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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

PARCC is killing my teaching mojo

This is no joke.

This test is killing me and my ability to enjoy my job.

We have been testing since the beginning of March and we will not stop testing until the last day in May.

It's not always my kids, but it's a rotation of students every single day for 2 months straight.

It's taking away our counselors (who are being used as test coordinators).

It's taking away our technology (because every single computer and lab in the school is going to the testing).

It's taking away our time to produce meaningful and rich lessons because we are exhausted from simply trying to keep up with the schedules.

The kids cannot believe that they need to take the following exams:

  • 2 days of Math Performance Based Assessment
  • 2 days of ELA Performance Based Assessment
  • 2 days of Science MSA
  • 2 days of ELA End of Year Assessment
  • 1 day of Math End of Year Assessment
  • 4 finals (county written)
  • Countless unit exams that actually go into their grade for the year
They are confused as to why the Performance Based Assessment and the End of Year Assessments are within a month of each other.

They are exhausted from schedule changes.

They are burning out on tests.

And for what?

I can almost guarantee that they won't release the data next year and if they do, the data won't be strong enough to use as a talking point for most students or any educationally related decisions.

On top of that, there is more and more being asked of teachers and administrators to do on a daily basis...teachers because admin is tied up in testing issues and barely trying to keep up with their jobs! Our counselors are MIA b/c they're trying to deal with the testing issues, mass absences, emotional problems of our students, and scheduling and all of their other duties on top of that!

It's exhausting.  I've slacked.  I don't want to slack, but I'm barely keeping my head above water.

Oh, and this is my first day back from Spring Break, so I should be fresh, right?

Nope...done...just done.

I don't have a problem with Common Core, but I would love to have a sit down with whoever wrote these tests.

That's all for now.  Rant over.  Thanks for listening.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Break!!!! (Crazies Style)'s been forever since I've written and I miss it.

Things are just so damn BUSY since I'm back at work.

I keep promising myself that I'll cut out time for writing once a day, but it just never happens...ever.

So, I've finally made it to Spring Break (after 11 snow days, countless delays, and so many interruptions to my educational schedule that it isn't even funny) and I couldn't be happier.

With happiness comes ambition and I have a TON to do around this house and with my life.

Here is what I have already completed:

  • Taken two Crazies to lax practice on a cold and rainy night.
  • Drank wine.
  • Changed the sheets of a Crazy in the middle of the night due to an accident.
  • Taken everything to the washer, but left the soaking wet pajama pants in the hallway to be found the next morning (gross).
  • Remembered to turn off my alarms (I have to wake me up, one to tell me that it's really time to get out of bed, and one to wake the Crazies).
  • Slept past 6:30.
  • Had coffee.
  • Ignored the Crazies for a long time while I languished in bed.
  • Had more coffee.
  • Let them go outside at 9:00 in the morning to play basketball while I ate fried rice for breakfast (homemade fried rice is so much better than the real thing. I think I have an addiction).
  • Cleaned up a lot of the junk (i.e. boxes from when we moved 2.5 years ago) from the hallway to our storage room.  I am doing this in preparation to move things into our storage room, but without cleaning it first, I can't fit anything through.
  • Taken all of the Christmas decorations that were thrown into the garage (in bins of course...we're not neanderthals) and moved them into the storage room (after some clever rearranging in THAT room).
  • Cleaned out Matt's shirt drawer that was totally overflowing.  That kid has as many shirts as his father!
  • Got dog groomed.
  • Helped them with an Easter egg hunt for our neighbors.
  • Got my butt kicked in basketball.
  • Went to the post office with returns.
  • Cleaned off the kitchen island.  Why, oh why, do schools send home so much paperwork????  It's overwhelming and I can't keep up with it.  If you have a tried and true method, please share!!!
  • Filed artwork into their kindergarten boxes.
  • Made the Crazies empty my living room of their crapola.
  • Cleaned out the area of the garage where the Crazies keep their bikes and scooters and balls and stuff.  Swept that area out completely.  Rearranged their things into Hailey and Matt sections, piled the balls into the wagon, and hung their beach chairs on the wall (temporary fix until I get what I want in there).
  • Marinated chicken for dinner.
  • Made my very own chicken stock ready to freeze.  Had to go out to get Mason jars, but that was a minor inconvenience.
  • Took Dog for a walk.
  • Played more basketball.
  • Shower, bedtime, kisses, hugs, stalling...the usual.
What I still plan to get done:
  • Clean out more boxes from basement hallway (got one done already this morning).
  • Go to Goodwill.
  • Call about Husband's watch.
  • Have lunch with friends.
  • Take Matt to see his friend.
  • Go grocery shopping for Easter dinner.
  • Get new bikes for the Crazies.  They're riding around on midget bikes...they seriously look like those clowns at the circus.
  • Go to Port Discovery museum tomorrow.
  • Get my nails done.
  • Go to a viewing for a former sad...more about that at another time or on the private blog.
  • Go shopping tomorrow with my friend.  We've only been planning this since Christmas.
  • Have friends over for pizza and basketball Saturday night.
  • Easter baskets, egg hunt, prepare breakfast...etc.
  • Church Sunday morning.
  • Cook Easter dinner.
  • Have family over.
  • Easter egg hunt.
  • Catch up on everything else Monday.  Why do we even have off Easter Monday?  I can't understand that!!  Was everyone so exhausted by the resurrection that they were like "need another vacation day!!!"
  • Take 3 minutes to plan for school this week.  I swear that I have completely forgotten about that place at this point.
Yes, teachers complain about their pay, workload, students, parents, and everything else under the sun, but when push comes to shove, we have the BEST vacation time in the world.

