My Little Picasso's

My Little Picasso's

Friday, October 2, 2015

"non-food" birthday's

Turn back the time machine to when you were in elementary school.  I had Mrs. Schilling in 3rd grade at Newlonsburg Elementary School in Murrysville, PA at Franklin Regional School District.  She was so cute, blond wavy wispy hair, wore long plaid jumpers in the winter, gave out stickers.  I had Mrs. Cady in 4th grade with her color changing shoes.  Mr. Ogline in 5th grade - "the coolest" math teacher ever.  I wore homemade clothes and sweatshirts you would make out of puffy paints.  I remember my first pair of jeans in 5th grade - yes, 5th grade.  My best friend changed weekly, Erik Connors "liked" me.  He was my boyfriend, than he wasn't.  We "hated" each other, we "loved" each other.  NKOTB, Metallica, Def Leopard, and Paula Abdul.  "Straight Up" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me." 

Do you remember birthdays in elementary schools?  You were the king or queen for the day!  I remember hanging the number 15 on the October calendar on my special day.  I got to pick out a game or pass out papers.  It. Was. Awesome.  Yet, the best part was bringing in your favorite treat to share with your class.  An extra treat on your special day!  For just one day, you were the most popular person in the 3rd grade because you had chocolate chip cookies, brownies, or cupcakes and everything that was normally going on had to stop so that you could be celebrated.  Everyone got a snack all because of you.  You could walk down the hallway and share your cookies with the other teachers. 

My Max just turned 6.  He had been so excited, asking for Legos, wanting cake, making us aware - 3 more days, 2 more days, 1 more day.  Unfortunately, Max cannot take cookies, or brownies, or cupcakes to his kindergarten friends.  Max's school district, not kindergarten, school district has a policy of no food treats for a child's birthday.  I'm sorry ... WHAT?  WTH?  My child is turning 6, he has new friends, a new school, a new teacher, but I cannot bring in cookies?  This infuriates me to no end.  I can't even fathom.  Needless to say, Max looked at me as though I had a horn growing out of my head when I explained this to him.  What do you mean, no brownies?  How may we celebrate?  Pencils, they say.  Erasers.  

Whoa ... hold up, I get to buy 18 small children a pencil to celebrate my child's birthday?  WOW.  Any 5 year old will obviously not be able to contain their pure elation over receiving a new pencil the 4th week of school after coming to school the first day with the dozen their mom or dad already bought them.  Do you sense my sarcasm ... laying it on kind of thick.  What kid wants a pencil?  I'm going to assume more kids would want an f'ing brownie.  

Each child got 2 Avengers pencils.

I get it.  Peanut allergies are rampant.  It is so much more severe for some poor children than I could even imagine - heaven forbid I not be able to have peanut butter.  It's not that hard to adhere to a no-peanut request.  And if you're so concerned about a healthy atmosphere or healthy lifestyle, leave that at home.  If children are raised to be healthy children, most likely they'll grow up to live as healthy adults.  A healthy child starts at home, not at daycare or school, but at home.  Do you not allow your children to go to a birthday party for the fear of cake or cupcakes?  Really?  It's a rite of passage in my mind; birthday parties with hot dogs or pizza and a big ol' birthday cake with the most popular cartoon character of the day emblazoned on top in an edible sugar cake topper.  Then they leave with a bag full of absolutely pointless, plastic, break after two times, trinkets and toys and guess what ... more candy!!!!!!  

It's the child's birthday.  It is their day.  Why can you not let them share it as they wish, with a sugary sweet treat to share with their friends and special treatment like passing out papers or show and tell.  Let them live, for goodness sake.

Rant over.

October 2nd, 2015 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Who are you and where are my children?

**Disclaimer – There may or may not be a plate of French fries and a beer next to me as I write this.

Michael saw it all over my face yesterday when he came home for an hour or so between his double shifts.  He simply sighed and put on a very sympathetic “I’m sorry you have to deal with this” face.  I was fighting back tears.  And then I couldn’t fight them back anymore.  I was losing.  My sons were winning. 

Everyone said “terrible twos.”  It wasn’t the two’s so much, but the threes.  Both my kids went through it … Charlie really went through it.  So when did my 4 year old and almost 6 year old become three again.  Was some kind of procedure done overnight … that one night they slept really well perhaps?

