Why I Don’t Assign Reading Logs

I’m going to ruffle some English teacher feathers with this, but I don’t assign reading logs to my junior high students. Nor do I require my Kindergartener to do the ones that are sent home with him.

In fact, I think that reading logs are one of the biggest ways to kill the love of reading in anyone, but especially in kids who are just getting their feet wet as readers and are so impressionable.

This isn’t just my isolated opinion though; it’s been researched and shown that reading logs turn kids off to reading rather than make them stronger, more literate students. Reading logs are not the habits of life-long readers, rather the practices of people who “have to get this done”. Reading logs create another chore, another thing on the agenda for kids.

readingquote

A main focus of books like  Book Love by Penny Kittle and The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller is that we should be creating life-long readers by teaching them the habits of life-long readers.  I consider myself a life-long reader since I have been reading for pleasure longer than I can remember.

Some traits I know about life-long readers:

  • they have a To Read list (or pile)
  • they know where to get more books
  • they talk about what they read
  • they find time to read because they look forward to it.
  • and they do NOT log how many pages they read each day or summarize what they’ve read each time or create a diorama of a book when they are done. THEY JUST READ.

I know a lot of adult who are book lovers and genuine readers and none of them, to my knowledge, keep a reading log. Some may keep lists of what they’ve read (find me on GoodReads! That is where I keep my lists!), and some are writers and tend to keep a journal of their thoughts, which may include what they read. But none…NONE…have a spreadsheet-style paper they pull out of a folder and record the exact number of minutes, the pages, and a summary each time they read. That would take out all the joy, right?

So why do we think having kids do that will equate to them wanting to read?

readingworkshop

My boys currently LOVE books. We read almost every day. Eddie has reading homework 4 days a week, yes, but he also volunteers to read the bedtime book occasionally. Other nights Cortney or I read the story while the boys snuggle together in the bottom bunk. Since Charlie moved from the nursery to the “Big Boy Room”, he has been introduced to all the non-board books in the house and he can’t get enough! It’s fabulous!

Eddie’s teacher also sends home a monthly reading log in calendar form. It’s not required that he do it, but if he “reads for 20 minutes every day” and colors in each day AND has a parent sign it, he can get a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.

I sign that thing every month.  Eddie doesn’t even like Pizza Hut pizza, but he does like checking off each day. Do we read for 20 minutes when we read? Sometimes. Sometimes it’s much more when the boys get on a “book binge”. Some days it’s not at all if we have been going all day and then have plans in the evening that get us home too late to read before bed.

But we still cross off every day. I don’t even think Eddie is aware that there is a 20-minute time minimum.

I figure the point of the Pizza Hut reading program is to get kids reading and loving it. Eddie already is and does! So why make it a timed chore?

2015-01-19 16.44.08

My students are all well-accustomed to having to fill out reading logs. When I announced that we would be doing Reader’s Workshop at the beginning of the year, there were many groans and mummers of “reading logs”.  When I announced I don’t “do” reading logs there were cheers. One class even gave me a standing ovation.

Now that we are halfway through the year, I have asked my students if they miss reading logs, if reading logs were easier than the short assignments and in-front-of-class book talks they have to give now. There were a few that said yes. Those students admitted they could easily lie on reading logs and get their points and never have to actually read.  In my class, they have to read.

Most students, however, said they don’t miss them at all. They don’t mind the assignments because they are around the book they are reading and not something I am making them read. They also get time in class to read a book of their choice, so journal entries, character maps, and 1-page responses don’t really feel like so hard.

They also enjoy talking about their books either to each other or to me. While there are still many who get nervous to get in front of class, the formal Book Talks are the #1 way kids decide what they want to read next.

And guess what…they are reading. Without logging every page on a spreadsheet.

readingclipboard

This is the only spreadsheet they see. It’s passed around the room on a clipboard so I can see what kids are reading. They are not graded on how much they read, but it gives me a starting point for our conferences.

 

What my students are doing is much closer to what I do when I settle in with my book each night on the couch, cup of tea steaming next to me. And after I read, I tend to check social media and there are always a couple threads of friends asking “whatcha reading?” with long conversations about good books and crappy books.

