Posted in Writing Workshop

Pandemic teaching is not for the faint of heart

A year and a half of learning at home or partially at school has students has forgotten how to do school. They’ve forgotten the basic rules of walking in the hall, staying in class, and teachers giving them directives to follow. They believe they can call home whenever they want because the teacher told them the word no or asked them to do work.

So if you ask me, how has the pandemic changed the world? The teaching I knew for 20 years has dramatically changed on March 12, 2020.

I’m back in the resource room working with students one on one or in a small group. For a year and a half prior to the pandemic, my job assignment was the resource room. Last year, I did the resource room for writing and the students on my caseload plus inclusion in a classroom. This year I’m back to doing the resource room. What is different is the way I teach the students in my room. Maybe it’s the same but I see it as different. Maybe it’s because I know how precious the time is teaching those students face-to-face. I had lost that drive and passion last year.

So what can I say about how the pandemic changed my life? It changed my teaching. Perhaps it’s made me a better teacher because I know how hard it’s to give special education services over Zoom. I made connections with my students last year even through Zoom., but it’s different sitting with the students and interacting with them while teaching.

Now I’m struggling with teaching phonics or as we know them as a reading foundational skills while wearing a mask because the students don’t see my mouth as I’m saying the sounds or hear me as well as they could. However, we are working through that barrier as best as we can.

Now here’s to hoping we don’t have to go back to virtual teaching. I would be sad if that happened.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Writing Workshop

Google it . . .

My chosen sister/ friend, Molly, and I are on our annual EPIC trip. Yesterday’s adventure took us to Reston, VA which by the way is the most expensive town/ city in VA to live in. We went to a small zoo there and then tried to find a LOVE sculpture. We ended up at the Reston Square which is where one of the Google offices is located.

We were having difficulty finding the sculpture because it was the one place we hadn’t looked. We asked a security guard where it was located. He gave us the deets and we were on our merry way.

A few moments after finding the sculpture, he walked around the building to make sure we found it. Not only that, he offered to take our photo next to it. We were afraid he was going to get hit because he was on the curb on a very busy street.

He took our photo from different angles, so that we could have the best photo of the both of us.

Even though, it’s not what someone said, it’s what someone did for us on our adventure.

After our photo shoot, we rode on the Metro to Arlington and back. However, that’s a story for another day.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Writing Workshop

Chokers, stirrup pants, and body suits – Writing workshop June 3, 2021

The 90’s . . . Teenaged me and then young adult me . . . A time where I began to know the real me. The fashions of the 90s . . . Some need to stay while others just need to go.

There used to be this one clothing store in the middle of downtown Dayton that I used to go and explore. I think I bought a piece or two from that store. So what was I looking for when I shopped at that store? Stirrup pants and body suits. Yes, you read that right pants with a strap at the bottom of your foot which is a disaster waiting to happen. You could have been de-pantsed just by bending down incorrectly. And I bought pants that would do that naturally for me. What was I thinking?

Then there was the body suit. So not only did I have a piece of fabric under my foot, I also buttoned up my shirt in an unmentionable area. This time wedgies were enviable. So I could lose my pants bending over and I would have a wedgie. And I chose to wear these outfits. Twenty year old Traci, what were you thinking?

I also wore overalls. My aunt sent me this cute overall shorts that I wore while on the Disney College Program. To this day, I don’t know what happened to them after I got home. I probably wore them but when I moved away from home, they got lost. Even if I found them, I could only get my big toe into them. I was much smaller then.

The last piece of 90s trend that I wore was the choker. Why did we think we needed to put this piece of jewelry on our neck to emphasize an area that is not always flattering. Think double chin anyone. Okay, to be truthful, some chokers can be cute, so I would wear them now if I had a choker to wear.

Wearing those dreaded stirrup pants and an ex boyfriend’s jacket. Don’t ask why I had a pen in my mouth.
I labeled myself in this photo. I’m wearing one of those body suits. This is actually one of my favorite pictures of me from the College Program.
16 year old me up to no good. I’m not wearing anything fashionable here. However, my sons tell me that I look like a typical 90s teenager in this photo.

This post is linked up to Mama Kat’s Losing It’s Weekly Writing Workshop.

