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Friday, August 8, 2014

Invasions

Husband:  Ugh...you 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!!!  

Sheesh!

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?  Hey...you 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 though...is 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.

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!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

American Ninja Warrior - Crazies Style

So, the Crazies are obsessed with this show where these nutso muscular people fly around on obstacles that would kill a normal person and climb walls and have incredible biceps.  They are OBSESSED!!!

They know the names of the competitors, their backstories, and their height/weight.  It's amazing.

It's amazing that they can remember all of this yet forget to wipe their own asses.

Anyway, Husband and I have allowed them to follow this particular show because it does not include any violence, bad language, sexual innuendo, and promotes physical fitness.

Can't beat that with a bat, right?

Of course, it also promotes them turning my living room and basement into obstacles courses and throwing themselves around like rag dolls.  This then leads to crying and whining when one of them cracks their skull on the side of the couch or slide across the floor into a wall at a speed of 35 mph.  

Well, what did you expect?

Figuring out what to allow them to watch on television is tricky.  I know they want to watch certain shows, but some of them are just a little too mature for them...this includes the ones on Disney sometimes.  

They know how to use Netflix on their Kindles.  That is set at "child" mode, so we're fairly safe there, but they've glommed on to this Barbie show which is completely devoid of any substance. 

It also taught Matthew the phrase "I've been working on this 6-pack all weekend" from the mouth of Ken (who I always thought was pretty sexy as a child, but now I'm convinced he swings in a different direction...not that there's anything wrong with that).

This Barbie show sends me over.the.edge and makes me want to rip my ears off.

I seriously might build an obstacle course in the backyard if I never have to hear Barbie's voice again.

What shows do your kids watch??

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Mornings

With this being my first Summer "off" in a loooooong time, I have really come to enjoy certain things.  I will list them first and then, as per usual, I will make a list of the crap I can't stand.  Enjoy!

Things I love about Summer mornings:
  1. Quietly waking up...all of us.  No alarm clocks.  No "get out of bed."  No "get dressed, brush you teeth and hair and come downstairs for breakfast."
  2. Having the Crazies sneak into my room to see if I'm awake.
  3. The sun.
  4. Playing with toys (they do this more first thing in the morning than the rest of the day).
  5. Making breakfast.
  6. My cup of coffee (not rushed or left in a room to be found that night).
  7. Seeing the rain on the window and having no idea that it even happened during our slumber.
  8. Sitting down to really plan how my day will be today.
  9. Hearing Hailey sing to herself.
  10. Listening to Matt discover forgotten toys in the basement.

Things I can't stand about Summer mornings:
  1. Waking up before 8:00...every damn day.
  2. Having the Crazies sneak into my room to see if I'm awake, but then slamming the door upon their exit after seeing that I am indeed still sleeping.
  3. Birds...they are so goddamn loud.
  4. The fact that now that Husband is getting up so much earlier than me, he doesn't bring me my cup of coffee anymore...oh, how I miss that.
  5. The bickering.
  6. The "I'm hungry."
  7. The "STOOOOOOPPPPPP!!!!"
  8.  The fact that Husband has to go to work.  It's gotta be the most difficult this time of year when we're all still sleeping and he's gotta drag his ass to work.  I'd be a miserable bastard.
  9. Knowing that, as an adult, I must accomplish something productive today and not just lay by the pool and do nothing.
  10. Hearing "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy" while I'm trying to write.  

Either way, I like Summer mornings better than Winter mornings, so I'm a happy camper.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Only the Good Die Young"

I can't think of a shittier phrase to explain the death of a young man or woman.

It's cliche.

Everyone thinks it or says it at one point, but it does nothing but anger me.

I had a former student pass away from a car accident yesterday.  I also taught his younger sister, so I know the family and the sort of relationships they had.  They were a good family.

He was a good boy.  He was smart, funny, handsome, and just a nice presence to be around.

And he's gone.

I can't wrap my head around it.

I can't stop thinking about his mother waking up this morning.

He should still be here and while it was nothing more than an accident, I still question the "only the good die young" theory.

If they're good, why are they taken?

If they're good, shouldn't they stay with us and make the world better?

What lesson is being taught by taking these "good" people?

I know there are no answers.

There are many difficult parts of being a teacher, but two of the most difficult BY FAR are watching your former student change in ways you never thought imaginable and watching their loss.

I've had students whose parents have committed suicide.

I've had students whose siblings have committed suicide.

I've had students who have been in and out of rehab.

You've got to remember that the oldest students I have that I still keep in touch with are only 24 years old.  That's YOUNG!