As I add my thoughts to these threads, I smile because I am doing exactly what my students are asked to do: read and talk about books.

The Home Stretch

8monthspreg

I just fell over laughing at this comparison.

First, I apparently gave up with Eddie and Charlie by this point. Was I living in jammies or what? I mean, I look homeless in the Eddie shot.

Secondly each tummy is progressively bigger…like it’s giving up a little with each pregnancy. It’s all “look how cute and small I still am” with Eddie and now with Alice it’s all “ugg. dude. get it OVER with already.”

It’s also funny to me that I have a helper in the Charlie photo because look:

2015-01-21 17.48.33

Yup, Charlie was all sorts of excited to help me out with the Alice picture!

So I’m officially in the 8th month of my last pregnancy. Suddenly all the “Alice Will Be Here Soon” things are starting to happen: My sub for the rest of the school year has been hired. My 12 weeks off has been approved and put in the system. I have done a load of baby laundry. We have a lot of the infant stuff located. We even have some diapers and a stockpile of formula.

We need to put the car seat bases into our vehicles which may be a bit of a puzzling challenge with the other two 5-point harness seats in there already, but we will make it work.

We need to dust off the swing and the bounce seat.

I have a colleague who is generously giving us their rock n play for Alice to use, and we probably should get some more baby pants and socks and hats.

We need to find the bottles and wash them.

We should probably get serious about organizing what the heck we are doing with school pick up and such while I am still healing from surgery. I thought about making some freezer meals, but we all know I don’t have time for that. I will just accept whatever comes our way and ask Cortney to pick me up a taco the other times.

I am starting to feel the need to reduce everything extraneous from our schedule and prepare to hunker down in the baby daze. I am excited to have that small bundle in my arms rather than kicking my butt…from the inside.  I want all the things in my house clean, but I also want all the naps to be mine.

And there is that wee small part of me that realizes that this is the beginning of the end.

No more pregnancies after this. 98% of me says THANK GOODNESS! That tiny 2% of me is like “aw”.

We are in that home stretch of reaching brand new territory.  Only one more monthly photo to go before show time!

Friends with Netflix

StreamTeamBadge (1)

There has been a lot going on in the house of Sluiter lately. It seems like every day is packed and hurried with getting up, getting dressed, getting out of the house, work, school, pick up, dinner, baths, jammies, homework, stories, bedtime. REPEAT.

We have had little time to squeeze any extras in our days even though extras (like colds and coughs and fevers) keep popping up.

When we do get a moment with nothing going on, it’s nice to have a favorite mindless activity to fall back on. I’m not ashamed (nor do I think I am alone) to admit that we love TV in our house.  Most of the time the boys take over the TV via Netflix. We have watched so much Curious George (thanks to Charlie’s current obsession) that Eddie is now reciting lines with the show…from another room.

If Eddie gets a chance to choose the shows, he usually goes with Batman or Woody Woodpecker (confession: I hate that show) or Scooby Doo. But recently he’s watched {the old} Annie too. Although he told me the other day that anytime anyone says anything about Annie, someone else will break out singing “Tomorrow”, and that gives him a headache since there are better songs in the movie. Ha!

I rarely get time alone with Netflix, but when I do, I cram as many episodes of Friends in as I can.

Friends

When I heard Friends was coming to Netflix I almost died of excitement. It’s probably one of my most favorite shows of all time. Cortney does not love it, and it’s not appropriate for the boys to watch, so if I want to watch it, it has to be when I am alone. This happens almost never.  But I am persevering! I started with Season 1, the way a good fan would and I am on episode 8 out of 24, so yeah. Not very far. But in a few weeks Alice and I have plans to watch the rest of the series together. I thought I would be nice and wait for her, so she can watch too.

Are you a Friends addict like I am? What shows will you watch over and over again?

**************

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and was given a year of Netflix and a device to view it on. All opinions and experiences are those of my family and me.