Posted in walt disney world, Writing Workshop

The Chocolate Croissant

We took the boys to Walt Disney World for the first time in 2009. One morning, I was able to go to the Magic Kingdom before they got there. I wanted to ride Big Thunder Railroad and none of them wanted to ride it.

Yesterday I was in a writing class. I was given the prompt to write about a breakfast. When I got to the Magic Kingdom, I stopped at the Main Street Bakery, this was before it became a Starbucks, and grabbed a chocolate croissant. I ate this croissant while waiting for the rope to drop at Liberty Square. I was given the gift of time by myself which was much needed. The boys were 3 and 5 which a juggling act that vacation. I also began my love of chocolate croissants on that morning.

The sun was barely up when I got up that morning. As I quietly got dressed so I wouldn’t wake my 3 and 5-year-old. They were already excited because it was their first visit to Walt Disney World.

“Go, have fun,” my husband told me as I opened the doors carefully. I’ll meet up with you later.

Walking past the football goal posts at the All-Sports Resort, the sun began to peek. “Why do we have to be so far away from the bus stop?” I asked myself.

Excitement was bubbling through my veins as I continued walking to the bus stop. 

Finally I was at Stadium Hall where the buses would take me to the Magic Kingdom. Looking at the signs, I finally walked through the long cue to wait in line. Very few families were up and ready to take on the day. 

I enjoyed the quiet on the bus without the kids; I was thankful my husband offered to take care of the boys. 

After going through the turnstiles, I walked through the hall underneath the Main Street train station. “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasyland,” read the sign before my first glimpse of the castle. 

As I walked down Main Street, USA, I smelled the chocolate chip cookie smell. Breathing in deeply, I felt at home.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at Cinderella castle. I knew I was home at that moment. 

Reaching the end of Main Street, USA, I entered the Main Street Bakery for my breakfast. Pursuing each delectable pastry, I made my final decision. I decided I would like a chocolate croissant for my breakfast that morning. After paying for my breakfast, I continued on my way.

Taking a left right before Cinderella Castle, I walked up to the rope across the bridge leading to Liberty Square. I stood there eating my chocolate croissant while patiently waiting to ride the Big Thunder Railroad. 

As I watched the people beginning to gather on the bridge, I noticed families with their kids trying to keep them wrangled in because of their excitement of being in Walt Disney World. At that moment, I missed the boys, but I knew that I was being given a gift. Mom’s deserve a break from their children every once in a while. How fortunate I was to have this break in the most magical place in the world.

Breathing in deeply, I continued to devour that delicious croissant with the flaky dough and melt in your mouth chocolate. When I took my last bite, the rope dropped and I was on my way to my own adventure before reuniting with my family. At that moment, I was Traci, a child at heart.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Writing Workshop

All Gone Now

I’ve been away from the damage from the tornado for the past 5 months which in actuality feels like a lifetime.

Even though we are going virtual for at least the first quarter, I’m back in the building to get prepared for our first day of class online.

Before I continue, I need to let you know that I’ve collected multiple ways to get back and forth to work over the past 20 years. Each time I take a different route, it’s almost like I’m taking a trip. Especially when I haven’t driven that way in a while. I’ve got to keep my mind sharp.

One of the first days back to work, I decided I wanted to go down Riverside a road that I have memories dating back 30 years. We would ride the public transportation to that area of town to play Putt-Putt Golf or into downtown Dayton to visit the Arcade. Mind you the Arcade was not a video place but a shopping center. One of the coolest places in the city.

The bus would turn onto Riverside and there were these apartments that fascinated me. I memorized the outside of those buildings because back in the day cameras were film. So instead of taking a photo, I took a mental image. Architecture fascinated me even back then.

On Memorial Day 2019, those apartments were damaged. It looked like a war zone or a bomb went off in that area. The houses were deemed unlivable. Until March, I watched them put up fences with do not disturb signs. The apartments were slowly being taken down because no one could live there anymore. It was no longer safe.

Then last week, I drove past those apartments. It had been months since I had last been past there. I may have driven past there in May on the day I closed up my classroom. But other than that, I had no reason to be there.

