Saturday, December 29, 2012

25 Years

This week my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.
Bought these silver snowflakes to commemorate the 25 years.  Aren't they pretty?

That's a long time, folks.

And not that I am some kind of a marriage expert, but I have been in the trenches long enough to give two simple pieces of advice:

1. Make sure your significant other loves you just the way you are.  As a writer, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the fact that my husband lets me be me.  He's a bit of an extrovert and is super active, and I need time inside of my head.  If he didn't understand that I need alone time to write, our relationship would be much more difficult.  There is the added bonus that he really believes in me.

2. Remember, it's not all about you. If you want to be accepted for who you are (writerly warts and all) then you have to remember to afford your significant other the same courtesy.  You have to love and appreciate them the way you want to be loved and appreciated.  Your dream may be to write a book or two.  Your significant other's dream might be, um, I dunno....maybe they have dreamed all of their life of having a sauna in the living room for after surfing or something like that.  And maybe you'll come home from the grocery store sometime and find that they have made their dream a reality and that there is a cedar sauna in the middle of your living room! That might happen to you sometime*.  It might look like this:
And it might be sitting right there in your living room!!!
And you'll need to remember that it's not all about you and that everyone has a dream.  And then you'll need to relax, grab a towel, and have a sauna.

Looking forward to what the next 25 will hold!


*by "sometime", I mean last Monday.  And by "you", I mean me.  Yes, it really did happen.  And yes, it is still there.....*sigh*

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Our principal, Mr. L, called me into his office yesterday morning before school to discuss the awards assembly that would kick off the day.
     "I think the kids need a little fun.  We all need some joy," he said.
He was right.  It had been quite a week.  Our district, though on the opposite coast from last week's tragedy, felt the ripples.  There were threats against one of our schools and the mood was tentative.

The awards assembly started and progressed as scheduled, with lots of kids getting citizenship awards and such.  Then came time for the Teachers' Ugly Sweater Contest.  Not owning any ugly clothing myself (har-de-har-har), I always serve as the emcee.  You can imagine the the laughter and cheers when straight-laced, wears-a-tie-every-single-day Mr L. came out in the most hideous sweater the world has ever seen.  I could try to describe it, but I am still trying to wash the image from my eyes.  Let's just say that it was a women's sweater, probably an XS, blinged up with so much BLING it would make my Granny (for whom there was NEVER enough glitter) say, "Well, that's a little over the top now, isn't it?"

Not only that, Mr L. had arranged for the current reigning Ugly Sweater Champion (who had been transferred to another site due to budget cuts) to attend the assembly to defend her title. The teachers laughed (and cried a little), the kids cheered, the whole auditorium rang with joyous laughter.

My heavy heart felt so, so much lighter.  And bigger.

We all need a little joy.

The rest of the day was pretty magical.  My students participated in "la Tour de France", which consisted of several French inspired activities including a visit to "le Cafe"(the empty room next door) where they got to eat crepes. Yum! (My students are in a World Language Programme studying French, you know.) One student said as he left, (after thanking me for the holiday Smencil*),  "Mrs. Thomas, this was the Best. Day. Ever." and he proceeded to get the kids chanting, "Best day ever!  Best day ever!"

So many hugs and so much joy.

The day ended with my daughter's birthday party--seven thirteen year-olds making their own ugly sweatshirts, racing through Target at night with an envelope of money and 10 minutes to get what they'd need to participate in the Thomas Amazing GingerBread Challenge.  As they stood in the checkout line, two adorable four year-old girls came up to them and said, "Your sweaters are so pretty.  They make us smile."


So today (my first day of vacation) I am sitting in a snugly sweater, nursing the beginnings of a horrible cold but feeling so thankful and joyful.  We never really know when those moments will spill over into our lives and fill us up.  We are smart if we can recognize them.


This is Henry trying to play Santa.  Joy.
*(best gift for kids EVER!  A Pencil Kids LOVE!)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Do Good

I am so sad for the families of Sandy Hook.  Actually, I am sad for us all.  Sad and sickened that these things can happen.

I have spent the majority of my life as a teacher.  Schools, for all of the bashing that they endure, are one of the best places to experience the magic of learning, the wonder of curiosity, and brilliance of creativity, and the innocence of childhood.  Everyday, my job gives me hope for the future, for I can see in the faces of my students the kind of world they envision, and I want to live in their world.

I am sure that every teacher, myself included, is trying to figure out how to handle Monday--how to handle the moments until then, how to get our own acts together so that we can be there for our students.

But this I know:  We never know what our future holds, but in the moments we have on this earth, we can strive to do good.  And that is my message to myself (and you, too).

 Do Good.

Though the path is hard and rocky and filled with prickles that get in that uncomfortable place between our socks and our shoes.

 Do Good.

 Though it is tiring and exhausting and there is never enough time to sleep.

 Do Good.

Give your best to the world.

Though sometimes the world may not appreciate it, may not even accept it and will try to turn you away without even a moment of consideration.

 Give your Best.

Our children deserve no less.



Saturday, December 8, 2012


Each year at the annual Jefferson Holiday Book Fair, I host a dragon art contest.  This years entries were the best yet!  Feast your eyes:

That's a lot of dragons.  Seriously.

Can't decide which I like better, the dress or the shoes.

An entry after my own heart!

Adore the eyebrows on this one.  Just right, I think.

Because dragons rock.  Literally and figuratively.

Who knew dragons did karate?

An entire family of little dragons.  So cute!

It would be so cool to make a paper quilt of them...but alas...not a lot of time these days.

We've had quite a week in the Thomas family--three concerts, a book event, a partridge in a pear tree and all that. I hope this weekend to get a lot of my shopping finished up and maybe start baking, as well as finish up a bit of a revision I've been working on.  I can't believe how close Christmas is!  I thought of  two amazing Christmas book ideas I can't wait to work on, but wait I shall.  First things first.  I must finish some stuff before I start the next, but dang!  I hope I think the ideas are as good when I get a chance in a few weeks.  That's always the danger...something seems great in the moment, but when I sit down to write it, it just seems dumbish.  Ah, the gamble of finishing one book before starting another.

Well, I've got stuff to do and dinner to make, but I'll leave you with one of my favorite hostess gifts:

You wouldn't believe how many of these I've purchased....and eaten.  Yum.  I mean,  Yikes!

What's your favorite holiday treat?