9 Things I Wonder About Other Writers

While I was reading blogs–yes, I still do that–I came across this post by my friend Alison, which was inspired by Kristen. I really liked it.

I have been thinking a lot about that label “writer” lately. Are “blogger” and “writer” synonymous? I suppose so. I tell my students that if you write, you are a writer. However I think there is a difference between “writer” and “capital ‘W’ Writer”.

I definitely consider myself a writer (well, a Teacher-writer, if you want to be specific), but a Writer? I’m not sure.  I don’t think being published means you are automatically a Writer. I think there is more to it than that, but I haven’t figured out what. In the meantime, here are my answers to some interesting questions.

plathquote

 

1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet?

Yes, always. Cortney reads my blog regularly and I send him almost every draft of something I am going to submit for publication elsewhere. He is my biggest cheerleader in anything I do and really pushes me to go to the next level in teaching, learning, and writing. I smiled when I read that Stephen King also has his wife read everything he writes.

2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it? 

Most of my readers are people I know “in real life”. My mom is probably second after Cortney in being my support. She doesn’t always agree with what I have written, but she proudly shares it with everyone and encourages me to keep writing.

My friends and other family members read it from time to time–when they see me post on Facebook and the topic interests them. Many members of my church have become readers, as well as some of my colleagues. Our church library even has one of the books I was published in on its shelves.

I’ve always been deeply honored when people I know tell me they read my writing and enjoy it. It’s also very humbling when former students, people I went to high school with, or past co-workers either approach me “in real life” or reach out via email or Facebook to tell me they enjoy what I write.  That keeps me going.

3. What do you do with the pieces that continually get rejected–post on your blog? Trash? When do you know it’s time to let it go?

The pieces that I have had rejected are either posted to my blog or kept for something else. I never know what I could revise and use again.

Rejection has taught me about who I am as a writer though, and what sorts of publications are more important to me than others. I find that I don’t fit many of the places that other bloggers find success submitting to. I don’t fit the mold that many places like the Huffington Post, Mamalode, etc are looking for.

While I do write about motherhood, most of those essays get rejected, and I’ve become Ok with that. I don’t naturally write beautiful, flowy pieces about being a mom. When I do, it’s usually something that just happens by chance.

The writing I get most recognition for are my opinion pieces and my posts on education. In fact, I’ve been published twice now in academic journals, and that is probably what I am most proud of.

4. Are there pieces you write for one very specific place that, once rejected, you just let go of, or do you rework into something else?

I don’t think I have ever just “let go” of a piece. If it didn’t start as something here on my blog, I will publish it here in some embodiment of it’s original whether I have to make it more “blog friendly” if it was academic, or revise it down to fit the attention span of blog readers.

5. What is your main source of reading-based inspiration (especially you essayists)? Blogs? Magazines? Journals? Anthologies? Book of essays by one writer?

I read a ton. I take very seriously Stephen King’s idea that if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.  I like to read books on the craft of writing, but I also just like to spend time with good writing–a good book that I can fall into for awhile. I get inspired by good writing.

I also try to read books on teaching pedagogy so I can stay abreast of best practice teaching. This leads me to try new things in my classroom and to write about it here (like I did with Reader’s Workshop and not assigning homework). I also read academic journals which both inspire me as a teacher and writer, but also give me ideas of what I can write about.

I like to read blogs as well. Lately I have been reading lots of political blogs and opinion blogs (but not the comment sections!)

6. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read?

I think it’s equal parts experience and reading especially my teaching/writing posts and essays.  It’s hard to write about something you don’t experience, but reading really motivates me to write.

7. Who have you read in the past year or two that you feel is completely brilliant but so under-appreciated?

I think young adult literature is often under-appreciated. I know I never thought of it as “literature” until I started reading a TON of it over the past year in preparation for implementing a Reader’s Workshop in my classroom.  When I was the age my students are now, what I had available to me with teen protagonists was hardly good writing. Now I find myself spellbound by authors like Rainbow Rowell, Andrew Smith, and John Green.  I don’t think you have to have teenagers or teach them to fall in love with these books.

8. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”?

