Phone Calls

We still have a home phone.  Why?

It’s not a cost thing.  If we got rid of the home phone, we would save $6 a month.  Our phone is combined with our cable and internet for a not-so-low price of $190 bucks a month.  Believe me, I have called our provider SEVERAL times trying to lower our bill. But that’s another story.

Who calls us?

Political people.  The pharmacy to remind us to fill our meds. The American Red Cross. My mother-in-law. More political people. Something called SSI. Basically we get no calls from anyone real.  All the calls are automated voice calls.  Not my MIL.  That is her real voice.  We get between 4 and 8 calls a day from these people.

So why do we keep it?  I wish I knew.



My husband and I have been married for 27 years.  With the exception of the year I gave birth on Good Friday and the year I was 8 months pregnant with twins, we have spent Easter with my husband’s people.

His uncle is a priest and he would say Mass for our family at 1 pm on Easter Sunday.  We would have a meal following.  Granny would put together an Easter egg hunt with cash prizes.  When the bulk of the grand kids were younger, she put together real, real nice Easter bags full of treasures from Oriental Trading.

We knew it wouldn’t last forever.

This is the year.  My father-in-law passed away in August 2015.  Christmas was Father Ed’s last Mass.  My mother-in-law moved to assisted living.  Brothers and sisters are navigating new territory.

Easter will not be our traditional get together for many, many reasons.

We will travel the 3 hours on Saturday to see my MIL for the afternoon returning to our house on Saturday night. This will the first time my kids have attended Mass on Easter at our home church.  We are having dinner at our house.  My mom is going to come and be with us for dinner.

It’ll be ok.  We all knew it wouldn’t last forever. Traditions change.  New territory is forged. It’ll will be ok.



So my husband and I have these amazing Contigo cups…..

We have had them for about 3 months– 20 oz. upgrades (they do sell 24 oz cups but it were kind of awkward in my hand) from 16 oz. cups because and I quote…’THOSE DO NOT HOLD ENOUGH COFFEE. I NEED A LARGER CUP!’

When I purchased them, I couldn’t buy 2 different colors like I could with the 16 oz cups, so I just bought them the same.  No big deal.  Marked my initials on the bottom of the cup and on the inside of the lid with a sharpie.  Perfect system.

My husband fills his to the rim every morning with coffee.  If you don’t have one of these cups–get one.  It keeps hot stuff HOT for hours and cold stuff COLD for hours–like my ice doesn’t melt all day if I use it for ice water! I put orange and lemon slices in mine and fill it with boiling water to make a citrus tea.  I take it to recess with me each morning at 10:15.  Perfect system.

Until today.

Today when I took my first swig of citrus tea, I almost chucked it right back out.  I quickly checked the bottom of the cup.  No initials.  I had my husbands coffee cup.  Ugh.  My citrus tea had the undertones of coffee.  And really, by undertones, I mean it tasted exactly like orangey, lemony, watered down coffee. Gag.

Apparently, lemon infused coffee isn’t much better.

What If

What if I was nicer than I had to be?

What if I ignored that sound?

What if I smiled when I felt like screaming?

What if I forgave?

What if I didn’t have to have my way every time?

What if I overlooked bad table manners?

What if I played harder with kids at recess?

What if I stopped complaining?

What if I just stopped?

What if I called my mom more often?

What if I called my mother-in-law more often?

What if I went for a walk every night at 8pm?

What if I had a ‘yes’ day?

What if I reached out to someone I know is hurting?

What if I prayed every day for every kid in my class?

What if I took one day at a time?

What if…..


Important Stuff

Most evenings at 6:30 we watch Wheel of Fortune.  By ‘we’, I mean my whole family. My 3 kids live together in College Town and we live in Hometown about 40ish minutes from them. Sometimes we even text back and forth about the puzzles and the contestants.  Sometimes what Vanna is wearing or something goofy Pat said.

Recently, as they were watching WOF during Family Week, my oldest daughter asked her brother who he would pick to go WOF with him.

‘My twin.’ was his immediate response.

‘WHAT!? I am good at this game!’ she declared.

‘Eh. No.’

‘What if she said no?  Who would you pick?’

‘Dad.’ he quipped.

‘Who then?  Me, right? I am better than mom.’

‘You are my last choice.’

