Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Aunt Flo Now Sends Gifts!

I'm one of those people that like funny commercials.  However, in this day and age...where most of my TV watching comes from DVRed shows that I can fast forward through commercials... I have to get my funny commercial fix online.

This morning, my friend Cathy sent me a link to a commercial that I thought was not only adorable, but completely hilarious.

Whenever I reference my "time of the month", I call it a visit from Aunt Flo.  I'm not shy about it.  I talk about her in my blog quite often.  In fact, I make her seem so real that people have actually sent me emails and comments about my Aunt Flo... thinking she was a real person.

The sad part is, I do actually have a real Aunt Flo.  I couldn't imagine what would happen if she ever started reading my blog.  She'd probably wonder what the hell she'd done to me to tick me off so bad.

That's neither here nor there... back to the funny commercial.


Well, this is a commercial made by a new company called Hello Flo.

Hello Flo is an online service that sends packages of "Aunt Flo" necessities to your door every month.. including a few extra things, like candy, to ease you through her visit.

I checked out the website.  And it's cute.  I think it's a nice idea... but when I checked out the prices, I wondered why on earth anyone would pay that kind of money for a delivery of tampons when they could go to the nearest Wal-Mart and buy three months worth for less money.

A monthly delivery of the "right amount" of supplies is $14 a month for someone with a light Flo.  Medium Flo is 16 a month.  And heavy Flo is $18 a month.  You get tampons, pads, and candy.  And however many of those things that are considered to be the "right amount".  

When I buy my Aunt Flo reinforcements... they cost me a whopping $7...and that box usually lasts two months, if not longer.  

If you think I'm making this stuff up... go to their website:  www.helloflo.com  And check it out for yourself.

Speaking of, I saw a funny movie last night that had a bit that reminded me of this commercial.  It was about a young girl who was visiting her boyfriend...and Aunt Flo decided to show up for the first time ever.  Her young boyfriend, when seeing the blood, started to freak out thinking his girlfriend was dying.  Even calling 911.  His older brother ran around the kitchen frantically looking for stuff to use to "plug her up"... including sponges, bottle brushes,  a "maxi pad on a stick" which was a dust mop, and other kitchen utensils.  Then, the boys' dad walks in and starts to explain the process of having a period to his young son by telling him that the lining of her "lady organs" are falling off... causing the young boy to freak out even more.  I laughed my butt off at the whole thing.  

Thank goodness I prepared myself for my daughter's first visit from Aunt Flo.  Oh, and prepared her.

Sure, she's an evil old witch that likes to show up at the wrong times and ruin a woman's fun for a week.  Aunt Flo...not my daughter.  But, she's also a part of life.  

Why people get so bent out of shape at the mere mention of her... or having to buy stuff to take care of her I've never quite figured out.

I don't get embarrassed to walk in to a store and carry a huge box of tampons up to the cash register.  Sometimes it's even more fun to choose the line of a young guy checker.  He will almost always turn a light shade of red, and avoid eye contact.  Like at any time I'm going to discuss my Aunt Flo issues with him.  Just one time, when he asks that valuable question "Did you find everything OK" I'd like to respond with - "I couldn't find the brand I normally buy, do you think these tampons have the same absorbency as Tampax?"  And watch him pass out from either embarrassment or utter disgust that I even mentioned a period in front of him.  

I certainly wouldn't consider the need for my Aunt Flo reinforcements to be delivered to my door in a discreet box like I ordered some kind of porn toys.  I'd miss out on the whole embarrass the checker experience.

I'm also blessed with a Hubby that couldn't care less to pick up my stuff at the store if need be... cause HELLO, I don't think anyone actually thinks they are for him.    

So, yeah...I discussed Aunt Flo this morning.  Not the first time, and most definitely won't be the last.  Cute commercial.  Cute idea for a website.  But, I just don't get it.  $18 a month so that people don't have to know when Aunt Flo is visiting?  

I guess there's always a need to make a quick buck.  

But, I think I'll stick to picking up Aunt Flo supplies by myself.  With the cost of the drive and the tampons.  

If Aunt Flo wants to send me candy each month... she better come up with a much better price for it.  The thought is nice, but I don't want to have to pay out the ying yang for it.



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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Goodbye Kidd Kraddick

                                 

Ten years ago, I was driving to work listening to the radio - like I always did.  I was listening to my favorite radio show:  Kidd Kraddick in the morning.  I'd been listening to him for years.  As long as I'd had a car, and had to drive it early in the morning (we're talking high school and beyond)... I'd listened to Kidd Kraddick.

Any who, this particular morning, the "gang" were all talking about coming up with a contest to send someone to see a live taping of American Idol.  It was the 2nd season, and I'd become a big fan of the show.  The minute I heard that they were going to give away an all expense paid trip to a live taping... I perked up.

Then, Kidd being the funny man that he was, announced that the contest would involve having the biggest star possible call in to the show.  Whoever got the biggest star to call in and give an interview won the contest.

My heart sank.  

How the heck was I going to find a famous person to call in to the radio show?  I sure didn't know any.   So, I continued my drive to work a little downhearted.

Shortly after getting to work, I had a realization.  My ex's mother had gone to school with Reba McEntire.  Did she still have any contact? Probably not.. but if she knew a way to get ahold of her, it would be a start.  I quickly called her up and told her all about the contest.  She told me that she'd lost touch with Reba many years before.. but she did know that Reba had a brother that still lived in Oklahoma.  She gave me his name (Pake) and his number, and I stored it away for that evening when I was at home and not making personal phone calls from work.

That evening, my fingers shook as I dialed the phone.  Would this guy think I was nuts?  Would he hang up on me and tell me to never call his house again?  

A guy picked up after a few rings.  He had a thick southern drawl, and I almost just hung up.  But, I didn't.  I asked for Pake, and he confirmed that I'd reached him.  I told him my name, and told him my connection to my ex mother-in-law.  He remembered her from school, remembered her as being one of Reba' friends.  I felt a little more relaxed.

I then went on and explained the contest.

I expected him to laugh at me.  Tell me how impossible it was to get his sister to call in to a radio station during her busy time of singing and recording a TV show (Reba was on the air back then).  But, he didn't.  He told me he would definitely contact his sister for me and see what he could do.

For days after, I listened to the Kidd Kraddick in the Morning Show from beginning to end.  I laughed, I listened to some of the stars that had started to call in, and I waited.  Steve Guttenberg called in.  Macy Gray called in.  Ludacris called in.  And a few others, that I don't recall right now.  

Then, the last day of the contest arrived.  My heart sank.  Had Pake been able to reach Reba?  Was she willing to do it?  

I got my answer just a couple of hours later.  

