Tag Archives: family

Loved to Pieces

Ian has a teddy bear named “Rattle-ly.” (Once pronounced “Lattle-Ree”)  He’s had him for almost 12 years; my substitute bought him as a gift for Ian when he was born.

Last weekend I had to do some surgery on the little fellow.  This wasn’t his first time on the operating table, but this was definitely the most involved surgery to date. His right leg was shortened, his left arm and leg were patched, and he got some mending on left his side and over his heart.



I wonder how long this little guy can hang on? I guess this is what it means to be “loved to pieces.”

The Best Kind of Blue

Not the kind of dumpy, sad “feeling blue” blue…..

Not the crystal blue water of the oceans I’ve never seen…

Not the blue that looks best on me or the blue I’ve chosen for a painting project….

So many times in 2013 the kids and I have felt the blues.

Diabetes and the end of a relationship where 4 kids were involved just really wreaked havoc on our emotions.

Yesterday we were feeling a new kind of blue.

Meet “Blue” – our brand new puppy!


Ian has been negotiating, bargaining, sweet-talking, begging, and giving me puppy dog eyes for the last few weeks. He had been even sending pics of puppies to Dee and coaching her to show them to me. (He originally asked for a dog back in the winter shortly after he was diagnosed and it killed me to say no, because I wanted to give him the world after his life was turned upside down).

Dee, the cool and quiet one, took a somewhat different approach and hung out with us a little more often when the topic was being discussed forced. (I’ve noticed that as she enters 8th grade she prefers to hang out in her room a lot more.)

So in the end, after a lot of reading on my part and sending them links to read on their iPods (educational summer reading)…

After considering my options, making phone calls, weighing pros and cons and evaluating our life….

We met and brought home Blue.


Why “Blue?”

I wish we could take credit for the name. It was what he’d been called the last three months. When I asked why (the other puppies were named Chaos and Alexander) she said,
“He was wearing a blue collar.”

Hmmmm…that might just be quirky enough to work.

And as we drove home with him we were able to make just about any song on the radio about Blue.

The best was probably Phillip Phillips’ song “Gone, Gone, Gone.”

“I will do it for Blue, for Blue!”

The rest of the night it just made sense…we bought a blue leash and collar, Ian drank blue G2 at a picnic, and chose a blue cupcake for dessert.

Each time he would proclaim with his eyes bright, “For Blue!”

When we returned home from the staff picnic it became official: He was Blue.


The final reason the name Blue just works….blue is often used for Diabetes Awareness.

I think it was meant to be!



Tradition Season

The last day of October already?! I can’t believe it’s over. It was a great month though…so I can’t complain. The month of October is the start of “Tradition Season”….my favorite time of the year!!

My community is big on tradition. We have one of the longest high school football rivalries in the country. We just had our 109th meeting. (We won!)

Tweedle Ian, the sports fanatic, and Tweedle Dee, the Princess of Tradition if I am the Queen of Tradition, love this spirit-filled week…..just as they should. It’s how we raise kids around here. I grew up in the opposing town and although it’s my alma mater and my family remains loyal, I have “crossed the river” and my loyalties have changed. I feel it’s only right to support my children and my students, much to my family’s dismay.

Two weeks ago we went to the 8th grade football game against our rivals. It’s always fun to see my students on the field and it’s especially exciting for Tweedle Ian, as he feels a “connection” with the players because I know their names. (To him, these 14-year-olds are celebrities.)

This past Thursday we went to the community pep rally and bonfire. We had our traditional kettle corn and hung out at our traditional spot waiting for the team and cheerleaders to set it ablaze. And then as the fire grew, we worked our way back from the heat, til we were on the very edge of the field…signaling it was time to call it a night and head back to the car.

Before the pep rally, we headed out for our annual candid picture photo shoot. There is a nice little park-like setting behind a nearby church and the kids and I have gone down there to take “Fall Pics” for a few years now. Tweedle Dee, who has gotten quite artsy with her iPod camera had some great ideas this time.

I “heart” tradition and beautiful fall days…which seem to be dwindling.

And then, since we could not get tickets to the Friday night game this year, we listened to it online while playing ping pong and Scrabble. Game updates via Twitter and Facebook, and the warmth and coziness of “watching” the game in pajamas could easily make this a tradition.

Saturday, we attended yet another of the biggest high school rivalries of all time with Admiral Bodee and all four kids. (A first for me and my kids.) He works for one district and his kids go to school in the other. It was rainy and cold and part of me did not want to go…but I did…because “it’s tradition” and it meant a lot to him.

I love tradition. It is comforting to me.

Traditions can start accidentally or be started deliberately.

