How To Make A Memory

AuctionLogo How many of you had a situation where you’re planning a huge trip, and a few days before you’re about to board the plane, step into the taxi, get on the boat, you get a call from the travel agent, hotel, airport saying, “There’s been a minor problem.  Instead of the four star hotel you booked, you’ll be staying in a hut. Instead of First Class, you’ll be flying Coach. We have a great spot next to the bathroom on your thirteen hour flight. Instead of the tour bus with air conditioning, wireless internet, and all you can eat popcorn, you’ll be in a van that normally transports chickens.”

Well good news!  None of that is happening on your Trip Around the World this coming Saturday.  However, there is one teeny tiny change. I would not call it a problem.  Actually, I’d call it a solution.  You see, the limo service that originally said they’d transport passengers from school to Clare’s for free now wants money.  And since the entire point behind this event is to make money for the school – for our kids’ education – we decided, “We’ll take the bus!”  As in, the Seneca Academy School Bus!

That’s right, folks.  We hooked you up with the finest vehicle money can’t buy to get you from school to your destination for the evening. It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be rad. It’s going to a memory.

Because how many of you come away with stories from trips when everything was perfect? Aren’t the best memories those that come from something that you weren’t planning on? Those stars you saw from your little hut on the side of the mountain were the brightest stars you ever saw. That cute guy you sat next to on the thirteen hour flight was way more entertaining than the extra leg room you would’ve had in first class. The chicken van wasn’t so bad. You were with friends and you all were laughing so hard your stomach hurt as you drove along the winding road that bordered the ocean. Yes, that was a great time.

The Seneca Bus is going to be just like that.  Get ready to make memories.

magic school bus logo


My Dog Ate It

AuctionLogo“I can’t go to the Benefit because my first grader got a hold of the tickets before I could get them out of her folder and before I knew it she’d filled them out and sent them in the mail. Note to SAPA: The President of the United States and the First Lady will NOT be attending the Benefit.”

“I can’t go to the Benefit because I used the ticket to kill a stinkbug.”

“I can’t go to the Benefit because I thought the ticket was an actual airline ticket and took it to Regan for my trip around the world and when I got there and security wouldn’t let me through I created such a scene yelling and screaming, “BUT THIS IS FROM SENECA ACADEMY!  IT’S LEGIT!  THE SCHOOL HAS JUST BECOME AN IB SCHOOL AND WE’RE ALL CELEBRATING SO PUT ME ON THE PLANE!” that I was escorted out and one of the guards had to fill out a report regarding “a mysterious person from a school called ‘Seneca Academy.’ Note to SAPA: If you get something from the airport asking questions regarding an incident on or around March 14th, 2013, it really wasn’t a huge deal.  I’m just not that bright.”

“I can’t go to the Benefit because April 27 happens to be the day I set aside each year to figure out the meaning of life. If I don’t do it, who will?”

Dog%20Ate%20My%20HomeworkNo matter what your excuse is for not filling out the Annual Benefit ticket, THERE’S STILL TIME to RSVP!   In fact, next week operators (read: a few adorable preschoolers and elementary students) will be standing by as you drop off and pick up your children.  You can say, “Yes! I will go to the Benefit” from the convenience of your car.

Plus, you can purchase raffle tickets!  You don’t want to miss out on a chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate to Seneca Academy!  Help with tuition, send your kids to summer camp, buy 57,897 papers clips for the school.  Who couldn’t use that money wisely?

Most of all, you don’t want to miss out on a great evening. So next week, when you see a Seneca Academy student standing outside during carpool, roll down your window. And when he or she asks you if you would like to go to the Benefit, say yes. We’ll even fill the ticket out for you.

No excuses.

Pop Quiz

OAuctionLogoK, folks. Spring Break is over.  It’s time to stop checking your flip-flop tan lines and get to work. To get things started, let’s test your knowledge on a little event we like to call THE ANNUAL BENEFIT.  Let’s see how well you do on the following questions:

When is the Annual Benefit?

  1. December 17
  2. April 27
  3. July 4

What is the theme of the Benefit? (hint: see logo above!)

  1. Cowboys and Angels
  2. Lions, and Tigers, and Bears
  3. Around the World

When does the Annual Benefit start?

