Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy Fall

This fall has been insanely busy!

John has finished soccer, is taking a break from hockey, and is still enjoying gymnastics.
Megan is still loving dance and gymnastics classes.
We have made multiple trips to the apple orchards and have enjoyed some quality outdoor time.
We had a great time trick or treating. Megan was a tiger and John was Batman! The amount of candy that they scored was ridiculous.

John and Megan have been doing well academically. They are both able to write their names and as the school year progresses, they are writing better. They know their letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. Megan is still a bit shy and doesn't often lead, however, she is also not someone who follows easily. She is a constant help to her teachers at school and she continues to be very kind, but at times a bit sassy.
John is a very active guy. He struggles when his schedule is inconsistent, but does much better when we are able to stay constant. Unfortunately, with our crazy work schedules, there will be times where he will have to adjust and I hope that he will be able to do so easier as he gets older. It is very sad to see him struggle in this way. Despite his struggle with adjusting to change, he is an amazing little man. He has shown me that he has a kind heart and I am proud of the person he is becoming.

I am working a ton! I love my new job and feel like I am making a difference. I am building relationships with students and families everyday. I do find myself missing the classroom every once in a while, but I am loving the new role and don't have any desire to head back to the classroom environment.

Fall 11/4/12 at

The kids enjoying fall activities!

Monday, October 1, 2012


This new school year has brought a huge change for me. After 11 years in a classroom, I have moved into administration. I am now the Dean of Intervention at Quest Charter Academy. National Heritage Academies (the company I work for) uses a Dean model instead of Principal/Assistant Principal. A dean is in essence an assistant principal.
I am loving my new job and am learning so many new things each day. I am blessed that I have an amazingly supportive group of  people at work and at home. I have come to realize that eventhough I want to be perfect in everything I do, I won't be. This is a bit of a learning year for me, and boy am I learning things!

John and Megan are doing well!
A few months ago we had their 4 year check-up.
Megan weighs in at 28 lbs and John is 34 lbs.
They are busy little people as well. John is playing soccer, hockey, and doing gymnastics. Megan is dancing and doing gymnastics. Both kids are loving their activities and sleep pretty good on the nights that they have class.

Dance Class!

The kids are in the pre-kindergarten class at Real Life Nursery School where they have been attending school since they were 2 1/2. They are working on math and reading skills to prepare them for kindergarten. Tim and I are talking about where we want to enroll them in the fall. I can't believe that we are already talking about kindergarten. Weren't they just born?

For the first time in a while, I can say that I am happy in my work life as well as my personal life. Things seem to be falling into place. I have worked hard to build a life for John, Megan, and myself  that is filled with happiness, love, a commitment to each other, and an ability to live comfortably. Some days are better than others (4 year olds sure do whine a lot), but I wouldn't change one minute with them.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I love being a teacher...

I have had the honor of working with the same group of kids for two years. Tuesday my 8th graders graduated. It was a very rewarding and sad day. I always hope that I make a positive impact on my students lives, but this letter I received from a mom affirmed that I am doing something right!

Ms. Nickel, 
Where do I begin to thank you for all you've done for Sarah? You are a phenomenal teacher! How do I know? From all the stories Sarah tells me about your class and everything in between. 
When you send your kids out into the world on that first day of kindergarten, you realize other adults will begin to influence your kid just as profoundly as you do. You are all I could hope for in an adult that interacts with Sarah as much as you have. Your influence, nurturing guidance, humor and strength have influenced Sarah to become the wonderful person she is today. I am grateful for all your love and encouragement you have shown her. I am confident she will never forget you. 
Thank you for modeling that smart, funny, and strong women who speak their minds, and are confident, are positive influences on others. 
Have a great summer. Know you made a difference to me and my daughter.

This is why I teach. This is why I love what I do and hope to always have the opportunity to touch peoples lives in a positive way. It is so nice to have these positive affirmations.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Visiting Indiana soon...

I am so happy to say that we will be making our first summer road trip the week after Father's Day! John, Megan, and I will be in for about 5 days and we hope to see many of you. We will let you know when we have final plans made.

Our first set of stitches...

On April 15th Megan and John were at a bowling birthday party with daddy. I got a call that Megan fell and that she would probably need stitches.
She was a real trooper. John handled things well (thank goodness Brandy was here) and bought Meggie presents at the gift shop while she got 4 stitches under her chin. Tim and I snuggled with her before, during, and after. She didn't like the papoose that they had to use to restrain her, but it was the right choice to use.

Even in pain, she is beautiful! 

