It’s Almost March

It’s that time of year again.

I’ve spent the last few weeks debating with myself about whether or not to participate in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. I’ve completed the challenge three times and during lockdown I wrote for half of the month of March. I know I can do it. I know it’s not easy. I know it helps me grow but I still question whether or not I can write every day for 31 days.

The first step is always the hardest. This morning I put a reminder in my phone to sign up for the challenge while my class was at recess. “I can’t do it right now,” I told myself, “I need to get ready for school. Besides, it’s too difficult to sign up on my phone, I need a computer.” I put the challenge out of my mind and headed upstairs to get ready for my day.

I found myself with time on my hands today because my student teacher began her final week in my classroom so she is teaching all day. I went to my desk and opened my computer and found the email at the top of my inbox was from my instructional coach, Ona, who slices at On a Thought. I knew there would be a link to sign up for the challenge in her weekly email. I left her email unread and busied myself with the never-ending pile of assessments on my desk. Every time I looked at my computer I saw the unread email from Ona, a reminder that I needed to sign up for the challenge.

I returned from walking my class down the hall to recess and opened Ona’s email. I scrolled past the Spring Break memes and found the Slice of Life section with the bolded title Write with Me! Start Tomorrow! I Clicked the link and made my way to the Two Writing Teachers website only to find the site was quite messed up and the link to the challenge wasn’t working. “I can’t do it at school. I guess I can’t do it until I’m home.” I mumbled.

My phone was sitting on my desk as I started to work on planning for the week after Spring Break. I heard the familiar buzz and looked at the screen to find a reminder – “Sign up to slice”. I picked up my phone and made my way to the Two Writing Teachers website. I navigated through the Google sign up sheet on my phone. I filled in my name, my blog name and url. I clicked the button that indicated I’ve participated in the challenge for 4-8 years and then it was time to hit the submit button.

“It’s that time of year again!” I exclaimed as I hit the Submit button on my phone.

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Grief Journey

We all have a grief journey we take throughout our life. We journey down this road because we have loved. Some of us start this journey early in life and some are blessed to not start the journey until much later.

My grief journey began as a 7 year old the summer before I started 3rd grade. My grandfather, who wasn’t much older than I am right now, died of a heart attack. I have many fond memories of my grandfather because he lived with us until I was almost 6 years old. My mom was not a morning person so my grandfather almost always made my breakfast. Back then my breakfast of choice was a soft boiled egg which he served in a special egg cup. I’m not sure why this was my favorite breakfast as I really do not like runny egg yolks at all. I think it was because Grandpa liked soft boiled eggs.

In the middle of kindergarten, a few months before I turned 6, we moved and Grandpa no longer lived with us. I stopped eating soft boiled eggs. Despite her continuous efforts, my mom could never make them quite like Grandpa did. Maybe she could, but I refused to eat them. They just weren’t the same.

My grief journey has continued as everyone’s does. My grandmother was next. I only knew her a short time because she and my grandfather divorced, probably before I was born, so I didn’t meet her until I was 12. She left the same day as my grandfather 7 years later.

My grief journey has gone on to include my mother, cousins who left too young, another grandmother, a precious grandmother-in-law, my father, aunts and just a week ago my father-in-law. My children have now lost three of their grandparents. While their Pap Pap didn’t make them soft boiled eggs, he passed on many bits of wisdom to them. A family favorite is, “There’s a lot of trucks on 80.” My oldest just confirmed that was good advice as he traveled 80 last night to come home for Pap Pap’s funeral.

Pap Pap turned 90 less than a month ago. We celebrated with his favorite marble cake with peanut butter icing. The tiny peanut butter cups decorating the top were too much of a temptation for him. He picked one off and popped it in his mouth with a grin when he thought no one was looking. Thankfully, we caught him because his mischievous grin brought all of us joy. It’s the memory I’ll keep with me. I know this grief journey will continue throughout my life. While these times are not easy, they are necessary, for there would be no grief journey if we hadn’t first loved.

Happy 90th Birthday Pap Pap!

