Friday, August 7, 2009


In a matter of days we had two grandsons have birthdays. That meant two days of parties, cakes and presents. Ty turned 14 and Kiann turned 11. We are very proud of both of them and were glad we could spend time celebrating their birthdays.


Friday, July 31, 2009


Thursday was a beautiful summer day, perfect for the pool. That is exactly what we did. We spent the day in or by the pool with year-old Audrey. What a perfect way to relax and watch what all she can do now.

She was toddling all over. She accepted Murphy since he just lays around and doesn't really bother her. Now, Oliver was another matter. She would see him walk near her and she would start to scream. Oliver had no idea why and continued on his kitty ways. They never did become friends, but he did get a little closer before she would start to cry.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Looking at the blog of: Two Writing Teachers, I found a prompt that I could write from today. It is: Today I...

Today I finally had a day to myself, a day with no other commitments. I made it an exercise day. Something I just never get time enough to do this summer.

I started out the day on the elliptical and bettered my time by a few seconds...just getting a better time is remarkable.

Then I walked the two miles around the addition. I had to stop and turn on the neighbor's pool while they are on vacation.

After that I worked on my 10 hour project and now only have two hours to go until I am finished.

Sarah called early and wanted to walk before noon. So, I postponed lunch and took off for her house. It was great doing our four miles earlier in the day.

I had some pool/reading time and even did a few laps in the hot sun. That really is something I haven't done lately.

After supper The Big D and I hit the road again and did the two mile loop around the addition. This time we turned off the pool!

Now I am ready to hit the basement to do some Hip Hop Ab videos.

Man, maybe I am glad I don't have time to do this EVERY day!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Living in a small town definitely has it's advantages. Waking up late after thunderstorms kept us and Murphy awake at 4:00 a.m., we decided to take a long walk. We headed west out of our addition and continued straight to Main Street. For a small town there were loads of people milling around the court house square. Yes, it was Farmer's Market day and all ages were strolling up and down the west side of the square looking at their wares.

One Amish lady shouted out to us, "Look at this pie. It is the last one I have, you better get it now." Since we were on a walk and not a shopping spree, we moved on. We headed south for several blocks and then right before we got to the park we turned east and made our way home traveling about five miles.

I jumped in the shower since the day had turned sunny and hot and the sweat was dripping off me. Then I grabbed my purse and we drove to the same court house square. This time we were thinking of lunch. We rushed into our favorite Saturday lunch spot: Pizza Forum, right across the street from where the Farmers' Market was packing up for the day. We ordered our salads and pizza and then grabbed a table out front. As we sat and watched the people strolling along looking at the sidewalk sales the stores were having, we listened to the Auburn Community Band playing in front of the court house. People had brought chairs and some picnics. There were people making the curb their seat for the show. The band concluded the performance by playing a John Phillip Sousa march.

As the listeners gathered their chairs and made their way to their cars, one listener crossed the street toward us. It was our friend and former teaching buddy. He came over and sat with us as we ate our salads. Others walked by and made comments about how good our food looked. (It tasted even better.) I took a few pictures and we collected our plates and returned them inside as we paid our bill. There is no place better to be in the summer than small town, USA!

Friday, July 24, 2009


On my Facebook page last week, I made the comment that I was finally ready to enjoy my summer after weeks of being a trainer for summer school and three days at a conference in Cincinnati. A comment came back that said, "Kathy, the summer is almost over!" I realized that is true. I only had four weeks left. I knew I had to make the best of that time.

One of the ways I enjoy the summer is to visit the library for summer reads. I did have a pile of books by my bed that I promised myself I would read, so I was digging through those first. The library visit provided two new books by favorite authors and I am devouring those as I sit by the pool. (Another favorite activity.)

However, I had a couple professional books that were recommended to me this summer and I just had to start in on them, too. I thought you all might like to know what I was reading professionally for the summer, just in case you are anxious to get back in the groove.