While listening to the show, they announced that the one and only Reba McEntire had called in.  They asked her who she was calling in for, and she gave them my name.  I felt a rush of adrenaline run through me... this was it!  She shared how she'd gone to school with my ex's mom, and they asked questions about what she was up to and she shared about her albums and TV show.  I couldn't really tell you anything she said, specifically, because I was too busy waiting with anticipation for the contest to end.

After her interview, they decided to close the contest.  They narrowed down the choices to Steve Guttenberg, Macy Gray, Ludacris, and Reba.  While all famous in their own right, Kidd brought up the fact that it had to be the most famous of them all.  Kelly Raspberry then suggested that if Kidd was to walk in to a grocery store with pictures of all four...and showed them to people of all ages... which picture would be the most recognized.  I knew I'd won at that moment.  Before they even announced it.

Not even ten minutes later, I was on the phone with Kidd Kraddick.  My whole office team had surrounded me for support, and to listen to what he had to say.  He congratulated me on my win.  Told me I had won a trip to California for five days, with a guest.  I would be put up in the swanky Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica.  I would receive $500 to cover expenses.  I would be taken to the live recording of the show (with the three finalists) and the results show the following evening.  

To say I was beyond thrilled would still be an understatement.

I decided to take my mom on the trip.  It was the season of Clay Aiken, and she adored Clay.  We had our trip, and had a blast.  I got to meet Steve Guttenberg who just happened to be eating lunch at our hotel the day we arrived.  I met and sat next to Ian Ziering on the flight from LAX to Las Vegas (where we were getting a connecting flight).  I met Tom Barringer, even though he refused to admit that he was famous or that he was who I thought he was... but that's for a whole different story.  I met some of the Idols that had been eliminated, got to meet the family of Kimberly Locke.  Got to see Ryan Seacrest standing only a few feet away from me...and Simon, Paula, and Randy.  

It was AWESOME!

On the last day of our trip, the phone in my hotel rang at 6:30AM.  I bustled out of my sleep and answered my phone.  There on the other end was Kidd Kraddick.  He wanted to do a last day interview and find out all about the trip.  

All I could do was thank him for a wonderful experience.  I answered his questions, laughed with him, and thanked him again.  He had no idea what the trip meant to my mom and me.  It was a dream come true.

The day we arrived home, we found out that Kidd's show had been replaced on our local station with two local DJs.  I was devastated.  What would I do without my Kidd Kraddick show?  I was so angry.. but my anger soon started to fade away after a few months of listening to my radio without him.  I missed him, but what could I do?

Jump forward a few years, and Kidd Kraddick was BACK!  The local DJs had moved away and they had brought Kidd's syndicated show back to us in NW Arkansas.

It was like being reunited with an old family member.

Every day I listened to his show.  Every day I laughed my butt off as he cracked jokes with Kelly, Big Al, J-Si, and Jenna.  Sometimes so much so that tears would well in to my eyes as I was trying to drive.  Dangerous!  

But there was never a morning I didn't have him on in my car.  I could pick his voice out from anywhere.  

This past Saturday night, while doing my usual Facebook stalking, my heart fell in to my stomach as I saw the news release about the passing of Kidd Kraddick.  

Since that time, I've been grieving.  A complete stranger.  No more than just a radio host.  Tearing up over his name, reading every story I can about what happened, and listening to the show put on yesterday morning by the gang...without him.

But, he wasn't a complete stranger.  He wasn't just a radio host.  

Even though I never met him, I had spoken to him on the phone.  Even if I hadn't.. I'd still feel like I knew him.  I grew up listening to him.  He was able to put a smile on my face on the days that were tough.  No matter what I was going through... a few minutes of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning made things better.

And now he's gone.

He will always hold a special place in my heart.  For helping me do something I never would have had the means to do.  For brightening the worst of days.  For dedicating himself to Kidd's Kids.  For just being a truly amazing person.

So, I say... Goodbye Kidd Kraddick.  

May you rest in peace, and forever know the joy you placed in to so many hearts.

Your memory and spirit will live on....Always.

Jo


Monday, July 29, 2013

OK, Let's Do This

Why is it, that when you have to get up early, you can't get to sleep the night before?

No matter how much you try... you lay there, tossing and turning, watching the clock tick by another hour knowing it's one less hour before you have to get up.

I was a good girl last night and went to bed before 11PM.  I wasn't the slightest bit tired, but I tried.  I watched America's Got Talent (that I have been DVRing), I tried playing some Candy Crush, watched some more TV.

But, by 1AM, I was still awake.  

The problem doesn't come from the good intention of going to bed early.  It's the bad planning from not getting out of bed at a reasonable hour that morning.  I didn't get up until 10AM yesterday... so no wonder I still wasn't tired at 11PM.  I should have thought ahead a day, went to bed late the night before, got up early the morning before, and I would have been tired last night.

I'm just hoping that the extra sleep I have gotten this summer has been put in to a special reserve bank... because I have a feeling I'm going to need to make a withdrawal today.

I guess I managed to fall asleep shortly after 1:22AM, because that was the last time I looked at the clock..until the alarm went off this morning at 6:30.  I hit the SNOOZE button, but actually got up before it went off again.

So, I guess my tiredness doesn't win over my excitement to get in and see my classroom.

Regardless of how tired I am, I sure do like the feeling of getting up before anyone else.  The quiet in the house is so peaceful.  I'm sitting on my patio, with my coffee, and there's even a slight chill in the air.  So not like the end of July.  I should be sitting out here and starting to feel twinges of sweat... but it's only 68 degrees right now.  Perfect weather for sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee, my blog, and complete quiet before I jump in my car and get my day started.

I'm hoping to get a good 4 hours of work in this morning before I have to come home and take the kids for their dental check-ups.  

That sounds like a good amount of time, but I know that it won't even crack a dent in to how much work there is to be done.

But, if I can at least get furniture moved to where it needs to be, and all my books unpacked back on to the shelves... that will be a start.  

This time last year, I felt the same rush of excitement except there was quadruple the nerves.  I was going in to my classroom for the first time EVER.  Starting completely from scratch to create the learning oasis I had always dreamed it would be.

Unfortunately, what ended up happening was me rushing around to get the classroom functional.  Sure, it was comfy.  It was decorated nice.  But learning oasis?  Not sure about that.

This year, I'm going in with a more clear head.  The nerves of being a first year teacher aren't niggling away inside of me and overwhelming me with fear.  I've done this before...now.  I can go in there knowing what to expect the first week of school.  I know what I need to spend my time worrying about and leaving the rest of the time pulling out my Pinterest cards and seeing what I can do with the place. It's already mine... the classroom.  It's already got my stamp on it.  Now it's just time to make that stamp more efficient and "oasis" like.  Whatever the heck that means.

