Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Simple joys

This past weekend I had the joy of hanging out with my nieces....It was hot and muggy and Juliette was rather determined to run through the sprinkler (the pool is not up and running yet, otherwise I suspect she would have dove right in).

She began-predictably- by running close enough to get a few drops of water on her legs and then dashing quickly away exclaiming "It's cold Mommy!" After a few minutes of this, and some verbal encouragement from the onlookers, she finally decided to dash all the way through the sprinkler. At first she held tightly to my sister's hand, and always made sure that my sister was closer to the sprinkler. Finally, she was courageous enough, or wet enough, to run through on her own and even reached a point where she would run up to the sprinkler, pause with her hands outstretched to catch the water, then run away again. She became thoroughly soaked and, also predictably, would run up to her Mom or Dad or Nonna and give them a BIG wet hug on a regular basis. She also giggled throughout the entire experience.

One of the reasons I love kids so much is the way they find such joy in life. Do you remember....
the thrill of running through a sprinkler on a hot day....
how fun it was to see who could spit the watermelon seeds the farthest.....
playing flashlight tag in the dark, convinced that behind every shadow lay something so spooky your imagination couldn't visualize it.....
waiting for the bus with your brother or sister and the talks you would have....
mixing your ice cream up so that it turned into a soupy, gloopy mess and then slurping it down.....
making mud pies....
making forts....
playing kickball at recess and hoping hoping hoping you wouldn't be picked last....
watching cartoons on a Saturday morning....
how exciting Christmas Eve was....
believing in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause....
sledding until your cheeks turned rosy and your fingers froze....

I'm sure I could come up with tons more memories that ring of childhood and all it's joys, but I'm also sure that you get the idea.

Thank God for children, who remind us to keep a little bit of the wonder and mystery and sheer unadulterated joy of childhood.....

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

Because it's important to remember what this day is really about, why it started and who we have to thank for the blessings we live with every day...
Memorial Day History.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Let's talk numbers

Let's talk some numbers:
That's the number of days until the school year ends. Of course there's a lot to do before that date, but that's another train of thought....
Here's another number:
Now that's an exciting number. That's the number of days until Russ and I close on our first ever house. That's right, 29 days and we will be--if all goes well--very happy homeowners.

We are so filled with eager anticipation over this event it's been hard to contain ourselves. We've already done several drive by's of our new house- and I swear we get a thrill of excitement every time we see the Sold! sign sitting on the front lawn that will soon be ours. Our conversations lately revolve around what we'll leave behind....all the parts of apartment living that are just a bit incovenient.

Like the speed bumps. To get to our current apartment you have to go over six speed bumps. We'll be happy to leave that behind. And the fact that to get rid of our garbage we have to put it in our car, drive over to the dumpster, walk around the mounds of furniture the inconsiderate tenants have left laying around despite rather large signs warning them not to do so, and throw--no heave--it into the dumpster. We won't miss that either.

Don't get me wrong, this apartment is actually quite nice. There are several positive features, including easy access to a bike path that I have recently enjoyed run/walking on....and it will hold a special spot in my heart. It is, after all, where I lived when I became a wife to an amazing man. But we are ready to move on...

This weekend, I got to do something to prepare for the upcoming move into our house. Something I've been itching to do for quite some time now. I planted seeds! Yes! I am going to start a garden! Actually, I've already started one, as evidenced by the seed starter pots that are currently strewn all across my postage stamp sized deck. I'm so excited about this activity I can barely stand it....I loved gardening with my Dad when I was a little girl and now have visions of digging and weeding, planting and pruning in the sunshine, surrounded by birds and crickets seranading me as I look out over the gorgeous lake that is part of our backyard.

So far I've planted tons of seeds: cucumbers, buttercrunch lettuce (my favorite and normally only available at my father's garden), romaine lettuce, parsley, zucchini, chili peppers (Russ' request), basil, thyme, cilantro....and a handful of different flowers-courtesy of my mother in law. Oh, and at my parent's house I have rosemary and tomatoes. Waiting in the wings are pepper plants and sugar snap peas, and maybe another variety of basil or some other kinds of lettuce. I might even get some sage from my Dad if he can swing it....I'm not sure what I'll do with all of these veggies, especially since my husband doesn't really like vegetables...but he does like salad and I definitely planted the vegetables needed for that! Admittedly, I was worried that things wouldn't actually grow--hence the desire to plant lots and lots of stuff. I figure my odds of actually growing something increase with the more I plant. If everything ends up growing-well, at least I'll learn how to thin out plants!

Here's hoping my green thumb prevails, and the lessons I learned gardening with my Dad as a little girl serve me well as I plant my own garden and watch it grow.....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A true reaction...

