Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Trees Are Naked. . . Where Did Fall Go?

My son ran upstairs yesterday to make sure I looked out the window to see that it was snowing.  I was driving to a coffee shop this morning with the sun shining, and I realized that the trees were mostly bare.  It just seems like last week that I was waiting for them to change colors!

This begs the question, Where did Fall go?

It's gone into applying new laws and standards and evaluation systems in my classroom, acquainting myself with a new principal, being an inclusion teacher, having 28 precious 9 - 10 year olds counting on my best every single day for differentiated math and reading, wacky stories and life lessons, math fact night, student led conferences, and many more bits.

At home I've been mom to a preschooler who has had a tough time adjusting to preschool, speech therapy, and learning that life has "a lot of rules."  We are in the midst of applying to school for next year.  We are excited, and I'm nervous about the money.  {It's just money, right?}

In my free time I've wasted energy on feeling guilty that my house is NOT anywhere near organized or cleaned.  I've done some hiking and trips to parks with Sam.  I assembled the 3rd annual Brave Fall Retreat.  We celebrated and decorated for Halloween.  Can we do something besides a robot next year?  Now we have autumn decorations up for Thanksgiving.  We are already talking about when we are getting out the Christmas decorations.  I haven't painted at all in the past month, but I did go to Rust and Found and get a gorgeous winged wreath that's already on my door.  I've gotten to do a little yoga teaching.  I wish I could say my personal practice was stronger, it's not.

I'm worried that with all this running, life will just pass me by, and I won't even notice that the trees are naked.  I hope this is just a brief season.  I don't like that feeling that I will never be caught up.

Where did Fall go for you?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Outside of a Horse

"Something about the outside of a horse
is good for the inside of a man."
(Winston Churchill)

A huge THANK YOU to Lin and Mark and Brin for giving Sam such a fantastic farm experience!
He got to ride his first horse and his second tractor!  The tractor is the favorite--bigger and noisier!

How would we do it without friends? 
Why do I ever think I need to do it all alone?
Why can't I just remember this?

I'm humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude

Sunday, September 15, 2013

This is going to be exceptional!

So my 4 year old and I went out to the driveway to paint!  We get messy and throw lots of paint on a canvas.  We use spray bottles of water to get cool effects.  He got to use his palette for the first time.  I just use paper plates for a palette!

As soon as he puts just a few stroked of paint on the canvas he says with enthusiasm and confidence, "This is going to be exceptional!"  What 4 year old uses the word exceptional???  Sam does!

I always talk up his paintings, so I think he does have confidence as an artist--probably more than I do! But I think the statement was about the whole experience that we were sharing.  Our time together outside doing something that we both enjoy so much.

It made me wonder when the last time I dared to utter the words in the presence of someone else, "This is going to be exceptional!"?????

I say that for my students, but what about what I'm doing?  When was the last time I shared some of my work, and told a coworker that it was going to be exceptional?

Many times the teacher is the student and the parent the child.

P.S.  I hope you find something you will share with your kids that makes them say, "This is going to be exceptional!"

Monday, August 12, 2013

What This Summer Has Taught Me

Here is what I learned this summer:

I know, I know. . . we already think we know it, but I know it deep in the fiber of my being.  I painted this little rock to put on my desk this year and remember.

This summer I removed everything familiar from my 4 year olds life.  I took him to a unique and wonderful place, but it was way tougher on both of us than I could have imagined.  If I had waited for creating the beautiful moment when we both looked good slathered in sunscreen playing blissfully on the beach, this summer would have been a huge disappointment.

Instead we just kept moving on in all our wonderful imperfection.  I tried to stay really present.  {I soo often didn't succeed!}  Except for work I let go of my agenda, and just started to see where life would take us.  We found parks and beaches I didn't even know existed.  {We love the swim area at East Harbor State Park.}  We learned how to use touch screen computers at the Port Clinton Library.  We were regulars at God Squad all summer.  We went to concert, and we met a new musician, Zak Morgan  We saw sunsets and did lots of beach combing for shells, glass, and smooth rocks,  We had so many people be so generous with us--so many more than I could even name here.

It wasn't all beauty and bliss!  There were lots of meltdowns {from both of us} and lots of good plans went the wrong way.  I had almost no time to myself all summer.  I have a super quirky boy, and that can be tricky.  We ate too much junk food, and I only had a few minutes here and there to do yoga.  I could probably do a mini program of mini sequences that work!