Another reason I couldn't sleep last night.  All I kept thinking about was what I was going to do this morning with my furniture arrangement.  How different I wanted things to be.  How many good intentions I have for sorting and decluttering the stuff I collected over the year that I no longer need to hold on to.

I know I'm just rambling on this morning, but it's been so long since I got out of bed at the butt crack of dawn and just let my fingers do the typing.  I have excitement about getting back in to my classroom, and a little anxiety that the summer is so close from being over.

It's been ten weeks since I stepped out of the school on the last day of the school year.  Ten weeks.  That have flown by in the blink of an eye.  

Ten weeks from now, it will already be October.  Ten weeks after that, it will almost be Christmas.  

Isn't that a scary thought?  Only a little over 20 weeks until Christmas?  

Feels like it wasn't that long ago that I was putting my Christmas tree away...and now we only have 4 months until it's time to drag it out again.

Oh goodness... I really need more caffeine.  Already talking about Christmas.  What the heck is wrong with me?

Definitely my cue to get off here and get this nervous energy out in a place much more conducive.  A/k/a my classroom.

Jo

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kinda Sorta My Last Day of Summer Break

Technically, I don't officially go back to work until August 12th.  That's the first day my contract goes in to effect, counting my required 180 days of teaching service.

However, anyone that actually knows the myths and misconceptions about how long teachers actually work for... knows, that there are many more days that have to be put in on top of what the contract pays.

I go back "officially" on August 12th, but if I have any hope in getting my classroom organized and set up for the beginning of the school year... I have to go back a couple of weeks before that.

Like tomorrow.

I had originally planned on spending three days in my classroom this week, so that I only had to work two days next week at the professional development meetings I have to attend.  But, because I'm the worst procrastinator in the world... I booked all of my kids' check-ups this week to the doctor and dentist... so I'll be working what I can in between.

I'll be going in tomorrow morning.  To get the first glimpse of my classroom since the last day of school.  My classroom floor has been waxed, meaning I should find a pile of desks, bookshelves, and various boxes that I packed piled up in the corners.

It's my job to get everything put where it's supposed to be... and make sure the classroom is functional.  

Not just that, but going through all of my drawers, filing cabinets, and closet to make sure that I'm not starting the bad habit of hoarding stuff that I don't need... which is something just about every teacher I know does.

Will I accomplish that mission?  Probably not.  But, I'd like to think that I'd at least put in a good effort.

Tomorrow afternoon, the kids all have their dentist appointments.  Tuesday, I'll get a full day in my classroom.  Wednesday, Jelly has her wellness check at the doctor.  Thursday, I'm going out with my mom for lunch.  And Friday I'm taking Peanut and Butter to the doctor.

Meaning I'll only get a day and a half this week to get in my classroom.  Meaning I'll have to work a lot more than originally planned next week.

Oh well, I suppose I better get my behind back in to a work mentality.

I can't complain.  As much as I hear complaints about how much teachers work and don't work... I can't grumble about getting two months off for the summer.  The myth is that we get three... but count in the couple of weeks early we go back, and a couple of weeks of teaching summer school... and the number is much closer to two months instead of three.

But who's counting?

Two months, three months... being that the word "month" is associated, I'm sure as heck not going to pick at straws.

My contract requires 180 days of service.  That means that there is 185 days out of the year that I don't work.  I technically work less than half a year.  

I officially have the best job in the world.

OK, there are added days that I put in on top of those 180 days... like summer school for example.. and professional development conferences and meetings... but again, who the heck cares about that?

I'm actually really looking forward to going back and getting started.  Another new year.  Another round of new faces.  Another summer will be here before I know it because the time flies by so stinking fast.

But, right now?  I'm just going to take one day at a time.. pray I get my classroom ready to go before the first day of school...and enjoy the last few days here and there that I do have off.

Have a great Sunday!!

Jo

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Girls' Day!!

Yesterday was a great day.  

My two best friends, Sanity and Hope, came over to see the house for the first time, and to see me for the first time since we've moved in.

We met in college, supported each other through college, supported each other through finding teaching jobs, and now all teach in different schools...and get together whenever we can.

Not near enough... but when we can.

It was so great to be able to sit and visit about what we've been up to in our lives, in our classrooms, and so on.  The good thing about not seeing each other for a long time is that there's always tons of stuff to talk about.

Our favorite topic, by far, is our classrooms and school districts.  Sanity and Hope teach in different schools, but in the same school district.  I teach in a completely different school, district, and state... so it's fun to compare and contrast the way stuff is taught from one place to another.  Hope teaches 4th grade - like me - and Sanity teaches 2nd grade. 

The original plan for the day was for them to come over and us all spend the day in the pool.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had different ideas being that it rained ALL DAY LONG.  The rain gave us cool temps, though, so we were able to sit out on the patio and talk.  

Mother Nature apparently prefers my guests to not swim, because that's the second time this week I've had friends over to swim..and it's rained.

We haven't had much rain this summer, so it figures that the one week I plan all of my get-togethers.. the skies open up for some wet stuff.

It's so great knowing that I have two good friends from college.  I was always told, growing up, that you make your life-long friendships during the college years.  Well, that's definitely true.  Sanity and Hope are definitely what I would consider life-long friends...even if we don't see each other near as much as I'd like.  

The sad part is, they are my only friends that I took away from college.  "Life-long" anyway.  While we were sitting and reminiscing our college days, it all came flooding back how much I really struggled trying to make friends in college.  Sure, I got along with people OK, but I always had this niggling feeling that most of the people that interacted with me did so simply because they felt they had to because of some group project or something...or because they were just being nice.

My Facebook can account for that.

Back in college, I was Facebook friends with most of the people I went to school with and that I had a lot of classes with.  We would message and talk about assignments and stuff we needed for classes or our internship... but no sooner had we crossed that stage and received our diploma, they pretty much all deleted me from their Facebook friends.  School was over, and so was our "friendships".

I still have a handful of people left, but those left I still have some form of contact with...on occasion.  

Butter asked me yesterday why all those people didn't really like me.  Well, my first instinct was to say that they did like me - we just drifted apart after we graduated.  The cold hard truth is, though, they really didn't like me.

I was opinionated.  I was eager to volunteer to speak.  I got assignments done quickly and efficiently.  I had no problem giving my thoughts and ideas.  

Undoubtedly coming off like a know-it-all.

I hated working in groups.  Not because I didn't like the people I had to work with, but because my grades were so important to me... that I often worried about group participation.  And, it was nothing for me to offer to do an entire group project just because I knew it would be done right and it was in my hands.  

Can you say control freak?

Yeah, it wasn't their fault that they could only swallow small doses of me, and felt relief the moment I was out of their lives.

I guess it's good that I know that about myself.  I haven't changed.  I'm still the same overbearing, opinionated, volunteering control freak.

