Sunday, November 30, 2008


The last stragglers from the party. I've been slowly but surely trying to clean up and get things put back, but each time I turn around, there are more things waiting to be put away. Mickey helped me a ton yesterday by putting all the dishes and silverware back. Now there are linens to clean and wine glasses to put away. Meanwhile, the flowers are keeping guard and bringing some cheer. The sun was shining, so that added to the happiness. And a long weekend didn't hurt, either.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I'm feeling full. And thankful. Thanksgiving turned out really nice, with everyone making it here and back home safely. The "movie" that played out during the day was a bit different than the "book" in my mind, but that's always the case.

The movie had me in the kitchen more than I anticipated, but it all worked out. My brothers and Stein kept me company, as we all worked to get the appetizers and dinner out. There were visitors here and there, from my nephews stealing fresh-baked rolls, to people just wanting to be in the small space that is the kitchen. I enjoyed this time, and my brothers, Stein and I made a great team. We helped each other through the various dishes, offering advice for things like making gravy or keeping foods warm, or carving the turkey. We bantered and teased each other too. I felt right at home. As for the food, there weren't any major disasters and all the food was hot when we finally put the it out on the table.

When it was time to clean up, I was joined by Mickey and Pat in the kitchen. They helped do dishes, put food away, and get dessert out onto the table. After dessert, we were able to play a small game of Spoons ( I wasn't very successful at that game) and then played a rousing game of Catch Phrase.

The only major disappointment was that Stein got sick. He was sick on Thanksgiving, but managed through the day with the help of DayQuil. Yesterday and today he has spent in bed. You know it's bad when you stay in bed. I'm actually not surprised he got sick. He worked so hard before Thanksgiving to get the house ready. He did all of this for my family. It was a great day and I know that it wouldn't have been nearly as nice without all of his hard work. I hope he's on the mend soon. I'm hoping the Thanksgiving leftovers will help the healing process.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


As I look around the house this morning from my vantage point on the couch, I see bouquets of flowers, plates and napkins all ready to be used, pop and wine ready to be poured into glasses, wood ready to be made into a crackling fire, and a fridge full of stuffings (two kinds!) and sweet potato casserole ready to be eaten. There's a bird already cooking in the roaster, and another one waiting to be fried (sorry, Karen, I know you're without a turkey today).

In about 6 or 7 hours, the house will also be filled with people - my Dad, my siblings and their families. Glasses will be raised, appetizers will be eaten, and the house will be warm from the fire and the food cooking in the kitchen. The smell is what I love the most, the turkey and the stuffing all mixing into one big yummy scent.

On this day of giving thanks, in a year of not so good local and global news, I am feeling lucky to have abundance around me. I feel a bit guilty, actually, for all that I have. Loving and supportive friends and family, a doting husband, a job, and a house and bed that keep me warm at night. Add a great meal today shared with those I love, and I am content.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Whenever I read that word alone, I think of the Heinz ketchup commercials where the song played while a bottle of the red stuff was tipped over. Total tangent - Did you know that if you hit the bottle with a karate chop right at the spot where the 57 is written (etched?) on the glass bottle, it will come out faster?

Ah, but back to anticipation. I saw my former University Supervisor today at school. She was there observing the current student teachers. We exchanged pleasantries, and naturally the conversation came around to holiday plans. When I told her that we were having my side of the family here, she said, "You know, the anticipation is really the best part." To which I replied, "Yes, you're right. If I could just stay at the anticipation part, I would."

It's true. I love dreaming about what's to come. I think it's the best part because unfortunately, sometimes the "movie" that's produced in the end isn't as good as the "book" in your head. You think about all of the good parts of past get-togethers, and assemble the perfect screenplay for the movie. Yet when the movie is being shown, some of those fabulous parts never make it off the cutting room floor.

Don't get me wrong. Family get-togethers for me are always fun. Because I don't live close to my family, any time spent with them is precious. I laugh so hard that my belly hurts and tears stream down my face. I get teased by my siblings because that's what happens when you're the youngest. And we catch up since the last time together, weaving in past stories with new ones, and planning for future get-togethers.

