Something’s Coming

My wife and I took our daughters to Panera Bread yesterday. I snapped this photo to showcase their wonderful delicious bread. Ever been? It's amazing, especially when you dip it into the soup. I love when my two daughters are getting along. They are 8 and 10 and usually in some sort of argument about something. I know this stuff is age old and siblings always fight but I hold out hope every time that they would make kinder choices and choose to get along. Earlier tonight my oldest was "teaching," more like bossing, the younger one how to load dishes in the dishwasher. Needless to say, the little one was annoyed. It all resulted in my oldest being mad that we scolded her for not being kinder in the way she said things. That was then … now they are both baking chocolate chip cookies and watching "Ernest Saves Christmas" by the fire. Sigh. A happy dad moment.

Teaching kids things presents many challenges. Usually, you want to trick them into learning. In other words, distract tem in the learning process so when they turn around after the conclusion "poof" they learned something new. It is crucial to have a plan and to not be too complicated. Kids have simple processing units. Sometimes they will surprise you but I have learned as a teacher to keep things simple. This applies to my own kids too.

I wrote a blog post today explaining some of my recommendations for my fellow bloggers. I got into the self-hosted stuff, you know the stuff no one ever understands. I really wish I could find more self-hosted bloggers like yself. People who really value the craft of the WordPress software as well as writing. I know everyone blogs for their own reasons. I selfishly wish I didn't have to hunt down readers so much. I wish they just came to me. I've been hoping that for over 10 years, here's hoping the flood gates will one day open. The thing about blogging is that the posts you write have a 1-2 day life span on average. You can pour your heart in and get 2 likes, or none. I try to keep mine fluid and trust in my talent and experience that my personality will shine through. The days of crafting legthy posts and links in order to attract readers have long passed.

My book is very exciting. It jumps around in time which I still find challenging to read. Still, I think some huge things are coming up and that's a great place to be when you're reading a book. He writes about Vic's bike a lot and the spokes "whirring." This brings me back to my childhood. I had a Schwinn Sting Ray with a banana seat and later a Diamondback BMX bike. I was big into bikes, like most kids my age. But this is juxtaposed against a horror plot. So far it's been tame but like I said … something's coming.

Cre8nnov8 2015-11-27 18:18:02

I love fire in my fireplace. It feels so warm. Getting wood from the side yard is actually a rush! I’ve kept the house warm since I got up this morning and it’s still toasty. I love Panera Bread. Went there for lunch. I got turkey and avocado with cheddar and broccoli soup, angelic!

It’s nice to have days off work to mull lesson ideas over in my head. I’m going to follow strategies I think will show growth on student test scores. They have to do with the delivery of the lesson and the focus on particular standards and the way I call on kids.

The book I’m reading is getting really interesting. It’s a horror novel by Joe Hill. They established the hero as a 13 year old girl. She’s going to save kids from a serial psycho killer. I’m enjoying reading it on my new Nook.

On this Friday after Thanksgiving I have rounded off the external sources I use to syndicate on my blog, aka cross posting. They are as follows:

1. Tumblr via embed, IFTTT, and FeedWordPress for my #Journal and #Tumblr categories.
2. Flickr via embed, IFTTT, and FeedWordPress for #Photoblog and all categories as an option for images.
3. via FeedWordPress for composing posts in the #Blog category. This is helpful because I can use any features on that aren’t on the .org software. Keeps me abreast.
4. LiveJournal via FeedWordPress for the #Diary category.
5. Twitter has a really snazzy embed layout that can be used through IFTTT or through the Native Twitter web interface. If you ever want to post a tweet to your blog, this is a great way to do it.

Wave Goodbye to Thanksgiving

Composing while propped up on the couch after a huge, filling Thanksgiving dinner. I just saw a commercial for a Baby Alive doll that poops in its diaper. Some things will never change. Little girls want dolls. Boys want Lincoln Logs and so on. With all our advances, simple truths about toys remain. We all grow up and we need new toys. Cars, phones, Nooks, tech stuff, etc are grownup toys. I think having a smart phone is the rule rather than the exception.