Postal Frustrations

The Postal Service is not what it used to be. I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or the fact that almost 7 years ago I moved to a more rural area, but I no longer have confidence in the Postal Service. I hesitate to mail anything from my mailbox and will either drive over the mountain to my local post office or have my husband take the outgoing mail with him to work. Receiving mail and packages at home can be a frustrating event as well.

For the past two years I have been unable to get a birthday or Christmas card mailed to my brother in California. I have sent the cards but he has never received them. I see posts in my neighborhood Facebook group about mail being stolen from mailboxes so maybe my cards are being stolen. I hope the thief has enjoyed my Christmas messages to family and friends and my birthday wishes to my brother if that’s what’s happening to my outgoing mail. Perhaps those greetings are sitting in some dead letter office somewhere between Pennsylvania and California where postal service workers are having Hallmark Channel romances. (I’ve only heard of Signed, Sealed and Delivered on the Hallmark Channel, I haven’t actually watched it.)

In addition to my frustration over lost greetings to my brother, there’s my frustration with package deliveries. I can’t count the number of boxes that have been delivered looking like they’ve been through a WWE SmackDown. You’d be surprised at the size and condition of the packages that have been jammed into my mailbox too, rather than delivered to my porch. We’ve had packages we almost couldn’t extract from the mailbox. If it weren’t for the rear door on our mailbox we’d have some things permanently stuck. If I know I have photos on the way I have to tape notes inside the mailbox asking for them to be delivered to the porch so they don’t get bent in half. You would think the bright orange Shutterfly box would be a clue that photos are inside. Apparently it’s not.

I’ve been awaiting a delivery this week. The company I ordered from sent an email telling me it would be delivered Monday. It wasn’t. It arrived today. I guess I should be glad it was today and not yesterday since it was raining most of the day yesterday. My box was full of yarn and I would not have been happy if it got wet. The box was too big to be jammed into the mailbox so it was put by the back door not on the front porch protected from the elements. Don’t even get me started on the packages that get placed in plastic grocery bags and hung from the flag on my mailbox. That’s a whole different slice I could write. Thankfully my yarn has arrived and I can start lowering my blood pressure while I knit and purl.

Part of Slice of Life Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers. Thanks for reading!

10 Things I Should Have Learned By Now

Beth Sanderson who blogs at A Reading Life used this structure during the 2022 SOL March Challenge.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on

The first day of spring doesn’t mean spring weather.

Getting your knitting gauge right matters.

Always check where the rack is before preheating.

Trying a new management strategy can be like taking two steps backwards.

Second graders who haven’t sat on the carpet since kindergarten need to be taught how to sit on the carpet.

Even if I repeat the directions 1,000 times there will still be someone who doesn’t know what to do.

6:00 p.m. is an acceptable time to change into pajamas on a school night.

Making my lunch right after dinner is better than doing it at bedtime.

The work is never done until summer wife shows up.

If I can write for 31 days straight, I can write once a week.

Part of Slice of Life Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers. Thanks for reading!

From My Chair Slice

I was inspired today by a video my instructional coach (she slices at On a Thought) made to teach primary students about Slice of Life writing. Two years ago she and I worked with my 2nd graders on Slice of Life writing as part of an inquiry I was doing for my yearly evaluation. It was a powerful experience and one I need to return to doing. I haven’t been slicing with students the last two years because of the demands of learning some new curriculum resources. This time of remote learning seems to be the perfect time to try some other types of writing with my students.

So here’s my From My Chair Slice for Slice of Life Tuesday:

From my chair I see . . .

My computer screen.

My new normal classroom.


From my chair I see . . .

Post-It notes at the ready.

Neon green reminders of things my brain can’t hold.


From my chair I see . . .

Stuffies given in love.

Reminders of smiling students.


From my chair I see . . .

An almost empty paper box made for a joyous summer celebration.

A vessel for stress relieving morsales of chocolatey goodness.


From my chair I see . . .

A precious photo of days gone by.

