Image 7-20-17 at 8.09 PM (4)


Hello!  I’m Christy.

In a nutshell, I am a:

  • Mama
  • Teacher
  • Soon-to-be published author (March 29, 2018!)
  • Grief survivor
  • Podcaster
  • Over-sharer

I think you’ll love it here if you have ever tripped up the stairs, if you love to read, if you love true crime, if you have any kind of emotional baggage, if lots of people stress you out (or don’t), or if you have at least one child who is obsessed with Halloween.  🙂

At any rate, I’m glad you’re here.




Best of La Crosse County 2018


Hey, there! If you are here from the Explore La Crosse page, Hello!  I’m Christy and I’m a writer, and somehow I got on this list with Randy Erickson and Sue Hessel, who have been writers in this community for MUCH longer than I have, and who are excellent role-models and WAY more talented than I.  Top 3!  Craziness!

I am SO honored, and I’m sure it was with a little help from my friends. 🙂 Love you, guys!

Anyway, I’m a 4th grade teacher, a mama, and a published author. My book, Almost a Mother: Love, Loss, and Finding Your People When Your Baby Dies, will be released on March 29th. It’s a book about grief, and humor, and love, and all the other things that come along with loss.

I also have a Facebook page: where I try really hard to make you laugh and brighten up your day. You can keep up with everything I’m doing over there! I’d love it if you go and “like” my page.

Lastly, you can find me as a regular on the podcast Friending and a regular contributor to Still Standing Magazine.

I’m so glad you’re here. Stay a while!




A Gun in My Classroom? As if.


Photo by David Levêque on Unsplash

*Note: These examples are not from my actual, current, class, just examples that I have experienced often as a teacher. I don’t want my students’ families to think I’m sharing sensitive information. XO*

5:24 a.m. The alarm goes off. My alarm ringer is an Eminem song. The only 10 seconds where I get to listen to the music I actually like rather than the soundtrack from The Lego Movie.

5:40 a.m. Stumble downstairs to walk on the dreadmill treadmill. Listen to serial killer podcast. Be constantly on alert for someone to bust through the door and kidnap me.

6:20 a.m. Shower. Within 5 minutes, one child will be awake. They will either:

a)attempt to get in shower

b)tell me at length about the dream they had

c)crawl under the bedspread on the bed I just made and wrangle it all up.

I’ll spare you 6:40-7:40, and we’ll just call that “The part where I repeat directions a lot, talk about how I’ll lose my job if we’re any later, and find ‘the other sock’.”

7:40: Walk into work. Chat with the custodian. On the way to my classroom door, the guidance counselor sees me. We chat about a student who we are trying to help.

7:55: While working on getting my instructional materials ready for the day, putting my lunch in the fridge, shoving my purse in my desk drawer (since I don’t have a place to lock it anywhere), the phone rings. It is a parent who wants me to know her child is constipated. I need to let him use the bathroom at any time, no questions asked.

8:10: Pull up e-mail. Topics include:

*a fundraiser for a district family with cancer

*a staff member’s family member has just died

*an agenda for a meeting that is after school until 5:00

*money I owe for dues

*5 questions from my 4th-grade team about one math lesson we are trying to iron out.

*An e-mail from a parent telling me that their son forgot their homework last night and could I please not be mad at him or yell at him because he feels really bad

*An e-mail from a colleague that tells me one of my students has been written up 3 times in a month and I need to email the parent.

8:25: The kids come in. I am bombarded with stories. I get 4 excuses for why their homework is not done (I had dance last night, I forgot, did we have homework last night? and I had to watch my brother’s wrestling match). I get shown a Harry Potter shirt, a new container of slime, a pencil-topper that blinks, and that someone is now on page 69 already of their book.

8:40: as I begin to teach math, the phone rings. There is a lunch bag in the office for one of my kids. As I hang up, a student approaches, “Mrs. W, my lips are bleeding because they are so chapped.” I point to the vaseline I always have, with Q-tips, just for this reason. I pass out a bandaid. I send a kid to the nurse, who comes back up to go home since he has a fever.

Back to math.

I notice one girl does not look well. As soon as I can, I check in with her to find that her parents were fighting all night and she’s exhausted.

Back to math.

While assigning partners, a student explodes and runs out of the room in anger.

10 minutes later, that student is settled back in, and its back to math.

At the very end of math, as we line up to go to related arts, I see a teacher at my door. She wants to quick check-in on my reading lesson for the day, because she pushes into my classroom to help kids.