The first one was recommended by a very talented, reading specialist. She told me her "bible" for reading was: The Fluent Reader by Timothy Rasinski. I ordered it and it came in the mail yesterday. I can't wait to dig in and find out more about oral reading strategies. The other book was recommended by a friend and future coach. She is very excited about her new role and has been doing some research on the subject. Her find was: Learning Along the Way by Diane Sweeney. I have been reading that for a few weeks now. I love it. Not just because my friend Marjory Ulm was Diane's coach and she is mentioned all through the book, but because it really gives me a focus on what FWCS could become.

Hope your summer is going slower than mine and you are enjoying EVERY minute of it. Do something fun for you and don't forget to stop and smell the roses!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Going to Cincinnati brought back memories of my college days. Attending Cincinnati Christian University was a big step for this small town/farm girl. So, going back to those days in my mind as I listened to the top educators in the country was remarkable. We passed by Fountain Square and even took a side trip to Union Station which is now a museum. Next to hearing all the wonderful speakers, my favorite part was wandering the streets of Covington, KY. seeing the lofts, outside eating spots and sampling geleto. What a great learning experience! Thanks, Natalie, for the chance to experience all the training!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Murphy is....

...always willing to lend a paw,

...ready to be your best friend,

....someone to lean on,

...always able to laugh!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fourth of July in Atlanta

We went to the Braves game. They even won that game!!! Braves win! Braves win!!
Braves win!!!
We had a great time in Atlanta. From seeing a Braves ball game the first night to running the Peachtree Race the last day, it was outstanding.

We went to the World of Coke and to the CNN Center...our usual hangouts!

This year we even walked over to Georgia Tech. The buildings were all closed but we got to wander the beautiful campus and hang out among the trees and quiet setting. Yes, the students were mainly gone, too!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Sometimes as I sit in front of the computer I wonder what my story is for today. What do I really have to tell that makes any difference. That's what I was thinking today as I visited two of my four schools that I am assigned to for the summer.

Then I thought of D and K who are English Second Language learners. They were telling me the story of them playing soccer in the afternoon. D would kick the ball and K would catch it. Then K would kick the ball and D would catch it. They drew the pictures and then wrote two sentences on the two sheets of paper. To add details, they added a sun and then wrote: It was a sunny day. They had a story. They really did have a story!

And, I thought of Maria who told the story of going on a field trip to the zoo with her class last spring. She and her partner had sack lunches. They loved the monkeys best because they would run and fight with each other and made her laugh. She had a story She really did have a story!

Then there was Lauren who wanted to tell a story to share with her last year's teacher, Mrs. A. She wanted to share the story about going camping with her family and playing in the sand and sleeping in a camper. She had a story. She really did have a story!

And, I can't forget the teacher who told me about the boy in her class who has trouble writing but when he shares what only he can read, it keeps the rest of the class on the edge of their seats. The class sits breathless when that child shares his story...because he has a story. He really does have a story.

So, when I sit today in front of the computer, I think what is my story? My story is helping those teachers to get the stories of all these children out in the world. My story is to help them give those children the tools they need to tell those stories. Because I have a story. I really do have a story.

What is your story?

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Julia signs people up for the author dinner!

Everyone else helps to register the 400+ people who came this year!
It was great seeing old friends!

Jaqueline Woodson was awesome!

I even got to meet Aimee Buckner

Monday, June 15, 2009


For several years now, The Big D, Ty and Lane have participated in the Amazing Race. One year they did it with Michelle and one year with Brandt. This year I had the chance to participate in it also, only with another team. Kathleen and her two boys needed someone, so I was it!

We did this way back in April, but my new camera wouldn't let me download them. I finally figured it out so here are a few of them. The two teams are on top. The feet/hands picture shows our nails painted. We had to paint each others feet and hands with the polish brush in our mouth! Thankfully we got a very light pastal paint and so did The Big D's team! We had beautiful weather and the day was a complete success. What fun!!! Thanks Kathleen and boys for letting me join you!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Going to the mailbox in the summer is usually one of the highlights of my day. You just never know what surprises you may find there. Today was no exception.