Little boys dressed for Halloween


From my chair I see . . .

All I need to get me through another day of teaching and learning from afar.


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Two Writing Teachers

Day 31 or Day 16 #SOL20

It’s day 31 of the 2020 Slice of Life challenge but it’s day 16 for me as I joined the challenge half way through this year. I am thankful to Two Writing Teachers for opening up the challenge midway through the month as a way to help many of us process how the world had changed in just two weeks. I’m grateful to have these 16 blog posts that have chronicaled this historic time.

I read a post earlier today by Book Dragon that was a play on a spine poem.  My fellow slicer encouraged me to give it a try in the reply to my comment on the post so here’s the story my titles tell:

A Slice of Morning Meeting

An Afternoon of Decompressing

Stay at Home Order

Schools Closed Indefinitely


There Will Be Good

The encouragement from other writers throughout this challenge is what keeps many of us writing for 31 days or in my case 16. Thank you to the Slice of Life community for you words of support and encouragement. There were many stories to tell this year. I hope to join you on Tuesdays.

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Two Writing Teachers

Stay at Home Order #SOL20 Day 29

I escaped the house this morning at 7:30 a.m. to go to the grocery store. The rainy day yesterday had me feeling trapped. We couldn’t get out for our daily walk with the dog and by evening our governor had issued a stay at home order for our county. The news only increased my feelings of isolation.

I felt like I was violating the law as I drove the winding road into town this morning. I was expecting to get pulled over and asked where I was going. Grocery shopping is allowed but it still felt strange to be driving somewhere this morning.

I got up early to grocery shop in hopes of finding more things on the shelves and fewer people in the store. While the store wasn’t packed, there were more people than I expected for the first morning of the stay at home order. Fortunately, I found everything I needed, even toilet paper.

The world has changed drastically in the past two weeks. To grocery shop this morning I gathered my hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and rubber gloves. Before I left I set up my wipe down space in the garage. I now teach from a bedroom in my house where I spend most of my day in front of a computer. We only leave the house to walk the dog or gather supplies so we can continue to work and teach from home. It’s not looking like things are going to change anytime soon. I’m hoping I don’t have to repeat the grocery store ordeal for two weeks. Maybe by then things will be a little more normal.

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Two Writing Teachers



I’m not a Writer #SOL20 Day 27

I’m not a writer. I have been saying this for years. If you asked me to describe myself I would not say I am a writer. I would say I am a wife, mom (and now mother-in-law), teacher, knitter, baker and cookie decorator but not a writer. I am a teacher of writing, a blogger and the author of many cheesy personal narrative stories that entertain, and hopefully instruct my students, but I’m not a writer.

IMG_3559 (1)I came across this collection of writing today as I was searching for some plastic page protectors to house all of my important remote learning papers. The oldest of these items is my writer’s notebook from my very first graduate class that I took early in my career in 1992. It was a writing class for teachers of writing that my school district strongly encouraged us to take. Since I needed hours for my 5 year recertification I dove in with another teacher in my building. I wrote personal narratives, article response papers, a book review and the first chapter of a mystery piece but I didn’t feel like a writer after this course.

Some other items were my teaching journals that I kept when I was working as a graduate assistant while working on my master’s degree. I was teaching language and learning education classes to preservice elementary teachers. My teaching journals were part of my teacher research that resulted in my final paper for my degree. My paper was accepted after I completed the revision of one small section but I still didn’t feel like a writer.

Finally, I also found my Slice of Life journal that I used in my classroom two years ago. I was focusing on writing for my differentiated supervision project during that school year and with the help of my awesome instructional coach (you can find her slicing over at On a Thought) we taught my 2nd graders how to slice. It was an amazing experience as was slicing myself everyday during the #SOL18 challenge. Sadly, I have been sporadic with blogging since the 2018 challenge. I find other things take priority over writing. I think if I was a writer I would make sure there was time for it. I appreciate that the Two Writing Teachers opened up the challenge half way through this year. Maybe it will help me to finally become a writer.

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Two Writing Teachers