Related arts is my prep time. Except, we have a meeting.

During the meeting, we all meet and talk about data.

Reading, writing, math, what are we doing for this kid, does he have enough interventions? Should we move her from reading to math? Why do we think he’s not doing so well anymore? Her parents are gone and her brother is raising her while they work across the country. His mom is in jail. She is adopted. Do we think it’s social/emotional, or is there an academic need?

I stay in this meeting until the second past its time to go pick up my class from related arts. I realize I haven’t found the time to use the bathroom yet.

10:40 Time for reading. Search room because kids are starving and don’t have snack with them. Discover some old saltines in my drawer and offer them up, shrugging. I’ve spent a hundred bucks at least this year on animal crackers. While the kids eat something quickly, I start teaching the reading lesson.

A kid approaches me on the side, I don’t have anything to read at home, is it ok if I borrow one of your books? I go into my bag and grab the books I ordered from Scholastic for my own daughter, and give those to her. Keep these, I tell her.

During the reading lesson, one of my students has her head on the desk. What’s up, I ask. Well, she says, I got made fun of yesterday at recess and now I don’t want to go out.

Stay in here today, I tell her. You can eat lunch with me and we’ll figure out a plan.

Student leaves for a behavior break. I read with a 4th grader who has a reading comprehension level of a 1st grader.

Time for lunch.

I check my e-mail while I wait for my student to return. They include:

*Dress-up days for next week

*Overdue books

*Can I do a meeting over lunch on Friday? There’s no other time

*Guidance counselor wants one of my kids at this time once a week starting now

*Parent wants an update on a spelling intervention

*Don’t forget to bring your item for the potluck, order this t-shirt

*Another teacher is upset with me because I didn’t tell her that one of my students was moving to a different level of behavior (did I even know, I wonder?)

I check to make sure I’m ready to teach writing and science and intervention when the kids come back. Realize that we ran out of time when we were planning and I was supposed to pull books for everyone. I had gone to the library but gotten called down to the office when my student had stomped out of the cafeteria in anger. Run to library and pull books, drop them off for my co-workers, and then pull out my lunch.

The student is back and by the time she’s ready to go back to her friends, we both have cried. My heart hurts. It just feels like so much, sometimes, the hurt that our kids are experiencing

As she’s walking out the door, there is a fire alarm. We race outside. While out there, guidance chats to me about a situation where a parent is no longer allowed to pick up his son, who is in my class. I need to stay on alert and if I see him, call the principal immediately and don’t let him in.

I get inside and make a quick call to a parent, confirming that she will volunteer in my classroom the next day. While I have you on the phone, she says, my kid has been having some problems with friendships. Can you help?

At this point, it is NOT EVEN 12:00.

And you.

Want me.


A gun.

As if I can do one.more.thing.

As if I signed up to be in the military. As if I enrolled to defend my country, and went through basic training, and got training and free college and socialized healthcare.

As if I took this job knowing my own children could lose their mom so I can fend off a shooter who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.

As if.


The other night I was at Target, all by myself. I had just gotten a cavity filled, and it was Valentine’s Day, and although I personally think Valentine’s Day is ridiculous, I still sort of felt lame to have a mouth so numb that I couldn’t even close my lips, and to be wandering around Target alone trying to find swimming goggles.

I have long since learned my reactions to stress are as follows:

*Eat my emotions


*Buy things I don’t need

*Obsessively clean and de-clutter all the things I bought that I didn’t need

I suppose this list could be worse (I mean, jail time is probably not preferable, etc.), and I’m guessing from my experience a lot of you out there might have a similar list (kudos to you if stress makes you exercise, yo, way to be!). What frustrates me is that although I can recognize it, and I know these are my habits, I’m not “strong” enough to defeat them.

I get told I’m strong a lot. Strong for surviving. Strong for writing a book about my tragedy. Strong.

But there are things I am not strong about (which, if you’ve read me for a while, you already know them, so…) and my ability to cope with stress is not one of them. I am honestly so lucky that my husband wants to stay married to me and that my friends still love me (You do…right?).

Recently I found out that I’m being forced (well, it’s “voluntary,” but if you don’t do it, you lose your healthcare benefit) to participate in a wellness exam thing. Essentially, I get my blood drawn, and if I am not healthy enough, I have to go to classes to learn about how to get healthy.

I won’t pass.

But those classes? I mean, you guys, I’m an educator. I have a master’s degree because I LOVE to learn. I know about nutrition. I absolutely know how to lose weight. Quite honestly, I am not strong enough. I usually don’t even try because I hate what failing feels like.

