raising strong girls · slice of life · weather

Impervious to the Cold

Did you know sixth graders (and all middle schoolers, while we’re at it) are impervious to the cold?

They’re not, but my daughter likes to think she is. She refuses to wear a hat unless it’s below 20 degrees. Scarf? Same thing as the hat. She usually wears gloves, but not today. Why? Because she’s 12.

Here’s the scene from this morning while we were waiting for her bus to pick her up:

Me: (notices nothing poking out of pockets) Do you have gloves?

A screenshot of today’s weather forecast from Carrot.

Isabelle: No.

Me: Why not?

Isabelle: They’re in my other coat.

Me: You have time to go and get them.

Isabelle: I don’t need them.

Me: Yes, you do.

Isabelle: I don’t.

Me: Your hands will be freezing at recess.

Isabelle: I’ll be fine.

Me: You should really take your gloves.

Isabelle: I’ll. Be. Fine.

Me: (pulls up weather report on phone) It doesn’t look too warm around the time you’re going to recess. I guess you’ll decide if you need to wear gloves tomorrow.

Isabelle: I really don’t need them.

Me: Let me see your hands. (snaps photo) I bet your hands will be dry tonight. So dry that you’ll need Aquaphor.

Proof of well-hydrated hands!

Isabelle: I’ll be fine.

Me: (accepts defeat) Time will tell.

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fitness · food · slice of life · weather

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup, Anyone?

The remnants of Hurricane Ian blew through Pennsylvania this weekend. There was enough rain predicted that our township canceled every age division’s weekend soccer game. Ari’s game was rescheduled for this evening, which meant that I needed to plan something simple for dinner tonight.

I flipped through the pages of my recipe binder on Saturday evening. I came up empty-handed due to the objections of my children who refuse to eat slow-cooker chili or lasagna. One won’t eat baked mac and cheese. The other… Oh, does it really matter?!?! They’re difficult to cook for these days.

“I could make grilled cheese and tomato soup,” I suggested to Ari after he said no to pretty much every recipe I could be made ahead of time.

“I don’t like tomato soup,” he said.

“You’ve never tried tomato soup,” I replied. “But you like grilled cheese. Grilled cheese and tomato soup are a classic combination. You’ll love it.”

I went online and found a recipe for scratch tomato soup, which I made yesterday afternoon. I figured I’d warm it up quickly this evening while making the grilled cheese sandwiches. (Note to any GF readers: Sub Bob’s All-Purpose Gluten-free Flour for AP flour. Also, sub a seeded and/or thick gluten-free bread in the classic grilled cheese recipe.)

This afternoon, I received an email that the township was canceling all make-up games and practices scheduled for tonight because of the ongoing rain. We may not need an ark, but it was cold and rainy enough to warrant another cancelation. So, I could’ve made dinner after all! But, I DIDN’T HAVE TO since it was halfway made.

So there I was, grating cheese and using a panini grill on a rainy fall evening. This turned out to be the perfect meal for tonight’s weather, I mused as I ladled the soup into bowls. In truth, I was giddy about how this would be the best grilled cheese I’ve ever made. I’m going to be a dinner-making hero.

Isabelle’s response was positive. “This is as good as the grilled cheese at Hersheypark!” Not exactly the comparison I would’ve liked. But it was better than Ari’s comment, which was “This cheese is awful.”

Well, at least he wasn’t complaining about the soup.

In the end, Isabelle consumed two-thirds of the child-size portion of soup and her entire sandwich. (In truth, she didn’t love the soup, but she knew she’d get ice cream afterwards if she tried something new without fretting.) Ari nibbled on half of the grilled cheese sandwich and downed a couple of spoonfuls of tomato soup. Apparently, he really doesn’t like tomato soup.

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Jewish · slice of life · weather

Jewish Mother Sweater Alert

Ari is the kind of kid who likes to pick out his own clothes. Sometimes he misses with his outfit choices, but he makes a good match over 80% of the time. (Not bad for a four-year-old kid!) This morning, I suggested, “You should pick out pants and a short-sleeve tee.”

“I want to wear the shorts you told me I could wear yesterday,” he replied as he grabbed the green and navy stripe shorts from his dresser.

“It’s too cold for shorts today, bud. You can wear them after your nap… or tomorrow. It’s going to be in the 80s tomorrow.”

“But it’s in the 60’s today.”

