Undecided SOL14 #31

Last year I ended the challenge with a list poem of the titles of all my slices. While I wanted to write and do something different this year my mind is too jumble with wedding and wedding shower preparations, sub plans, conference tomorrow, our state’s education issues, and just day to day jumbledness. So I have decided to once again write my list poem of Slicing titles and maybe by Tuesday I will have it unjumbled enough to write about. Thank you Two Writing Teacher's Blog it has been full of fun, learning, and friends old and new! 

Thirty One Days of Slicing Heaven!
Cupcake Heaven
Wedding Shopping
Short and Sweet
If This Table Could Talk
I Am Very Flexible
A Day Full of Cuteness
My Husband's Long Time Love Affair
My life
A Family History of Storytelling
The Storyteller
A Serious Slice About THE Standards
Bird, Cat, or Dog? You Decide!
I Am Still ...
Crammed Full
Hello There...
Don't Rush...
I Could...
Spring Weirdness
Been gone so long
They're Just So Giving
All Stitched Up
Coming Home
Snow Day
Pusher or Nudger
Lasting Lessons!

Cupcake Heaven SOL14 #30

There is something about a cupcake!
It’s just the right size. It fits nicely in your hand and you don’t have to have a fork or plate. It brings back wonderful memories of childhood days when your mom brought them to your class for your birthday. They make you feel happy and giddy like a child at their first birthday party. And they are just the right amount of yumminess when you need just a small sweetness fix.
I love cupcakes!
Yesterday as we were wedding shopping with the boys Hadley spied a cupcake shop. "Gigi’s Cupcakes." Ok, I said small detour.
Hadley and I enter the store, it was cupcake heaven. There were too many wonderful flavors of cupcakes for us to breathe in at once.
We snagged a sample from the plate laying out. We were hooked. “Only six,” I warned Hadley. She was torn. Ohh the decisions. I quickly put my dibs the wedding cake flavored one, it was wedding shopping day after all. She began rattling her list to the boy behind the “cupcake bar.”
At the top of her list was a Kentucky Bourbon Pie cupcake. It looked scrumptious.
Finally her carton was full and we were back to wedding shopping.
I cut my cupcake in two to save a piece for the trip home. But Hadley devoured all of her bourbon cake. She ewwwed and awwwed with every bite full. “This is the best cupcake I have ever had.”
They were good. And just the right pick-me-up for a long day shopping. I think we’ll be going back some day. Gigi and I may become good friends.
There is just something about a cupcake!  

Wedding Shopping SOL14 # 29

Hurrying to get this slice in.
A fun filled day of wedding shopping for the men this time. Today it was all about the groom, my son. We met his best man and grooms man in Oklahoma City today to get fitted for tuxes, buy shoes, and find honeymoon clothes.
Boys Men are much easier than the girls. They take a no frills attitude and get what they want, with no time wasted. We had shoes in less than five minutes and tuxes in under thirty minutes after waiting two hours to be waited on.
It was a joy to spend the day with these men and my daughter and daughter in law to be. Time is getting closer... 

Short and Sweet SOL14 #28

Only 4 days left of the Slice of Your Life!

Tonight my daughter called to inform me that all she has left in college is three semesters, and student teaching. WOW really! Now you and I know that really means two years, but when you put it into semesters it sounds like it’s just a few short weeks away. She was very excited that next semester she has no “basics” but instead her semester is filled with “real teacher” classes.
I loved hearing her so excited about her classes and her future, it makes my heart happy. 
Of course this information came after she chewed her father and I out for NOT answering our phones! "What if I was sick or dying?" 
Oh the love of my girl!    