I think it depends on the kind of writing you love to do. I appreciate Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, but I also read a lot of “shop lit” (books about teaching writing) by Kelly Gallagher, Kylene Beers, Katie Wood Ray, Penny Kittle, and many others.

I also think sometimes reading authors that inspire your writing is sort of like reading a “craft book”. For instance I am largely influenced by Hemingway’s writing style of using very few words to convey very large ideas, but other than his posthumously published A Moveable Feast –which is more memoir than writing direction–there is not much writing advice he gives. I think many Writers don’t claim to know what will work for everyone; they only know what will work for themselves.

While I enjoy a good “craft” book, I don’t lean on them for a direct “Here is How to be a Capital “W” Writer” so much as I glean suggestions and ideas from them.

9. Have you ever regretted having something published? Was it because of the content or the actual writing style/syntax? 

Nope. No regrets. There have been a piece or two that I didn’t think was my best writing, but I don’t regret that it’s out there.  There are also pieces that I put out there that people read into in a way I didn’t expect, but again, I am not regretful or upset that I pushed “publish” or “send” on those pieces because they started conversations.

I’d love it if you answered a few of these. I’d also love it if you shared what YOU wonder about other writers too.

Blissfully Ignorant

“I think I’m afraid of her already,” I told my therapist.

“What do you mean by ‘afraid’?”

“I don’t even know, I’m not sure ‘afraid’ is the right word at all. But I feel something foreboding. Something that is like fear.”

I’d been trying to find a word to name the feeling that keeps coming up whenever people ask me if I am just so excited to have a daughter. I mean, I don’t want to say “no” because that’s not true.  But “excited” seems not right either. Or maybe it is.

I do get excited as I sort onsies by size and decide which of the boys’ jammies (the ones that don’t say “mommy’s little man”) Alice will be able to wear. Each pair of shoes or dress that someone gifts her makes me smile in a way I never did over all those little man clothes I so love.  It’s almost a smooshy, ridiculous smile. The kind you get when you’re twelve and you fall hard for that one boy in class you will never talk to…a dreamy smile.

Imagining headbands and white mary janes makes me turn all goofy in a way I never have before. So I guess I can’t say I’m NOT excited, because those seem like pretty clear indications of excitement on my part.

But there is something else pulling at me.

Something unsure.

“You know what I think it is,” I tell my therapist, “it’s that I remember too much.” I was pretty pleased with myself for this breakthrough, but it was clear she didn’t get what I was talking about, but it was becoming clearer in my mind.

I remember way too much of my childhood…of what was rough as a girl growing up. I remember how tough middle school was. I remember the choices in front of me in high school and college. I know what adolescent icky feels like for a girl. I remember all the uncomfortable firsts that felt not just “uncomfortable” but horrible.

With the boys, I don’t have these memories. I was never a little boy, or an adolescent boy, or a teenage boy, or a college boy.  I knew many of these boys. I married one, but I was blissfully ignorant to their first-person experiences. I didn’t have to go through it, so as a mom, I could be the facts and support when my boys went through it, but I would never be “re-living” it.

I have never had a desire to have a daughter until I knew there was one in my tummy. The thought of re-living my girlhood is the last thing I ever want to do. In fact, I hate that I can remember so much of those painfully lonely and embarrassed moments so vividly.

It had nothing to do with my upbringing either. My parents were wonderful and loving. No, it had everything to do with just “girl stuff”.

Girl stuff that I has, up until very recently, been shoved to the back regions of my memory never to be brought out unless a Boys II Men song comes on and inadvertently triggers it.

Now I will go through all those stages again via my daughter, and just like the first time, I won’t be able to “fix” any of the loneliness that goes with it. I won’t be able to prevent the embarrassment over non-embarrassing things. I won’t be able to stop that boy (or girl) who Alice likes so much from saying that mean thing that she never forgets.

So I guess I’m not afraid of Alice. I’m afraid for her.

I am sitting here, feeling her turn and kick and hiccup, and I can’t do a damn thing about what is coming down the road that “happens to us all” and I hate that.

The best I can do is love her.

I hope that is enough.

