My Real Life

June 27, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I’ve always said that I was going to age gracefully.

That I would welcome each laugh line as a sign of a happy life.

That I would cherish the wrinkles on my forehead as evidence that I was constantly surprised by a life well lived.

That I would embrace the gray hairs as they started to sprout from my head as a signal that I’ve lived and survived.

Until two days ago.

When I noticed more than a few gray hairs growing from my scalp.

Stuff just got real.

My superior thoughts about how I’d hold my head high as I aged began to flee one at a time, as I combed through my hair and found about five silver strands mixed in with the blonde.

“How soon can I get an appointment?” I wondered.

“Should I just pick up some Sun-In in the meantime and try to do a home fix?”

I combed my hair back and forth over my scalp, adjusting the lights to see if more appeared in brighter or dimmer light, trying to see if there were more to the left or the right, seeing if I could hide them in a ponytail.

“Hey Mom.  Watcha doin’?” Monkey in the Middle asked as he walked in the bathroom (because, as we’ve established, nowhere in my home is sacred “Me” space).

“Just looking at my hair…I found some gray hairs on my head.  Soon enough, my whole head of hair will be silver.”

“Wow…I bet that’s going to be really pretty, Mom.”

I put down the comb and looked at this boy who was looking at me earnestly.

Not trying to butter me up for anything.

Not realizing that I was even feeling angst over the grays.

Simply stating what he believed to be fact.

I’m not saying that his statement completely wiped away any anxiety I may have had over those silver strands.

I’m not saying that I don’t take closer looks at my scalp when I’m getting ready in the morning.

What I am saying is that I put down that comb, hugged that boy, said “Thank you, sweetie…I bet it will,” and started thinking about all of the beautiful women I know with full heads of silvery white hair.

And I realized that in the eyes of those that matter most, the color of my hair really isn’t important.

Good thing to know, since my hairdresser didn’t have an available appointment for two weeks.

June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Slow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 1:17 pm


June 25, 2013

A Tale of Two Detectives

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

The monkeys and I recently finished watching the entire series of Dr. Who.

We watched what was available on Netflix and then finished up the last season on Vimeo.

This has left a bit of a gap in my British telly fix.

Downton Abbey, Dr. Who…all making me wait until the fall.

So, I asked around, and Michaela suggested that I might want to try Sherlock, another BBC show.

I’m a huge fan of mysteries, loved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Holmes stories, and am in the market for something new.

The problem is that I tried to watch Elementary, which is the latest American attempt at covering the Sherlock Holmes character.

I found it utterly unwatchable.

I felt that there was no chemistry between Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu).

I also did not like this rendition of the character of Sherlock Holmes whatsoever.

There was nothing redeemable about him.

Sherlock Holmes is a genius and is supposed to be a bit of a snob.

However, genius without personality is nothing more than annoying, and this Holmes just came off as an enormous jerk.

So, although Michaela and I are generally telly buddies, I was hesitant to give Sherlock a try.

However, this past weekend, I was down for the count with a cold, and so I figured, why not?

What a lovely surprise.

Benedict Cumberbatch brings a bit of vulnerability to this portrayal of Holmes, which allows him to smile a bit and indulge in a laugh or a joke or two with Watson (Martin Freeman…incidentally, who also plays Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit”) which makes for a nice chemistry that makes their interplay enjoyable.

I like the mysteries in Sherlock better than those in Elementary.

I like the way Holmes and Watson go about solving the mysteries better in Sherlock.

I like the friendship between Holmes and Watson and I like the relationship between Holmes and Inspector LeStrade who frequently calls upon Sherlock for help solving cases.

What I don’t like is the fact that there have only been two seasons, three ninety-minute episodes per season, and now I have to wait…until November for the new season.

So, if you are looking for smart humor, check out Sherlock.

And in the meantime, I’m open to suggestion for something else I might enjoy and cannot miss.

I’ve been told I should check out “Call the Midwife,” and may give it a try, but I’d love to hear what else you think might be worth a look!

June 23, 2013

Summer Slow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:49 am

Officially, I’m not done with school yet, as I have two days of training on Monday and Tuesday and graduation on Tuesday night.

