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Showing posts from August, 2013

Busy, busy life....

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School is coming. That means that there is a thousand things I need to get done by next week!! I will get there but for today I will leave you with this...

Love Feast...

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As I get ready to teach, I remember that many of my students don't come from houses where love is readily shown or expected. I am lucky...I get this opportunity to give back, shown them what teaching is about...
This year, I am planning on spreading love!

Laying the Foundation...

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School starts for our students in one week. Teachers are frantically putting their classrooms together, lesson plans to prepare for the first week...they are preparing to Lay the Foundation for these students. Teachers recognize the importance of laying the foundation. The beginning of the year is crucial, setting up routines and structures within the classroom help students focus on the tasks at hand.

Middle school is such a crucial time. It is the time when students decide what type of student they want to be. It is the tipping point of where they want to go...

Math is a subject that is so challenging for most of them that it begins to make students question who they are as students, as people. It is crucial on so many levels developmentally...we want students to perceive themselves ad competent and careful.

Laying the Foundation is an important skill that students learn. Getting help, where necessary, can drastically improve the odds of their long term success. Learning how to ques…

Courageous Conversations...

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To honor the space that I am in tonight, I leave you with this quote that I adore...We need to be willing to talk to others...we are the change we seek!




Let your light shine...

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Tomorrow we have a unique opportunity to take part in a Courageous Conversations workshop. There are some in my building who have already gone through this important training, while most of the others have not. I am intrigued about this training, especially with the high number of students that are in our district that come from homes in poverty, are of another ethnic group, or a combination of both. I am hoping that people, including myself, will begin to see how they can work with all students in a better, more equitable way. I like to think that I do a decent job, but, as with anything, one can always improve!

These conversations, looking at opening our world to a better understanding, are crucial to moving forward. One can think of them as cracks that are letting in the light that is so crucially needed. This light washes over us in an attempt to show us the way.


There are so many that blindly walk in the dark, unsure of where they are being directed. Things may be said and blind …

New Beginnings...grab the dream

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Well, here it is, the night before we go back to school. Teachers are those who never quit going to school. Who knew, when I was young, that still, as an adult, I would still be going to school. The great part is that I am excited. I mean, tomorrow is just a work day, but I am excited to get in there, get my room ready...I am ready to begin the new year. I am ready to push the past back and face a new future...a new beginning.

It is time to take the dreams and make them a reality..do the work, make the plan. This is what education is all about, teaching about reaching for the future...reaching for the dream.

I am ready...it is time...let's build the dream!

Heroes...

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On Monday, I return to work as an eighth grade middle school math teacher. We are lucky this year, in the sense that we have a week and a half to prepare before the children to return. In spite of my amazing summer, I am ready to go back to work. We have many new teachers which may help break up some of the issues from last year, as well as a new principal who I am excited to be working with. I am still mourning my losses and feeling tender from the blows, but feel like I have hope for a new year...hope that things will be better.

The job we do, as educators, is important. Our job is not what some believe, come into the room, toss a worksheet or two at the students, then sit at our desk for the duration of the period. We are preparing students for the future, both theirs and ours.

When the beginning of the year begins, I am humbled by the gravity of the work that we do...we are helping to mold the future. In no other profession does one have such power. Each day, I look at my student…

Thank you...

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This is my 224th blog post since January 8. I could probably figure out the number of days that I have misses, but I am pretty confident that it was two. Blogging has become a sort of therapy...a way to clear the thoughts that, for years, have kept me from sleeping. It is a part of my commitment to learn to still my mind. It has been an amazing experience and continues to be...

The part I didn't expect? Readers. There are people who follow my blog, read it almost every day. this is both awe-inspiring and humbling. When I see that over 15,000 have visited my page, it is overwhelming.

So, tonight, is a thank you...Thank you for making my words part of your day...thank you for giving me your input...thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say.

For all you do, for all you are, for all that you continue to be to me...Thank you!!!

Believe in Yourself...Be You...

