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How Being a Teacher Has Made Me a Better Mom
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  I recently learned of some heavy heartache a student of mine is carrying quietly upon his shoulders along with his backpack and homework. I felt utterly hopeless to help with his burden. I can’t control the variables of my students’ lives, but I can write the story of my own family. When I returned to teaching after eight years as a stay-at-home mom,...

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Surviving Summer
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Surviving Summer

May 30, 2015 by

I love them all the time. But I love them a little more when they are all gathered around our low white coffee table, each working on their own summer homework. And by summer homework, I just mean some printed pages of math, maybe a journal entry.  Isaac “works” on writing his name. Susanna scribbles on anything she can find, including the coffee table,...

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The Power of Poetry
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I love poetry. It’s art. It doesn’t pay the bills, it doesn’t serve any practical purpose, but it feeds our souls. And because it’s language distilled down to the most potent parts, it’s quick, piercing nourishment. I think it’s the protein bars of the English language. It’s also very vulnerable. To share a poem is like standing before people in your underwear. You can’t...

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Say Yes to the Mess
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The kids decided to get creative in the kitchen tonight.  Ben chattered on excitedly about becoming world famous for his invention of “cutie juice” which involved the careful squeezing of each slice of cutie into a funnel-and-cup and then careful transfer of precious milliliters into four paper cups placed in the fridge for proper cooling. Abby decided to bake a cake and I did...

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Dear Susanna,
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Dear Susanna,

Mar 2, 2015 by

Baby Girl, You’re fifteen months old now and changing so rapidly I feel the need to freeze you in this moment time, which I will attempt to do here.  My words paint your portrait so I can go back and look at you deeply, remember who you were as you emerged from infant life into toddlerhood, universal baby characteristics melting away to reveal personality....

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Why We Love Books
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I started reading through Judy Blume’s “Fudge” series right before Christmas, starting with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  When I read, I can still hear my sixth grade teacher’s voice in my head, reading it to me years ago.  It’s the same with The Princess Bride, which will forever be voiced in my head by Ms. Betty White; I can’t read it without her. If...

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Of Hobbits and Housework
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My husband has been away.  He’s traveling in the wide world for all the best reasons, and we miss him.  Ben prayed for him as such: “Dear God, Please keep Daddy safe while he’s traveling.  Please don’t let it be like Jonah in Ninevah. Please don’t let him get taken to jail like before we were born.  Amen.” “Before we were born” refers to...

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One Word 2015
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One Word 2015

Jan 2, 2015 by

Like many others, I like to choose a word for the year. Showing up is my New Year’s Resolution, but my word for 2015 is Listen. I do entirely too much talking. (Ahem, see earlier post about not deserving my friends.)  I talk when I am nervous, I talk to fill silence, I talk at people instead of with people. Talking can be about control.  When...

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All I Want For Christmas
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Lately, I am thinking that maybe we need gratitude more in December than November. Or maybe it’s just me. December can be a month-long case of “The Gimmies” as Papa Bear would call it.  The more we consider what we’d like for Christmas, the more we shop and look, the more we think we need or want.  I took Isaac with me to go Christmas...

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Cogs in the Wheel
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Recently, someone said to me, “I don’t know how you handle four (kids)” Depends on how you define “handle.”  In the last month, I have tried to drive away with the gas pump still in my car, flubbed two recipes, and tried to put a sock on Susanna’s hand.   One day’s laundry is a load. Tim and I pick up all.the.time.  For some unknown reason, any...

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To See Them Again
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We have the best parents. In the middle of the stress of home shopping/buying, both sets have given us overnight weekend care of our kiddos. Each time I get that kind of lengthy parenting break, I seem to follow the same pattern. First, a giddy sense of freedom: I can watch what I want on TV!  I can eat in the living room instead...

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Good and Exhausting
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It’s 7:47 p.m. and I have already put the kids to bed.  I am craving a book. A book I haven’t read before with real pages to turn and a story to fall into like a dead sleep. I took a walk tonight with all four kids alone, Isaac and Susanna in the double stroller. Abby asked me why I seemed stressed and I...

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A Grateful Heart is a Happy Heart
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  This little patch of internet that I call home is approaching its five year anniversary this fall.  I cannot link back to those first posts because unfortunately, I closed down my old blogspot home. I regret that.  Many of my readers are new, but the old faithful followers who were with me in the BlogSpot days will remember my journey through gratitude (followed by...

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Minimalist Me
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Minimalist Me

Jun 24, 2014 by

Hi, my name is Ashley and I am a minimalist. It’s a deep part of who I am. I’ve had this part of me hiding nebulous under the surface for years, without really understanding what it was, which was constantly putting me in conflict with my world and causing me to ask, “is this ok?  Is there something wrong with me?”  The answers, I...

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Why I Blog
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Why I Blog

May 16, 2014 by

This is why: In this world, somehow, an ordinary life has become synonymous with a meaningless life. So often we are missing what is truly important because we’re on the quest for what is extraordinary, not understanding that, in our ordinary lives, in the ordinary moments of our lives, is really where we can find the most joy.    -Brene Brown, The Price of Invulnerability...

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Lists to Live By
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Lists to Live By

Jan 29, 2014 by

I have just finished my second book of the year, The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin. This book was right up my alley. I love lists, I love resolutions and fresh starts, and I love looking for change, progress and growth in myself and my family.  Inspired by Rubin’s Splendid Truths, Secrets of Adulthood, and 10 Commandments, I borrowed a few of Rubin’s quotes...

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