Memorial Day …

…and Education.

Many of us have come to recognize Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer. The weather is usually warm and the “great outdoors” beckons.  It is not that we don’t care or have truly forgotten the real meaning of this day, but the demands of life have a way of forcing us to think of the holiday as merely a day off from work or school to relax.

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Memorial Day was listed as an official holiday in the District of Columbia in 1888 although many cities and towns across the United States try to lay claim to its beginnings. The actual name given for the remembrance was Decoration Day. The holiday became official chiefly because a significant portion of federal employees would have lost a day’s pay in order to participate in ceremonial events to honor those who died and with whom they fought in the Civil War.¹

My school holds an annual Memorial Day Assembly to remember and thank fallen heroes, those who served & serve, recognize the sacrifices made that enable the freedom to learn and celebrate the achievements of students.

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Service members; both present and past, of students, faculty and staff are remembered on the Wall of Valor.

Seventy-two years ago, May, 1943, my father was a Sergeant in the United States Army Air Corp. He was stationed at Lowry Field No.1 in Denver, Colorado. In a letter to my mother, his “sweetheart” at the time, he wrote about his course work.

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He was learning about the effects of “magnetism in electricity” in order to improve flight equipment powered by electricity for the war effort.  In his exquisite penmanship he also noted with regret that he wished he “had been a little more studious” when he was younger as he wouldn’t be struggling to learn the lessons he was being taught as a 23 year old man.

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He spoke of the great opportunity he was given by being permitted to attend the classes as many of his fellow soldiers had already attended similar schools. My father did not have a high school diploma as he lived most of his young life in a Catholic orphanage. He considered these men much smarter than he and apparently he asked many questions. At least I know that my many inquiries today come to me through honest heredity.

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This Sergeant did not fight the battles of World War II with a weapon in his hand on the front lines, although I am certain he was trained. He learned in a classroom in order to build and repair safer, stronger and technologically advanced flight equipment.

Learning is life-long and one of the many great freedoms afforded to all in the United States of America. The opportunity of education is not to be taken lightly although difficult to convey its importance on some of the very young as my father had lamented seventy-two years ago.

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New Mexico, 1945…Sweetheart and the Milkman

On this Memorial Day, as it became known after World War II, we continue to decorate in red, white and blue. We hold strong the high expectations of education for all and we remember and honor those who sacrificed in battle and studied in a classroom in order to provide for us the most precious freedoms we have today.

In loving memory of my father, the Sergeant, and those who died in the service of our country and special thank you to all United States military personnel present and past.

As evidence that learning is life-long and in some cases, a requirement as a professional…Congratulations to my two colleagues who earned their Masters Degrees from Johns Hopkins University this past week. Sorry you missed the fire drill, but don’t worry there will be others. You have made a difference in the lives of so many; including my own…day 162…18 to go until the school year 2014-2015 is in the books.

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Mr. S., we will continue to commiserate our problems, thankfully only math related and Ms. N., I appreciate you keeping the Physical in Education …pomp and circumstance for everyone.

Happy Memorial Day!

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¹credits to:  © 1994 – 2009 SUVCW & David Merchant   Updated 4 April 2009 and CRS Report for Congress, Federal Holidays: Evolution and Application, Updated February 8, 1999, Stephen W. Stathis, Specialist in American National Government Government Division

Trying our luck…

… give peas a chance.

In honor of the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes this weekend, I am happy to report we are on the “homestretch” in the gardening department this spring. Last weekend, we spread the mulch and doused anything deemed a “vegetarian deer delight” with Liquid Fence. So far, the deer have stayed away.

This weekend, we went “down to the wire” to put in the tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and spinach (we know we are a little late with the spinach, and even if a “long-shot”  we are trying anyway). We also installed the deer fence around the future salad bar. Oh, and we did not give peas a chance this year, but I couldn’t resist the title.

I am hopeful that this year’s garden will be a “horse of a different color” compared to last year’s upset.

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You can’t see the beans, spinach or zucchini, but trust me; all are there. Hubster is under strict orders to ask before pulling any weeds. We don’t want a repeat of last year. He is however, welcome to continue spreading the manure as years of experience prove him worthy of the task.

Hubster has another project for garden tool organization in mind and while humorous, I am not the Walking Dead fan that he is, so I say no go and will remain firmly on my “high horse”.

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In a couple of weeks, I will be joining my students on our annual pilgrimage to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. I must admit a little garden envy when on the grounds.