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This weekend is the last opportunity I have to get away. Normally, I have to tell you, I would be freaking out at the possibility of leaving the weekend before work starts. I would have already begun camping in my classroom, organizing like crazy. It would have been on but this weekend I am going away. I am expecting to spend some quality time at the kiddie pool with the cutest boy and my 94 year old grandmother. Those two, not only "get" each other, but also move at about the same speed!

As I am mentally preparing to throw our clothes together in the morning, I am already thinking a bit about this fall and what I am bringing to my educational table. Last year, I really worked at stilling the mind. It was an appropriate time to have that goal, although a difficult one, but this year it is time for something different (although I will continue to work on stilling the mind)...this year I am going to really work on just being myself.

Last year, there were too many times that I …

Diamonds in the rough...

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I get a quote every day from Value.com. Sometimes these quotes are dull and lacking inspiration while other times they really hit me where I am. Today's quote was, "A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress really well ~Unknown."

This last year was very stressful...I know I have talked about it ad nauseum, but it was a monumental time of my life. All summer I basically walked away and refreshed my brain, a first for me, and left all school work behind, which I am now regretting a bit. Today was the first day that I really felt hope. I am getting excited about the year to come. Sure there is much work to do, wounds to be healed (or at least band-aids to be put on), connections to make, but hope is something I haven't felt i awhile. I was actually feeling a bit high off the thought of it all.

I am getting excited to go to my classroom and set it up. Excited to prepare for the work that needs to be done, excited to meet the new people in my building. I b…

Truth is...

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Have you ever read someone's Facebook status that is about 12 or 13 years old? They do a lot of "Truth is..." statements. Tonight I was thinking about this (I guess because I got a message from Facebook regarding a former student whose status is," Truth is I'm bored.") and wondering what our status's would look like as adults. For instance, tonight I might write, "Truth is I'm exhausted and overwhelmed." I have been spending a lot of time working on our school planner. It is work I like to do...there is a product at the end and a product that most of our students use. This year we are self-producing the entire planner, which is both awesome and totally time consuming. The planner really needed to be at the Print Shop yesterday, but, as you have read, I am still getting it done. Hoping to send it by Thursday and hope and pray for a fast turn-around! So, Truth is I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

This is the first year in ,I don't remember…

Assemble the Minions...

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Today I went into school to do some work on the planner. This year we are trying to produce it in house to save some money and have more control over what is in it. Technically we don't return to work for another week, yet I found myself in good company. Multiple teachers were in the building, getting classrooms ready, working on lesson plans and so on. It makes one think...are we the minions?

I'd like to think that there are multiple levels on minion-esqe life...to one extent, we, as teachers, are absolutely the minions, but then we also gather our own student minions. Truly the movie, Despicable Me, has made being a Minion, less of a negative and, at least cute and possibly even funny!

I have already been getting messages from past students, texts and snap chats coming in. It is getting to be that time. I will work at assembling my own army of minions, but, I guess, I am comfortable being a type of minion too! So..."keep calm and gather your minions" will be the ad…

From a teacher's eyes...

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The beginning of the school year is getting close. As a matter of fact in just eighteen days our first group, sixth graders, arrive and begin their year. So many things are in the wind and perhaps the largest is the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Common Core is currently under fire from many communities, especially those within the education community.

For those outside of education, let me give you a brief overview..."The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy." So overall this sounds good...I mean after all, we want our students t…

Speaking out...

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I have always been known as someone who speaks my mind.  It is a trait that I got from my mother. Sometimes in my life I have cherished this trait, while other times I have rued it! It is true that as a younger woman, I was not sure how to temper this and I would often be speaking before my mind even had an opportunity to think what I was saying. Then I would spend time apologizing. This occasionally still happens and I find myself stumbling across my words, as I have suddenly realized what is coming out of my mouth. Since I have gotten older, I (usually) have better control and am able to think before speaking.

Speaking out comes with another danger...that you are not really heard. There are times I find myself, when others are talking, not really fully engaging with what they say, but rather hearing that they are speaking and nodding my head or saying "uh-huh" as they drone on. Often these people are those who notoriously say a lot and really say nothing at all. As a resul…

A clean house...

