April 6th, 2022

Since we’ve known one another, we’ve been on a team.

You managed to take my breath away in those first moments at the gym

Perhaps it was your ZZ-Top-like beard or those elusive jorts?

Either way, I knew you were different, different in an intriguing way.

You have the kindest eyes.

And I know everyone can agree

you’re the most selfless, generous human anyone has had the pleasure of knowing

Whenever you’re around

There is never a door unopened

A bag not carried

Or a glass not filled

You genuinely embody selflessness.

From teammates to now soulmates

Our deference and respect for one another will continue.

I will love you today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life.

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March 31st, 2022: too good not to share…

Ok, here I go again… Writing about my job is something that I actively avoided throughout this challenge (minus a few slices) because I’d rather compartmentalize, espcase, get away from the daily grind, but all teaches know our lives are intertwined and woven into our work, so this share is necessary.

Anyway, a while back, I stole an idea from another slicer: create a random autobiography. It was genius, for a few sentences encapsulated the life of the author and gave the reader a vivid glimpse into their world. I learned about other’s identities and my own. And then I thought, why wouldn’t I do this with my second grade students? Their identities matter too, let’s give it a whirl.

I pulled up my blog, projected it on the SmartBoard, and my thoughts filled the screen. I shared my soul with my students as I read my autobiography. They held onto each word, smiled and connected, as I spoke of my dogs and love of BBQ. I gave them a sentence starter “I am a lover of” and told them to write about anything and everything related to themselves. I reminded students to write in “twin sentences,” which are two sentences about the same thing, they match, just like twins! Here is what one student wrote…

Let me know if you decide to try it out!

Oh, and congrats to EVERYONE! Happy Slicing.

March 30th, 2022: Family.

I heard you open the bedroom door, slowly, polietly.

You were careful but not too careful, as I noticed a blood stain on the wall the morning.

You must have scraped yourself. Are you ok?

You tiptoed to the side of the bed, carefully peeling back the covers.

I opened my eyes to the pitch-black night

Hey, TR

Hey, Kate

You settled into the bed, absorbing its comfort.

Slowly you reached over and grabbed my hand.

I lay it on yours

Toro nestled in the middle creating a barrier of love between us

Kira stretched out on the floor, legs up in the air showing off her matted fur

We held hands as I stroked Toro’s fur and slowly faded back to sleep

All is whole now. All is well.

This is a family.

March 29th, 2022: Big K’s Favorite Things

One thing you may have not learned about me through this challenge is that I am really into health and fitness. I own my own company and do that work outside and inside of teaching. Just like I love to see the growth in my students, I love to see how people use food and fitness to grow their lives for the better. Below I am doing a play off of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” and calling it “Big K’s Favorite Things.” I am going to be quite general, but I thought I’d give my two cents.

In the Kitchen…

There are a few things you may consider having on hand if you’re interested in tracking your food.

  1. Food Scale
  2. Glass containers for meal prep
  3. Measuring cups
  4. Blender Bottles for protein shakes.

Food

I am a lover of all food and do not follow any type of diet. My general rule of thumb is that I eat from a direct source of protein at each meal, and always have a fruit and or vegetable. Keep it simple. EAT REAL FOOD.

Supplements

SUNSHINE! Vitamin D is the best thing for you. Get out in nature, let the sun melt into your skin, and prepare to live a long and happy life.

Even if you’re not lifting, EVERYONE should take creatine monohydrate. It helps draw water into the muscles while repairing and rejuvenating the body. Creatine is efficacious and flavorless! Mix it into anything you’d like.

Workout Clothes-

Anything high-waisted, colorful. I love tanks, but some love tees. What do you feel comfortable wearing? That is what YOU should wear.

Books-

“Men don’t suppress their hormones, so why should you?”– Period Repair Manual

The book, The Period Repair Manual, changed my view of women’s health as it relates to honoring our bodies and the inner workings of our cycles (things you probably weren’t taught in sex education). If you do not have a copy laying around, get one now.

Start there. You got this.

March 28th, 2022: you don’t need motivation, you need discipline

For the entire month of March, I have been writing, almost exclusively in the early morning. There were many days that I was truly inspired to write because I came up with a clever metaphor or a slice too good not to share. There were many other days, like the dreaded Day 9 where I could not think of a single word to write, my mind was blank(I really do not know why getting over that Day 9 hump is so hard). Anyway, days like Day 9 did not require motivation; it required discipline. Discipline is what one needs to get through to the other side. Discipline is cultivating one’s routine for success and doing something not out of desire. The success could be waking up early to write, setting a timer, a little reminder going off on your phone. Those small acts of success leads to tiny changes in habits, once habits are formed, the writing gets done and you will achieve success.

We’re almost there. We’re almost to the end. If you are losing motivation, focus on your discipline. It is time to dig in.