Now it's ending, and I will miss life near the lake.

It's almost time for school to start, and with the rock on my desk, here is some of my summer that I want to take into my classroom:

1.  It is about making each amazing moment matter
2.  Quirky kids are fun
3.  Sometimes you have to let go of the plan
4.  Sometimes it's going to be messy and there will be meltdowns
5.  Life is always smoother when I have time to myself on a regular basis
6.  I will be sad when it's all over, no matter how it turns out

What has summer taught you that you will take into your new school year?

Learn more about Brave Fall Retreat.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Super Excited About the 2013 Brave Fall Retreat

So excited!

Proudly presenting. . .

Sustainable U
2013 Brave Fall Retreat

September 27 - 29, 2013
Lakeside, Ohio

What's going to sustain you right now, right where you are?
Spend a weekend on the beautiful shores of Lake Erie engaged in mini-courses designed to support you on your quest toward sustainability.  Our focus will be sustaining yourself right where you are, doing what you are doing.  We will do this through a series of informal mini-courses for mind, body, and spirit.

This is my official invitation just for you to join us at the 3rd Annual Brave Fall Retreat!

Read all the details HERE!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Creative and Engaging Toy

I have a VERY active and curious 4 year old son.  {It's very hard to keep his attention for more than 5 minutes.}  A few things can engage him--legos, for example.

We have a new favorite toy.  He can't get enough of them, and I love creating with them, too!

It's called Plus-Plus.  We have the minis.  They look like little plastic puzzle pieces, but the versatility is amazing.  It's made in Denmark.  There are various color packs.  They can be purchased in boxes of 100, 300, 600, or 1200.

When I say HOURS of fun, I'm not exaggerating a bit.  The possibilities are limitless.  You can see some amazing designs on the website, but just let kids enjoy.  You can find them online, but I would recommend that you let your independent local toy store know about them.  We bought them here in Lakeside at Fine Print Bookstore.  {They have a wonderful book selection and lots of great quality unique toys.}

If you're looking for a no batteries required toy for a child, I highly recommend Plus-Plus.  It's definitely our favorite toy find of the summer.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fully Alive

I know that in just a couple weeks these moments are going to feel like distant memories.  I want to be fully alive and present and enjoying this all!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fun For All: Rock Painting

I've had loads of fun this week painting rocks with my son.  It's so simple.  And so fun.

All you need are some rocks--try landscaping and gardening places.

Acrylic paints and brushes and newspaper to cover your work surface {and a spray sealant if you're leaving them outside}


Here are some of our creations this week:

Sam's smiling head and mommy's help with body!

You can see other art I made this week HERE

What have you been creating in your corner of the world this week?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sam as Mona Lisa

We took time to just walk around today on our way back to Lakeside.  {I realize I am very poor at just showing up and being present in these types of situations.  I'm thinking, "Hurry, hurry, hurry!"  Does this awareness at least count as mindfulness???}  Thinking I NEED to do this more, even if it's just to capture moments like this:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Plein Air Painting

I'm recovering from an amazing weekend!  I got to spend time by the lake with my dad and brother.
And I got to spend a couple days painting by the lake.

I'm proud of myself for the courage it took to put myself and art out there!

Here's a glimpse into my weekend:

I hope your weekend had glimpses of beauty, too!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Seeing Children

This week I witnessed my son's interaction with another adult, and I was profoundly reminded of the importance of seeing children.  Really seeing them.  Not looking over and around them in the business of life or school or whatever.

Here at Lakeside, Sam goes to God Squad every single time it happens.  {God Squad is a bit like Vacation Bible School, and it meets for kid's church and then Tuesday - Thursday each week.}  There are little lessons and fantastic music by the guy who has been leading this thing for 18 years, Chip Richter.  {God Squad holds a special place in my heart, because the first summer I worked at Lakeside, one of my jobs was helping with God Squad.  I think Chip's son was Sam's age that summer, and he is all grown up now!}

Anyway, everyday there is a little craft at the end, and a couple days ago they made buttons to wear on their shirts.  Sam designed his, but I did most of the drawing.  He was proud of how his looked.  He went looking for Chip to show him the badge.

And here is the moment:  Chip looks at Sam, calls him by name, and tells him how cool his button looks.  It was just a moment, and Chip could have been doing a bazillion other things, but he acknowledged Sam and his work.

Hours later Sam says:  My button is cool, and Chip thinks so, too.

Chip does concerts for kids and families all over.  He performs at libraries, schools, churches, etc.  Check him out HERE.

