The cold, snowy weather today did not stop me from enjoying a bit of warmth.  My second graders created a colorful, vibrant mural of a tropical rain forest, then presented amazing facts they discovered about the plants and animals that inhabit these steamy, lush expanses.  The smiling faces of the now expert researchers as they proudly explained about an orchid, toucans, anacondas, tigers, and much, much more warmed my heart and brought the sunshine to me that I am so much craving.  A realistic trip to the balmy tropics over my adventure this morning???  Second grade all the way!

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10,000 steps. A newly acquired Fit-Bit?? Nope. Today, Team “Grover” enrolled for the Chicago Multiple Sclerosis Walk, our annual outing now for the past 5 years. Members of my family and I will assemble the first Sunday in May at Grant Park with a cast of thousands to participate for a cause…. finding a cure for this life altering autoimmune disease. As a sea of orange embarks on their trek, pledgers are kept focused on their dedicated vision. Spirits are high, laughter fills the air, and twinkles of hope are ever present.  While mentally anticipating this newfound family tradition, shadows of a young mother gently rocking her infant son dance in my memory. As this now grown man courageously journeys through his daily path, will he enjoy a lifetime of dances?  10,000 steps. If wishes do come true, each step taken will open up endless possibilities for him and others.

 

Sometimes one small success gives me great pleasure.  I create a computer-generated monthly school activity calendar for my staff.   In the past, I have been able to use a template found in Publisher. This year, I no longer can locate this template and have had to struggle with Excel.  Excel and I don’t really get along.  I do not find it very user friendly….. probably because I do not have many uses for it……or maybe I don’t find uses for it because I am not comfortable navigating through the programs.  After nine of months of calendars, today was the first time I was able to find success with one attempt, and I actually completed the April calendar only spending about 45 minutes from start to finish….including clip art.  Since last August, this task has taken me through many failed attempts, oodles of frustration, and countless hours of my precious time.  The good news…only one more calendar to generate for this year….May/June. I am fairly confident the job will be a cinch but, come August (in reality only 5 short months away), I certainly hope I will be able to duplicate what I did today!

While scheduling future meetings with my literacy coach today, I realized how swiftly this school year is fading into the sunset. I couldn’t believe I started peeking at end of the year activities and hauling out event folders in anticipation of planning for May and June functions. Yikes!!! Is the earth spinning on its axis at a faster pace, or am I in denial about approaching those glorious “Golden Years?” I think the latter.

Parents in our District have a unique luxury……..a hands-on superintendent. Today, at our March Parent Group Meeting, our superintendent was in attendance for a major portion of the meeting. This is not something out of the ordinary. He makes the effort to attend all Parent Group Meetings that take place in our four District elementary schools. Keeping parents informed of the ever changing happenings down in Springfield, supporting and clarifying current and new District initiatives, stressing the importance of daily student attendance, and many other issues spotlight his time at the meetings. But perhaps his most important focus is being visible in our schools, making connections with families, and allowing our parents the opportunity to express their concerns or praise the many quality educational experiences provided for their children. He attentively listens absorbing every detail and then replies showing genuine interest and consideration. Parents feel supported and important knowing the superintendent is present to respect and honor their opinions.

Strange how songs can be powerful in stirring up tender memories. This morning I heard for the first time in ages Rod Stewart sweetly singing “Have I Told You”, an original Van Morrison remake. I don’t necessarily have warmhearted memories for that exact song, but rather a very old tune “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”. The message in both songs are the same, but the lyrics and melodies are different. Musical idols of  past eras such as Ricky Nelson, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley and a few others from the 1940’s-1950’s (yes, I am totally going way back!) all had renditions of this old classic which is what sparks me to return to a moment in my past. Decades ago while rummaging through my mother’s personal treasures after she passed away, I stumbled upon a dear and delicate love letter that my father had written to her while she was away at college. Simply stated he had stated, “There they go again playing our song on the radio….”Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.” Each time I return to thoughts of that letter, I am reminded of my parents endearing love with just a few tender words and a touching tune. I have often wondered…..……..Perhaps this was the first dance at their wedding?  I’ll always wonder.  An uncanny coincidence while performing a difficult task lead me to “their song.” As I reminisce now, I regret that I never did share with my father the secret that I had unveiled years ago……sentimental feelings for the love of his life and affirmation of a love so true. I wish I had.

For the past 2 years, the house across the street from our school has been empty.  We are assuming a foreclosure took place because the house has not been tended to for quite some time.  Early one morning last week, I heard the buzzing of a saw, looked out my window,  noticed several 4 x4 trucks parked in front of this house and the dilapidated front door swung open.  Men were walking in and out carrying out what appeared to be contents of the house………..old furniture, bags and bags and bags of trash, moldy insulation, jig-sawed dry board, rotted pieces of wood and 2 by 4’s,  and so on.  To my delight, renovations were finally taking place!!!!  No longer, I hope, will the house across the street be an eyesore that I have to see every day.  The team has been going to town working on the inside and outside of this house.  Last Thursday and Friday, the humming of an enormous chain saw could be heard all day long echoing throughout the neighborhood….the sound piercing our ears when we walked outside.  Workers were cutting down, one branch at a time, a tree on the front yard that no longer was breathing life. I couldn’t help but wonder why not just take out the tree with one move???  I assume there was a valid reason.  I am quite proud of the grounds of my school and the surrounding neighborhood.  Finally, this house is not going to stick out like it doesn’t belong.  A huge part of me would love to ask for a tour when the work is completed. I am imagining beautiful craftsmanship. But I am more anxious to see who is actually going to be our new neighbors who will  take pride in their new home.