Something else that infuriates me about this saying is that a lot of good people die OLD too.

Oh, and some not so great people die young and yet there will be some idiot who say "only the good die young."  It makes no sense.

I don't even know why I'm on this rant today.  I saw this phrase associated with this young man's death and it just set me off.  There is no reason that this world should be without this young man and he was good and he deserved to be here to make us all better.

I'm sure there are people that will also quote "God's plan" on this one, but I just don't get it right now.  I just don't get it.

RIP - MF - I would have liked to see what you could have brought to this world.  May your memory bring peace to your family someday.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

So, I'm a waiter

We had a landscaping company come in, talk with us, measure and survey our land, and give us a quote on our dream backyard.

Well, that was a wake up call.

It's impossible and doesn't make sense to do what we had in mind.  It would overvalue our house and make us poor.

Totally not worth it.

So, we reconsider.  What do we really need/want/desire from our backyard?  With the Summers off, I definitely get more use out of our outdoor space.  Husband works during the Summer and when he's off, we're either on vacation or he's working on projects around the house.  He's not a "lay on the deck and get a tan" type of guy.  He never stops moving.

The price they gave for the deck alone was staggering.  I won't go into details, but we just can't handle it now.  The nice things are the materials are beautiful, it would be done correctly, the drainage would be handled properly, and it would be around for a long long time.

The bad things are we'd have to cancel our Christmas Disney trip, scale way back on plans we already have for this year, and not fix the Crazies' bathroom.  Then it comes to weighing being married to your house and pouring a bunch of money into that...or enjoying life, saving money slowly, and continuing to live as you should.

It's a no-brainer.

So, I'm a waiter.

I can do this.  I can wait until Spring of 2016 to get my deck.  I can go another summer without an outdoor eating area.  I can do this.  I'm not some spoiled little princess who needs everything at this very moment.  

I am an adult.

I am an adult who does not want to go into debt for a deck.

I am an adult who desperately wants to get away this Winter b/c we're not good Winter people and we need to get away.

I am an adult who committed to going to a wedding in September that will involve travel and money and expenses.

I am an adult who wants to have a girls' weekend with my old co-workers and wouldn't be able to afford it if we were getting this deck right away.

I am an adult who needs new boots this Fall.  New boots aren't cheap!

I am an adult who needs things for her house...curtains, dining room chairs, blinds, a bathroom for the Crazies that doesn't leak, a stove that lights every single time, desks for the Crazies new career are kindergarteners, and the list goes on.

I am an adult who can save money slowly and make plans that fit into her life.  

I am an adult who will make the best decision for her family and going into hock for an outdoor space that will only get used half the year is not the best decision right now.

I can't believe it...I'm a waiter.

How do you guys handle large projects?  Do you take out loans?  Or are you savers?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Can I get a "what what???"

Yaaaaaayyyyyyy for summer camp!

It starts today!

Get out there and play soccer for 3 hours...sweat your ass off...tire yourself out...then come home and whine "I'm hungry" 3,295,293 times.

Yaaaaaayyyyyyy!!!!

Either way I'm glad that they're going to be out of the house today.  We have painters coming today to start on the hallway/foyer, dining room, and office.  It's going to be a rough couple of days.  We have furniture all over the place to be out of the way and my office is completely dismantled.  I sit here at my kitchen table next to a marinara sauce stain trying to string thoughts together.

People working in my house still weirds me out even though we've done it a bunch of times.  You hear all of these freaky stories about someone falling in love with your kid and coming back to steal them and shit.  Well, it doesn't happen a lot, but I guess that one big one (can't remember her name even though I read her book) still sits in my memory.

So, you might ask, what do you have planned for your three hours a day this week?

Here's what I have:

  1. I will slowly and stealthily thin out the Crazies' book collections.  The Crazies are hoarders unbeknownst to me and I need to do this on the DL.
  2. I will extend our Disney vacation by one day.  God knows how we're paying for this, but it'll be worth it to see their unsuspecting little faces.
  3. I will work out...not today.  I want to mostly be here today in case of any questions or mishaps, but I will work out tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.  Wednesday is my off day.
  4. I will pick up my clothes.  I have this corner in my room where I throw all my shit.  It's terrible.  It's like I'm 15 years old.  It's like I haven't anywhere to store them, and yet I have.  I'm just a slob.
  5. I will finally and completely unpack the suitcase that has been sitting in my bedroom since we went to NY 2 weeks ago.  That's just ridiculous.
  6. I will make phone calls without being interrupted, hung up on accidentally (thank you, Hailey), I will fill out birthday cards, I will send letters, and I will just do thing in a streamlined fashion without being interrupted by children.
  7. I will finish the Crazies' school paperwork and get that in the mail since it's due 8/1 and that date is coming up quickly!
  8. I will find someone to watch the dog while Husband and I are on our anniversary weekend getaway to the beach.  
  9. I will clean the parts of my house that I can reach.
  10. I will thin out the toy "collection" that is in the play room without having anyone argue with me.
  11. I will organize the pantry...again.
  12. I will/may clean out the refrigerator (I loathe this job, but am so happy when it's done).
 So, there you have it.  I get 15 hours this week and I intend to make them count.  I would give my left leg to lay out by the pool for a couple of hours of peace and finish my book (anyone reading The Outlander?  I can't put it down).  We will see if that can happen...something makes me doubt that very much.

What's happening in your world blog friends?? 

PS - I will do before and after of the painting.  I always forget to do that and I regret it every time!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Top 10 Reasons I Won't Be Joining a Swim Club Anytime Soon

#10 - Having to see other people in bathing suits.
#9 - Screaming kids (that aren't mine).
#8 - The chairs...who needs lines all over their thighs every single time they stand up?  Can we get some nice fabric chairs that won't make my ass/thigh area look like a set of levelor blinds??
#7 - The packing.  I loathe packing bags full of towels, sunscreen, food, drinks, and anything else that we could possibly need during the day unless we're going to the beach.  Then I can get with it.
#6 - Gossip.
#5 - Possibly ever seeing my students while in a bathing suit.
#4 - The fact that they haven't made liposuction painless (yet...I hold out hope for this one).
#3 - The shaving/maintenance/upkeep that goes along with wearing a bathing suit in public.  I'm one for perfection if other people are involved and that's a lot of hard work.
#2 - The bathroom situation.  Currently if one of the Crazies has a pee, they can either go inside or go in our yard.  Yes, I know the latter is kind of gross, but it's also kind of awesome and we wouldn't have that choice if we were a member of the swim club.
#1 - Nip slips - in today's age of smartphones and pictures all over the place, the last chance I need to take is a nip slip in public.

I don't mean this to sounds snobby, so I'll give you a little background.  We moved into a house with a pool when I was in 7th grade.  Where I lived, on Long Island, everyone had pools.  It was private.  You could act like a nut in your own backyard.  These were not elaborate pools and neither is the one we have in our backyard, but it's private.  

I cannot imagine at this point in my life being around 100 or so other people (some of which would involved parents of my current students, parents of future students, babysitters, students, Crazies' friends, Crazies' friends' parents, preschool Moms that I don't/didn't/will never like, etc) in a bathing suit sweating my ass off until I need to go in a get wet while walking in front of everyone.  I'm sorry...I'm just not down with that.  Husband keeps saying that it might have to happen in the next few years (depending on what happens with our pool b/c it might have to be replaced or ripped out which makes me quake in fear), but I'm denying it until it is imminent.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Neighbor Love

Neighbors.  They are quite wonderful most of the time.  We are sharing a CSA with one of them.  I might teach the son of another.  They are helpful, nice, resourceful, and pleasant.

They watch out for the Crazies.  They talk to the Crazies.  They ask questions.  They share advice.  They ask us to do things for them while they're away.  I love all of these things about neighbors.

There is a set of twins across the street.  They are lovely.  They play with M&H and include them in all sorts of things and I love it.  They love it.  They feel like they have two older siblings built in.  Their mother knows so many people in the community and is very open with her house.  She doesn't mind have kids in and out all day long.  She keeps an open door policy.  Kids don't have to knock to enter her house.  She's much more laid back about that than I am.

I believe in boundaries.  I believe in calling adults by Mr./Mrs./Ms. and their last name.  I believe in knocking before you enter someone's house.  I believe in being invited over to swim in someone's pool.  I believe in general consideration and manners.  I can't be alone in this.

I expect the Crazies to act accordingly.  I expect them to be polite in the absence of my presence.  I expect them to respect boundaries (such a closed doors).  I expect them to allow me to pee without having a full-fledged conversation.  Sometimes this happens and sometimes it doesn't.  It's all still a matter of training with them though as they are not quite 6 years old.  There is still work to be done and lessons to be learned.

The Crazies always want to go across the street.  They always want to swim in their pool.  They always want to be over there and I'm fine with that...to a point.

