Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom

One of my favorite bloggers is back after a long silence.

She wrote about her perfectionism and how she often doesn't start a post because the conditions aren't perfect. Anyway, go read what she wrote and pretend that I wrote it too. She is funnier than I am but I may have her beat in the crazy department.

So today in honor of my mother, who often told me I was a wonderful writer, I will start again. She may have been reading through the eyes of love but that's okay.

Today would have been her birthday.

If she were still here on this earth we would drive to her favorite restaurant tomorrow to celebrate. She and my dad have, (had?...I never know the words for these moments) birthdays seperated by one day and we always celebrated on the 'in between day'.

Since Mom's death I have discovered that my eyes are indeed quite leaky. Previously, I rarely cried and even take some sort of perverse pride in traversing difficult, highly emotional event dry-eyed.

That would be some of the crazy I mentioned earlier.

I wanted to call my aunt today. She and Mom were best friends.
But tears have forged a steady trail down my cheeks and I can't find my voice underneath their salty tracks.

My sweet, sweet cousin called her for me. I didn't even ask her to.
My kids have all called to check on me.
So has my sister. 

I have the best family.

I just wish she were here too.

Just sayin'...................................

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Kindergarten Krud

It has been a long week.

I have been sick but oh so busy!

I don't know why teachers hate to take a day off when we are sick.
Maybe because it seems like such a waste of a day off?
It is a good thing we aren't paid to be logical about every single thing.

It really is a mystery how I got sick.

I don't want to point fingers at any known nose pickers but 
I have been sick all week and he/she/they started it.

After 20+ years with kindergarteners I should have an immune
system medical researchers discuss in reverent tones.

Not to mention the fact that this school year
for totally unrelated reasons we wash hands,
tables and doorknobs and use hanitizer
(kindergarten for hand sanitizer)
from jumbo sized containers more often than Adrian Monk.

It has been an an orchestra of symptoms building to a crescendo
towards the end of this week. I made it through the work day
Friday without crying or using inappropriate words at school
but it was a little iffy towards the end of the day.

When I am sick the last thing I want to do is talk.
That is when it becomes inconvenient to be a teacher
because I am pretty sure that it is against the rules to sit in
a rolling chair and stare blankly at 20 or so students.

It is possibly also dangerous but that is a story for another day.
It involves a chair, a student, an unsuspecting innocent teacher,
a VERY unsupportive co-worker (just kidding, Brandy)
and a possible worker comp claim.

Stay tuned.
It is a great story.
One that happens Only IN Kindergarten.

Just sayin'.................................................

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sally, You Know Who and Jane

Times are changing my fiends friends.

The timeless Sally, You Know Who and Jane books are popular amoung
the early readers but I just can't take it anymore.

It feels like I am desecrating something almost sacred
but this week I'll be changing all of the capital Ds to capital Rs
in this set of books in my classroom.

I am reminded of the time my librarian mother used a black Sharpie
to draw shorts on the naked baby in the Maurice Sendak book,
In The Night Kitchen.

I thought she was so old fasioned and risked my life
by teasing her about it.

The snickers from some and the horrified looks from others have made
even me uncomfortable.

Sally, Rick and Jane.

It has a nice ring to it.

Just sayin'......................

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Baby Brother

I am typing this on my iPad (thank you Steve) and wondering why I can't choose my usual color or font.

Oh well, at least I am not sitting in a chair at Grady Hospital, squinting at my phone and trying to update friends and family on the condition of my little brother.

Instead, I am comfortably propped up in bed as I look for the words worthy of this update.

I wonder if these phrases will work:
Heart swelling pride
Teary eyed thankfulness
Humble appreciation for God's grace

Have you prayed for something for years and years?
Have you prayed so long for something that you worried
the words were too rote or too familiar to reach the ears of God?
Have you ever prayed for something for so long
that you had to grit your teeth and force yourself
to say the words because your faith had grown thin?

I have.

Oh, how I wish that I could shout this story in all caps so that you would all know what I know.
But, as always, I will only tell the stories that are mine to tell.

Know this-
my baby brother may look like a fabulously handsome Clark Kent
(note to Marlin-I in no way consider you as plain looking as the many actors who portrayed Superman and use this comparison only for literary purposes)
but beneath that very attractive exterior lies a superhero.

