Kelly Marie’s gotcha 3

Our writing informs our lives.  I knew that I needed to go back and revisit this story and add-on and revise from the beginning of March, but I was too angry to.  It has been one of those years in foster parenting that has been very, very difficult for our family.  And yet we continue to hold on to Kelly and continue to work through our issues.  Fostering a teenager through her twenties is for the strong, and especially this year I have not felt strong. But we are hers and she is ours. 

slice buttonThis was unusual for Dave…after a Sunday message at church he turned to me and said,

“I don’t know what, but I think God is going to be asking us to do something big- that’s gonna change our lives.”

I do remember thinking that this is definitely out of character for my guy that makes sure that he is well researched before making any big decision at all.  He checks the money, he checks the mood, he consults his mother, he wants me to ask my father… yep, God must really be talking loudly today for him to even be telling me this.

The next week, he came home on Tuesday and told me that he found you sitting at a table in the Media Center at school.  You had wanted to let  him know that you wouldn’t be able to play for him this season because they were placing you in another foster placement out of our school district. Dave knew instantly, this was it, this was the big thing and that no…she would be definitely living at our house instead.

The next week we got you set you up in Jeff’s old bedroom upstairs.  Dave told you that he would paint the room whatever way you wanted. You chose ‘Pepto’ pink with stripes down one side of the wall,  I didn’t like hot pink.  Dave just smiled and painted away.  Your clothes were moved in.  I noticed you were a ‘keeper’ like me…a trunk of cheap stuffed animals and all the dresses and dried flowers from important events.   You said, not to worry, that you wouldn’t get in our hair.  You said you’d be off to college soon and that you were an ferociously independent type of girl.

You hung your pictures back from Jr. High…friends and more friends of every nationality, every creed.

Dave wanted to be your dad, he even looked like you.  You called him ‘Papa’.  You called me ‘Nanc’.

You gave your story to us, it told of the day when you thought you were going on a fun mini-trip to a hotel.  You remember that you had your ‘swimmies’ on your arms when you were pulled away from your mother. You thought you were meeting a new friend in a giant building called ‘court’.  

You’ve been waiting all this time to be back with your mommy.  It’s been years of waiting and now you are in another placement my family…and that dream still continues to pulse inside of you.

Don’t worry sweet Kelly, “You can call me Nanc. I know you have a mom.”  I want that dream to stay alive for her…but I’m fearful of all things big and little… realizing early that years in a group home and then in placements that hadn’t worked out had to have taken a toll.  One day I asked you if you had any pictures of your little girl self.  You said , “not a one…but you said you looked just the same only smaller.”  I tried to imagine, but didn’t want to imagine, a little curly-headed girl with swimmies reaching out to a mom that was walking away.

I think we’ve come to the place eight years later that you are my girl and I am your Nanc , and I’m very happy about that.  Now you have a different dreams that includes a vast array of friends and older folks that have fed into your life for many years…you hope and yearn for the day when you will be a mom, who will hold on tight and never let go….never let go…never let go.

PS because I like them….I am proud of my girl…tell your story…tell it to the world- a story of strength, of perseverance, loyalty and love.

PSS because I just can’t resist…Kelly is realizing part of her dream in June.  Papa will be walking her down the aisle, to begin her new life with her best friend, Matthew. xo nanc  

Papa and KB



slice buttonbuddy boy

you’ve been my pride and joy,


except when you were


climbing to the top cabinet,

or when you showed you creative talent,

marking up our favorite chair-

with permanent marker

you brought music to our lives,

some of the notes, of course, were flat,

like many little boys,

as they are growing,

but in my eyes you rocked our house with

all your jazz,

your creative energy fed our lives,

and currently gives hope to many.


little boy minds

become men who care,


to create a positive song.

Note to all my friends:  Raising this boy has been joyous, but not an easy one.  He has found his path, works with youth at Mile High United Way, the greatest organization on the planet, that’s what Jeff would say.  He is now able to use his skill with people and digital media (short film) to change lives.  I am very proud that his brain is now fully formed at age 28.  He also is engaged to a very special person, Brittney, who also devotes her life to serving people.  Here’s a pic of Jeff when he was a pretty young music student.  He loved his big bass from the start and still does!

love you Bud xo mama

Scan 1

Pie Anne (Em)

slice buttonFirst born,

 in the middle of a dust storm,

You have brought a flurry of energy ,


Wanting your own way,


We try to teach you God’s way,

And you listen,

Your eyes light up this weary world,

Traveling now the path that he sets before you,


...Pie Anne, on her wedding day, captures in one photo a lifetime of love that she has brought to our family.
…Pie Anne, on her wedding day, captures in one photo a lifetime of love that she has brought to our family.

getting there…

slice buttonI woke after the alarm tried rousing me.  Cloudy days make me want to sleep, and this week has been full of low gray clouds.  I buzz out the door with only time for coffee.  I grab an apple thank, goodness.  My friends and I work hard on the pacing guide…only two grade levels left to go.  I buzz when we are done to meet my parents and get yet another look at an independent living community in the suburbs.