I don't want the neighbors to think that I just allow my kids over there and have someone else constantly taking care of them or that I'm neglecting my duties as parents.  I don't want the Crazies to think that it's okay to spend their entire Summer over there.  I don't want them to walk into someone's house without knocking (even though they've been told there are no boundaries at Mrs. B's house).  I don't want them to be without boundaries...because at 5.75 years old, no boundaries can create habits that are not very nice in kids who are suddenly 12 years old.

The other thing that gives me pause is that there are constantly people working on their house.  I don't trust people.  It's as simple as that.  I don't care if you've been working in this town forever and have a stellar reputation.  I don't trust you.  So, when the Crazies are running around the streets (which is fine as it is Summer and I'm not completely against fun) and I see them talking to someone across the street (who I can't see), I'm going to call them in.  You see...above all, my number one job is to keep my kids safe and when there are work people at your house and I can't see who my kid is talking to. she's coming inside.  Overprotective?  Possibly.  My prerogative?  Absolutely.

So, you see...I love neighbors AND I love boundaries.  How can I find the perfect balance while not seeming like an uptight snob or a mother that lets her kids run wild around the neighborhood?  How can I express my boundary expectations without making it seem like I'm judging someone else's lack of boundaries and the effect it's having on their children?  How can I keep my kids slightly under my wing while still letting them be under someone else's?  So many quandaries...I must work on that this Summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

First "Real" Summer in Six Years

That's how Husband put it in a text to me this morning...the first morning since last August that I haven't had to drag my ass out of bed at 5:00 (who am I kidding, 5:30).

My first "real" Summer.

My first Summer without babies.

My first Summer without knee surgery (knock wood).

My first Summer without trying to sell a house, purchase a house, and move.

My first Summer without trying to find a new job.

My first "real" Summer.  Let's get it started.

First up, personal goals:
1.  Work out more...this has suffered more than anything in my daily routine.  Oh, and I figured out this year that you can't suck in love handles...who knew?
2.  Blog more...enough said.
3.  Make plans with friends.
4.  Travel (lots of things in the works already).
5.  Make it through this class with an A (I have a 98%, so I'm thinking this one should be easy).

Family goals:
1.  Work on our Summer List (which looks pretty awesome).
2.  Have a Matt Day.
3.  Have a Hailey Day.
4.  Have fun!!!!

Marriage goals:
1.  Do things just for us.
2.  Hire more babysitters...the Crazies will survive.
3.  Lots of planning for our surprise Disney trip at Christmas.
4.  Couples massage at some point this Summer.

House goals:
1.  Painting (already scheduled...have to pick colors).
2.  Arrange basement bedroom before Husband's family arrives.
3.  Clean OUT!
4.  Clothes to Goodwill.
5.  Organize.
6.  Storage, storage, storage.
7.  Dining room chairs.

Professional goals:
1.  Finish course (halfway through and have no choice).
2.  Read that classroom management book from team leader (it actually looks pretty decent).
3.  Slowly purchase classroom materials for next year so that Husband doesn't really notice a huge influx of Amazon charges.
4.  Get the thinking of my upcoming lessons more geared to Common Core (whatever I want to say about it, it is here for a while and I need to get ready to work through it with the difficult group I have coming up next year).

So, that's about all for now.  I plan on having lots of fun this Summer and enjoying as many moments as possible.  I've already started to  lay out the ground rules for tattling (can't stand it) and disobeying (won't tolerate it).  Now I need to get the "hat" ready to choose Matt Day and Hailey Day!

Happy Summer everyone!!!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

So, today is Mother's Day and here is how the morning has gone:

*  "Mom, Dad...I have to POOOOOOPPPP!"
*  "Wait for me...don't go yet...I have to get my gift!"
*  Children in my face with awesome handmade gifts from school.
*  Matt's was a canvas bag with handprint flowers painted on the front, a card (with a back, front, and middle), and a flower.
*  Hailey's was a card and a handpainted flower pot...that was "very breakable."
*  Husband went to Starbucks with the Crazies and got me my favorite breakfast and coffee.
*  I ate it...every single bite and it was amazing.
*  I went to the couch with my laptop and went through FB (boring) and some blogs (blogger is messing up this morning, so I wasn't able to comment on as many as I wanted, but the thought was there).
*  Listened to the Crazies play upstairs without direction or offering of "what they could do" and use their imaginations...they're seriously making up games and playing together.  I'm hearing thing like "the game is that I'm the monster and I steal all of your money" and "Hurry up and steal my money!"  It's wonderful.
*  I have no idea what the rest of the day will hold.  I know that I intend to take a bath in the middle of the day for no good reason.
*  I may plant things.
*  I may not.
*  We have a dinner reservation at 5:00, so I don't have to cook (awesome).
*  I still have to make lunches for this week, but that won't take me long at all.
*  I hope you all have great Mother's Days and that someone is still reading my posts.
*  I'm a terrible blogger...I don't even think I can call myself a blogger anymore.  I stink.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Volunteerism - Is it just me?

