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Someone somewhere on the Internet (Twitter, I think) mentioned a new to me author the other day.  I started looking around and before I knew it, my online shopping cart was full of her books. Having just unpacked all of my read aloud books at school, reason took over.  “You don’t even know if you really will use all of these!  Want versus Need!  WANT VERSUS NEED!”

I packed up my children and we headed to the library.  We were going regularly at the beginning of the summer, but have been rather busy lately.  And I had an over-due book.  For some reason, the shame of this keeps me from going and it just gets more and more over due.  I know. It’s weird.  Before I had even arrived I knew this trip was going to cost me.  I was in possession of some actual cash, and I now had some research to do so I went anyway.

First expense:  My children each put a quarter in the parking meter.  That bought us half an hour of parking time.

Second expense:  It cost me $1.60 for the over due book. At 10 cents a day, this is a pretty reasonable fee.

We gathered more books than I could carry, including 6 of the books I was most interested in getting, 3 Mo Willems “pigeon” books which my children are currently hooked on, and 2 books about returning to school and loving it despite some initial trepidation (because it’s that time of year!)  Eventually we were ready to lug our treasures home.

We hopped in the van and were driving toward the smoothie store when I noticed my third expense.  Apparently we had overstayed our welcome in “our” parking spot.  Total cost for the day (not counting smoothies): $22.10.

I could have bought a few books for that!

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I try to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge every Tuesday. You can read more at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

 

We’ve had a busy summer, but this past week we had to slow down.  My son felt yucky and needed a lot of extra sleep.  At 7:00 pm each night he crawled into bed of his own accord (very atypical behaviour!) and I dragged him out at 8:15 pm so we could be on the road by 8:45 to get to his speech therapy class.  Except Thursday.  I called in sick for him that day.  Besides speech, there was a lot of sleeping going on at our house and not much else.

Of course, his sister still needed to be kept busy with things that would entertain her besides TV.  She painted.  She drew.  She built forts.  She did her hair and makeup.  She’s 5, by the way, so this list of entertainment options isn’t as random as you might initially think.

During weeks like this, I am reminded of the need to just stay home once in a while.  We keep our life pretty simple, but even we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to have down time.  I ended the week with a clean kitchen and linen closet, caught up on laundry, and relaxed.

I’m starting to feel the push to get my home ready for school.  I want to have meals in the freezer and big jobs, like organizing  closets, off the list of things that will have to wait until Winter Break.   Because once school begins, it’s sink or swim around here – yucky tummy or not we still keep going until we just can’t anymore.

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I try to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge every Tuesday. You can read more at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

 

Slice of Life:

We’ve been doing speech therapy at this really great children’s treatment centre in our city.  My daughter started when she was two, and so did my son, and now, 3.5 years later we still attend regularly.  My daughter was discharged at the beginning of kindergarten since her speech had reached a point where it is developmentally appropriate, though not perfect.  My son, well… his problems are a bit more complicated and I suspect we’ll be at it a bit longer for him.

This summer, he was invited to take part in a vocabulary enrichment summer group. That started yesterday.  To be clear, vocabulary isn’t my main concern.  I’m much more worried about articulation, but I said yes to the group because I say yes to everything they offer me.

Yesterday, the theme was “Police Officers”.  I sat on the other side of the two-way mirror and watched him, wearing his special police badge, running a tiny police car through paint so he could decorate a giant P. After, a police officer arrived so we could climb all over his car.  We were there with another group of children.  They were the “Autism Support Summer Camp” group.  They were much older than us, most about 10 years old I think, and as you can imagine, there were a lot of questions.  “Do you know my dad?” (Turns out he is a police officer too.) “Do you catch a lot of bad guys?”  “What is that big stick for?”  “Do you have a taser?”

Not to be outdone, my 4 year old kept raising his hand to add to the conversation.  “I have a Paw Patrol scooter.”  “See my badge?” “I want T-Rex cake!!”  This last bit of information is related to his birthday tomorrow.

Today, the theme is “Ambulance” and I am sure he’s going to have a great time.  I’m sure he’ll have just as much fun, and just as many things to say.

And I am going to try desperately to figure out what flavour “T-Rex” cake is.

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I try to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge every Tuesday. You can read more at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

Slice of Life: The Bus

A few months ago, the city bus routes were changed.  Two stops on our street were combined into one, and the new stop was placed at the end of our driveway.  Like all kids, I think, mine have been obsessed with the bus for a long time, but when it began stopping at the end of our driveway multiple times each day, they became convinced they needed to ride it.

Now, about once a week, we go to the end of our driveway, ask a million times, “Is it coming yet?  Where’s the bus?” and when it finally arrives we hop on.  Bus Number 6 takes us downtown to the terminal.  From there, it is only a 2 block walk to the indoor playground.  We spend 2-3 hours there, enjoying the air conditioning.  I carefully watch the clock so we drive back at the terminal in time for Number 6 to take us home again. “Is it time to pull the cord?”  is repeated many times on the way home, until finally our stop is in sight and everyone pulls the cord together.

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I try to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge every Tuesday. You can read more at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

Year 1:  Claire was 6 months old.  I wanted strawberries to make jam, so I hauled the two of us to the pick-your-own farm.  I wanted to start a tradition too.  It’s a 45 minute drive, and I think that was the first time she ever slept for 2 hours during the day without being held.  Seriously.  I put her car seat in the stroller and bought strawberries out of the fridge instead of picking our own. She woke up just as we got home.