He has been my hero at many points in my life.
He allowed me to ride on his social coat tails on the many occasions
my shyness made me seem unfriendly dorky.
Marlin made friends easily and he was almost always willing to pave the way
for his awkward older sister. And while I often relied on his confidence and
charisma to make things easier for me, God help you if you insulted him or hurt
him in any way. After all, he was my baby brother.

Marlin was often braver than I was and I sometimes have a very difficult time
remaining composed when I think of things he faced down alone.
He didn't have to but he didn't know that at the time.

During most of my teenage years I had a reoccurring nightmare that scared the
ever-loving stuffing out of me and frankly still does a little.

Okay,okay a lot.
And I can still remember every horrifying detail of that silly dream.

Anyway, my little brother rarely complained when I woke him to keep me company
and keep a little black dog named Midnight who had the head of a Chinese man
from getting me.

Google Hop Sing from the old western Bonanza and you'll be looking at the
face in my dreams.

Stop laughing. I'm baring my soul here people. And it is a known fact that  we
lived in a very spooky 100 year old house.
The stories I have about that house........


Brother of mine, you have taught me so much over our lifetime.
Although you never managed to teach me to dance or sing you
taught me to be true to who I am proud of what makes me-

But best of all,
you taught me that it is never too late for God's grace
and for Him to make us the person
He had planned for us to be all along.

My heart now bears witness to what my head has always known.

You taught me that our prayers really are ALWAYS heard.

Here's to 60 and to 90 and to all the other milestones we will mark together!

You rock, dude.
Okay, so I'm still a dork.

I'll always love you and I'll always be there to throw rocks at anyone that
picks on you.

P.S.-Mama's proud too. I can feel it all the way from heaven.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Best Job Ever

I know it's been a while.

Okay...I know it has been a long while.

This has been a trying challenging school year.

Seems like I just might say that every year but this year...
well, this year it isn't just me.

The entire school whispers about the kindergarteners, and believe you me, those whispers are not filled with joyous anticipation of a future opportunity to teach these little ones when we have done all we can with them. Let's just say that the 1st through 5th grade teachers are all checking retirement dates.  Smile.

(I'm not kidding.)

It's all good, though.  I know it is a kindergarten teacher's job to tame the little monsters rascals. It falls on us and their pre-k teachers to civilize them and teach them about school words, school manners and school behavior and it is very much like trying to herd crazed chickens all in one direction.

It is just an unusual year in that every class has two or more...shall we say, special challenges.

I'm not just talking about behavior issues although some of our babies have us earning every bit of our salaries and then some.

We are feeding more of them, dressing more of them, comforting more of them and sending home more toothbrushes and shoelaces than every before. We are talking them through big feelings about events in their lives that children should never have to experience.

Kids today see too much, know too much and experience too much. What was once unusual and cause for open mouthed disbelief has become the norm and teachers now find themselves surprised by the occasional 'innocent' students we find in our classrooms.

God bless the innocent ones because they are often the ones that can soothe our souls when we have tried and failed to help their less blessed counterparts. If you are a parent of a young child who refers to 'shut-up' as the S word, 'dumb' as the D word and identifies 'fart' as the F word then God bless you too.

So yes, we find ourselves doing more. Much more.

Yes, I am braiding her hair untouched since I braided it the day before or letting him sleep during calendar time this morning because I know about what happened at home last night.

Yes, I am telling them that sometimes the kid has to remind the parent that homework is a 'have to' not a 'choice' and that if that doesn't work to be honest and tell me so that I can find a time to practice sight words with them at school.

Yes, I am pushing them, raising the bar beyond what society might expect considering their special needs. I am tolerating their differences while teaching their peers to do the same.

Yes, I am loving them as much and as hard as I can even though others might think I am too soft, too easy or too tolerant.

Sometimes that is all I can do and sometimes I am the only one that will.

Is it odd that I feel honored to be that person for them.

Surely it isn't. Because at least once a day one or more of the other teachers I work with will say, "This is the best job, ever!"