As I go through this craziness otherwise known as Suburbia, the idea that volunteering ones time is a pretty typical request.  Everyone is asking for volunteers...schools, sports, Girl Sc.outs, Bo.y Scout.s, clubs, fund raisers...everyone.

So, Husband and I try to do our best.  With both of us working, taking care of two young children, and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, time is at a premium.  We discuss, plan in advance, and really try to make it work.  At this point, he works full time, works out almost daily (to ward off the heart disease that runs in his family), coaches soccer, basketball, and now girls' lacrosse.  Oh, and assistant coaching boys' lacrosse.  I work in the community as a teacher (so we all know that I am forced to bring work home on an almost daily basis), tutor one night a week for 4-5 hours, take an online course every now and then (that try to kill me slowly), and have often offered to volunteer for the Crazies' activities.  We both keep the house clean, do laundry, fix things around the house, and run the Crazies all over the place for various parties, activities, and special dates.  Oh, we also try to have friends...couple friends and individual.  Oh, we also try to see our families and they're not local.  Not to play the "poor me" card or the "look at how great I am" card, but we are busy people and we like it this way (most of the time).

Recently an email came out from our HOA asking for people to step up and be on the board.  I inquired to see what kind of time requirement it would entail (because I really don't want the HOA to go to the state) and I declined because between all this stuff we're already doing, we actually enjoy spending time together.  The time commitment wasn't that crazy, but it was just one more thing and I really don't think we can do one more thing at this point.  I think I needed to say no...and I did.

The woman completely understood and was very gracious.  I started thinking though.  Where are the people who don't work?  Where are the people who aren't as busy?  Where are the people who actually have the time?  I know they're out there, but what do they do?  Do they just not want to step up?  Are they tired?  Are they sick?  Do they just want to avoid the drama?  I totally get that, but what happens to the people who keep stepping up while everyone else steps back?  Those people are either going to get burned out or they're going to stop volunteering altogether.

Example, the team parent for Husband's just decided that her kid wasn't going to play.  She ignored Husband's emails and finally got back to him and explained what happened.  Fine...whatever.  Things change.  We get that.  He put an email out asking for someone else to step up as team parent (i.e. set up a snack schedule and set up the end of season party) and no one has.  I get that people are busy.  I get that people have multiple children at multiple ages.  I get all of that, but I have stuff too.  

Another example, the lacrosse people sent out an email that they needed girls' coaches for the kindergarten age group.  Husband hasn't played a day of lacrosse in his life, but loves coaching.  He stepped up and was fine with having to take the time to learn the game, understand the fundamentals, and develop plays.  Once he sent out his introduction email, he had a parent email him back offering her help.  She played in high school and loves the game, etc., etc., etc.  He's all like "I appreciate her offering to help out and I'm definitely going to take her up on it, but where was she when they needed coaches?"  

So, what is it?  Are there people who just tend to volunteer and people who don't?  Are people shy?  Are people content to let everyone else do the work?  Do people just not want to make the commitment?  Have they had some sort of drama that makes them shy away from this sort of thing?  What is it???  Enlighten me!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Not Even Sick Days Are My Own

Crazy down!

Hailey has been sick since Saturday...inexplicably sick.  She puked all night Saturday and most of the day Sunday and then it suddenly stopped.

The she got a horrific head cold and terrible headache.

All while suffering a dumb low grade fever that wouldn't go away.

We had a snow day on Monday, so we were all off.

I had a snow day on Tuesday, so Matt went to school and she rested.

She went in on Wednesday seemingly feeling better only to puke all over her classroom after naptime.

Good times.

Husband stayed home with her yesterday b/c I had state testing (if I add up how much money him staying home costs us in comparison with what I bring home, it's laughable and embarrassing).

She seemed fine yesterday afternoon and then she had some tummy/butt issues last night, so I called it.  No need to worry about her puking all over her classroom all day.  Let's give her another day.

So, she's fine and home and I can't teach.

It's not like I mind being home with her.  I actually like it, but this year has been so broken up with snow days and testing and more snow days that I can't really get into a rhythm in my classroom and it's driving me NUTS!!!

