My Best Life, June, 2014: A Month of Emotion

June was a month of emotion, a month where I saw the end of eras. June was a month of spontaneous tears, trickles of emotion both quiet and forceful. It was a month of smiles, and hugs, and goodbyes. June was a month of mercurial emotion, a month I searched for and found gratitude over and over again.

My Best June:

Best Quotes:

Looking back on my Twitter feed (where I regularly post #quoteoftheday), I noticed my tweets fall into two categories: those for me to pay attention to, and those for my children to pay attention to. Can you tell which is which? Oh-the last one is my favorite 🙂

LOVE Brene Brown

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.” -Pearl S. Buck

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.” -Buddha

“If you find in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” ~Maya Angelou

“Refuse to settle where you are. There is a great plan for your life. Press forward and become everything that you were created to be.” – Joel Osteen

“I have accepted fear as part of life,specifically the fear of change.I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says turn back.” -Erica Jong

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”-Havelock Ellis

“Mom, I don’t twerk” – Lily Wolfe

Best Compliment:

My girl can drive a bus!
My girl can drive a bus!

I wish I could remember exactly who said this to me…the one compliment that stood out the most this month – and I’m not even sure that the person meant it as a compliment – was that I’ve raised a ‘gutsy’ girl. I love that. When she was born, I was determined that she wouldn’t follow in my ‘shy girl’ footsteps….and she hasn’t. I’m proud to have raised a girl who is confident, adventurous, and trusts her ‘guts’ to try new experiences in life (like getting a Class 2 bus driving license!). You go, girl!

Best Recent Read:

These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner...LOVE.
These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner…LOVE.

I did NOT want this book to end…and was amazed that I hadn’t read it before! These Is My Words is the story of Sarah Prine, the author’s grandmother-with a  bit of historical fiction thrown in,too. Like my friend Dawn Wink’s novel, Meadowlark, These Is My Words tells a love story of Sarah Prine and her challenges as a strong woman in the Arizona Territories. I was captured in the plot, and fell in love with Jack Elliot alongside Sarah! Lucky for me – and for all other lovers of Turner’s story – this is only the beginning of a three-part series! I’m reading Sarah’s Quilt right now…I’d love to see what you’re reading, too – click here to follow me on Goodreads.

Best Way to Unwind:

My dog and my boy, evening walk (or skate)
My dog and my boy, evening walk (or skate)

When he was little, he used to love taking walks with me. We went all over town, usually with a tote bag to collect treasures. I miss those days. Deep gratitude for every single second together.

Best Photos:

Before she grew up and went away…

Best Selfie:

Me and my boy at the beach, Santa Cruz, California

Best Friends:

So much emotion this month as I watched girls who have been friends since primary grades finally graduate together. In these days of ‘mean girls’ and ‘girl drama’, I feel so grateful that my girl has such amazing young women in her life. True friendship is never to be taken for granted.

This is what friendship looks like
To be blessed with such good girlfriends…

Best Recipes:

Giada’s meatball paninis…must try!

Yes, these were as good as they look, and yes, I made the meatballs from scratch. My girl and I love watching Giada, and when we saw this recipe we knew we needed to throw a meatball party to celebrate her 18th birthday, so that’s exactly what we did! They were a HUGE hit!

Little bit of heaven right here...
Little bit of heaven right here…

Seriously, these are the BEST bites I’ve had in a very long time…chocolate honey tartlets with a graham cracker crust. Giada again-yep, we served them at her meatball party, then made them again for her graduation party, and ONE MORE TIME for a friend’s rehearsal dinner. They’re that good, and easier than you might think.

Best View:

This summer I’m staying put on the west coast, and to start off my summer adventures I traveled to Santa Rosa for a friend’s wedding. After the festivities concluded, I slipped away for an early morning walk. Our drought may leave the fields golden instead of green, but beautiful nonetheless.

A quiet morning walk in Santa Rosa, California

Best Moments:

I’ve written volumes this month about all the emotion I feel surrounding my girl’s graduation, growing up, and going away to college. This moment almost didn’t happen; the girls were struggling to find each other after the ceremony, but their determination to capture their joy and friendship conquered and while we were one of the last to leave the field, they made it happen. Deep gratitude right here.