Anyone else doing anything good for Spring Break?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February (blah)

It's no secret that I can't stand this month.

I find it useless.

And cold.

So, I'm making a list of good things for this month.

Here goes (don't hate me if I slip into the negative):

  1. We surpassed the 100 day mark for school.
  2. We have had some welcome delays in the morning which gives me "found hours."
  3. I have spent some time to myself (mostly to being deathly sick) watching Orange is the New Black.  I have issues and love that show...I also think I could survive in prison.
  4. Valentine's Day decorations around my house.  Whether they're handmade by the Crazies or store-bought, I'm enjoying them.
  5. I still have time to get Husband and VD gift and I think I finally figured out what to get for him.
  6. My family is coming at the end of March for a visit.  I haven't seen Sister since October and that was a quick visit.
  7. We planned our summer trip to celebrate our 10-year anniversary...nothing fancy...the same trip we have every year, but we love it and freaking TEN YEARS!!!  Still feels like we just met which is very cool.
  8. Coffee.
  9. I've had a back issue since January and I'm finally getting a wee bit of surgery today which should help my pain level a lot.  I am very thankful for a competent doctor (even though I had to wait for an eternity).
  10. I have great friends and it makes me feel good when I can do something nice for them.
  11. The cold weather just makes me feel so alive (that's complete and total bullshit).
  12. Stella & Dot...I have to say that even though I don't have many trunk shows, I do love their things.
  13. Stitch Fix...satisfying my shopping need when I need it most and getting me out of my comfort zone.  If you're in a style rut or just want someone else to do it for you, this is the service for you.
  14. Husband.  It really is the little things and he does lots of awesome little things.
See you soon...hope I can blog more...when my hands thaw out.

Friday, October 24, 2014

This Challenge is Going Down the $*#++3!

Seriously...I suck.

Anyway, today I'd like to write about scheduling.

This Fall has probably been our busiest Fall yet with the Crazies.

You've got sports (three in total), kindergarten things, my school's things, races, social events, family engagements, hair cuts, doctor's appointments, dog sickness, remodeling, meetings for remodeling, pictures, collections, neighborhood events, and a multitude of other things.


How do you keep it all organized?

We use our google calendar.  We use it religiously.  

As a matter of fact, whenever Husband claims that he didn't know something was coming up, I've fallen back on "well, it was on the calendar" rather than explaining that we didn't have time to actually have a conversation about the event in question.

It's sad, but it does force him to look at and use the calendar.

It took a while to get in the habit, but now that we're there, we can't live without it.

I also print a calendar in the beginning of the month and hang it in our 31 organizer by the laundry room.  I would take a picture, but that would require me getting up.

And we all know that isn't going to happen right now.

Yes, the printed calendar changes, but it is a good base to use as a "glancer" and then kind of know how that week looks.

One thing that I completely suck at is birthday/holiday cards.  I do alright with Christmas cards b/c that's a freaking big deal, right?  I am horrible at looking ahead at birthdays and planning on getting cards.

As a matter of fact, I think I should probably invest in a set of belated birthday cards.

The other thing is I kind of think cards are dumb.  They're expensive, not good for the environment, and what do you do with them after you read them?

If you're sane, you throw most of them out.

If you're insane, you've kept all of the cards you've ever received b/c you couldn't bear to part with them.

I don't get that logic.

Geez...what a tangent!

Either way, I'd love to hear how some of you schedule and stay organized!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Challenge - Day I don't know...I lost track

So, I missed a day.

It was yesterday.

I'm so ashamed.

It might not matter though b/c no one else is reading.


It was just a busy day!  We were running late in the morning and then we had practice in the afternoon.

So much to do!

We had a Parents VS Kids Soccer Game last night with M's soccer team.  Let me tell you - these kids are tough.  There were some kids that I was literally afraid to get in front of!  They're nuts!  

I did score twice though, so there's that little nugget of miraculousness out there.

It's a rainy day at the Casa today and no one felt like getting out of bed...especially me.

I think I'm going to be one of those parents who drive their kids to school.  I used to judge these parents...thought "God, we ALL stood in the rain at the bus stop...what's the big deal?"  Now I'm becoming one of those parents.  It's not that I don't think they would have a problem with it.  It's that they don't have the necessary rain gear.  We have rain boots, but no jackets or umbrellas.  