And it is.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

After a month I can finally say
that the little chicks I spend my
days herding trying to herd in
one direction are starting to
at least stick together in a

They are also making us laugh
several times a day. This group
is a hoot!

My co-worker, Renee and I,
collaborated on a
Forrest Gump paraphrase
after a long day of
the craziness unique to

Oh, the stories I am collecting this year will amaze
you and entertain you all year long!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


If it barks
like a


drinks from a

don't assume it's a

It might be a
five year old
who is

Just sayin'.........

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Just To Hear Her Voice

I have tried to avoid writing
yet another sad post.

I don't want to make
my family feel

Today though,
I am afraid
if I don't write it
the tears won't

Again today,
I reached for
the phone that
lay on the seat next
to me.

My hand hovered just above
before I remembered....

I detest that moment....
when I remember
she isn't there.

I call anyway sometimes.
Just to hear her voice.

You've reached the Hargrove residence......

If I close my eyes
and quiet my soul

I can still hear her voice.

I hear it say, "My precious angel".

You are never done with
the ones you love.

Time moves too

No matter how
I cursed it.

No matter
how many
I sat,
on watch,
time, like ocean waves,
crashed and tumbled on.

I breathed when she

And when she stopped
My heart broke.

She wasn't perfect.

But she was mine.

And I still miss her.

I wasn't done yet.

Just sayin'.................

Monday, August 8, 2011

An Anniversary

Today is a special day for me.

I am never able to adequately express just how much this day means to me.

Very few people 'get it'.

Today is my anniversary
and it means more to me than my birthday.

This day has defined my life and
represents my blessings
both past and present.

On August 8, 1962
God gave me a family.

I was given a mom and a dad
and a heritage.

I was given a big brother
and a big sister and although no one knew it that day,
I was also given a baby brother.

I am ever mindful that on that day
I was also given the family I would cherish as an adult.

The journey of life as a Hargrove brought me to

my own children,
those they love and
the children of their future.

On this day I miss my mom more than any other.

I'd give almost anything to hear her say one more time,
"I'm so glad you're mine."


Today is a special day for me.

Just sayin'.........

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Many teachers welcome the new school year in with a mixture of nerves and excitement. They may buy new clothes and new shoes much like the students they will soon meet. 

Teachers of the youngest students experience that same nervous excitement but we pass on the new shoes. We have all learned the hard way to wear our most comfortable, foot friendly shoes.

Teacher of older kids (I'm thinking 6th grade and up) can perch on the edge of a desk as they conduct the first few school days. They may even sit in a real chair once during the day.

Each grade level has it's own advantages and disadvantages and for the most part we are all teaching right where we most comfortably fit. 

However, this time of year I feel a minute twinge of envy towards those whose students are old enough and coordinated enough to button their own shorts.

The envious feelings pass quickly when I remember the hormones and drama that lie ahead of my middle school and high school colleagues.

Elementary teachers assigned to the youngest and newest of students spend the first few weeks of school talking and walking and talking and chasing and talking and hip checking and talking and running and talking and lunging.

And talking.

Today I wore a comfortable pair of shoes to start out my day.

After an hour I changed into the heavily padded, soft and squishy shoes I had packed in my school bag that morning.

By the end of the day I threatened to return tomorrow riding a Hoverround!

I like this one. The basket is cute and I have always wanted a sporty red vehicle. The seat looks comfy and arm rests are always nice.

But then I saw this one!

With this baby I could totally dominate the hallways. No more stressing as I weave through the lunchroom trying to get the lunchbox kids to the right table, be sure everyone gets a vegetable AND a fruit AND trying to remember everyone's first and last name because the kids sure don't remember them.
"Everyone follow my tank Hoverround" I could shout. Sadly, I realized that the BOE probably wouldn't appreciate all the special attributes the tank big Hoverround has to offer.

Suddenly this sweet ride caught my eye.
Now THIS is a ride fit for a kindergarten teacher. 
We never have enough time to go to the bathroom anyway.

Just sayin'..................

P.S.- I don't know how to make that big white box go away and frankly, I'm too tired to care anymore.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Does Anyone Else Think It is Way Too Early For Back to School?

Remember this kid?

When I left school around 8:00 tonight he was there in his usual spot playing with his younger brothers and sisters.