How often I want my work to be acknowledged by somebody else.  Or I need to be really seen and acknowledged or called by name.  Kids need that, too.

Sam's whole day was changed because of a moment an adult gave him.  This was not lost on me!  I want that to be one of my highest goals this upcoming school year--I want to acknowledge children every single day.  Regardless of how I feel or how much there is to do--I want to let as many kids as possible know that they are seen and valued.

One way I do this is my standing outside my classroom door, and saying good morning to as many kids as possible.  I also try to say good morning to every single one of my students as they enter the room.  Those who sneak in I try to say later on, "I didn't even get to say good morning to you, yet."

My mom heart reminded my teacher heart of one of those super important bits.

What is your teacher heart guiding you to do in the upcoming year?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New Brave Art Blog

I'm so pleased to present my new art spot in the blogosphere:  Brave Art By Mim Daniel.  You can see the work I've done this spring and summer.  It also tells you when you can find me painting and where you can purchase these original pieces.

I hope you'll check it out.  I would also be so grateful if you would spread the love and tell everyone who might be interested.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Common Core Questions

I have some questions for all you 4th grade teaching peeps out there today:

{I know that both of these curriculum people have documents that they say align to Common Core.  I have poured over those documents, and I would be hard pressed to say that many concepts are taught to a level of assessable mastery.  Please don't refer me to those documents.  If you've looked at them, you know what I mean.}

How do you work Everyday Math and Common Core Standards together?  There is no way that the program takes kids to mastery in the fractions department, especially.  How and when do you supplement?  Do you have any other tips?

Do any of you Reading Street users have a great writing/grammar program that aligns to Common Core?

I don't want to reinvent the wheel, but I know that this year I'm going to be begging, borrowing, and the good kind of stealing!  I'll also share anything I come up with that seems to work!

I do have loads of other questions/concerns with the Common Core, but I hope this will give me some place to start.  Thank you, in advance!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Inspiration From The Lake

Sam and I are spending the summer by the lake--Lake Erie, in Lakeside, Ohio.  I don't get much alone time, but I got to take a solo walk by the lake last evening.  It was so restorative to my spirit.  Here are some images:

I sure hope you have some way to restore your mind, body, and spirit this summer!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Today's Paintings

Today I worked at Miss Mercedes in Marblehead, Ohio.  I met some amazing people.  I also got to paint!  That makes me happy deep in my heart.

Here's what I did today:

Impatient Impatiens 

Dancing Flowers of the Field

I sing because. . .

I hope that whatever you did or didn't do today left you happy deep in your soul!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

4th of July in Review

There are a couple things I need for the 4th of July to feel like the 4th of July.  They are:  a parade {the more Americana the better!} and fireworks.

Since we are at Lakeside, Sam got to be in the bike parade.  It was hysterical and wonderful!

Then it rained off and on all day, but in the end we got to see amazing fireworks--Lakeside and Put in Bay!  And Sam got to enjoy his first sparklers!

I hope you had a good weekend!  And summer marches on--I wish I could just freeze it sometimes!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Painting This Week

So I'm on this brave painting mission.  I'm selling my art.  Originals are available at Miss Mercedes, both the Lakeside and Marblehead locations.

Here I am with "Restore" in Miss Mercedes Lakeside shop

Here's a peak at what I've been working on:

I hope you're getting to do something creative and fun on this holiday week!
Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Are you sustainable?

Teachers are burning out left and right.  Do you know what it will take for you to be sustainable?

Over at my website, Brave Teachers, I've started to write about the elements that I think are needed to be sustainable in the teaching profession.

Last week I wrote about To thine own self be true.  And there are more thoughts here.

This week I've written about Knowing your limits.

There will be more to come, so stay tuned!

What sustains you?
What do you think it means to be a sustainable teacher?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Painting Up A Storm

Last Tuesday, I was able to spend time while I worked at Miss Mercedes at the Marblehead location {413 Main Street, Marblehead, Ohio}.  It was so fun to sit out on the deck and just imagine what should happen next on a few canvases!  I met some delightful customers and visitors.

Eventually a little rain storm arrived, chasing me back inside!

I'm sending you a special invitation to join me, this Tuesday, July 2, at the same location for a day of shopping and enjoying life near the lake.  I will be painting off and on between 11 am and 5 pm.  I can recommend some yummy places for lunch or ice cream and other local sites.  To my friends back home, this would be a great one tank trip!