“No, it isn’t. It’s raining too. You don’t want to wear shorts when you go outside today.”

“Yes, I do,” my son, who could be considered stubborn, declared.

“But your legs will be cold!” I said.

“But it’s iiiiin the 60’s!”

I pulled put my iPhone to show him that it was cooler than what he thought. But when the weather app brought up the Lancaster temperature, it read 66°F!

I turned my phone and showed Ari the proof he desired. “You were right. It’s in the mid-60’s. But it is raining. So, if you’re willing to wear a hoodie, then you’ve got yourself a deal on the shorts.”

“Deal!” he said.

As I recounted a sliver of this story to my parents on the phone, my Dad teased me. “Jewish Mother Sweater Alert!”

It isn’t the first time he’s teased me about overdressing one of my children the way many Jewish moms are known to do. WPLJ, which was my favorite radio station as a kid growing up in the NY Metropolitan Area, used to declare a “Jewish Mother Sweater Alert” anytime there was a bit of a chill in the air on spring or fall mornings. It’s a phrase my Dad and I used to taunt my mom with whenever she’d insist on me adding a layer as a kid. Now, I am a Jewish mother, hence the necessity for an extra layer of clothing on a May morning.

slice of life · weather

A Real Snow Day

It snowed last night. A substantial amount of snow is expected between now and tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. Therefore, our school district declared today a snow day. Not a flexible instruction day (That’s the plan for tomorrow if another day off is needed.) allowing the kids learn remotely and asynchronously. Today is a real snow day.

We’ll go out and play in the snow — sledding and snow castles — later today. But for now, we are lounging in our pajamas. The kids are watching “The Jetsons Movie” and I’m reading Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld. Maybe we’ll bake later… maybe we won’t. Maybe they’ll play in the fort Marc and Ari built last night… maybe they won’t. All I care about right now is having a low-key snow day. It’s 9:40 a.m. and I think we’re well on our way to mastering the low-key thing.

Don’t ask me why Ari is sitting on our coffee table. (That’s something he does that I will never understand!) I mean, there’s a perfectly good fort set up for him to lay in and more than enough couch to lounge on. But, NO, he chooses the coffee table for movie viewing.
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slice of life · weather

Our Summer “Snow Day”

Today began like a snow day probably because I told the kids, last night, that we’d be staying home all day due to the incoming rain storm. We live about 100 miles away from the ocean, but we’re still feeling the effects of Isaias, as well as another storm from the Midwest, today.

Ari and his puppies lingered in bed this morning.

Ari crawled into my bed and woke me up around 7:10 a.m. We snuggled. He didn’t want to get out of bed, but somehow I managed to convince him it was a good idea.

Isabelle had already eaten breakfast with Marc before he left for work. Ari wanted to play before eating breakfast, so I had the table to myself, which was divine.

Isabelle and I started division flash cards while Ari ate his breakfast. Once we finished, the kids played — somewhat peacefully — while I cleaned up from breakfast. I washed the dishes while watching water and wind thrash at our house.

I went upstairs to brush my teeth. I threw in a laundry — just in case we lost power.

I brushed Ari’s teeth.

I made my way downstairs and searched for a recipe everyone wanted to make. We settled on banana chocolate chip muffins. I declared, “Everyone who wants to eat one needs to participate in baking them.” (That announcement was really for Isabelle who likes to eat the baked goods, but doesn’t like to prepare the baked goods.)

Smiling with a Muffin

The kids and I made the muffins. Then we played Uno on the couch while they baked in the oven.

Once the muffins were ready, we sat at the table and had them while they were still warm. They were too chocolatey for Ari (Whaaaat?!?!?), but Isabelle and I devoured two a piece.

We played a few more games of Uno after the muffins. Then, I insisted on some writing time for Isabelle, which meant Ari got to have iPad time. He was elated.

But now, it’s 1:30 p.m. The sun is starting to break through, which means — I hope! — that the worst of this is behind us. While we needed rain, we didn’t need that much rain. However, it was kinda nice to have a “summer snow day.”

I linked the recipe (above) in case you’re interested.
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slice of life · weather

This is what happens when you don’t want to wear your gear!

It all started when I asked Ari to get his coat on this morning.

“I don’t like this coat. I wanna wear the blue one!”

After trying to explain single digit wind chill factors to a 28-month-old child, he reluctantly donned his coat. (Truth be told, he probably wanted me to stop talking.)