I stole a glance at him as I started the car.

Sure enough, he whirled around at the sound of my engine and the other unseemly noises my car has a habit of emitting.

That giant, goofy grin I love so much was on his face as he ran a few steps closer to the sidewalk.

Once again we waved to each other.

I honestly don't know whose smile was bigger.

I'll bet it was the one on my face.

Just sayin'................................

Oh, and by the way, yes we are already back at work for pre-planning.
And yes, it is still July.
And no, we can't believe it either.

Just sayin'..................

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

OINK - Kinda

Sadly, we have the occasional Velociraptor incident where I work.

Along with T-Rex, Iron Man and Piderman (that's how we like to say it) incidents.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Where I Am From

I am from the little brick house near-by the creek, from NestlĂ©’s Quick, Duke’s Mayonnaise, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, homemade biscuits and Mama’s snow cream.

I am from the antique house that still sits behind the mortuary. The house filled with big rooms, tall ceilings and 100 years of ghosts both good and bad.

From the dogwood, the red hot poker, the pyracantha, honey suckle and the pecan tree.

I am from wassail at Christmas, celebrating adoption with anniversaries and blessing the food before it is eaten. From the Hargrove’s sense of family, the Moran’s gentle and loving spirit, the Willett’s strong work ethic and the Dixon’s temper sprinkled with a little bit of crazy.

I am from the reader and the extrovert.

From don’t sweat the small stuff and roll with the punches and from the magic words are these: excuse me, thank you and please.

I am from love the least of these, saved by grace, once saved always saved and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I am from the biology of Ireland, Carolina mountains and beaches and Georgia peaches.

I am from grits, homemade ice cream and watermelon.

I am from Boop Boop Dit-tem Dat-tem What-tem Shu, Skin-a-ma Rinky Dinky Dink, The Old Rugged Cross and Pass It On.

From falling in the creek, staying out past dark to play in the snow and coming home when I hear Mama and Daddy whistle. I am from barefoot at church, walking to school, a field of daffodils and dirt clod fights. I am from sweet milk gravy and toast, only one phone in the house and sleeping in unheated bedrooms.

I am from preachers, teachers, veterans and farmers. From Granddaddy’s barn, Bubber’s kitchen, Mamaw’s sleeping porch and Nan’s store. I am from notebook after notebook of family genealogy, ribbon tied letters and old leather photo albums.

I am from those who came before, those who came along with me and those who have their roots in me.

Just sayin'..............

Monday, May 23, 2011

Some things just need to be said.
Migraines, I HATE you.
We have been in this relationship for 34 years now and frankly,
it is a relationship I never wanted.
You have robbed me of hours, days-dare I say weeks, of fun, family time, productivity and even sleep
and I want out!

Also, made me have to subtract 15 from 49 just now.
First of all, subtraction is hard
and second of all,
whaddaya mean I'm that old?

Hormones. You are getting on my nerves. The reason is spelled h-o-t-f-l-a-s-h.

Students, you have turned into head spinning,
loud talking,
crazy acting,
alien possesed,
whirling tornadoes of arms and legs.
Your teachers are walking around with wide-eyed stares mumbling over and over, "School is not out yet, we still have rules around here!"
Someone may be delivering this message in a loud, outdoor voice.
I'm not gonna say who it might be. 

Plus.....I'm gonna miss you so! You make every day an adventure and I am so very proud of you!

Weather, you are too hot for May. I am not the only one who feels this way.

Dogs, all FIVE of you. (I know, I know. There are five of them. It's crazy.) Listen carefully. You stink and your hair is falling out entirely too much. Please do what you can to rectify this situation.

DVR, I think I love you.

Smart Phone, you are not very smart.
You somehow make random changes and also. Your screen freezes.

Yarn, embroidery thread, material, paint and Cricut, I am sorry I have neglected you. Actually using you would cut into my craft and home decor blog surfing time way too much. However, I continue to diligently save blog posts containing awesome ideas.

Classroom, you are messy. Desk, I find you especially offensive. On a related note, paperwork....I think I hate you.

Naps, you are my BFF.

Bed, I still love you.

Alarm clock, your days are numbered.
I'll be the one sleeping in next week.