But right now I'm relishing in anticipation. I'm excited for Thursday to come when the characters of my movie will come to life and visit.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting Through the Next Two Days

All of the teachers around school keep saying, "Two more days!" with big smiles on their faces. "We can do this!" we keep saying to each other. It's true. We can. Even if the kids are squirrelly already, even if the snow is making them even more squirrelly. We always manage to do it.

As teachers we always tend to look at time in chunks. Quarters, semesters, time until the next day off, how many weeks until Thanksgiving, until Christmas, until spring break, until the end of the year. I remember doing that as a kid, and now I find myself doing it again.

So how am I getting through the next 2 days? Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving, for one. All three of the kindergarten classes already watched it, and I can show it to some of the other classes as well. There's also a Thanksgiving assembly tomorrow afternoon which may cut my time with the lippy 4th graders short. I may just have to stand up at the end of the assembly and yell, "How about another verse of Over the River?!" to make it last longer.

Two days. We can do this.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Stein and I have been getting the house ready for Thanksgiving. Most of the behind-the-scenes work has been done. Now all that is left is the cooking and the last-minute details. It's nice to have a lot of this done. Now we can focus on the important things: food and family.

Here are some glimpses around our house in the last week or so:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

She Feeds My Addiction

Mickey sent these to me today. Not only was it exciting to get mail (I love mail), but it was exciting to get these. I told Mickey about these pens, the newest addition to the Sharpie family, while we were in North Carolina. She remembered and bought them for me. She knows that I've been stalking them ever since I saw the commercial for them. You see, it's an addiction. Most of you know I have an addiction. No, we're not talking about my chocolate addiction. And we're not talking about my children's book addiction either.

I am addicted to office supplies.

I'm not alone. Both Mickey and Rick (and I think Bryan and Andy) have this addiction. It probably started when we were growing up. My Dad would bring home used office supplies for us to play with. Using the piano as a desk, we had things like an intercom (so high-tech!), carbon copy paper, and a Rolodex. Throw in a few cool pens, and we were set. We would pretend to answer calls from customers, write messages to the boss, and make those messages in triplicate with the carbon paper. Hours were spent doing this.

As I got older, I always needed the "just right" supplies. The pens needed to write smoothly. The pencils needed to stand up to my tight grip, and the markers needed to color brightly and last long. You never knew someone could be that demanding of inanimate objects, huh?! Well, I was and I am.

Just like you need to have the right pen or pencil, you also need to have the right post-it notes. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. They all have special purposes. Wait, I'm sounding like a freak now. (I didn't want to take a picture of my post-it drawer, because that would probably send me right to the freak category in your mind.)

So before I start talking crazier, I will end this. Thank you, Mickey. You know me too well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Nothing has been inspiring me to write lately. I mean, there have been some moments, mostly funny ones, that I knew I should write down, but just as soon as they happened, I would forget them. Like that one time? In the computer lab? Or that one time? In the library? Then you can fill in the blanks with a smiling face looking up at me and arms hugging me, or a page colored with crayolas and scribbled with I Love You, with all those letters in different shapes and going in every direction.

I've been enjoying getting to know the kids better as the year has gone on. I know about 99% of their names, which is quite a feat with 15 classes! But you get a family with siblings named Jayden, Joey, and Jayci, and any name that starts with a J could come out at any moment when you're trying to call on them.

Something Stein and I saw tonight has sparked some inspiration, some thinking. We saw Pond Hockey, which is a documentary about the Pond Hockey Championship tournament which took place in Minneapolis (go figure). While it sounds like it would be pretty boring, the gist of the movie dealt with kids, specifically those who have grown up playing hockey on frozen lakes, ponds, rivers, or flooded backyards. The old-timers interviewed for the movie kept repeating the same sentiments over and over. That not enough kids play outside anymore, not enough play the bare-bones, rarely adult-supervised game that builds character and fundamental skills.