OK, I'm literally watching American Idol as I type this....please, we all know I was going to write about the finale, so I figured I might as well start typing while I watch! It's not like I have papers to correct, quizzes to grade or lessons to plan....
The guys just sang...I have to say I thought they did a great job....I still think Chris should have been standing up there on the top two. As for Elliott- personally I think he was the underdog that surprised everyone by winding up in the top three. I liked him-bad teeth and all. Any man who cries on National t.v. is alright by me. I liked his duet with Mary J. Blige but I felt that he didn't get to sing enough. I mean, I know it's Mary J. Blige, but she's already succeeded, let Elliott have some of the spotlight!
(As an aside, the commercial for Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest came on....which I'm very excited about because it's one of the few movies my husband has actually agreed to take me to. He's doing this whole, I-hate-going-to-the-movies thing that even his parents were trying to get him to break out of. I'm also excited-for the same reason- for the X-Men III movie. That's definitely Russ' influence!)

I like all the singing but c'mon already, get to the RESULTS! Here's my prediction--before they announce the winner. I think that Chris should win. OK, OK, I know, he got kicked off already. OK, out of the two left- Taylor and Kat--I think Taylor should win. Before you moan in protest (honestly I don't like him all that much, he's just a little silly to me) but Kat? Well, she's a dime a dozen. We've had several women just like Kat win already....time for a breath of fresh air. Someone new and different. Someone totally unique. Taylor. However, I think that America has a love affair with women with C/K- names (Kelly...Carrie...) so I predict Kat will win. We shall see....

Oh, goodness, get rid of the COWBOYS and tell us who won already!

Here it is....TAYLOR!!! Wow! I was wrong. Wow. Never thought that America would vote for Taylor. Way to go Taylor Hicks....now let's see if you stick around or go the route of Reuben......

Monday, May 15, 2006

Interpreting body...baby...language

As I mentioned in my previous post, Russ and I babysat Juliette and Cosette this past weekend. While we were there, I noticed that there is a definite gender difference in our ability to translate baby language. Cosette is at that age where she is perfectly capable of communicating what she wants-without words-as long as you can understand her body language and whines. Here's how the conversation went:

Juliette has made her way over to the piano, climbed up on the bench and began playing...er...that is, banging, on the keys.

Cosette: toddles over to Uncle Russ. (Did I mention she's walking now?!? It's AMAZING!) She looks up at him, lifts her arms a little and says "Unnnhhh". (As an aside, Cosette has a definite attachment to her Uncle Russ, and he, just as clearly, adores her. It makes my heart melt every time they are together.)

Uncle Russ: bends down and says, "Hi Cosette."

Cosette: louder this time: "Unnhhh" as she buries her face in Uncle Russ' shins.

Me: "Honey, she wants you to pick her up."

Russ: "Oh" He picks her up.

Cosette: leans her body towards the piano and again says "Unnhhhh", this time in a slightly higher pitched tone.

Russ: A look of confusion on his face. "What do you want Cosette?"

Me: "Cosette wants to go to the piano, where Juliette is."

Russ: brings Cosette over to the piano where Juliette is still happily banging away, and continues to hold her, far above the keys or the bench.

Cosette: Leans down towards the keys and says, "Unnnhhh" this time with a definite tone of frustration.

Me: (before he can even express confusion) "Sweetie, I think Cosette wants to sit next to Juliette."

Russ: puts her down on the bench.

Cosette: begins happily banging away on the piano keys along with her big sister.

See? Clearly, Cosette wanted to be somewhere, doing something, and she managed to communicate that wish to Uncle Russ. Luckily for her, Auntie Lisa was nearby and able to translate her wishes....

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What a Week! (or: Why I haven't posted in awhile)

This has been A Week...not a week. But A Week. Just to give you a snapshot of what's been happening in my life-here it is, a week in the life of a third grade teacher:

Monday: wait, what did I have Monday? Geez, that was so long ago I barely remember...wait... it's coming to me....oh yeah, meeting after school with the Superintendent and some Central Office staff followed by a short "emergency" meeting of the FEA Executive Board.

Tuesday: tutoring in the morning before school starts, an afternoon spent scoring writing prompts, followed by a meeting with my team, followed by a faculty meeting, followed by a meeting to review and revise the school handbook. I then drove to my Mom's house to pick up the supplies for my in school Mother's Day project. Then I finally got to go home.

Wednesday: meeting after school to discuss an upcoming bridal shower for a wedding I'm in. A meeting which lasted FOREVER.

Thursday: tutoring after school followed by a series of errands--to prepare for a baby shower I was partly responsible for that was happening on Friday and for my weekend activities.

Friday: baby shower in the morning (OK, OK, this was fun, but still something that took me away from getting work done). After school I drove to Cromwell for the CEA Representative Assembly. The assembly began at 7:30 and continued until 11. An overnight stay at the hotel and I was ready for...

Saturday: part two of the Representative Assembly. Starting at 9 and lasting until 3. (As an aside, I did win an award for a newsletter I created. Admittedly, it was just an honorable mention, but still, in the entire state of CT, a newsletter I created won an award. I still feel that is pretty cool. However, I didn't realize that this meant I'd have to sit AT the podium while all of the newsletter awards were presented. Directly behind the CEA President, Rosemary Coyle. With more than 500 delegates facing at me. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous.) Drove home, changed my clothes, relaxed for 15 minutes and then off to babysit my two lovely nieces.

