Friday, July 29, 2016

Thoughts from the Back Porch: Summer Post 4

Work. Often, during my workaday life as a school-based SLP, I think of work as a four-letter word. There are days and weeks I think will never end. There are days and weeks that go by at the speed of light, leaving me little time to complete all my tasks. It can be an endless cycle of do, complete, redo, restart, test and retest. It can be exhausting. It's the type of exhausting that renders me prone on the couch and ordering pizza for dinner. The type of exhausting that when Saturday rolls around, the thought of cleaning can bring me to tears. While, the physical aspect of SLP life is limited to trips up and down the hallway and in and out of chairs, the mental piece is substantial and exacts a toll both emotionally and physically.

Fast forward to summer. My summer is work is different; it is generally pure physical. I don't shy away from hard physical labor. In fact, during the summer I relish it. I like to sweat. I like to get dirty. I like planning and planting and mowing and weeding yard work. At the end of the day when I'm grubby and tired I can look at the fruits of my labor and get deep satisfaction. I can see what my toils have produced and I love it. Summer is good for my soul.
I mentioned to some SLP friends recently as we were sharing photos of our gardens, that if I were a rock farmer, I'd be a millionaire. NH is rife with rock. Our landscape is crisscrossed with picturesque rock walls and many towns have ordinances that prohibit their dismantling, as they are inherent to our New England character. As beautiful as these rocky scenes are, they are a bane to gardeners. So what do we New Englanders do? Use the rocks. Over the years I have built a number of rock garden beds. I have single handedly, hunted, harvested, hauled and built these beds. 
This week I wanted to further fortify our fire pit (yes, I am in an alliterative mood). For roughly three hours I scoured the woods for rocks and dug them out.
I piled them into the wheelbarrow.
I pushed that wheelbarrow UP the hill that is our driveway.
I hoisted them out and carried them to their final resting place.
I strategically placed them one on another.
I put my feet up and felt a sense of pride in my strength and my work.
Now, I know that my efforts at my day job yield results. I see the student who has made some measure of progress and I receive the rare note from a grateful parent or student. More often than not, though, we are unsung heroes and we miss the end result of our labors. I want to reframe my vision of my daily work as an SLP. I don't want work to be just a four-letter word. Perhaps, in the spirit of growth mindset, I can envision my task as building a rock garden. Each and every day, I search for a beautiful rock. I carefully extract it from the earth, that has a firm hold on it. With strength I carry it to the place where it will shine. When my work is done, I look at the end result and I am grateful for the toil because it has yielded a purpose, it has touched a child. Isn't that why I do what I do?

Monday, July 18, 2016

I'm Visiting the Speech Bubble

I am so happy to helping Maureen, a.k.a. The Speech Bubble, with her blog as she prepares for her little baby! Expecting your first baby is such a special time filled with joy, happiness and a healthy dose of nerves. As many of you already know, my first baby is preparing to go off to college. I too am filled with many of the same feelings as Maureen! I wish her all the best as she readies herself for this next big time in her life.

It is always exciting to do a guest post and I am happy to share what I consider to be the highlights of ASHA Connect 2016. So head on over to The Speech Bubble and enjoy!  <3 Annie

Monday, July 11, 2016

Thoughts from the Back Porch: Summer Post 3

The past two weeks have been busy! On June 30th I headed to the Pacific Northwest for a person to person SLP linky with Pam of Chit Chat and Small Talk. I was home for one day and then on to Minneapolis, Minnesota for ASHA Connect 2016 for an educational and fun-filled experience. 

I will share much more about those adventures in future posts, but today my thoughts were clearly focused on memories. Naturally, upon my return I had to attend to all things domestic: laundry, cleaning, and organizing consumed my whole day. While it seemed dull in comparison to the fun of the previous two weeks, it was good to settle back in back at home. As I straightened the house and dusted photos, I recalled people and events. As I folded laundry I recalled who gave me this beach towel or that top, and I read little notes from my children as I sorted through items on my bedroom bookcase.

Memories. Memories can trigger laughter, sadness, bitterness, remorse, and more. My memories of my little ones are so much more intense as I prepare for our daughter's big step into the world of college. I came across this note that caused me to pause and truly miss those days of young children. 