If This Table Could Talk SOL14 # 27

                                                March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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I remember when they brought me home. A new place in a new home. I was the one they handpicked from the hundreds on display in the store. It was my sturdy legs and rough yet homey planks that drew them to me.
In this new place I took center stage. Placed so all could see, and feel my well-made existence. I was coddled and covered lest there be a mishap. I held steady for whatever they brought my way.
I know their secrets and have held their treasures.
As time wore on I was coddled less and used more. I was happy to oblige. It was then that I was most happy; when all gathered near and everyone wanted next to me. I have held and gathered the oldest to the youngest and stood stable for them all.
I've hosted birthday parties, family gatherings, baby and wedding showers, and dinners too numerous to name. Babies bottoms have sat upon me, and the older ones have used me to pull them up.
I have heard the laughter and felt the sting from a slap of a hand when a hand dealt was not to their liking.
I’ve held their books, pencils, and pens. Helped all of them through homework and lessons, and most through college. I’ve been here for weddings, beginnings, holidays, meetings, crafts, girlfriend parties, funerals, and sad endings.
I’ve held fast for friends who have laughed until the wee hours, and stood unwavering when hot or cold beverages have hastily sloshed upon my surface. I hold the scars of a grandpa’s tea glass, and the etching of a scratch from a broken glass.
I have rolled dough, held bread to rise, mended toys, stood firm for piles of laundry and mountains of dishes. I have been stood on, moved around, colored on, and built on.
I have been washed and waxed, shined and oiled.       
I’m the first stop most mornings for a rest and to watch the sunrise, and the last place they gathered at the end of their busy days.
I am the kitchen table and I have seen this family come and go, love and grow. I hold their secrets and their scars from birth to death. I know their stories, and can tell a few too.  I am the center of their kitchen and center of their family.
Today I stand quiet and alone, dusted more than used. I miss the days of dinners and homework, and discussions of their days and dreams for the future.
And so I sit in the center of the room waiting patiently for them to return knowing that when they do I will be here ready once again.  

I Am Very Flexible SOL14 #26

                                              March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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I’m never going to be a yoga-enthusiast.
A few weeks ago my friend and I went to our first yoga class. It was.doable. I didn’t leave exhausted or worn out. My muscles were not sore and I could still walk out of the YMCA. I enjoyed most of it, but it is easy to say ehhh let’s not go tonight.
I think my friend and I are fair weather yoga-beings. The second night we got all the way to the Y then decided we really needed to be home because it was snowing, and cold. We just knew by the time it was over the roads may be slippery; so we left. And then we sat in my drive, in the cold and dark for over an hour talking and reminiscing about when we were neighbors and our kids were young. The snow stopped as soon as we drove in my yard.  
The next week our girls were home so we took them along. They of course made it much more fun. But yoga is a kind of quiet-Zen type exercise, and I don’t think the other yoga-narians like our snickers and giggles when our down-ward dogs were more up than down, and our planks seemed a little warped.
And then there is tonight. It is rainy. And cold. And icky. So when the text came asking “yoga tonight?” and then right after, “I really don’t like this yucky weather.” I knew it would be another nonyoga night for us.
I’ll miss our car ride and chit chat to and from. I’ll miss our smirks and stifled giggles trying to find our Zen state of mind, and walking out those silly down-ward dogs. Maybe next week the weather will be just right to plank in, or even better a conversation in the dark. 

A Day Full of Cuteness SOL14 #25

                                               March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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There’s nothing like a kindergartner to make you feel good. I was filling up my water bottle today when this cute little guy be-bops out of the bathroom. “Hi Mrs. T. Klinger” (not to be confused with B. Klinger who is the other first grade teacher).
I have no idea what this cute little guy’s name is, but he is always happy, always. I see him every week at recess duty and he always has a smile and wave for me. Sometimes in the morning as he passes by my door, he stops to hug me, just like my kiddos do each morning, then bounces on his way.
Today he stopped when he saw me and said, “I hope I have you next year Mrs. Klinger.”
“Well,” I reply “you’ll have a Mrs. Klinger.”
“No, I want you your room is just awesome.”
 I smile and continue filling my water bottle.
He stops in my doorway and looks in, “I’m serious, every time I walk by I think this is just awesome.”
I can’t help but giggle at his seriousness. “We’ll have to see I guess” I say as he skips back to class.
I don’t know this little guy’s name but he always makes me smile as much as he does. What a great quality to have in life.
It must have been my day for cuteness today. Or maybe I just looked like I needed some chuckles because later in the day I was in the bathroom and I hear this little voice ask, “Hey what teacher are you?” I look and see hair hanging beneath the stall next to me. I didn’t reply.
So she goes on “I’m going potty, my class is outside.”  
I couldn’t take it anymore. “Ok you’d better hurry out.” “Noooo, I have to potty.” And then she was gone.
And finally one of my kiddos had a new hoodie on today. “John I like your hoodie.”
“I got it at da mall.”
“Yeah I got it and a toy at da mall in Ho-kah-ho-mah city.”
Gotta love these kiddos. They make my heart happy! 