However, the kids are done, and even though it’s the weekend, we are already beginning to slide into our summer mode, which I call “Summer Slow.”

Last summer was the first summer I didn’t work since I was in high school, as the cost of putting four kids in a camp outweighed any paycheck I might have earned in the summer.

So, we tightened up the checkbook and made it through.

And we made it through in summer slow mode.

What is summer slow?

It’s a mug of tea on the deck in the morning while Tiny walks around inspecting cicada carcassas, watching the squirrels and chipmunks, starting to play with the outdoor toys.

It’s an impromptu morning walk with the monkeys when they are all up, with no destination in mind and nowhere in particular to rush home to get to.

“Summer Slow” is alternating between playing H.O.R.S.E. and basketball and hockey and badminton with the boys and reading/lifting my head every two seconds for a “Mom! Watch this!”

It’s getting chores done in my own time because my window to get them done has just expanded considerably beyond the 48 hours of weekend I am used to.

It’s going into our Netflix queue and ordering the first two discs of Little House on the Prairie, Season One for our regular summer viewing of the series.

“Summer Slow” is heading to the library to stock up on kids books about summer for Tiny and chapter books for the big kids for a little bit of quiet time at the end of the day.

It’s farmer’s markets, baking from scratch, watermelon dripping from chins.

It’s lemonade and sidewalk chalk and sweaty heads and droopy eyes and a feeling of peace and simplicity.

I love Summer Slow and the monkeys and I have been waiting for these days when we can slow down and just “be.”

It’s time.

June 20, 2013

Last Days of School – A Teacher’s Perspective

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
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As I write this, there are two days left of school.

For me, there won’t be any History instruction in these last two days as Thursday will be spent in graduation rehearsal all day (which is an instruction unto itself) and Friday is the 8th grade yearbook signing party.

But what there will be is a lot of goodbye.

There seems to be an assumption that teachers can’t kick the kids out the door fast enough when the end of June rolls around.

There seems to be an assumption that we wait all year for that last day of school to say “Goodbye, See Ya, Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out,” so we can hit the beach.

If people only knew.

The last days of school are an exercise in letting go, saying goodbye, and watching a piece of you walk out of a door.

In my case, 126 pieces of me.

Which is not to say we aren’t ready for them to go.

We are.  Not because we want to be rid of them, but because we know they are ready to move on and that it is time.

They are not the same people they were when they walked into our rooms in the fall.

They are bigger, stronger, smarter, faster, braver, better than they were.

They are more than ready to meet the next challenge ahead of them.

But they’ll do it without us.

It’s true…we are already thinking about next year’s kids and getting excited about new learning, new plans, new relationships.

But we’re sad at being left and we miss them.

Every single year.

And maybe…just maybe…that’s why I have such a hard time with my own children growing up.

Because I am being outgrown and left every single year.

It is a heartbreak unique to teachers.

The students enter in the fall and you know, already, that they will leave you in the summer.

And you still can’t help but fall in love with them over and over and over again.

I cleaned out my classroom after school today.

Started putting things away, recycling papers, taking down posters.

I was left with this:



An empty room.

A sad room.

Because a classroom without students is a sad place to be.

My 8th graders graduate next Tuesday night and I will stand behind that podium and call their names and watch them take their diplomas and walk out of my life.

I just hope that somewhere, deep inside, they will always carry a piece of me with them, because I will always carry a piece of them with me.

June 19, 2013

She Makes Me Laugh

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Today I’m sharing the blog Mommy Shorts.

Ilana writes a blog that always makes me smile.

I enjoy Mommy Shorts because she has fun contests like The Most Epic Head of Baby Hair.

I enjoy Mommy Shorts because she finds nonsense and shares it with us like The 5 Most Inappropriate Children’s Books.

I just enjoy the blog, and I think you will, too.

June 18, 2013

This Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 1:45 pm

I’m embroiled in school work both during and after school, this week, as we prepare for graduation, the end of the marking period, final grades, yearbook signing party, etc.

Nothing outside of the norm, but my brain is focused on task completion and my creativity has flown the coop.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some other blogs, this week.