March 27th, 2022: Imagine…

Imagine if everyone gave back

Imagine if everyone stepped outside of themselves

Imagine the good that could be done

Imagine the evil that could be eliminated

Imagine the possiblities

Imagine the self-esteem issues dissipating

Imagine the way we would treat one another

Imagine the empathy

Imagine the way our relationships would blossom

Imagine not thinking about yourself for a moment or two

Imagine all the amazing things

March 26th, 2022: Handful of Buttons

Different family structures do exist. It’s normal. It’s natural. It is essential that we, as educators, discuss this with our students. On Friday, I read a book to my students titled A Handful of Buttons by Carmen Parets Luque. This story teaches about the diversity of families and breaks the ubiquitous stereotypes of the typical nuclear family.

“I have three siblings, but do not speak to one of them” (that’s me)

“I have three mommies”

“I just live with my mom”

“We live with our grandma”

As read, all of my students sat straight up in their seats, which was quite a departure from their regular slouching. Their eyes were transfixed on the book, and their engagement was high. I did not see kids putting masking tape on their fingertips, or trying to hide the notes they would write on tiny post-its underneath their desks. With each page turn, I could see their eyes open wide, opening up to a world they have and have not seen. “How many of you see your own families represented in this book,” I asked enthusiastically anticipating a sea of student’s hands raised high in the air. As expected, their tiny hands reached high, almost shooting through the ceiling with excitement.

When we finished, I told the class we would do something extraordinary with this book. And here is the idea for any educators who would like to steal it. We are going to make our own portrait with handfuls of buttons, just like the book. Then, we will share our creativity and uniqueness with the class. Here is what you will need to make your students feel seen, heard, and appreciated.

  1. A Handful of Buttons by Carmen Parets Luque.
  2. A bag of mixed buttons (you can buy on Amazon for $10)
  3. glue sticks or glue guns
  4. large white paper
  5. markers
  6. crayons
  7. colored pencils
  8. glitter

Let me know if you decide to do it. I will upload their final projects later 😉

March 25th, 2022: words cannot describe, or can they?

Ever since we’ve known one another, we’ve been on a team.

You managed to take my breath away in those first moments at the gym while you were literally gasping for air.

Your kind eyes drew me in, and everyone can agree that you’re one of the most selfless, generous humans everyone has had the pleasure to meet.

Whenever you’re around, there’s never a door you have not held, a bag too heavy to carry, and seldom a glass empty.

Our relationship has blossomed from teammates to soulmates.

Our deference will continue for years to come

I will love you today, tomorrow, and the rest of my life.

*will continue to draft, maybe roll on with the “team” metaphor a bit more

March 24th, 2022: 20 more minutes

TR is out of town on a business trip, so I am left to fall asleep and wake up alone. We use something called Eight Sleep, which regulates the body’s temperature, tracks one’s HRV, and overall sleep hygiene. It has all the bells and whistles. The alarm even wakes you up with a series of pulses and vibrations. It’s meant to be soothing rather than a jarring beeping noise, but the vibrations can feel loud when you’re quiet and alone in a room full of darkness.

TR set his alarm, on the side of his bed, for 5:00 AM; each side of the bed has a separate alarm. TR had an early flight out to Chicago and 5:00 AM was the time he needed to wake to ensure he was showered, packed, and well-fed. What TR failed to do prior to his exodus, was turn off the alarm on his side of the bed. As a result, the next day (which happens to be today) I woke up 20 minutes earlier to the sound of the vibrations, all the while being confused and disoriented. I looked at the clock and realized what was happening. To my immense dismay, I could not turn off his alarm. He could only shut it off with his smartphone and currently he is asleep in Chicago. YAY! I guess I will have an extra 20 minutes to myself this morning, I realized. Then it occured to me that so much can be done in our daily lives with an extra 20 minutes. Below is a list of things I things anyone can do if they were given an extra 20 minutes.

20 things in 20 minutes (could be less)

  1. Take my dogs for a longer walk (an extra block or two will do)
  2. Do 20 pull-ups in my doorway and make plenty of time for rest in between
  3. Make oatmeal on the stove and not in the microwave
  4. Finish an entire “Up First” podcast
  5. Put away that load of laundry that’s currently staring at me right now, haunting me.
  6. Break down boxes for recycling
  7. Load/unload the dishwasher
  8. Watch the news with a cup of coffee
  9. Sit on my new couch, brushing the rain out of my dogs fur
  10. Read
  11. Take more time on the Writing Challenge (write longer slices)
  12. Take a nap
  13. Clean out part of a closet and prepare items for donation
  14. Plan for a beautiful meal in the evening with all the dark leafy greens and delicious lean meats.
  15. Drink more water.
  16. Scroll through TikTok
  17. Chat with a loved one on the phone.
  18. Dust.
  19. Watch a bit of Netflix
  20. Vacuum.