My Husband's Long Time Love Affair SOL14 #24

                                               March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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There is someone else in my husband’s life. When the call comes he is gone in a flash with no word of goodbye or why. He has left me at restaurants, parties and more. He never gives an explanation or when he’ll return, he just leaves.
He has missed birthdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, and more suppers than I can count. That’s when he runs out the most, when it’s time to sit down for dinner. The call came once when he was in the shower, and I wondered if he would take the time to dress, before he dashed away.
It has been hinted that the reason is the amazing hotness of it all. But I know he covets the thrill and challenge too. He tells me it’s been a long time love affair, and there is nothing to be done. I learned tonight it all began in 1996, I had no idea it has been going on that long.
This past week he left twice in the middle of the night. First as soon as I came home from school, and then again at 11:00 and 3:00. I lay awake wondering when he’ll return, if he will that night. I never know.
Most wives wouldn’t put up with this love affair. I sometimes wonder why I do. But down deep I know it’s a part of him, and I’m ok with that.
I wonder tonight if the call will come once again. It’s windy and dry, fire season in Oklahoma. My Volunteer Fire Fighting husband’s favorite time of year.  

My life SOL14 #23

                                               March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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The first time I cried before, during, and after. Before, I tried to hide it. I went to the bathroom, kept busy, and turned away. During, I let them silently flow while trying to smile and encourage her and me. And after, I bawled huge heaping sobs that even my husband could not console. I cried that day, and the next. How would I ever make it without her here?
The next time I did a little better. They were both here then, son and daughter. I cried as I hugged them, and again for hours after.
The next few times I did better. Tears still came, I still struggled to smile through them.
A few times I have managed without them falling while she is near.
And now it’s time again. She has tried to wean me away as if she is the mother teaching her young to survive on their own, less time at home, mentioning not coming back this summer over and over again. I put her off saying “we’ll see what happens,” or just “Ok.”  But I know she has her plans, and really I wouldn’t want it any other way.
She’s leaving early today. Only a few bags to haul with her this time; not years of my life bundled into her boxes and bags like before.
I can feel them, they are there ready to spill forth, but I try to swallow them away like a bad dose of medicine.
I know she’ll be back. It’s only an hour away, and yet I just can’t help feeling the loss. My little girl is gone, and in her place a beautiful, smart, funny, loving young woman out to make it on her own.

A Family History of Storytelling SOL14 #22

                                              March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a writera teller of great stories. I wanted to write things that others would be in awe of, want to read again and again.
But there was a problem. I thought to be a writer, a storyteller you had to have life experiences worthy of writing about, worthy of others to read. And to me, I have had no such experiences.
My grandpa was a great storyteller. I can remember as a child and adult listening to the stories of his life. He was born in 1910 so he had seen his share of new inventions, heartache, devastation, love, growth and experiences to fill a library. But it was his stories of his life on the farm that held me in rapture.
He told about his teams of horses used to plow the fields, Maude and Bell were two of his favorites. He welded stories of his youth and farming life like he worked his farm full of pride and hope.
My mother too has always been a great storyteller. She too had stories of life as a child on their Kansas farm. As a child I yearned to hear over and over of how her pony Candy would run under a tree, just to knock her or her sister off of her back. Or how her dad sold that same pony when she was older. She talks of childhood that many can only dream about.
My brothers also have this same knack for storytelling, and writing. My oldest has written speeches that can bring a room to tears in one breath and rolling with laughter in the next. And the other brother weaves a story from the tiniest of moments and turns them into the funniest tale you have ever heard.
They are all storytellers. They are what I dream of being some day. 