The horror.

Plus, I don't know the protocol for them changing their shoes when they get to school.  It's a PE day and are they going to have time to change from their rain boots to sneakers?

So, rather than have the Crazies navigate that, I'll just drive them.

I'm one of those parents.

It's "Wear Orange to Stomp Out Bullying" day today.  I'm wearing orange.  I'm still wondering what it means to wear a color for a cause.  Does it really do anything?  Does it make a difference?  

Friday is "Pretty in Pink."  Is that really raising breast cancer awareness?  

I don't think so.

I don't buy it.

Remember the campaign where bosses let people wear jeans on Fridays and it was meant to raise heart disease awareness?  Hmmm...guess that resonated with me b/c I still remember it.

Maybe it does work!

That's all for today.  I'm boring.

Wear orange...don't bully.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Challenge Day Eleven - Getting Things Moving

Weekends are great.

They're busy, but they're great.

We get a little freedom from the weekly schedule and actually get things done.

This weekend we had 4 soccer games, the in-laws came for a visit, and we actually accomplished some decision making at Home Depot.

There is a God.

After dinner on Saturday, we asked the in-laws to watch the Crazies while we went to Home Depot.  We need several things including a new oven, washer/dryer, and some damn blinds for this joint.  All of which are impossible decisions when you have two 6-year olds asking a zillion questions, interrupting, and walking off.

They're not that bad's just a distraction that makes things difficult though.

So we took a look at the ovens...short lived as they only had 4 gas ovens on the floor.

We debated over the washer/dryer for a little while.  That was also short-lived as it's not a necessity right now.

Then we sauntered over to the blinds.

A pretty awesome guy helped us get a quote together and figure some things out.

The price was way better than anticipated.

There were a few issues, but if we can get this ironed out and schedule installation, it will be a small miracle.

We've been in this house for 25 months.  We have roll shades on the windows...roll shades that break if you look at them wrong.  It's ridiculous for a house like this one that we're dealing with roll shades.

So, I think we got something accomplished.  There is a question that we need from the manufacturer, but after that, we're going for it.  

What big project can you check off your list soon??

Also, I WILL include before/after pictures.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Challenge Day Ten - The End of an Era

So, each evening, for many years, we would put the Crazies to bed, clean up a little bit, make sure everything was ready for the next day, and have a glass of wine.

Sometimes it was a little glass and sometimes it was a big glass.

What can I say?  It depended on the day.

However, toward the end of this Summer, I noticed something...I was waking up way too early.

Any parent can tell you that sleep is one of the most precious commodities in ParentLand, so this was disturbing.

I was exhausted from waking up (and staying up) at 4AM every single day.

I've never been one for sleep issues save a few times (selling/buying our house and getting a new job).  I wasn't under a crazy amount of stress...just the norm.  What was causing this and how could I stop it?

So, I experimented last week.  I skipped my wine a few nights and had it a few nights.  The results were staggering.

I can't drink wine at night anymore.

It's the end of an era.

I guess this is just part of getting older.  My body handles things differently and I have to make peace with that.

I don't really miss the wine that much, but I do miss the unwinding part of the evening.  The part where I could plop down on the couch (typically to fold laundry or grade papers) with my glass of wine and turn on mindless television for a little while.

I miss the zone out part.

I'm replacing it with water, but we all know it's not the same.

I went to a Happy Hour for work yesterday and had a vodka drink...a Moscow Mule (delicious, BTW)!  I was fine.

So, maybe I'll just become a day drinker!  LOL...I'm sure my bosses would just LOVE that!  

Ain't happening.  Guess I'll just have to be smart and keep reminding myself that sleep is more important than wine.

God...I really am an adult, aren't I?


Has anything changed for YOU as you've gotten older?  Silly question, I know that, but I like to hear how others are suffering!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Challenge Day Nine - Surrounded by Idiots

Seriously...that's how I feel some days.

How can people be so dumb?

Maybe it's because I was raised around generally intelligent people.

Maybe it's because both of my parents are educators.

Maybe it's because I unknowingly made friends with the "smart people" because I was in GT classes in high school.

Maybe it's because I have a low tolerance for stupidity and just refuse to be around it.

I'm at the point where I literally want to laugh in people's faces when they say something idiotic.

Not my students either...they have a valid excuse...they are young and uninformed.  All I can do is work with them, but it's the adults.

People in the supermarket who have no clue where they're going, what they need, or how to get it.  They just wander around the aisles like they are window shopping.  Make a list, get your shit, and get out!

People on the road who just drive like no one else is around.  Use signals, look in your mirrors, put the phone down, and try  not to cause catastrophic accidents.

People who say things about Ebola (like it's right in our community...which it's not) when we're talking about isolated cases that are being closely monitored.  I blame this mostly on the Media, but really...there are people in real life who are doing this too.

Oh, don't even get me started on the idiots who let this guy go and didn't change their scrubs after treating him.  What the what???