Monday, May 14, 2012


It is unfortunate that there were hurt feelings upon reading my recent update about my mothers death. I can only hope that people understand that this post wasn't about what others did or didn't do. It was simply about what I remember going through as I was dealing with the sudden loss of my mom.
All of my sisters came together and did what needed to be done to get through a very tough time. We worked together and picked up where others couldn't carry on. My post was in no way meant to "call people out" or "make others feel like they didn't do enough". We all did our part and did what we could when we could.
It makes me sad that there are others who believe I don't feel like they did their part.
Obviously, Sarah and Tammy did everything that they could to comfort and support, just as Angie and I did.
This post took me longer than a year to be able to write, the details of which are what stuck in my mind. I apologize if you felt offended by the post. Obviously, that was not my intention.

Our Family (6/2011- 5/14/12) at

Finally some pictures!

We are still here.

I know that it has been a while since I have posted consistently, sorry.
I have found it difficult to blog since mom died. I think that it was because I wasn't ready to write about her dying and I didn't think that I could go on with the blog and pretend that this major life event hadn't happened. Well, I think that it is time to write about it now as I have finally processed that fact that she is gone (which is good, since it has been over a year).

Most of you know this, but my mother passed away a year ago February 14th (yep, on Valentine's day). I was in my classroom meeting with students about their research papers and my phone kept ringing. I sent my mom's phone a text message asking what was wrong and got no response. Finally Angie called me and one of my students told me that I better answer the phone. I did and that is when I got the news. Like I said, I was in the middle of class (7th and 8th graders) and everyone was quietly working on their research report. Angie told me that mom died and the first thing that came out of my mouth (in front of my entire class) was "Who's fucking mom died?". At that point I then walked out of my room. Ran into a parent and told her that my mom had died and she responded with "oh fuck" and that she would watch my class. I walked straight to my administrators office and sat down. She knew something was wrong because I had tears running down my eyes. I told her what happened and she took action. It took me over an hour to be able to leave the school building. Not because I needed to get things done, but because I was so numb I had no idea what to do first. All I really had to do was leave. My amazing 7th grade team took over and made sure my students had things to do.
I finally made it home and still had to contact Tim to make sure he could keep the kids. I had to pack (and really, what do you pack for your mother's funeral) and deal with getting the house in order as I would be gone for at least 4 days. I called my sister-in-law Sara and told her what happened and she walked me through what to put in my suitcase. My neighbor came down and packed the kids suitcases up and had them ready for Tim to pick up. My friend Kelly was (and continues to be) an amazing support system as well.
I finally get on the road and then have to drive 200 miles with nothing to keep my mind occupied. That was not an experience I would like to have again. I will be finding a driving partner for the next unexpected death.
After I got there, things continued to suck. Everyone was numb. Angie was there for the entire ordeal and had to see and do things that no child should have to do. I can't even imagine what she went through and only wish that I could have been there sooner. Angie and I went with dad to pick out the grave site and plan the funeral. Angie and I went and purchased mom a new outfit to wear (a bit strange, yes, but she deserved it). You should have heard the saleswomen that were helping us. I am an inappropriate laugher...something happens that I can't deal with, I laugh. They were definately judging me.
My other sisters arrived along with my aunts and uncles (mom was the oldest of 7) and we got down to picking out pictures, music, and writing the obituary and creating the pamphlet for the funeral. I have to say that everyone really stepped up, but that Angie and I took a lot of this on ourselves (we are a bit OCD like that and we had started it and felt like we needed to finish it). I knew that if I could focus on something that I could get through this time.
Fast forward to this December 26th. My birthday. I am sitting on the couch already feeling a bit sad (Tim had the kids) and my dad called to wish me a happy birthday. Every year since I can remember, I have gottern the birthday song call from mom and dad. It wasn't until dad called to sing me happy birthday that I really processed that she was gone. It is strange how such a little thing can trigger my emotions. It was not a great day, but it was important and needed to happen. I feel like I really have moved forward in the mourning process since then. I visited moms grave for the first time and have been able to look back at some pictures as well.
John and Megan are taking it well. They ask about Grandma Robbye Lou all the time. They look at pictures, talk about her, and ask why she died. They went with me to the grave and had different takes on what was going's how it went.
Megan - "Grandpa where is grandma laying?" Grandpa tells her. "I am going to lay down on top of her and give her a big hug and kiss and make her feel better, then we can dig her up so she's not dead anymore."
John - "Megan, she's dead. She's always going to be dead and you can't do anything about it."
I have to tell you that I almost lost it. Angie, dad, and I were trying so hard not to laugh. Megan was "pissed". She kept saying its not fair and I don't like you. Poor thing. John just kept telling her she was not coming back. Where do these kids get this!
So...I am back, I am going to blog, I am going on with my life (which is pretty awesome right now) and I will be posting to come (probably today).