Friday, August 30, 2019

1.5 Minutes Before

This is my team: Brian - Amy - and me


They make teaching and being at school so much fun. And they are master teachers. The students in their classes are so lucky. Amy and Brian came along side me when I didn't know how to teacher 4th grade after 13 years home. They showed me the how and then gave the the grace to be myself - a picture book, reading teacher, uke playing, primary in my heart still teacher...

This was about a minute and a half before we walked out together to greet our class for the first time. I asked to take a selfie because I wanted to start the year together. I am grateful for all kinds of friends God has brought into my life over my years. Some unexpected. I love that we are all the same age, are all in 'about' the same stage of life, our kids are exactly the same age so we have so much in common. There is never a lack of something to talk about when we aren't planning together. Teacher friends are wonderful.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

We Did It!

This picture I took when we are all home together again in the late afternoon -- do we look tired? I'd say grateful and peaceful.

us 1

These photos after the morning I still filled with love - teaching my heart out from 8:30-3:20 - a few meetings after school - yup, my lipstick had certainly worn off!

us 2

It was an awesome first day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Record Keeper

Hi! That's me. I'm a record keeper. I've always had diaries and journals since I could write. That's why I keep this blog of mine. And although life has sifted a lot since I started this blog {almost ten years ago} and I no longer have babies home with me - in fact "home with me" has changed too. I'm a fourth grade teacher.

So as this family record keeper it is important to me that I record a little letter to my girls I like to call "The Night Before _________ Grade"


Tomorrow is our first day of school. I am tired {already} from setting it all up and all of those back to school meetings. But I'm bubbling over with excitement for all of the new - new students and a new year. And this year I already feel more balanced. Not stressed out - It's just another day, another new school year. And I love to teach. So bring it on!

But right now I need to write to my girls. So here goes:

Dear Anna,

Tomorrow you start 11th grade. I can't type that without feeling a wave of "how did that happen"? I suppose that mama has felt that ever since you started school and with each passing year. This is no exception. I don't want this year to come, to start tomorrow because I don't want my years with you at home to be almost over. So I'll push those feelings aside and just do now. So now, my sweet girl. Wow! Have you worked hard!  I can't imagine how you did so much -- Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you for all you've done in all of your years of school. Please take time to enjoy this school year. Enjoy the learning. Enjoy your amazing high school. You are smarter than mama and daddy are put together, and I have no doubt that you will accomplish wonderful things in your life. Thank you for being our daughter and for being the best big sister. We all adore you - no one more that Abigail. Have a wonderful first day. We love you.

anna 4

anna 3

anna 2

anna 1

Dear Abigail,

Tomorrow is 7th grade for you. Middle school is something that can be tricky for some kids. But not you. You are still YOU. Sweet you with lovely friends and not caught up in any drama. You love learning and love teachers. Nothing has changed since Kindergarten, and I love that about you. I know you are ready to go back to school in the morning. I had the very best summer with you; I loved spending every day with you all day long. We made some wonderful memories. Thank you for being mine. Have fun tomorrow - listen - and smile. I can't wait to hear all about it when we are all home together (my very favorite place to be).  I love you.

abigail 1

abigail 3

abigail 2

abigail 4

Monday, August 26, 2019

Last Friday

My classroom, room 124, 4th grade is done. It's ready. I made some big changes this year and I LOVE my home-away-from-home. I'll take some pictures soon!

I rushed to get it done on Thursday because I wanted today (friday) to be just me and my girls.

No phone. No emails. No laundry. No lists. Just them.

I didn't want today to end. It's the last weekend of our summer break before back-to-school. And today {friday} was perfect.

I asked the girls what they wanted to do with me today - it was just the 3 of us - our last just the 3 of us this summer.

I said it could be big like a train to Manhattan {NYC} or small. I knew what they'd pick.


So we got up. Had breakfast. Changed some sheets. Did some laundry. Made daddy a birthday cake. Got dinner in the crockpot. Went out to flatbread pizza (they make one Abigail can eat). Shopped here and there at the outside shops (I don't do the mall). Stopped at a creaky floor (our favorite) toy store. Looked around there for like an hour. Stopped at homegoods and got a few things for the fall porch swing to cozy it up. Came home and sat on the couch together and watched a Hallmark Christmas movie. Scott came home and we surprised him with his birthday dinner and birthday cake and birthday presents. (his birthday is the second day of school next week so we just don't do that). We cleaned up dinner together and the girls are already asleep.