People who want to slap a band-aid on a hemorrhage and call it "fixed."  These are the politicians/"leaders" with no long range visions.  Don't even get me started.

I don't watch the news.  I haven't for several years.  I would like to say that this decreases my stress level.  After all, you can't be stressed out if you don't really know what to be stressed about.  I live in my bubble, take care of what I have control over, and maintain a sense of normalcy in my life.

That is all I can do right now.

It's when I have a minute to check the news or watch TV that I become incensed.  How are the Media People so dumb?  How do they have jobs?  Do they even really believe what they are so vehemently saying?  They've gotta be smarter than that, right?

Alas, I don't think they are.

I don't think a lot of people are.

Where is the common sense?  

I'll be out in the world looking for it.

Until I find it, the news is off limits for me.  

It stresses me out and worries me about the future of the Crazies.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Challenge Day Eight - Do It While I Can

Last night I arrived at H's soccer practice with a stack of papers to grade.

I was going to get ahead (i.e. keep my head above the 8th grade water for just one more day).

I was going to grade my papers and mind my own business.

Then I checked my email upon sitting down.


It was about a parent/kid soccer game and please wear sneakers.

Look down at my shoes...yup, they're sneakers.

I'm not getting out of this one.

Before you think me a total scrooge, I must tell you that I never played sports.

When I was little, we didn't have the time or money and I, quite frankly, didn't have the interest.

So, while I CAN do things, I don't choose to.

I typically avoid this type of thing, but I wasn't about to be That Mom who says no to her begging daughter and disappoints her for no good reason.

My papers could wait.

Plus, H told me that she was going to "drag me off the field," so I couldn't let her get away with that.

I made my way on to the field and the adults came up with a strategy.  It went like this:  we're going to encourage and help the girls on the field, allow them to get the ball and make some shots, but we're still going to win.

LOL...I kid.

We had no strategy.

And while I'm no athlete, I held my own.  I was on defense and I kicked a few balls away from the goal with skill and ease.

I surprised myself.

I had a fleeting thought of joining an adult soccer leagues.

Then I decided that they would wipe the floor clean with me.

I'm too old for that shit.

So, I continued to play with the 6-year olds and I loved it.

I have to do it while I can and I'll make the best of it before she scoffs me off the field as not being "cool enough" to play with her and her friends.

What have you done lately that was outside of your comfort zone, but made your kids happy?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day Seven - The Stitchfix Edition

Yes...I did it.  I jumped the shark and went for a stitch fix account.

I was doubtful.

How could someone I've never met before know what would work for me with clothes?

Would they know about my butt?

Would they know that I really can't find jeans?

Would they know that I like my shirts loose, but fitted at the same time?

Would they know that I like scarves, but not scarves that are too bulky?

How could this possibly work?

So, I signed up for the one that goes every other month.

I paid my $20 (which comes off of your order if you choose to keep something).

I waited.

It was a long wait.  I was curious.

I finally got my box and opened it up.

Sorry I didn't take pictures, but here is what I saw:

  • A navy/white polka dotted dress.
  • A burnt orange shirt.
  • A multi-color Autumnal scarf.
  • A pair of jeans.
  • A taupe/white striped vest.
All of this also came with different pictures of how my stylist would use the pieces outside of the box that arrived.

I was initially very happy with the "fix."  That's what they call your selection in Stitchfix land.

I went upstairs and started trying things on. 

Truth be told, I put the vest on immediately.

Then I went upstairs.

There's nothing like trying on clothes in the privacy and familiarity of your bedroom.

The jeans fit like a glove.  Not too long (with boots).  Not too short.  Not too tight.  Perfect.  I'm keeping.

I still can't believe someone that I don't know found me jeans that I love without me trying on 500 pairs first.

The shirt was amazing, but it had some discoloration at the bottom...they are replacing.  I'm keeping.

The vest was awesome, but I have something very similar.  Not keeping.

The scarf was fantastic, but  not exactly my colors.  Not keeping.

The dress was too short and had too high a waist and I don't really wear dresses in the Fall/Winter.  Not keeping.

All in all, I call this a success.  They were very easy to work with when I had the issue with the shirt and got back to me in a timely manner.  I'm sending the rest of my clothes back in a package that already has the postage paid.  

My next Fix is in December and I'm not sure I can wait that long.  I am going to keep it every other month, but I really really want to switch it to every month.

If you're interested, here is my link:

I highly recommend this service.  I did end up checking prices for some of the pieces online and they seemed in line with what the stores are charging.  As a matter of fact, Nordstrom had my jeans for a little higher of a price, so that was comforting.

That's my two cents on Day Seven of my personal challenge...have a good one!

PS - If anyone else has used this service, I'm curious of your results!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Challenge Day Six - A Little Late

So, I left for work early this morning b/c Husband was volunteering and could see the Crazies off to the bus before he went in and helped in the classroom.

I totally forgot about my challenge.  

Well, I wouldn't say that.