Traditions can be ordinary or off-the-wall.

Traditions can make us laugh…and sometimes cry.

Traditions can be puzzling to others, but make perfect sense to those involved.

Traditions remind us of days long gone.

Traditions represent promises that will not be broken.

Traditions give us hope and make us look forward to the future.

So….singing/meowing “Happy Birthday” as a chorus of cats, going to one Ohio State game a year, staying up ALL night on Thanksgiving and going shopping into the early morning hours of Black Friday, taking the kids to a dog show at the IX Center for my birthday, Christmas Eve fondue with 20 people, having a candid fall photo shoot with the kids…all of these traditions are a special part of my fall and holiday season.

Tweedle Ian (with the football), Tweedle Dee (striking a pose in the middle), and me (taking the pic) on our walk home.

What are some traditions you’ve started with your family?

Do you have any traditions from childhood that you continue with your own kids today?

Big Shoes to Fill

Sunday is Father’s Day and I will be on a giant family vacation at the beach. I know there will be a million tributes to amazing dads out there, but I feel like my dad deserves an honorable mention here.

Christmas 1976

As a little girl I always wanted to be a teacher. Always. In the summer, I would play school with my little sister and our babysitter’s daughter. When they didn’t want to play, I played with my dolls. (How attentive and well-behaved they were!)

My dad didn’t influence me to become a teacher, but he did influence me to become a special education teacher. He is not a teacher, in so many words, but he introduced me to working with those with disabilities and he showed me that everyone can learn.

Professionally, my dad works in the field of social work. He has used his social work skills in jobs at the Bureau of Vocational Resources and Goodwill Industries.

He’s also done a variety of other things as he is somewhat of an inventor and adventurer….he’s owned a racquetball court, worked with a team of guys developing an all-terrain vehicle, worked with the Earthwinds team on a hot air balloon that would travel around the world, built several homes (including a dome home he currently lives in), sold portable hot tubs (Softubs), and created several of his own inventions (one is a machine that sucks up styrofoam packing peanuts).

When I was in high school, my dad was running a window blind company. I worked in the office and on the floor cutting and sewing vertical blinds. He employed only a few people besides me and his good friend, who is also my godfather. The others he hired all required job coaching and vocational rehabilitation. I do not know all of their specific disabilities as my dad’s goal was to simply help them gain and then keep employment so they could be independent. I do know one man was hearing impaired. Yes, a deaf man working in a blind factory….Sounds like the start of a joke, right?

In all seriousness though, every time I was interviewed after college, my answer to “How did you decide to go into special education?” always came back to working for my dad.

For the last 20 years, I have witnessed both the philosophy and actions of a caring and wonderful man and have tried to apply it to my job as a teacher and mother.

My dad shows compassion towards others. Towards everyone….even ex-family members. I wish I could be more like him in this regard. When I am around him it is hard to speak ill of anyone. I have never seen him get upset with anyone, unless they hurt his children and even then, he doesn’t react in a angry way. I think, if anything, he is more disappointed in human behavior and the choices people make than he is angry.

My dad believes in providing opportunities for everyone. This is obvious in the work that he does daily at Goodwill. He works long hours and goes above and beyond what he is expected to do, because he wants to do it. I asked him recently if he had any plans to retire and he told me that it is not in the near future; as long as he loves his job he sees no reason to leave. He also volunteers his own time to ensure this equal access to those in our community. He has obtained many grants for our local theater to make it handicap accessible so that everyone can enjoy the productions.

My dad supports everyone’s dreams. He never says “You can’t.” or ‘You shouldn’t.” He says, “Give it a try.” He comes to every one of my son’s coach pitch games and sits with me. We joke about not knowing the score and sometimes we secretly wish for the game to end, but he is always there cheering him on.

My dad is proud of my accomplishments and never for a minute doubts that I can’t do what I set out to do. He’s seen me go through some tough times, but he always believed I would come out on top. And I have.

My dad is not afraid to make mistakes and is able to laugh at himself. In fact, that is what makes him who he is. If you know my dad, you need no explanation.

My dad has a quirky, but wonderful, sense of humor and loves to make people laugh. Prime example, the bench he designed for my son’s room:


Yes, those are my dad’s shoes. Size 22. Ok…technically they are his, but not the ones he wears. I am guessing he is about a size 9? He found these at a store and bought several pairs, envisioning all the great things he could make with them.

I keep a pair of these size 22 Nikes in my classroom…as a conversation piece. The kids love them and the boys have all tried them on at one time or another. They love it the most when I try on my dad’s shoes and “gracefully” walk around the room. As you can imagine, I have big shoes to fill.


Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

I love you!

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