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My house is a mess. I think that the craziness of last year is totally reflected in the state of my house. I will admit that I will never be known as a clean freak or even as one whose house it a beacon of house cleaning, but it is really over the top right now. I think that there are parts of our lives that reflect our inner turmoil.  For me, it is my house, especially my "closet." Ok, to be fair my closet is really a bedroom that is a huge disaster. In my mind, it is clean and organized...it's a place I love to go. In my dreams, this is a place that I have some space for me...maybe some crafting things, my home business supplies and so on, but right now it is just piles of stuff in no order whatsoever.

This has been a great summer filled with relaxation and family time. I have tried to let go of the worries and struggles of last year, move to a better emotional and mental space....now it's time to take care of business. Letting go can be difficult...worry and secon…

Being a mom...

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School starts in twenty days...not that I am counting. In twenty days my "mom load" goes from the children that reside in my house and the ones that reside in the house of my heart to a group of up to two hundred hormonal teenagers at school. In a short period of time, I will become a mother to many...

Teaching is much more than a job...it is a calling. I have spent over twenty years honing my craft. Each day waking up, knowing that my job is to be one that opens the world of education...making the world and the knowledge contained within it more reachable.

I was one of these students, coming from a place of poverty, with a mother who was crazy. Life, a living cartoon through those middle years. School was a place of solace, a place of sanity. Teachers my light to my future. I know that some of my students are feeling the same way. Their summer filled with chaos, looking for some sanity, school becomes the steady place, the place of predictability. I guess in some ways it b…

Register here please...

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Today was registration day at my school...I went in for a few hours to help our school secretaries by manning a table at the front of the cafeteria. It was great to see former students, returning students, and new students. I filled our a registration form for a mother who only speaks Vietnamese, walked through the process with a father who only speaks Somali, and handed our forms to parents that only speak Spanish. Ours is a multicultural school, one with many languages, many cultures representing many nations.

Registration is such a strange practice...all students come and "speak their name" into the space.
While sitting today, it made me think of the MTM-CNM children...how do they speak their name into their space?

Having Myotubular Myopathy or Centronuclear Myopathy might mean that you don't speak, or you speak quietly using your literal voice and yet each of these children (adults) often speak volumes with their actions or quiet words. Speaking your name into a sp…

iPads, Hoyers and Vents, Oh My!

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When you have a medically fragile child, new vocabulary becomes commonplace in your vernacular. Twelve years ago I didn't know there was such thing as a NICU, PICU, different ventilators, suction machines, and so on. I didn't know what a Vest system, a stander, a cough assist or a Hoyer was. These were all foreign words and products to me. Why would I need to know these things? They didn't relate to my life. Little did I know...

Here I am twelve years later, my son spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after birth to get him stable enough to go home. (I'm sure they thought they were sending him home to die, but they did get him stable enough to make the trip home.) Throughout the years he has spent much time in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where they have brought him back from the brink of death, cared for him in times of severe sickness, held my hand during trying times, let me sleep on the chair in his room, talked and did crossword puzzl…

Being the mother of The One That Walked...

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My daughter has begun writing a blog. I know how it feels to begin...cathartic, scary, freeing...As someone who admires her, I am enjoying reading her writing, but as her mother it is sometimes painful. Tonight was one of those nights...

The cutest boy entered our lives almost twelve years ago. At that time, our daughter was the only one that lived with is, but after only a year, our two sons came to live with us as well. Each of the children (who are now adults now), handled their youngest brother and the issues involved in a variety of ways. Tonight, our girl talked about hers...I will let you take a moment to read, then come back and we'll finish up!

The Story of The One That Walked

So...imagine reading that story...the true story of your daughter who is your heart. Some of these things I knew, some I had suspected, all are painful to read. This is a young woman who has struggled to overcome her own demons, love her brother, and holds nothing against him. She loves her brother wi…

A factory in my head...