Then it was time for his hat. He refused to wear the warm, fuzzy one that wraps around his chin. He compromised by putting on his Gerald the Elephant hat from Halloween. (Though he tried to pull it off several times on the car ride.)

Two hours later, it was time for us to go outside again. Fortunately, Ari agreed to wear his coat and his hat.

“How about mittens?” I asked, tempting fate.

“Okay. I want mittens.”

“Really?” I asked. Ari NEVER wears mittens.

“Really,” he replied.

Ari held out his hands and allowed me to slide his mittens over his hands. I was elated, but played it cool by saying “Now your hands will be toasty.”

I was giddy Ari was wearing mittens. I grabbed my phone out of my purse with one hand to take a photo of this monumental moment. However, by the time my finger found the shutter button, one mitten was on the ground. I put the phone into my pocket and knelt to pick up the mitten. That’s when Ari broke away from the grasp of my left hand and took off down the sidewalk.

“Ari!” I yelled.

His pace quickened from a walk to a jog.

“Ari! Stop! Ari! Stop!”

I was doing my best to run down the sidewalk after him, but my long coat, the diaper bag slung over my shoulder, and the view of the salt covering the frozen ground made me weary of sprinting.

Despite my pleas for Ari to stop running, he picked up his pace. As he approached the end of the sidewalk, I could hear his giggles, but couldn’t quite reach him.

“Ari, STOP! That’s the parking lot!”

But Ari continued running and laughing. And that’s when I flung my arm as far in front of me as I could and grabbed the hood of his coat.

“Gotcha!” I said.

He was still laughing as I stopped him from running into oncoming traffic. I paused and looked around. We were only two feet onto the black top, but it was two feet too much for me. There were cars actively looking for spots. Thank G-d I caught up with him before…

“You need to hold my hand,” I told Ari.

He laughed, “I run away!”

“You need to stay with me in the parking lot — always.”

I didn’t have the energy to discuss this with him. I was out of breath, thankful I caught him… and thankful I didn’t shatter my knee or break my hip running over the icy pavement. I held his hand the entire way to the car, scooped him up, secured him in his car seat, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. As soon as I pulled away, Ari tossed his Elephant hat aside.

NOTE TO SELF: Let him be cold. As long as he’s safe, walking around without mittens or a hat isn’t the end of the world.

slice of life · travel · weather

Foggy Windshield

car-2595418_640How often do you use the defroster on your car in the summertime?

Just during rainstorms, right?

Well, for the past two mornings — both of which have been sunny here in Houston (where I’m working this week) — I’ve turned on the front and rear defrosters in my rental car since I couldn’t see out of the front or rear windshields.

Both mornings, I found it concerning when my front windshield didn’t clear after a few minutes. The only thing I could do to navigate on the highway was to keep the windshield wipers on, at a speed I’d typically use for a moderate rainfall, the entire drive. Every time the wipers squeaked across the windshield — from trying to eradicate wetness that was no longer there — I’d turn the wipers to intermittent. Seconds later, the front windshield would fog again and I’d have to speed up the wipers. Was something wrong with my rental car?

At lunch, I sat around a table with several curriculum coaches. We were talking about the weather, so I recounted my morning drives and asked, “Is this a Houston thing or a faulty rental car thing?”

There was a resounding “Houston Thing!” response from the coaches. Apparently, it’s so hot and humid in the mornings that one needs to turn on the defrosters to clear the windshields. Like me, they told me it’s easy to clear their rear ones, but not the front windshields. That’s when two of them shared a tip with me: crank up the heat in the car (even though it’s already hot outside), open your windows so you don’t faint from the heat, and turn on the front defroster.

My mouth dropped open. “Really!??!”

Apparently, that’s the only thing that will work.

Pennsylvania has its fair share of high heat, elevated dew points, and humidity in the summertime, but nothing like this has ever happened to me before! For some reason, something different happens to cars in the Houston summers.

Guess what I’ll be doing when I find my front windshield fogged up tomorrow morning?

slice of life_individual
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slice of life · weather

Snow Baby

Today was not a relaxing snow day simply for the fact that I spent much of it out of my home. I had a medical procedure scheduled for 10:00 a.m. I was determined to get there due to the flare-up in pain I’ve had in my neck/shoulder/wrist for the past three weeks. While I made it there a few minutes early, I spent much of my day white-knuckling my steering wheel as I drove to and from the appointment s-l-o-w-l-y on unplowed roads.

