Hockey Mom Hankering

When my son was six, my husband signed him up for Mite hockey.  I was adamant at the time that this was “their thing.”  I did not know anything about hockey. (Unless you count the fact that it was played on ice and watching the fights was the best part of the game.)  I would go to his games, but I did not want to be tasked with getting him dressed before a game or practice.  

My husband agreed to this plan for about…a day.  

On the evening of his first practice, he called me in a panic.

“You will need to bring Ryan to practice.” he said. “I am stuck at work.”

“I have no idea how to get him ready.” I replied.  

“Don’t worry.  Someone will help you.”

So, I drove to the rink and carried my son’s equipment into the locker room.  I went to the first official looking man and asked him point blank,  “Can you help me?”  

I must have looked pretty pathetic, because he said he would without even blinking.  

Fast forward a few days to when Ryan played his first game. He could barely skate with the puck, but  I was yelling and cheering like nobody’s business.  I was hooked. There was no turning back now.  I had officially become a Hockey Mom.

64 HOCKEY MOM ideas | hockey mom, hockey, hockey life

Over the next several months, I was a dedicated student of the game.  I learned the rules, the lingo and when it was time for him to dress himself.  (Yes, I was a originally a helicopter hockey mom!)

From Facebook's, Real Women Love Hockey! Parenting, you're doing it right.

When Ryan switched to a select travel team, my husband and I signed on as Team Managers.  Essentially, we were the “Julie McCoys” of the hockey team.  We planned everything from team practice jerseys, to tournament accommodations and everything else in between.  I spent more time at the rink and in my car than I did in my own home on the weekends. 

I loved every minute of it.

Best Hockey Mom Memes - Telling My Story | Hockey mom quote, Hockey mom,  Hockey kids

Ryan continued to play in High School. While our travel decreased, my enthusiasm for the sport increased twofold.  I would not miss a game for anything.  I was thrilled when he was selected as a Captain his senior year.  It meant Team Manager 2.0 for me.

Currently Ryan plays for a college about 900 miles away.  I haven’t been able to watch him play a game in person in over a year and I am having major withdrawals.  My only solace is  looking forward to being able to go next year.  

I have come to realize, you can take the Mom out of hockey. But you can not take the love away from a Hockey Mom.


The Fire Pit Table Adventure

Thumbing through the latest ad from the local warehouse store, I came across the exact gas fire pit table that I had been looking for.  And, it was on sale!

Past experience told me that if I wanted it, I should go and get it now.  Items such as these tend to sell quickly. So, my husband and I hopped into our SUV and drove straight to the store.  I quickly scanned the aisles and made a beeline straight to the fire pit.  

“Here it is!” I exclaimed.  (Maybe a little too loudly, but I was excited.)

There were only two boxes left.  

My  husband and I tried to lift the cardboard cube, but it was too heavy for me.  I needed to find someone from customer service to assist us, so I announced that I was headed that way to get help.  My husband started to follow me.

“You can’t leave.  What if someone else comes and takes it?  You have to stay here and let your claim on this item be known!” I told him.

Of course, he thought I was overreacting and a bit ridiculous, but oddly enough he listened to me and stood right next to the box until I returned with a store associate.

The two of them managed to get the box onto a flatbed.  The kind gentleman even helped us load it into the car after we paid for it. 

Since we still needed a few more things, we went back into the store.  We walked by the fire pits and wouldn’t you know, the last one was being loaded onto a flatbed.  

“See,” I said.  “We almost didn’t get one.”

“Not really,” my husband replied.  “If we came in now, there would still be one left.”

Why does he always have to be right?

My husband is always right. Just ask him. | Anniversary funny, E cards,  Husband

The Interview

Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. Unknown

Last week, I received an email from the student editor of our high school’s newspaper.  She is writing a feature piece on our upcoming return to full time in-person learning in April.  She wanted to interview an elementary teacher to help her readers gain perspective and I was one of the lucky ones chosen.  

After consulting with my principal, I agreed to the interview.  She sent me her questions.

I am no saint and this year has not been easy by any standard.  But, a few months ago, I decided to shift my mindset to embrace the challenges of this year, rather than lament.    So with this in mind, I chose to highlight the things that are positive about our return.

41 Funniest Back To School Meme - Meme Central

The article has not been published yet, but here is a sneak peak at my answers.

How do you feel this will benefit you?

It will be easier for me to only have to plan for in-person instruction. 

How do you feel this will benefit the students?

The students will benefit from the consistency of going into school everyday and from having the teacher there at all times to support their learning.  They will also benefit from the increased opportunities to socialize with their peers.

Do you have any initial fears going into a full-time model?

No, I do not have any initial fears. I am fully vaccinated, so I consider myself one of the lucky ones right now. Our custodial staff and nurses have been vigilant with their commitment to the health and safety of everyone in our building.  I know that this will continue to be the case.

Do you see yourself confronting any issues? How will you overcome them?

If I end up with any new students in my class from Cohort D(fully remote), I will have to spend some additional time teaching and reviewing classroom rules and routines. 

Any other thoughts or ideas?