It reads Christmas Eve 2008: 
Dear Santa, 
I have a question that has puzzled me all day: 
which country do you root for in the summer and winter Olympics? 
You probly have a pen to answer my question so I leave no pen.
Merry Christmas, 

Santa responded in this way.
My Dear Nora and Mack,
Here at the North Pole we are doing what we can to be "greener." I know that you are two very smart children and you feel the same way, so I instructed the elves to pick only children who would understand. I had them wrap Mack's presents with the red paper and Nora's with the blue paper. That way we wouldn't have to waste all those tags. You should tell your parents to do the same thing. Think of the trees we will save!!! I love you dear children. Merry Christmas!

Santa Claus

P.S. These days we travel the world with a laptop, so I don't need a pen! During the Olympics, both summer and winter, I support all the athletes regardless of the country they represent.

I was filled with such love for my children as I recalled their curiosity and innocence. It is both wonderful and bittersweet to think on those days. If our children grow and develop the fortitude and confidence necessary to spread their wings and leave home then we have done well, but my thoughts today longed to smell their hair and feel their heads as they rest upon my chest, to hear gales of laughter and hold tiny dimpled hands.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Thoughts from the Back Porch: By Sparklle SLP

Hello Doyle Speech Works readers. I am Sparklle SLP from Speaking About Remarkable Kids Learning Language Everyday. I am a school-based SLP, Mom, blogger and TpT author. I am always so excited when SLP bloggers visit each other's blogs so, when my dear #slpbestie Annie invited me to participate in her Thoughts from the Back Porch series, I was all hooves in (more on that in a moment). 

When I read Annie's first post in the series I totally related. 100%. While she works and resides in NH and I in OH, our school-based SLP positions have a trending theme. When Annie remarked, "I went through the proper channels and was effectively shut down" it was as if I was speaking her same thought, literally, roughly three weeks earlier when my own school year ended. I love how Annie is vowing to use a positive mindset with attainable goals in an effort to promote change.

I, too, have moved beyond the shut down. Summer is galloping on by and I am determined to not let it pass without soaking up loads of time with my own kids at home.  You see, for 9 months, I spend an enormous amount of time with everyone else's kids.  My chosen career fits me perfect. I love being a school-based SLP. I can use my creative, ambitious mind daily. Being a mom is no different and I am grateful to have the time off to enjoy my kids at home during the summer. Today, I'm planning to shed some light "literally" on thoughts and actions from my back porch.

I have three lovely, intelligent, creative, involved children of my own.  Today's post is about my middle child. She fits the middle child syndrome perfectly! She's independent, creative, can avoid work better than most, tends to enjoy her time alone, and will seek attention in ways that cause a few additional grey hairs. My #2 is incredible. She's like chaos flip-flopped upside-down with this amazing ingenuity and she's only 7!

For quite some time now, she's been into Breyer model horses and has taken over my husband's basement office to accommodate her stables, pastures, arenas, a tack room, a training arena, and a bunkhouse.  When we go shopping for groceries, we bring home boxes and they are quickly converted into horse accommodations. She uses a variety of office and craft supplies to create saddle racks, bridles, halters, lead ropes, feed buckets, wash stall supplies, and the like. She has master glue-gunning skills and popsicle stick engineering.  I bring in the lawn tractor (AKA vacuum) often to swipe up the debris.

I neglected to snap pictures of her before barns (insert sad face; however, she took video of the adventures of her horses). Below is the start of her hot walker (this is a new vocabulary word for me) and tack room.


When this girl gets an idea, she is on it like metal to a magnet. You will hear her feet pitter-patter down the steps and the rummaging begins. Last week, "wooden stables" was verbalized. Scrap wood was obtained. Power tools were plugged in. The adventure began. 

This SLP mom used her creative, organized focus to help the ingenius youngster to use her powers to design stables for her ever growing team of horses. 

We sketched, measured, cut,




staged, reconfigured...


and now the designing is hers for the making.


These actions from my back porch, the perfect backdrop for quality time with my middle child, proved to be just what this SLP mom on summer break needed. Who would have thought power tools and hammering could relieve stress? Totally an added bonus. I am looking forward to witnessing her completion of these barns and the narratives that will follow.  See how the SLP in me still emerges in the summer!

What are your thoughts or actions from your back porch this summer?  Do they help you to rest, create, reflect, or enjoy?  Please share in the comments. Thanks so much to Annie for the invite and the prompt to share my stable story.