Slicing SOL14 #21

                                               March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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Today has been filled with:
It has been a full day of ings! 

The Storyteller SOL14 #20

                                               March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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Today was going to be “cleaning day.” The day in Spring break where I really deep clean, but
I have been lost in a book. Do you ever do that? Get so caught up in a book or a story that everything else suffers? Get so wrapped up in the storyline that you just have to finish, have to keep reading? Too bad for the dishes. Too bad for the laundry. Too bad for sleep, showers, or conversations.
I do all of these. Sometimes it’s even too bad for supper for my poor hubby.
And then it’s over. And I am let down. I want more. I need another.
I get this from my mom I think. She tells me of her childhood when she’d be so caught up in a book she would burn the potatoes. My grandpa would come in and say “looks like Ruthie has been reading again the potatoes are burned.” But I think he may have eaten them anyway. And I think he was secretly proud she was such an avid reader.  
I too have been known to burn, boil over, and overcook a meal or two myself
This week I am reading The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult anything by Jodi Picoult is good, but this one is particularly enticing.
We’re having tacos for supper tonight.Or maybe I should just order pizza.  

A Serious Slice About THE Standards SOL14 #19

                                              March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the common core lately. It has been in the news A LOT in our state. We have gone from adopting it guns blazing, to wanting to get rid of guns aimed and ready.
Our state has done away with PARCC and its testing( which I do believe is a good thing) and has now renamed the common core standards twice. We are now calling them “The Oklahoma Academic Standards” ie the common core.
I have heard such things as the common core doesn’t allow the teachers to teach the way they want to, to it is a conspiracy theory. Teachers and parents gripe that it is not developmentally appropriate, that it doesn’t allow children to learn, that we haven’t had time to prepare and that it’s too hard.
I really don’t know what the answer is. But I do know that Oklahoma has ALWAYS had standards for teachers. Before the common core we had PASS skills which were much like the common core. And I can remember when they were implemented and teachers were told they had to teach to the PASS skills; many were not happy.   
I like the common core. I believe it does give teachers freedom to teach how they believe their students can learn. If there are mandates being put on a teacher it is coming from the state or a district, not the common core. 
It does not state anywhere in the CC how a teacher must teach.
If parents believe it is too hard for their child I have to ask are you expecting enough of your child. Do you want your child to learn to think for themselves or do you want them to regurgitate information? To me the CC gives children the opportunity to learn, to think on their feet, and think for themselves. I understand that is scary for many parents and teachers alike.   
Finally I believe the bad aspect of CC or any education reform is the big business and politics that attach themselves to it hoping to gain a buck. That is what has happened here. IF the schools, and teachers could just find a common ground to implement the common core without the all the politics and big business of he said she said I believe they would find the standards are just that standards, and all in all they are good.
I wrote this post yesterday but didn’t complete it Today I found an article on Facebook from Karen Jackson about the CCSS you can find it here:  http://www.reading.org/reading-today/classroom/post/engage/2014/03/18/does-common-core-stifle-creativity-#.UympuvldVBG
I think she sums it all up with this statement “Even the best-written standards can be meaningless if they are implemented with ineffective instruction and lack of understanding on the part of the educator. Standards are just that, standards. It is up to us, the teachers, to decide how we present this information so that our students learn and meet the expectations placed upon them.”
She mentions that many Kindergarten teachers feel they are too rigorous, too hard, not developmentally appropriate for that age, or that they stifle a teacher’s creativity.
We are a public, Title One school with 60 plus percent free and reduced lunch rate. And yet our Kindergarten teachers informed us the other day that they have already met all the standard this year for kindergarten This leaves them time to reinforce, move on to the first grade standards for those that are ready, review and revisit, and add in things that they want to teach. How can that be bad for teacher or child?
I’m glad I found Jackson’s article, I agree that standards are standards it’s the “how” of our teaching that makes the difference.     

