Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Our school's Read-a-Thon starts next week! I got fluffy last year when it got overly competitive among some parents and some kids stopped reading. Um...not on my watch. Since I have a rule about only complaining if I am prepared to be a part of the solution, I am now the Read-a-Thon chair.

Holy Cow. Read-a-Thon is no joke, and I now remember why I am not an event planner! I'm having fun with it, though, and I'm excited to bring some focus back to the joy of reading. I've been printing labels and drafting documents and begging people for prizes and I finally decided how to make the minutes read boards. There is a light at the end of the tunnel...and a lot more copying to do...and 650 red folders in my coat closet. Here we go!

Monday, August 31, 2015

We Survived Celebrations!

We had a great first week of school! Aside from some bus hiccups, it was flawless. This is especially miraculous considering I took Daddy to the airport right after drop off on Monday and didn't pick him up again until Sunday morning! This all required celebrating.

Right after school on Friday, some friends invited us down for a pool party. The kids had a blast with a little taste of summer and lots of splashing.

When we got home, Issa and I turned to pie baking. I had ordered 10 pounds of bruised peaches through The Produce Box. It helps farmers buy giving them the opportunity to sell their less than perfect fruit, and we love peach pie. However, 10 pounds is a lot: especially considering Grandma Bower's recipe calls for two and a half pounds per pie. It might have been helpful to look at the recipe card before I ordered. However, Issa and I were undaunted. She did all the crusts (measuring, mixing, rolling, and shaping), and I did all the fillings. We started about 7:10, and I pulled the last one out at 10:45! Here are two of the four beauties:
 Saturday, we started our morning at the farm. It was so good to be back after what felt like a month of thunderstorms. We showered before I dropped Evan at a friend's house and Issa and I headed to the Miss North Carolina wardrobe reveal. Miss North Carolina is one of my students, and she is one of the kindest, humble, most centered people I have ever known. She is also an incredibly talented tapper, so Issa was very excited to see that! She was also very excited to have her picture taken with Kate:
 Part of Kate's platform is pediatric eye health, which is a big love in our family. Her theme is "See the Dream," and we are all proudly sporting our bracelets:
We will also be watching her compete for Miss America in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, we enjoyed having Daddy home. We went out to lunch and did a little shopping. It was lovely!

And now we start a new week...and start making big plans for the long weekend!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Well Begun

I had my big opening event last night. It's the first time I see all of my students in one room every year, and I'm always amazed how much some of them have matured over the summer. My freshmen are wide-eyed, and my seniors are teary eyed. 

Last night, one of the best teachers I know came and did a pop up chorus with them. She rewrote "Dear Future Husband" to "Dear Future Teacher" to talk about the levels of professionalism required in our profession. The girls laughed and also had a lovely reality check. It's no small business they are entering, and I push them to do so with eyes wide open.

We ate tacos and chatted afterwards. I laughed and lectured and pushed and laughed some more. These are the moments I love in my job. I always called my students my kids, and these bigger versions are still my kids. These seniors will be the first group I have seen all the way through since freshman year, and I won't lie--it tugs at the heart strings a bit. I just know these young woman are off to touch so many lives, and I'm so grateful to be a part of the journey.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I Love Local

I love shopping local. Everyone knows my addiction to local food and produce--I'm probably The Produce Boxes biggest ambassador. And we really try to shop local as much as possible. This week, I've been reminded twice how very important that is.

Tuesday, I stopped into Purple Crow Books. They generously donated a gift certificate for the school's Read-a-Thon prize, and I was able to find a new children's book that I've been waiting for! The kids will be so excited when I give it to them Friday as a first week of school is complete treat. As she filled out the certificate, though, she lamented that it was hard to stay in business. She's a tiny shop, and it's hard to compete with an online click. I'll be going more often.

This morning, my tire light came on. I checked the pressure, and it looked good but one of the little caps was missing. I drove up to our mechanic, who was very irritated I had checked the tires when I was dressed for work. He topped off all the air, gave me a new cap, and sent me on my way. He wouldn't accept a dime, and I felt much more confident driving in.

It's the little things that make me love local, and I'm so grateful to live in a town where local is a great option!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hints of Fall

This morning, we left the back door open while we ate breakfast. We let the 68 degree breeze sweep through the kitchen and left the music off so we could hear the leaves rustle in the wind. The trees are just starting to see little peeks of yellow amid the green. Issa broke out a pair of leggings. I'm planning pork roast for Sunday dinner. The first inklings of fall are here.

While most people see January or spring as the time for new beginnings, for me it's always fall. Maybe it's because of my line of work, but fall marks clean slates. We snuggle back into routines. The early darkness calls for blankets for stories. The aromas of hot teas and roasting everything fills the house. Soon, we will find the one day it's just chilly enough for a fire. It won't really be chilly enough, but Brad will humor me because he knows me. And he knows that this fall is both fuel and solace for me. It's the cozy that calls for a more intentional life. My very favorite time of year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

So Grateful

We had fabulous first days of school! The only glitch was a very late bus due to new routes, and that is a glitch I can handle.

The kids came home full of stories and excitement, and my mama heart was so happy that I had to have a really good cry last night...

Evan's teacher read the class The Kissing Hand and sent the kids home with Hershey's kisses. She told the kiddos as much as their families miss them during the day she misses them at night. Be still my heart. Evan said they read a lot and played a lot, and that is about the best day for my sweet boy.

Issa came home so excited that her teacher has the same favorite books as she does-- the Narnia series and Charlotte's Web. Her name had accidentally been left off the class word search, so her teacher was creating a whole search about her for today. The fact that she got to have that conversation with her teacher meant the world to her. And then, that dear sweet woman sent a letter home to the families asking them to write her a letter about our kiddos. She wanted to know their strengths and challenges, our dreams for them, and anything we wanted to know. I fought tears the entire time I wrote. Having a teacher that takes the time to read those--to want to know--that's a powerful thing.

Maybe it's because I am a teacher. Maybe it's because I teach teachers. Maybe it's just because I love my kids so fiercely. But kind, big-hearted teachers mean the world to me. Teachers who do those little things to build community and trust even before they worry about algorithms or syntax are gifts. If I am sending two pieces of my heart out into the world every morning, I need to know that there is someone waiting to protect their precious little hearts. God certainly answered that prayer again this year.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy First Day!

 Happy first day of school! I had two very excited children this morning:
 The backpacks have been packed and ready, and Buddy brought their favorite snack for good luck:
 They could hardly wait to go to school:
 Issa is ready to be a fourth grade lion:
 Evan can't wait to be a first grade penguin:
I can't wait for the stories tonight.

And for my teacher friends, please know that all the little things you do today and always matter. Last night, the kids were so excited to read the sealed book Evan's teacher had sent home for the night before the first day:

As they happily sprinkled glitter under pillows because the best little brother shared, I wiped away tears. Teachers, please know that we parents are sending our hearts into your rooms today--confident that you will love them almost as much as we do, praying for all of you and your year together. Thank you. Thank you for the million little ways you will show that love in between reading and math and science. Thank you for what I know will be another fabulous year.