Those apartments that had filled my memories of a time long ago were no longer there. The fence they put up is still there. Now all there is a lonely field. What once was a thriving place is no longer.

Who knows, they might build something there. Until then, it’s haunting to see a place ruined by a mighty storm. A sad reminder of how much has changed in the last 15 months between the tornadoes, mass shooting, pandemic, and the protests/ riots.

Memorial Day 2019 Tornado

Vintage Antiques Sold Here – Memorial Day Tornadoes Photos

So Many Stop Signs – The second video features the apartments.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Writing Workshop

We’re Leaving in An Hour

Twas the night before Easter. I was getting bored just sitting around the townhouse Hubby and I lived in at that time. I actually had time off and wanted to drive.

So I called my sister and told her to be ready in an hour. We were going on a road trip. With no real plan, we started driving down I-70 westward bound. She had never been west of Indianapolis, so I knew we needed to go at least that far.

After driving through Indianapolis, I continued driving until we hit the Illinois border. We found a hotel to spend the night.

Easter morning, we woke up and had to make a choice. We could continue onto St. Louis or go north to Chicago. She chose Chicago so away we went.

It was quiet on that Easter morning in Chicago. We found some free parking, what?!? Then we hopped onto a trolley to the Navy Pier area. Afterwards we drove down N. Lake Shore Drive to I-94 north.

We decided to continue driving north to the Wisconsin border which was a town called Kenosha. After finding a hotel, we went to a local K-Mart to get Easter candy. We laughed because our candy that year was bought at K-Mart.

The next morning, we woke up and drove back home through northern Indiana back to Ohio.

Why was this one of my favorite road trips? It was both spontaneous and was with my sister. Zero photos exist because this was the time before digital cameras were the norm. Cell phones did exist but they were not as readily available as now.

A few memories that I can’t figure out why I can remember them. Someone getting upset at me driving not as fast as I should on N. Lakeshore Drive. And going to a rest stop/ turnpike travel plaza and getting a salad at Burger King. I have no clue why I can remember those 2 minor details.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Family, Writing Workshop

Through the years

Back in 1996, I had the pleasure of meeting the boys’ godfather. We were on the same dorm floor. Even though his ex-girlfriend was my roommate, our friendship remained.

After I met my husband, they also became friends.

When the boys were born in 2003 and 2005, we made the decision to have Dave, our friend, be their godfather. One of my favorite things to do on occasion is to take a photo of them together.

Yesterday, Hubby ran errands with him and ended up getting food. They didn’t want to eat in the car, so they came over here to eat. Youngest has grown a good half a foot since they have seen each other face to face. They usually talk to him on the phone.

I told them I needed an updated photo before Hubby took Dave home. You’ll see why when you see the photos from yesterday’s photo shoot.

At Youngest’s baptism in 2004 – Oldest was 2 and wasn’t having the picture taking.

This was in 2011. I love Dave’s shocked face in the photo.

This is in 2012. Trying to get a 7 and 9 year old to take a serious photo was difficult.

Thanksgiving 2014 – A little better with the photos.

This is them in 2015.

2016

May 2017

These are the photos from yesterday. The boys are now 15 and 17. Actually, Oldest doesn’t turn 17 until Saturday but close enough.

Ever since losing family members, I’m a believer in getting photos of those you love. These boys love Dave. He’s taught them how being visually impaired doesn’t mean you can’t fix computers and go to college. (He’s been blind since birth.) They are lucky to have him in their lives. He’s not only our friend and their godfather, but he’s also family.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Random, Randomness, Writing Workshop

Refreshing my Kitchen

In March, right before the self imposed quarantine, we made a decision to use some of my inheritance money from my mom to refresh our kitchen. Then the quarantine occurred and the idea was stalled.

Early May, everything started to open up, so we went through our original plan of getting new appliances. I talked about the reasons for these appliances in my blog post with a recipe for a simple Philly Cheese Steak.

I’m going to walk through those reasons again.