  1. 6am – bring your Starbucks!
  2. Noon
  3. 6pm

True/False: You are attending the Benefit

When are your Annual Benefit RSVPs due?

  1. Before the 2013-2014 school year
  2. April 5
  3. 46 AD

Raffle Tickets (they should’ve been sent home before Spring Break) get you a chance to win:

  1. Five years’ worth of cotton balls and Q-Tips
  2. $1000.00 worth of Seneca Academy credit towards tuition, camps, etc.
  3. A gift certificate to Borders Bookstore

Pencils down.

Here are the answers: 1)b; 2)c; 3)c; 4)TRUE 5)b; 6)b.  However, if you have any questions about these are anything else regarding the Annual Benefit, please contact someone on SAPA!  Looking forward to seeing you soon!

How to Draw a Circle

by, Callie Feyen

Find Your CircleOne of my New Year’s Resolutions is to bake something once a week. It doesn’t have to be anything tricky, in fact, even if the first step is to open a JIFFY cornbread muffin box, that’s OK. At this point in the year, I’m not concerned with measuring, sifting, special ingredients and stuff like that. I want to use my favorite wooden spoon to stir, pour batter into pretty muffin cups, or pat crust into my cherry red pie plate with the crimped edges. I want to smell sugar and butter and maybe some cinnamon and chocolate baking in the oven. This time of year, the recipes don’t have to be grand, they’re just yummy reminders that I’m establishing a practice.

So far, I’ve made cupcakes (Hadley and Harper would tell you they were princess cupcakes because they’ve been bitten by the Cindersnowbellabug, and also, the cupcakes had pink frosting on them), and two batches of donuts – all from mixes. I think this “sort of” baking in some way has eased me back into the school year after the break.

The morning in January the girls were supposed to go back to school, Harper was sound asleep at 8am. We need to leave for school close to 8:30. That morning, when I peeked in on her sleeping, I thought about calling her in sick. Just once, I thought, and we can spend the day doing whatever we want. For longer than a moment – in all honesty the feeling lingers as I write this – I wanted to be facing a day when Hadley and Harper were too young for school: when going to Target, or Barnes and Noble to play at the train table was on tap before lunch and naps. And when they woke up, and walked into the living room, holding on to blankets and stuffed animals and pacifiers, they would sit with me for a moment and we’d think about going to a park or maybe the library.

I didn’t call Harper in sick. I know that as much as they love hanging out with me, my girls love school.  Plus, there was another kiddo I needed to pick up that day and I didn’t want to affect the schedule simply because I was feeling uneasy about stepping into a new year. Like my easy bake recipes at the beginning of the year, carpool is a simple task that helps me establish a practice. I learn through the laughter shared between moms, the confident clicks as I buckle kids in, the swift coasting down Germantown road, that I can do this.  So I woke up Harper and a few minutes later we were out the door, stepping into the 2013 part of the school year.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I’m sitting in the dentist’s office while my husband is getting all four of his wisdom teeth pulled. As I wait, I listen in on a conversation between two older men who are discussing their grandchildren. Both discuss sporting events and birthday parties, babysitting so they’re kids can enjoy an evening out. Both confirm that being close to their grandchildren is the best. And then one of the men says, “I can’t imagine being away from those kiddos. It would break my heart.” I plunge my nose deeper into the book I brought and try to focus on what it is I am reading. But the truth is, I’m thinking of the distance between Hadley and Harper’s grandparents and Washington DC. It would be nice if they could come to sporting events and birthday parties and the like. And while waiting for your husband as he comes out of very minor surgery is not a big deal, I was lonely and a little scared sitting in the waiting room. For some reason or another, this felt hard and scary.

I should’ve been, but wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of directions I was getting from a couple of nurses and the dentist as I stood in the room my husband was recovering in. My husband, who is the most rational person in the world, was not rational at this particular moment. So while he was acting a little like a frat boy, I was trying my hardest to concentrate on which pain killers I was to get, what he should be eating, how to help him out to the car.

We made our way out to the main office, and, as I put my jacket on I noticed the two men who were talking about their grandchildren earlier, were watching the scene with my husband being somewhat supported by two nurses. This made me angry. I wanted to tell those guys that we have two daughters and their grandparents are nowhere near a hop, skip, and a jump away. I wanted to say that instead of staring maybe they could at least send a smile my way. That’s what my dad would’ve done. My dad would’ve smiled, gotten up and opened the door for us.