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I have had migraines since I was about ten or eleven. They have been a part of my life for so long that I truly cannot remember a time without them. My mother had horrible migraines and I, sadly, have passed them down to my daughter. If you have never had a migraine...imagine your worst headache...the one that was most unbearable and multiply it by about one hundred..

Now this isn't about migraines and feeling bad and wanting you to feel bad for mr, but rather how their presence has helped form times of my life and how they will help me form my future...what they represent.

My mother had migraines for as long as I remember. These headaches would incapacitate her...between her drinking and headaches, there were many times when she would be in bed. Sometimes I think that the headaches were the worst. Now that I am an adult, I know why. These headaches are nearly unbearable...the feeling that your eye may explode out of your head, or your skull might crack open...as a matter of fact,…

A drive around the world...

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Today was a day of driving. I went to a meeting for Thirty-One, a company that I am trying to start a side business with, then went to the Apple store, then home. It doesn't seem like much, but I think it was about 160 miles round trip.

Being on the road is a metaphor for my life and this summer, adventure after adventure, opening the horizon for more in the future. Six thousand miles of our nation, hills and flats, corn field after corn field, has me examine what I want to create this year.

Teaching is a career that is like the Indy 500, not a race for the pole position. In the many years I have been teaching many things have changed...the financial backing for schools, class size, Common Core State Standards, testing expectations, and the family/student dynamic. Don't get me wrong...students are still students, but the things that they must battle and/or confront have increased in difficulty, as has my job as an educator.

I believe that all students can be successful, my miss…

The sound of a broken fan...

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As I am writing on my beloved computer, all I can hear is the sound of (what I hope ) is a broken fan. Years ago my husband (and kids) bought this computer as a gift for Mother's Day. I was thrilled because my work computer life and home computer life would now work harmoniously together.

Now, years later, it is slowly falling apart. The screen is losing it's light and I hear the constant humming of what I hope is only a broken fan.

My computer is a bit like life...some days we seem new and shiny, thrilled with what is in front of us, and other days we are gunked up, making noise, and stuck.

We move slowly, waiting for someone to clear out our filters so we can freely move again, see the light, work correctly, smoothly. This is where I am right now...gunked up. With just two short weeks before returning to school, I am trying to clear out so I can be in my finest form.

A summer of traveling has left me refreshed, exhausted and overwhelmed. After a rough year, I want to be fresh…

Heart break one cell at a time...

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Being a parent can be painful...watching your child struggle, tears falling makes your heart break one cell at a time...

Encouraging a child to move toward their future, even when it is hard...makes your heart break one cell at a time..

Knowing that your arms aren't big enough to hug away the homesickness...the loneliness, makes your heart break one cell at a time.

The miles seem unending, days crawling by...reassurances over the phone that things will get better, that time will pass quickly makes your heart break one cell at a time.

The nest seems emptier, the rooms quieter, the forward movement making your heart break one cell at a time.

Being a parent can be painful...the right decisions, tears being wiped virtually from a crying child's eyes...

makes your heart break one cell at a time...











Reflections of an MTM mother...

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My daughter has begun writing a blog that reflects on being a sibling of a MTM child. Reading her blog has been both enlightening and heart breaking. Raising a child with Myotubular Myopathy is like parenting in an alternate universe. When there are other children in the family, their childhoods alter course and begin on this new strange road where everything is about someone else.
My children are my heart...like every parent, each decision is made hoping that all will benefit. When life is determined by hospital visits and nursing hours, it can make having a "regular life" a challenge.
Our older three children are all adults. Each of them have been impacted by the cutest boy in different ways. I haven't heard all of their stories...I hope at some time they will feel comfortable sharing, but I do know that each and every one of them has been impacted...their lives altered in some way.
As I walk this path and become a resource for other parents, I hope that our experiences…

Angel Wings Flutter...

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The last two and one half weeks have been a lesson in highs and lows, triumph and tragedy. We traveled through ten states, over 6000 miles, the cutest boy in tow. Each day a victory over this disease known as Myotubular Myopathy. For a boy who was born "weak with a low survival hope," he has flourished regardless of the difficulties in put in his path.