My four ‘daughters’…

My AVID students worked over half the year to get this bench built; it began with learning about ocean gyres and recycling, then turned to stuffing plastic bottles with non-recyclable plastic, and ended with days of hard labor and sweat to get this earth  bench completed before the end of the school year. This project not only taught them about how to care for our world, but also how to work hard and be proud of their finished product. I saw some kids shine in ways I didn’t think possible…I’m not sure they know how very proud I am of them.

My favorites in front of our AVID project, an earth bench.
The finished  bench
The finished bench

A simple decoration for the graduation party, but so full of magical moments. How lucky am I to have been blessed with these wonderful children.

wall of memories
wall of memories

Dear reader, what word best describes your month of June? Wishing you great possibilities in July – and as always, thank you for supporting mamawolfe. I’d love to connect with you on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, too!

primark

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Beach Walk

Sometimes we just have to grab onto whatever it takes to make it through the day…
memories of peaceful times, hopes for the future, faith in friendships, and love of beauty.

Peace.
What do you do to brighten your day?  Do you have a special place that you go back to?

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Taking Time To Relax Along The Road Trip of Life

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop”
 – Ovid, Roman Poet (43 BC – 17 AD)

What Ovid said thousands of years ago really rings true to me today. I have to think about, plan, and prepare for relaxation. It doesn’t just happen for me. It takes work, but it’s worth it.

When we stop to relax, we realign ourselves. Suddenly we aren’t the passengers in our life anymore – we are in control of the car. We get to decide where we want to go in life, and we create new openings for things to happen.

Think of your life right now as a road trip. Are you jumping on the highway, car loaded down with everything you think you might possibly need? Do you have reservations for each leg of the journey, each night and every waking moment?

And then you get a flat tire. Or an engine that just quits. Maybe even a fender bender.

And then what? Road trip disrupted. Detour.
It’s the start of the school year. For most parents, that is something to look forward to – life gets a bit easier when the kids are out of the house, we’re not twisting our brains to come up with an exciting adventure for the day, and the nagging of teenagers who would rather sleep in than do their chores is a thing of the past.

For teacher parents, though, it’s a double edged sword. We don’t get to enjoy quiet moments anymore – when the kids are home, we’re rushing back from our classrooms, trying to get a fabulous meal prepared while simultaneously driving kids to sports, walking the dog (who is the most excited family member to see you), switching laundry, unloading the dishwasher and answering emails. Exhausting.

The way to survive, I’ve learned, is to plan some fun. Sometimes it’s something easy – taking an evening walk with a good friend or sharing a cup of coffee downtown. Laughter and snacks with a good glass of Sonoma biodynamic wine gives me something to look forward to after a long day of teaching middle school; if I’m lucky, I’ll squeeze a weekend trip to Sonoma, Sutter Creek, or Santa Cruz, even. I’ve been thrown by that ‘lack of AAA Roadside Life Service’ way too many times. I’m a natural born planner, I live by a schedule, and spend most of my day following a lesson plan – I can even tell you what the plans are for the entire week ahead. But that’s only at school.

I’m back on the treadmill. It’s not a bad workout – I kind of like it, actually. As long as I can train myself to stop once in awhile, jump off, get into the driver’s seat, and take off. Take a rest. No plans, just looking for a friend, some fun, and a great glass of wine.

images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Friday Photo: Have You Ever?

Have you ever felt that

If you hold it in one more hour

Minute or

Second

It will explode

And your insides will stop absorbing

All

While your body will simply

Reject

And release?
Have you ever felt that

If you don’t find someone to

Listen or

Care
        It will dribble
And spew out your mouth

Urgently

While your friends will simply

Watch

And weep?
Have you ever felt that

If you say it out loud

Honestly and

Deeply

It will change

And you will gather yourself up

Gracefully

While your soul will simply

Endure

And persist?

Have you?

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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She Was a Good Thing: My Love Affair With A VW

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Her name was Martha.  Not sure exactly why or how she earned that name, but it kind of stuck.  I got her when I was 17 – my senior year. My mom actually found her for sale, and I guess she thought her daughter needed a crazy convertible before she went off to college-I don’t remember the exact details, but I do recall driving to a house on

F Street

where an older man (he was probably about 50-ha!) was trying to sell her.  He had been towing her behind his RV when he traveled, but her time had come.  She was young and ready for adventure, and she needed someone who could keep up with her.