Instead, when we got in the car, I looked at the time and texted the mother I carpool with to tell her we would not be home in time when Harper arrived. I told her I still needed to get pain relievers and antibiotics from Target and it might be a while.  “I’m so sorry,” I texted.  “I feel terrible dumping my kid off at your place!” She told me to relax. She told me she’d feed Harper lunch. She told me to do a little shopping at Target while I waited for the prescription to fill. “I know that’s your happy place,” she texted.  She did exactly what my mom would’ve done.

In a SAPA meeting in August, I remember Brooke Carroll saying that she hoped what would happen this school year is that parents would find their “people” – their friends, their circle, folks we not only share the responsibility of child rearing with, but folks we laugh with, too. I liked that sentiment, but I know it doesn’t happen immediately. I wonder, though, if the “easy tasks” like carpool, help us draw that circle around us. Sort of like starting to bake from a mix. Maybe you practice with the easy stuff until you’re ready to venture out with a more difficult recipe.

While my husband was recovering that afternoon, Harper and I made salted caramel brownies from scratch. We made the caramel, stirring the sugar until it browned, pouring in butter and cream. We poured it onto a plate covered with wax paper and stuck it in the freezer. We melted Dutch chocolate left over from Christmas (a traditional Christmas gift from my husband’s parents) and stirred in more butter, flour, vanilla, and sugar to make the brownies. When the caramel hardened, we broke it into pieces and folded it gently into the batter. Harper turned the oven light on and watched patiently as the brownies cooked and our home filled with the smell of vanilla, sugar, and chocolate.

The caramel didn’t crack as easily as I expected, so it probably needed to be in the freezer a bit longer. And I hoped to cut the brownies into little hearts, but that didn’t work out. They were sticky and gooey and calling the shapes I cut them into “squares” would be a generous statement. But they were pretty good. And I’m glad I attempted a more difficult (for me anyway) recipe. I will remember to save some for my friend who I carpool with, as well as tell my mom about this recipe.  She will be proud of me for baking them from scratch, but she will be more proud of me that I am starting to find my circle of friends.

That’s the next best thing to having her here.

How Not To Get Stressed Out

– By Callie Feyen

Holiday StressIt’s a busy time of year. You knew that, right?  You don’t need me writing a post about how busy this time of year is. That’s just going to stress you out.  Quite frankly, it’ll stress me out writing it.  I’m starting to get a twitch in my left eye from just thinking about it.

Instead, let’s focus on solutions. Let’s be problem solvers. Let’s take this time of year and look it in the face and say, “I see you, End of 2012.  You don’t intimidate me.  You don’t stress me out with your holiday shopping and your multiple cookie exchange parties. I’ve got a plan that consists of lots of red Starbucks cups and multiple mani/pedis. I am in my happy place, 2012. Don’t get in my way!”

Holiday StorePROBLEM NUMBER 1: You want your kids to get a little something for their siblings, cousins, etc., but you don’t to spend a ton of money.

SOLUTION: Seneca Academy’s Holiday Shop!  All this week the store is open for kids to purchase gifts for loved ones.  Not only that, but they can shop, on their own, with the assistance of other people!  YOU DON”T NEED TO BE THERE!  It’s genius, I tell you!  When I try to take my girls to get a present for someone else, it’s torture. “Mom, can I get one of these too? Please? Please?!?! PLEASE?!?!”  My kids are so much better behaved with a stranger.  So if you’re like me, take advantage of this opportunity.  Put your feet up (preferably with a nice coffee) and let someone else take care of your kids for a few minutes.

Holiday StorePROBLEM NUMBER 2: Conferences are coming up and you don’t know what to do with your kids while you meet with their teacher.

SOLUTION: Bring them to the Craft Workshop held this Friday from 8:30-3:30!  For $5, you can drop your child off and they can do several holiday crafts: decorate cookies, make snowmen and ornaments, all kinds of activities that will keep your child busy while you meet with his teacher.

10d4342f6b7d92d2624466d21a7deeb3_biggerPROBLEM NUMBER 3: You want to do something “holiday-ish” with the family but you’re not sure what to do.