I opened the lid, pulled out a stack of mail and thumbed through it. There they were: the 8 x 10 envelopes with red, white and blue lettering...Peachtree Road Race. I hurried inside and ripped open the one with my name on it. It is always exciting to see what number you get each year. The Big D and I never know, but they are always consecutive numbers. They could range anywhere from 10,000-99,999. Well, probably not the 10,000-24,4000 sections...those are for the really fast runners.

I pulled out all the many inserts. There is a brochure with 2009 Official Instructions (The 40th Running) with everything you ever wanted to know about the rules of running in the Peachtree. Then there are all kinds of advertisements stuck inside. One for UPS, one for AJC, Atlanta's newspaper, and of course, REEBOK. But what I was looking for was my number. I felt it's smooth silver peach that always is in the top right hand corner first. I slid it out slowly hoping to find something in the 30,000 range where we have been for the last couple years. A perfect spot.

The paper it was on was green. That didn't mean much, because each set of numbers is a different color and each year they are different. Green is nice, I thought. Then I saw it!!! The number!!! It was 99,772. Yes, 99,772!!! WHAT??? That can't be! That means I am at the END of the pack...the VERY END!!

I quickly repressed any guilt I might have, and opened The Big D's packet. I was sure he would have 99,771...we were always one number apart. But, NO....his number was...37,616. Right where we BOTH should be!!!

So, here's the deal. If we want to run together, and we do, he will be running at the back of the pack with me. Unless, there is someone out there who would be willing to trade me numbers for anything in the 30,000 range. AND, if you got 37, have MY NUMBER!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Today I tried something different. A principal friend of mine who lives in Atlanta, home of the Peachtree, invited me to join some educators for a Webcast with Aimee Buckner. That sounded exciting to me, but a little scary. I had never done that alone...only with my colleagues. Still, I am in the process of reading Aimee's latest book: Notebook Connections AND she is going to be presenting at the All Write!!! Summer Institute in a few weeks.

I took the challenge. I clicked on the link, dialed my phone and there was Aimee, well, really a picture of Aimee. It was a thrill to hear her talk about her book while I thumbed through it to the pages she discribed. I underlined and highlighted things I had already read, but now it seemed more real with the actual author talking about it.

I am even more excited to finish the book. I am even more excited to get to meet her in person in just a few weeks. So, for a rainy, dreary Thursday I got to speed away to another place and listen to one of my favorite authors. Hey, Aimee, I am a FAN!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009


Audrey looked super cool in her new shades. She was ready to open all her presents!

Time for the cake!She was a very neat eater and kept looking at everyone as if to say, "Can I really do this?"

In her new car she is ready to take off for a wonderful summer. Happy First Birthday, Audrey!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


All-Write Summer Institute.

What do these people all have in common?
Carl Anderson
Max Brand
Aimee Buckner
Dan Feilgeson
Candace Fleming
Kelly Gallagher
Lester Laminack
Stephanie Parsons
Gary Schmidt
Frank Serafini
Jacqueline Woodson
Besides being leaders in the field, they are all going to be speaking at the All-Write Summer Institute on June 22 – 23 in Northern Indiana. Interested in registering? Go here

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Not sure if it is an age thing or a man thing...but the Big D got a motorcycle today. He has been wanting one for a very long time. Last winter he took the bike safety course and passed that. He had his license. I knew what was coming next, just not sure when it would happen.

Last week he told me he had heard of someone who wanted to sell their bike and it was a bargain! Yes, a bargain! He and Brandt went to look at it this week, but they were closed so he could only look through the window. Still, that was all he could talk about...the bike.

He called the owner and made a very good deal for it. Today we drove to the big city and looked at helmets. We tried two places until we found TWO that I felt were safe enough. They made a very good deal on us buying TWO...matching, of course. Then we were off to check out the bike...with checkbook in hand.

