Monday, March 31, 2014

Last Slice

Today is the last day of the Slice of Life Challenge. I can't believe that tomorrow is April! Where has a month gone? I am happy to see April here. I am ready for warmer weather. Tonight we actually took a walk as a family for the first time since fall. It was nice for everyone to get some fresh air. The last time Brynn rode in her stroller she was in her baby carrier facing backward. Not tonight, though. 

Here is a picture from our walk. Brynn loved it. I think Mike and Tanner were happy to have company. 

Earlier today I had planned on slicing about something else entirely different. I planned on writing about my silly fifth graders, but then changed my mind. However I can't resist sharing this gem. As I was walking around my room this morning checking on the progress of group projects I noticed a strange book on one of the desks. I don't really have words other than the book looks questionable inside and out. However the student that had the book has done some very advanced reading, so I didn't question it too much. Not sure if I will see the book again tomorrow? Who knows! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014


This morning Mike went to our local grocery store to pick up a couple of things. When he was at the store he asked for a paper bag, versus plastic. The clerk got really excited and told him he would love the bag. When he got it he quickly saw why. It was written on by a local child. Apparently it was some sort of project. We aren't sure on the details, but it was a very sweet surprise. So maybe the next time you are at the store you should ask for paper. :) 

In other news our out of town family made it he home safely today, which is great news. We are still so excited about last night. We really do realize how lucky we are. We appreciate those that have supported us in the last five years. Thank you! 

My favorite line on this bag, I love your style. Thanks kid. :) 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Big Night!!!!

Tonight was our big night for our annual haystack fundraiser. This is actually the fifth annual. We had the BEST time this year. It was amazing. This year we were able to share with everyone that we made our goal to raise $100,000!! We raised this amount in just over five years. Our fund in honor of Makenna is now endowed! That is beyond fathomable! 

I am going to keep this post short because I am spending time with family tonight. But I will say, thank you to those that came tonight, those that sent a donation in the mail this week, and anyone that helped make this event possible. Tonight we raised just under $10,000!!! All the money goes to Riley Hospital for Children. Man we are lucky! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Big Day tomorrow!

Tomorrow is a big day for us. We have our big haystack fundraiser tomorrow at our church. All of the money we raise goes toward our daughter's fund at Riley. I am really anxious this year for some reason. Maybe because it is the fifth year for the fundraiser. Maybe because I am anxious every year and I just forget about it. It is hard to tell. Either way, I am looking forward to it. 

Tonight we are spending out evening at home cleaning and preparing for the big day ahead. Speaking of cleaning, Brynn has developed a fascination and love for the vacuum. She followed Mike around the house while he vacuumed. :) 

If you are in the area, feel free to come and join us! We would love to have you. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thank You.

Today I worked on thank you cards for Brynn's birthday party. I ordered them through Shutterfly so they would be cute and personal. They came on Tuesday and I quickly got to work. I love writing thank you cards because I know how important they are. When I write a thank you card I put a lot of thought into each and every card and the person receiving it. 

Something I have noticed overtime,  not everyone feels the same way. I have noticed that people don't always write them, which is fine. It isn't important to everyone. I have always been taught that you write a thank you card when someone does something nice for you or buys you a gift, etc. I used to dread writing them when I was in 4-H because there were always so many that needed to be written. As an adult now, I appreciate learning this valuable trait. 

Thank someone today. :) 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

That Funk You Just Can't Shake

This morning I woke up, exhausted but I crawled out of bed. Mike was leaving early so I wanted to be up and showered ,etc. before he left. That meant getting up a bit earlier than normal. No big deal. One problem though, I went to bed late because I got home late last evening. All my fault. No biggie. It is not unusual to be tired. :) 

Then I got to work and went to a meeting. It was a good meeting and I learned about things I could try in my classroom with my writers. 

Then I went to my room and learned about all of the things I missed at the middle school meeting. Ugh. I couldn't help but have the feeling that I missed something important. Part of the problem, since I teach language arts sometimes I am pulled to meetings with elementary teachers and sometimes I am pulled to middle school. Today was just hard because I know what I missed will still be required of me, but now I have to sort that out. Difficult. So between being tired and now frustrated I am stuck in a funk I can't shake. 

I am certain I can get out of it and have a good day, but it is taking me longer than normal. My head is spinning with so many things! Maybe I will read another funny book to my kids this afternoon. That might do the trick. :) 

Something else that gives me a chuckle is this older picture of Brynn. I took this in October for Aunt Holly's birthday. It still cracks me up that I caught her at this moment. We call this photo Pirate Brynn. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Night to Remember

I have know for the last few days what I was going to slice about. I have been looking forward to it. I was able to have a once in a lifetime experience this evening.  

Do you remember that book I couldn't put down a few days ago? Well, I was able to go tonight to listen to Eva Kor's story!!!! It was amazing! I asked my cousin AJ (a high school history teacher) to join me, and I wasn't  surprised that he was equally excited about this opportunity. 