SOLUTION: How about taking a trip to Barnes and Noble and California Pizza Kitchen next week?  On December 11, come out to Barnes and Noble to hear Dr. Carroll read (4:30), the Seneca band play (5:00) and the Seneca Chorus sing (5:30), buy some great books and then walk over to CPK for dinner! You’ve got your family holiday outing, and you’re supporting a great school!

So there you go.  This is all totally manageable, parents.  We can do this!  We WILL do this!  Now who wants to meet me at Starbucks then walk over to get her nails done with me?


Thanksgiving– by Callie Feyen

Recently, I was in Trader Joe’s picking out cans of pumpkin, a few boxes of brownie mixes, and looking for cranberry preserves for a Martha Stewart recipe I wanted to try (this Thanksgiving, I’m in charge of desserts).  If you’ve ever been to TJ’s, you know that they like it when you help bag the groceries.  I don’t mind helping out, actually.  I used to be a grocery clerk back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I suppose bagging takes me back to those lovely teenage summers in Chicago when, as soon as my shift ended, I’d go to the pool for the rest of the day.

But on this visit, when I was bagging my eggs, etc., I had to do more than just daydream about being 16 again.  On this afternoon, I had to make sure Harper stayed close by.  Harper loves to grocery shop, and she particularly loves Trader Joe’s because the music is loud and she likes to sing along.  Singing leads to dancing and dancing leads to walking in between cash registers, bumping into shopping carts, knocking into flowers…you get the picture.  So on this day, as I bagged, I went back and forth from looking at the groceries, to making sure Harper was where she was supposed to be.  I probably looked like some sort of robot or strange bird looking across and then down, across and down, as I neared the end of this chore all the while making sure my child was safe. I’ll be honest. I was tired and stressed out.  Is it just me or are things like grocery shopping, cleaning, eating a meal, ten times harder (albeit more lively) with kids?

BaguetteAnyway, out of the corner of my eye, I could see an elderly woman walking up to me.  She had one bag and it was filled with a loaf of bread, a head of lettuce, perhaps some peanut butter and jelly.  It was the kind of bag you see in magazines or TV commercials.  Do you know the one I mean?  The kind NOBODY ever walks out with because who goes to the grocery store for just a baguette and a head of lettuce?

The woman got nearer and I realized she was going to speak to me so I stopped what I was doing and held her gaze.  She looked so friendly, and the smile on her face made me remember my grandma.  I could feel the corners of my mouth lifting upwards just because she was smiling at me. She put an arm on my shoulder, tilted her head and, “tsked.”  Then she said, “Mama looks so old and tired.”

Pushing the grocery cart out to my car, I constructed about five different sarcastic Facebook updates having to do with the elderly.  I would’ve posted them too, but when I got inside the car I flipped the rear view mirror towards me to check to see how tired and old I actually looked (I’m that vain).  The lady was right, but that’s not all I saw in the mirror.  To the right side, sat Harper.  And on that day, Harper turned four years old.

Instead of harping on a stranger, I updated my status to say that my child turned four.  I was still pretty upset but my disappointment seemed dull compared to the joy of getting to know Harper these past four years.  I was defined by what that woman said, but what left a bigger impression on me was the people who wrote their birthday wishes to Harper via Facebook.  Some said she was beautiful.  One said she looked just like me, something no one has ever told me. And so many of my old and new friends cheered with me in the fact that Harper is in this world.

I’m not going to write next, “And so I learned it is always better to turn the other cheek and find the bright side in the situation.”  I’m sure this is true but the reason I share this story with you is because I learned that practicing being thankful, even when I don’t feel like it, makes it easier to be thankful.

So on these couple days before Thanksgiving, before the full swing of holiday preparations, before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, before the pumpkin pies come out of the oven, here are some things to be thankful for Seneca Academy.