He went in, talked to the person doing the selling and made the deal. In a few minutes he was out with a big grin on his face, grabbed the helmet and climbed on the bike. I rode behind him just to be sure he made it home safely.

We are now officially bikers...yes, I AM a biker-chick!!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009


It's Friday night and anyone who knows me well, knows that you will find the Big D and me at a local restaurant and then on to Wal-Mart for our weekly shopping trip. That happened again tonight. But now it is June. Now it is summer. Now things are different.

We live in a small northern Indiana town. Small Hoosier towns are the best place to be in the summer. Tonight was the beginning of a new tradition, I think. We went out to eat at Applebee's and then off to our shopping adventure. We unloaded the groceries, grabbed the foldable camping chairs and jumped in the "yellow-bug".

Our small town has an addition this summer. We now have the DeKalb Outdoor Theater. Tonight was a special night with our local radio station: Froggy, sponsoring the performance. We pulled the bug into a parking spot in a big field/parking lot. The band was already playing and people were walking up the lane with chairs, coolers, and jackets on their arms. They just kept filing into the area. We walked over, unfolded our chairs and listened.

The place was full. People were clapping along with the music. Kids were playing catch in the background. Families had carry-in food in plastic containers. Everyone was smiling, talking and enjoying the weather and the music. The band was a local favorite with one of our neighbors on drums and other friends on guitars. Choice has always been a band we love!

Summertime in a small town in northern Indiana is the best place to be! Check out the schedule of events and if you are in the area, stop by. Did I mention: IT IS ALL FREE!!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


The last day of school was yesterday. I had gotten an invitation to go see another one of my fifth grade classes. The teacher emailed me and said, "The kids want to know if they will see you one last time." I chose to run over before their graduation. I am so glad I did.

I would love to share pictures of what they all looked like, but due to privacy laws, I can't. I will try to paint a picture with words for you. When I entered the room, all the chairs were lined up in the order they would sit for the graduation. The students were sitting quietly talking in small voices with each other. The girls had their hair all combed nicely with braids or bangs or just flowing free. They were in cute little sun dresses with flip flops to match. Their legs were crossed and hands in their laps. Was this really the class I taught just a few months ago?

The boys were even better. They were all cleaned up. One had a suit on. A couple others had vests and ties. One looked so cute in a big bow-tie. They too were sitting quietly just talking to each other. When I told them they looked so handsome, they smiled shyly and sort of looked the other way.

The teacher gave them the last minute orders and it was time to line up. As they left the room each of them gave me a hug, or a high 5 and said, "Thanks for all your help this year." I snuck around them and hurried to the gym where the ceremony would take place.

Parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers filled the bleachers and spilled out into the sides. There was a large table in the middle of the room with flowers and balloons decorating it. The orchestra was off in a corner with the seats and music stands already in place for them to file in and start warming up. I slipped down the side and sat where the teacher had a seat for me...right behind where the class would sit.

Before long the music of the orchestra began. The strong chords of Pomp and Circumstance filled the gym. The principal, dressed in a long dress with a sparkly jacket, stood. The entire gym full of anxious parents stood, too. Then the graduating class marched in with each class behind their teachers. I was so proud of those kids. They were serious and walked slowly across the gym. I cried!

After watching them grow up, watching them discuss books, watching them write pieces that took over a month to publish just the way they wanted was just the feeling of: this is why I teach! Way to go Weisser Park 5th graders!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009


One of the hardest things about Final Days is to say goodbye to the fifth graders. These kiddos were in second grade when I started working as a coach in their building. I have seen them grow as students, writers and readers. I have used them in studies for me to grow and watched them grow in turn. I have tried out ideas on them to see if lessons were really as good as I thought they were. They never let me down.

As the days wind down, I am sure their teacher is having anxiety attacks and many sleepless nights in tears. She has lived with them for two years day in, day out. I only visit once in awhile...but still, it has been four years. I knew them as babies and here they are almost teenagers for heaven's sake!

I am so proud of them. They are thinkers. They push the bubble and try things that I never thought fifth graders were capable of pushing. They can talk about books like an adult...they make ME think!