Just sayin'............

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I gotta say there are advantages to an anonymous blog.

We probably all have a facade that covers our unvarnished
true selves. One that screens at least the worst of the self
we like to pretend doesn't exist.

That would be why I have been quiet here lately.

It seems like the only words I have now are the sad ones.

And the angry ones.

I tell myself that those who come here do not want to read
another sad love song to my mother or another teary post
about how hard I find this season of life.

I am a big believer in sucking it up and doing that which must be done.

But sometimes...
I just wish I had it in me to go to bed for a week, pull the covers
over my head and let the rest of the world take care of itself.

Ehhhhh, I don't think so.

There is so much to love about this life and I mean to do so.
There are puppies and babies. Warm sunny days.
Glittering ripples on the lake and birds building nests in the tree outside my window. There are children who love me and make me proud to be their mom.

And anyway, I can't rule the world from underneath the covers.

Just sayin'...........................

Sunday, April 24, 2011

ABC Countdown!

We are a few days into our annual ABC Countdown.
Twenty-six days of alphabetic fun.

The school year is drawing to a close.

I know this because many things have gotten so much easier.

Lot's of my kiddos now know how to zip, button and some can even tie shoes.

Many of them remember to wipe their noses sometimes
and the boys hardly ever run out of the bathroom with their pants undone OR (yes this is true)
all the way down anymore.

By the way, why do boys do that?????

They all look much older than those First Day of School pictures and I wonder when they did all that growing.

It must have been when I wasn't looking.
Or maybe it was over the Christmas Holidays. 

They know what to do when they need a pencil or a red crayon and sometimes they even remember what to do when they find one of these items on the floor.

They work quietly try very hard to work quietly at quiet times and love notes to the teacher (my favorite things ever) are coming fast and furious.

They can all tell when I have a headache
and I can tell when they stayed up too late the night before
or when their belly hurts but they won't tell me because it's dinosaur day
and nobody wants to miss dinosaur day.

This is such a bittersweet time of year for me.

We are all tired. We all need a break.
It's just the way it is for young learners
(and their teachers).

I know it is time to push my babies out of the nest
but I JUST got them where I want them.

And it's so nice and cozy in our nest.

You see, we have finally figured each other out.

We love each other.
We tell each other several times a day.

We know each other so well.
They don't mind that I lose at least 3 or 4 markers
or worksheets
or books I planned to read
or my glasses
or my keys
or my sunglasses
or my mind several times a day.

We trust each other.
The shy, quiet one
has finally started telling me stories
and answering in much, much more than
one or two word answers.
I know what motivates
and they know just!how!far!
to push before they are forced
to duck the dreaded teacher glare.

I have often thought that I could actually cause a child to levitate with my teacher glare and Mr. Pointer finger.

I haven't tried yet but there is still time. Smile.

Just sayin'.........................

Friday, April 22, 2011

I just can't pretend that today isn't a sad day for me.

My heart's desire was to be somewhere else today.

A place we both loved.

A place where waves roll in time to the beat of
my heart and the sand waits to catch the tears.

A place made of salt, sand, breezes and
the occasional dolphin dancing in the water.

A place where storms are as welcome as the sun.
Maybe even more so.

A place where seashells and smiles live.
Where family became family again.
Where food tasted better and had no calories.

I think it would have been easier there.

The infuriating thing about grief is that I am unable
to schedule it's attacks on my composure.

When I most want to cry...
to release some pent up
sorrow and anger...
stubborn tears refuse to come.

Other times when all I want to do is
get through.....
Survive it all
without a scene
the tears fall effortlessly and uncontrollably.

One short, endless, year ago today,
I held her hand for the last time
as her soul took flight.

It was at once the most painful
moment of my life and the most

Not good-bye.


See you later, Mama.
Dance with Jesus for me.

Just sayin'.............

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Missing Mom

We are all missing her this week.
I guess he is most of all.

I just know my heart hurts.

Just sayin'............

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trying to Focus on the Grateful Side of Life

I miss my mama.

And that's all I have to say about that.

On the grateful side of life.....

I woke this afternoon just in time
to make the medical appointment
scheduled for my daughter.