  1. Carpool – I know this may seem silly, but many people told me, (and I agree with them) how great it is that we don’t have to park our cars and walk our kids into school.  Several parents said that it is a great way to start the day seeing the kids and their teachers smile at one another as they greet each other in the morning.
  2. Pam Hauck, our Kindergarten teacher is nominated for Best Teacher in Montgomery County!  This is not only something to be thankful for, but extremely exciting.
  3. SAPA – It doesn’t seem appropriate to write “SAPA” since, technically, I am on SAPA. I don’t do that much, however.  What I do know, and what several others have told me, is that there are very creative, passionate people that make up this group that are doing a multitude of things to make it so Seneca will thrive.
  4. Teachers – The other day I had to walk my carpool into the classroom because we had several items for their Thanksgiving Feast.  I was worried about disrupting the teachers in those precious minutes before school starts, but Mrs. Boyland and Mrs. Hall both welcomed me into the classroom and not only that, chatted with me for a while.  There’s nothing this Mama loves more than to talk to other adults!  Here’s another thing that happened that I thought was really cool: I had Harper’s jacket and school bag in my hands and I asked where I could put them.  Both teachers said, “Harper knows.  She can do it.”  Not only do these ladies take time to chat, but they teach independence.  I am a huge fan of teaching independence.
  5. Seneca Academy supports confidence by teaching that it’s OK to make mistakes. – Have you read Brooke Carroll’s recent blog post?  If you haven’t, I encourage to stop reading this one and hop over to hers, ASAP.  She writes that confidence, “…is not something that parents or teachers can give to a child; it has to be developed through self-reflection, trial and error, failure and success.” I love that I have the opportunity to send my children to a school that believes we must develop ourselves through the mistakes we make.  I am thankful for a school that promotes this kind of learning.

These are just five items, and I’m sure you can think of more.  And I’ll be honest, sharing what I’m thankful about doesn’t always take away the fact that there are struggles and trials, but perhaps it helps me see how I might develop through them.

You know what? I am tired. And I am getting old.  But I’m thankful, too.  I guess the trick this season, is learning to be OK with all three.

When the Weather Outside is Frightful

– by, Callie Feyen

Hopefully you are all reading this not just for the unbelievable prose that goes on here but, more importantly, you have power and Hurricane Sandy didn’t cause too much damage to you and your families.

Sandy’s wake left us with some brisk weather, no?  One day I’m wearing flip flops and the next I’m cranking up the heat.  I’m not complaining, however.  I like a proper fall: one that begs for hot cider, pumpkin pie, and cozy blankets.

This weather also makes me want to get into a good story so I thought I’d share some picture books and some chapter books with you in the chance you and your children are looking for something to go with that mug of hot chocolate:

A Sick Day for Amos McGeeA Sick Day for Amos McGee – This book won the Caldecott in 2011 and it is a delightful story about a zookeeper who knows a penguin who is very shy, and tortoise who never loses a race. One day Amos, the zookeeper, gets sick and the animals come to visit him.  “Hooray! My good friends are here!” Amos says, but you’ll have to read the rest to see the fun they have.  I’ll just end with this: I love the dedication to the book.  Look for it above the copyright information on the inside cover.

A Visitor for Bear – This is a book about a bear who does not like any visitors. At all. Ever. He even has a sign on the door that reads, “NO VISITORS ALLOWED.”  Can you guess what the conflict in the book will be? If not, I’ll tell you: there is a mouse, “small and gray and bright eyed” who keeps popping up asking for a bit of tea and cheese.  Every time I read this book, I feel for the bear who just wants some peace and quiet, but I also am excited for what lovely things come from interruptions.

Walk Two MoonsWalk Two Moons – You are going to pick this up and if you have a son he is going to say, “I’m not reading this book because it’s about a girl.”  He will be right that the main character is a girl, but I think he will be in for a wonderful surprise if he decides to read it anyway.  Walk Two Moons was one of my favorite read alouds when I was teaching, and it was the boys who begged me to keep reading it.  It’s a sort of mystery, coming of age type of story with lots of funny characters including two grandparents who are hilariously adorable.  Be warned, though: This book is very sad.  So sad that every time I try to read the end I cry. So sad that once, after I finished reading the last words, my whole class had their heads down on their desks and nobody wanted to go out for recess. But it is so sad in the way that leads to sharing and making sense of our own life stories, which is in part what I think reading is all about.

Boy – This book by Roald Dahl is an old one, but it is a crowd pleaser.  If you’re a fan of his stories, you might see hints of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or James and the Giant Peach in his tales of childhood.  One suggestion: read the part where he and his friends decide to put a rat in a candy jar out loud.  Your kids will thank you.

Ella EnchantedElla Enchanted – This is the best version of the Cinderella story I’ve read.  You will find subtle tracings of the “real” fairytale and they might be fun to pick out, but I suspect you’ll be too concerned with figuring out how to talk to ogres or how Ella will break the spell she is under: which is that she must do whatever anyone tells her.  Girls will be the first to pick this one up but I think boys will like it too (did I mention the ogres?).  Everyone will enjoy exploring the blessings and curses of obedience.