We arrived at Grace before 5, although Eva wasn't speaking until 6. We were able to get pretty good seats. Her "lecture" as she called it was perfect. I am not sure how she put such a positive spin on something so awful and serious. She even had us laughing at times. She sure seems to have a lot if spunk. Love it! 

After she was done speaking she had her books for sale, signed her books, and allowed photos! AJ and I waited in line for a bit, but it was worth it. We spent some time talking about what to say to her. When it came time to meet her we both were in awe that we only partially said what we wanted and stood quietly while she signed. I had her sign my book and a book for the school. She was happy to do it. I see a trip to her museum in our future. :) 

I am not even sure what else I can say about tonight other than Eva is an inspiration and I am so glad I went this evening. It truly will be a night to remember. 

The book I couldn't put down. 

Monday, March 24, 2014


Tonight I am struggling with what to write about....I am 24 days in and I finally feel like I hit a wall. Then I sit and realize there  are plenty of topics I could choose. 

Tonight I am thinking about my life as a teacher. This evening my fifth grade boys were playing basketball at home, so I stayed to watch. (I should mention Brynn was with me.)  A lovely friend who also teaches happened to be there because her son was playing. We sat with her, thank goodness. All that Brynn wanted to do was walk up and down the bleachers. Between the two of us, Brynn wore out two steps on said bleachers. 

As I think about the evening and the fact that my arms are sore from wrestling Brynn, it occurred to me I must love my students. I didn't stay for the recognition from the parents or the students or those of you reading. I stayed because they asked me to stay, and because it was important to some of them that I was there. 

Then I started thinking about my week last week. I went to Dollar General twice, and Walmart once to buy supplies for my students for a project they are working on. I stopped at Walmart to buy Popsicle sticks!!! For those of you that know me know this is HUGE. I really don't like Walmart. Mike even offered to go in, but I still went. 

I do love my students and even in my ninth year of teaching I still love my job ( most days).  But the thing that keeps me going back day after day are the kids. I might be the only hug they get in a day or the only smile or the only genuine conversation, which is a big job. This brings to mind the following quote. Interestingly enough I can't find the true speaker of the quote. Maybe they didn't want any recognition. :) 

This photo doesn't have much to do with my post for tonight, but this is how I ended my night. Brynn realized that it is more fun to climb on her rocking chair than it is to rock in it. She was ornery! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Things Dogs Put Up With...

Our dog Tanner is a rescue dog, and he has been part of our lives since 2005. He is 9 years old! He is a Shepard/Collie mix and he acts it at times. We love Tanner dearly and it occurred to me the other day that he puts up with a lot. Now that Brynn is bigger and gets around the house, she is constantly after Tanner. He really doesn't seem to mind and at times I think he likes it. For so many years it was just Tanner and now he has to share his space. That can't be too easy. He does it all in stride, for the most part. He has never and hopefully won't ever get upset with Brynn, but there are times I am not sure how he keeps his cool. Maybe Brynn is now one of his "people". I hope so. 

This morning before church happened to be one of those, "how does he do it" moments. Brynn was playing with her blocks and he wanted to be right there to play, too. The pictures say it all. He didn't get up and leave us until Mike started making noise. 

The last picture is my favorite. Brynn was actually sitting on Tanner and a block. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Playtime Saturday

This morning Brynn went to Grandma and Papaw's house, so Mike and I could go to Fort Wayne. Mike was donating platelets and I was running errands. I am proud of Mike for donating platelets. Makenna needed them everyday since her blood couldn't clot on its own. Way to go Mike!!! 

Brynn took her new backpack from her birthday today. So cute! She loved it! 

When we got home it was playtime. Brynn was really awake and ready to go! So we have been playing, cleaning, and doing laundry. Oh and watching some basketball. :) 

Enjoy your evening! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Think Happy Thoughts.

Today was a Spring Fling day at our school. Students and staff were encouraged to dress in spring clothes and the staff had a cookout for lunch. It was a pretty good day. My kids were a bit wild today for some reason. Maybe because the sun was out all day, however we did wake up with a fresh coating of snow! Talk about confusing. :) 

One of my kids shared a news story about being happy. It was a good reminder to find something happy in your day or to make someone else happy. At the end of the news story we watched the video Happy by Pharell Williams. It was a really good way to start class. We all really did seem happier. 

My last block of kids came in naturally silly, so to continue with the silliness I read a silly book. Those Darn Squirrels. They loved it and we all giggled. 

Something else I noticed, my little solar powered dancing flower had a chance to actually get its groove on today. That hasn't happened in months! 

Lastly, I noticed that this snack provided by my friend Jessica was smile worthy! The kids loved that it was a dolphin. :)

Happy Friday, everyone! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Words and thoughts by Kenlee

My three almost four year old niece teaches me something every time I see her and tonight didn't disappoint. At dinner I learned that "ewectwicity isn't fwee" (electricity isn't free). So you shouldn't leave your lights on. Clearly an influence of her parents. Although it was something my dad said ALL THE TIME. 

I also learned tonight that you should always wear make-up. "If you don't people won't know if you are the kid or the mommy."  Great advice. :) 

Kenlee is a constant source of entertainment and always has something to say. I sure so love her. <3

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One year!!!!!