One of the many gardens at Mount Vernon…

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While it may seem in a “dead heat” to my own garden; I am happy to concede this botanical gem “wins by a nose”.

We had a rather low key social weekend. We celebrated the Preakness in the comfort of our paddock home.

American Pharoah has won the second jewel of the Triple Crown and is poised to give competitors a “run for the money” at the Belmont Stakes in three weeks. You know my affection for crowns, so should this occur I will definitley don one of my own crowns… although with so many tiara choices in my closet I may have difficulty trying to decide which one to wear.

Peggy Anne stopped by on her way to visit her parents on Sunday. Some of you may remember that her mother has given her the title, “Third Wheel” in our life; Hubster had a special award made just for her.

Peggy Anne loved it.

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The school days are ready for a “photo finish”.

Day 158 and 22 “furlongs” days to go…

Finish line and winner’s circle in sight.

Enough “horseplay”….back to work.

Happy Monday!

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Me, My “Selfie”,…

… and I.

Let’s start backwards….I had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend. With the help of a former student on Saturday; we now have six yards of mulch spread throughout the grounds (sounds like the White House, but really just a split level). The pots have been “potted” with geraniums, impatiens, vinca vine, alyssum, lobelia, and petunias. In addition, the Boston ferns have returned to the place of prominence in hanging baskets in the front of the house and on the deck. I still have to put to make the vegetable garden shine, especially since Hubster turned the garden over a few weeks back with manure.

As I continue to work backwards…My “Selfie”

A gift from #1 Son-ster

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Son-ster #1 has begun to recognize that his mother is quite prominent in the blogging world…after-all I do have 18 subscribers and on any given post day have upwards of double digit clicks to the site.

I have taken a selfie in the past, but I have not had much success….

See what I mean…

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#1 suggested the importance of a good “selfie” to a post can make or break a story. I tend to agree, so here is my “selfie” on the deck on Sunday.

Using my new gift

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Apparently, I can extend the pole on this to over a full yard away. I did not use full extension here.

I intend to make good use of the full length of this pole as I believe it will make me look thinner and younger. Have no fear you will never see a “Kim Kardashian” rear. If I have a nice pedicure, well then maybe my toes.

Presenting: The Toes

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I had hoped the flower pots would camouflage the ankles, but alas that piece of trick photography was useless.

Finally, on to me…I suppose it has been all all about me.

The weather was gorgeous on Sunday. Hubster and I met #1 Son-ster and Bertie for brunch in the city. Our first venture downtown since before the riots. It was eerily quiet for a beautiful Sunday in May, but I suppose that was to be expected as I believe it will take a great deal of time before some return.

A small park in the Mount Vernon neighborhood

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#1 and Bertie know the owner of the restaurant where we ate our delicious brunch. The owner told us his business was down 90% last weekend and he didn’t have high hopes for this weekend as the place should have been packed on Mother’s Day.

Outside after brunch

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Side walk tables empty on an absolutely picture perfect day

At least we didn’t have to worry about the paparazzi.

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We make our own paparazzi.

Hubster and Sons-sters demonstrated their continued adoration with cards and gifts.

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Promises of cleaning out the closets in the “Garage Mahal” continue.

I will not hold my breath.

Happy Tuesday!

Day 154…only 26 days remain.

I can almost hear a Hallelujah Chorus…however it is quite faint.

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It’s Mother’s Day…

…weekend.

Just to be clear, that means two full days of celebrating, followed by 363 days of admiration, appreciation and praise. If it is a leap year they get a one day reprieve.

First, I would like to remember and thank my own mother…sometime during a snowstorm and blackout in March of 1962, knowing the Milkman had supervised all the shoveling, entertained six active children and had no TV to watch; she found a way to keep his spirits alive and nine months later along came me.

Cutting the cake at the baby shower held in my honor.

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The look on her face tells me her punch glass, to the left of the cake was spiked with more than ginger ale. The blue icing on the cake is evidence of the lack of gender identity scans available today. I was told that if a boy, my name would have been Charles.

It was apparent that besides the fact that she was nearly 43 45 when I was born, I was definitely the baby  and most perfect, because in quiet moments a glance or a glare would send out the message below…

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This secrecy between us meant no hard feelings for my siblings.

My mother remains a frequent character in much of our family lore.

