Tuesday, July 26, 2011


photo   © 2008   Adam Pieniazek , Flickr
Brown towers littered with black graffiti surround me. Like Rapunzel, I am waiting for my prince to rescue me...what's taking him so long?

My eyes search around for that one person who can save me from this horrid tower. My eyes settle on two slate colored eyes peering from behind a blue mound. Could that be him?

"Mama, can I take my ribbit on the airplane? And my bink?", says a dwarf like being.

"Yes sweetheart, but right now we need to pack your toys for Grandpa to bring to WA.", I state in a weary voice.

My daydreams have been interrupted. I feel more like Cinderella...or maybe Boxerella is more appropriate. Broken down cardboard begs to be assembled and toys are vying for their sports in the minimal travel compartments.

Who would have thought that packing the necessities would be so difficult?  So many choices. Yes, the rest of our stuff will arrive in about 5 months, but that's a long time.

Time to get back to the hundreds of books anxious to find their place in a classroom full of eager readers...and a cardboard house that will deliver them to their destination. Back...hang in there, hands...get to work, mind....focus on the task at hand. The end is near.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I love animals of all shapes and sizes...always have. I love the furry ones, the scaly ones, and sometimes even the slimy ones. I even like certain bugs as long as they aren't nibbling on me and leaving me with HUGE welts or hives. You would think that I would enjoy places like the zoo and the aquarium...most of the time I do but the aquariums always seem to disappoint. I guess I'm just expecting too much. I want to see a tank full of ferocious sharks, creatures that are bigger then me, and maybe even creatures I've never heard of before.

The boys have been begging to go to the New England Aquarium in Boston. We left the house early for the lengthy drive and tried to follow the GPS through all the one way streets and crazy exits. We became dizzy circling around the parking garage in search of a spot to rest our weary car. When we arrived, iPod's were safely hidden away from peeping eyes, snacks were tucked away in purse compartments, and little bodies bounced like Tigger in anticipation.

When you walk towards the front glass doors of this aquarium, you are greeted by eager worker bees who want to offer pictures, iMax tickets, or booklets. After smiling and working our way through the maze, we were finally into the building. A cool breeze was a welcomed greeting after the sticky mess outside. Crowds of people were gathered along an edge towards the middle of the room. The boys and I inched through mass of people until we were able to find the perfect spot.

What we found were monstrous rocks that housed several different types of birds in tuxedos. T began to jump up and down as he recited facts he had read in his books. J tried his best to climb up to the railing...in hopes of cooling off in the pool with these fascinating creatures. I was expecting a wave of stench since my previous experience with penguins were always the same...but it wasn't bad at all. I stopped for a moment to take in the scene.

My eyes scanned from one edge of the pool to the other. I saw penguins with yellow patches of feathers and some with red flags coming our their ears. Some were gracefully gliding through the water like Olympians. While others launched themselves off of cliffs like daredevils in a competition to win the heart of the closest female. The care providers were scrubbing at rocks and sharing facts about the different breeds. I watched as a cyclone of penguins circled around these humans in search of something to nibble on. I just couldn't get enough of these flightless creatures. Then my eye was drawn to one in particular.

This little guy had me chuckling until my sides began to hurt. My brain knew that he was grooming himself but I couldn't help but think that he had a terrible itch. My dog is blowing her coat right now. HUGE chunks of white fluff are scattered around my floor like bunny tails. When Sasha gets an itchy hair, she'll tug - gnaw- and pull until it is gone. That was exactly what this little guy was doing. He would throw his head high into the sky, shake his body from beak to toe, and then start gnawing at his flipper. The feathers parted like the Red Sea as the sharp beak worked it's way to the root of the problem. This process was repeated a few times until the itch subsided. Then he threw his head back one last time, and gracefully flew through the sky as he descended into the watery depths below. 

The boys decided that they had enough of the penguins and began to circle towards the fish. I pulled my eyes away from my zebra suited friends and was thankful that we made the trip to see our local aquarium.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


What do you think about when I say apple? Do you think of the juicy, crisp, ruby red fruit tumbling from the tree? Or maybe Gwyneth Patrow's daughter's unique name? Or possibly the huge conglomerate that starts their most popular products with a lower case i?

Today I'm thinking about the company who makes the ever popular Mac and i products. iPods and iPads have been super popular in our home this past year. We've also had some interesting adventures that revolved around them...let me start.

Less then a year ago, I eagerly awaited my iPad. I couldn't wait to run my finger across the screen and tap my way into interesting sights while in the comfort of my chair. When it finally arrived, I quickly ran upstairs to plug it into our PC so I could get started. I tapped, flicked, and slid my way across the screen like an experienced figure skater on fresh ice. I bookmarked, loaded music and apps, pictures and email addresses. I could have spent hours playing with my new toy but my body had other plans. I gently placed the new extension of myself on the chair and hustled to use the little girls room. When I returned, I discovered my little man curled up with the silver computer nestled on his knees. My two-year-old was flicking his way through Angry Birds and tapping from one educational app to the next. I stood there mesmerized at the intuition my little guy had. I couldn't help but think about how exciting technology can be in little hands and the possibilities in the future of education.

