Eastern Box Turtle Passing Through

DSC01262We found this little guy on the sidewalk just up from our house.  We read that males have red irises and females have brown ones.  So, this is definitely a male and the  kids named him Rufus.  We kept Rufus in our yard for hours as we enjoyed observing him.  He was just passing through, so we let him continue on his journey later in the day.










Our family headed out yesterday for a family fun day at Raleigh’s annual BugFest.  We spent hours walking downtown, eating at Remedy Diner, and checking out the many exhibits.  There were many chances to read up on different species.  Our favorite part is always the opportunity to see live bugs and maybe even hold them.  Here are a few snapshots from our buggy day of fun.  DSC01221










Kalen at the Gallery


This is Kalen at the gallery this week.  The fourth graders at Central Park were able to work alongside a local artist named Micah Mullen and produce beautiful pieces of artwork.  Each unique landscape painting reflected what Mullen had been teaching them, of course, with the help of our amazing school art teacher, Lucia.

Kalen and his fellow students were encouraged to pick a piece of landscape/natural area at Hanging Rock State Park when they took a field trip there recently, then they would paint it.  Mullen worked with them to make their background first, then add the larger focal points.

I love that this project took time and the process was truly the most beautiful part.  The kids were so proud to display their work at the gallery that was set up for them at our school.  At the tables, the kids had notebooks in front of their work for folks to come by and comment on their work.  Cash, one of Kalen’s friends, is pictured here commenting in Kalen’s book.DSC01194

Beauty and the Bug





We have been sick this week.  Yes, a stomach bug has come and taken over.  It has been quite a bummer.

Leave it to our children to create beauty in the midst of yuck.  They have been watching a lot of movies, reading and also painting.  These paintings I am sharing with you are by Madelyn and Kalen.  Madelyn made the one on top after reading The Lorax and the bottom two are by Kalen, who happens to be into landscapes at the moment.  He has been inspired by a local artist and some project work he has been doing at school.








Today our students were served a healthy breakfast as a treat from the Wellness Committee.  I happen to be on this committee whose goal this month is to raise awareness within our school community about the importance of good nutrition, sleep, good mental energy, and exercise.  Check out our Wellness blog.  I help out with the section in the blog called Wellness in the classroom.

Seeing Him Through


He was grumpy.  We all are at some point.  He had several reasons why his day was just …. not a good one.  He was not his best self and was needy in ways no one was paying attention to.

I remember feeling that I needed him to be okay.  There was much to do on my list of to-dos and I really just wanted him to snap out of his funk.

After multiple conflicts and misunderstandings, he just decided to be alone.  He is one of those that finds alone time very healing or maybe just a really good distraction.  I was hopeful that in his separation, he would find what he needed to be okay.

Then came a nudge.  I felt a nudge to followup his need for space with care and love.  Suddenly, I felt like he really needed to be heard.  Oh, I tried to push it away, after all, I had a lot to do.

I remembered that earlier in the morning he had mentioned how he wanted to go to the skatepark.  This desire had not caused him any trouble, it just seeped out at some point.  Now, you must know, it takes a lot to get me to the skatepark.  I feel like with each trip there, I put my boys’ lives on the line.  I felt like with how his day had gone and all that he and I had been through, I needed to show him in a big way that I care about him and I wanted to show love to him.  This would not be an apology, but a true expression of love.

I walked up to his door, which was locked, and I slid a paper under the door that said, “I care… love, mama”.  He let me in and I asked him if he still wanted to go to the skatepark.  No more probing about this or that or fussing.  He nodded, wiped his nose and simply said, “yes”.

We packed up our skateboards, the little two boys came along, and we headed downtown to the big skatepark.  As suspected, and to my horror, it was extremely crowded.  I parked and shut off the engine, turned around hoping to see the boys all acknowledge that it was too crowded and make a motion indicating that we needed to head out.  Nope.  They grabbed their boards and were off.

It didn’t take long for him to catch my eye and say, “Hey mom, look at this.”  He was very careful, with a dash of daring that day.  I was proud.  He seemed to be as well.


Even when he may be his yuckiest, I still want to show him love.  I want him to know I am always behind him, I always care.  That’s unconditional love, right?  I need to work this, because that day it didn’t feel natural to work so hard to find a good way to love him through.

I certainly have my fussy moments, days or weeks.  I know that when I am feeling needy or low, it sure does feel good for someone to love me right where I am at, mess and all.

Below is a clip of the last run Julian made while we were at the park that day.  Notice the little wave at the end.  Yes Jules, I was still watching.  I am still behind you.