Trying and failing
for the second consecutive day
to medicate away or sleep off a
migraine I lay there groggily looking
at the tea glass i brought to my room.

It was mysteriously filled to the top
and ice cubes were keeping it cold.


I rarely use ice cubes and I knew I had
chugged half the glass before covering my
sore head with a pillow.

True love is a boy who checks on his mama
home from work at an unusual time, recognizes
the signs of a migraine and sneaks her glass away
to refill it with tea and ice.

It's the little things isn't it?

My kids are great at the little things.
It's one trait they all share and it makes
this mama feel loved.

Just sayin'...................................

P.S.  Leave me some comment love-what has made you feel loved lately?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


The sweet little fellow who knew only 2 or 3 letters back in August and in fact re-named several letters including:

*(f)   double j
  (k)  key
  (g)  jew
  (l)   stem
  (i)   linedot 

is now a reader and a writer.

He tells me he wants to be an alligator wrestler
when he grows up and his face really does glow with excitement!

When I inquire about the price of admission he looks insulted.
He says that I can come to the show for free
and that when he is done performing
he is taking all the alligators to Africa.

He gives me a short demonstration of a few moves
he is practicing and he jumps all the way back to his seat.

We wear matching smiles
as we each get back to the mundane task of
Morning Work.

I shake my head thinking,
it seems like it was just last week that I had to say things to him like...

Do NOT lick your name tag.
That's the urinal I was telling you about earlier.
Never, ever sit on it again.
Stop licking your knee and listen to me.
What's so funny about the word, BE-hind? Quit being silly and sit on it.

I'm gonna miss that kid.

Just sayin'........................

*best made up names ever!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Picture Day

Picture day is one of my favoritest days of school.

It is so much fun to see all my little kiddos all dressed up.

And the kids?

Well they are just as excited as they were the day before school got out for Christmas vacation.

I know! Go figure?

We see new dresses and new shoes, special curly hairdos and boys with hair slicked back or spiked up.

Sometimes a little fellow will arrive sporting a new three piece suit or a little girl will twirl into the classroom in full princess attire.

Seriously, hair is bedazzled, brand new clothes still have tags hanging and bling is everywhere!  I have had to make a quick phone call to make sure little Sally's mommy knew Sally was wearing Mommy's 'special goin' out on a date necklace' or that little Johnny really was supposed to pose with his sleeve rolled up to show off that new Transformers tattoo.

It goes without saying that we will receive several notes asking us to change the little darlings back into more kid friendly clothes when the pictures have been snapped.

I, for one, am always more than happy to oblige.

I feel sorry for the kids who are afraid of getting food or worse on that special outfit.

It's almost as bad as the kids who arrive at school with the strict admonition not to get their brand new tennis shoes dirty.

When they go out to recess.
On the playground.
Where there is lots of dirt.

Imagine my horror when I caught myself saying the very same thing to my own children.


Picture day this year lived up to all it's anticipated excitement!

Little girls twirled and little boys popped their collars.
I admired new shoes and new clothes.

However, no one topped the little fellow who arrived




It was my fault.

Of course it was!
I sent home a letter letting the parents know that the backdrop this year was a beach scene.

I love my job!

Just sayin'.........................................

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Face A Mother Could Love

Regular readers of this blog have surely noticed the special love I have for Chosen Babies. Those who know me in real life know that I have always wanted to adopt. Adoption wasn't in the cards for me and although as recently as October of this year I informed my co-workers that I wanted to adopt a specific, special baby it doesn't seem that adoption is in my future.

The face you see above belongs to Vanya,
an eight year old little boy living in an Eastern European orphanage.

Vanya is running out of time.

Soon he will be transferred from the orphanage he currently lives in
to a mental institution.

This is what happens to children in his country who are not adopted by a specific age.

Blogger, Adeya, of No Greater Joy Mom, has posted tons of information about little Vanya. She knows first hand, the miracles God performs to bring orphans home. She knows first hand the incredible blessing it is to adopt a child.

Please click here

to visit Adeya's blog and learn more about Vanya.
You will love learning about her family's adoption journey.
You might even be inspired to make a contribution to a fund that has been set up to help with adoption costs for Vanya's new family.

They are out there somewhere.

Just sayin'...