She used to write “to do” lists and when we were troubled by a daily dilemma whether at home, school, in the backyard, on the playground, up a tree, under a rock…pretty much anywhere she would have us read another list she created in order to help us cope…

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 As you can see, she was a real softie.

When I became a Mom five days before Christmas in 1988, I had no idea the challenges motherhood would bring, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I produced two heirs to the Hubster’s family throne and still remain his child bride and reason for being.

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Not us …our sweaters match.

 

I spent saved tons of money over the course of 20 years as an at home MOM.

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Hubster and Son-sters…no need to thank me…you are welcome.

The Son-sters know that back in their younger years…

 

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No one ever had to call the authorities…

 

…unless you count the time I nearly fainted when #2 Son-ster split his toe open during a “jumping off the kitchen counter” incident at age 9…or when this same child began screaming bloody murder because he decided to hide in the linen closet with no knob on the inside of the door while playing hide and seek inside a locked bathroom. It is amazing I did not break my collar bone trying to bust open the bathroom door. I was one cracked rib away from calling the fire department. The broken bathroom door was replaced immediately and no one ever tried to play hide and seek in the house again.

The authorities also received no calls when #1 Son-ster decided to shove popcorn kernels up his nose…at the doctor’s office to have the kernels removed the doctor inquired as to why he put the kernels in his nose… his response, “The power went out during the thunderstorm, we had no cable.” Clearly #1 takes after the Milkman when it comes to boredom and TV.

My mother mourned her empty nest when she should have celebrated all the success she created on a shoestring budget. I, on the other hand  bless my empty nest; in fact I am ready to create a new cable series screaming streaming across America.

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I think it will be a hit…not sure what to wear to the Emmy Awards; perhaps yoga pants.

My days of whines and runny noses are in the past…

every moment was a blast…

The two men were once my little boys…

I no longer trip over left behind toys…

The day I became a Mother…

was like no other…

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My greatest gifts.

Oh, that doesn’t mean I don’t expect the usual Mother’s Day treatment.

Saturday, all about me and the garden.

Sunday…breakfast in bed.breakfast in bed

Presentation of gifts…new tiara

 Flowers…flowers

Tribute of undying devotion and never-ending love….

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Honestly, I’d be happy if someone just finished cleaning out the closets in the  “Garage Mahal”.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend…

Love to my sisters…great Mothers to their own and my 2nd, 3rd and 4th Mothers.

Remember to hug your mother, she wiped your butt and someday if you haven’t already, you may have to wipe hers.

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The Gavel…

… has spoken.

Project Runway Snow Day: Part Deux

Every year, our school PTA hosts a spring Ice Cream Social and Auction to benefit the PTA. Teachers scoop the vanilla and add the toppings while the families in our school community enjoy some socializing followed by an opportunity to bid on many exciting gift baskets, amusement park outings, sporting equipment, special seats at school functions, principal for a day, outings with the teacher and many other great items.

This year I decided to sew a line of clothing for 18″ dolls like the American Girl Doll . As noted in many past posts I have plenty of fabric…if interested you can read about my addiction: here, here, here, and here. (I can’t believe there aren’t a few more “here”.)

I need to thank Mother Nature for the eight full snow days which provided me plenty fo time to design and sew the outfits…as well as Liberty Jane patterns for the patterns to sew the project. I am not paid to promote the company, however if you give them your email address you will receive one free pattern every Friday. I am not one for following patterns, but I made it work.

Anyway…the gavel has spoken…The auction was held last Friday evening. I was hoping the clothing line would fetch $50…instead it went for $250…woo hoo I am seeing a fancy field trip for my students in the future.

  Without further ado… Project Snow Day: Part Deux

The Spirit of Red, White, and Blue

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Each year our school holds a Memorial Day Assembly. It is a wonderful event and makes me proud to be an American.

Downton Velvet Day Coat

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I am certain that most girls have no idea that the coat has an Edwardian flair.

A Winter Party Favorite

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I think you may have seen this before.

Sequins without Saddle Shoes

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Believe it or not, some students wear sequins on a daily basis, so this outfit will be a big winner. Ugh…this was the only photo I had of this outfit.

 Casual Tuesday or any other weekday.

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A denim skirt, a VB inspired bag and Tom-like shoes.

Justice for the School Day

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Yes…the sequin boots are another frequent sight during a regular school day.

Lilly and A Spring Party

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So you didn’t get your Lilly at Target….well here it is.

Goodnight Stars

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I might wear the fluffy slippers.