I hope that love with be what leads me to the right words when she feels ugly or ashamed or lonely. I hope that love closes my mouth when necessary and opens my ears and arms.

I hope the good outweighs the scary.

Out With The Old

Well, well, well 2014. So you’re finally over, eh?

Can’t say I am too sad about that.

Don’t get me wrong; you had your high points. Actually, you started out super great!

You sent us a LOT of snow...which I hate, BUT it made for lots of fun snow days...which I love. And my district didn't have to make any up!

You sent us a LOT of snow…which I hate, BUT it made for lots of fun snow days…which I love. And my district didn’t have to make any up!

You brought the baptism of my little nephew, Ezra.

You brought the baptism of my little nephew, Ezra.

you encouraged me with some of the most lovely friends I could ever ask for.

you encouraged me with some of the most lovely friends I could ever ask for.

Charlie had his first haircut.

Charlie had his first haircut.

Charlie turned 2.

Charlie turned 2.

I turned 36 with this crazy crew.

I turned 36 with this crazy crew.

We took Eddie to Chicago for Spring Break.

We took Eddie to Chicago for Spring Break.

I went along on the Spanish Trip to Chicago and got to hang with these weirdos.

I went along on the Spanish Trip to Chicago and got to hang with these weirdos.

The world came out to help me build my classroom library.

The world came out to help me build my classroom library.

I said goodbye to my best year (and students) in my teaching career.

I said goodbye to my best year (and students) in my teaching career.

I was published and did a book reading with my biggest fans in the audience.

I was published and did a book reading with my biggest fans in the audience.

Eddie turned 5!

Eddie turned 5!

Cortney took a day off so we could take a family trip to the zoo.

Cortney took a day off so we could take a family trip to the zoo.

we grew a garden again.

we grew a garden again.

we took boat rides

we took boat rides

I got pregnant!

I got pregnant!

my nephew, Harrison, was born

my nephew, Harrison, was born

I went to BlogHer in California and was honored as a Voice of the Year.

I went to BlogHer in California and was honored as a Voice of the Year.

We visited Papa Steve.

We visited Papa Steve.

I ate these ribs.

I ate these ribs.

Eddie started Kindergarten.

Eddie started Kindergarten.

I started a new teaching position.

I started a new teaching position.

Eddie played soccer

Eddie played soccer

I was published again!

I was published again!

We found out we were having a GIRL!

We found out we were having a GIRL!

I presented about using Reader's Workshop at the MCTE conference.

I presented about using Reader’s Workshop at the MCTE conference.

I was published...AGAIN!

I was published…AGAIN!

Eddie learned to read and write.

Eddie learned to read and write.

This guy turned 36

This guy turned 36

My dad retired after 46 years with the same company.

My dad retired after 46 years with the same company.

We celebrated Christmas

We celebrated Christmas

Behind these pictures though, somewhere in June, a deep sadness set in. There were a lot of unknowns going on, disappointments, and changes that I didn’t want to accept.

It’s hard because as I started inserting the pictures from June on, I felt the sadness all over. Graduation was my last truly happy photo.  I can see the forced smile on my face. I have so many blessings, but this year has been tough. Pregnancy is hard on me both physically and mentally. Change is hard for me…even when it’s good.

I am truly happy with the changes in our lives, but it’s still a ball of emotions for me.

So yes, I am excited for a new year. 2015, I’m looking at you. Please be kind to the Sluiter Family.

*************

BTW: if you usually find your way here via the Sluiter Nation Facebook page, you might want to go over there to my sidebar where it says “enter your email” and go ahead and do that. Facebook isn’t going to let me share links on my page anymore starting in January. ::cue sad trombone”

Caught in the Whirlwind

2014-12-14 14.38.36

This guy had a birthday 20 days ago and I feel sort of like a jerkstore for not mentioning it here. December was crazy busy and I clearly haven’t been writing as much as I would like, but that is no excuse. This guy is probably the #1 most important person in my life and I didn’t even mention his turning 36.

Yup, 36. Now he’s my age…until the end of March when I am his Old Lady again (something he would actually never call me because he’s not a butthole).