So-So SOL14 # 18

                                              March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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today I decided to sew.
My sewing
is just so so
I used to enjoy it so
much more
I sew
to make things
And sew
to relax
So when I sew
It’s because I have a goal
I used to sew
for my daughter
Cute little outfits and dresses
That made her look so
Then she grew
and did not want me
to sew
for her
I didn’t.
I have sewed
my curtains
And sewed
some quilts
They are so
That I often give up on what I have sewn.
Tonight I will sew
some more
So I can finish what I so
want to complete
But tomorrow it will be so
much warmer
I may go out and sow
some seeds.
We’ll see.

Bird, Cat, or Dog? You Decide! SOL14 #17

                                               March Slice of Life Story Challenge
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Is Birdee our new Kitty really our old dog Kodi? Before you decide you should know the whole- true- life story.
We had nice weather during Christmas Break. On one particularly nice day Kodi our dog really wanted to go outside. He was old, deaf, slow but still full of life and loved being outside. He was my kid’s first pet as children. He was family.
That day I let him outside and warned “stay in the yard,” even though I knew he couldn’t hear me, he wagged his tail anyway and gingerly stepped off the deck.
I kept my eye on him throughout the day. He visited every bush, laid in the sun on the porch, and then wandered some more. At one point he even ventured into the front yard which was an old favorite trick for him, but hadn’t gone there in a long while. I smiled as I watched him from my kitchen window. He looked like a young dog once again. Happy with his outing.
Later that day my husband brought Kodi in. I listened from the living room and I knew something wasn’t right. He took Kodi out once again, and this time on his return he had to carry him inside. “Something’s wrong,” he warned, “I don’t think he’ll make it through the night.” And he didn’t. We were devastated. He had just been so happy and full of life.
A few months later the weather had turned bitterly cold but I had to make a trip to town and Wal-Mart.  On Saturday morning it finally got above 9 degrees and I decided to make the trek.
I was not happy to be going and even unhappier about the weather. I hurried out the door and down the block. I was not driving fast, but I wasn’t meandering either.
As I turned the corner on our county road I saw a spot in the road. A truck that had gone before me drove over it-straddled it, so I assumed it to be a dead animal of some sort.
As I drove closer it looked to be a large dead bird, laying as still as death. So with my mind on the craziness of Wal-Mart I too began to drive “over” the spot.
It was then I froze and my breath caught in my throat. This was no dead bird! It was a kitten and it was alive!
I drove past and quickly found a spot to turn around. What was it doing? Where did it come from? Why wasn’t it moving?
As I pulled up to the spot the kitten had been I stopped my car. The kitten was now moving to the grassy area on the side of the road. Maybe I thought it was just a stray, a wild cat that just got stuck in the road.
I decided to get out and call “kitty.”
That was all it took. She was by my side in an instant. No sound. No cries just there. I picked her up. She didn’t move. I cradled her and she settled in and purred.
In the days to come I looked for someone who may have lost this sweet kitten, but there was no one. So the kitty became Birdee, and a new member of our family.
We have had Birdee for about three months now, and we have learned she is not a typical cat. She loves to have her belly rubbed, most of our cats have not, but Kodi did. She lays in the exact spot Kodi did next to the counter on the kitchen floor. She has never been afraid of the other dogs. She nudges our hand like a dog if she wants petted. She sleeps on her back, legs in the air, just like Kodi.
I think our new kitty Birdee may be our old dog Kodi, and I’m ok with that. 
                                                      Birdee's first day at our home.

Our last year with Kodi.