Posts from the ‘real life’ Category

Lacing for running

So I repinned this on Pinterest and tried it out today.

running shoe lacing technique

I have a problem where my toes are falling asleep when I exercise, so I tried the lacing technique that gives more room in the toe. I went for an hour long walk today and no sleeping toes! I might need a nap now, though.


Poor neglected blog and strawberry balsamic jam

So this summer has been flying by. A trip to Memphis for my brother’s wedding, vacation bible school, a trip to Florida to visit the parents and our first trip to Disney World, all of which deserve their own posts.

So instead I’m going to write about jam. I got a big old thing of strawberries on sale and as seems to happen they were pretty ripe and needed to be used pretty quickly. So I googled and learned that making small batch jam is pretty easy. And I had all the stuff in the pantry, so I made this.

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

And it was so good! The kids loved it. We ate it on waffles.


Babybels wear pajamas

So yesterday the boy and I went to Costco and bought some of those babybel cheeses. As he is taking off the waxy part he says, “Mama, it’s like the cheese is wearing red pajamas!”

There are so many blog posts that I’ve had in my head, unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to writing them down. So I’m kind of going backwards.

Earlier this week, the girl decided to attach her homework together with spray cheese. Yep. Needless to say that was a redo.

On Thursday, I had a complete freak out before class. The poor librarian must have thought I was insane. I’m doing an Orff unit with the middle schoolers (that i plan to write about later) and there were no mallets in my class room. Couldn’t find them anywhere. And since I had just read what happened to Sophanne, I feared the worst. The class coming to music that day was the group I was a little worried about in terms of buy in and to not be prepared is asking for trouble. As it turned out, one of those students saved the day. The day before, if you’ve been following Colorado weather, it dumped snow and many of our teachers were stuck, including one of my teammates. When this happens, we often double up the classes in my room and have a movie fest. 60 kindergartners at once. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Anyway, I had asked one of my choir students to help clean up the room before they came and put away anything that she thought would be distracting. Thankfully, she was in that class coming down the hall, saw my distress and quickly showed me where she had hidden the mallets. I ‚̧ my students. Heh.

Over break, I actually knit! Ear flap hat and mittens for my friend and soon to be sister in law, 1940s watch cap for my brother and mittens for my nephew, the most happiest toddler.

Can't find any pictures so I'll leave you with a cool sunrise shot I got the other morning in the way to school.


2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas 2011

Dear family and friends,

Once again, I did not come even close to getting cards out this year.

Struggling to find that balance between work, school, extra curriculars and family, I count myself lucky to have such problems. ūüôā

I have a job that I love, as hard as it is somedays. This year, in addition to teaching general music, I am the district middle school choir director. As weird as it sounds, I had forgotten that I like choral music and this has been a wonderful opportunity to rekindle that. John’s been an amazing help with the new schedule. Did I mention that the choir is at 7 am? He juggled his work schedule so he can take the kids to daycare in the morning. Love that guy.

Both kids are in school! The boy is loving kindergarten. If you ask him what he’s learned this year he will tell you, I am very good at being quiet. Heh. It amazes me how fast they grow once they start school. He’s reading now. He doesn’t love that as much as his sister, but I bet that will come with time. The girl is a third grader, 9 going on 35 somedays. She reads all the time now, even holing up in the bathroom sometimes. (Mom, Dad, sound like anybody you know?). She is such a hybrid between John and I. It’s so strange seeing yourself in your children. It’s like they are a fun house mirror of who they are and what we’d like them to be.

The girl is still in Children’s Chorale. It is very weird being the mom waiting in line at drop off. I think I’ve been in all the roles now. Singer, grad, assisstant, and now mom. It’s so cool to see her up on stage at Boettcher Hall. The boy spends most of his afternoons playing with the cousins and the neighbors. Again, we are fortunate for the kids to have such wonderful playmates!

And if 2011 has been anything, it’s been a year for family. I often tell my children how wonderful it is that they have gotten to spend so much time with their cousins, but truthfully, its been wonderful for me too. I love having my sister and her family nearby. We are a weirdly wacky bunch and I will miss them when they move back south.

We’ve been preparing for Christmas round our house. We’ve got Christmas lights up, half of which quit working after the first freeze, but amusingly enough, the light tree dad built twenty years ago is still going strong. The kids have been to their grandparents to make cookies with them and their cousin. My sister has made probably two batches fudge and I don’t know how many cookies. With everyone else making cookies I made a lot of Sprucehill’s pumpkin gingerbread and some homemade limoncello. We may or may not have tasted it this morning. At 9 am. After making apple fritters. Heh.

Anyway, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Love, Nicole

PS. Did you know you can follow Santa on google maps? Crazy world we live in!



Me and the kids are hanging out and making cards for their teachers. They are reminding me that my handwriting does not pass kindergarten muster. The boy is objecting to the Christmas wish story on the John Denver and the muppets album. It’s just talking, Mom. Where’s the singing? Oh. There. Most happiest nephew is cracking me up, because he wants to color with the big kids but can’t get around the table. So each time he needs a new color, he ducks under the table, and grabs another crayon from the box, emerging victorious on the other side. From a teacher’s perspective, handmade cards are my favorite gift from students. And hugs. And the occasional Starbucks card. Heh. But mostly the other kind of cards. I have a notebook filled with letters students have written me over the years. If they only knew how much those mean to me. Especially on days where I don’t feel like the most awesome teacher on the planet. So the kids are writing their teachers. In between marker wars.



