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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I've Always Loved Plants

I was always a veggie eater as a kid. Even as I became a grown-up I have eaten my vegetables before anything else. Garden salad? First. Steamed broccoli? Devoured. Sliced cukes and cold veggies? Yes, please. I don't think it was because anyone forced me to eat them but I did always have access to fruits and vegetables which I'm sure helped.

I'll never forget when I was in kindergarten, on my sixth birthday, my mom visited my classroom (as she often did) and brought in a special treat for my class on my birthday. There was a cake with ice cream for my classmates, and a platter with spinach dip, crackers, and veggies--for me as requested. I don't think I realized until that moment, that not everyone's favorite snack was spinach dip with crackers and veggies.

As an adult, I have floundered back and forth between being a vegetarian, vegan, and eater of all things. More than a few years ago my whole family went vegan for over a year. Then slowly the kids and my husband wandered back to being eaters of all things and I felt like a short-order cook making food for myself and them as well. I caved.

However, in January of 2019, I decided to try going vegan again, just me. My family could join me if they wanted but I was going to figure out a way to balance being a vegan while feeding my family meals they could get behind. It's been a year now. I can't call my self a true vegan as I do have eggs occasionally and once in a great while seafood, but otherwise 98% of my meals are fully vegan. I feel like I've conquered the balance too! Not to mention, my family likes some of my vegan meals and many of them can easily be served up with a side of baked chicken or protein of their liking.

Tonight I've got quinoa and rice in the rice maker. Asparagus, mushroom, and cauliflower are roasting in the oven with a little olive oil and garlic salt. I made some chicken over the weekend to slice up for the meat-eaters and we will have some rice bowls topped with chia seeds, a drizzle of olive oil, and sliced avocado. It is one of my favorite weeknight meals.

*Two of my favorite websites for recipes are This Savory Vegan and Pinch of Yum (not all vegan).

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Just What I Needed

Today I got home from school, walked downstairs to recline, and drank a cup of hot dandelion chai tea. It was a much-needed break from the day. The dark, the quiet, my warm blanket all comforted me as I sipped. After my tea was gone I gave my mom a call. She was a second-grade teacher for many years and is also a compassionate ear when I've had a particularly tough day. I try not to go on about school too much when I talk to her but today I went ahead and told her all about my frustrations. She listened sympathetically and it was nice to just get it all out of my system. 
Now I'm sitting here with my son, daughter, and husband watching The Greatest of All Time Jeopardy winners challenge each other. It's a nice way to end a busy stressful day. I'm so thankful I didn't have any responsibilities late into the night. No games, concerts, practices, or sibling drama to tackle tonight. Just a quiet relaxing night at home. It was exactly what I needed. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

My OLW of 2020

All of us at Two Writing Teachers and many others will share their word to live by for the new year. To learn more about where One Little Word projects first began, read up on Ali Edwards blog here.

My past words are always a great way for me to begin the process of choosing a new word.


Once again, I revisited these words and thought about the times in my life, each of them helped guide me throughout the year. Each word has held meaning in some way and some, more than others. This past year, though, I didn't thoughtfully revisit my word as much as I usually do. However, as I reread my post from last January, I realized I had worked diligently to be better. I have been more mindful of setting goals with intention and purpose. I have been more conscientious of setbacks and the opportunities they provide me when I desire to be better.

A word can offer inspiration, direction, or it can just be a label we connect with when the time is right. This year I hope to embody all of my former words as I dream big and live with ambition. I continue to have a lot of goals, and I am of the mindset that goals are worthy of my time. I need to take notice of what I'm working toward, how I'm getting there, and what success looks like to me. Nothing is impossible if I'm open to being quiet enough to listen in on each moment, giving it the pace it deserves.