I thought about that. And not having played hockey as a kid, I thought about what I could relate to. I remembered the hours I spent in the backyard, throwing a basketball onto the slanted roof of the garage and waiting for it to come down, jumping up and grabbing it, imagining I was fending off players from another team. Or the hundreds of tennis balls we would whack against our neighbors brick garage, perfecting our John McEnroe swings. Or bumping a soccer ball (we didn't have a volleyball) against the side of the house, trying to hit that one discolored brick which was my target.

It's those times that I remember the sky (or roof) was the limit, that I dreamed of being on an Olympic team someday. I was unsupervised, could try out new moves without being laughed at, and had the ball all to myself. This wasn't part of an organized practice, and these weren't monotonous drills. My imagination ran wild. It was my time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I got a message this morning from a friend I used to work with.  He relayed the bad news about the husband of a former co-worker who was killed in Afghanistan.  Apparently a roadside bomb was the cause.  I thought back to my conversations with her about her husband.  She told me he was in the special forces, so a lot of his locations and operations were a secret.  There were many times when she didn't know where he was.  She had so much faith that everything was going to be alright, since he was a trained sniper.  For a long time everything was.  There is some irony that he was killed by something he couldn't see, couldn't fight.  I am sending good thoughts to my friend in this awful time.  May John finally rest in peace after serving in a war for so long.

I also heard from another friend who is going through a stressful time right now.  Without getting into it, she is also dealing with the well-being of a loved one.  I am sending her warm, positive thoughts in this worrying time.

As I look around at all of the vibrant, smiling kids here at school, I am thankful for what I have, the friends and family who support me, and the wonderful experiences that make me who I am. You never know when you may need to call on those people or experiences to support you during the tough times.   

Friday, November 14, 2008


Is that a word? I don't know, but I'm going to use it.

This week has been a good week (aside from sending 2 kids to the office) and I have much to be thankful for. I've been reading a lot of Thanksgiving books to the kids lately, so my mind has been full of thankful thoughts and reflection and planning.

I have to gush again about Stein. He has been busy preparing for having my family here for Thanksgiving. We've been talking about the menu, making lists, and cleaning. He spent the good part of the day a couple days ago running errands and cleaning the house. We want to get as much stuff done before so we aren't running around the house like banshees and can actually enjoy our company. But it's my family, and I am so thankful that he is willing to go overboard for them.

My birthday came and went and it was a good day. The 4th and 5th graders left for camp that day, which left me with some extra plan time. Someone put a balloon on the door of the library, so everyone that walked by wished me a happy birthday. I don't usually tell people it's my birthday, but feel special when they wish me a happy birthday.

And Stein gave me an iPhone. Totally unexpected and frivolous, but I love it. More about it in a later post, while I try to figure out all of its bells and whistles.

I am excited about all the upcoming events. It gives me so much to look forward to. One event happens this weekend when Chris comes in. I can't wait to catch up with her. Our busy schedules have made it hard to connect lately. But there will be plenty of connecting this weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

That Boy, Stein

He never ceases to amaze me.

The 4th and 5th graders at school are going to camp this week. A lot of the kids' families can't afford to pay for their kids to go. It's not a lot of money, but so many of these families live from paycheck to paycheck. Sending kids to camp just isn't in the budget.

Linda asked Stein if his business would be willing to give a donation. He agreed and asked me how much the kids had to pay to go. I told him the cost, and a few days later he handed me the envelope with the check. I forgot about it until I went to school that day. When I remembered, I looked into the envelope and saw the amount. He donated enough money to send 5 kids to camp! I gave the money to Matt and he was so excited. He must have told his class because 2 kids came up to me and said, "Please tell Mr. Steinhauer that we said thank you. That was really nice."

I am so glad that he was able to do this. I think that this experience is going to be so fantastic for these kids. For some of them, this will be the first time that they will be outside of Ann Arbor. The first time in nature. The first time sleeping in cabins.

And that generosity, readers, is reason #892 why I married that man.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The S Word

Patty: Try to catch snowflakes on your tongue. It’s fun.
Linus Van Pelt: Mmm. Needs sugar.
Lucy Van Pelt: It’s too early. I never eat December snowflakes. I always wait until January.
Linus Van Pelt: They sure look ripe to me.

