My Little Picasso's

My Little Picasso's

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


This past Saturday to Sunday ... I mean it,  I had the utmost absolute privilege of spending the night at Susquehanna Township high school with over a hundred some high schoolers as their unselfish efforts drove them to earn over ...

17,000  dollars 

for pediatrics cancer.  They were amazing.  Their strength and willingness to go all night long impressed me.  My college all-nighters came flooding back to me ... whereas mine were flooded with runs to 7-11, cigarettes, coffee, russian, literature, lesson plans, more coffee, etc.  Their's were flooded with dodgeball tournaments, video-games, zumba, walking tacos, ice cream, karaoke, laser tag, etc.  They did such a great job.

We got to meet numerous families affected by this horrific disease, who's lives changed in an instant.  I had the honor of teaching a few of these students and I am very happy to say some of them are still alive, 10 or so years cancer free, and going strong.  I CANNOT wait until next year.

Dodgeball was harsh.  I took a few to the face, one or two to my delicate ankles ... I am for sure recruiting for my team next year ... but what an experience.  These kids put their weekends aside and came on in.


a few for you to enjoy ...
before ...

the one and only "Maddy"

The greatness that is Michalia

Hi.  We hijacked Mrs. Walizer's phone while she was playing dodgeball ... somewhat well.

adopted daughters

some overall captains


and who was awake when i got home at 5:36am?

April 30th, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My name is Charlie ...

and I am going to take over the world with ...

coffee filters.

I know what you're thinking ... why the hell did this crazy mother let her son or give her two year old all those coffee filters.

I DIDN'T.  Ok.  I didn't.  He got into the pantry.

That is not too hard of a task for a somewhat tall 2 year old, just about 3 year old.  He's quick, ok.

Don't judge.

I think Max is meant to be the prisoner, or the evil leader of "living room"
these are Charlie's little minions

and more ... 

even more ... 

 sigh ...

April 24th, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


What were you doing this morning at 7:13am?  Perhaps you were still asleep, drinking a coffee, watching the news.  I was in my classroom making a crossword puzzle of French food words for my Honors 2 class.

At approximately 7:13 am this morning a young 16 year old boy wielding 2 knives of 8-10 inches in length went on a rampage through the halls of the science wing of my alma mater.  My high school.  My hometown: Murrysville, Pennsylvania.

My hometown is a rural suburban community outside of Pittsburgh.  Route 22 goes through my hometown.  Everyone knows about everyone.  Blink and you miss us.  The local dentist and orthodontist lived in my neighborhood growing up.  They were running partners.  The dentist's daughters babysat me.  My high school football team qualified to play at Three River's Stadium my senior year.  I was confirmed, baptized, and married in the local Presbyterian church.  In 1996, I graduated from Franklin Regional Senior High School with Honors.  I babysat my French teacher's son.  She lived up the street.  My mum worked at the local pharmacy, my dad for Alcoa.  A friend and I used to go play on the elementary playground late at night over the weekends.  My sister and I lifeguarded at the school a few nights a week.  We gained lifelong friends there.  Some friends are now raising their families in Murrysville, Pennsylvania.  Murrysville, Pennsylvania IS a safe town, has a safe high school.

That high school where this young 16 year old boy decided to blaze through the hallways slashing and stabbing in no particular fashion.

We don't know why this happened.  More evidence will be seized and evaluated while 19 students and 1 adult try to recover from their injuries, some life-threatening.  The wound of the trauma and terror that this entire community and school will now and forever bare might never close.

What is happening with our young people today?  Is it social media?  Is it texting and smart phones?  Is it bullying?  Is it too much pressure to succeed or the fear of not succeeding?  This young boy was said to be a good likable kid.  No one ever expected this.  No one.  Not even the vice principal who lives on his same street.  The same principal who left from the same neighborhood having no clue he would soon be subduing his neighbor to the ground.

As I sat in my classroom through the day in a haze, I wasn't just thinking about my alma mater.  I was thinking about the alma mater of my students.  Of where I teach.  Every teacher felt that burden today.  I looked at my beautiful young students imagining how they would react, how they would feel.  Who would never come back after such an event?  Who would help?  I hope I never have to find out.

We send our children, our babies to school with the naive thought that they are safe.  That they are fine.  What happened today just proves that they are not.

This is just a bit "too real" for me right now.

We are FR.

April 9th, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

iPods, iPhones, and iPads ... oh my.

Why do they know how to text, how to open my cell phone, how to find the on/off button on the TV, turn on Netflix, start YouTube videos, and call things iPads?  As I tried to print out some pictures for my son, he brought out his cord for his LeapFrog, plugged it in to my laptop(Correctly!) and asked for it to sync.  EXCUSE ME!  I'm sorry, did you stutter?  What do you know about syncing?

When I was little I played with My Little Ponies.  I had maybe 7 ponies.  I loved them.  I did their hair ... or manes shall we say.  I had two Cabbage Patch Kids and considered myself pretty lucky.  My sister and I had Fashion Plates - do you ladies remember Fashion Plates?  We had the Treehouse Family - I loved the Treehouse Family.  Renting a VHS tape was a big night for us.  We watched Pollyanna and the Parent Trap - the old ones.

My children have books upon books, LeapFrogs, trains, trucks, farm animals, Lite-brights, stuffed animals, BigWheels, tools, etc. etc. etc.  I admit I rarely walk out of a Barnes and Noble without at least a Golden Book or Curious George.  Michael and I get so frustrated when they have so much, some wonderful gifts from family members and ourselves, yet a wrapping paper tube will do just the trick.  Our little boys tie towels around their waists and call themselves chefs.

How much do we allow ourselves, as examples, to embrace all new things "tech?"  I, for one, would feel completely unsafe without a cell phone.  It's my only phone.  I would feel incomplete without this hear MacBook.  My NOOK is my getaway.  If we are so tied to our devices, are we raising little Silicon Valley monsters?

Speaking from a teacher standpoint, I become very frustrated when a student does not know how to complete simple tasks through programs such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, yet they can find this website, navigate this search, find someone's information, and tell me how to do something on my own phone.  Are we doing too much?  Are we not allowing our children to really be children?

Look at it this way ... our children have to have a fighting chance, so they must be "tech savvy."  IT is the demand to make it nowadays.  I just find it sad when Max tells Michael ... "I don't need a book tonight, just my LeapPad."

April 6th, 2014