As I drove off in her the first time, black vinyl top folded back, I thought I had really made it.  Here I was, a young northern Californiagirl with my own convertible!  Forget the fact that her removable windows were made of plastic vinyl, the propane heater wouldn’t work, the radio only played AM, and the metal on the floorboard was the only thing keeping road debris from bouncing into the car-she was mine.  All 1972 top of the line VW Thing.  Bumblebee yellow, black vinyl, chrome bumpers made of steel – she and I were a force to be reckoned with. 
There was another girl – Randy was her name.  She moved into town that year.   Not only was she super cool, but she had a yellow Thing too!  We soon became bestfriends-it seemed like fate had brought us together.  Double trouble, long haired, fun loving, boy crazy TAB swigging B-52 Violent Femmes bopping around in matching convertibles.  Only in California, right? 
Times change, and Martha and I headed off to college at the end of the summer, leaving our partner in crime to fend for herself in the hometown. Suited up with Alva sticker and surfboard ready,and with the coast now under an hour’s drive away, Martha became the beach mobile.  The removable plug in her floorboard was handy for washing out sand and debris after our escapades.  I soon learned that cruising over the hill to Santa Cruz and back required vigilance with the gas tank-more than once I found myself stranded by the side of the road with nothing to do but wait for help to find me.  Big band and talk radio became my best companions on those foggy morning drives.
Then one day, Randy arrived on campus.  Our funny vintage clothes and crazy colored matching cars were like nothing these college kids had ever seen before.  In a parking lot full of expensive foreign cars, this new girl stuck out.  The first night the boy’s dorm slipped out and removed our driver’s side doors – yes, they detached at the hinges – and choked with laughter as we struggled in the morning to get our keys to fit in the locks.  I hate bullies.
The next summer Martha, Randy, her Thing and I decided we would live in San Diego.  To us, young, energetic and ambitious, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  We loaded up our clothes, hung an ironing board out the window and headed south on I-5 towards our promised land.  Two girls, two convertibles – what could be more ideal?  The stares we received were legendary – probably in part due to the premade signs we had that we would flash to each other like signal beacons.  A few passers by flashed us back a few things, too.

Traveling to Rosarita Beach, Mexicowas one of Martha’s favorite adventures.  Roomy enough to stretch out, she became our kitchen, dressing area and hotel room.  I think we really pushed her to her limits there-she was glad we all made it out alive. 
There were a few downsides with Martha.  She was freezing cold in the winter-driving over the Grapevine in December wrapped in a sleeping bag was not my ideal start to Christmas vacation.  She was noisy-the wind whistled through the removable windows making it nearly impossible to sing over the racket.  And she was brittle.  Like any lady, she aged gracefully but began to show wear and tear in her plastic top and windows.
Martha survived a few fender benders-the steel helped a bit.  My little brother’s head was hard enough to crack her windshield, but her strong bumpers never bent.  The last straw came one windy, rainy afternoon when, while driving down the freeway with my future husband, Martha’s back windshield imploded sending shards of rock hard plastic flying into the back of our heads.  Boyfriend, who never succumbed to Martha’s charms, began a ‘get rid of that damn car’ campaign.
Stupidly I agreed, and Martha went to live with my uncle and his 16-year-old son.  She was definitely showing her age – years of hard living will do that to a girl.  With a new engine transplant, though, Martha was able to embark on many happy adventures with him for years. She tried to live up to her reputation – beach trips, screaming up and down the SF hills hoping the mediocre brakes would hold, hauling band equipment, and roaring down I-5 to San Diego with her new man.  Kind of like a mid-life crisis, I guess you could say.  Life was good for Martha for a few more years.
Sadly, Martha moved on to yet another fellow.  I’ve heard he’s a real nice guy and treats her well.  They live somewhere in the Bay Area.  Rumor has it she’s had a total makeover-sure to breathe new life into the old gal.  It happens to the best of us.
I wonder what he calls her. 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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