I think we have a lot of cozy days reading ahead of us, and I’m looking forward to it.  I love getting into a good story, but I also love hearing what others are reading.  So feel free to add a comment with a “must read” at the end of this post.  Until then, happy fall!

You Are Not Alone In This

– by, Callie Feyen

When you’re in the carpool line, do you ever wonder about the other parents around you?  I do. I wonder what kind of mornings you all have. Are they generally calm?  Did you make a healthy breakfast for your children?  And did they eat it?  Willingly? Is all their homework complete and in appropriate folders?

And if the morning didn’t go so smoothly, what did you do?  If your kid didn’t want to get out of bed, if she didn’t finish her homework, if he wouldn’t eat his apple, what did you do?  Did you stay calm? Did you have a rational conversation ending in a hug about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast and always completing one’s homework to the best of one’s ability?

When you pull up to the curb, your door opens, and your child slips out into the hand of a smiling teacher, does that knot in your stomach of watching them walk into school ever go away?  I’ve only been doing this for three years but every morning I drop my daughters off to school it isn’t easy for me to put the car back in drive and pull away.  Did I do enough? Could I have done the morning better? Does she have everything she needs?  Will she be OK? No matter how crazy the morning is, the car seems to rattle from the vacancy that fills the space.

And let’s face it, the mornings are crazy.  I recently heard of a fellow mother whose little girl wore her nightgown to school because she wasn’t interested in getting ready that morning.  The mother decided that being on time to school was most important so she walked her daughter into her classroom and dropped the uniform off at the office for when she was ready to put it on.

I can imagine the car ride over to school that morning.  It couldn’t have been easy on anyone, however, I love that the school and the parents worked together to help this young student understand a simple but important message: We love you, now get dressed.  Turns out, when she was ready, she did indeed don her uniform.

And what about the times when we make mistakes? (Because we do, don’t we?  I’m not the only one?)  A friend of mine told me that she sent her son, who she thought was potty-trained, to preschool when it turned out he still needed some practice in this department.  “Mrs. Schnatz let me know he needed to be potty trained before he came back to school.  She was very supportive and gave me a lot of good advice.”

So they set out to practice.  When she thought he was ready, she sent him to school and this time, he had a buddy to help encourage him along the way. “[He] was supported in the classroom and I was supported with kindness and good advice as to how to help my child succeed.” What’s more, these two little preschoolers grew up together to be best friends.

That rattling that I hear in my car after I drop my kids off?  It quiets down.  Sometimes with some loud music, and sometimes with – let me be honest – gratitude that I can get things done ten times faster now that my kids are in school.  But what makes it easiest for me to drive away each morning, is knowing that the teachers at Seneca are working with me to help my children bloom. They have shown me many times over that I am not alone in this impossible-important task. Knowing this doesn’t make that vacancy feel so big.

Perfect Schmerfect

– by, Callie Feyen
My oldest daughter once went to preschool without underpants. What kind of mother misses that important article of clothing?  In my defense, Hadley’s outfit was laid out the night before, neatly folded next to her bed, undies included.  But the morning of school got a little crazy (somebody please tell me you have crazy mornings, too).  It started while I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes and told Hadley to get dressed.  You know, to promote independence.  “Hey, Mom! I can get my clothes on all by myself!”  Except, Hadley decided it’d be more fun to wrap herself up in her blanket, “like a caterpillar.”

That’s what she told me when she was crawling down the hallway, her knees knocking against the floor as she pushed herself towards the bathroom all swaddled up like, well, like a caterpillar.

And who wants to get dressed when you could be a caterpillar?  At least, that’s what Harper, my younger daughter thought.  Who indeed?

This incident might’ve contributed to us being late to school.  It definitely contributed to the fact that Hadley didn’t arrive fully clothed. (She did have pants on folks. They don’t call me “Detailed Oriented Callie” for nothin’.)

