Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Slice of Life: August Meeting of Books, Brownies, & Beyond

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

Summertime and the reading is joyful!  
Our two summer meetings of Books, Brownies & Beyond
are scheduled to allow members to 
gather and share summertime reads.
This past Tuesday's meeting,
while few in number, was mighty in readers.
We had a return visit from our youngest tween reader 
who joined us for the first time in July,
two recent move-ins to our area from Singapore, 
and four alumnae readers from our regular
attendees at book club.
Pics had to be taken in shifts since 
our summertime meetings are drop-in 
when you can during a two hour time slot.
Even in summer we find ourselves working around 
tae kwon do and other commitments.  
It was great fun to have one member pop in to see us
just as we were winding up and she
was happy to catch us still there.
And these two young ladies are our graduating 
members who joined us as sixth graders
at the birth of our book club,
stayed for three years of book gathering at IMS, 
and are now headed to high school.   
The meeting was filled with the happy sounds 
of readers sharing favorite books,
tables full of future reading choices,
forays into the library in search of books,
free books for all 
(compliments of Island Books ARC donations), 
and of course, our famous cookie bars.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Double the Fun!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Friday afternoon I headed to the airport with Jack in his car seat to pick up my son Blake.  He was flying home for a quick visit in order to add enough miles to keep his status for another year.  I was totally shocked when I pulled up to door 18 to see my son emerge pushing Teddy in a stroller!  Suddenly the extra car seat in the back seat made sense.  My daughter had me bring it over that morning and she installed it in the back seat that morning before leaving for work.  She told me to have Blake check that it was connected correctly because they are ready to move to the next bigger car seat and this is the same car seat that Blake uses.  Silly me, I didn't suspect a thing.  

What a delight to have Blake AND Teddy here for this quick visit.  We headed to the airport this morning so they could catch a 6 am flight home.  Every moment was filled with fun for me.  Teddy is talking more, just in the six weeks since we saw him in Park City.  He loved hanging out with cousin Jack, playing at the park, pushing the wagon with Grandpa, and visiting with Aunt Sara and Uncle Will.  Here are a few pics of our delightful day and a half visit.  I salute my son for flying cross country with a fourteen month old, not something too many dads do on their own. And Stefi enjoyed a fun weekend with girlfriends! Here are a few pics from our weekend fun.  
Stories with Grandma

Sorry, Grandpa,
Teddy prefers pushing the wagon 
to riding in the wagon!

When Teddy wanted to sit with
Jack, he just plopped 
into his lap!  #cousin bonding
 Who needs toys when Grandma 
gives you a metal measuring 
cup and a spoon?
 Blake and Teddy in the drive
making son shine and grandson
shine for me!  Thanks for 
the quick visit.
Blake with Teddy and Jack!
Only four months until
 Christmas when our boys
will be together again!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Poetry Friday

Head over to Jone's blog, 
Check It Out, for this week's
round-up of poetic goodness.  
Thanks, Jone, for hosting this week!

Whether you will be starting school soon or are looking forward to Labor Day, the first holiday of the school year, "Watermelon Day" by Rebecca K. is a perfect salute to the joy of an August day.  I always loved kissing summer goodbye with my students (they usually insisted the summer was over as soon as school started), and this poem is perfect for this occasion.  It closes with these lines:

Think about catching your imagination's fireflies,
While you lie in a freshly mowed field.
Listen to the crickets as they sing their August song.
Watch as the watermelon day passes you buy.
And love life while you have it."

These lines (from the longer poem on page 80) were written by Rebecca K., one of Linda Rief's eighth graders.  Linda's book, 100 Quickwrites, was my go-to resource for Poetry Friday in my classroom. If you don't have a copy, you might want to purchase one to supplement your library of quickwrite models.   

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Slice of Life

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

Currently I'm:

the grandeur that was yesterday's eclipse!
What a fun experience to share with my friend Karen
and her son Brian.  This magnificent natural event
was magnified by Brian's useful commentary,
Karen's delicious snacks,
and glasses given to me by my friend, Laurie. 

time with Jack (my almost seven month old grandson)
and Blake (my almost 33 year old son)!  Jack went camping last week and Sara's schedule switched for this week, so tomorrow will be our first day together in six days.  Blake is flying in for a quick visit this weekend.  When you have a son that plays the mileage game, you sometimes get these quick visits.  Always happy to see my firstborn, even when it's a quick flyby for two days.

to have spent two hours of my day with fellow book lovers at our summer meeting of Books, Brownies, and Beyond.  Participants ranged from 5th grade to 9th grade (with two attendees who recently moved to our area from Singapore).  It's hard to believe
that my two friends who started book club with me
three years ago are now headed to high school. 

what to read next.  I just finished Amy Snow for our September book club meeting which doesn't meet for three more weeks.   Usually, I'm scrambling to finish the book the day of the meeting.
Here are some of my next read possibilities:  
You May Already Be A Winner by Ann Dee Ellis,
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick, and 
Foreign Correspondence by Geraldine Brooks.  