Dress like the Teacher

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My students knew who this was as soon as I pulled the item out of the box….tennis bracelet and all.

I completed several other outfits, but didn’t have time for all the photography…

Have a great Wednesday!

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Beach Weekend…

…and walk.

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Several weeks ago I contacted Peggy Anne because the Hubster was going out of town on business and I suggested we have a girls weekend…as it turns out a weekend plan had already been in the works and I was so fortunate to be included.

Peggy Anne has two friends, Judith* and Carly* from high school who graciously have embraced me in their circle. Judith* and her man, MC* own a condo in Bethany Beach. The girls signed up to walk in the the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I, of course, gladly accepted the invite and joined in on the fun for a good cause.

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In memory of my Aunt C. and Aunt T….in celebration of a survivor…Peggy Anne’s, sister Lee Ann.

 

On Friday, immediately after school I drove up I-95 to meet Peggy Anne at her home in Newark, Delaware. Together, we drove down to Bethany Beach, Delaware to Judith’s lovely condo. I know what you are thinking, a regular Thelma and Louise only younger, better looking, without weapons and no Brad Pitt.

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I am Geena Davis and she is Susan Sarandon. Our mom jeans are much cooler than these as ours sit lower on the hip.

 

On the drive down, Hubster texted me not to talk too much because we might run out of conversation topics when we arrived…I am fairly certain he was joking because we never run out of things to discuss….to prove the point, when we arrived we said our hellos sat down at the dining table and observed not one moment of silence until we went to bed; unless you count chewing, swallowing and drinking. We even talked while we were brushing our teeth…dental hygiene cannot be ignored.

Saturday arrived as an absolutely gorgeous spring day.  I am happy to report that all the talking exhausted me and I slept until after 7 am…I felt like a teenager again, minus a PM Saturday wake up time and drama regret. As I descended from my sleeping loft, I spotted another reason for my restful sleep. Judith and MC have a wonderful guard dog, Roxy. I am a true believer that when you feel safe you sleep so much better.

Check out Roxy keeping an eye on our well-being and securing the perimeter.

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She is fearless and thinks she is bigger than most other wildlife.

The view from the deck of condo…

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Absolutely beautiful day…spring blooming all around.

We took a leisurely walk around the complex with Roxy as our guide…there were many trails to explore.

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Judith and Carly pause as Roxy guides us towards the townhouse condos squirrel taunting her from afar.

In the afternoon, we decided to drive up to Rehobeth Beach to do some window shopping and eat some lunch. Our first stop was Miss Pixie’s Vintage Furnishings. Peggy Anne and Pixie were good friends back in the 80’s when we worked summers for the Phillips family in their seafood restaurants in Ocean City , Maryland.

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An eclectic shop with lots of ideas for home decor. Pixie also has a shop in DC.

The window shopping and walking found us famished so we wasted no time finding a restaurant to meet our immediate needs…beverage (the adult kind) and food.

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Rehobeth has many restaurants and shops along the main street. We ate on the porch.

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Peggy Anne and Carly show off their new tee shirts, because sometimes you can meet all your needs in one place…eat , drink and shop.

Once outside, it was time for a “photo op”… you can just imagine the number of tourists who didn’t want to take our photo.

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L-R: Me, Peggy Anne, Carly and Judith…glamour is our middle name.

Once safely returned to the condo, it was determined we did not have enough tonic water for medicinal purposes. Judith and I hopped on her bikes for a quick ride up to Route 1. Many of the shops are still closed for the season, but we persevered and met our goal.

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Tonic water and purse safely in basket.

 

 The Sunday rise and shine came at an earlier hour due to our participation in the Walk for the Cure. Peggy Anne insisted that we try to make Mass before the walk, but sacrifices had to be made to secure a parking spot in Ocean City. We parked right across from the Baptist Church so we decided our obligation was met.

The walk began at the inlet in Ocean City.

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Carly and Judith in the mint and gray.

I have never participated in this event before Sunday. Many teams go all out in the costume department.

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The hot pink Vikings were a favorite.

The air temperature on Sunday right along the ocean was a bit cool to say the least. We didn’t let that stop us from having fun and recognizing just how lucky we were to be healthy and take on this brisk walk in support of others.

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After the walk, 3.1 miles under our belts and we still had the energy to climb up the life guard stand …L-R: Beemie, Judith, Carly and Peggy Anne

Look… I still don’t have Instagram, but I can pretend.