I keep telling you guys secrets on this blog.  Here’s another: I really, really, really, like the idea of being perfect.  Doesn’t that sound nice?  Peaceful mornings, an organized and clean home, the ability to wear skinny jeans without worrying that my hips look wider than my car: it all sounds fantastic.  The problem is, I’ll never be as organized as I want to be.  If you’ve met me, you probably don’t think “peaceful” when you see me, and I really like the cannolis at Royal Crown Bakery in Germantown, thus, contributing to my wide hip dilemma.

Here’s another secret: I don’t think I’m the only one who messes up from time to time.  Tara Scholz, whose daughter Camden is in Kindergarten, dressed her in “the cutest jumper and shirt with frilly socks and adorable shoes” on the day Camden had PE.

“She couldn’t have looked cuter,” Tara said.  And really, don’t we want to both look good AND be good athletes?  So I think Tara did her a favor.  Camden, on the other hand, wasn’t too thrilled.  “Remember I have to run and jump during PE,” she told her mom.  “So next time, no pretty clothes!”

Hey, Cam, at least you had underpants on.

I’ll end this post with one more secret: Hadley crawling down the hallway like a caterpillar is one of my favorite memories of a school morning.  I laughed when she did it – a big, hearty belly laugh – the kind that reminds me I can’t believe I get to be her momma.  And each time I think about that morning I smile again.

I’ll take that over being perfect any day.

Volunteer Myths

– by, Callie Feyen

You know those columns in beauty magazines where they debunk tales so readers can be in the know on all the tips and trends?  No?  So it’s just me that learned that painting my nails a different color every day doesn’t, in fact, make them grow faster?

I was reading one of those articles recently and thought about some of the myths we might have about volunteering.  I thought I’d write them down in a post for you.  Here goes:

Myth #1!MYTH NUMBER 1: You have to be perfect.
On Tuesday night I volunteered at the Book Fair. I was late. I zapped the wrong barcode on a book and the cashier kind of broke.  I realized after an, ehem, rather long while that half the raffle tickets we were handing out to patrons needs to GO to the patron…not in the raffle bucket. I didn’t know that SAPA items (like those cute pumpkin pom pons?!?!) don’t get rung up at the cash register.  At one point I tripped over my own feet and banged into the piano behind me, causing a bunch of stuff to fall off of it.

Despite what some may consider major hindrances on my part, books were sold, kids left with smiles on their faces, and fun was had.

MYTH NUMBER 2: If you say you can volunteer and it turns out you can’t, the world will end.
I think it was the Halloween party in Mrs. St. John’s class that I said I would be a parent volunteer for last year.  I was excited about this opportunity because I love Halloween and I love parties.  However, in the middle of the night before the party, my daughter Harper woke up with croup. I’m not the most knowledgeable person, but I figured taking a sick kid into a classroom is a no-no.  So I contacted the room parent to let her know I couldn’t help.  I felt terrible about cancelling and second guessed whether I should commit to something else.  But here I am, breaking cashiers and knocking over pianos.

MYTH NUMBER 3: The only way to support Seneca Academy is by organizing and being a part of all the events.
I was really excited to go to the Annual Benefit last year.  I’d heard enthusiastic rumblings about how cool it was going to be and began planning my Chicago- style- mobster- girlfriend attire for the big night.

A few weeks before the Benefit, I got a phone call from an editor I work with asking if I would be interested in writing a feature story for a conference that occurred on the same day as the Benefit.  The conference happened to be in Michigan.

I told Tara Scholz of my predicament, and that, while I didn’t think I could make it to the Benefit, I’d still like to buy a ticket.  I was so sad that I wouldn’t be there, but one thing I’ll never forget that Tara told me was this: “One thing you should know about me is this: I never stand in the way of my friends and their dreams.”

We don’t want to get in the way of what you have going on in your lives – and we know there’s a lot going on.  We just want to provide opportunities for you to help with all the young dreams that are beginning to take root at Seneca Academy.  I promise you don’t have to be perfect. I promise it’ll be OK if you have to cancel sometimes.  I promise it’s OK if you don’t show up to everything.  And I promise you will find a group of people who will bring out a skill that you might know you have.

Please Volunteer!Please contact SAPA ( if you have not signed the volunteering form and are willing to volunteer. There are tons of opportunities available.

Here are just a few of the positions we are looking to fill: Grant Writer, Grant Donations Researcher, Chair for Donation Solicitors for Annual Benefit, Solicitors for Annual Benefit, Online Profile Manager but we would love to hear from you with your ideas on how we can partner together.