Friday, March 31, 2017

Slice of Life: March 31 -- Fundraiser Night

Tonight was our school's annual PTO fundraiser.  We had the largest crowd we have had since I have been at the middle school. We honored Kevin Owen, our custodian who passed away, before the game. I was really nervous about this part of the evening. I so wanted to honor Kevin in a way that was fitting and I wanted what was said and done to be appropriate and uplifting. My assistant principal and I took a lot of time preparing what to say. I prayed today that I would be able to contain my emotions as I read what was written. Our teachers held posters the kids had made for Kevin while Karen and I talked about Kevin. Our kids chanted his name at the beginning and everyone gave him a huge round of applause at the end. His daughter came and was able to accept Kevin's crown and sash as he was crowned fundraiser king. I certainly admired her strength and am so glad she was there to see our school's outpouring of love for her dad.

It was a hard day and sad in so many ways, but it ended with the fun of our fundraiser. I think Kevin would have wanted us to smile and enjoy ourselves this evening. He will be missed and I hope that we can continue to honor Kevin's memory through our service and acts of kindness.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Slice of Life: March 30 -- BIST

Today I attended a workshop on BIST. Behavior Intervention Support Team. Today's training was day two of theee days dealing with the topic. It's been really interesting and fun to learn more about this topic. The presenter, Marti, is both funny and insightful. She is one of those people that I can listen to all day and not get tired of listening to what she has to say. She is very experienced and mixes humor and lots of stories into her presentation. I am anxious to try some of the strategies she suggested and am all curious about what day three of the training will look like. I've been wanting to know more about BIST all school year, so it has been exciting to have had the opportunity to attend this training with some of my teachers. I am also hopeful that I will get to send more teachers to this training in the future.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Slice of Life: March 29 -- Brief Reflections on Slicing

This is my fourth year participating in a Slice of Life.  I've learned a lot about writing (and myself) over the course of "slicing."  Each year has been different and presented its own challenges.  Here's what I've learned this year from my participation:

  • It was much easier this year by deciding to focus on writing about small snippets of my day instead of trying to come up with something "profound" to write about.  My posts were much shorter this year and probably weren't as well written as previous years, but focusing on small yet meaningful parts of my day to write about helped me keep up with the challenge of writing.
  • It was helpful to try some new writing formats.  I stole a few ideas from some of my fellow slicers when I needed something to write about.  These were really helpful on the days when I was drawing a blank as I sat at my computer to write.  
  • Lists became my friend.  As evident by this post, lists of favorite things, places, etc. were helpful formats for me.  Once again, when I was stuck, I could turn to this format and could usually think of a topic.
  • While I'm not as proud of my writing this go round as I have been in previous years, I am proud of the fact that I stuck with it this year.  Last year I gave up halfway through March.  I felt overwhelmed with the task of writing about something really meaningful and inspiring.  I was out of ideas after two years of writing and 62 posts.  I knew I had to change my approach this year if I wanted to be successful.  I may not have offered words of wisdom, solved any great problems, or motivated anyone through my writing, but I will have written 31 posts when this month is over, and that's something I wasn't sure I would be able to do this year.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Slice of Life: March 28 -- Favorite Destinations

I don't travel much, but I have had the chance to visit a few pretty amazing places. For tonight's post, here are four of my favorite places I have visited:

  • Maui: My husband and I went to Maui on our honeymoon. Life is definitely more laid back on the island. The landscape is absolutely beautiful. From the gorgeous flowers, the "painted trees" whose bark is literally muted shades of purple and pink, to the amazing water falls, Maui has a little bit of everything to offer.  The food is pretty unforgettable, too. You can visit Mama's Fish House, where the seafood menu changes daily and features a variety of fish caught locally. For a unique touch, the menu tells you the name of the fisherman who caught the fish!
  • Cancun: My husband and I have been to Cancun twice. Both times we stayed at Secrets the Vine, a gorgeous all inclusive resort. With lots of different restaurants within the hotel, nightly entertainment, four pools, and a beautiful beach, you literally have no reason to step foot off the resort property. If you're feeling adventurous and want to get a little history lesson in the process, a guided tour of the Mayan ruins is a must. Most of all, this is a perfect place to lay by the pool, read a book or take a nap, and take a break from the stress of the "real" world. 
  • Italy: I had the chance to visit Italy during college. I spent an incredible 17 days touring the country with stops in Rome, Florence, Venice, Capri, Pisa, and Pompeii among others. This was a once in a lifetime trip that included tours of some of the world's most amazing and historical landmarks.  I could write an entire blog about all I saw and did during this trip. 
  • Destin, Florida: The first beach vacation I ever went on was to Destin with my family during spring break when I was in sixth grade. For that reason, it will always be one of my favorite vacation spots. I remember seeing the gulf for the first time, collecting shells with my dad along the beach, shopping with my mom, and playing miniature golf as a family. It was my very favorite vacation we ever took as a family. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Slice of Life: March 27 -- A Hard, Sad Day