I remembered, but then said I'd do it at work.

Well, we all know what happens when you get to work, right?


I got distracted by some bullshit of the  moment and completely forgot.

Well, I did remember when I had 5 minutes before the students came in, but then I realized that Blogger was blocked.

Because it's so dangerous.


It's not dangerous.

People are dangerous.

However, rather than deal with the dangerous people, we limit their capabilities.

And you know what...they find other ways to be dangerous.

This is why life is kind of annoying sometimes.

No matter what the problem is, once you  think you have a solution, the problem figures a way around that solution.

Maybe life isn't annoying...maybe problems are.

Yeah...I'll go with that.

We went to Husband's Army 10-miler race this weekend in DC.  It was lots of fun

Correction:  It was something new to do.  Sleeping in the same bed as the Crazies and being around healthy people who are like 0.5% body fat was a little shitty.

I was so proud of him though.

Wanna see a picture of the kids and see how badly I need to update my header thing at the top of my blog?

Crazy, right?

I know.  I need a new blog.

See the healthy people in the background?  Ugh...stupid muscles and good lungs.

I  may be just a tad jealous.

I signed up for a run in November.  One of those color runs.

I don't run.

What was I thinking?

More on that to 5 minutes is up!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Challenge Day Five - After-Care

First, let me start off by saying HOLY CRAP...I BLOGGED FOR FIVE DAYS IN A ROW!!!

Second, I have enjoyed it and even though I haven't gotten into a rhythm with answering you guys back, I've missed you and will get to that part of it sometime this month.

Okay, to my point.  After-care.  It was something I was a bit afraid of.  That's silly, right?  My thoughts were "who the heck would want to go to another program after they've been in school all day?  My kids want to go home and relax...I feel bad sending them."

I was so wrong.

After-care has become the best part of their day.  Seriously...they love it.

When school first started, I'd race to pick them up neglecting my "end of day" duties at school...saving them for the morning.  I knew my kids wanted to go home.  What sort of monster was I that my kids were being taken care of by someone else!?!

I was so wrong.

They get a snack.  They get to hang out with their friends.  They get to play with toys.  They get to play outside.  They get to run, dance, dress up, build Legos, eat, laugh, and more.

I was so wrong about this whole thing.

Kids are okay being taken care of by someone else.  

It doesn't make me a bad parent.

I don't need to race there every single day.

They are okay.

And I was so wrong.

I'm thrilled that they've found a place where they're comfortable, well taken care of, and happy.  I couldn't ask for more. 

In the immortal words of Matt, "AFTER-CARE IS THE BOMB!!!!"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Challenge Day Four - Eating

Guess I'm covering all the bases with my return to blogging this week.

I love to eat.

My stomach often feels differently.

I need to maintain a pretty regular diet...not like the one I held in my 20's which consisted of hot wings, beer, wine, and fast food.

I still can't believe I ate like that.

And I had a rocking body.

Good times.

People always say enjoy it while you have it, but I seriously should have walked around a lot more in a bikini.

Even in the winter.

I digress.

What I eat during the day has become more and more regimented because there's nothing worse than being in the middle of an afternoon of teaching and having an emergency.

I can tell you that emergencies happened much more often in my 20's.  They weren't pretty.  

Breakfast - a spinach, banana, protein, pineapple, almond milk smoothie; a circle of cheese (babybel), and a hard boiled egg with Crazy Saly.

Lunch - a tuna couscous salad that has couscous, artichokes, roasted red peppers, tuna, capers, and all sorts of yumminess.  Yes, I eat this every single day.  I make a huge batch on Sunday and pack it all up so that lunches are easy for me.  And we all know that easy lunches make for easier mornings.

Dinner - we have a good rotation of dinners right now that allow for enough leftovers for sports night while still keeping some variety.  I recently introduced a Mexican Soup that I thought the family would hate (b/c it seriously looked like throw up), but they loved.  I think that one of the things they loved was that they could crunch their tortilla chips over the soup and they got to feel like they were destroying something.  That makes for good times in the casa.

Snacks - I haven't been snacking a lot since I went back to teaching, but they consist of granola bars, Rick's Mean Beans (addicted), dark chocolate, and sometimes some pretzels and tzatziki.  

What do you guys eat during the day?  Have your habits changed as you've gotten older.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Challenge Day Three - Head Above Water

So, life of a working mother is crazy, right?  We all know this.

I believe that I am working as hard as I can to handle schedules, family obligations, school committees and events, Stella & Dot (did I tell you I started that again?), working out, PTO requests (endless), and personal time with my family.

If I believe that I'm working as hard as I can, how in the world can I feel that it's still not enough?

Above and beyond that, I am not done.  I want more schooling.  I want another job after teaching.  How do I fit that in?  How do I start (or finish) a doctorate program (in either education or clinical psychology) with all of this happening?

The rational person would say "wait a couple of years until the Crazies are more independent and you're not so involved with every aspect of their lives."

I'm not rational.