They kept thanking me for today. I smiled because I loved every minute of my whole day with my girls.


It was perfect and I love being with them.


    Today I want to remember:
  1. How happy and excited they were to help me with daddy's birthday. When the first frosting recipe just didn't work - how we had to rush and rush to start from scratch and how Abigail was so serious and so helpful - how they both were - how we got the cake done just in time - how we stood there at the door and said "Happy Birthday Daddy" when he walked in.
  2. How relaxed and happy we were on our special day today - especially at the toy store. Just the feeling of being in there with them - I just want to remember that.
  3. Sitting outside on the porch at night - after dinner, after the cake - with the table still filled with empty dishes - the humidity had cleared and it was perfect weather. How good it felt to be out there this summer and that night. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Thing About College Tours


We visited another college this summer, just last week. And here's the thing:

It is so much fun to visit colleges. Meaning, it's such a fun day for our family. 

This one was about an hour away (perfect for my mama's heart) but we made a day of it. 

We drove up in the morning on a pretty day, went to the info session and the college tour. 

This college was amazing and as I walked around I kept trying to picture my girl there. What life would be like for our family then. And this one was okay. 

After walking around the pretty grounds and seeing some of the 'state of the art' buildings 

{and hearing that only 12% of those that apply get in} 

we just had a great day! We had lunch at an amazing Italian restaurant overlooking the town square. There was a farmers market going on. 

We meandered through really cool book stores and shops and then headed home. 


College is still {mostly} far off so the thing about college tours is that they still feel fake, just a lovely day with with family - usually eating a a nice restaurant and always finding a creaky floor (my favorite kind) bookstore with a lovely collection of childrens books.


So I think I'd like to stay in this 'shopping' phase forever - because it's way more fun than really choosing which one and actually leaving her there someday - I can't even think about that.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Gift of Time

I have been thinking on my walks, in my quiet time, as I fold laundry this week about how lovely the gift of time is.

Alaska was wonderful. No matter where we go with our family on vacation in the summer it's like a bubble - just the four of us - doesn't matter where we are, it's that it's just us together all day, all night that I love best.

And as much as Alaska was - I love ordinary days best. The stay at home days. The quick errand days. The long afternoon days. The sweet evening days. I love those best.

Easy for me to say now, August 22nd, after I haven't had to think about work since June 14th. There are many, many women that work year round outside of the house. I don't take for granted the summer.

Summer to me is a gift of time with my girls. Time enough to slow down and finish thoughts. To ponder God's Word and other great writings from my faith.

Summer is the gift of time teach them truths and things I believe.

Summer is the gift of time for my daughters to clear their heads from the busy of a school day and decide what they believe, to anchor in the truth of goodness and love and faith.

This summer I gave us the gift of time. Scott and I talked for months and months about this summer and how doing nothing outside of our trip to Alaska was what we needed. No big commitments this summer. Abigail played a bit of tennis a few mornings and Anna went a few times to a drawing workshop. And then basically we were just together.

I loved our routine.

My still early morning - walk, workout, quiet time in the Word

The girls coming down to a simple breakfast.

Their morning routine and getting a few things done - getting ready for the day, their own Bible time, practicing the viola, a few other little things.

I loved lunch together out on the porch - lingering with them.

I loved reading on the couch every single afternoon right after lunch for like the 16th year.

I loved our afternoons, making dinner, daddy coming home, and a whole evening in front of us.

Summer was such a gift of time for our family. I feel rested, restored, and peaceful.

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to read - I read all of the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read her children's books (each one), I read her autobiography (Pioneer Girl) (written before the children's series), I read all of her inspirational writing she did. And I hugged each book as I finished them. I love her so much.

Can a woman who was born in 1867 and who died in 1957 have anything worthwhile to say to us today? Oh yes! When writing about being too busy in an essay titled, "Why Is the World So Beautiful If Not For Us?"