Blogs that either make me laugh or ground me when I’m feeling like I am this week.

Today, I am sharing Beauty that Moves.

I have shared this blog before, but I think it deserves a second look (or first if you haven’t yet taken my advice).

Heather writes a blog that always makes me feel calm and centered.

Her photos are beautiful and I love reading about the natural way she is living her life.

She homeschools her daughter, eats natural foods, and lives an amazing, simple life.

This is a blog that I read every day, but especially appreciate in a week like this.

It’s like a big sigh that releases all of your tension.

So, please check her out.  You won’t be sorry.

June 16, 2013

My Dad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Yes, I realize that today you are being inundated with photos of other people’s Dads, but I would suggest that you stick with me today because I’ve got some pretty cute pics to share.

I’m an only child of two only children, so growing up, it was me and my Dad and my Mom.

All the time.

Just us.

I had great friends and spent a lot of time with those friends, but friends go on vacation and friends have to go home when the streetlights come on, so the majority of my time was spent with my parents.

These are my parents:


I’m not sure if I was born loving the same things as my parents or if I came to like those things because I had no other option, but however it happened, we spent a lot of time with books and games.




Apparently, we also spent a lot of time taking pictures of each other (probably with my Kodak Disc camera) looking at each other.

Cuz, what else were gonna do?



My Dad worked a lot when I was a kid.

He was a minister and decided to also become a pastoral psychotherapist, so he went back to school while working full-time and then, when he graduated, worked two jobs full-time, if you can even imagine that.

So, my Dad made the time he spent with me count.

We would hit the local bookstore a few nights a week and we’d browse and he’d always, always buy me a book or two, and if I brought a friend along (which I usually did) he’d buy them a book, too.

We would go to football games and baseball games.

We’d listen to the music of the 50’s and 60’s as loud as it could possibly go in the car.

We’d see every movie that came out and talk about it for days afterward.

We’d read favorite lines out of books to each other.

He’d throw me in the waves at the ocean again and again and again and again.

So, today, I say Happy Father’s Day to my Dad.

A really, really good man.


A little crazy…



…but a good man.



June 14, 2013

Broke the Mold

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I have four children.

I have been a teacher for 19 years.

It goes without saying that I have attended more than my, heck, more than anyone’s, fair share of school events over the years.

They all blend together – the concerts, the art shows, the book fairs, the science fairs.

I have memories of my kids participation, but, for the most part, you seen one, you seen ’em all.

Until yesterday.

Monkey in the Middle is in third grade, and yesterday his class created a “Wax Museum.”

Each student researched a famous person, wrote a biography and then adopted their persona, complete with costume.

I walked into the gym and the third graders were lined up against the walls, with a second circle of them in the center of the gym.

Next to each child was a music stand on which sat the biography they had written, as well as an index card with a red button on it labeled “Push Me.”

I was one of the first parents to walk into the gym and that gym was was silent.

All of these 9 year olds were standing, perfectly still, in a variety of poses, appropriate to their persona.

I scanned the gym, found Monkey in the Middle and headed over.

I pressed the “button” and immediately he straightened and began to speak.

“My name is Neil Armstrong…” and then went into a lovely biography of the man.

When he was done, he said, “Thank you,” and returned to his original position, awaiting the next person to come and hear his story.

I went to child after child and they all did the same thing.

I loved it.

They all had a bit of a different twist, but they were fantastic.

I met Neil Armstrong, Jackie Robinson, Nelson Mandela, Coretta Scott King, Gloria Estefan, Steve Jobs, Sacajawea, Elvis Presley, and the list goes on and on.

A gym full of nine year olds, quite frankly, can be a scary thing.

This gym full of nine year olds was absolutely surprising and delightful.

And, imagine…me…the mother of an astronaut.


June 13, 2013

Crazy Hair Day Revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:40 am

So, today is Crazy Hair Day and for once, there was no drama.

We have a Fred Flintstone wig from a costume party Real Man and I went to years ago and he was perfectly happy to wear it.



I wish we had thought of this a few years ago.

It would have saved us a LOT of angst.

You can read about the Crazy Hair day of the past here.

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