This year–just like every year–he has been all my cliches: my rock, my safe harbor, my home.

Over and over again he put my needs (and the needs of our kids) before his own wants. He held me when I fell apart. He held my  hand when I was scared. He reminded me that we are a team.

He knows what will truly make me smile.

He knows before I do when I am about to lose it.

He knows pregnancy is very hard on me and does not consider all the extra help he puts in to be “extra”.  He considers it just what you do when you are part of a team.

He holds my hand.

He teared up when he found out he was getting a daughter.

He changes 99% of the poopy diapers without complaint.

He vacuums.

He irons (sometimes).

He asks each of us “what do you need? how can I help?”

He does the heavy-lifting.

He is the most handsome man in the world.

I know he doesn’t always feel appreciated because I am too busy being anxious or mental, but not a day goes by that I don’t say a prayer of thanks for Cortney.

When I asked Eddie what we should get Daddy for his birthday/Christmas he said, “I don’t know,” but when I asked him what types of things daddy likes he said quickly, “Beer, Pearl Jam, and Michigan Football.”

He does a lot for this family and I hope he knows we notice. And love him. In fact, in the eleven years that we have been together, not a day has gone by that he has not made me smile.

Plus he gives the best, most healing hugs ever.

I’m sorry your birthday is always part of the whirlwind of this time of year, babe. I know your day was a happy one though, because Eddie picked you out that Indiana Colts beer glass with specific instructions that ONLY BEER go in the glass.

Win.

*************

BTW: if you usually find your way here via the Sluiter Nation Facebook page, you might want to go over there to my sidebar where it says “enter your email” and go ahead and do that. Facebook isn’t going to let me share links on my page anymore starting in January. ::cue sad trombone”

Growing a Sluiter

Because my blog went wonky for a few months, I haven’t been putting many pictures up. BUT that is FIXED! So I can finally share some bump photos.

I had my 28ish week OB appointment yesterday along with my glucose test (which I passed!  Woot!), and I am measuring at 30 weeks.  That is exactly how I was with both boys. I was was always measuring 2 weeks ahead by this time.

Check out all three pregnancies…

20weeks

So here we are at 20 weeks.

 

I would say that my level of caring what I looked like took the biggest dip with my Charlie pregnancy. Either that or I was just gross that pregnancy.

and 24-25 weeks depending on when I remembered to take the picture.

and 24-25 weeks depending on when I remembered to take the picture.

I don’t look as bad in that picture with Charlie. But I hated my hair. Never make a decision to chop off all your hair when you are pregnant.

and this is where I am with Alice now...the 28th week.

and this is where I am with Alice now…the 28th week.

These pictures crack me up because I can’t stop looking at how young and dumb I was when I was pregnant with Eddie. I had no idea what was coming. I know that sounds cliche, but I just didn’t.  And with Charlie I was already tired thinking about what he could be like as a newborn (Eddie was a colicky mess).

This time, as my OB says, I am a veteran. I know both the difficult and the easy things that could lie ahead. Because everything is looking great and exactly how I carried and measured with the first two, my OB has even spaced out my visits for me so that I don’t have to come in so often just to be measured. That means I only have maybe 5 more OB visits and then the C-section on March 6.

For those keeping track, that means I only have 10 more weeks left. Ten weeks from today will be my last day of teaching for this school year.

And then Alice will be here.

Our family will be complete.

Merry Netflix Christmas

This year I have been a bit of a slacker in the way of decorating for the holidays. Part of it is out of practicality. Charlie is two-and-a-half and while Eddie could go ahead and NOT TOUCH all the things at that age, Charlie is more of a destroyer of all the things. So. Many things that would go on display are simply not because Charlie.

There is also the fact that I can’t find my wreath for the door and it snowed so early around here that we never got the lights on the house.

And then there is just the “I’m pregnant and don’t want to” factor.

I don’t think my boys have noticed much though. We have a tree and the nativity scene and their stockings. We have made some cookies and they have both brought home countless Christmas crafts from school.