I want it now.

I move to the next thing as soon as the first is finished and I want to get it started.

However, if I start any sort of educational program, it is certain that other balls will have to drop.

I'm not ready for that either.

So, until I can, I will wait.  I will keep the current balls in the air moving in the general direction of correctness and will wait until I can spend more time on myself and my own personal growth.

It's funny about motherhood...we always think that being a mother is all that we want and then when it happens, we're satisfied, but we start to see other things that we still want to work toward.  We don't want to challenge our mothering time, but we still want to move forward because we are still our own person.  The interesting thing about modern-day motherhood is that we are more than our children...and that's okay.  It's even encouraged and thank God for that, right?

So, I will share my methods for keeping my head above water:

  • reminders on my phone...without them I'd be lost.
  • Post-it notes...lots and lots of Post-it notes.
  • relocating items...if something is out of place, it reminds me about a task or to remember something.
How do you do it?  How do you keep your head above water while still moving forward?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Challenge Day Two - mornings

Mornings in Casa de Crazies have been pretty good this school year.

If I could only drag my ass away from this stupid Frozen game in the AM, we might actually get out of bed on time (and by "we," I mean "me").

So, I get up and get ready (i.e. I struggle through my routine texting my friend to discuss how inhuman it is to be awake at this hour while Husband brings me my coffee because he's the best) and then go in to wake the kids.

Typically someone will groan "Noooooooo!!!!" at me and I'll walk out of their room.  It's never who I think it will be as H is typically the one who sleeps in and M loves to bounce out of his bed and be ready before everyone else.

They make their way downstairs, put their shoes on, and eat breakfast in front of the TV while I pack lunches, send emails, and make my smoothie.

They are pretty quiet while watching television and their meal is punctuated with "EATTTTT!" and "you need to take a bite of that banana" and "you're going to be hungry if you don't put something in your tummy."

I'm sure it's enjoyable for them.

I hate it.

Who needs to be reminded to eat?

Kids who get up at the crack of dawn, that's who.

At 7:05 the television goes off, dishes are cleared, sweatshirts are found, and backpacks are thrown on backs.

They walk down to the bus stop without me.  I follow in my car b/c I leave for work from there.

I try desperately  not to talk to anyone at the bus stop (so anti-social, I know...I just have nothing to say) and wave good-bye like a good Mommy when they're safely on the bus.

Mornings have a flow here and I love that it's been established through lots of hard work and discipline.

Although, yesterday on the first day of my self-imposed challenge, I managed to run late and have them running out the door while I was desperately willing my blender to make my smoothie quicker.  I got to the corner just in time to wave good-bye as they were already on the bus.

This morning will be different...I swear.

My five minutes are up.  Do you have five minutes to outline your morning?   I love to hear how other people live!

Monday, October 6, 2014

October Challenge Day One (even though it's not the first...whatever)

So,  haven't been blogging.  I'm in awe of those of you who have been able to keep it going.

I haven't been as disciplined.

Therefore, I'm challenging myself to blog for 5 minutes every morning.

This means that there should be 5 short posts by the end of the this week.

I know...I'm doubtful myself.  Things always come up in the morning for which I am unprepared.

5 lines and it's been 2 minutes...I need to type faster.

I was in NY last week for my mother's catheter.  It was so weird being the one on the other side of the hospital bed.  She's always been the one in the waiting room for me.  She's always been the one asking the doctor questions for me.  It was just weird.

It was a long day and they didn't really find anything except for the need for further investigation.  She has "curly" vessels and her doctor isn't really sure what to do with that.

When we arrived back at her house, I opened the door to get stung by a bee right under my eye.  I can't tell you how annoying this is.  First of all, it hurt like hell and my eyes clamped shut right on that sucker as I cursed like a violent Tourette's patient.  Second of all, the skin felt like sandpaper for the entire night.  Then I woke up and the side of my face was all swollen...and it still is.  That was Thursday, this is Monday.

I hear it takes about a week for the swelling to completely dissipate, but I'm over it.

One more minute in today's challenge.

Oops...spoke too soon.  If anyone is still reading (and doesn't think this is the most boring post ever), comment!  I miss my blog friends!!

Friday, August 8, 2014


Husband: used the debit card at the nail place?
Me:  Um...yeah.
Husband:  I thought we talked about this.  I don't want the debit card used at stores.
Me:  Then why do we have it?

A totally legit question.

Why do we have this debit card that is directly tied to our bank account if I can't use it?  

After all, using credit is frowned upon as well, right?

I'll tell you why...because of the invasion.

People repeatedly invading our privacy without consequence while making US change the way WE live rather than being punished themselves.

I hate it.

We're invaded in so many places...our email, our snail mail, our FB, the mall.

The other day H and I were at the mall.  A guy from one of those kiosks came up to me to offer me a sample of something.  I politely said, "no thank you."  We shopped in our intended store and ended up going back in the same direction.  We couldn't have been in the store more than 7 minutes.  