The highlight of my day came after Ari woke up from his nap. Marc and Isabelle were outside building a snowman. I poked my head out the door and asked if they were interested in company. (They were!) Despite my desire to lay on the couch with ice packs, I bundled Ari and myself up and headed outside.

Once we were outside, I realized this was Ari’s first time “playing” in the snow. Initially, he didn’t know how to move or what to do. As the minutes passed, Ari got comfortable playing, walking, and getting gentle sled rides down the driveway. In fact, he didn’t want to go inside for dinner.

I smiled as I removed Ari’s snowsuit, booties, mittens, and hat. Despite being achy, I was thrilled I steeled myself so that I could watch my kids play in the snow — together! — for the first time. It made what was otherwise an exhausting day brighter.

board books · consulting · food · motherhood · slice of life · weather · writing

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was cold.

Today is snowy.

Yesterday I was busy: driving on back-country roads and working with teachers.

Today I am moving slowly: staying at home and playing with Ari.

Yesterday I ate in a hurry: turkey sandwich, yellow peppers, Sumo orange, and trail mix.

Today I had a leisurely meal: breakfast tacos made with spinach, eggs, queso fresco, and hot sauce.

Yesterday I debriefed classroom visits and talked about minilessons.

Today I’m reading board books again and again and again.

Yesterday was good.

Today is good.

slice of life · weather

A Pajama Day — of sorts

Last night, we did our grocery shopping as a family because Wegmans is like a night out, right?!!?  😉  Oh how different our lives are from ten years ago when my husband and I started dating while living in New York City!

Anyway, we did the food shopping on Saturday night for two reasons:

  1. My husband is working this weekend, which means he cannot take Isabelle out for breakfast and to the grocery store on Sunday  like he usually does.
  2. Our community’s Purim Carnival was scheduled for today.

With all the snow we’ve had this winter, I’ve ceased telling Isabelle what we’re doing the next day if snow is in the forecast since our plans have changed one time too many this winter.  She didn’t know we were planning to go to the Purim Carnival.  I’m thankful I didn’t tell her because I woke up to SNOW.  Again.

I provided Isabelle with stickers and card stock to amuse her while I handed Slicer stuff in my office.
I provided Isabelle with stickers and card stock to amuse her while I handed Slicer stuff in my office.

The Purim Carnival went on without us. (I’m not sure how big it was, but a friend posted a photo of her and her daughter there on Facebook.)  Instead, we stayed home in our pajamas while my husband went to work.  We had a leisurely breakfast and snuggled in front of the fireplace.  I even let her watch a couple of episodes of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”  However, I wasn’t as available as I typically am when I’m home with Isabelle because today is the first day of the Slice of Life Story Challenge.  I spent a lot of time moderating comments, answering questions, and sending e-mails regarding some issues a few people were having.  And while I didn’t mind the extra computer time, Isabelle did.  After hanging out in my office with me for a bit, she decided enough was enough.  Isabelle went to work in her office (i.e., her playroom) at her desk (i.e., her craft table) too.  But five minutes into her office work, she called for me.


“Yes?” I walked from my office to her play room.

“Why don’t I have a door on my office?” she asked.

“Because you don’t,” I replied. (Yeah, I couldn’t come up with anything other than it’s a play room, which I didn’t think would help the situation.)

“I want a door,” she said.

“Unfortunately, I can’t put a door on this room.  Would it make you feel better if I left the door to my office opened while we both worked?”

“Yes,” she replied. “You leave now.”

I stuck out my lower lip. “Is there another way you can say that? The words you used kind of hurt my feelings.”

“May you leave–” she paused.  She knew that wasn’t right. “Can you leave me alone?”  She stopped again.  “Can you leave please?”

I figured I should take it and not be a nit-picker for perfect speech.  So I headed back to my office.

“Sure. I will let you do your work. Thank you for using nicer words.”

* * * * *

A special thank you to Betsy, Dana, and Julieanne who helped me a tremendous amount today.  Also, a big thank you to my husband who took over for me when he came home from work so I could head back to the computer with less guilt.  Without the four of these folks, Isabelle would’ve been really mad at me today.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com on Tuesday for more slices of life.
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com on Tuesday for more slices of life.