one hour

The children were called to the altar. Some children rushed, while others waked tentatively. While some children, despite their parent’s urging stayed put in their pew, close to their parent or parents.

Billy and I were at the 9:00am Family Mass. My favorite. I love it because the homily is directed right at the kids. The connections to the gospel are simple and our priests manage to have some fun during these kid centered homilies. I’m not afraid to admit, I tend to pay attention more.

When the homily was over, the children scurried back to their parents. The pews were once again filled with families. Filled with parents occupying their kids, urging those old enough to participate as much as possible, kneel, stand, sit, pray. I remember those days vividly, sometimes that one hour was a lot of work.

Yesterday, the mass was particularly crowded. It may have something to do with the fact that there was an Easter egg hunt immediately following mass. Billy and I were surrounded by families.

The family beside us had a daughter and a son. The boy was maybe 18 months and the daughter maybe 3. They had walked into mass a little bit late, OK, a lot late, the gospel was about to be read. I laughed and imagined what it took for them to get out of the house. I was glad they were there, sharing a pew with us.

A few pews in front of us was a family with three kids. One daughter, between two and three smiled the whole mass. She was in her father’s arms and he periodically lifted her up and over his shoulder. She was just so happy to be with him.

The family behind us snuck in right as the opening hymn was finishing up. They had three kids. Once they were settled, the youngest, I think wasn’t using his indoor voice. “Easter Bunny” he repeated and repeated. He couldn’t contain himself. I soaked in his innocent excitement.

I often accept the invitation to attend mass each week because I have so much to be thankful for. This week, I was glad to have gone, just to be in the company of all those families and their kids. They made me happy.

dessert war

My husband is an expert in many things, auto repair, gardening, finance, skiing, and history to name a few. He is avid History Channel fan. He can easily tune into a show midway and know exactly where they are and what is happening. He can tell talk World War I and World War II with such detail, names, dates, locations, intent, result, connections. It’s quite impressive.

My husband is also very funny. He can be quick witted, slightly sarcastic, and he’s often good instigator of a good all encompassing family laugh.

The other night, we had just finished dinner. Megan retreated to her bedroom to do homework. Billy had just finished loading the dishwasher. I was sitting at the table making a grocery list. I threw my weekly question in the air, “Does anyone want or need anything?” Hannah, who was in the midst of scraping the bottom of a vanilla ice cream container piped up “Yeah! More of this!” “Is that plain vanilla, vanilla bean, french vanilla?” I asked, needing a bit more information than ‘this‘. Hannah looked at the label, “French Vanilla?” she replied her voice indicating no preference. That’s when Billy piped up:

“I have an idea, why don’t you get French Vanilla, German Chocolate, put em in the freezer and watch them reenact WWII. Oh, and while you’re at it, get some Gelato and have the Italians surrender.

My husband, the humorous historian.

a meeting worth waiting for

Lynn had her parent teacher conference for her second grade son the other night. When I saw her the next morning, I asked her how it was. She smiled and said it was great. “He’s doing really well in all areas even listening!” I could see the pride in her eyes.

As your kids get older, the parent teacher conferences disappear from your life. No longer is the opportunity to sit and talk with someone who knows your child outside of the home. If your lucky, in grades 7-12, every now and then, (at least in our town) you might get an email from a teacher celebrating them and or their work. It’s nice to get that feedback as a parent, but ultimately, it’s up to you and your child to have the kind of relationship that keeps you informed enough about how school is going.

My daughter Megan is a junior in high school. Part of the the spring semester as a junior includes a post high school planning meeting with your child’s guidance counselor. It’s an opportunity for the child to talk about what their vision is for after high school. Megan is planning on going to college so our meeting, we knew, would be tips and tricks and advice on the steps she should take as she begins the application process and how to navigate the transition after high school.

We sat in the meeting, Mrs. J looking right at Megan most of the time. She was asking her questions about what she wanted in a school, what her major might be, had she logged into Naviance, etc. And she pulled up her transcript and then the compliments came. I watched Megan’s blush and nod her head. “Clearly you know how to get things done, I don’t see you often.” Megan blushed some more. I sat and watched and listened and although I had experienced this with my two older daughters, with similar compliments, it hit me, this meeting was really a parent teacher conference years in the making.

It was worth the wait.

family time


Did you know Taylor Swift is officially on tour? Did you know her tour kicked off in Arizona last Friday night?

Well, we did.

Last November, this was the conversation in our family group chat:

The girls doubted the initial affirmative answers from the day before, so they asked again:

Megan and Grace were hyper aware of Taylor’s upcoming tour. They were also hyper aware of when tickets would go on sale. Megan was hyper aware that if you had a Capital One card you had special access. So the day the tickets went on sale, Megan got herself in the cue and and got selected for presale tickets. Two weeks after the initial text of interest we got this

That was on a Monday, Megan would have to actually get the tickets on Wednesday. She and 100 of her closest friends at school planned to be called out by their ever-so-kind parents for ‘appointments’, appointments with Ticketmaster. Calling her out for family business only seemed right.

Grace, who was in England at the time, was putting all her faith in her 16 year old sister. She let that be known from across the pond:

On Wednesday at 11:02 AM, Megan sent an email declaring her successful mission:

Megan secured the tickets and now we have to plan and, most importantly, Billy and I need to brush up on all things Taylor AND apparently, coordinate our outfits!


The kids had a short day today. We had building based PD. Kid were dismissed at 1:00ish. The building was kid free by 1:15ish.

We, paraprofessionals and teachers, were given the gift of time until 2:00. Ideas for this time including walking, catching up with colleagues, eating, lunching – it was really up to each person to decide for themselves. Time.

At 2:00, we all gathered together to get an overview of Learning Walks. Jess, our Literacy Coach, and Lisa, our Math coach, gave us a short presentation on what Learning Walks are and the purpose of them. Learning walks are not evaluative and they are intended to identify school wide goals to grow. And then, we were given time.

We broke into small groups and had thirty five minutes to visit three planned classrooms. When we entered each classroom, we had six minutes to notice and wonder with lens of independence, tools, and belonging. When we walked out of each room, the comments from the group were “I’m in that room all the time and and I noticed things I’ve never noticed before.” Time.

We ended our time with a larger group share. Paraprofessionals, teachers all shared a notice and a wonder that they had gathered in the time they spent in classrooms. We had time together to share, listen, and share some more. Time.

Time to be

Time to notice

Time to talk.

All with colleagues.

Now that’s my kind of PD.