The boys have also been totally into all the Christmas episodes/movies of their favorite shows/characters.

2014-12-18 18.04.17

Of course Charlie has watched the Curious George Christmas movie somewhere around a zillion times. To be totally honest, this has been in rotation since they found it on Netflix this summer.

2014-12-18 20.25.51

Eddie has watched The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas, The Power Rangers Christmas episode (dude, what?), all of the Mickey Mouse Christmas specials, and the Veggie Tales St. Nicholas episode. And because he is sick and stuck on the couch, he is surfing for MORE Christmas stuff as I type this.

It’s pretty great to have these at our finger tips instead of having to scour TV show times (which are almost always past the boys bedtimes anyway).

Netflix also had a little hand in my holiday giving this year. As a Stream Team member, I was given two gift cards for one free year of Netflix each to give away. My immediate thought was teachers.

2014-12-18 17.18.13

As many of you know, this is my first year teaching at the Junior High rather than the High School. The transition could have been very difficult, but I was blessed with two classes where I team teach. The two special education teachers I teach with are some of the most talented, patient (with the students AND with me and my newbie status), kind people. I really hit the jackpot.

Special Ed teachers work harder than any of the rest of us since most of them have different classes every hour–some teaming with other teachers (across multiple curricula), some of their own in their own classrooms. On top of that they have more paperwork than anyone else in education. From medicare forms and IEPs and 504’s, to documenting accommodations and making parent meetings happen.

So when I was able to gift two people a free year of Netflix? They were who I thought of first.

Netflix has been a way for our family to sit together and watch great family programming, and I was happy to share that with them.

Happy Holidays!!

Disclaimer: This post was not compensated in any way. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and receive Netflix free of charge as well as a device to stream it on. Thought and opinions are all my own.

 

twenty-eight weeks, eleven to go

Dear Alice,

If everything goes ok and you and I both stay nice and healthy, we have eleven more weeks of you on the inside. At this time (9:04am) in eleven weeks, you will probably be here. Your brothers may already have met you.

Baby girl clothes have been showing up from friends who have older girls. Really cute hand-me-downs, and even a few new things have arrived in the mail. As I hold them I have all these mixed feelings. I’ll be honest with you, Alice. I am scared to be a “Girl Mom”.  It might be silly, but I feel like I don’t know how. All these dresses and cutesy things…they are so foreign to me. Tiny mary jane-style shoes and flowery shirts are a far cry from little man khakis and cardigan sweaters. I’m used to converse and bow ties. I’m used to dressing up tiny little men. I’m used to boys.

You are a little scary to me.

Daddy keeps reminding me that you are not going to be born an 8-year old with an opinion. That you will be a small cuddly baby who will need me to feed you, and change you, and cuddle you. That I know how to do all of those things very, very well. He is right, and I am very VERY much looking forward to those first couple months when it’s just you and me and time to be together.

But as I rock Charlie before bed, I look around the nursery. I imagine your name on the wall instead of his, your clothes hanging in the closet instead of his sweaters, your shoes lined up instead of his, the trucks put downstairs to make way for whatever you love. And it’s weird.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, the only things I put away from the nursery were things that said “Eddie” on them. Now I am also gathering up “boy stuff” to put in the “boy room” downstairs. I want a clean slate for you. It’s very possible you will also be in love with trains and trucks, and that is great! We have lots! But maybe you will love baby dolls and My Little Ponies, and I want the room to be ready for that too.

So it’s strange.

I’ve had two babies before you, but it’s feels like I am starting over from scratch. I feel that sense of not knowing what to expect all over again. In fact, I have been so nervous about it, I have refused to let go of the boy clothes I have in storage that Charlie has grown out of simply because…well…what if you’re NOT a girl?

I mean, I SAW the ultrasound. I know there are no boy bits. I know that. But something in my head just can’t wrap itself around a GIRL.

I want you to be here. I want you to be real. I want a daughter.

But I am afraid.

I hope it’s Ok to admit that to you.

Eleven more weeks and you will be on the outside, but still in my arms.

I’m very excited, Alice. Despite the nerves.

I promise.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...