Sometimes you need a quick blog post and these
ABC's of my current state of mind filled the bill.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Celebrate This Week

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

 Breakfast with two friends
and a walk afterwards! 

Jack's first camping trip!

A late birthday gift filled with pics of Teddy arrived this week!
They take him from 23 weeks to 14 1/2 months.  
I celebrate Stefi's photographs and
Blake's FaceTime calls that keep me connected.  

My heart continues to be heavy about racism and intolerance in our country.  I've collected many resources for educators in my
Tuesday Slice of Life and continue to add to this list. 
I'm celebrating that Joyce Sidman gave me permission
to include her entire poem "Starting Now"on the blog post.

A card arrived from blogger and friend, Linda Baie!
Real mail is always cause for celebration.

A friend and I saw the documentary, "Step."  I celebrate the educators and parents who invested in these young girls' lives
to help them be successful and college ready.

After being shrouded in plastic for most of the week, the painter finished on Friday.  I headed to the finished deck on Saturday with a mug of hot chocolate and my book.  Cooler weather has returned to the Pacific NW and I'm celebrating daily! 

Oh, and I almost forgot . . . sweet, juicy, homegrown tomatoes!  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Slice of Life: Look into each other's faces!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

Like many of you, my heart is hurting with the most recent violence experienced in Charlottesville.  My thoughts turn to poetry as they often do in times of distress.  I'm sharing Joyce Sidman's poem "Starting Now" from the book What the Heart Knows:  Chants, Charms, and Blessings.  Thanks to Joyce for giving me permission to share.  

Starting Now 

It is time for us to wake:
we who stumble through the day
with our gripes and complaints,
who drift numbly
through thronging halls and streets -

you and I,
who rant about injustice,
who see all that is wrong in this world
but believe we are shackled 
and powerless.

It is time to look into
each other's faces,
we who glide along the surface,
time to dive down
and feel the currents 
of each other's lives.
Time to speak until the air
holds all of our voices.
Time to weave for each other
a garment of brightness.

Open your eyes.
Feel your strength.
Bless the past.
Greet the future.

Join hands.  
Right here.
Our moment:
starting now.

I love all the poems in this book.  Go buy Sidman's book (or check it out of the library).  Other poems that are especially appropriate for right now include "Song of Bravery," "Blessing on the Downtrodden," and "I Find Peace."  And in the interest of looking "into each other's faces" and speaking "until the air holds all our voices," I offer up these timely posts from bloggers and journalists who speak more eloquently than I.  I've been sharing them on FB, but wanted to collect them all in one place.  Please understand that some of the resources do overlap.  I will continue to add resources as I discover them to this post. 

Pernille Ripp
Great Picture Books to Inspire Hope in the World 

Erica at What Do We Do All Day?
Picture Books that Teach Kids to Combat Racism

The Washington Post
The first thing teachers should do when school starts is talk about hatred in America. Here’s help.

Kylene Beers
And School Begins

From Karen Jensen
Sunday Reflections:  Talking with Teens about Charlottesville

The Stenhouse Blog
Resources for teaching empathy and tolerance 
(books can be previewed online)

There is No Apolitical Classroom:  Resources for Teaching in These Times

Rethinking Schools
Seven Ways that Teachers Can Respond to the Evil of Charlottesville - Starting Now

Education Week
Yes, Race and Politics Belong in the Classroom

Vicki Vinton
Who Will We Become As We Gather Together in this Terrible Kingdom?

School Library Journal
Resource Roundup:  Teaching and Curriculum Supports on Antibias and Social Justice

NNSTOY (National Network of State Teachers of the Year)
Social Justice Book List

Many of my teacher friends have already begun the the school year, others are prepping their classrooms, and some are busy soaking up the last bit of summer.  Wherever you are on that continuum, you have my wishes and hopes and prayers for you as you interact with your new group of learners.  The final stanza from Joyce Sidman's poem "Starting Now" can be a rallying cry.  

