Tuesday, March 22, 2011

aha moment of the day....

Today was staff development day with our trainer from Teachers College. I always look forward to these days. Unfortunately, not all my staff looks forward to these days as much as I do. There is usually some complaint, or moaning & groaning about how this is too hard for our kids. Why do we have to do 10 units? Blah, Blah! Today was not different & I left frustrated. I made it a point to come home & immediately de-stress from the day by going for a three mile run. Best decision I made all day. While running it occurred to me how training for my half-marathon is very similar to what we are doing in reader's & writer's workshop. Some of the insight I have gained as a coach is seeing the role each grade level plays in preparing our students for life-long reading & writing. It does not occur over=night, each grade level has it's role in this preparation. It is not about their individual year in Kindergarten or just about what they did in first grade. It is about the sum total of all those experiences that begin to shape, form readers & writers, one little bit at a time. I did not start out saying, next week I will run a half-marathon, this took time to prepare for. Time to grow my muscle strength, my endurance & stamina, one week at a time. Ureka! It is the same in building readers & writers. It is not about perfection out of the gate, but building reader's & writer's, one small unit at a time! ahhhhhhhh.........if only I could get some of my teachers to see how important their role in this is!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I need to keep pushing forward...

In the past 9 months, life has been incredibly challenging. I have gotten through a parent's worst nightmare by trying to keep perspective and appreciating that my son is still alive, everything else just really does not matter. The events of the past couple of days have really questioned my resolve. My son has hit a huge glitch in his recovery & I have honestly lost my perspective. I'm struggling to keep my chin up. My husband, my rock, he is not able to be a rock, he has hit his own wall. Our daughter, her brother's biggest cheerleader, she is struggling too! I'm hoping that this glitch he has hit will make us stronger. Right now I need that perspective & strength. We all do! I will continue to look at my boy & be so grateful he is alive, is it too much to ask that his struggles begin to diminish? Or, have I already had my miracle?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh no turned it oh so good!

Today began with my missing my gym wake-up because I had set my alarm wrong. Oh no, I really needed to run. I'm running in a race in a week & a half. I'm excited about this race, my first one in a really long time. I'm excited that I've been able to get back to running after such a long break from it due to 3 major surgeries in the past two years. I'm excited because I'm running this race with my best friend. I'm excited because I set a goal & stuck to it! I left for work with a busy day looming ahead of me. I was attending a conference, then I had 3 other big things to accomplish before getting home by 8PM. But, sometimes things just don't go as planned. My conference was cut short, which meant that my other plans were now going to move around. Delightfully this meant I could now go to the gym before it closed. I'm excited, today I ran & it felt great! I'm excited I ran 4.5! Life is good!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Smile for the camera!

Life is speeding by at such a fast rate that I need to remind myself, breath, look around, take it all in. I've become the picture fanatic in our family. I take pictures of EVERYTHING, every event. I do this because of the lightening rate that time is going by. I want to be able to look back & remember those times, look at those pictures and have myself instantly transported back to that moment. Unfortunately, not all my family members understand or share my love of the photo. Oh well, someday they will! SMILE!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The best of traditions!

This past weekend was one of those weekends where every single inch of it was taken up with an activity. It was a wonderful weekend celebrating my husbands birthday with dinner out, then hosting a corned beef dinner for some of our dearest friends, 40 kids & adults . We had 60lbs of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, Irish Soda bread & lots of delish desserts. The festivities begin with gathering to watch the St. Patty's Parade that has been a family tradition since I was 1 years old. It is certainly a family favorite. Our two children march in the parade & then we all gather to celebrate my husbands birthday. It is such a great day & I love being able to watch my children march in the parade like I did when I was their ages. I love that we have this tradition & love even more that my dear friends enjoy this tradition as much as we do!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