We end up walking past the same guy and he tried to offer me the same sample to which I gave the same reply..."no thank you."  Then he says it again and I say "no thank you" through gritted teeth.  Then he offers that I can take the sample home (well, seriously...what the hell else did you expect me to do with it?) and I stop and say directly to his face, "no thank you."  Then he replies with "no thank you...I got it."

Well, you clearly didn't get it the first three times I said it.  You were harassing me.  I had to stop my life to get my point across.  That was an invasion.

When I got home and told the story, M says "well, why'd you go back the same way?"  Totally legit question from a 6-year old (almost 6), but it's a matter of not wanting to change my life just because this guy is a high pressure asshole!

Here's another one...I have unsubscribed from Gymboree no less than 5 times THIS WEEK through my email account.  I keep getting their sale updates.  I'M NOT INTERESTED AND IF I WERE, I COULD FIND COUPONS ON THIS THING WE CALL THE INTERNET!!!  


The snail mail thing is ridiculous too.  How much paper do you think companies burn on advertisements that go right in the recycling bin?  Is this just a huge conspiracy created by the "Go Green" people to keep recycling going? send a multitude of paperwork to everyone in America and then they'll recycle it and we'll all still have jobs.  Good idea, right?

It's just annoying and unnecessary.

It makes me want to become a hermit.  Husband's already begun the process of hermitization.  He's over it.  He wants no part of the general world anymore.  He's disgusted.

And whose to say he shouldn't be?  We are constantly bombarded with crap that we don't care about.  The thing is, sometimes it gets us.  Sometimes we become interested in something that we previously had zero interest about.  That's when their system works.  That's when I snatch my hand back from a envelope from the March of Dimes that includes a dime and a ton of return address labels.  Why is it that I feel obligated to support their organization after they send me a dime and some stickers?  WHY???

Because it's in my face.  If it weren't in my face, I would (and have) donated to their organization, but this just turns me off.  I want to throw all of the return address labels in the recycling, but then I feel guilty.  Who am I to waste all of this paper?  Okay, then I'll just save these and use them for bills.  Wait that wrong?  I'm using their stuff and not supporting their organization?  Then I spend 5 minutes wondering what the "right thing" is and not focusing on real life!

So, I put the March of Dimes envelope down on the island and go help M with something...what I'm supposed to be doing as a mother on this Earth.

A day later, I find a dime on my desk with the return address labels underneath.  I question Husband about this and he says, "well, I didn't want to waste them."  Color us invaded.

Your thoughts?  Anyone else feeling overwhelmed by the invasion?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sports - the other S-word

Sports...they are America's favorite pastime, right?  Maybe for some...maybe not for others.

I do not judge.

We chose to put the Crazies in sports pretty early just to get some of their energy out in a positive way.  

Oy...the energy is overwhelming!

Anyway, as we've weaved our way through this maze of sports, sports seasons, uniforms, registration fees, coaching, assistant coaching, team mothering, and snacks, we've come to a few conclusions.

I will now share.

  1. Playing more than one sport is good for kids.  Doesn't sounds that shocking, right?  Kids should try new things.  Kids should explore.  Kids should be confident with multiple sports.  Here's the problem...parents are having their kids specialize in one sport at an early age.  For example, travel sports start when kids are 7-8 (around here).  That's around 3rd grade.  Soon after that, it leads to Winter practices, clinics, pitching practice, strength training, etc.  It's too much.  It's WAY too much!  If kids can't play another sport in their "off-season," there's a problem.
  2. Children's bodies need different kinds of conditioning to be generally strong and healthy.  Again, doesn't sound that shocking, right?  When kids are JUST playing baseball year round, their bodies will wear out in the areas that they continue to use.  Other parts of their bodies will not get enough action and may.  Example:  If a kid plays soccer in the Fall, their legs get good tone and their footwork gets worked on and strengthened.  If that same kid plays basketball in the Winter, their running and hand-eye coordination gets worked on as well as their accuracy as they strive to make baskets.  If that same kid plays baseball in the Spring, they work on their upper body and fielding (as well as patience in the field).  That kids will have conditioned every part of his/her body through that year and will be ready to start back in the Fall with soccer and their lower body.  Nothing really burns out b/c it's all getting used throughout the year.
  3. Kids need to have multiple coaches.  Just like they need to have different types of teachers, kids benefit from having different coaches, learning various strategies, and developing a variety of skills.  Coaches are an integral part of developing athletes and can really make the difference between them loving a sport and never wanting to play again.  The one thing that we can look out for is the "over-involved coach."  This is the coach that ONLY wants your kid to play lacrosse and feels that they can take your child "all the way."  Not only is this unrealistic, but it's a little creepy too.
  4. Specializing in one sport is a great way to lead your kids to Burnout City.  Kids need variety.  Kids need to be challenged.  Kids need to learn different and new skills.  If they are playing one sport year-round, they will get bored, they will start to resent it, and they will end up hating it.  I taught a kid last year who was a soccer whiz.  He was amazing.  He loved the sport, but ended up crying in the principal's office in October (after acting out in defiance during several of his classes).  Turns out that with all of the time and effort he was spending on his THREE soccer teams, he didn't have the time or energy to concentrate on school.  He was EXHAUSTED and truly couldn't handle any more.  I felt for this kid.  I judged his parents.  I wanted to lessen his workload, but that wouldn't be fair to him.  He needed to learn just how much he could handle and what was too much.  The feeling of being overwhelmed is a feeling that we all need to learn about.  We never know what "too much" feels like until we're already dealing with "too much."  For kids this is a tough lesson to learn.  I'm afraid that my student is going to end up hating soccer and never really coming to his true potential because it was just too much.
  5. There are other activities out there besides sports!!!  Where are the arts?  Where are the piano lessons?  Where are the Lego clubs?  Have Girls Scouts completely disappeared?  There needs to be an emphasis on a well-rounded person coming out of these childhoods.  Other activities will challenge kids on multiple levels as well.  They need to understand what it means to practice using their brain.  They need practice in different social situations as well.  They not only need to know how to act within a team, but also how to be alone.  All of these are challenges that are lost when our kids are so focused on a sport that there isn't time for anything else.
So, I'll step off my soapbox now and leave you with this...if your kids love a sport, by all means, encourage their participation.  If your kids are interested in something else, find a way for them to be involved in that as well.  If sports are taking over YOUR life, check yourself before you wreck yourself.  Is it really worth it to you to be at a tournament every weekend for 4 months straight?  Is it really worth it to schedule your family vacations around a sports team?  Is it really worth it that your kids miss family events, school concerts, movie night, sleepovers, and the multitude of other events that occur during childhood just because he or she "has a game?"  