He is an amazing traveller. He smiled through the entire trip relaxed in his twin bed nestled in our van, ipad in hand.

During this trip, we had an opportunity to go to the 2013 MTM-CNM Family conference where we met other families and learned from researchers about the medical advancements that are in our son's not so distant future. Each child that was in attendance is a miracle in their own right.

There are approximately 500 children and adults in the world affected by Centronuclear-Myotubular Myopathy...each one a gift. These warriors fight each day, each hour, each minute.

The hardest part of this journey is when our …

Yellowstone Day 4: Cowboy Etiquitte

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A horseback ride today with family enlightened me with the unexpected...Cowboy Etiquitte.  
Our group arrived at the trailhead met by two genuine cowboys...WC and Greg. Men who were weathered by years in the elements on horseback, face and hands leathery from the sun. WC, with bowed legs and a singular tooth in the front, grinned with eyes twinkling, as he gave instructions on how to ride to the family. Instructions that were rapidly translated into Swiss for the children, making Greg smile as small heads bobbed with eyes wide with excitement. 
Once it was established that the Swiss cousins had virtually no experience riding, the task of saddling up was at hand. Experienced riders such as myself, my father, sister, and niece, were given horses that were bigger, more challenging or inexperienced, while the Swiss cousins were given horses that would follow others easily and give little trouble. 
Once saddled up and moving along the trailhead, a woman was heard yelling about moving a horse …

A sisters journey

My friends...today my blog is about someone else. My daughter. She has begun writing about her journey as the cutest boys sister...consider stopping by her blog-www.anmtmsistersjourneytounderstand.blogspot.com

Yellowstone Day 3: Old Faithful

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Today was an amazing experience...I witnessed the explosion of Old Faithful. We had arrived early so we had to wait for the next "event."  It made me think of life and how we prepare for different events. 
Old Faithful's explosions have a unique quality. There is a consistent pattern of events, so if you miss one, you just wait for the next. We actually joked, "What if this was the time it didn't explode, wasn't faithful?"  Life does not occur this way, where there are back up events should you miss the actual event, it would not be considered "faithful" in this sense. 
How does that impact our preparation and flexibility? Knowing our lives are not "faithful." Plan but be prepared for anything. Don't expect life to be "faithful."

Yellowstone Day 2

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Who knew that Yellowstone was 7000 feet in elevation? This is good information to know when traveling with a medically fragile child. 
Last night we had a slight scare. Our cutest boy was in a mood, grouchy and constantly shaking his head "no."   He had started crying, was shaking his head and generally being crabby. It seemed a bit out of character since he had been happy all day, but we let him rest and did some treatments to moisten his lungs. All of the sudden he was coughing and struggling to breathe. Some focused suctioning for some time produced bits of a large plug. Once it was cleared he was back to his happy self. 
This morning I found out about the elevation and it all began to make sense. Another reminder that traveling with a medically fragile child requires more knowledge and on this one I definitely dropped the ball!!
This reminds me of life in general and our need to be prepared but also roll with the punches. We never truly know what lies in our future and we n…

Yellowstone...

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Planning for a family vacation has many different elements: making sure you have the right clothing, packing enough food, making sure you have all contingencies thought of. Traveling with a medically fragile child adds an entirely different layer: making sure you have twice the supplies you need, thinking of as many different issues that could happen, trying to plan ahead. 
On the first day of our trip, our cutest boy's humidifier broke. This is an essential piece of equipment for his respiratory health. Humidifiers help his lungs stay moist so he doesn't get plugs which could inhibit his breathing. 
Luckily I am married to a somewhat McGuyver who can make a humidifier out of a coffee pot (or who knows what else!) Needless to say, after a week and a half one gets nervous that we are missing this essential piece of equipment. 
Times like this have me reflecting upon life throwing curveballs your way and the need to respond. Really there are only two ways, stand up and find a solut…