And these tests, these employee “wellness” exams? Research shows they don’t even work. But I’ll tell you what they do-they remind me that as much as I work on it, my worth is always going to be valued based on my weight.

So, anyway, I was a little down, and feeling extra fat, and grumpy, and I was walking through the book aisle in Target.

Suddenly, I heard, “OMG NO way. I am totally Sophia. You are Rose.”


“Um, there is no way you’re Sophia. You’re so Rose it’s not even funny.”

“Well, at least I’m not Dorothy, like her!”

I looked over to see myself, 16ish years ago, with my college BFFs, Danny, Julia, and Sarah. I swear, it was like a movie moment where it flashed in front of me and I couldn’t help but smile.

There were one boy and three girls, the boy talking rapidly and almost running through the aisles, while two girls were scanning the books and one girl was yelling from a few feet back, having stopped to look at something no one else was interested in. The boy was wearing shorts and a muscle shirt and talked a LOT with his hands.

Eery, I remember thinking, how similar this is to my “past” life.

I watched them for a while, listening to their playful banter and I longed to have those days back. When we would enter the grocery store, and Danny J would yell, “Mrs. Paul’s Fish sticks, lightly battered, and…GO!” and Sarah, and Jul and I would race through the store trying to be the first to find them, screaming “SUPER MARKET SWEEP!” when we found the right box.

I miss actually getting kicked out of the Walmart parking lot because Danny insisted I push Julia around in a cart and he knocked both of us over. Getting a ticket for dancing in a fountain.

I miss staying up until 4 a.m., pretending to do our homework, at Perkins, knowing the next day I could just take a nap. Impromptu road trips. “Spring Break 2000!” when we called and set up like 8 real estate appointments on the lake to pretend like we were buying a lake house. Ice cream, and laughter. SO. MUCH. LAUGHTER.

I’m not carefree enough now. And I try, you guys. Everyday. I try to find the joy. Maybe it’s the weight of motherhood. Maybe it’s the stress of this book and everything it represents. Maybe it’s what working in a school has become. I guess it’s most likely a combination of those things.

Maybe it’s the work of trying to pretend I’m someone I’m not or the pressure of living up to everyone’s expectations.

What I know is that I need this back in my life. Maybe not tickets and getting kicked out of parking lots, but laughter. So, yeah, I’m going to fail my “wellness” test because I am overweight. I’m going to go sit in a class while they tell me to eat more protein and more vegetables and that there are “good” fats and “bad” fats.

I probably will still go buy fancy pens I don’t need at Target, and let things make me cry, and send my husband out for french fries at night when I’m feeling down.

But I am going to make it a goal to do it laughing.

You with me?


My daughter, she humbles me (let’s call this a poem because I didn’t feel like using normal sentences or punctuation and I’m feeling SUPER poetic tonight)

My daughter, she humbles me.

She is everything that I am, and also everything that I am not.

I couldn’t have imagined

how lovely she would be

how brave

how kind


resilient when I least expect it. Grateful and caring and full of LOVE

This morning, a glimpse of her walking hand-in-hand with her friend-

she has no idea he has Autism

she only knows she loves him

and she’ll tell me, “he’s just still learning, mom”

But, of course he is. You all are. After all, you are only 7.


How much can we expect from someone who has been on this earth for 7 short years?

How much can we expect from kids who are LEARNING?

Learning to be a good friend, learning to know what to do when you’re not, learning how to be assertive, yet kind, but also slowly learning what you actually want in a friendship (and what you don’t)

Today, I had to break my daughter’s heart

I had to tell her no to something she really wanted to do. She deserved to do it. It was not about her.

Not the first time, and won’t be the last, of course

yet hearing her sobs almost broke me

It wasn’t her fault. She can’t understand. She is, after all, only 7

All this time I’ve worried about being her mother. Can I be good enough when I am so broken? Can I give her what she needs when I can’t give myself what I need?

We got home after an emotional afternoon full of tears and she hugged me.

“Thanks for being the best mom and for keeping me safe, mom. And you should know, I was not mad at YOU. I’m never mad at YOU. I was just sad. But it’s ok now. It really isn’t that big of a deal. And like you said, I’ll understand someday.”

A million pieces became my heart.

She is 10,000 times as great as I will ever be.

even with our ridiculous expectations

and sometimes downright unfairness,

she is resilient.

With her chin up and her shoulders back, she carries on.

My daughter, she humbles me.