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In just a few short months, I will be sitting on the beach.

With the photo sessions behind us, we headed back up to Bethany for some coffee and breakfast. It was also time to get the condo back in shape after we enjoyed it all weekend.

Judith, MC and Roxy thanks so much for your hospitality and security. Carly, it is always a blast to laugh and commiserate our teaching stories…so sorry you had to miss the prom at your school. Peggy Anne, another adventure in the book. (Ok, make that movie since you prefer not to read.)

Time for us to head back home.

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Not us….we kept the top up because we wanted to keep our hair as coiffed as it had been all weekend…

I have been home since late Sunday afternoon, but my mind continues to drift back to the weekend.

Happy Wednesday all!

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School Year 2014 -2015: DAY 139, only 41 to go…somebody has to keep track of this data.

* names changed to protect their reputation

70 years ago…

…it was a Thursday.

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Because these two wrote faithfully to each other from January, 1943 to April, 1945, I am here today. Monetarily, my family was not wealthy, but I had plenty of experiences in life that often make me feel rich.

Today is a day to celebrate my beginning, to celebrate my family and to celebrate life.

Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad!

I miss you!

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Checking in…

…to spring.

Hubster and I took a much needed trip to Home Depot…it was important because this year the vegetable garden cannot be the disappointment that it was last year.

Hubster chooses his manure carefully.

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The palms are a much needed dose of summer for the deck.

I know better than to come between a man and his &#!% manure.

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The future for the tomatoes looks promising.

The winter has been declared officially over (by me anyway). We ate in the sunroom on Sunday…our first hot steamed crabs of the season.

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I actually felt like it was summer…if only in my mind. The crabs were delicious.

 A very short post today…report card comments were just completed and my creative  writing skills with leading positive statement are shot for the week.

The following is a comment that never made it on to one of my report cards, but if friends could write a comment for me it might read something like this:

well with others

Have a fabulous Thursday!

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Say it…

…isn’t so.

I have had a fabulous week at home on spring break. I was able to:

Shop during the day…

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So lucky this store is only a short drive from my home.

Read an entire book and start a new one of my choice…

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The subject matter is never easy to read, but a must so this never happens again.

 

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Have only started this …

Sew

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A special girl I know is making her First Communion…this is for her doll.

Clean some drawers

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I thought my drawers looked good until I found this on Pinterest…going to skip my drawer shaming and stick with this.

 Meet a friend for breakfast

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Met my friend, Mandy (you may remember her from this story). She is a teacher at another school…fortunately we did not spend the whole time talking about school.

Exercise (everyday)

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Over 70 miles…I know what you’re thinking, she must be wasting away to nothing…not true, still plenty of me to squeeze into clothes.

Watch the spring bloom (even though it was rainy)

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The blooms are such a needed sign of warmer weather ahead…so exciting…I am going to need to talk to the yard boy Hubster …we need mulch.

Sun finally came out on Sunday

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The deer are not fond of forsythia…thank goodness.

By the time you are reading this I will have been awakened by this…

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Not my clock…not sure if you are aware, but if you look for images of clocks you will find that most of the analog clocks show 10:10…not sure why this is so…yes, that was a useless fact for you to enjoy.

Hubster will have peeled my lifeless body lured me out of bed with coffee and breakfast.

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See what I mean…

And finally…hi ho, hi ho…it’s off to school I go.

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I did not promise it would be pretty.

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Me by the copy  machine 8:10 am….I must say the tutu makes the outfit …don’t you agree.

Don’t worry though I will get my act together…remember my mantra…overwhelmed

As long as there is no plot twist…the last day of school is June 19…

49 school days remain…

…not that I am counting.

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Who knew?

…it’s National Siblings Day!

I had no idea this holiday even existed as sibling rivalry love was evident everyday with my own two Son-sters.

They are grown and flown …living many miles apart, but I do hope they take this message with them wherever they go. It was the same message my mother instilled to my siblings and me.

siblingsA blast from the past:

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Hard to believe that #2 is taller than #1 now…

Here’s another message to my Son-sters and my own siblings:

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Here is a kindergarten view of my family:

 

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We were quite a good looking bunch back in 1967…It is evident that I knew shoulder pads would be the “in” thing someday.

A dead ringer for the above art work.

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Just over twenty years ago…The Milkman’s 75th.

If you have a sibling reach out and touch him or her, you might just make his/her (and in my case, their) day.

Happy National Siblings Day.

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