Small moments

The past 6 years have proven to be anything but easy. Fun! Exciting! Memorable! Celebratory! Yes, but I wouldn’t say easy. So many changes have happened in my life. Yet one thing remains consistent – my husband has remained by my side.

2 house, 2 kids, family tragedies, family celebrations, combined with the highs and lows of everyday life. Life can be very complicated. Marriage can be very complicated, but it is always worth it. At the end of the day, family and love always win.

My husband works very hard to provide for his family. He is a man determined to build a family based on love yet he knows a paycheck is necessary as well.

Through the long work days he always finds a way to spoil me and the boys. An extra 5 minutes of play so that the Lego tower can reach the ceiling – the boys’ eyes have never been wider. Special time in the basement with dad playing hockey – extremely loud shouts of excitement!

For me, I’m spoiled by the daily cup of spark (energy vitamin water) that he leaves on the night stand. He leaves for work before I begin my day, yet always says good bye with a gentle kiss and a cup of spark. Most of the time I don’t even wake up at his departure.  But I know he’s left for the day when I roll over to see my cup. I smile reach for my morning boost and my day starts with love.

Last night my husband worked overnight. So thos morning I woke up, rolled over and No Spark! As I cleared my head to recall the day and his schedule, I sighed. Surrendering to the fact that I will have to travel downstairs to the kitchen to make my own morning spark – tragic.  

Here’s to 6 years of not taking the small things for granted. Because at the end of the day love always wins. Family, love and Spark!

Early risers

It’s very rare that it surprises me. My body can sense it’s arrival.  But today, today I was happily surprised.

I generally welcome mornings slooooowly. The faint buzz of the alarm turned to subtle banter from Eric and Kathy force me to rise from bed. Honestly I’m usually already awake.  But I lay there listening to the morning show, scrolling through my phone. It’s a few minutes of me time before the grind of the day.

Today, as I indulged in the world of slicing I heard Noah calling me. A rare early riser – I knew he must be unsettled. Groggy I crawl from my dark cave of a bedroom. As I approach the hallway, a faint light shines through the window. Rubbing my eyes I see brilliant pinks, glowing oranges, a vibrant yellow just beginning to rise. The sun! I was  promised clouds and rain this week. Yet this morning I spied a sun rise! A promise of approaching warmth. A promise of a new day filled with hope.

Hugs kisses and covers helped Noah resettle. I walked back through our hallway with a smile. Not a bad way to begin a Monday… happily surprised by the arrival of spring sunshine peeking above the rooftops.

3 am slicing

Family parties are quite the event these days. With 16 cousins, 8 great grandkids, aunts, uncles, great grandmas and great aunts filling the room, plus an infinite number of family friends and their vans of children, there is always someone to catch up with. The little kids have a blast running around kicking balls and playing chase. It’s getting easier for me to release my lil guys into a sea of family, knowing they are entertained and safe.

Tonight, as I settled into a conversation with my aunts, I feel Noah begin to climb onto my lap. I welcome him up yet carry on with my conversation. Clearly unimpressed with his lack of full attention, Noah gently kneels on my legs, takes my cheeks in his tiny 2 year old hands, looks me in the eye and beckons in a barely audible voice, “Mama, you cuddle me for a couple minutes?”

Suddenly the chaos of the party is silenced. It’s just Noah and I. My cheeks in his hands. Nothing else in this world matters. I plant a kiss on his perfect little face and squeeze him with all of my love.  Noah rests his head on my shoulder, his fingers gently dance through the ends of my hair. I close my eyes and feel Noah relax in my embrace.

Slowly the laughter of the room returns. Noah sits up, comforted yet not ready to leave my side. I half way return to my conversation, half way remain in my Mama – Noah world of love.

After quite some time has passed Noah returns to his game of chase and I to my adult conversation. Yet I cling to the memory of those cuddles, knowing they won’t last forever.

Laughter is life’s best medicine

It’s
been
a
day.

