning.

“What?! What is it?!”

After begging my mom for way too long it was decided to give Brett and I some hints.

“1…you both love this thing!

2…it has to do with water and the beach.

3…we’ll get some food there too.”

The whole day Brett and I were making a lot of guesses. At one point we even decided that we had to bring our bathing suits with us in case it was a water park! Naturally, we never guessed our surprised and were SHOCKED when we arrived at Oakdale to our first concert.

We danced and sang the night away: California Girls, Kokomo, Surfin’ USA, Little Deuce Coup. The concert surprise was a huge success and a great summer night.

Now 25+ years later I’ve just gone to my 4th (maybe 5th) Beach Boys concert, again at an outdoor amphitheater. While the group has changed members over the years and they are slowing down and sound a bit different… it’s still a Fun, Fun, Fun time! A great way to end summer!

Sit, Observe, Sketch, Write…

As I walked into Dawn’s house for the Community of Teachers Learning (COTL) meeting I was immediately drawn to all her tomatoes. I’ve read so many slices about her garden that I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. Tomatoes were everywhere… huge ones on her kitchen table, and the rest lined her window sills (many window sills…around her kitchen and living room). One sill held her favorite ones, “plum tomatoes,” Dawn proclaimed. “I’ve already made 5 batches with them and put them in the freezer for a November night,” she beamed. We discussed tomatoes for a little while longer before settling in to our meeting/writing.

When the invitation was to observe or sketch and write I was again drawn to the tomatoes on the window sill. Maybe I was drawn to it because of a cardinal , or another tomato discussion. But nonetheless I was drawn to this window where I observed, sketched and then WROTE (which is huge for me… a first of these COTL meetings) about this beautiful and delicious bounty of tomatoes.

Sunset on the Water

For the past 2 summers a bucket list item of mine has been to go to Port Jefferson (via the ferry) for dinner and time it right to be on the ferry back to Connecticut to see sunset. Really I could care less about dinner in Port Jeff, I just wanted to be on the water for sunset. But for the past 2 summers this just hasn’t happened for one reason or the other, some in my control, some not.

Until last week when my mom suggested asking my uncle to bring us out on his boat for a little sunset cruise. When we asked my uncle’s response was “sure, as long as the weather and water are good and calm. We can go tomorrow!”

I spent all day Wednesday with my fingers crossed. Would the threatening thunderstorms stay away? Would the water stay calm like it was the day before?

At 5pm it was decided we’d eat and go to the dock if everything stayed the way it was.

Around 6pm I started to become more and more confident we’d be on the water for sunset.

At 7pm I knew it was going to happen. My mom, 2 cousins, uncle and I each packed a drink in the cooler and drove the 5 miles to the marina. We climbed on the boat. Untied from the dock and away we went for the 7:57pm sunset.

Soon we rounded the corner of the marina and saw a gorgeous sky ahead. We sat on the boat, listened to music and enjoyed the peace of being on the water for sunset.

Bucket list item complete! Thanks Uncle Doug!