But, there were two women that didn't care.  They took the opportunity to get to know the me outside of school.  The me that can have fun, and let my hair down.  The me that makes people laugh.  The me that was desperate for friendship, but just didn't know how to get it.

That would be Sanity and Hope.

Regardless of what anyone else thought of me, they were always by my side.  

We spent a lot of time together outside of college.  Hardly a weekend went by that we didn't have a night out planned, or a plan to do something after our one day of classes during our internship year.  It didn't matter that we were interning in different schools and only saw each other one day a week... we made up for it.  We were always there for one another to vent, share, and help in any and all situations that called for it.

The honest truth is, I didn't go to college to make friends.  I went to learn how to be a teacher.. the best teacher I could be.  It didn't bother me that others scoffed at my constant hand raising, or volunteering to demonstrate, or my willingness to do all of the work in a group project.  

Sanity and Hope were just an amazing bonus to my college experience.  

I often think about the times I really thought I wasn't going to make it... the times that I doubted myself, even though my personality displayed such confidence.  They always saw right through my persona...and knew when I needed them.

I sometimes wonder if I could have made it without them.  Going through the hardest year of my life as an intern.  Then going through an even tougher year of not being able to find a teaching job.  Constantly doubting myself and my abilities when doors kept slamming in my face.  But, they were always there for me.  No matter what.

Today, Hope is entering in to her 3rd year as a teacher.  Sanity and I are heading in to our second year teaching.  We all accomplished what we set out to do.  I just wish that we got to spend more time together, to see each other more often.  

We don't.

But, it just makes it that much more awesome when we do get the chance to hang out.

Jo

Friday, July 26, 2013

Proud to Live in My Town

                 

Shortly after writing my post, yesterday, I took a drive up to see the flags that were placed in honor of of a local Marine that died while stationed in Germany.  He was only 19 years old.  Here is a picture of 9 of the 2300 flags that were placed along the streets where his casket would take him to his final resting place.  Miles of flags, and I was only able to capture a glimpse of what they actually looked like.

I shared, yesterday, how a certain hate group had posted their plans on protesting the funeral.  I, along with many locals and non-locals, pledged via Facebook that we would rally together to form a Human Wall around the funeral to keep them at bay.

Thankfully, they never showed up.  And while standing in the streets with complete strangers discussing the disgusting group and their antics, I shared my point of view that had the group not even mentioned the funeral - I, along with hundreds that lined the streets - wouldn't have been there either.

I was met with a lot of shocked faces.  I was not condoning their actions.  I was not condoning their hate or their threats to protest.  I was merely stating that in the sight of evil, we banded together to show good.  Not just good... but love to a total stranger...honor and respect.

Everyone agreed.  

So, we all want to thank the nasty group for at least putting our small town on their radar.  They accomplished one thing and one thing only with their threat... to bring a small town together to honor one of their own, to show how we care for one another, and that regardless of it they were to show up or not...they would have had these sights to take back with them...







And my photos don't do near as much justice as they could.  

I just captured a glimpse of the number of people that lined up in honor.  

We stood for almost two hours before the service started.  We watched family members arrive, and break down in tears over the sight they witnessed getting out of their cars.  We saw Marines arrive and salute the bikers, the flags, and the strangers that lined up in their honor.  We watched cars drive by with drivers with complete awe in their eyes at what they drove by.

And, as the casket was brought from the church and put in to the hearse.... you could have heard a pin drop among the crowd.

Once the casket and family were ready, the biker procession started.  Bike after bike after bike after bike drove off down the street.  If I had to guess, I'd say there were over 100 bikers starting the funeral procession down our Main Street.  There may have been many more, as I noticed bikers were joining the procession from streets further down.  

A lump formed in my throat.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  My heart hurt for a family I'd never met, a young Marine I'd never seen before.

This was what community is all about.  I got to witness it and participate in it first hand.  

It sure is a great feeling knowing that this is the town we live in, the town where my children will grow up.  Even though my kids won't attend the local school, or participate in local sports and events... I am proud and honored to know that we will be members of this community for years and years to come.

Rest In Peace Cpl. Ben Tuttle.

Even though you were taken from this earth too soon, your town loves you.  We thank you for your service.  And we thank you for bringing our community together in your name.

Jo

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Standing Up For What I Believe In....Literally

I skipped yesterday, simply because I didn't have a whole lot going on other than grocery shopping... so I wasn't really motivated to write.

Which usually doesn't happen... but I wrote on my other blog, and that took out of me what I needed to get out.

I thought about writing this post, yesterday, but I needed more information and to see how stuff played out before I did... but now I'm ready to write it.

My new house is located in a town that is not new to me.  I spent about seven years living here, minus a few breaks here and there, before I moved in to my old house seven years ago one town over.  And, now I'm back.  

I feel a connection to this town...even though I don't really know that many people here.  I've made some friends over the years that live here, but it wasn't from me living here that got us together.  I pretty much stay to myself, don't socialize with anyone here, but love the town.

Anywho, I'm a member of a Facebook group that is basically an online yard sale - specific to this town.  People post stuff they want to sell, others buy it...you know what I'm talking about.

I was perusing around yesterday on the page, when I discovered a post that immediately caught my attention.

This past weekend, a local marine was killed in action.  He was only 19 years old.  His funeral is set for today, right here in town.  

That, unfortunately, wasn't the news.  

The post went on to say that a certain organization, that has the audacity to call themselves a church group, were planning on protesting at this young man's funeral.  A link to the press release on the organization's page was left...and I clicked on it.  (You will notice that I don't use their name at all, because I'm sure my keyboard will fizzle out from under me if I do)

My stomach almost came up in to my mouth.  The sick and vial things that horrible group had to say about this devoted young man and his service to this country.  

It took all of two seconds to copy and paste the post from the group on to my own feed.

Now, just a mere 24 hours later, I know that the funeral this man was going to have will be a much larger affair than originally planned.  What was possibly going to just be family and friends has now turned in to so much more.

An entire town is going to attend that funeral.  Myself included.

I don't know him.  I don't know any of his family members.  I don't even know any of his acquaintances.  But, I'm going.  Not as a curious spectator... but as a part of a human wall.  The wall that this entire town is going to build around the funeral - protecting it from anybody that dares try to protest.  

Yesterday afternoon, a man and a few volunteers put up 2300 American flags that line the streets of our little town.  The sight, that I've only seen in pictures, is breath taking.  I plan on taking a little drive here in a while to capture some pictures of my own.  

Then, at 1PM, myself along with goodness knows how many people from our town and neighboring towns will be meeting outside of the church to prepare our wall.