Charlie has been seeing doctors since last year; sleep specialists, pediatricians, play therapists, occupational therapists.  I give so much credit to his wonderful teachers at the U-Gro Center in Hershey, PA and the lovely occupational therapists we see almost weekly at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.  Ultimately he has to come home and be just as good for me, or Michael, or both of us as his teachers might see him on a daily basis.  He doesn’t sleep as much as he should at night, he screams, he’s loud, he’s wakes his friends up at naptime, don’t get me started about potty training.  (Case in point – he declares, “I don’t care” after messing his pants.)  We went through a very hard spring and summer was time to collect ourselves at home … and we did.  Is he misbehaving because Max is now in kindergarten and he’s not, is it because he’s moved up a classroom, is it because I have gone back to work?  IDK.  I can use lingo with him, I can slow him down, I know when he needs sleep.  It’s my job, I’m his mom.

Max … I have no answer with Max.  Max has become a little (expletive).  Fill in as you wish.  I have a couple I use.  I just rotate them.  What, do you think you’re a big man just because you’re in kindergarten?  As far as I know, you still cry when you get a boo-boo.  You still want your favorite book read at night, need a huggle, want me to do crafts during quiet time.  So, why … why are you testing me, testing your teachers at U-Gro, testing Daddy.  Yesterday as I tried to talk to him he shut his eyes.  The little (expletive) shut his eyes on me.  After every failed attempt at trying to “talk” to my boy, he was put in his room.  He then proceeded to almost put his fist through a wall.  I had to calm him.   Had to grab hold, and hold on, and calm him.  This is not my sweet little boy who I have not ever had a problem with before.  He will growl at me, wag his finger at me, bare his teeth.   I’m sorry … NO.  I’m sorry Max, but you will not run this house.

Needless to say, by the end of the night, they each had a slapped bum and an early bedtime.  I didn’t hear much past 7:30pm.  SUCCESS!  I got to see the whole soccer game!  Awake by 5:00am.  FAIL. 

We’ll try again tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys, but sometimes I don’t like them very much.  

September 6th, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

STHS Mini-Thon 2015

And again ...

I am so blessed and proud to say I am these kid's teacher.  They bless my career every day.  Words cannot give justice to what I see them do on a daily basis.  This year, our school raised over $20,000.00.  We are not a huge high school, but we're huge at heart.  The way I can see students of all kinds come together for the common cause - Pediatric cancer - amazes me every day.
I was able to donate 13 inches of hair after our top fundraiser, Hannah Denk, cut it off.  Might I add, she has just been added to the 2015 Penn State Cheerleaders line-up.
Here are a few snapshots from the night.

Rhyce, the greatest swimmer of all STHS!

adopted children

adopted children ... AGAIN

STHS's Baseball Team - getting serious about dodgeball.


and it was there

now it's not

the ELITE squad; Moody, BG, and Sam I am

Beautiful Jeanne

April 27, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

school mom

I have two sons.  They are my life and joy.  I dread the daily report from daycare if my younger son has had a “rough day.”  Rough days happen more often than good days it seems.  He is a challenge.  My older son is too smart for his own good … and he knows it.  I sometimes think he’s smarter than me.  I’d do ANYTHING for my children.  ANYTHING.  They also drive me nuts.

Well, this isn’t about my children today.  It’s about the hundreds of students that are put in my hands every day.  They are special, as well.  They are someone else’s children, someone else’s baby.  They also drive me nuts.  One of my best, my “daughter,” had a rough game, and I can say I cried for her.  I find myself crying when I know her and her friends will soon be graduates.  Another toughed out an AP simulation, believed she performed badly, and still stayed for tutoring.  Another pushed my buttons, but I could still help him with his homework.  He was doing what I asked him to, and that’s a win in my book.  One of our’s is dealing with chemo right now, dealing with a sick mom, divorcing parents, etc.  And I cry.  I cry all the time for these kids.  They’re kids.  They’re not grown, even though they claim they are.  They don’t pay a mortgage, work and be a parent, be a wife, be a dad.

I work for them.  Today was an extremely hard day, and the students were the easy part.  Ever felt judged … it happened today.  Ever felt under appreciated … it happened today.  Every felt taken for granted … it happened today.  When will we as colleagues appreciate each other and the sacrifices we each make?  When will we as educators, as PROFESSIONALS, be appreciated for what we do?  When will a month go by or a week go by and we as educators do not question our choice in profession?  When will teaching truly be teaching again?

I saw disagreements today.  I saw a certain throwing under the bus occur.  I saw many taken for granted.  And we were heartbroken.  And I have no answers.  So, I’ll go to bed soon.  Get up, shower, get dressed, make myself look professional, and go to work.  Because we’re professionals.  And it’s what we do.  Because at the end of the day, it’s about the students.  The kids. 