We went to see a movie with Eric and Mia this afternoon, and when we got out of the theater, it was snowing. Mia instantly opened her mouth and stuck out her tongue. I did the same, but definitely felt like Lucy. It's too early. It's November for heaven's sake. Can't I just ease into this h*ll? Can't I just take my time to find all of my winter gear, slowly incorporate warmer layers into my rotation of school clothes, and just practice scrunching my shoulder and neck muscles against the cold for a little while?

It was just last week that the temperatures reached into the 70's. A sick joke, if you ask me. It was like summer tried to strut her stuff one last time. It was all a big tease. It made me want more weeks of the warm stuff. Nope. Friday night the temps dipped down, and the precipitation started. Tonight when we left for home, there was snow on the pumpkins in front of Eric and Mia's house.

Snow and cold. They're bad, four letter words.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

North Carolina Revisited

Sorry it has taken me this long to post pictures of my trip. I won't go through a day by day, hour by hour recap of the trip. I know how boring my posts about our trip up north probably were. So here are more pictures than words:

The weather was gorgeous. Just the right temperature for being outside doing things like jump roping
Or putting the finishing touches on Halloween costumes
Or hugging

Gadisse took advantage of the weather to sit outside and crochet a beautiful hat for MickeyShe also found time to braid Bre's hair twice
The hula hoops came out. We remembered how to do it, and my mom learned for the first time
Or making pretend cakes

We were also there for trick or treating on Halloween
And the sorting and bartering of the loot. Also the dividing in half for the "candy fairy" who will come in the night to take the candy and leave a toy or money.

The dog waited. And waited. And waited. But no luck.
While the kids were at the movies the next day, the candy fairy shared some of her stash with the adults

The weather was perfect for watching Kenene's soccer game

When we weren't outside, we were inside playing board games
The clan, with my Mom, Mickey, Bre and me


I have started and stopped writing about 5 blog posts about the election since Tuesday. I was first going to write about the voting process, my voting experience, how it made me remember the big booths with the curtains that I was fascinated by as a little girl. But you know what? Most people have covered my thoughts eloquently. Karen (of flidstickdig) said it very eloquently, I must say. And to her post, I say ditto. So I will leave it to others to wax poetic about this week of politics.

I do have to say, I am glad that it's over. I was so tired of the negativity, the phone calls, the mail, and the mudslinging. This year, more than any other, I have seen friendships being torn apart because of political differences. It's been pretty amazing, actually. Yet one thing that has emerged from all of this is a feeling of hope. No matter if you voted for the winner or not, you have to admit that the country feels a little differently. Or I should say, people's feelings about the country are different.

For once in a long time, there is a feeling of hope.

I am not saying that just by electing this person guarantees that we will instantly be out of the economic slump we're in, or that homelessness will be eradicated, or that we will have health care for all. I am saying that people actually have hope that something will be different. That change will be made in a positive direction. That anyone, from any background, with whatever experience, can rise above this and be successful. That is hope to me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mock Election

The "lobby" of our school was decked out with American flags, a table with partitions set up like booths, and a big cardboard box covered with construction paper to resemble a ballot box. We had a mock election today.

I think the best part was helping one of the kindergarten classes through the process. One of the teachers asked me to take her class there during library time. No problem. Until we got there and realized that the class really had no clue of what they were doing, aside from some of the kids who wanted to pick "Rock" Obama.

Secrecy was not an option. So many of the kids would talk in normal voices when I whispered to them during the voting process. At least two kids would get behind one voting booth to try to understand what they were supposed to do. As another one of their friends would come up with a ballot, they would shout, "Hey, we just voted for Rock, here's where you need to put an X."

And the final part, getting an "I Voted" sticker was the best. Stickers were worn on shirts, hands, wrapped around fingers, or stuck to shoes after they fell off any of the mentioned places.

The results were announced later that day. The winner by a landslide was Rock.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

North Carolina

We're in North Carolina and having a great time. I know I've said this before, but I always like the in-between times. The times before or after an event, when not much is going on but reflection and anticipation. Some great conversations happen then. Some great revelations. Some great learning.

I'll be back soon. Have a great weekend!