Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New growth

Living in South Florida certainly has it's perks.  While many of our northern family and friends have struggled through a record setting winter, winter in South Florida tends to be pretty consistent.  It's warm and sunny and fairly dry.  In fact, our winter has been much warmer than usual (not to brag) and we're running our air conditioning at a time when most people are running their heat.

Someone told me the other day that they really missed living where there are seasons and I thought that was sort of funny because we DO have seasons in South Florida, but they are more subtle than seasons in more northern climates.  We don't get dramatic leaf turning displays or snow storms, but I always notice spring in South Florida, maybe even more than some of our other seasons.  Suddenly, the days are longer.  It's not dark at 5 any more, now it's still light at 6:30.  The mockingbirds are out and reminding everyone that they are here and why don't we notice them?  The cardinals are also here, building nests and looking so gorgeous it's hard not to just stop and gape at them.  The male cardinals also have such a distinctive call and they have been very busy letting the females know that they are around.  When we had cats (before we found out we were allergic), February always brought an onslaught of fleas (I really DON'T miss that).  This year, since we've renovated our yard, we also have new growth on plants I never had before- an avocado tree and an orange tree.
Here's the avocado tree.  All that light green part is new growth and blossoms.  Good thing we like guacamole!
My orange tree (with the amaryllis in the back, looking amazing) has a new baby orange on it as well as a bunch of flowers!  I love the fragrance of orange blossom.

I was thinking about new growth and my students.  We have been working on a research project about the Winter Olympics and I'm REALLY tired of the Winter Olympics (having been talking about the Winter Olympics for the last 2 months).  However, the new growth I've seen in my students is much like the new growth I'm seeing in the yard.  The kids who before were too shy to stand up in front of the class to tell about their research have found the confidence to speak out.  The little kids who have been reading picture books are suddenly demanding chapter  books.  The littlest kids are reading ahead of me or correcting me if I miss a word in our read aloud.  

So spring is awesome!  New growth all around, especially if you take time to notice!

Monday, February 17, 2014


This morning I was out working in the yard. We have the day off for President's Day because we live in a place where we don't have snow days (although we do have the occasional hurricane day). I was out pulling weeds and throwing down mulch and sort of admiring how tidy it mostly looks (my mom was here for a long weekend and she LOVES to pull weeds, go figure). Anyway, as I was pulling weeds out there, I was thinking about the inventory I've been doing in the media center. I've been pretty heartless about weeding some of the books that are old and tired looking. I thought weeding in the yard isn't really that much different from weeding in the library. As you weed, you're pulling out things that are old and tired or don't belong. Although at school when I'm weeding, people tend to be a bit more alarmed than when I weed at home. "You're throwing that away? I love that book!" The good news is at school we have a bin where we can put things for people to take, sort of a "Old books for new homes" kind of place. That way, people can take those books that I find to be too worn out to keep in the media center and recycle them in their classroom libraries or give them to kids who just love them (even if the cover is falling off). At home, I only have a compost heap to throw my weeds in and no one ever goes there and says "Why did you pull that out? I was saving that!" at least not if I'm careful.

 The other good part about weeding is that you can look around and appreciate some of the things that you haven't noticed because things have grown up around them. Some of the books we have that are really great end up jammed on a shelf and no one notices them because they are so overwhelmed by all the other stuff you have to wade through to get to them. So even though things will look a little bare for awhile, things will fill in around them. Things you had forgotten about can come to the forefront and you might even have room for something new and pretty that you didn't think you really needed.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

WHAT have you been doing?

Gees, it's been more than a month since I posted last. So here's what I've been up to. First I caught a cold, which morphed into a sinus infection (my FAVORITE!). I finished the antibiotics and two days later, I caught the flu. Which, if you don't know the difference between a cold and the flu, having them both in the same week is a TOTALLY awesome way to learn. So I was just feeling better from that, when the Governor showed up at our school to make a budget statement (and if you've never had a dignitary show up at your place of work, let me tell you, even if you don't agree with their politics, it's still a BIG DEAL).
Then my parents came for a long weekend. We had many important things to do like shopping and golfing. They also have slightly short attention spans, so we needed to give them projects. My dad built some benches for my media center and my mom tidied up the yard and fixed a parachute for the coach at school. She had never seen a parachute used during PE before, so some of the neighborhood kids and I gave her a lesson.
So this is the first weekend THIS YEAR that I have felt well and haven't had some complete craziness going on. So YAY for quiet sanity. Now I'm trying to get caught up on all the things that haven't gotten done in the last month (like blog posting and mopping the kitchen floor! YAY!).