I am looking forward to the return of the familiar routine and some sense of normalcy. Some of the children will be meeting face to face for the first time, so that is exciting for them.  April 5th will be a day that we will celebrate finally being able to be all together as a class.

How do you feel about students returning to in-person learning full time? 

Treasure Hunting

I walk for miles at a time.


Shoulders arched. Head facing down.

The sand below my feet is firm.

The sun warms my back. 

The cool breeze is refreshing.

My toes become alive when they make contact with the frigid water.

Ebbs and flows.

Laughter, conversations, yelling spoil the tranquility of the roaring waves.

Yet my ears are able to tune into each crash.

Time to turn around.

I adjust my route and move closer to the tide line.

The sun warms my front.

I am thankful for the visor on my cap.

My course is altered. 

Children are digging, playing, learning, living.

I smile.

I go around them.

My eye spies something.

Could it be what I have been looking for?

I pick it up.

I hold it up to the sunlight.

It is not ready.

I toss it into the sea where it belongs.

There must be more I think.

So I continue with my quest.

I walk on.


Then I see it glistening in the sand.

Blue, cloudy, smooth.  Aged to perfection. A keeper.

Litter crafted into a gem.

It is my favorite treasure.

Sea Glass.

Giant Cobalt Blue Sea Glass by SeaFindsScotland Rare Scottish | Etsy | Blue  sea glass, Sea glass crafts, Sea glass

Joy Sparking

With all of the free time I seem to have lately, my husband and I have been slowly trying to clean out different parts of our home.  Feeling overwhelmed with the task, I picked up a copy of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and binge watched her shows on Netflix.  (I never realized how entertaining it could be to watch other people work, while I sipped coffee!)

Feeling prepared, I began with my dresser.  I touched each item and asked myself if it “sparked joy.”  I sorted the items into 3 piles, just as she instructs: Keep, Throw, Give. 

If you noticed, I did not include a pile for Sell.  

Several years ago, my husband and I came to the difficult realization that Yard Sales/Garage Sales/Tag Sales are not worth the time and effort.  It may have something to do with the fact that I insisted on holding one on a day that forecasted rain. Everything we were selling got incredibly wet and we had to leave it in our garage for days before we could donate it. 

Or maybe it was because I sold my daughter’s favorite Barney the dinosaur stuffed animal to a woman who said that Sophie would love it.  Imagine my surprise when I went for a walk later that week and spied Barney in this woman’s backyard.  It turned out that Sophie was a chihuahua and Barney ended up in shreds. I am still traumatized by this decision.

If only I had been as smart as Rose Nylund, then Barney would still be in one piece.

If you have never read Marie Kondo’s book or watched her show, you may be wondering about  the whole “sparking joy” thing. I have to be honest and tell you that it is truly life changing. 

Let me give you an example.  When holding up a t-shirt that I got as a souvenir from a trip a few years ago, I noticed that it had a few stains on it.  I had other mementos from the trip, so I was able to say “thank you” to my shirt and put it in the throw pile. Done.  Next item.

Now for someone who is not as sentimental as I am, this may appear laughable.  That’s okay.  You can laugh.  In fact, my husband and I did too the first several times we went through this process.  But the truth is, many of us tend to hold onto things for the memory, not for the necessity of the item.  Once we can acknowledge another way to honor the memory, we can let go of objects that get in our way of having order in our homes and lives.

Clothes are easy for me to make this decision. 

Books are not.  I feel joy when I pick up every book.  So, I decided that I would limit the books that I keep to one book shelf.  Only the books that I truly want to read again because they will “spark joy” will be put back on the shelves.  All of the rest will be donated so someone else can have the opportunity to “spark joy”.  I reasoned that if I really wanted to read it again, I could always borrow it from the library.

But my children’s books, that is another story. I can remember where I was when I read it.  I can remember how many times I read it.  I can recite lines from it.  I consider myself a work in progress in this area. So, I put all of my children’s favorite books into a box  labeled KEEP and stored them away for future grandchildren.  

Sometimes, memories from the past are important enough that they should be become a traditions in the future.   

Have you ever tried Marie Kondo’s method? Do have a hard time getting rid of items? Are you a book hoarder too?

Family Meetings

When my children were younger, I read a few of the Positive Discipline books by Dr. Jane Nelson.  Intrigued by her methodology, I wanted to implement some of her suggestions into my parenting repertoire.  So, we devoted some time on a weekend night when we could all be together, and began to hold weekly family meetings.

That look I get when I Announce a family meeting! - Cindy Brady Meme | Make  a Meme

We would begin each meeting by giving each other a compliment or thanking someone for doing something special for us.  I really wish I had written these down, but as I remember they went something like this:

“Thank you for doing my laundry.”  

“Thank you for driving me to dance.”

“I can’t think of anything nice to say about my brother. He just teases me.”

“I know you can think of one thing that your brother did well this week that you noticed.”

 “Okay, you are good at teasing me.”

Then we would transition to issue discussion time.  Anyone could add an item to the agenda. As a family, we would talk about ways to work together better and collaboratively solve any difficulties we were having.  We would also plan our menu for the week ahead. 

