Monday, February 25, 2013

Wandering Down a New Path


I’m not sure if I am so much wandering, but I may be running full force towards a new path in my life.  Whether I am wandering or running, it is exhilarating to see a dream realized.  I am chasing my dream, full force.  Here I come life, watch out!


I have spent the better part of seven years at home with my sweet children.  I love my children dearly.  When fall came around in 2012  I felt that something was missing.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt a deep longing for work, stimulation, and a balance again of family and filling my needs as the teacher hidden inside.

I looked around for a job this fall.  I was offered two different preschool positions, and the pay was astounding low.  It wouldn’t even cover the childcare bill for Gracie.

Then I looked into a job in the public schools.  My old principal offered me a job three days a week.  I would have to leave before Bradley even got on the bus in the morning, and I wouldn’t be able to get him off the bus.  Just the childcare juggling alone would have been a huge shift for our family.

I left it alone.  I figured this just wasn’t my season for work, it would fit in when the time was right. 

I bought a sewing machine.  Maybe that would be my cure??


I appliqued hoodies and poured myself into projects around the house. 

But the nagging was still there.  I have had a dream since I visited Reggio Emilia Schools in Italy in the summer of 2000 with Virginia Tech, that I would open my own preschool.

Could I do it?  Would Chris be ok with people coming and going in our house?  After much discussion, research, phone calls, thinking, and anticipation I have decided to open a small home-based preschool for the 2013-2014 school year.


I am now the proud owner of Crozet PlaySchool LLC.

I have been busy setting up my state license, get insurance, and hammering out the fine details of the program.  I sent out a few feeler emails to my local facebook friends and a community email group.  I got a lot of positive feedback.  I have had three families view the preschool space, and get answers to their questions about the program I will be offering. 

I currently have 3 three year old children signed up for three mornings a week next year!!!  This is huge!  I was hoping for just two children to get started.  And I already have three in one weeks time.  Amazing!

There is such a need on our side of town for some more preschool options.  I am hoping to fill the other two spots soon, and I have a few more families viewing the space this week.  There is nothing more frightening to put yourself, your passion, and your dreams out there.  But, I feel like I have found a way to fulfill that burning need to get back to teaching, but still be the mom that my family needs in the next five to six years while my girls are preschool aged.

And who knows, this may be the beginning of something even more magical?  Possibly opening a permanent location for Crozet PlaySchool in the years to come?


And I hope through this process I am showing each of them how important it is to follow your heart and your dreams…

Monday, February 11, 2013

instahappy days


I decided to dig through my phone tonight and find some evidence of happier days.  There had to be some pictures that reminded me that our life wasn’t just fevers, taking temperatures, sickness, throw up, and washing sheets, right??

I found this instapicture of Ellie as Tangled, and I knew that we would make it through this rough patch.  If Tangled could survive 18 years stuck in her tower, I surely can make it through the next month of winter without losing my mind.


I do feel as if someone is playing a bad joke on our little family.  We have had GI bugs, sinus infections, never ending coughs and colds, and now Chris and Bradley have been struck down with the noro virus.  I don’t think I have ever seen my hubby this sick.  He came home Friday and has pretty much been up in our room since then.  He comes down for little sessions to maybe eat some soup and then back he goes.  Bradley is right there with him, they have actually taken over my bedroom together.  Chris has lost seven pounds since Friday morning.


This picture was taken just a week ago or so, sweet Bradley enjoying a snow day at home.  We decided to just eat his lunch I had already packed him along with some hot cocoa after his morning playing in the snow.  I miss this little guy, he has been so sad, lethargic, and quiet.  You forget how much chit chat and laughter they bring to the house when they are feeling down and out.

Ellie and Grace and I have escaped this last round of illness.  Well, mostly escaped it.  I think that I must have swiped my eye with some type of bacteria on Saturday from cleaning sheets and the bathrooms.  I woke up on Sunday with my eye welded shut with pink eye.  I had to drive into the urgent care clinic to get some mega drops and ointment.  I am finally feeling better today, but Chris was calling me “sloth eye” this weekend.  It was pretty comical. 