  1. New Oven – Last summer, the glass piece fell off the front. We debated whether we should get a new oven right then or if we could wait. Last summer was a time of transition for us. Hubby was getting ready to start college, so us getting a new oven at that time was not a priority. The oven was visually unappealing and slowly became a safety issue because of the exposed metal pieces. Now we have an updated Samsung oven that I feel more comfortable cooking on. Oh, and it has a bread proofing setting. Sweet!
  2. New microwave – The plastic was beginning to melt inside, so it was a safety issue. It was over a decade old and had been used many times. Our new Samsung microwave is like a space ship. There is an actual menu with ways to configure pieces to the microwave for ultimate cooking. I actually roasted perfect potatoes in it last night. A real game changer because we eat those a lot.
  3. New Dishwasher – The dishwasher worked most of the time. However, it became a problem when the top rack wouldn’t always stay in. I was constantly having to reposition it in the dishwasher. We like the new Samsung dishwasher because there is a top shelf for our silverware and smaller dishes like my Mason jar lids.
  4. New fridge – Don’t even get me started with the fridge. Let’s just say we needed a new one. The old one still works but wasn’t functional for daily use. We moved it to the garage to hold our pop, cheese, and butter. The new fridge is a LG fridge with one of those door in door features. With 2 teenagers, it’s a good idea to have that feature even though Youngest seems to think he needs to keep opening the door in the door. I had to put a stop to that.

I provided links to the new appliances.

Now that we have these new appliances, Oldest has decided to help us do a late spring clean up of the kitchen. He’s rearranged some of the items in our kitchen and has helped clean up the counters in order for them to be more functional.

The next refreshing task in the kitchen is to clean the cabinets and repaint them. We also have a dry sink I’m going to do the same thing with and we are going to place it in either the kitchen by the back wall or in the living room around the corner from the kitchen. It was my grandma’s and then mom took it over. I can’t get rid of it. It needs to be refreshed before it can come into the house.

Two years ago, my aunt and mom helped me with some of the refreshing in my kitchen. It is now time to continue with their efforts.

That is one of my most recent purchases.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in disney, mom, photograph, photographs, walt disney world, Writing Workshop

Deidre Hall (TBT)

Today I was talking to someone about seeing the cast of Boy Meets World while on the Disney College Program. I’ve been binge watching the last season of the show. Can you believe that the last season was 20 years ago?

I don’t have any photos to prove I really saw them. Just my memories and stories.

Anyway, Mom loved Days of Our Lives. She was super excited because one of her favorite actresses, Deidre Hall, was going to be at Disney-MGM Studios. Luckily, I was off the day she came to the Studios.

I got to watch her speak and put her hands in the cement. She had her youngest son, Sully, with her when she was at the Studios.

Did you know that they would not put all of the cement hand prints out in front of the Chinese Theater at Disney-MGM Studios? I tried to find the hand prints of the cast of Boy Meets World 5 years later. That’s when they informed that they didn’t keep all of them.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Family, Writing Workshop

The Worse Morning Ever

Last Saturday morning was probably the worse morning ever.

I did my usual routine of calling my mom. Usually I call her once or twice and then she would call me back. On that morning, I called her number 12 times. 12 times!

So I drove over to her apartment. Mail had piled up which was unusual.

I grabbed her mail and walked into her apartment which was unlocked.

I dropped the mail on her dresser in the living room and yelled her name.

As I turned the corner, I saw her lifeless body.

I immediately called 9-1-1 as I cried and screamed.

After I got off of talking to 9-1-1, I called Hubby who rushed over.

The police came and entered the apartment. They immediately walked out of the apartment and told me that she was deceased.

As they were doing all the legal stuff, I answered their questions and then began calling my aunt, best friend, and the funeral home. I began writing messages to let family know that she had died.

It got so overwhelming that I just did a Facebook status while the police officer talked to me.

I don’t know how many steps I took as I paced the apartment complex.

Random dudes came up to me and asked me what had happened. Neighbors came up to me and asked me what had happened to her.

It was very overwhelming. I was trying to hold it together and not cry.

Finally they told me that I could leave. I wanted to leave before the funeral home came and got her.

I attempted to do normal stuff like grocery shop and clean the house during the rest of the day.

All the while, I was trying to hold it together and not cry. Headaches and tiredness filled my soul during the day.

The house got picked up mostly. I fixed dinner. The Oldest got to Homecoming so I call that a successful day even with having the worse morning ever.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci