Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Today I turned 40.

There.  I said it.
(It happened whether I said it or not.)

You know how you have this envisionment in your head about how a BIG birthday like 40 should be...  but also as a forty year old, you kinda have to roll with the punches...  

So, I decided to rock out my 40th by bringing 40 cupcakes to school.

Today was a sure sign that I randomly bring cupcakes to school for no reason too often...  No one was like, "Hey!  What's the special occasion??"

And you can't exactly be like, "Hey have a cupcake and celebrate my birth, damn it!"

So, I quietly set them in the lounge like I normally do and waited.
Only one teacher remembered. Great guy that he is.
Even my bestie forgot.
By mid-day, word had spread and, of course, people came and gave their well wishes.

It just kinda felt like a let down...
I mean, I have had some EPIC birthdays!

But then I made the decision that this was silly to be expecting something from others...  
So I decided that I would do 40 random acts of kindness for this birthday of mine...

And I would start with my 40 cupcakes :)

Funny, how when you make a decision like that things turn around.

It started pouring right around noon.  Colby was supposed to have a cross country meet, but because of the rain, it got cancelled.  Which meant we could go out to dinner like we normally do for birthdays.

It just so happens to be Endless Shrimp at Red Lobster - So I made it my goal to eat 40 shrimp for my 40th. LOL  
Crazy, I know. 
I let the waitress know right after I pushed my salad aside and didn't touch it (or the cheese biscuits).  I could tell she was getting worried something was wrong.
She did a fantastic job and kept the shrimp coming!

I'm not sure how the next part went down because I tend to be in a bubble when my boys and I are out together...  But when it came time for our ticket, she kept bypassing our table.  She had been SO on top of everything and then it came time for us to go.., and she just wouldn't stop at our table.

Finally, I caught her and said, "Could we go ahead and get our ticket?"
"Nope.  It's been taken care of."
"What?!!??  By Who?"

She pointed to a table two tables away.

I walked over and shook their hands and told them, "Thank you." and then, "Why would you do that?"
"It's your birthday isn't it?" I nodded. "And the waitress wasn't supposed to tell you!!"

Random strangers.

And I thought *I* was the one who was supposed to be doing the Random Acts.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I hate the internet because it lies

It was my last class of the week... Full of 2nd graders who take half of the class period just to log in.
We have been talking about how to make secure passwords for the past 2 weeks.
So, I gave them a short quiz to see what they had learned.

I had this one little boy who wasn't answering the questions as I read them.
I kept coming by and encouraging him to keep up with us.
It didn't work.

So, I asked him to stay after.
I asked him why he wasn't doing the quiz. (I thought maybe I was going to fast for him to follow along)

"I hate the internet!"

What?!  What did that have to do with where we were at in our class??

But I knew I couldn't have him hating my class all year, so I asked, "Why?"

"Because it lies!"

I told him I understood.  That there are websites that say things that I don't agree with, but that the wonderful thing about the internet is that if you don't agree with something a site says, all you have to do is close out of that site.  It's that easy.

You know that light bulb moment that teachers long for?  It happened right then.

His eyes lit up.  He put on a smile and said, "Hey! You're right! Will you help me with this quiz now?"

I know this wasn't some big revelation like when algebra FINALLY clicks, but it made my week when I really needed a smile.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Out of place

Normally by the end of the 2nd full week of school, I'm back in the groove of things...
But not this year.
This year, I feel completely out of place.

I don't feel part of a team any more... because I'm not.

Sure, everyone in my building is a friend of mine.  I get along with them fine.  But there is a difference when you struggle the same struggles and rely on others around you.

I am the only one in my boat.

People keep asking me how I like my new position.
All I can say is that I'm adjusting.
No one wants to hear that I feel like I've been dropped off the cruise ship in a little row boat and I'm out in the vast ocean rowing alone.

No, they want me to say that it is great!  That it was the best decision ever made.

So, I keep telling myself that it will get better...
That I will enjoy all of this extra time...
That good things will come out of this.

But right now, I feel a little out of place.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Things that don't stick with you... Or Maybe they do

I was an awesome algebra student in high school and college!! (We won't talk about geometry.)

It just made sense to me.

In fact, in college, I had an 8 am algebra class where the professor took the first 30 minutes going over the homework from the class before.  I started showing up at 8:30 because I didn't need the extra explanation, but I could always use the 30 minutes of extra sleep. (Still can.)

