New Beginnings

My first strawberry
Can you tell this picture was taken by an 8-year old? Exactly where are the rest of our faces:)?

There must be something in the air around here. So many new, exciting things are happening all at once.
My friend Susan's baby, Jack, decided to take the world by storm six weeks prematurely. Though a bit of a shock, she and Jack are doing really well and he should be coming home from the hospital any day now.
Last Tuesday the 2nd grade baby chicks hatched right down the hallway from my classroom. I was able to hold one and show it to my students. I had never held a chick before. It was only 2 days old and was so soft and fragile.
I came home from school on Wednesday and discovered my first strawberry growing in my garden! I couldn't believe my eyes! It was green and only about 1/2 of an inch in diameter but it had appeared over night and was as good as gold to me. Since then a few more have sprouted and today I'm going to put netting around them so the birds don't eat them for lunch.
On Thursday morning our class caterpillars hatched into beautiful butterflies. It is such a wonder to watch the complete metamorphosis. My students are obsessed- they "sharpen their pencils" and "need a tissue" 20 times a day just to sneak an extra peek into the butterfly net. On Friday afternoon we'll let them go. Of course I will make a big production out of it and ask a few students to speak at the "ceremony".
This past weekend my friend Cara got married to her college sweetheart. Cara is from my highschool group of friends (what's up D-12). She and Teo married in Charleson, SC on Thursday and then we all flew into Atlanta on Friday for a weekend of festivities and celebration. This is the 2nd D-12 member to tie the knot and another is engaged. It's incredible that we've known each other since we were 12 and now we're flying places in support of one anothers' marriages. As I looked around this weekend at my friends I felt a surge of happiness. Here we are, teachers, councelors, fitness instructors, nurses, interior designers; we're Republican, Democrat, in between jobs, settled down, living all over the country. But we remember where we came from and how much we care about each other. So in a way it's like no time has gone by.
A week of so many new journeys- so cool.


Splendid Spring!

Remind me why I live somewhere with seasons again? Now, don't get me wrong- I took advantage of the winter months. I skied, I drank hot chocolate, I sat by the fire, I wore cute scarves. However, these were all activites done with one purpose- to pass the time until spring arrived. Nothing beats that first feeling of sun on my face after months of deprivation, and that feeling stays with me all summer long. I'll do anything to be outside. I mean what girl in her right mind, who lives with a boy, would volunteer to mow the lawn? Twice! I just can't get enough! Just yesterday after work (after sitting in traffic for a full hour) I got home, planted some flowers, took Kenzie for a walk, went on a bike ride, went on a run and went on another bike ride! Madness!
There is a school of thought that the reason we enjoy spring so much is because we've suffered through the winter. That people who are accustomed to month after month of nice weather don't appreciate it like we do. I'll tell you what- get me 2 ski weekends and 361 days of spring weather and I'd never complain about another thing.


Bring it on, Sunshine!

My fam minus J2

Chris and me on the tree swing

My aunt and uncle's beautiful home

Some of the Robinson family m0ms:)

Jason and me

The entire Robinson, Speiss and Hixon clans spent the day today at my aunt and uncle's house on the water in Annapolis, MD and it was such a fantastic day! If I am meant to be doing one thing it is playing outdoors in the sun and today was full of playing and (FINALLY!) sunshine! My Uncle Bo also took all of us out for a cruise on their beautiful boat and we sat on the bow (even Kenzie!) as our skin soaked up the sunshine. Contentment.
Being Mother's Day, I have to give a shout out to the one and only Big Mama. Thank you for never letting a day go by without showing me how much you love me. Your support and unconditional love push me to do great things. I love you so, so much.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

My students and I just had the unexpected pleasure of watching a caterpillar weave its own cocoon. It was unbelievable. Luckily I have my Flip video camera with me and I captured the entire event.
We receive caterpillars every year in our science kits to supplement our Life Processes unit and my students ruuuuun in the room every morning to see how much the caterpillars have grown. Their energy is contagious. Yet another reason why I love teaching.


"Miss R. I think Bob's dead..."

We lost Bob the Fish over the weekend. As a tribute to him, I thought I'd tell his story...
I bought Bob the Fish from a local pet store at the beginning of last school year. My students voted on his name on the first day of school and somehow "Bob" won out. Not too long after, Bob developed a sort of tumor looking growth on the right side of his body. How does a fish get a tumor, you ask? I don't know. Why does the one fish I pick out for my new class have to be the one that develops said tumor, you ask? I don't know. All I could think at the time was "this fish can not die or these children will be devestated". So of course, lifesaver that I am, I bought drops for his water, special food, tablets, the works. And what does Bob's tumor do? It spreads. All over his backside. However, Bob doesn't seem to mind it. He swims happily in his small, medicine infested tank all year long without a care in the world.
Skip forward a year and a half to last Friday when I walk past Bob's tank and he looks as if he's sunbathing. He's still breathing, but he's resting his hind fin on the rocks and looking straight towards the ceiling like he's suddenly too heavy to swim anywhere. The tumor had finally gotten too heavy.
Oh NO. The End is Near.
One of my students noticed the concerned look I was trying to hide and I proceeded to go to great lengths to prove how healthy Bob was. I dropped food in his tank to show them he'd swim to get it and he literally fought his way to the top, ate the food and sank, bottom first, down to the ground. "He's just resting", I lie, "fish can't always swim around- it's tiring!"
Over the weekend I left Bob here, hoping he'd recover and win the record for "Longest living fish with a tumor". However, this morning I had a meeting in another area of the building so I arrived to my classroom as my students were walking in- which was NOT early enough to check on Bob before they spotted him FLOATING AT THE TOP OF THE TANK. Nataly, his biggest fan, screamed "Miss R!!! I think Bob's dead!!"
The next 5 minutes unfolded like I have always dreaded they would- in slow motion complete and utter hysteria. The students swarmed like bees, staring, waiting for me to do something. I picked up Bob's tank while attempting to calm everyone down. "Noooo, nooo he's fine!!" (purposely jostling the tank) "Look! He's swimming!" Before everyone in the room could get a good look at his lifeless body I whisked him away to a room down the hall to "get some rest." I told my students I'd check on him after school and I'm not sure what I'll say to them tomorrow.
I have already spread the word to my adult circle and there were a few people who were not sad to hear of Bob's death, mainly my brother Jason. In fact, his exact text to me was "I'm mad at you for reminding me of his existence". He thought Bob's tumor was absolutely disgusting and has been begging me for months to flush him and get a new Class Fish. For that reason I dedicate this tumor-filled entry to him.
Bob was such a trooper and I'll remember him fondly. Wish me luck breaking the news to his 27 eight year old friends...


It's all in how you perceive things...

In Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth, he opens the first chapter by talking about flowers. He says, "Earth, 114 million years ago, one morning just after sunrise: The first flower ever to appear on the planet opens up to receive the rays of the sun."
I have started planting a garden in my new backyard and I can't help but notice how beautiful all of my flowers are. I am so proud of my newly acquired greeen thumb. As a teacher, I spend 8 hours a day with 27 eight and nine year-olds. My garden has become a quiet place where I can pay attention to details after a day full of mounting chaos. Every day I race home from work to see what's bloomed while I'm away. Flowers, like many things we've seen thousands of times, often get overlooked. But think about what it would have been like to see that first flower bloom, with all of its dazzling colors. What if we appreciated everything in life like we'd never seen it before? I bet, just maybe, we'd stop to "smell the roses".
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