We would end our meeting with a special dessert or family game time.  

One part of the process was that a person had to take notes during the meeting and it couldn’t be the same person each time. It is these notes that I cherish now.

March 28, 2004

Behavior and Consequences

Dressed in the morning before TV

Bedtime 7:30

Kids want a dog- We are too busy to take care of a dog.

April 4, 2004

Mornings going better- Need to remember to put out our clothes before bed

Caitlin would like a chart telling her everything she needs to do before bed.

Manners- Please remember to use our manners with each other.

Listen to each other better the first time we ask

Dog- We are too busy to take care of a dog.

April 12, 2004*

Next meeting: family job assignments


*My husband’s version of note taking.

January 19, 2005

Family Jobs

Tantrums- We will all try to stop.  Consequence for a tantrum is to go to our room to cool down.  

Friday nights new family night with dinner and a movie.

Dog- We are too busy to take care of a dog.

For years I wondered if the family meetings had any significance to the way our family functioned. I am not sure if they made us a better family unit. But, I would say that there were many positives that came out of our time together. 

  1. We learned to communicate more effectively with one another.
  2. As a family, we problem solved issues.
  3. My husband and I still meet weekly to plan our menu.
  4. Caitlin still uses lists to tell her everything she needs to do before bed.
  5. We finally got a dog… once the kids grew up and my husband and I were no longer too busy taking care of them.

Have you ever tried family meetings with your children?  Do you plan meals together?  Do your kids ask you for a pet too?

My Favorite Comfort Food

With 18 report cards to complete tonight, I really needed my favorite comfort food.  Made with just three ingredients, it checks all of the boxes for deliciousness.

  • Melted cheddar cheese
  • Buttery goodness
  • Warm bread

You guessed it…a grilled cheese sandwich.

But not everyone knows that there is some skill involved with making this one pan, calorie rich delicacy. You see, the secret to making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich is patience.  You have to let the butter slowly melt into the bread over a medium-low heat.  This allows the cheese to melt at the same rate as the butter browns the bread.  Perfection.

As I ate each bite, my body was preparing itself to get those report cards done.  Thank goodness for comfort food!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich - Imgflip

Do You Remember Me?

I received an email today from a student I had seven years ago in my Kindergarten class.  She moved to another town a few years ago, so I have not seen her for quite some time. You can imagine my surprise when I saw her name in my inbox. Curious, I opened it up right away.

So you’re never gonna guess who it is, but it may or may not be XXXXXXXXXXX   Do you remember me!!!!!!

I immediately wrote back to her that of course I remembered her.  How could I ever forget her? (Especially considering she wrote her name on the side of a bookcase I still have in my room.) I asked her how she was doing and told her that I missed her.

But, it made me think…how many of my students ask themselves that same question.  “Does my teacher still remember me?” 

To all of those who may be wondering, here is your answer:

Dear Former Student,

Even though I am no longer your assigned classroom teacher, I will always be your teacher.  

Even though I am not responsible for your report card grades, I will always care about how you are doing in school.

Even though I am not there to celebrate your accomplishments, I will always be proud of your achievements.

Even though I am not there to cheer you on when you think you can’t, I will always be the voice inside your head that tells you that you can.

Even though you move to another school, I will always be here if you miss me or need me.

Even though we are no longer together every day, I will always have you in my heart.

Even though I may not recognize your maturing face right away, just say your name and I will always remember you.

Always Your Teacher,

Mrs. McGowan

The Surprise Party

Confetti filled gold, nestled among black and white balloons tied in a bouquet were placed precisely in the middle of each black tablecloth. The sound of 80s pop music filled the air while people of all ages mingled around the antiquated hall.  

“Do you think she knows?” rang as the conversation starter of the evening by both family and friends.

Guests filled their plates with an assortment of hors-d’oeuvres.  Her children watched the clock. She should be here any minute now.

“Everyone, she has arrived!” exclaimed the DJ from the makeshift stage in the corner of the room. 

The laughter, music and friendly conversations were replaced by a quiet hush as the party guests silenced themselves in anticipation of her arrival. The faint smell of pulled pork and BBQ ribs filled the noiseless air.

“Surprise!” everyone shouted as she entered through the front door.  

Her eyes opened wide.  Her head dropped in disbelief. Her hand covered her mouth as she began to cry. The guests remained in their spots, watching her reaction. A few took photos, while the rest just smiled.

The youngest guests, her grandchildren, ran up to embrace her in warm hugs.

Turning 70 wasn’t nearly as difficult as she imagined because she was surrounded by everyone she loved.

Quotes about Surprise Party (47 quotes)

Monday Morning Mood

Allison Smith on Twitter: "#monday #coffee… "

The clock may read that I have sprung ahead.

But my alarm is making me weep.

Five more minutes is all I can mutter.

My body still thinks that it’s owed sleep.

Feet on the floor and a hot steaming shower.

Clothes come out of the drawer.

That’s not enough coffee to wake me up.

I think I will need a few more.

I have minds to mold and stories to be told.

Unfortunately, it can not wait.

So, I hop in my car as quickly as I can.

I really do not want to be late!