A year ago today I went to see my doctor after enduring some uncomfortable days prior. Little did I know I was actually in labor. Who knew?!? Brynn had decided she wanted to come early. My doctor told me Brynn would be arriving that day, before 7:30 pm. She then said go grab some lunch and check yourself into the Birthplace at the hospital!!!! What?!?! I chose Culvers, because I wanted cheese-curds. Ha!!! At the restaurant the girl at the counter asked me when I was due, Mike and I chuckled. My reply was, in about an hour. The girl looked at me in disbelief. News quickly spread in the restaurant and the lady that brought us our food congratulated us and wished us good luck for the big day. It was a great lunch and we were off to the hospital. Brynn arrived at 7:43 that evening. She was perfect. :) 

Now today we celebrate her! This morning she woke up the happiest girl in town. It was like she knew today was her day. I also took the afternoon off, so we could eat lunch with Mike and spend time together. We even did a little shopping at Target. 

Today I am thankful for Brynn, the people that love her, the doctors that enabled her to be here, modern medicine, and too many other things to list. At this moment, I am not sure how I could be more blessed than this moment. 

Playing with her IKEA Barn and her new puzzle. 
Happy 1st Birthday, Brynn. We love you! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Husband

I don't want this post to be all mushy gushy, but it might be. I know that I am lucky to have Mike, because he is a wonderful husband, father, and friend. I wanted to talk a bit about him today because of something that happened this morning and actually most mornings. 

A friend at work asked me this morning if I needed lunch from Subway because he was going. I said I would check what was in my lunchbox, since Mike packed it. It turned out I didn't need Subway. Mike had packed me a nice lunch. When I think about it, he packs my lunch most days. He even puts all of my stuff school bag, lunchbox, Brynn's stuff, etc. in the car for me. These are things he doesn't have to do for me, but he does anyway. I know I don't tell him enough that I appreciate it and him. I really do and I know I am really lucky. He does so much more than pack a lunch. If it were a list it would be too long to write. Thanks for being so good to Brynn and me. We love you. 

I snuck this picture of them on Sunday. Hopefully he isn't too mad that I posted this. It was too sweet. It is exhausting being a good dad. 
Watching basketball. 
One of my favorites of the two of us, maybe because we are tan. :)
One of my all time favorite pictures of Mike holding Brynn for the first time. Love it. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

People that make you smile.

I know I just sliced about friends, but my slice today is sticking with that theme. As I think about how to say what I want to say in the best way, it is a lot harder than I realized. 

I am beyond words moved to tears actually at the kindness of people. Today was one of those a-ha moments. (Although I have known this all along.) I guess it actually started last week when I was surprised with a  birthday card for Brynn and three different notes with money for Makenna's Fund at Riley in our mailbox. Getting checks for Riley isn't that unusual, as our yearly fundraiser is in two weeks. I was really surprised by the birthday cards. We received another card in the mail today, which is what really got me thinking. The card that came today was from someone who I imagine to be extremely busy, but yet she never makes us feel like she is too busy for us. I am also certain that she encounters so many people and families, yet she finds time to send Brynn, our daughter, a birthday card! When I read the return address label I smiled and teared up at the same time. She remembered. 

My heart is so full at the moment because of kind gestures like a birthday card. I was even on a high still from all of the love at Brynn's birthday this weekend. 

We are all guilty at times of worrying only about ourselves. So I end this post tonight with a challenge for those of you reading, do something kind for someone. Do something out of the blue to make someone's day. Whether it be a stranger, or friend. You might not know the impact your kindness will have, but I am sure it will be noticed. 

I felt the picture below was appropriate with today's slice title. Enjoy. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thankful for Friends.

I know the weekend isn't over, but Sunday afternoon quickly moves to the evening and so on. It has been a great weekend filled with family and friends. Brynn is still recovering from her birthday party! She is one busy gal, too busy for a nap this afternoon. Aunt Holly just left to head back home for Indy and I have schoolwork and laundry to get started. Only problem, I would rather relax and watch basketball. :) 

I am sure I have sliced about MDF before, but I am very thankful for (Aunt) Holly. She is so good to us and of course sweet Brynn. She made the trip yesterday for Brynn's party and will be here again on the 29th for our haystack fundraiser for Riley. We think Holly is pretty darn wonderful! The best around. Brynn sure loves her too, but how could you not? 

I will end this slice with some pictures. The best friend hats were purchased a while back and when we remember we take a picture wearing them. They will be packed for Florida in a few weeks! Each time my favorite pictures are the candid ones where we aren't ready.  :) 

Happy Sunday! Go MSU! 

My favorite from last time we wore the hats. It is the picture that comes up when Holly calls me. :) 
Love you, MDF! 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brynn!

We celebrated Brynn's first birthday today with some family and friends. (Her actual birthday is the 19th.) Where has a year gone?!?!  The party was a success. She loved her cake and her presents. Most of all she loved her guests, especially the kids at the party. She is wiped out as I write this as she should be. She had a BIG day. :) I won't lie mama and dada are tired, too!