I know they will be wonderful middle school students. I only hope those schools are ready for THEM! I hope they will challenge them and keep them thinking. I hope they will see what they can do and push them even more. Someday we will see these wonderful kids as graduating Seniors going off to college or trade school. There is nothing they can't do!

So, good-bye fifth graders! Keep up the great reading...don't stop. Keep writing...persuade people with your challenges, entertain with your poetry and keep your thoughts and ideas in those terrific writer's notebooks! Make us proud!!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


There are only three days left of school this year. Students are packing up their things and so are the teachers. Plans for summer vacations are on everyone's mind. There will be tests, parties and awards. The time will speed by and the long, lazy days will be upon us.

Yes, even teachers are excited about the idea of sleeping in for a few extra hours each day. I will be visiting some of the classrooms where I have spend much of my time mentoring the teachers. I will miss those fifth graders who will be moving on to middle school. I have told many of those teachers that I feel like those kiddos are mine, too. They have been kind enough to share the students with me.

The thing I am dreading this year though is the restructuring of our office. The eight of us have become very close. I have worked with some of them for four years in the tiny suite we call home. We have worked on projects which have become the teachers' bible when it comes to writing. We have written maps of curriculum for language arts that drive all the instruction throughout the district. We have met famous authors and had our picture taken with most of them for our "Wall of Fame".

How to you just pack up and move on after all that? We pledge to stay close and keep in contact. And, I know we will. But still, it will never really be the same. Some of us will be back downtown in one way or another. Still more of us will continue to be coaches, just in various forms. Any time something changes, it is hard. I know we will all move on to a different journey. Some will continue to be close while working on projects together. No matter what though, we will always be glad our paths crossed and we had this time together.

AND we will always be the sweet "suite" girls!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009


There are many things that my parents and grandparents taught me over the years. Things like: you go to church every Sunday, you go to school unless you need to see the doctor, and you decorate the graves of loved ones on Memorial Day with whatever flowers are in bloom. This is Memorial Day and true to my upbringing, I went on Saturday to decorate the graves.

I remember as a child going to grandma and grandpa's big peony bushes and cutting the largest pink, red and white flowers we could find. We had big tomato soup cans with the labels cut off and the tops removed. They were filled with water. We would stuff those flowers in until they literally could not move. We also would find lilacs and irises to add to the mix. They were beautiful and smelled wonderful.

Then we would make the trip to the various cemeteries. We started in Butler with a cousin I never met. He was about three years older than me and had died either in birth or very, very young. Then we would go to cemeteries in Steuben County where my dad's family was buried. I never knew them either. The thing I really remember most is that Kris and I would walk around and look at all the markers and kind of make up stories about the people buried there. The areas were always so peaceful and quiet.

Now, I buy the artificial flowers because I don't have peony bushes and only a small amount of lilacs and irises. Not enough to fill even a small soup can. The Big D and I take a scrub brush and a trowel. We clean the stone and pull the grass away. Last year we even bought new pots for the graves of my grandparents because they were slowly chipping away with age. I always use the red, white and blue theme for their pots. I just feel grandpa would like that. He was the flower lover in the family.

Being in those quiet, peaceful areas brings back memories of the times I spent with those loved ones. I feel proud that I can be the one who carries on this tradition. I secretly imagine Grandma and Mom saying, "Yep, Kathy remembered again. I guess she remembers some of the things we tried to teach her." Actually, I remember more than they would ever have believed possible.