The Patriot Guard will be here.  They are the bikers that show up at military funerals to protect the family from protesters.  Other bikers will be here.  Complete strangers, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends will be here.  We will all stand, for as long as the wall needs to be - and more - to give this young man the funeral he deserves...without the nasty spill of hate seeping over.

The truth is, the organization may not even show up.  In fact, the likelihood that they won't show up is pretty high.  They like to post stuff on their website to get people all rallied up and upset, and then not follow through on it.  That's what they do.  But, in a way, I'm kinda glad they do.

Had this vicious organization let this one go, not bother to post about it or say anything... those that new the young marine may have attended the funeral.  Those that grew up in the town may have heard about his death.  It may have been a pretty large service, but only to those that knew him or had maybe come in to contact with family members and friends along the way.

I certainly wouldn't have gone.  I wouldn't have even heard about it... unless reading about it on a news feed, maybe.  The Patriot Guard wouldn't have shown up.  The bikers that I have heard all morning probably wouldn't have been here.  Those people that are traveling in from neighboring towns wouldn't have made the drive.

But we all are now.  We are all going to attend.  We are all going to stand together as a town, a community, to support a complete stranger... one of our own.

I wonder if the horrible people from that organization even think about the support and love that is sparked by their nasty actions.  

As they say hurtful things, horrible things, they definitely get some attention.  But, the attention they get surely can't be what they are bargaining for.  A whole town, complete strangers, people from neighboring towns standing together to honor a brave man who lost his life in action?  

There is no amount of those people that can show up that would even cause a dent in the masses that will undoubtedly stand outside that church today.  

They want anger.  They want violence.  They want rage.

What they will be met with is a display of love.  Gratitude.  Honor.

We don't have time to retaliate towards them.  We aren't stupid enough to fall in to those traps of hidden cameras just waiting to catch someone cause one of them harm.  We aren't careless enough to cause a scene that may upset the services taking place in that church.

We are a town of love.  Support.  We will stand in silence.  We will stand with honor.  We will not be harassed or intimidated.  We will not allow any hate to overcome us.  We are there to do our service for  a young man that was taken much too soon.  To devote our wall to him.  To show our gratitude and our thanks.  

And I feel it a privilege and honor that I will be a part of it today.  I will stand with my head held high... standing up for what I believe in.  The right for a family to grieve over their heroic son.  In peace.

Whether the organization shows up or not is totally obsolete at this point.  Because they have succeeded in doing one thing... and that's bringing a town together to show that we have no room for hate here.  That we will stand together.  

And maybe, just maybe... one day, those horrible people will get it in to their thick skulls that the more they promote their hate, the more people there will be to stand together to prove them wrong.

It's time for me to go and get ready.

Jo


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Being Surrounded By Friends

Yesterday was such a great day.

My 4th grade team came to visit me..and it was so nice to have them in my home and not feeling uncomfortable or ashamed by my surroundings.

I've only seen two of them once since we got out of summer.  And we're getting a new addition to our team, who was previously a 3rd grade teacher, that I haven't seen at all since school got out.

It was so nice to just sit, chat, and laugh about what we're going to be up against and what we went though last year.  The good and the bad.  The terrific and the trying.  And how we will do it all over again in just a few weeks.

This time last year, there would be no way in Hades that I'd invite my team over to my house.  Not that I had a team this time last year... well, I did.  The same team, actually, I just didn't know them.  But, the point is, I would never had invited them over to the old house.  While it's probably stupid and vain to admit - I was so ashamed of that house, I wouldn't want anyone to see that I lived that way.

Not that my team would have judged me or even thought less of me because of it... but I would have thought less of me.  I would have hung my head down in shame that they had to see what I lived in.

Stupid, isn't it?

But, thankfully, I didn't have to worry about it.  Now that I have my new home, that I'm very proud of, I was excited to have them come see me....and welcomed them with open arms.

I know I've said this before, but it really means a lot for me to work with people that I can call my friends.  Just being colleagues isn't good enough.  I don't want to be all friendly for the 7-9 hours we work together each day, 180 days out of the year.  I want us to be friendly all the time... each hour of each day.  For it to be nothing to make a date to visit each other outside of school, and enjoy the company of each other.  

I want to be able to talk to them via text message or Facebook whenever I'm thinking about them, and for it not to be weird. 

And that's what I have with my team.  Friends.  People I can confide in, share my stories with, listen to, and learn from.

My new house sits directly across the street from the primary school in my town.  Right next to that is the middle school/high school.  Every time I walk out my front door, I get a quick rush of thoughts about how convenient it would be to work in that school and send my older two right next door.  No more gas mileage racking up on the car each day.  No more getting up at 5am so that I can leave by 6:30 in order to get to work a little early.  No more 30 minute drives to work.  No more having to sit in my classroom until almost 6pm waiting for my kids to finish their sport practices.  No more worrying about what happens if one of my kids get sick and Hubby has to drive all the way up to pick the kids up - even though he spent the entire night before working.  

A literal walk right across the street to work and school.  

But, then right after I get that rush of thoughts...another follows right behind it.  I interviewed for a position in this town last year.  They passed me over.  The principal didn't like my ideas and flatly told me that what I had been taught was wrong.  They chose someone else.

Now, that doesn't mean that I agree with everything I have been taught.  It doesn't mean that I think I was perfect for the position.  But, when I took those same ideas to the school I'm in now, I was offered a job on the spot.  I was welcomed with open arms.  I was told that my ideas would be heard and appreciated...even if not all were accepted.  

And I was given a team that I love working with.  A school that my kids love attending.  And a classroom where I know I'm making a big difference in the lives of the kids that walk through my door.

So..yeah... it would be so much more convenient to try and get a job right across the street.  But, I can't and won't.  Despite the ups and downs I have, I LOVE my job.  I LOVE where I work.  I LOVE the people I work with.  

I'll take a 30 minute drive, sitting in my classroom until 6pm each night, and the added price for gas over that any day.

OK, I have to go...got eye appointments I need to get my kids to.

Jo

Monday, July 22, 2013

You Just Got to Jump on the Horses Back

                                     

OK, don't laugh.  Seriously.  Stop it!!  It took a lot of courage for my behind to get up on that horse.  I wore probably the worst outfit imaginable for jumping on the back of a horse - and capturing it in a picture - but, I hadn't planned on getting on the horse in the first place.

Yes.  That's me.  On the back of a horse, even though I said I wasn't in any hurry to do so...and that eventually, one day, I'd check my bucket list dream off the list to actually ride a horse.

And you want to know a secret?  I absolutely LOVED it!  

Ignore the absolute look of terror on my face.  This was just a few seconds after getting on the horse and taking off...a little fear was to be expected.  But, as I led that wonderful horse around the yard, I started to feel more and more comfortable.

My brother even managed to capture some footage of it.  Wanna see it? Promise not to laugh at how ridiculous I look?  OK, here you go...