Year 2:  She was 18 months old and slept through the entire strawberry experience again. This time I put her in the stroller thinking she’d wake up and we could ride the tractor pulled wagon out to the field.  Instead, I pushed her around for a while, then got strawberries out of the fridge.  A few weeks later we picked raspberries instead. She ate many more than she contributed to the basket.  I was exhausted, but committed to the tradition!

Year 3:  Both kids slept through the entire experience.  Even when I transferred them from car to stroller to car with my cold refrigerator strawberries in the back.

Year 4:  We met friends at the strawberry field.  We were late because both were so sleepy they didn’t want to get out of the car, but I woke them, carrying Spencer on my lap while we rode the wagon out to the field.  I picked 3 baskets full while they watched. Spencer ate half a basket’s worth during the ride back to the barn.

Year 5:  I picked.  They ate.  And they complained about the heat and the threat of bees and the mud.  But they got ice cream afterward.

Year 6:  I picked.  They ate.  And they complained about the heat and the threat of bees and the lack of water because they were without water bottles for 45 minutes.  Spencer fell asleep on the wagon on the way back to the barn, then slept on our picnic blanket while Claire played on the slide and monkey bars. Once again, I carried him back to the van, strapped him in, and made sure he was comfortable for the ride home.  He slept though that too, waking just as we arrived home.

So, I have my strawberry picking tradition.  They have theirs. And in the end, we all have our own versions of the memory to share.

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I try to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge every Tuesday. You can read more at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

 

The first morning of our family vacation, I woke up at my mother-in-law’s house and wondered about the time.  We had no particular plans for the day, so it actually, truly didn’t matter what time it was.  When we were there, someone else does the cooking, someone else worries about how clean the house is, and if I really want it, someone else will take charge of my children while I nap.  It’s a great place for a vacation.

We chose to fly there this year.  It’s a 25 hour drive that we have made several times, but it feels like much more than that.  My husband and son left a few days before school ended.  The morning after the last day, my daughter and I hopped in a cab for the 5 minute ride to the airport.  We patiently waited for our Bearskin Airlines flight to take off, and before we knew it we were on our way.  There are only 21 seats on Bearskin planes.  We took up 2, and there were 2 other people.  We landed 20 minutes later, letting 2 more on. We landed an hour after that and let one person off.  We landed an hour and a  half later, and we all switched planes to head to different destinations. We landed an hour later to let 2 people off and 1 on.  Thirty minutes later we were landing at the Kenora Airport. They call this type of a flight a “milk run” because there rare so many stops.

After 7 days of riding in the boat, being dragged behind it on a tube, spotting bald eagles, fishing for crayfish, and enjoying letting someone else do the work, it was time to reverse the trip and head home. The Kenora Airport is about the size of the library at my school.  There is no security, and nobody carries your bags to the plane for you.  Five minutes before we boarded the plane, the pilots were watching TV with their feet up on a desk.

As we walked out to the plane, we were accompanied by the desk receptionist / ticket taker.  She had put on an official looking orange vest, so I’m assuming she had some other job title as well.  The pilot said to her, “Can you call Jerry for me?”  She responded, “Sure.” and then yelled, “JERRY!!”  A guy came out of a shed, also wearing an orange vest.  I assume he was Jerry.

The trip home involved a potential stop at yet another airport, but they were fogged in.  Fog.  In July.  That’s North-Western Ontario for you.  We stopped at all the same places, took the bus home from the airport, and I am now at my own house, doing all my own housework, but still not worrying about the time.

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Slice of Life: Book Love

On Monday, my class heard back from Leisel Shurtliff.  We’d sent her some fan mail, and she wrote back!  They were so excited, and disappointed that her next book won’t be out until they are long out of my class (P.S. school ends Thursday, but they were still surprised we won’t be able to read the next book together.)

Last Monday we received a package in the mail.  It contained 4 Ricky Ricotta books: I replacement for the one I complained about on Twitter (it fell apart…) as well as a few others, including the 9th, which we hadn’t read yet.  We had a draw to determine reading order. The first winner gloated for a whole day instead of reading it, the second read it rather quickly, and now the third is taking his sweet time.  He’s been late to school, takes extra long washroom breaks, and needs to be reminded each day that there are 11 people in line behind him hoping to get to it before Thursday at 2:30.  He’s done this sort of thing all year, but now his peers are laying on the pressure for him to change his slow-reading ways. The kid who kicked off the Ricky Ricotta craze in our room might not even get to #9 (he’s 6th on the list) which disappoints him greatly.  Let me repeat: he’s disappointed about not getting to read a book.

Of all of my year goals, this is one that stays year after year, class after class:  I want my students to leave having loved a book they read that year, or that I read to them.  I want them to see the joy for themselves.

I’ll take Ricky Ricotta #9 and place it on That Kid’s desk for the first day of school in September so he can read it first.  He’ll still be excited to read it, and I am sure he’ll pass it around a bit before it makes it’s way to my new class.  Maybe they will already be falling in love with their first book of the year.

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I try to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge every Tuesday. You can read more at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

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