I’ll just try to remember ballet with this little bug, and some precious outside time we had last week.  We had a random day of warm temps and I think I had the kids outside playing for hours.  I wouldn’t let them go back in!



Ellie and I had a lot of play time together these past few days.  With Grace still napping in the mornings and the boys being so so sick, Ellie and I have painted, made all of her sweet Valentines for her class, made stain glassed hearts and Gak to name a few little projects…





We made the Gak this weekend and she has really enjoyed playing with it. 

She kept insisting that it was snot and pretending to sneeze with it…


We are very mature and grown up over here.  I guess this is how you pass time with an almost three year old and a big pile of green goo??  I was actually in on it with her and pretending to send “snot balls” across the kitchen.  very dainty I know.


I have been on a knitting mission and pulled back out my needles and yarn and have been finishing up some projects.  I was worried because I had put so many craft things on hold when I had Grace, and I just hadn’t had the time to get them back out.  I started to worry that I would forget how to knit.  It wasn’t that long ago that I learned.  It didn’t take long for it to come back, I actually was able to cast on and start up quickly.  I am determined to finish up this cable knit scarf for myself and move onto a never finished sweater for Ellie. 


I am really excited about some new sewing books that came in the mail and some fun new projects I am going to work on!  Can’t wait to share!!


For now I will just breath deeply, pray that the girls don’t catch this bug, and not take life too seriously.  This past month has been more than trying for both Chris and I but, wearing a Tangled wig can really lighten things up.

I love these little ones so much and I know that the rainbow will come out after the storm.

At least that is what I am hoping.  Love, Clare 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Story Baskets ~ The Power of Retelling

We have definitely been stuck inside for a good part of January.  There has been sickness, snow days, rainy days, and a lot of time spent at home!  A few weeks ago, I knew that school was already going to be canceled, so I rushed around the house putting together some activities for us to do at home.  Ellie had been in LOVE with the The Three Billy Goats Gruff story for months now.  She will pull out our bar stools in the kitchen to create a blockade/bridge.  Then she will state that she is a, “grumpy old troll.”  She will make members of the family pay to get access to the kitchen.


I thought I would take it a step further and create a basket filled with all of the key players of the story and some simple props.  I had some left over felt lying around that I used for the grass and the river.  Then I scrounged up two definite goat figurines and one questionable goat/cow for the three billy goats. 


Lastly, I have piles of those city blocks that I used for the bridge and a funny looking stuffed animal for the troll.


First we read the book together and then I went through each of the items in the basket.  We laid them all out and performed the story together, with me prompting them with the major lines in the story…

“trip, trap, trip, trap”

“Who’s That Walking On MYYYY Bridge”


Then I let them try to act out the story on their own.  Once they felt comfortable I asked them if they wanted to have me turn their story into a movie for us to watch later.  Bradley was really excited about this part, Ellie was a bit nervous.  She surprisingly seemed to like the Three Little Pigs Story basket more than the Three Billy Goats.

Here is Bradley’s retelling of the story…


Bradley and The Three Billy Goats Gruff


I also created the same basket for another family favorite, “The Three Little Pigs.”  This wasn’t as hard to create, since I had the pigs and the wolf from a Melissa and Doug toy that we have.  I used leftover yarn for the straw house.


And the same blocks for the house of sticks.


And Legos for the brick house.


After listening to the story and looking over my basket Bradley felt that we needed a man for the pigs to ask for their supplies.  We found a random playmobil person that fit right in the storyline.


Ellie finally agreed to retell the Three Little Pigs if I would help her with the story.  I love her sweet little voice in the video and now she has done it a bunch of times.  Each time she retells the story she gets more confident with the lines and the characters.  We even took her little basket into school to share with her friends at preschool.  I apologize for the horrible video,  Bradley was behind the camera and a bit wobbly.  

Ellie retelling The Three Little Pigs

I hope to make some more baskets soon.  Bradley of course requested The Gingerbread Man which has a million characters.  I am going to have to think on that one.  There have to be some more simple stories to try first!

Love, Clare