Today was a sad day.  We found out last night that our beloved custodian and crossing guard, Kevin, passed away unexpectedly.  To say I was shocked and saddened would be an understatement.

Despite my shock, when I heard the news, I immediately went into "principal" mode.  Over the next three hours, my assistant principal and I contacted every staff member to notify them of Kevin's passing and made arrangements for our morning staff meeting, where we would discuss how to share the news with our students.

Our students absolutely adored Kevin and he adored them.  He greeted each student at the crosswalk with a smile, a high five, and a kind greeting to start their day.  He knew kids by name, took the time to get to know them, and went out of his way to make our kids feel special.  In much the same way, he made our staff feel special, too.  He did his work with a smile, was always eager to help, and would offer a kind word just when you needed it most.  Kevin wasn't just a co-worker or a custodian, he was a friend, father figure, role model, and family member.

This morning, as I stood before our staff and spoke of our loss, I was overcome with emotion.  I stepped out of "principal" mode and shed tears over the death of our friend.  I choked up as I spoke of his kindness and the great sadness that was palpable in the room.

Knowing Kevin, he would want us to smile.  He would want us to remember his legacy and continue the work of spreading kindness.  That's the challenge I now place on myself -- to smile more, remember life's blessings, and to show kindness in a way that would honor Kevin and the impact he made on so many.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Slice of Life: March 26 -- The End of Spring Break

Spring break has come to an end. I always feel like I spend the last day of break lamenting about everything I didn't get done or didn't enjoy during my weeklong vacation. Then I spend part of my day trying to squeeze in a few more moments of fun while also frantically crossing a few more items off my to do list. Here's what I have to "show" for my spring break:

  • I spent some much needed time with my parents. I really miss them since they moved to Springfield, so I truly appreciate and look forward to the time I get to spend with them. 
  • I spent lots of time with Wesley. We went to Bass Pro, the park, went on walks and golf cart rides, played, and enjoyed ice cream. Being a working mom is tough, so I really enjoyed the uninterrupted time I got to spend with him. 
  • I finally got my house cleaned. Well, mostly cleaned. 
  • I organized my closet. That was a major accomplishment. 
  • I didn't get my school work done. I still have a lot of school work to do and I'm feeling a little guilty that I didn't get more done. 
  • I didn't spend time with my friends like I would have liked. It seems like the week got away from me and I didn't get to see a couple of friends I planned on visiting during the break. 
  • I shopped. I didn't buy a lot of stuff and I still have birthday money to spend, but I did find a few things I needed (and wanted). 
Looking at my list makes me realize that perhaps I accomplished more than I thought. As for my laundry, it's still sitting at the foot of my bed. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Slice of Life: March 25 -- Writing About Nothing

I can't find any words tonight. The cursor is blinking at me on the screen, beckoning me to write. "Surely you have something to say." I can hear the condescending tone of its voice as it continues to blink in its rhythmic pattern. It's like a clock ticking, counting down the seconds, reminding me the day is coming to a close and my post still needs to be written. My brain searches for words, for any thought worth typing. There must be something I can type to stop the endless flashing of the tiny vertical line on my computer screen. 

Nothing. No cute poem. No top ten list. No throwback to a time of my youth. I already wrote about the piles of laundry resting at the foot of my bed. 

I've got nothing except to say that I've got nothing coming to my mind except to say that I can't think of anything to write about.