                                             

Riding the horse I wasn't really that scared about.  Nope.  My fear came from actually getting ON the horse.  You know, hoisting myself up and over.  And then getting back OFF the horse again.  The riding part I was OK with - even the possibility of falling off - but not being able to get up there or back down again plagued me much worse.

I kept imagining myself getting stuck halfway through mounting, and then the horse taking off.  Or, getting off the horse, my leg getting caught in the stirrup, and then the horse taking off.  Both events causing me to be thrown around like a rag doll until I either fell off or my leg was snapped from my body in a horror movie, gore kinda way.  Thankfully, the horse was very patient with me, and didn't mind me hauling my big behind up on her...and stayed perfectly still while both getting on and getting off.

The ride, though, was absolutely incredible.  Everything I imagined it would be.  For my first time ever being at the reigns of a horse, I did a pretty good job.  I walked her around the yard, I steered her around.  I avoided freaking out and digging my heels in to her belly which would have resulted in sending her off on a gallop.  And, I even kept a firm hold when she decided she was hungry and was going to chow down on some grass. 

She followed my every move and every command perfectly.  In fact, I confused the poor thing by my occasional tension on the reigns.. which made her stop immediately.  That made me feel better, though.  At least she had darn good brakes.

I only spent about 10 minutes riding.  I would have stayed much longer, but with the tiny yard I was navigating around, I was a little nervous about the constant stopping and starting.  I worried that I was frustrating the horse because of it.  I know that had I been in a bigger field, I could have stayed on her so much longer.  

After my 10 minute ride, the horse trainer asked if I was ready to go on a trail ride... which is my brother's ultimate purpose for putting me on a horse in the first place.  He has this wild dream that he wants the both of us to go on a 4 hour trail ride BEFORE I go back to work in a few weeks.

Well, don't know about that... but am I open to going riding again?  Absolutely!

I don't think I'm anywhere near ready to ride off in to the sunset on a half day excursion, but I'd be willing to spend an hour or so riding with him.  Then, after some more practice, eventually going on the long ride.  But, it will be a while.  

I'm juggling the possibility of going riding on a more frequent basis... something I might do more often. Just have to figure out how, first.  

But, my brother succeeded in doing what he wanted to do... make me reconnect with my love of horses.  Now, let's hope I don't become as obsessed as he is.  HA!



Photobucket

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hello Rain! And Other Ramblings

It's been such a beautiful morning.  I've been sitting on my patio since around 9am - minus the time I went in to take a shower - just listening to the rain and enjoying the cooler temperature.

My patio has become almost like a living room to me.  I've really enjoyed just sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air, the sound of the birds, and not letting stuff like TV clog up my senses.  But, with the summer hitting us pretty hard, my patio time has been reserved for early mornings and late evenings.

Today, I can sit outside at noon, and it feels wonderful.

I can't enjoy a full day of doing nothing but listening to the sound of the rain, however.  Right now, I'm just waiting for the kids to get ready and we'll be heading on over to my parent's house.  

The original plan was that we'd go over and the kids would swim, and this afternoon I was going to have my first riding lesson on a horse.  But, with the rain, and the fact that my lesson couldn't be done until 7pm...the plans have had to change.

We're still going over there, but if the kids want to swim - it will be in the rain, and I'm not staying at my parents house until 7pm just so my brother can get me up on a horse.

As much as I want to learn to ride a horse, I can't say that it's something that's eating at me to try.  Sure, it's on my bucket list... but far enough down that I'm not going to go riding in the rain or wait until  the sun starts going down to do it.  I'll get to it, eventually, just not today.

My brother, bless his heart, has become obsessed with horses.  He purchased his first horse several months ago, and after realizing that it wasn't going to be a horse he could ride - he sold it and bought a new one.  The one he has is too young to ride, at the moment, but he plans on getting it there when it's old enough.  

He's desperate to find a family member that's enthralled and as passionate about riding and horses.  I guess I'm the closest thing he's going to get.  I've loved horses my whole life, and always wanted to own one.  That was until I grew up and learned how expensive and hard it was to actually buy, feed, and take care of one.  He managed to turn my dream in to his reality... but unfortunately, he's about 20 years too late to catch me in my horse obsession.

One thing my brother does know about me, however, is that I'll support him and encourage him in just about anything he gets passionate about.  Our relationship is like that.  I'm probably the closest with my brother over all of my other siblings.  And vice versa.  Whenever he has a problem or needs someone to talk to, I'm there for him.  And I love that our relationship is like that... even if I do get drug in to stuff that's a little overwhelming for me.

Being the oldest of six kids, I wish I could say that we are all a tight knit family.  But, that's not true.  In fact, I don't have any form of a relationship with three of my siblings.  I am close to the two that still live at home.  My 17 year old sister and I are pretty close, but nothing compared to how I am with my 16 year old brother.  My sister is in that spiral of being boy crazy, clothes crazy, and appearance crazy.  I'm about 15 years too late for that craze.  My brother is work crazy, animal crazy, and prefers the company of Hubby and I than any number of teenagers.  That works for me.  

He's perfectly content coming to my house, sitting out on the patio with us, and telling us all about his horse, his farm, and his future plans to own a horse ranch.  Good for him.  Who am I to rain on his parade?  If that's his ambition in life - I will stand by and give as much encouragement as I can.  That's what big sisters are for, right?

In all honestly, I think that I do what I do for my brother because he's almost like my last chance of having a strong, lasting relationship with a sibling.  The brother below me has moved on, lives halfway across the country, and we don't see each other except for Christmas.  We don't text or Facebook or call each other.  It's not something that has happened over the years, truth is - we've never been that close.  My memories of my childhood that involve my brother mostly consist of my mom breaking up fights...both physical and verbal.  

My next brother has gone off in to the wilderness with his wife and two kids.  While I was much closer with this brother growing up, he's not the same person anymore.  He has completely cut ties with pretty much the entire family.  I couldn't even tell you where he lives.  It changes so often that it's hard to keep up with it.  He's in this demented mindset that the world is out to get him...and he won't be a slave to "the man".  Whatever the hell that means.  One thing is for sure, his wife is more important than his family...and if she doesn't want anything to do with us, he has nothing to do with us.

My oldest sister is a mess.  Well, she was.  She's started to get on the right path, but the path of destruction she's left behind is too much for me to forgive and forget right now.  I chose not to have anything to do with her... but I still hold on to hope that one day, she'll come out OK.  And even though I know in my heart that I'll never be able to be close to her - there may come a day where I can at least stand to be in the same room she's in.