With only a few weeks until Christmas, it’s my time to reflect on the years passed and think about goals for 2016. What kind of toys do I want? What do I want to be remembered for. That is what I need to be doing. As I say goodbye to Thanksgiving, I see Christmas down the road. Looking forward to it.

Thanksgiving Eve

I love the sounds of being with my kids. My daughters are 8 and 10 but they almost have a twin secret language. I took them to a buffet tonight. I love being around family. Tomorrow we’ll be at my in laws all day. They always put on a huge spread. Looking forward to that. Being with my amazing son, wife, and daughters is worth a billion bucks to me.

Planning for Monday already with my class. I will write up lesson plans this weekend most likely. Focus is the key. This time of the year is the fat part of the bat.

I got 3/4 of my blog posts done today and read more of my book. I wore this diary entry at the buffet so there’s still time to get into my book. I made reading a priority because I ought to be doing it more. I do love it as well but sometimes it’s hard to STOP and just read. Here’s to more of that.

Famous Blogger Read by a Few Handfuls

I love the new Peanuts movie. I took my daughters and we really enjoyed it. I guess I identify with Charlie Brown. He gets frustrated but hangs in there. I love my son for going down to the community college today. He took matriculation tests to see where he stands next fall to start college. For a 17 year old still in high school, this is a hugely advanced skill. I’m impressed.

I’ve been thinking about what’s advanced for me as a teacher. At this time of year and with my group, I need to be all about tracking data and that hopefully upward. I must admit, with common core I am still not 100% sure what I will use to do this but I will get there. I’m picturing a 3 ring binder with running records based on standard itemized assessments.

My Joe Hill book is getting crazy. Christmasland is going to hold some horrific stuff ahead. One thing I don’t like is that it jumps around. One chapter the brat is a kid then another she’s older. It gets confusing but I’m game for the challenge. The nook my wife bought me is a delight to read on. Makes it easier.

Blogging life is at an all time high. I enjoy writing a daily challenge, doing a pen and ink journal on tumblr, and keeping this diary current. The test will be down the road when life starts getting stressful as it tends to do. For now, I feel like a famous blogger, read by a few handfuls :) Thank you who is reading this.

Red Goal Robins

Red Robin was my culinary sin tonight. We celebrated my mother in law’s birthday there. It was awesome food. I love the way they’re onion rings taste. Sarah had a coupon for a free shake so we shared one. That also was taste-ola. Red Robin is always a winner in my book.

There isn’t much teaching time before Christmas break. That means clear, achievable goals are essential. I’ll be thinking about them all this week. This weekend when I send my lesson plans to the principal, I’ll include them. I think goals are one of the best strategies for showing growth in learners.

My wife brought me a Nook reader home. I am very excited. In the process of setting it up however I discovered my current read, “NOS4A2” by Joe Hill is a legit 650 pages! I had no idea. It might be why he’s developing things quite slowly. It may not be about a vampire after all.

I started posting goals with ROW80. It’s a good way to keep tabs on how I’m doing with blogging goals. Blogging has become a fluid, natural process. Even though my goals are lofty, I’m already doing it.

The Triptophan Diaries

Is that an awesome name for a novel or what? Thanksgiving is the time we get to eat! It’s also the time we remind ourselves how much we love our families because they are going to try our very last nerve. It’s the time of year when more people commit suicide than any other. As for me I’m lucky. I love my family and I have a pretty good muscle memory about waiting out the pits. It does get better and everyone ends up hugging and kissing. The ride home from the holidays is usually one where everyone in the car is stuffed and exhausted and I just count my blessings. Oh joy! Turkey day is only 3 days from now.

I keep thinking about my classroom. I have needs from pre-kindergarten readers to post grade levels. It’s a lot to be responsible for. I have some ideas. I’m going to pull out my edi strategies and really integrate them with the common core material. I’m going t pretend I’m a newbie and write the plans in step my step from scratch. I really want to see improvement in my kids and I am not going to give up until I see it.

My Joe Hill book has plateaued a bit I’m afraid. He has a really interesting thing going describing a horrific place called “Christmasland” but then deviated and regressed back to a discussion of the brat. I know the short way has some important role to play, we shall see. I’m reading about 30-40 mins a day. I hope to do more over the week. I’d like to finish “NOS4A2” and write my review by this weekend.