She was horribly offended and has spent the last several weeks attempting to prove to him that she is indeed good enough to go on WOF with him.

He’s not budging on his choice.

Do other people have conversations like this?  Or is it just us nerdy people? My guess it is just us.  Just sayin’.





So I finished reading The Girl on the Train. Crazy book. I could have abandoned it at about the 1/3 mark but couldn’t bring myself to quit reading. It’s like the neighbors who fight outside, I know I should not listen but because they are so freaking loud, I must listen.  The main character was so intriguing to me that I couldn’t stop reading. At the halfway point, I was all in and knew I wouldn’t stop reading.  Holy total surprise ending, Batman!

I started cleaning my kitchen this morning.  My curtains are washed and dried but not put back up.  Upper cabinets are clean on the outside.  Then my friend came over and I was done for the day.

I started the laundry.  It’s washed and dried but not folded.

I started getting the outside furniture ready for spring.  It’s set out but not cleaned up.

And I started a new book.  Kitchens can wait.  Laundry can wait. Furniture can wait. Just sayin’.



I got BIG plans for #sb2016, people.  This is the plan:

I am currently reading The Girl on the Train.  Then my man Jeffrey is up (I love me some Jeffrey Archer–my favorite book by him is As the Crow Flies) followed by The Martian.  I am not all in on The Martian but I will give it my best shot. All the Light We Cannot See is last because it’s for my Old Lady Book Club on April 4 so it needs to be fresher in my mind.

Today was our last day with kids and tomorrow we have teacher inservice followed by an afternoon workday.  I have a plan for that time as well.  If my plan goes accordingly, I will be leaving and not returning to school until Monday, March 21 at 7:55.

You know what they say about the best laid plans…..


Can I Teach Empathy?

In my classroom each day we have a Family Meeting.  It’s a time where we cover our schedule of the day, have any announcements and have some general conversation.  We end the time by sharing joys and concerns.

This joys and concerns time can be amazing.  6-and-7-year olds sharing things like: My grandpa is having surgery please have good thoughts for him.  Or my mom is sick please have good thoughts for her.  My parents are traveling to another state please have good thoughts that they will be safe.  One day a little boy shared that his grandma had died. And so on. Many parents have commented about this time because their kids are sharing the concerns at nightly prayer time and they are so impressed with the empathy they are showing.

But sometimes–especially during joys–it’s all about them.  ‘I got to go fishing’ or ‘I got new shoes’ or ‘I am going to (insert a trip here) for spring break’.  It can become almost a contest. And I am not really sure how I feel about this–other than super annoyed because I am frustrated because they are bragging most of the time.

As I make the transition to joys and concerns, I make the statement, ‘boys and girls, please remember that joys and concerns are best when we think of others.’ I really want to encourage them to be on the lookout for how others are feeling. I am really trying to teach them to be mindful of others.  And to be humble.

So I guess I am pondering whether empathy can be taught or is it something that comes naturally to us as humans?




Last week a friend in my classroom tried taking her book to morning recess.  I asked what she was doing with her book…the conversation went something like this:

Me: What do you have under your jacket?

Friend: Nothing.  (Friend is a TERRIBLE liar.)

Me: Are you sure?  Let me see inside your coat.

Friend.  OK. Fine.  It’s my book, Ms. Hays!  I need to read it!

Me: Nope.  No. You. Don’t.  Put it away.  We need to run and play and swing and chase at recess today.

Friend unwillingly puts book back at her table.  We run and play and swing and chase at recess.


I have morning recess duty daily.  Afternoon recess duty is handled by 2 other team members.  Sure enough when I picked my friend up from afternoon recess, she had taken her book to recess and had spent the time reading.

At that point I realized I was indeed the worst. teacher. ever. All she wanted to do was read her book–and have some time to herself. Geez. Why didn’t I realize this in the morning? It took me like 3 days to process this event.  All she wanted to do is read. As an avid reader, I feel her pain. As a person who will read over doing anything else, I feel her pain. As a person who has used reading to escape, I feel her pain. As person who realized reading recharges my battery, I feel her pain. Why didn’t I just let her read at recess that day?


My friends are first graders.  As a mom and a teacher, I am dying to help kids love books as much as I love books. Why would I tell a friend they can’t read during recess?

Because grown-ups make mistakes.