That leaves my youngest siblings.  I already have started to feel some distance fall between my sister and I.  She and I just aren't "in" to the same stuff.  But, I hold on to the fact that once she starts to calm down and get out of her teen mentality, there's a possibility that we'll continue to be close.  I want that more than anything  

I get the feeling I will never have to worry about that when it comes to my brother and I.  As he gets older and settles down with a family of his own, we'll still be close.  We'll spend time around each other.  We'll call, spend time at each other's houses (and not just for holidays), attend each other's special occasions like kids' sporting events, graduations, family picnics.  

That's really why it's so important to me to be involved now...stay positive and supportive to whatever crazy obsession he's involved with.  Because I refuse to allow us to stray apart, become disconnected, lose touch.  I'm making an investment in to our future.  I put in the time now, to really have the relationship with a sibling that I've always dreamed about.

And now I realize why I enjoy sitting outside in the rain so much.  Cause I come up with revelations like this beauty.  Who'd have thought that a post that started about rain could end up with this?

Crazy what my brain comes up with when my fingers get to do the talking, huh?

OK, time to start heading to my parent's house.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Jo


Saturday, July 20, 2013

I Know What It Feels Like to Be Flushed Down a Toilet!

I'm totally serious.  

My title is not supposed to be a joke.

And I'm not talking about what it feels like to get a swirly or that I'm feeling like a piece of crap.

I mean, I got to feel like a piece of crap.  Literally.

I'll explain how in just a bit.

Anywho, yesterday we went to the water park..you all knew that because I told you we were going.  We arrive and the kids and P-Momma instantly scatter in all directions.  Some head for the water slides, some head for the lazy river, some head for the speed slides... Jelly and I?  We head for the kiddie pool.

Jelly splashes around for a while and then ventures on the slide that's made just for the little ones.  I'm standing there watching and all of a sudden I hear this loud noise.  I look up and realize I'm standing under a GIANT bucket of water that gets dumped on my head...and the head of every child and innocent parent who's supervising the surrounding area.  It was FREEZING!  Thankfully, I hadn't gotten wet yet so I was no longer in need of easing myself in to the water.

Once Jelly got bored with the tiny slide, she told me she wanted to go on the big ones.  I was a little nervous.  I mean, Jelly can swim... a little.  Enough to swim from the slide end to the edge to get out.  And the water is only 3ft deep at the end of the slide, so she can stand up anyway.  She's been on the big water slide at the other pool we've been to, so it shouldn't be too bad.  I decide to let her have a go.

We walk up a bazillion stairs.  With each level my stomach is getting more and more queazy from the height.  I already know that Jelly can't ride down with me, so I explain that I'm going to ride down first and I will be waiting for her at the bottom.  We get all the way to being the next in line when the lifeguard comes along with his measuring stick and tells Jelly she's not tall enough to ride.  The height limit is 48"... Jelly is 47.2".

I was so disappointed...but not as disappointed as Jelly.  I was even more disappointed that I had to walk back down a bazillion stairs.

I'll admit, I was pretty freaking mad.  I was watching tiny kids go up and come down the slide, but for some reason - he'd pulled out his measuring stick to play authority figure with my baby girl.  I managed to get her cheered back up in the Lazy River.  

So, after a while of keeping Jelly occupied with the stuff that she could do, P-Momma told me that I needed to take a break and go try out the big slides.  I was a little apprehensive at first, but I finally agreed that I'd regret it if I didn't at least try them all once.

I found my brother and Butter who were in line for the Tree Top Plunge, a/k/a Toilet Bowl.  I went up and joined them in line.  Standing in line, my knees started getting weak, my heart started pounding.  And only because of the height.  I kept telling myself not to look down, but it was hard not to. I was actually relieved when we got to the top... until I looked at what I was going to be doing.

The ride consisted of getting in to an enclosed tube that falls at the same rate as the speed slides... you are then shot in to a giant bowl which you spin around the outside of until you finally fall through a hole in the bottom.  All I kept telling myself was that I was going to feel like a literal piece of crap...and that if I ever had the slightest curiosity about what it felt like to be flushed down a toilet - well, now I was going to know.

I got in the ready position.  Was told to put my hands behind my head.  And I was flushed.

The rate of speed I started to fall was breathtaking.  When I was shot in to the bowl, my stomach was in my mouth.  I spun around and around at a crazy rate of speed.  Then, I noticed the hole fast approaching... and I started to slow down.  And then I started to start turning upside down.  I was panicking because I didn't know when to hold my breath or if I was going to make it through the hole without hitting my head on the side.  Thankfully, I was OK. I fell through the hole - head first - and plunged in to the water below.  

When I got out, I had to sit for a second because my legs were like Jell-O.  The adrenaline that was rushing through my body was causing my head to spin.  I was ready to go back and get flushed again... until I noticed the long line, and decided that my fear of heights just wouldn't allow me to stand on those high stairs for that amount of time.

So, instead we decided to go try the other slides.

Now, as I stated earlier, I was a little upset with the lifeguard manning the two large water slides because he had forbidden Jelly from trying them out.  I was still a little miffed when I walked up all those stairs, once again, and saw him still playing Slide Boss.  

I waited patiently in line, and opted to go on the slower of the two slides first...a half tube slide.  The other was completely enclosed and dark all the way down.  

I got in, laid back, and waited for the water to carry me down to the bottom.  What actually happened was I got in, laid back, and the water took my wet behind at the speed of a bullet flying down that slide.  My stomach, once again, shot in to my mouth.  Then, once I hit the bottom, my bottom hit the bottom...and I finally think I know what it's like to have an enema.  Holy Cow!  

Once I had, again, caught my breath and stopped my legs from wobbling I started to feel this little pang in my stomach.  What I thought was just slide afterpains turned out to be guilt.  As I walked the stairs, once again, to try out the dark water slide I realized that I indeed was feeling guilt.  But from what?

Then it hit me once I saw Slide Boss again.  

I had been mad at him from denying my sweet little Jelly a go on the slide.  But after feeling the fury of the water...and the ungodly speed I had traveled down the slide... I realized had Jelly gone on it, she would have been completely terrified.

That slide was nothing compared to the puny slide I'd taken her on at the other water park so many times before.  That slide would have eaten her alive, crashed her under the water at the end, and probably tortured her from ever wanting to ride a slide again...ever.  

So, I had to face the boy I had been so mad at, and thank him for actually doing his job.  He probably saved my sweet Jelly from a disastrous experience.  Possibly a life-scarring experience.  

My guilt then turned in to shame.  What kind of mother tries to even put her child on a water slide she hasn't tried first?  That lifeguard sure wouldn't have been the one to blame had he allowed her to ride and then she ended up all traumatized.  it would have been my fault.  Because I didn't try it out first, and find out that it was just a little too much for her to handle.  

Lesson learned, and it all worked out - thankfully.