However, I can honestly say that I don't sit around figuring algebraic equations for fun now days.

So, when my son, Colby sends me a text all in a panic not knowing how to do his homework (He was at his dad's), I wasn't worried.

...Until I saw the problems...

...and I drew a COMPLETE and utter blank...

(So much for KNOWING this stuff...)

Thankfully, I am a tech savvy woman that knows the answers are online if you search... and searched, I did.

But guess what?

Once I found the answer, I knew I couldn't just give the answer to Colby (the teacher in me wouldn't allow it.)

So, we Skyped.

I walked my brain down a path that used to be well trodden.
I admit... The weeds had definitely overtaken it. I had to look hard to even see that a path was still there; it was so overgrown.
As I pushed my way through though, it slowly revealed itself and I was explaining those equations to Colby without hesitation.
...And it felt good...Knowing a part of me that I used to be so proud of, was still there, buried deep inside.

I know that pathway will continue to be cleared out throughout the next few years of middle school and high school.

I wonder what other things I haven't thought about for over 25 years will need to be pulled from my dusty files???

Monday, July 13, 2015

The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only one page

Today, my boys and I started on an epic two week vacation to the northeast United States.

I asked my brother, Tim, to join us.

Tim and I have always been close and the fact that he became a teacher this year gave us both the luxury to be away for 2 weeks.

It started out normal.  We got up early. The car was packed to the gills.  We were ready to drive 800 miles and only stop for gas.

Thirty minutes from home, we ran into dead-stopped traffic - a wreck on the highway.

No worries (we thought), we will just take some back county roads.

The first crossroad looked like this...

Again, we thought, no worries...
Until the next 5 crossroads looked like this...

I started to wonder if someone didn't want us to go on this trip...
But thankfully, after these few set backs,  we made it all 800 miles without a hitch.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

My chapter as a classroom teacher is closing.
Tomorrow will be my last day that I hold that title.
Part of me thought that I would retire with that title...

I'm sure I will eventually be able to honestly say that I'm happy about this change...
But today is not that day.

Today... today, I am overwhelmingly sad.

My room is bare - no more whimsical frogs.
All of the drawing and letters and pictures from kids accumulated from the past 8 years have been taken down.

Even with my room getting emptier and emptier by the day, it really didn't hit me that I was done until they called a third grade level meeting today... and I wasn't invited.

Then, Jennie (my student teacher -  who is taking my place) had her mom come by to show her the room.  Her mom started crying because she was just SO happy.

After Jennie introduced her mom to our students, one of my little girls, K, came up to me and said, "It was really nice that Miss S's mom came to meet us."
I smiled and nodded and said, "It was. Wasn't it?"
She then looked questioningly at me and asked, "Then why has your mom never came to meet us?"

It was innocent enough, but I still had to pause and swallow hard to be able to answer. "Because she is in heaven... I know if she were here though, she would have love getting to know you guys."

Man.  If this wasn't hard enough.
That buried thought was immediately brought to the surface.
I turned... to give myself time. To allow the tears to blink back to where they belong.  To catch my breath so I wouldn't drown in the emotions that wanted to overtake me.

Today, I am overwhelmingly sad.
Tomorrow, I can already tell you... I will be a complete and utter mess.

After that??...
Well,  I know that new things can't start until other things end... So here's to this beginning's end.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Great leaders don't set out to be a leader...they set out to make a difference

My principal told me in a meeting today that she is resigning due to health issues.

To say I lost it, would be an understatement.

When she first came... I sat doe-eyed assessing every move and every word she spoke.  I had dealt with administrators before that came in both guns blazing... but she didn't. She came with a sweet voice and a soft smile.

She offers hugs instead of handshakes.

She can assess people and then just know which words of wisdom you need to hear.

After one of the first meetings I had with her, she asked me if I ever planned to go into administration.  I think I actually laughed and told her no.

Then you said these words to me, "Why not, Dawn?  You are such a natural born leader."

I honestly think she was the first person to ever say something like this to me.  It actually took me back.  I left thinking, "She doesn't know me... that's why she thinks that."  but it changed something inside me that day.

Ever since that day, I couldn't help but think that's what she thought of me... and that I needed to uphold that image.

She planted a seed in me, and I'm just overly sad that she won't get to see it grow as I take on a new role that she helped to develop.  

She is truly a great friend and leader and I will miss her more than she will know!!