Just something to think about.  I think we need an uprising of people who believe that sports should no longer take the drivers seat...try shot gun for a weekend...or the backseat...put it in the trunk for a little while!  Don't let it take over your life!  I know it's hard.  I know there's pressure.  I know your kid LOVES the sport, but don't let the sport become all-important.  That is all.  I am done.  Curious to hear what you all think.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Can't Beat the Vacation Time

When I was fresh out of college, I got a job at a marketing firm.  The salary was decent.  The job description was definitely something I could handle.  The vacation time was worth shit.

Two weeks.


Who can live like that?

I tried it for a while.  I worked for that company for 3 years and I tolerated the two week vacation time.

It's not good for people though.

It's not healthy to only have two weeks off.

How can you catch up on ANYTHING?

So far this Summer I have accomplished the following:

  • Had the house painted.
  • Received estimates for work we need done.
  • Had both of our cars serviced.
  • Slept in.
  • Seen numerous friends and actually enjoyed my time with them.
  • Relaxed with the Crazies.
  • Allowed them to see their friends.
  • Enjoyed a weekend without worrying about grading or lessons plans.
  • Seen family and enjoyed my time with them.
  • Made appointments.
  • Arranged vacations.
  • Shopped while actually being able to think.
  • Completed projects in my house.
  • Cleaned out the basement/toy room.
  • Finished a course.
  • Cleaned out my clothes.
  • Jumped in the pool.
  • Worked out on a regular basis.
  • Made phone calls.
  • Read books.
  • Arranged after-care for the Crazies for this school year.
  • Future:  Weekend away with Husband
  • Future:  Family vacation at the beach
I cannot do most of these tasks coherently while working.   Who CAN?  There isn't enough time when you're given 10 days off during the year.  It's inhuman.

So, I've realized something...for all of the negatives that my job offers (shit pay, lots of take home work, daily stressors, lack of control, terrible desk/chair/bookshelves/furniture, and overly expectant "bosses" to name a few), you can't beat the vacation time.  

No one else gets this.

No one else understands.

It's therapeutic to have this much time off in a row.

It's healthy to have this much time off in a row.

It truly is renewing to have this much time off in a row.

I am excited to get back to my classroom.

I have done research and how I can better myself as a teacher.

I have thought about how I will organize things differently this year.

I have contemplated my mistakes from last year.

I have taken time to think about my profession and how I can change things for the better this coming school year.

Don't get me wrong...this is going to be a tough year.  I am the senior 8th grade math teacher (after one year, mind you).  Common Core is all over the place.  The new assessments will be rolling out.  My group coming up is a rough one.  The demands of grading will be higher than ever thanks for the ongoing need for formative assessment...constant formative assessment and data collection.  However, after this much time off, I feel that I am ready.  

I may not say that on the first day of school, but right now, without the pressure of being in my classroom, I can say that I am ready.

So, if you're tired of working all the time.  If you're tired of not having enough time to run your household.  If you're tired of being tired...become a teacher!  You can't beat the vacation time (even if everything else kind of sucks)!

Disclaimer:  You can't actually just go out and become a teacher.  There is some training involved.  You do have to take tests and become certified.  It's not as easy as just becoming a teacher, but it's still worth it!