Friday, June 10, 2016

One Word Update: Still

Photo Credit: Herman Frantzen

Another year has come to an end. Not a calendar year, but a school year. Graduation was last night and we said goodbye to another group of seniors. Bulletin boards are empty, boxes are packed, furniture is labeled. I am ready to box up this year and let the moving crew do their job to move me into a new classroom. It has been a difficult year for so many different reasons. I have found myself listening to book after book and podcast after podcast in an effort to quiet the noise in the back of my head. I have enjoyed the stories, but the pace of them has been rather frenetic. I can't say exactly why. I'm not certain what it is that I'm running from. Maybe just the list of things I need to do. Maybe the stress of messing up one of those "to do" items. I know I need to set aside some time to stop, time to just listen.

That is the whole reason I chose the word Still or maybe the word chose me. But I haven't done a good job of making that word a reality. I do have another half a year do to better. Maybe with the end of the school year I will find an opportunity to be still. Somehow being still seems overwhelming. I guess that is the nature of change.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Today Is A Day To Remember

Photo Caption: Me


Today I am drinking my coffee and eating a Dunkin Donut. I have been googling how to use Snapchat and posted my first story. In a little bit,  I will eat a Bojangles biscuit because I am spoiled rotten. Later I will give the dog a bath and Drew will clean the cars. Ben will run up the hill to our house from Nana's house. Sometime today I hope to sit down with my library copy of Murder, She Wrote and my ARC of Nick Thacker's next Harvey Bennett novel. We might get a little time in Nana's pool as well. It is a pretty typical holiday around here.

But today is not a typical holiday. Today is Memorial Day. Today is the day we remember the sacrifices of those who have sacrificed their life for our country, our freedoms, and the freedoms of other people and countries. Today I remember Ben Olds and the rest of the crew that was with him.  I remember Jamie Lowe and the 3 other men that died in the reconnaissance mission with him. But I also remember the families of all these men.  I can't imagine the hole that is left in their lives. 
The only thing I know to do is to pass on their stories, so others know. Their sacrifices will not be forgotten. They will not be forgotten.

Thank you.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Is This Life?

Photo Credit: cea+


This week has been exhausting. There has been good stuff that happened too. My son and husband went to Monday Night Raw this week. It was one of those lifetime memory moments. I was so happy for him that I actually teared up. It was just so special. I got to finish a great book and start another one. And those two things have kept me up late and it was good. I have seen Ben playing and Drew coaching youth soccer games. They both do such a great job! It is a joy to spend my Tuesday and Thursday nights watching them.

However, my daughter is teething and it has been raining all week, which has thrown off my dog's bathroom breaks. Those two things have combined to make sleeping through the night nearly impossible. That hasn't been good. I've also had a cough for about 3 weeks. It was probably a virus that turned into a cold or allergies because I have also had some drainage. That hasn't been good.

The good stuff and the bad stuff have combined to make me exhausted. It is also the end of the school year with testing and special days abounding. So taking a sick day isn't going to happen. I'm getting a half sick day today. I might be calling the doctor as well because coughing for 3 weeks probably isn't a good thing. Then tonight I'm going back to be house manager for the drama musical production tonight and tomorrow.

I keep thinking someday things will slow down. I think I won't be this busy forever. At some point in time this week, I stopped myself. I thought maybe it won't slow down. Maybe life will always be this full and this busy. Maybe it will always be this exhausting. Maybe I should stop praying for God to make this easier and pray for God to help me do this well.

What do you think?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday the 13th

I think Friday the 13th has started creeping into the other days of the week. Monday was a sick day because everyone in the house was sick. Wednesday there was a lockdown at the high school. I think that is obviously stressful for many reasons. Everything turned out fine. Everyone involved was amazingly professional. Thursday the wheel bearing in my car was bad and the soccer game was rained out, as in it started pouring about 2 minutes into the game. So far today has been quiet. I have to say that I'm suspicious of the quiet.

Photo Credit: Frédéric BISSON


With all of the stuff going on this week, it would be easy to become discouraged or angry. It would be easy to write a post to complain about all the bad stuff happening.

But it hasn't been a bad week.

There have been low lights, but there have also been highlights. I have listened to Ben and Lily laughing together as they played. I have listened to Ben laughing shortly after he wakes up. (That's an amazing feat because that little boy is not a morning person.) I have listened to Lily laughing as Ike licks her face all over. I have gotten to cuddle with my husband. (Again amazing feat with two little ones in the house.) We have all sat down together and eaten dinner. We have given hugs and kisses. We got caught in a spring rain storm. I have had deep conversations with my son about his worth. I have had conversations with my daughter about her school day.

It has been a good week. So bring on Friday the 13th. I'm ready for you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

When You Can't Dress Yourself

Not only am I getting older, but I really think my mind is starting to go. I am finding it harder and harder to remember things without writing them down. Sure we all have some issues like that, appointments, meetings or other things out of the ordinary need to be written down. This I'm not particularly worried about because that happens to everyone, young or old. It's when I forget to do the obvious things that I start to get worried. As such today is a day that I'm starting to worry about myself.