I’m really into my blogging these days. I do 1-4 posts a day. I usually start off with the Daily Post prompt then do the tumblr paper & pen journal which I cross post to my WordPress blog. Those are my regulars. I’m in NaBloPoMo this month so I do one of their prompts occasionally, especially when I don’t like the Daily Post one. Furthermore, I do some photo challenges and sometime Mama Kat’s Weekly Writing Challenge. I’m not at a loss for blog challenges. Finally I write my open ended no rules online diary piece almost every night as I’m winding down and remembering the day. You might say the blog has woven itself into my very backbone, I’m not complaining. It is a very fun hobby.

Parenting in Mixed Families

Mixed families, or families with step parents, are often viewed as an extra challenge. My wife had a son when we met and now we have two kids making our kid count three, This is not much by most standards but every now and then, the mixed family stereotype touches us. My situation is tame in comparison to the dads and moms who come into a child’s life at 14 or even later. At this point there is inherent confusion as to the role of the new parent and sometimes, the child or young adult ends up quite bitter.

So now that we see they’re different, how does a step parent thrive in the situation?

I think the following list is a good place to start:

  1. Treat the child normally but be extra kind. The child is wondering if you love them as much since you aren’t their natural birth parent.
  2. Spend time with them regularly.
  3. Share a passion. For my son and I it is guitar.  We listen to Dave Sharp CD’s and air guitar them while driving.
  4. Hug them often.
  5. Remember your spouse loves that child immensely.
  6. Take them under your wing as if they were your own.

A few expressions of caring and love such as these will go a long way toward balancing your home.  If you are new to a mixed family, beware of the mistake of thinking it isn’t any different from a traditional family.  Do you have experience and/or advice about parenting in a mixed family?


Embers pacify and keep us warm yet if we get too close they burn our faces.


I guess today I see love as a more irrational thing than the logical glue that holds the universe together. Most movies portray it that way. I see young people at the mall and restaurants “hanging out” with a forlorn look in their eyes as if they are missing out. They’re trying to get at love. But what is it really? Is it sex? Partly, in romantic love that is. What about brotherly love? That isn’t so easy to define. In a general sense, teachers must manifest brotherly love every day. Most of us went into teaching because we enjoy working with kids. Still, you deal with social workers, Principals, co-teachers, and the parents and extended families of your 25-35 kids so you need a broad sense of brotherly love. A teacher’s job is kind of like a therapist sometimes but you don’t have the luxury or time to show people some of the answers that are out there. Today was a frustrating day for me. That’s a good thing though I have learned because those are the days I learn and grow the most from.

“The Brat” is sick in my Joe Hill Book “Nos4a2.” I sat next to the embers and read for a half an hour tonight. There’s something going on with the “lower way back.” It’s not functional but Vic remembers it well. Perhaps a Vampire is down there? Not sure but enjoying my reading time. I’m 14% of the way through. I didn’t do my journal challenge today. Based on my emotional ride at work, I just didn’t have it in me on my lunch hour. I’ll do it this weekend for sure (crosses fingers). I did a succinct Daily Post Challenge I’m proud of. I’m using the WordPress “Press This” bookmarklet to create linkbacks for challenges. So far I really like the functionality and look of it. Last, I wrote this diary entry and a response to Mama Kat’s weekly writing challenge. I put up 5 big pictures in that one. I planned on doing more but it was too time consuming so I hastily published.

Discipline and Waiting

Sometimes love means letting others vent. Time heals all wounds, so I think it’s important to wait sometimes, let people vent and even walk away for a while. Love trusts in people and gives them time. Every morning makes things new, clearer, and more possible. Teaching consisted of parent teacher conferences all last week. I hope I helped some students. I mean to do right by my contribution.

I read nothing in my Joe Hill novel today. I lack discipline. Tomorrow I hope to read over my lunch hour.
I blogged a Daily Post prompt, a Journal challenge, and now a diary entry. I think it’s safe to say my blogging muscles are quite strong. Tomorrow is TGIF!!!