"... You are 'so busy!' Oh, yes, I know it! We are all busy, but what are we living for anyway, and why is the world so beautiful if not for us? The habits we form last us through this life, and I firmly believe into the next. Let's not make such a habit of hurry and work that when we leave this world, we will feel impelled to hurry through the spaces of the universe using our wings for feather dusters to clean away the star dust. The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lives." ~Laura Ingalls Wilder (my hero) 


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Adoption Day

Well as I was blogging all of those Alaska days regular life was going on here - and regular life in mid August is pretty wonderful. It's a lot of relaxing, our little daily routines, and just getting my big toe dipped into the water of teaching again. I've been in the classroom here and there - now actually it's time to get really in there - my list for back to school is growing!

But this day was a tender, special day. August 16, 2004 was the day we adopted Anna and when that calendar day rolls around we just love it. More than a birthday, hard to describe, it's bitter sweet, and warm, and we love it.

Anna got her braces off that morning. She had invisalign so it wasn't that big of a deal (since no one even knew she had braces) But her teeth look amazing and I'm happy she doesn't have to deal with those liners anymore. I love that her orthodontist makes such a big deal out of it - there was music playing and he wore a head light - there were presents and balloons and fancy donuts!  Made me want to get some braces for myself.




Since were were in town we spent some time in the toy store just meandering around.


The afternoon was relaxing at home.


There were a few gifts that afternoon and flowers from daddy.





We went out to dinner and just loved recognizing this very special day for our family.


Wasn't this yesterday?  Oh please don't let another five years go by...

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Alaska ~ part ten (day at sea and Vancouver)

cruise day two 5

I'm going to combine the last two days because there aren't as many photos - and it's time to get back to regular days type of blogging!

So our last day on the ship was a cruise day. We simply relaxed, packed, and enjoyed the views as the ship headed back toward Vancouver.

cruise day two 1

It was perfect cozy type weather. Much too cold to swim on deck.

cruise day two 2

We loved hanging out on the lawn.

cruise day two 3

cruise day two 4

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What seemed like a plain day back then - when I think about it, it was still pretty spectacular. We saw more humpback whales out of our balcony. And (boo hoo) all I got was their splash. They are so not photogenic!

cruise day two 7

cruise day two 8

We passed by towns that looked like this - I love picturing life in a small town - out in Alaska - and it always warms my heart when I see a church in the middle of town.

cruise day two 9

We had dinner that night, went to bed, and woke up in Vancouver. After a lovely breakfast on the ship in the main dining room we disembarked. I was really really sad - not at all ready to head home as I usually am at the end of a vacation.

But Vancouver cheered me up. We had a whole day there since disembarkment was at 9:30 AM and our flight didn't leave until 10:30 PM.

We were blessed that the hotel we stayed at (before the cruise) would hold our bags for us so that we could explore and enjoy Vancouver. And we loved our day!

cruise day two 10

We discovered such yummy food for lunch!

cruise day two 11

Crepes for Anna and I

cruise day two 12

And a vegan, whole foods type grocery store that made a soup Abigail wasn't allergic to for Scott and Abigail.

cruise day two 13

cruise day two 14

cruise day two 15

I knew that I'd miss being able to wash my sunscreen face that night since our flight left at 10:30 and I hate having anything on my face when I sleep at night so the girls and I didn't wear sunscreen - hats instead for us - no make up for me! I was so prepared for this night flight that I packed cozy PJs for the girls and sweats for me to wear on the plane - we changed at the airport right before the flight.

cruise day two 16

We took a taxi to the beautiful Stanley Park that afternoon.

If you ever happen to go to Vancouver (and we highly recommend it) please don't miss Stanley Park!

cruise day two 17

cruise day two 18

cruise day two 19

And then (sigh) we ended back where we started all of those days before - we had dinner outside at our hotel and took in the views one last time.

cruise day two 20

No one wanted to leave.

cruise day two 21

But our ship had already re boarded with another group and was headed back to Alaska. It was another families turn for magic.

cruise day two 22

cruise day two 23

And we headed home. Flew all night into Boston and got home to our CT house just before lunch the next day.

Since then we've been soaking in chill time for the past 3 weeks - we are so grateful to have been able to see part of God's creation and to have spent all of those days together.

Sigh again - I feel sad it is over - the summer vacation of 16 and 12 is gone. Thank goodness for the memories that fill my heart.