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day and a part of Teacher Appreciation Week. As a teacher, I look forward to this because I normally get a special lunch or two. As a parent who is also a teacher, this week stresses me out a little. I feel like I should be an expert gift giver because I see behind the scenes. Not only do I need to get a gift for my son's teacher, but what about his extras teachers? They are normally forgotten about. I know because I'm an extras teacher. So I can't forget about them or the teacher's assistants. They need to be appreciated as well. So my gift giving is now up to 6 people. Finding gifts for them isn't a problem. Wrapping said gifts is a problem. I don't have enough bags for all of those and my wrapping paper is all for Christmas. So I wrap it in tissue paper and tie it with a ribbon. It looks pretty good if I do say so myself. But how to do I say the to and from? It's paper, so I just write on there with a Sharpie. Not the nicest thing ever, but it's 6 gifts, 8 including Lily's teachers. And it's the thought that counts, so I write the names on the paper. But what if Ben or whomever is delivering them can't tell who it is for? I'll just go in to the office first thing in the morning. I can point out where the names are and the gifts can go in their boxes. Maybe it would mean more if Ben delivered them, but that seems like a lot for a first grader to do.

So the gifts are wrapped and the plan is set. Now I just need to put aside an extra 10 minutes in my morning. 

You would think getting up 10 minutes earlier would be the easy solution. But easy solutions are not my specialty. And I also have some kind cold virus thing. My throat is scratchy and I don't feel great. So that extra 10 minutes was important this morning. I decided to save time in the clothes department. I have a new skirt I've been wanting to wear. So I grab the skirt and a solid color t-shirt. Simple and quick. I make lunches, get Ben ready, make my coffee, and we are ready to go. Ben knows we have to be out early, so he gets his shoes on without a fuss. The only thing left is for me to put shoes on, which I remember after I have picked up all my bags. I don't have shoes on because at one point in time this morning I had thought about wearing flip flops or flats or maybe even the new tennis shoes I got. So without socks on and with all of my gear on my shoulders, there only seemed to be one solution, flip flops. Now we are ready and out the door 10 minutes early. Win!

On the drive to school, it starts to sprinkle. Flip flops in the rain isn't the best idea. No biggie I'm going to be inside most of the day. It's okay, not a huge problem. I get out of the car to go inside my son's school to deliver the presents. Then Ben says, "Mom, what's all over your shirt?" I look down and see.... 

Actual Stain

spaghetti stains. Big ones. I know I just washed and dried this shirt. That means I forgot to put the stain remover on the shirt before I washed it. So it's pretty much a guarantee that this shirt is stained for good. But more importantly, I have to wear a spaghetti stained shirt all day. There is no time to go home or to run to the store for a new one. So I'm wearing this one all day. At school, I realize that I forgot to pray with Ben this morning too. We pray every school morning. Of course I also get dressed every morning. 

So on a rainy day, I have no coat, flip flops, a spaghetti stained shirt, and an unprayed for child. It might be time to worry. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mama Said There'd Be days Like This

A field trip, a class party, two meetings, a soccer game on the day before pay day with Aunt Flo coming for a visit.

OH it is so hard being an adult! Too much to do in one day. Can I get an amen?




The field trip was great because I got to see some of my students in whole new light. We got to celebrate things together, like making some really cool art and eating a whole burrito when you were the last kid in line and it's almost time to go. (Yes we really did celebrate that.) I got to create art. No rules of what it is supposed to look like or be like. Just here are some cool pieces of wood and some wood glue, create. I got see some amazing photography and folk art. I got spend time in a museum. It was a chance to breathe. The class party went a bit wonky. I can't make one of the meetings. It might rain out the soccer game. But it's all good because art and I got to meet today.

What made your day great today?

P.S. I'll post photos of my art when it is done. Today was just step 1.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Getting better inch by inch

Life as a working mother of 2 young kids is busy. When that job is teaching, the proper adjective would be crazy. (Let's not even go into the other stuff that is going on in life.) It is so easy to just get lost in the stream of things that are going on, to let life live you. I have been guilty of that for much of this school year and probably quite a bit of last school year. Somewhere along the line recently I decided that I wasn't going to let that keep happening. I was going to do something about it. So I'm slowly carving out 5 minutes here and there for enjoyable activities as well as 30 seconds of gratefulness here and there. I'm noticing a difference. I see my life getting better inch by inch.

What am I doing more of?

More reading
More baseball
More walking
More playing with my kids
More enjoying  my kids


So when we are out walking and I see the sun shining on Lily's red hair, I stop. I smile. I tuck that memory away. When Lily uses a new sentence and just sounds so cute, I stop. I smile. I tuck away that memory. Last night when Lily wanted to walk around the track instead of sitting to watch Ben's game. She took my finger and said walk. So I walked. She discovered a stand of pine trees at the top of the hill. She saw and adventure and climbed the tall hill. She got stuck in all the roots and was trying her hardest to figure out how to climb further. I stopped. I smiled. I took a photo and tucked away the memory. I just love my adventurous little girl.
        



Ben is now 7. He is growing so fast and conquering so many things. First grade has not been easy for him. His writing was behind and general expression of ideas as well. So we have worked so hard with him and he is doing fabulous. His allergies have gotten the best of him this past week. So he went to the doctor Monday and missed school. So yesterday he had extra work to do. Last night he did 2 worksheets that he missed and 4 spelling assignments! He didn't need to do all the spelling assignments, but he was willing to work. So he just kept working for me. What kid does that much work just because you ask him? Mine does. Last night after the game I saw a video of the dolphin in Shedd's Aquarium giving birth. I called Ben over and we watched it again together. He just kept oohing and ahhing over the baby dolphin, talking about how cute it was even when it was just a bit of tail sticking out. Again, I stopped. I smiled. I tucked away the memory. There's more I could say, but I'm not sure I'm ready to publicly share it. Suffice it to say, there are many times in these last few months that have been special. I stop. I smile. I tuck away the memory.

A little bit more good stuff in my day and life looks a little brighter. Actually it looks a lot brighter. So if you need some brightness in your day, look around. Stop. Smile. And tuck away the memory.