Plus, if I am going to burn a sick day, I'd rather it's me that's sick so at least I feel like I'm accomplishing something.

Is that terrible of me?

I'm a bad mother.

Whatever.

So, I'll plan activities, watch Disney, and let her help bake cookies.  She's already called me the "best mother in the entire universe" because I told her that Mac&Cheese could be considered part of a bland diet.  She was pretty psyched about that.

Other than that, the working Mom thing is going pretty well this year.  I'm still tutoring one night a week and that's been fine as well.  I think I was worried that I wouldn't have time for myself and in some ways, that's been true.  My work out schedule has suffered for a multitude of reasons (snows, time, exhaustion), but we're working on getting that back on track.  I'm still cooking most nights of the week, so we're still eating good food.  I am tired, but not exceedingly so.  The class I took definitely took a toll on me, but that's over now and I survived.  I actually enjoy being in the classroom again, so I think that helps a lot.  If I hated my job, I'd want to quit and go back to being a SAHM.  I'm lucky I have a job I love.

That is all for now...random tangent over.  Must take care of "sick" girl.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Winter Bitchfest By the Numbers

100.2: Highest temperature Hailey had this weekend

6:        Number of times Hailey got violently ill this weekend

1029385:  Number of tissues Hailey used when she got a vicious head cold after her puking subsided

0:        Number of time I gagged from the stench of her puke (must be getting better at this Mom stuff)

2:        Number of times Matt offered to help

2937:  Number of times we asked him to help

8:        Number of inches of snow we received

2:        Times I was jealous of Sister and GG being together this weekend

1.5:      Number of minutes I considered going out to help shovel (getting worse at this wife job)

2:         Number of hours school was delayed today

12:       Number of hours between when they called the delay and when they officially closed 

2:         Days of state testing we're supposed to have this week

9:         Current temperature

1:          Crazy at home and one Crazy at school

Here's the bitchfest part...I get that it's snowy and icy and freezing cold.  I get that.  What I don't get is that people take a 2-hour delay as an excuse to sleep in rather than a time to get prepared to leave their house and embark on their day.  I know it's cold and icy, but get up early, de-ice your car, let it warm up, leave your house early, drive slowly, be careful, and get your ass to work!  I think I'm just getting worried about having to make up all of these snow days at the end of the year...either that or I'm just getting old (I am turning 40 this month) and thinking that today's society has gone soft.

I don't know...I just think that these closures are not always warranted.

Disclaimer #1:  I did not drive around the entire county today.  I drove Matt to school and came home.  There were some bad areas.  I survived because I drove slowly.  Everyone else can do the same thing.  That is all.

Disclaimer #2:  I know that they have to be careful because of the buses and everything.  I get that, but again, prepare, leave early, drive slowly.

Disclaimer #3:  I may also be a little bitter because I didn't sleep late.  I had a stalker kid in my bedroom at 6AM just staring at us and sniffling in a totally annoying fashion knowing that we were sleeping/pretending to sleep.  You wanna know why he wanted to be up?  And I quote, "I didn't want to waste my 2-hour delay with no tech."  WHAT????

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rant

So, we have another 2-hour delay today and I figured what better way to spend my time than to write a blog post.

I have a couple of rants that are inappropriate for Facebook or anywhere else in my life for that matter b/c it's just not worth it.

  1. You do not have to post the weather report on FB every 2 seconds.  If I wanted to torture myself with that information, I would either "like" the weather dude you keep raving about or stay tuned to the Weather Channel.  Since I am doing neither of those things, please assume that I'm just in denial about any impending weather and keep it to yourself.  Better yet, start a special FB page for all those weather dorks.  I'm out.
  2. If you approach me in the grocery store about your child (aka my student), I will not be ready for a conference.  Given the fact that this is my personal time and I do not have my grades in front of me, I will not be prepared for your pointed questions.  I will give you one helpful hint..."he needs to see me for help."  That is all.  Also, as you speak, the only thought that will be floating through my mind is "it's no wonder he's having trouble as you can't seem to use any common sense...how could I expect your child to use common sense?"  
  3. Sister needs support.  They've been sick since December 13th...that's over two months of The Sick, if you're counting.  Head over and give her some love.
  4. This isn't a rant...just something to say.  This is the last week of my course and I finally got a routine nailed down.  I'm almost done...I am proud of myself.  This was the craziest thing I have ever done and the snow days have actually helped me get through it successfully.  The snow days and Husband who took the kids to basketball practice, shopping, birthday parties (aka torture), and anywhere else he could think of.  He's pretty awesome.
  5. The snow this year has been pretty unbearable.  I'm not just talking about the sheer volume and frequency, but the quality of snow has been completely shitty.  It's either been too wet, too icy, or too windy to go out and play.  That makes the snow days stuck in the house even less tolerable.  This last snow was beautiful.  We got 24 inches in total and it was the kind of packable snow that really allows you to have some fun.  So, while Husband was finishing shoveling the driveway (yes, I helped a good bit), I built a snowman with the Crazies.  My question is, why do my snowmen always end up looking like giant penises??  So embarrassing.  Kind of glad it melted quickly!
That is all...rant over.  Feeling much better and ready to start the week!  Thank God this isn't a 5-day week.  I wouldn't even know how to handle that!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Overwhelmed and it's still January...