Generally, I know the direction to go and start traveling.  I pull over half way because it feels like I’m traveling too far north.  I try putting in the directions using the navigation on our new car.  It says that it can’t read my cell phone.  I worry that I left my cell phone…somewhere.  I continue on the way and the road eventually begins to bend east.  I wish I just had an old map..but they are in the old car.  I keep guessing as I see the suburbs one after another.  I know that eventually I will hit a road that I know.  Finally I see a sign…I’m in the right suburb.  I know that the community is on the northern side of this town.  I turn left, north again.  Suddenly I’m upset, because I’m in another suburb after about three miles.

This can’t be right, ”

“ERRR, I’m so mad at myself that I didn’t print out directions.”

Now I’m starving and thirsty.  I can’t stop, because I want to find the place first and then find a place to relax and get a sandwich.  I decide I’m too far north.  I turn around and start heading south and keep looking for familiar roads.  One appears, I think I’m getting close.  The only trouble is , I know that this large independent living community is not off a big road.  I start weaving through neighborhoods, back and forth, up and down streets.  I finally find it…yipee!

Then there is still about 15 minutes left so I decide to go out looking for any fast food I can find.  There is nothing close and I was too afraid to venture too far off course, because of my propensity for the word, LOST.  So I went back and pretty grumpy and getting grumpier by the minute.  I wait and wait pace and pace because my parents were late.  I couldn’t call them, because I didn’t have my phone, oh wait, they don’t have a phone either!

Finally they arrived…the best part of the day was that it looks like finally my parents will be moving from their very large,old and hard to keep up with two-story house.  And the day suddenly became brighter, and me… less grumpy.

Bringing it together…


Hand in Hand

Mentor Texts,

Nonfiction Mentor Texts,

I Read It But I Don’t Get It,

Catching Readers Before They Fail,

Is That a Fact, 

Revisit, Reflect, Retell,

Literature Circles,

Bringing Words to Life,

After the End, 

The Energy to Teach !

These books are oldies and goodies!  Recent titles are on my i-pad….how to I do a stack poem with them?  Thank you LC (Elsie),  for the energy you give me from your posts…your commenting love..I am forever grateful. xo nanc

PS If I was doing a dissertation…it would be how reading and writing should be integrated, all day, every single day!

PSS Long live Donald Graves and his followers…the famous Carol from Carol’s Corner and Penny Kittle to name a few.  I learned from his books, the perfect mentor texts.  I am still learning from Carol, Penny and all of you!

my friend waits…

slice button
My friend waits for the staging of his cancer.  I remember the phone call.  My sister says,

I was hoping for better news; it’s stage 4, lymphoma.

Silently I the tears began.  I felt like I was standing in the driveway waving good bye to my little sister going to for a sleep over at Grandma’s house.  Back then I thought it was forever.  In this moment I knew she might be leaving…again…maybe forever.

It will be okay, Julie.  God is with you.  I know you will get better.  We will fight this.  You are my strong sister.

It turned out she fought…hard…God has blessed us with twelve more years of being sisters.  I want remission to be forever, but our lives here on earth are not…forever, we both know that heaven is our home; our guarantee.  And that is enough for now.

My friend waits for the staging of his cancer. Prayers fly up to heaven. May it be so again; may healing come. xo nanc

can I just say???

slice buttonI love her, love her like a song.  Her name is fun to say, Kelly Di Pucchio (Kelly Di Poo Chee oh) and her books are just a riot.  I always look her up to see what she is up to when I’m ordering the picture books for my class.  I haven’t loved a book like this since her last book that I loved so much,Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet.  Her book that I purchased last summer for my grand-daughter didn’t even get to my grand-daughter.  Gaston has traveled in my back pack, to and fro, wherever I go that I can share a book.  It is absolutely my favorite picture book right now for one big reason….right in the middle of the book you lay it in your lap and ask everyone,  what will Gaston do next?  You ask them to write in their notebook and sign their name.  You draw this out as long as possible and even put a tally marks on the chart.  You  write on top of the chart:

        Gaston will choose to………………….  because………………………..

You then look at all of the cherubs, after the votes are cast,  and say,

We are going to wait until tomorrow to find out!

They will then cry and beg and plead with you to keep reading.  And then if you keep reading some will be shocked and some might not be.  Either way, it will be the perfect moment of your day with your kiddos.  I highly recommend this book K-5…but it is pretty perfect for 1st or 2nd. or for adults in the room.  It is clever and practically perfect in every way!  And the best part…we loved reading it close!

Ah there is more…can I just say the word choice is extraordinary and makes you want to crack up.  Be prepared for those who perseverate (that would be me).

GASTON cover