Sunday: Mother's Day! Early morning church, brunch with my family, followed by a speedy rush through the grocery store, a mad scrub down of the apartment and a visit with my in-laws.

It is important to note that it has been raining all week long. This means little more than the inconvenience of carrying an umbrella for most of the world, but for a third grade teacher it means the dreaded INDOOR recess. Which means I have been dealing with a group of 19 third graders who are filled to bursting with energy with no where to put it. It's also important to note that our normally structured schedule was thrown off by several practices for the recording of a CD that our music teacher agreed to. Anyone who knows children knows that if you change their schedules and routines they are thrown off and go just a little bit crazy...Finally, also note that it's Spring. This is a good thing...for the most part. But it's also the season when traffic gets WAY worse. This means my morning and afternoon commute have lasted for a solid 45 minutes, and some days, closer to an hour. One day this week there was an awful accident on the Parkway so it took me an hour and twenty minutes to get to school.

In a nutshell: this week sucked. There were definitely highlights (seeing my two nieces Saturday night and my family--both sides of my family! Sunday) but overall, it was a week, and a weekend, where I barely stopped running long enough to catch my breath.

Looking ahead to next week it is more of the same: a meeting Monday before school and after, tutoring Tuesday morning and two meetings after school Tuesday, tutoring Wednesday after school and a potential meeting Thursday after school.
But Friday I'm free!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


OK, I'm sorry but I can't resist...WHAT was America THINKING when they voted Chris Daughtry off of the show tonight?!? Did you see the reaction of the audience? And even his? I think jaws dropped across the U.S.!
Honestly, I thought he'd be one of the top TWO! I thought he might even be The Next One- the Next American Idol!
Taylor Hicks?!? C'mon!!!!

Sunday, May 07, 2006


My sister and Kelli both filled this out...I got it as an email awhile ago and decided to turn it into a post. Here goes:

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Clerk at Jordie's Hallmark
2. A worker in the student dance office at MHC
3. Assistant Teacher at a Montessori School
4. Camp Counselor

Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Never Been Kissed (It's awful, I know but I do love it)
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
3. Top Gun (I still cry when Goose dies)
4. Love Actually
5. Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club and Dirty Dancing (I know that's technically 7 but those last three get lumped together for some reason)

Four places I have lived:
1. Woodbridge, CT
2. Greenfield, MA
3. Allston, MA (outside of Boston)
4. Hamden, CT

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. House
2. American Idol
3. Law and Order SVU
4. Anything on the Food Network

Four of my favorite books:
1. Wally Lamb I Know this Much is True
2. Anything by Jodi Picoult (she's my newest favorite author, and I'd say so far My Sister's Keeper is my favorite book she's written)
3. Charlotte's Web by EB White (I do teach 3rd grade after all)
4. Wow, I really can't pick a fourth, this is WAY too hard.....

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. England
2. France
3. St. John
4. Key West, FL

Four websites I visit daily:
1. Varous blogs (
Tina's and Kelli's and PostSecret mainly, and a few others)
2. EdHelper (This might not be daily but it's close enough)
3. Burr Elementary School (To get my school email from home)
4. CNN or Comcast

Four of my favorite foods:
1. My Mom's sauce
2. Cheeseburger--medium rare
3. Chocolate
4. Sushi (at Jerry San's)

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. On my honeymoon all over again :)
2. In our new home
3. Anywhere sunny and warm
4. Visiting with friends and family

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Putting me in my place...

Today I began teaching a math lesson about using repeated subtraction to solve division problems. OK, OK, I know what you are thinking, "What?!? How do you use subtraction to solve a division problem?!? Lisa must be confused....that poor girl....and to think, she's a teacher!" Nope, it's true, you really can solve division problems using repeated subtraction. If you want me to show you how, my math class typically runs from 1:15-2:15, you are welcome anytime.

Anyway, I start my lesson, deliver my instruction and model a few examples. Then, one of my students, let's call him N, raises his hand and says, "Mrs. S. you aren't really teaching." (As an aside, N is a student who is a nowhere-near-the-box kid.....he'll say something that makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever, but if you give him a chance to explain it will either be really clever or so totally confusing that you'll feel like you just spun around in circles fifty times in a row and your head is dizzy. He's come out with some real gems this year--my personal favorite is "Writing is like karaoke." Yup, he really said that. And it actually made sense to me--once he explained it. I'm not sure if that's scary or good.)

My first reaction after he tells me I'm not teaching is to look at the special ed. teacher in my room at the time with a clear question on my face, "Wait a minute, I thought I was teaching? Aren't I teaching? What's going on here?" She looked back at me with a grin and mouthed the word "Breathe."
Which I did.
Then I asked N what he meant....his explanation? I wasn't teaching I was just giving them another trick for solving division problems.