Seriously...this is ridiculous.

I just finished answering back 5 birthday party invitations and registering for my course that I HAVE to take this Spring in order to maintain my teaching certification.

I am overwhelmed and it's making my shoulders hurt (although, this could also be my craptastic mattress, but who knows?).

There are so many things I want to do this Spring, but it seems as if I'm already running out of time.

Brief aside:  Yesterday I took M to Homegoods with me.  We had so much fun.  He is an awesome shopper and really knows what he wants (and now he's tall enough to quietly put it in the cart, so I have to be on my toes).  It was so nice to get away with just him.  I think he's been craving that.

Okay, back to my original story.  I printed the syllabus for my online course and it's 26 pages...26 fucking pages for an online course.  What the WHAT???

You're killin' me Smalls.

When am I going to do that on top of working, parenting, exercising, gymnastics, dance, basketball, birthday parties, grocery shopping, cleaning, organizing, reading, showering, laundry-ing, and tutoring?

Oh, and maybe I should have a social life and spend time with Husband.

Maybe.

Then there's my 40th (which I have no idea what we're doing), a friend's 40th which is in Vegas and while I totally want to go, I don't see how I could fit it in with the end of school being right around that time.  Oh, and who wants to watch my kids?

(crickets)

Then there's the fact that I'm trying to get a weekend together with GG and Sister so that we can hang out and have fun and that's turned into a total CF.  Why is it that finding a weekend where three people can do something all together is just ridiculously difficult?

Anyway, I think I'm just venting.  I'm really hoping that this course won't take up as much time as it seems.  The way it's laid out does seem pretty decent and organized and I'm smart, so it definitely won't take me as much time as it would take a dumb person.

Oh, and my Dad's moving and we have a gazillion birthday parties for family...and both kids are doing lacrosse this Spring for which Husband thinks he'll coach for BOTH teams b/c there isn't anyone else volunteering.  

Why doesn't anyone volunteer yet everyone thinks these things should be made available to them?

Oh, and we are also considering getting more involved in our HOA rather than let it get taken over by the state.  Anything the state touches falls apart.

I'd also like to have time to get some decent undergarments (it's like I'm a hobo) and some decent work out clothes.  I want to try them on so I'm not in yoga pulling my pants out of my butt like a 12-year old.

Maybe I could also get some Spring clothes in the mix because they're not going to grow themselves in my closet and I'm really lacking in that area.

Oh, and when in the world will I be able to see my friends from college when we finally did pick a date and one of them backed out (for legitimate reasons, but still)?

Then there's school...gotta grade all those papers.

I just need to chill a little bit.  I need to get it all in perspective and just take it in stride.  Maybe I just needed to write about it...a little vent never hurt anyone.

I'll be fine.  I'll get it all done.  I am woman, hear my roar.

Roar.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's a Brand New Year - Project List 2014

This year has been nuts.

Nuts, I tell ya!

Between moving into a new house last Fall (yes, it's been over a year and I still don't have curtains in my living room) and starting a new job this year, I've been a woeful blogger.

I can't make any promises that it will get better either.

Here is what I can do.  I can make a list of projects that I will tackle each month this year and stick to it...or try my damndest to stick to it.

January - Organize holiday decorations in the basement.  This is going to go beyond the typical throwalltheChristmasstuffinaboxandhopeforthebest.  This is going to assign a shelf for Easter crap, Halloween crap, and designate an entire wall for Christmas.  I am also going to make sure that necessary baking/cooking things are accessible and throw away all of these damn boxes from Christmas.  The recycling people love us so much.  Oh, and frame our pictures...good frames, not cheap.

February - Guest room overhaul.  Things will be donated.  Bins will be emptied.  Capiz chandelier that has moved from place to place will be hung somewhere.  Guest room will be guest-y.  Oh, and I will hang shit on the walls.