"Join hands.
Right here.
Our moment:
starting now."  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Celebrate This Week!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

I'm limiting myself to three of the many celebrations swirling around in my head this morning!  
  • This text from my friend Karen - "Check out the full moon - bright orange!"  I couldn't resist so I hopped in the car and headed for higher ground so I could see the rising moon.  When I came back all bubbly with excitement, Lance decided to join me.  So off we went and that's when we spotted a deer just as we rounded the curve beyond our house!  An orange full moon and a deer all because a friend sent a text - that's a joyous way to end a day.  
  • Ruth's post about handwritten notes and specifically the note she received from Sam (which ties in beautifully with the slice of life that wrote this week) -  Be sure to click on the pic of Sam's note so you can see his delightful illustrations.  I'm bolding a few words from Ruth's post so I can kickstart my goal to join the 52 Letters in a Year challenge:  "I looked at the card again and knew it was time to stop thinking about sending handwritten notes and start doing. The card Sam sent me is incredibly ordinary. It took minutes for him to write. It warmed my heart -- for days."  As soon as I finish this post, I'm off to write my first note to Michelle to begin my challenge.  
  • And what would a celebration be without some pics of my favorite boys?
I captured this screenshot from a video on
Instagram (after 18 tries).  I wish you could hear
the joyful babbling that accompanied it!

  • Thank you, Ruth, for this opportunity every week to focus on joyful moments!  (And I can't get rid of that bullet below, no matter how hard I try.  Sometimes, Blogger makes me crazy!)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

2017 PB 10 for 10: Picture Books for a Snowstorm!

I love this day each year when we join with other picture book lovers to share titles.  A giant thank you to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for creating this special day!  Here's a link to the google community for #pb10for10.  This is my fourth year to participate.  

The idea for this year's theme comes from a request from friend and fellow blogger, Irene Latham.   In response to a recent post about bookshelves in a cabin where I was staying, Irene left this challenge: "If you could donate some picture books to be in a house to be read during a snowstorm, what would they be? Write a post about that, pretty please??"   

Here are ten picture books that I chose for our snowstorm reading pleasures.  I begin with several snowy titles before branching out to some seasonal poetry books, then some books to snuggle up and read with a grandparent, a couple of wonderful stories, and finally a bedtime tale.  

The first choices for our shelf speak to the snowy delights of winter.
1.  The Snow Speaks by Nancy White Carlstrom and illustrated by Jane Dyer
"Then deep winter sets in.
   Day climbs into night
   for one long, winding darkness.
And there is snow on snow on snow."
2.  Winter is the Warmest Season written and illustrated by Lauren Stringer
"In winter, bodies sit closer,
books last longer, and
hugs squeeze the warmest."
3.  Before Morning by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes
"In the deep woolen dark, 
as we slumber unknowing,
let the sky fill with flurry and flight."

And what's a shelf of picture books with some poetry of winter and other seasonal delights?
4.  When Green Becomes Tomatoes:  Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano with pictures by Julie Morstad
"January 30
it is the best kind of day
when it is snowing
and the house
sounds like slippers
and sipping
and there is nowhere to go 
but the kitchen 
for a cookie."
5. Fresh Delicious:  Poems from the Farmer's Market by Irene Latham and illustrated by Mique Moriuchi.  
Where your
meets my
hopeful nose,
the world
with sweetness."

Grandparents stranded in the cabin with their delightful grandchildren will enjoy the next two titles.  
6.  Grandma According to Me by Karen Magnuson Beil and illustrated by Ted Rand is a favorite book from my daughter's childhood.
"But my favorite part of my grandma is her face.  It has lines
all over.  When I was little, I used to call them 'crinkles.'  My
little sister calls them 'winkles.'
     Grandma says they are wrinkles.
     I say they are her story lines."
7.  Grandpa Bud, written and illustrated by Siobhan Dodds, features a grandpa who cooks and the feast he creates for Polly and her friends.  (You might need to explain the rotary phone.)
"Hello, Grandpa Bud.
Mommy said I could 
come over and stay
the night and if I'm 
good you might make 
me a chocolate cake."

Snowstorms and stories belong together and so the next two titles deserve to be tucked on our shelf.    
8.  The Story Blanket by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz and illustrated by Elena Odriozola
"Deep in the snow-covered mountains
was the tiny village where Babba Zarrah
lived.  The children loved to settle down
on Babba Zarrah's big old blanket to
listen to her stories."
9.  Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming and illustrated by G. Brian Karas
"The princess laughed and clapped
her hands in delight.  
     'A story!'
she exclaimed.  'And an adventure
story at that!  What a fine gift.'"

10.  Every shelf of picture books is in need of a goodnight story.  Goodnight Harry written and illustrated by Kim Lewis speaks to the power of friends when one is facing a sleepless night. 
"Harry looked out of the window.
 He rubbed his tired eyes.
'What if sleep never ever
comes at all?' he said.
'Never mind, Harry,' said Lulu.
'We're here, Harry,' said Ted."

And because I've finished my post, I can visit all the other PB 10 for 10 posts from my friends.  It's time to start requesting titles from the library and when I find one I absolutely can't live
without . . . then I visit Island Books, my favorite indie bookstore!