Fast forward a few months later....I was coming home after another rejuvenating church service and ran upstairs to change. After getting comfy in my ever-so-soft sweats, I settled into my hair and picked up my iPad. What in the world is that? My computer was covered in smears and fingerprints. I gently wiped off the screen and looked again. Is that a scratch on my screen? I rubbed a little more stringently only to find the line still there. I gently ran my finger across the line in hopes that it just needed a little of my oils to move on. NO! There is a HUGE crack across my screen. What in the world happened? My husband ventured down the stairs to find my in complete confusion. What happened to my computer? He looked puzzled and called J down from upstairs.

"Do you know what happened to mommy's computer"

"Yeah, I stomped on it! Like this.", said that little voice as he crushed everything under his stump like limbs.

My face was in complete shock as I looked from him to my computer. "Why?"

"I don't know. I just stomped on it."

I took a deep breathe, realizing that I couldn't change the situation, and explained how that wasn't nice and should never happen again. I curled back up into the chair, tears beginning to rim my eyes as I began to read my mail around the new cracked screen.

Fast forward to yesterday....I have lived with my cracked screen. It isn't pretty but it's workable. I've called the Apple helpline only to find out that fixing the screen would cost $300+. I just can't do that...I could buy a new one for almost that price. My son's iPod Touch had a funky screen and we were asked to bring it to the closest Apple store to see what they could do to fix it. Maybe this would be my chance.

The boys and I loaded into the car and were ready to drive into Maine to get his iPod fixed. I threw my iPad in, just to see if the pricing on the screen had changed. T anxiously bounced in the backseat, eager to have his fingertips sliding across the screen. Our appointment was before the large stores opened in the mall so we worked our way to a side entrance and quickly found the store. The gentleman ran some tests on T's iPod and came back with a new one. Tyler's eyes grew the size of saucers as he looked at the smudge proof screen. He couldn't wait to get home to reload all his games and music. I gently slid my iPad across the table to see if he could perform a miracle on my tool as well. We talked about the joys of having rambunctious boys and how phone customer service can be frustrating. He disappeared into the back of the store and returned with a smirk on his face.

SkinsRit product on Etsy
 "We can replace your iPad as a one time service. Can you re-sync your iPad and return it in the next 7 days?"

Are you kidding me? Um, let me see...YES!!! I thanked the man profusely and quickly rushed home to prepare for a crackless screen. I feel like T yesterday, eager to get back to the store to get my toy fixed. Thank you Apple for being so willing to please your customers...I'm a very happy camper.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Swim lessons have been in full swing and my boys are having a blast. I was very worried when we arrived for our first lesson. My oldest son, T, has sensory issues and giving him a bath can be a challenge. Ears must be plugged, front hair line must not go under water, and no water must drip or dribble beyond the eye brows. Thankfully we were given an incredible instructor who shows a balance of patience, understanding, and challenge.

T attempting to get his ear in the water
The pools in NH are all outdoors and the water temperature tends to send goosebumps up your legs. Teeth chattered, heads were shaken back and forth, and hands quickly grabbed for the steps. Once the boys adjusted to the frigid water, they began to have fun. Kick boards, diving sticks, and noodles floated in and out of the pool while they worked on their skills. Sour faces were made and smiles shown depending on the challenges that were present. I sat in awe as I watched T scoop handfuls of water onto his face and hair. He jumped up and down and quickly rubbed at his eyes, but he was getting his face wet. SUCCESS! The corners of my lips began to move and my eyes got moist as I watched my son tackle another hurdle.

J blowing bubbles in the water
There is still plenty of progress to be made. T is gradually leaning back and putting his ears into the water. Nose and mouth bubbles have been blown, and his face continues to get splashed. I sit on the sidelines, trusting that his instructor will push him in the right direction and at a comfortable pace. The sun warms my back and my legs get some color as I watch and distract my little one from joining T in the water. What a perfect summer!

T waiting to jump into the water
As I watch T's instructor and marvel at the perfect balance she gives while I sit on the sideline, I can't help but think about the dynamics in a teacher/family relationship. As parents, we are asked to trust in our child's teacher...that they will find the perfect balance of patience, caring, and challenge for them. As a teacher, were are put in the position to challenge, inspire, and nurture these little bodies (and sometimes big bodies) that fill our rooms. Yet another moment that I stop and think about the importance of my job and why I love it so much.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mother Nature's Masterpiece

I sat outside the other night and took in the beautiful sunset. The sky was a soft airbrushed blue with billowy white pillows mixed with white brush strokes. A pale orange and strikingly bold pink began to fill the sky. I watched as the clouds began to change from vivid white to a dusty orange mauve. The trees that were once green began to turn into shadows against the eye popping sky. This in itself was a sight to behold but eyes were not focused as much on this beautiful masterpiece of colors. My eyes were drawn to the imperfections that occurred. The billowy clouds filled the sky but there was a flaw right in the middle. It looked like an artist had tried to erase the colors in the midst of his piece. The perfectly made clouds began to fuzz in the middle and the color began to blur into a shaded jumble. I sat in awe on my deck as I took in this gift. Yet another one of Mother Nature's Masterpieces.