I would usually unwind and reach for a smooth deep red to fill my glass. Tonight, that wasnt an option, so I grabbed my play list and my 2 giggly boys – who ironically both wore red today! – and had a stellar dance party. We laughed and danced and laughed and played and laughed until all was right in the world.

I’ll finish the evening happily with my family. Dinner bath bed. Our routine. After reading a friend’s post about story time, I’m going to remember to savory tonight’s bed time stories with my boys.

Things are looking up. Tomorrow is a new day.

An Irish Prayer
May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,

two-nager

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Oh my Noah!  My perfect sour patch kid. You have dimples like dada and the fiery fight of your mama!

Nobody gives better squeezes than you!  Yet I dare not ask for a famous hug or I will be graced with a powerful NO, I NOT WANT TO SQUEEZE YOU.  Picking you up from day care is the greatest joy!  Bursting with energy, full speed ahead you barrel into my arms declaring – I miss you all day Mama!!! My heart is full.  Reviewing your daily chart I noticed you didn’t sleep during nap.  Curious I ask you, Nonos did you nap today baby?
You look me in the eye and state very matter factly  – Nope!
I tip toe towards the danger zone of questioning you – Why not baby?
Cause I not want to!
Whelp there it is, the end of the conversation.

Hurrying to the car you stop me mid stride – Mama it’s chilly out, you have to put your hood up. I save you Mama. I melt in the freezing cold as you gently cover my head and kiss my nose. Safely to the car I offer you assistance as you clumsily climb up to you car seat. You answer back with a stiff arm and a firm – I do it by myself!

Once home we cuddle on the couch.  You pull my arm around your body and snuggle in close. I pause and remember this moment. Truly one of my most favorite parts of the day. 

The evening is filled crashes as you sing us songs, then throw the mic, build magnificent towers then abruptly knock them down, politely clear your dinner dishes then launch them into the sink.

My Nonos. You are a self determined, perfectly cuddly bundle of energy. You are my pride and joy. I love you baby boy!

Until next time…

31 days … not exactly 31 slices published. Humph. This year was a different journey for me. Slicing consumed my daily activities.  Small moments replayed in my mind and rolled into glorious happenings of my life. I took on my day with a fresh view of the world. Emotions, Adjectives, Verbs, and Paint a Picture Ideas constantly ran through my head. I experienced 31 days from the point of view of a writer.

For me it was an emotional journey that was not always published, but treasured all the same. Experiencing death – living after the death of a beloved relative, its tragic. Writing has helped me iron out some lingering wrinkles. 

Celebrating my sons birthday was perfect. A weekend filled with so much laughter and love. 2 days later I walked through the Emergency Room doors of Christ Children’s Hospital holding my boy and praying hard.  I played the roll of strong Mama as best I could. Reflecting on that moment eased my heart.  The piece I didn’t publish about the not so pleasant conversation I had with the Neurology department.  Well that piece showed my vulnerability.  I keep that tucked away, and silently hope that Laura knows how grateful I am that she was waiting for me with open arms, water, chocolate and time.  Time for me to spill out my fears.

Being a working mom is tough. I miss my boys’ hugs and kisses and giggles. I miss milestones.  But they are safe and happy at day care. And I get to teach.  I get to try my hand at molding the minds of growing kids. I get to educate children on not only reading writing and math, but on Respect, Self Love, Teamwork, Goal Setting and Success.

Writing has helped me understand that I really do have the best of all the worlds. An incredibly loving large family, best friends that make me complete, a job that gets me up and moving each day, co-workers I call friends, a home filled with man who loves me unconditionally and whom I love even more, and 2 perfect little boys who call me Mama.

How lucky am I to be living the life I’ve always imagined.

Cheers to 31 days!  Its been a slice!