Recently I got to watch a favorite movie again & I could not help but make comparisons between the character in the movie & my son, & ultimately my students. The movie is, “RUDY!” It is a family favorite for many reasons, (football, Notre Dame) for some, but it is also a family favorite because of the premise of the movie. It is a true story about a young man who so desperately wanted to go to Notre Dame & play football. It was a daunting task & he had such an uphill battle to get there. He worked tires-sley to get into the school & to attain his dream of playing for the football team. This goal eluded him the entire time he was at the school. He was small, but he sure had tenacity. He was on special teams & never got to dress for any games until the very last day of his season senior year. The movie has many defining moments, a few that each time I watch the movie I cry. I’m not sure which defining moment is my favorite One of those defining moments is when his teammates stick up for him. They all march into the coaches office, one by one & ask that Rudy be allowed to dress for the last game. The coach says no, but the first young player refuses to listen to, “NO” he proceeds to say let Rudy take my spot & proceeds to hand over his Jersey. One by one the whole team comes in to the coach & hands over the Jersey. The other defining moment for me is when he gets to suit up & enter the field for the 1st & last time. His teammates once again stick up for him & beg the coach to let him on the field for a play. The coach was not having any of it, despite the defensive coach asking for Rudy to be put in. The team once again takes matters into their own hands. The player that handed over his Jersey first to coach starts chanting, “RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!” The whole crowd catches on & before you know it, Rudy has entered the field. He makes two plays, one he even makes a tackle. The game ends with his teammates carrying him off the field. The story is a heartfelt, feel good movie, but like I said it began to remind me of teaching & my son. When the whole crowd is chanting & then all stand up for him, I was instantly transported back to my son’s graduation 9 months ago. His accident was 4 weeks before HS graduation. We spent those four weeks praying for him to stay alive so imagine our delight & thrill when he is allowed to attend graduation. His rehab facility made sure he would get to go to graduation. When his name is announced the entire football stadium rang out with applause, chanting, sires blowing (his own FD company was there to cheer him on)! It was an amazing scene. His classmates gave him a standing ovation along with the entire football stadium. The moment was breathtaking for us. We were sobbing, screaming, & completely blown away. It was just PRICELESS! After watching Rudy again I realized my son is like the character Rudy. Rudy is a touching story about never giving up, NEVER letting anyone stop you from trying to achieve what is most important to you. Being a “Rudy” in life gets you through some really hard parts in life, but you are all the more better for it. My wish for my son, as well as my students is that I not only instill in them the “LOVE” of learning but the ability to be themselves, to never give up, to keep fighting despite obstacles & hardships. I wish everyone gets to have their “RUDY” moment in life! I wish to be the one to instill in them the “Rudy” principals in life. If I can achieve that, they will be successful in everything they do!


My Brothers, My Heroes...

On March 1st & February 14th of each year we celebrate in our family the anniversaries of my brother's adoptions from Korea. This year I got to thinking about these little boys. They were so frigthened & all alone traveling to parts unknown. They arrived at the home of strangers who did not even speak their language. They were so little, only 5 & arriving at the airport was so overwhelming to them. There were bumps, scrapes & even some bruising along the way to becoming adjusted to their new life. However, it did not take much time before these sweet little boys were pulling on my heart strings. You see, as the oldest child & not having any brother's before this, I was quite nervous about their arrival in my life. as difficult & hard as it was for them to come here & start a new life, my sister & I also had much anxiety about their arrival. But once seeing their sweet little faces with their troubled looks, dressed in the clothes we sent for them, it was no longer difficult for me. I instanty fell in love with them. I was smitten, I was completely enthralled with them. They were "MY" brothers. They were the pieces that were missing to complete our family. It didn't take much time for us all to find a rythmn in our new lives. It was as if they had been with us forever. They were truly a gift to me, one that I cherish deeply. I could not imagine my life any other way & so on 2/14 & 3/1 I celebrate them & their arrival into our lives & completing it in ways none of us ever imagined. They were chosen by us to come & complete our family. My life is truly blessed b/c of their arrival into my life! People often tell me how lucky they were to come here & live with us, but they are wrong, we are the lucky ones. Thank you Peter & Michael for being true reminders of what life is about!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes......

Today began like any other, alarm goes off at the crack of dawn, time to rise for the gym. It is 4:45 am. Oh my gosh it is early, I am tired & it is certainly cold out! The next thing I remember, I am opening my eyes to see the clock, which now read 5:50. Uh Oh! What happened? Really, did I turn it off in my sleep again? There will be no time for the gym now, time to get going, I should have already been on my last mile, mile #4 by now. Time to get ready for work. The rushing begins as I am contemplating that this may be how the rest of the day will go & I am beginning to think staying in bed all day just may be my best option.....
I get to my first class of the day, my favorite Kindergarten class! I walk in & I am greeted by these smiling, happy & quite adorable 5 year olds. I greet them & they are so excited to see me. I haven't seen them in over a week, I have missed them so! We got right to business, gathering these little munchkins to the rug for our read aloud. I take my seat in the chair & began to explain what I will be doing today. Immediately, one of the most challenging students in the class has his hand raised. I call on him! To my utter shock, he says, "Mrs. P, your hair is so different & I LOVE IT!" With that they all chime in of course, did you get a haircut? etc...The young boy who began the conversation interrupts & firmly states, and I quote him directly, "Boy, don't you guys see it, she dyed her hair to make herself look younger or to get rid of gray hair!" I immediately busted out laughing! This only happens in Kindergarten & I love it, you know what, I am so glad I did not go back to bed. I would have missed all the gloriness that is Kindergarten!