March - Dining room, living room, and foyer will be painted.  Living room curtains will be decided upon and hung.  Prune hydrangeas, decide on mulch, work on rock area in backyard, trim shrubs around pool.  I will be very VERY tired in March (plus, I turn 40, so I'll be old too).

April - Master bedroom will get curtains.  Things will be hung on the walls.  Nana's antique chair will be reupholstered. 

May - Dining room chandelier will be hung (I know which one I want...I just need to have the cash now).  Chairs may be purchased.  Mirror in dining room hung.

June - Deck and yardwork.

July - Office painted and organized.  Dry sink refinished and moved into dining room.

August - Chillllllll...nothing, no work, nothing.  Enjoy the last few weeks of summer.  Go on vacation.

September - Have piano tuned.  Possible start of kitchen remodel contractors?  

October - Finish dining room with art, other decorative crap, and finishing touches.

November - Bathrooms...whether it's reorganizing the closets or throwing away old towels, we will need an update.

December - Nothing again...just try to get through in one piece.

What's on your project lists for 2014?


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

It's Christmas Eve.

The excitement has no bounds.

I sit here on my couch, tree lights on, watching Pokemon, drinking coffee out of the biggest mug given to me by one of my students.

One Crazy is awake (the boy).

One Crazy is still in Snoozeland and I don't intend on disturbing her.

Husband is at work.

The stockings are hung.

The presents are half wrapped.

The schedule and food for today and tomorrow are pretty much set.

I am content.

Between work, friends, family, marriage, laundry, and marriage, I am content.

I was thinking about perfection yesterday...how so many people want to make sure to cram every party of Christmas with memorable moments created year after year...even if there isn't enough time.

This was a very short December.  In that time we were able to cram in Christmas cards, a tree, getting all the Christmas houses out and on display, decorating the outside of the house, shopping (mostly online), visits, dinners, our annual Christmas light trip, a visit to Downtown Main Street for Santa and local shopping, our annual picture with the Mall Santa, Friends Christmas, returning to church on a regular basis, and playing in the snow.

We didn't get to see the Nutcracker.  We didn't get to see the lights on 34th Street (a big deal in Baltimore, hon).  We didn't get to sing Christmas carols anywhere.  We didn't have a Christmas party like I wanted.  We didn't make oodles of cookies.  We didn't get to a Christmas train display.  We didn't cut down our own tree this year.

And I'm okay with missing all of those things.

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.  If I feel like I've done well enough and my kids are happy, that is perfection to me.  Personally, I find the quest for perfection like trying to gain a foothold on a mountain during an avalanche.  While you may attain it for a few seconds, it will all change in the blink of an eye.  Whether it's a crying child or a husband's heavy sigh because a line is too long...perfection seems fleeting.

However, what if we looked at it in a different way?  What if we took those split seconds of perfection and put them all together?  Could we, at that moment, say we attained perfection?  Could we view Christmas as perfect when we take those little snippets, piece them together, and create our memories?  Yes...it can be done.

The Crazies won't remember the things we didn't get to see this year.  They'll remember what we were able to do.  

They'll remember the light display and the toy soldiers setting off rockets.  They'll remember all of us pretending that those rockets blew up our car and laughing hysterically at that moment.  They'll remember the silly noises that Daddy made after we left the aquarium on Christmas Eve Eve and giggling uncontrollably while begging for more.  They'll remember watching Daddy on the roof stringing up the lights and "helping" to hold the ladder.  They'll remember getting the brand new toy helicopter stuck in the very tall evergreens just as it started to rain.  They'll remember Mommy saying a bad word when she spilled flour all over the counter while making cookies.  They'll remember getting our Christmas tree from a parking lot to support the Boy Scouts.  They'll remember the cantata at church and all of the instruments and singers.  They'll remember all of these little things and they'll piece them together as their own rendition of perfection.

After all, isn't that what we all do?  We take the good, throw away the bad, and hold on to what we need to make Christmas perfect.

I think that's okay.  I think it's okay to disillusion ourselves like that.  I think it's better than holding the bitterness and loss and sadness.  It's okay to want only the good and to enjoy what we have rather than pining away for more than we could ever make possible.

I think that as I sit here on Christmas Eve 2013 typing away on my less than reliable blog, it's okay that I haven't written every single thought or been thankful for every single thing in my life, or shared every single experience here on my blog.  It's okay because they're all in my heart.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year...here's to holding on to our version of perfection and releasing the bad...no one needs it anyway.