This is why my word of 2020 will be DREAM! I hope to never lose sight of the fact that being flexible as I set goals is how dreams come true. Looking for opportunities sometimes means others are going by, and I might need to stop to see what's right here. I'm planning on dreaming, lifting, and caring for the moments I get to live, lead, and linger on. It's a good time for a good year. I hope you find dreams crossing your path as well.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


We have a busy day ahead, but I'm not worried.
My daughter's choir concert is tonight, her throat is dry, but I'm not worried.
My students have little time to finish holiday projects, but I'm not worried.
Our schedule is different every day this week, but I'm not worried.
Winter weather is on its way, but I'm not worried.
There's a rally tomorrow just miles from my house, but I'm not worried.
My husband keeps talking about getting a new dog, but I'm not worried.
My heart is beating, my lungs are working, and I truly cannot worry. 
Even if I have to fight the urge to worry.
I know, each day will happen regardless. 
Each moment will pass in spite of worry. 
Each breath I take will lead to another and I cannot worry. 
So, when I feel the tension in my eyebrows, I will exhale and soften my face.
When I hear my voice quicken, I will pause and calm my pace.
As each checkpoint comes to pass it will make a little space,
for calm
for grace
for gratitude
and I will embrace
the worry away. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Late Friday night, while I relaxed in my NCTE hotel room, I got a message from Shawn. It was our dog, and it wasn't good. He was planning to take him into the vet and predicting the worst. I told Shawn I would be okay, and to do what he felt was best. 

In my mind, I was thinking, we've been here before, and he's been okay
This did feel different, though, and I hated the fact I wasn't home to help.

The next morning Shawn texted me that he was not improving, couldn't walk, and he had made the appointment after talking with the vet on the phone. The appointment was at 10:30, and he would text me when he could afterward. 

I lost my breath for a moment while sitting in a room full of people listening to amazing authors talk about their books. 

I got up and went to stand by a window in the main hall. I was grateful for the one tissue I had shoved in my purse that morning. Dabbing the two tears that were stuck in the corners of my eyes, I breathed in, I held it and clenched my hand. I didn't want to feel this right then. I didn't want it at all. 

I walked for a moment. Breathing. Walking. Exhaling like I was blowing out a candle, but it wouldn't go out. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Planning and preparation have taken over my life. I am in the last days before I leave for NCTE, and I am so excited. I am also anxious about all the moving parts of leaving, even though I know it will all be okay. I can steady myself, but I can't help my natural tendency to become anxious about significant changes to my routine.
I have made all the lists, and I am still certain I will forget something. I do not have all my outfits picked out, which probably means I'm going to over-pack. I don't have all the bits and pieces of my roles within our home handled, listed, and organized. Again, I realize life is going to go on even if I never get to this step.
I also can't wait to just get there already. It's one of those things I've been anticipating, and I just want to be surrounded by my people, eat meals together, and get locked into conversations that grow me in all the good ways.
So, here's to overwhelming my brain, getting a headache from smiling, and wearing myself out. I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

In My Corner

I had a doctor's appointment this morning. I always kind of chuckle when a doctor asks, "Do you have a lot of stress?"
I never even know how to answer that question. I feel like the answer is YES and at the same time it's, well-kinda, and then maybe a little bit of --NO, not at all! 
I mean, I'm a mom--stress.
I have lots of little people at school who rely on me--stress.
Work never really ends--stress.


There are so many things that balance out the stress and most of the time, I can look at the stress and see it as good. Yes, good stress. The kind that makes me more productive but doesn't make me restless. The kind that makes me feel accomplished and not drained. Does it make me stop and breathe sometimes, yes, but I got this. 

So my answer was, "Yes, but not in a way that isn't healthy."
He said, "How old are your kids?"
"12 and 14...yeah, they're tough and I'm a teacher, that's a lot, but I'm not more stressed than I need to be."

I've got a husband who does dishes. A mom who calls to check on me and love me no matter what. A dad who is always proud of me. A daughter who makes my coffee and fills my water bottle every morning. A son who starts my car and brushes off the snow in the morning (yes, snow already--don't get me started). A friend who helps me in a pinch when I feel like I might not be able to do it all. I might be stressed but I'm also pretty darn lucky and there isn't anything to be stressed about when I think of everyone in my corner.