As this Memorial Day draws to a close, I just want to stop and say thanks to the wonderful job those people did while raising me. I wouldn't be the person I am today without their love and support. Thanks!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


This was the weekend for planting flowers. The weather was cooperating and we had the flowers ready to go. I had already done the pots for the side of the pool and for the deck. Now it was time to do the bedding flowers. That is the tough part.
The Big D did the turning up of the dirt to get it ready for me. Then I began. There were five rows in the bed between the windows. Those were for the marigolds and the Zenia's. I did three rows of Zenia's and two rows of marigolds. They looked great and I only felt a little sore.
The next job was the two beds below the deck. That was an up and down procedure. It took about four hours to do the whole thing. When the day was done, I jumped in the shower, ordered a pizza and collapsed. By late Saturday night, I could barely move. I took two aspirin and climbed into bed. At least the flowers are planted. I am ready for summer!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What a beautiful day! I chose this day to catch up on things that just don't get done on a busy weekend. I started off having breakfast at a local restaurant with my ol' buddy, Marsha. We just never seem to get caught up. It was the perfect way to start off a "personal" day.

After running a few errands and answering school e-mails, I got busy with the flowers. The flower beds are not dug up enough to plant those flowers, so they will have to stay in their crates a little while longer. The pots, though, could be planted. I go crazy with those things. I have five around the pool, five on the deck and two out in front on the porch. It took all afternoon to decide which flowers I wanted where. Yes, I did have my list with all that information on it. The problem was: I just couldn't find my list. So, I winged it. They look great!

Another problem was the old Murphy dog. He usually loves to be wherever I am. Today was no different. However, he IS old and he does NOT like the heat. So, what he did was watch me with those mournful eyes as I walked out the door. Then as I was deep in dirt I would hear from inside: "Boof!" "Boof, Boof!" I would wipe off the dirt, take off the garden gloves and mosey inside. There he would be in the middle of the living room just looking at me. That happened over and over until he finally took his afternoon nap. I guess if he didn't want to be outside, he didn't want me out there either.

I DID get the flower pots all planted and they look great. Now if I can just get my legs to stop hurting from all the stooping AND get my nails to look clean!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Meron's first birthday was so much fun! She wasn't sure she was really supposed to get into that cake all by herself. She kept looking at all of us as if to say, "Am I going to get yelled at for putting my hand in the cake?" As she opened her gifts and had all the attention, she began to like the party atmosphere. She wore her Ethiopian dress that Mom and Dad brought back with them when she came to live with them. We are so happy to have her in our family with her big brown eyes and loving personality! Happy First Birthday, Meron!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


It has been so long since I wrote on this blog, but my life has been changing almost daily! This past Monday was one of the biggest changes. First of all, for someone my age who has been teaching for 40, yes, 40, years, going through an interview with a resume and portfolio was not what I had imagined doing at this stage of the game.

I interviewed for three positions with FWCS. The first two were for Building Coaches. These two schools are the ones were I have worked closely with the principals and teachers and I felt I could make the most impact. The two principals are not only great men, but people I admire and look up to, also. I would be honored to work in either building. The teachers are all amazing educators who are ready to make a difference in the lives of their children. How could I go wrong on either building?

The other position was for Curriculum District Coach in literacy. I would be working with the two "bosses" I already have. I love working with these amazing women. They are smart, professional and both Christian. Again, how could I go wrong?

After going through the three half hour interviews I left Wayne High School with my head spinning. How in the world was I to decide what direction my life would take? Later that night again after three phone calls, the direction of my journey began to take shape.

I have accepted the position of District Coach. I will be working out of the central office along side another amazing coach...Mary Johnson. I so look forward to working with Mary. I know we will make a great team. We will be working closely with the other 34 coaches in buildings to help FWCS become the exemlary district we all know it can become.

I thank everyone who prayed for me during this trying time. God is good and has a plan for all of us. I am so blessed to be able to work with the "suite girls" I have in the last four years. I know we will all stay close and rely on each other even more as we head in a different, but same, direction. Keep watching as the journey continues to unfold!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mountains in Arizona

On our last full day in Arizona, Andy took us to the top of South Mountain. We took two vehicles and traveled the narrow winding road to the very top. When we got there we all piled out and began hiking the rocks. It scared me to death to see the kids so close to the edge, but it didn't bother them at all. They were like born mountain goats. Adrian wore the backpack that we had bought him for the trip. When I asked him what was inside it, he said, "My dinosaur."