Poets

I am please to admit that Slicing has taken over my classroom.  My students constantly draft new ideas. I see enthusiasm in their eyes as their pencils fly across the page, filing line after line.  They are eager to share and to comment on their peers’ masterpieces.  New art forms have emerged as well.  Although Slicing is a writers world, my illustrators have grown in number and strength.  Room 16 is bursting at the seams with kids who want to bring their writing to life with pictures and colorful Pop Out Text.  I even have a few Rapping extraordinaires who wish to preform their written beats.  They still need time to perfect their image, but perhaps you’ll discover T-O and B-T as the next YouTube sensation.  Until then, I am proud to highlight an emotional writer, a 9 year old who is wise beyond her years and often shows her passion for others through her writing.  Today’s piece is a sweet poem about something we are all wishing for – Spring!  It was published after a powerful Pair and Share session we had with a 6th grade class. A special thanks to Angel for working with Shaiana Sims on the poem Wake up! Wake up! “I wanted the snow to melt and for Spring to come.  So I wrote a poem to express my feelings.  I think I did a good job because I used strong words.” ~Shaiana

Wake up! Wake up!

Snow is melting.
Flowers are blooming.
Everybody Wake Up! Wake Up!

Spring is NEAR

I feel the warm sun.
I see the green grass.
I hear the birds chirping.

Everywhere

Watch out here comes the sun!!!
The sun is taking over the snow!
There it goes! There it goes!

Spring is HERE!

Here come dresses.
Here come shorts.

Everywhere

The grass is here.
SPRING is here!

Curve ball

My fingers went on hiatus but my mind has not. Drafting line after line. A pile of mixed up thoughts is all I’ve got.

You see this Mamas been busy in a world all too scary. Just a glimpse is too much to bare. 

Doctors and hospitals. Emergency rooms and blood draws. EKGs and EEGs. “I do not yike dese stickers Mama, I do not yike them.”

But he was strong. 
Stronger than me.
He is three and was stronger than me.

I cried on the inside as I held my baby, who wants to run and jump and play.
Who I hold close as they poke and stick and test.
Not a tear he shed.
And I was humbled
By my baby boy who just turned 3 and was stronger than me.
I laid in those hospital beds and laughed, played, colored and sang away the fear with my baby boy who was stronger than me.

Oh the lessons I have learned with just a glimpse of a world I pray to never return. The tests are clear. BUT you need to see the Neurologist just to be sure. I pray for one final visit. One final word.  One final OK.

My baby has to see Neurologist now.
I am 31. Barely a scratch and my baby has a Neurologist now. A name and a face to which I attach a silent prayer. Each and every moment I pray that this man will utter some simple words.
A fluke.
Its just a thing he does. 
Hes ok.

Please tell me my baby is OK.

My 3 year old

My two Three year old isn’t a baby anymore. “Mama I a big kid” he tells me with the most adorable grin.

My three year old is the best big brother, always looking out for Noahs best interest.  He shows the most sincere empathy when Noah is sad. Even made up a little song to keep Noah smiling. And it works every time. 

My three year old is intelligent.  Knows his letters, numbers, shapes, can read a few words, and his problem solving skills amaze me.

My three year old is funny. “Mama yook at me” he giggles as he wears his sunglasses upside down. “Dats funny right Mama.” We both roar with laughter.

My three year old is loving. Hugs me tight, smacks a kiss even when I dont ask for one, sings his bed time songs with me and peeks his head out from the covers and calls “I yuv you Mama”

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Our morning

Up. Ready. Made and ate breakfast.  Meal prepped tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch.  Cleaned the kitchen. I’m ready for the grind of the day, but my boys are still in dream land.

Its time for those sleepy eyes to crawl into mamas arms for morning cuddles. Wake up little ones its time for a day of fun and laughter. Of learning and discovering.  Of sing a longs and dancing. 

Mama has to work and leave you in the care of another. Loving care, yes. But still, it’s not me. I know you’ll be happy today.  And I know you thrive from the interactions with your teachers and peers. I know working it best for Mama. But, my boys, please please know this – Mama misses you every day.

Today I wake you up for day care. Tomorrow, please sleep in again, and then tomorrow WE PLAY!