And that’s why a few of them call me “School Mom.” 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Paint Up FTK, March 28, 2015 … and it snowed.

I feel pretty great to say I work with these amazing teachers and most amazing kids. Today was one of the kick-off events to the Susquehanna Township’s SD annual THON “FTK” Four Diamond’s 12-hour fundraiser.  Yesterday, we had two assemblies welcoming Coach Pantalone to our auditorium where he spoke on the heartbreak of losing his son to a very rare form of cancer, yet his ‘courage’ and ‘strength’ and dynamics impressed us all.  When he spoke on his son’s adamant nature of declaring how he had lived a life, that “he was good,” we all teared up. 

We are each and every day impressed with how Ashley LOVESTHON Otstott goes on, achieves awards, raises money, receives Distinguished Honors as a junior in High School, and yet still knows there is something in her, a form of a most terrible disease that has been in her body for almost her entire life.  Her parents and sister are heroes themselves knowing what their child and sister go through and doing all they can but not what they absolutely want to; get rid of the disease that plagues their daughter.   

We as a student body, faculty and staff, were told that another one of our own, one of our own Indian tribe, has been diagnosed with a form of sarcoma that has changed his, his family, and all our lives forever.  This young man is a senior at our high school, an amazing runner and swimmer, plays in the marching band, and is on his way to college.  He should have ran today, yet instead he is at Penn State Hershey Medical Center having begun treatment towards his illness.  A most terrible disease that has suddenly slammed him in the face like a door and become real to him. 

I’ll be cutting my hair off at our annual event this April, perhaps Ashley will cut it off.  It’s little, but something.  If you can donate towards this amazing annual event at my school to help kids with cancer, please follow the link below.   

Enjoy the photos!
Ashley with Coach Pantalone.

It snowed.

Some of my favorite people ... the STHS Softball Team.  Ashley is in the middle.

My Malikul

Miss STHS, Hanns, with Jake Evans, the event chair.

crazies ...

Mr. Still, our leader, with Miss A.

March 30th, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Everybody poops ... everybody ... but why does it have to be a constant wonder to my children.  When I poop, I want to be alone. 

Not my kids ... they want the door wide open for everyone to partake in the wonder, the smell, the sounds, the color, the ... shit.  Because that is what it is, shit. When Daddy poops, they want to be there.  When mommy poops, they want to be there.  When the dog poops, they want to be there.  Um, I live in central PA - it's cold outside.

Max is amazing.  Potty training was so easy with him once he did it at the ripe old age of ... 3 and a number of months.  One morning ... no pull-up.  Underpants.  Nope.  Underpants.  He even sat on the pot, every single time, to drop a deuce.

Charlie finds a particular enjoyment in pooping in his pull-up.  He tells you when he's doing it too.  Thanks kid.  Believe me, I know.  It smells.  I find it 100% a win for the day if I can get him to sit on the potty and drop a deuce or try to drop a deuce.  Finish one.  Try to start one.  WHATEVER.  Did I mention he wants to see his poop??!?!?!?!???????!!?!?!?

I think he's scared.  As a constipated child, when he finally passed a BM it was a wonder for all to take part in due to his ceiling level screaming ... in PAIN.  Poor baby.  Prunes, apples, Miralax, whatever ... nothing fully helped.  He will tell me it's hard to sometimes.  I feel for the kid ... no one likes to be constipated, but mama's bank account is broke.  I can't keep buying pull-ups.

Hopefully he can figure this out by kindergarten.

February 8th, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I will ...

Do you make resolutions?

I'm going to get in shape.  I'm going to take better care of myself.  I'm going to travel.  I'm going to ... brush my teeth more ... I don't know.

What if we all resolved not to make resolutions.  What if we all went on with our lives as we have for countless days prior?  What if we made resolutions so outlandish and against "the general policy" that it were to cancel the entire practice altogether?

I resolve to ...

not feel guilty eating that second piece of cake.

hug my child more.

take more naps.

sit on my bum every once in a while.

let my kids stay in their pajamas all day.

take more risks.

do nothing.


drink more wine.

stop and count before I yell ... whatever the situation.

pay it forward.

write more letters.

fall asleep on the couch.

take more walks.

eat a box of chocolates for dinner.

compliment my students more, and be more patient with them.

read lots of good books.

to not worry about unidentified spots on my clothes.

to leave dishes in the sink.

to continue being me, making mistakes, not being perfect, being as good as I can be, trust in God, and not be ashamed to say I'm wrong.

There ... that should cover it.

January 3rd, 2015