Thursday, August 31, 2017



This week has been full of change for all of us, but especially for Tobin. He started a new school and cut off two years' worth of hair growth. Cutting his hair was something he'd contemplated for a few months. He finally pulled the trigger last weekend. Since then, he's spent a lot of time looking in the mirror and rubbing his head, adjusting to the different feel of it all.

A lot feels different this week as we get up earlier to leave the house earlier to take the kids to two different schools. Tobin has definitely been tentative and nervous about going to a new school. But it helps that he's at a small school with lots of friends from elementary--especially with his best friend since first grade in his homeroom. I am thankful for these constants in the midst of change.

Change is inevitable. Sometimes we choose it--like T did with his haircut. Other times, it's just an expected next step--like moving up to sixth grade. Still others, it's something that surprises and overwhelms us--like a natural disaster or a scary diagnosis. I've tried this week to be thankful for the opportunity to experience something new. Change can be scary, but I've learned that I can be fearful AND grateful--with an open heart. I've said that in different ways to the kids this week: "It's okay to feel nervous. You're going to learn some new things." I'm thankful for new opportunities . . . and also looking forward to when this "newness" feels more routine.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Next week, we kick off another school year after a full, fun summer. This week, we attended an open house for T's school, found out officially that Lauren has our first pick for teacher, and watched Tobin work out with the soccer coach with an eye toward trying out for the middle school team.

I had a really good feeling about T's middle school at the open house, and know a few of the teachers there personally. I'm thankful to feel confident in the school year the kids are about to begin. As I prepare to teach at my own school this year, I've tried to be mindful of the words, deeds, and environments that have put me (as a parent) and our kids at ease about the classroom. I hope to put my students and their families similarly at ease next week. I hope to be a welcoming, mindful teacher for all the young people I get to meet, and I hope to be a support to other teachers in my department. I hope to honor the spirit of Maria Montessori in my own teaching: "We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master." I am thankful for the schools I attended, the teachers I had, the school my children attend, and the teachers they have had.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Lala's first ride on the Tabacco Trail

This week is our last of summer break, because Matt heads back to work on Monday. The kids will start school the following Monday. It's been another summer spent making memories. The five of us have spent a lot of time together: in our car, with family and friends, and in and around our home. Being home has been a little different, since I've been working part-time. Matt and the kids have logged more hours together and gone on a few adventures without me. But at the end of each day, it's the five of us.

Last night at the supper table, as we sat around eating quesadillas and leftover chili, I found myself struck by the liveliness and joy of our conversation--each kid jumping in. Sure there have been times when we've been annoyed with each other with all this togetherness, but in this season, I appreciate how well my kids seem to enjoy each other.

Five years is the span of age between Tobin and Lauren. When she was a tiny baby, their relationship was all sweetness. As they both grew older, the differences in their personalities emerged: he's a rule follower, and she is not. They can argue quite passionately. But it feels like something has shifted again this summer. Tobin seems more amused by Lauren than annoyed by her. Lauren seeks Tobin out to show him her latest LEGO creation or to get tips on a video game. He seems especially keen on encouraging her these days.

As summer ends and the school year begins, the five of us will go our separate ways, spending many hours of the day apart. But at the end of each day, we come home. And maybe we'll listen to The Avett Brothers, as we often do, who might remind us: "Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name."

Hiking hand in hand

Thursday, August 03, 2017


When we drove to Louisiana, we rented a car with a Bluetooth interface for music. T sat with me a lot, and was really interested in who sang what, what kind of music it was, and when the music was made. He made some fun discoveries of music he liked, and only one he didn't (he's not a James Brown extended-cut fan, for the record).

Since we came back, a regular ritual has been playing records on our turntable during the day. I choose one or let the kids choose, then we listen to one or both sides, sometimes as backgrounds music, sometimes as the main activity. It fills me with all kinds of good memories, and it has been fun to see all three of the kids engage with music and vinyl. I'm thankful for memories I have of listening to and learning to love music, and I'm thankful to be making some of those memories with my own kids.