10 Things I Know To Be True

I was very inspired by a talk by Sarah Kay on ¬†She’s a spoken word poet who encourages us to write a list and then discuss it. ¬†It can be anything and you need to not think about it too hard. ¬†So here goes.

1. When your child/student tells you you’re the best mom/teacher ever, it probably means that you said or did something that you didn’t think through. ¬†Yeah, go ahead and have that soda. ¬†Before bed time.

2.Most kids don’t learn to like something. ¬†They learn to dislike something. ¬†And they learn that from us.

3.Kids will almost always do what we do and never what we say.  Grown ups are the same way.

4.Being part of a musical performance/event is something all humans should experience. ¬†It’s part of what makes us human. ¬†As I tell my students, ants can build cities but they can’t sing the blues when they’re sad. ¬†(or maybe they do, I just don’t speak ant.)

5.Life is about learning.  And evolving.  I am not the same person I was last year.  Or the year before that.  Hopefully I am  better.  (Seriously, who wants to be worse?)

6.No man is an island. Or an archipelago.

7.With experience comes wisdom, but being old does not mean you are always right.  And yet, the simple realization that we are not always right shows wisdom.  (Sounds like a fortune cookie.)

8.Fortune cookie’s do not always have your best interests at heart. ¬†Really? ¬†A cat?

9.Thai Basil Eggplant at Thai Chili is really the most amazing dish I’ve ever eaten.

10.You can buy your children the smartest, most educationally sound, creative toys, but their favorite will always be the annoying Donkey Shrek toy from a Happy Meal that yells at you.  Until you shut it off.

Here’s the original video.

I look forward to reading your 10.

Picture day 2011

Miss? Why are your lips blue? Are you ok?

Um. That would be makeup. But thanks for asking.

So I’ve started to have the kids sign out when they use the restroom. Don’t judge. I need to know where they are. ūüôā

I checked the log today and saw (names changed)

Jim. 9/27/11
Bob. Poop

I love teaching! Where else would this stuff happen?!

Minnows, Trout and Stingrays

So the kids started swimming lessons this week.  Every summer we sign them up for a session and they get a couple kicks closer to actually being able to swim.  The girl has really hit her stride this year, overcoming her fear of the diving board and become a swimmer.  This is the same kid that spent 3 years in the Minnow class (level 2).  (I probably jumped off the diving board only as many times as necessary in order to pass my swimming class.)

And speaking of proud. ¬†And Minnows. ¬†The boy was supposed to be in the Minnow class this summer and I someone¬†mistakenly signed him up for the Trouts. ¬†He was so scared. ¬†It is with a strange mixture of pride and remorse that I watched my youngest in the Trout class these last two days. ¬†Between momentary sobs and shaking with fear, he did everything the instructor asked him to do. ¬†And lest you think me the meanest mother ever, I did pull him from the class and enroll him in the correct level. ¬†I talked to his instructor and we agreed he could probably push through and stay in the Trout class but he might benefit more from gaining some confidence back with the Minnows. ¬†Don’t want him hating to swim. ¬†I did tell him though, through towel wrapped hugs, how proud I was of him. ¬†It is an amazingly brave thing to be that afraid of something and do it anyway.

To look into the deep, close your eyes, hold your breath, and let the water close over your head.

So, so proud of my kids today. ¬†ūüôā



Car in the yard 2: the sequel

Dear God:

I had the best of intentions to get up and make it to church today.  But there was another car in my yard.

I’m fairly sure that our house resides in the Bermuda Triangle for cars.

We had just finished watching the reboot of The Karate Kid (which really should be called the Kung Fu Kid) and had sent the kids to get their jammies on when I saw lights flashing through the front windows. ¬†J came a-running from his bedroom saying, “A crash! ¬†There was a crash!” and at first we thought he was making it up. ¬†I figured the lights had been somebody taking the corner too fast in front of the house and skidding a little, Dukes of Hazzard style. ¬†Little did I know that the lights I saw was a Jeep driving through our lawn, across the driveway, narrowly missing my sister’s car and the mailbox, across the lawn on the other side, swerving to miss our giant pine tree, rolling over (yes. ¬†ROLLING OVER) and landing in front of my neighbor’s house across the street facing the opposite direction.

As far as I know, the driver is ok.  Thank goodness.  She was able to walk to the ambulance.  The policemen did pull more than one bottle of alcohol from the vehicle so that does explain her impaired judgement somewhat.

Our poor traumatized children. ¬†It’s just now occurring to me that J probably saw the crash. ¬†And L is afraid to go to sleep. ¬†She wrote an account of what happened (maybe I should start a blog for her?) and created a sign for her window warning others to watch out for broken glass on the lawn.

So anyway, God, we probably won’t be making it to the 7:30 service. ¬† But I did want to thank you for watching over my family, the driver and my neighbors. ¬†This accident could have been so much worse than it was. ¬†If my sister had parked in the driveway. ¬†Or if the driver had swerved into the giant tree.

Thank goodness the damage is just a little sod that can be regrown.

Yours truly,