Yeah, I could have been wrong and Jelly could have totally loved it and thought it was the most awesome thing ever... but I think we'll hold off on finding out until next year when she is a much stronger swimmer.

So, guilt aside.  Shame aside.  It was time for me to ride the dark slide.  I thought, surely, it couldn't be any worse than being flushed down a life-sized toilet or being plummeted down at the speed I had just traveled in the open water slide.  WRONG-O!  Going down in the total dark was pretty freaking scary... and it was just as fast, if not faster.  

Finally come to the end...met with another enema and my bathing suit riding up my behind like dental floss getting stuck between teeth.  Holy cow balls.  It was so fast.  

So, in a matter of a few minutes I had been flushed down the toilet, had been forced two enemas, and then ended with the wedgie from Hell.  But, regardless... it was AWESOME!!

It's been so long since I've felt like such a kid.  It was hard for me to not just keep climbing those stairs and doing it again and again and again.  But, I didn't.  Because of the lines and because it was my job to spend some time with Jelly and make sure she had a good time.

I got to try the slides, and I'm glad I did.

The rest of the time, I splashed around with Jelly and stood under a giant bucket of water while she went down her own little slide.  Once the crowd level started getting a little out of control, we all hit the bricks and called it a day.

All in all, it was a fantastic day.  We are so blessed to have such an amazing person as P-Momma in our lives.  She's the one that took us.  She's the one that gave my kids their day out.  And she's the one that also gave this momma her chance to act like a little kid again - even if only for a few slides down a water slide.  None of it would have happened if it weren't for her.

I'm truly convinced that P-Moma will never quite grasp how important and special she is to all of us.  No matter how much we tell her we love her, no matter how much we tell her how much fun we have spending time with her, no matter how much my kids beg and plead to go visit... she'll never quite fully understand the special place she holds in all of our hearts.

OK, enough sappy stuff... I gots stuff to do.

Laters,

Jo

Friday, July 19, 2013

Water Park Adventure, Here We Come!


Well, the day that we've been waiting a few weeks for has finally arrived.  The day P-Momma and I load up the kids for a day at the new water park that recently opened in our area.

Water slides, speed slides, a toilet bowl, splash park, and lazy river all await our arrival.

Even a fancy rock climbing wall that kids can climb and then plunge in to 8 feet of water. 

Fun, right?

Yep.  Even though I'm not looking forward to donning my bathing suit out in public, I am excited about trying out some fun water features...and having some fun with the kids.

I had to get up at 8:30 this morning so that I can have a couple of minutes to myself before getting the kids out of bed.  They are not going to be happy about getting up at 9am... being that they haven't been getting out of bed before noon each day.  Oh well.  Boohoo.  They can sleep TONIGHT when they're actually supposed to sleep.

My baby girl is finally home!!

It was such a sweet moment when she came walking through the front door, yesterday.  She came running up to me and gave me a huge hug.  I actually felt the prickle of tears in my eyes.  It's amazing how much I missed her....even more so when I actually got to have her back in my arms.

After my mom and I went out for lunch, we got back and went in to the pool for a while.  It was so nice swimming around with my baby girl..and even after my mom left, we stayed in the pool just to have some fun and time together.

Anywho, she is super excited about going to the park today.  I'm pretty sure she's not going to be able to go down any of the big slides, but I'm sure she'll really enjoy the splash park and the lazy river.  

Butter gets to come home today, too.  Now the mission will be trying to keep him here for a while.  He's been gone so much this summer that I don't think it's too much to ask that he stays home the last full week of my summer break.  Of course, the kids still have three full weeks left of summer break but I only have a full week left.  Then I'll be spending a couple of days here and there working and spending time working on my classroom.

OK, I don't really have much more today... I have kids to get out of bed and get ready.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Friends, Family, and Dead Bunnies!

I was adding even more stuff to my calendar this morning and realized that I only have the rest of this week and next week and then it's already time to head back to my classroom to start getting set up for the new school year.  

That's just a little over a week of summer break left...and my calendar is still full of stuff to do.

Tomorrow is the rescheduled day for taking the kids to the new water park.

Monday I'm hosting my 4th grade team at my house for a get-together.

Next Friday I'm having my two besties finally come and see the new house and get together for the first and last time for the entire summer.

Where does the time go?

This summer, I wanted to make it a priority to get some time in with the friends I don't get to see near as often as I'd like.  In fact, since we all three found teaching jobs - we are lucky to see each other once a year.  I was sure that we'd find time to spend together this summer...and I'm managing to get one day with them.  One.  Makes me so sad.

But that's what happens, I suppose, when every day something else is going on and another summer adventure is planned.

Today, my plans involve spending the day with my mom.  Just me and my mom... or my mom and me.

We have been waiting for months to go out and eat Indian food together.  Both my mom and I LOVE Indian food.  Within the past couple of years, Indian restaurants have started popping up in my area... which was totally unheard of before then.

Our Indian food love comes all the way from England.  It's quite a common cuisine over there, and we ate it on a regular basis.  Here?  Not so much.  Unless I decided to cook it myself... which I do on occasion.  My Indian food isn't near as good as authentic Indian food cooked in an Indian restaurant.. but it satisfied the cravings.

Now, I don't have to worry about that because there are a few Indian restaurants close to me to choose from.  Mom and I are going to be trying out the newest one that opened up not so long ago.

She's coming over this morning and bringing my baby girl back to me!  I'm so excited!  I've missed her so much.  

Once we've gone out and had our lunch, Mom is coming back to spend some time swimming with me in the pool.  She doesn't get much time to herself, so a day with me eating and swimming is just what we both need.

Speaking of the pool.  A horrible incident happened last night.  HORRIBLE!

Hubby and I took Payton and her friend to play miniature golf yesterday evening.  We spent a couple of hours playing, and it was loads of fun.  Anywho, when we got home the kids decided they wanted to go swimming.  It was close to 11:30 by this point, but it was still warm outside and the pool was still warm...so I was OK with it.  

I turned on the lights around the pool and did a quick walk around to make sure the pool didn't need any skimming before they got in.  Apart from a few little leaves, everything looked just fine.

The kids got in, started swimming and after a few minutes Peanut started squawking about a huge spider being in the pool.  Her friend quickly scooped it out, and then Peanut noticed something else floating around in the pool.  

I was sitting up on the patio laughing at Peanut's paranoia.  

Her friend assured her it was just a giant leaf.. but then it didn't look so much like a leaf.  They thought it was a turtle.  Hubby and I got up to investigate, and then Peanut's horrified realization about the "turtle" bellowed out.  It was NOT a turtle....it was a BUNNY!  A poor, innocent bunny that had somehow jumped in the pool without anyone noticing...and had drowned.

Hubby quickly scooped it out to see if it had indeed died... and it had.  

My heart was hurt.  I don't like it when innocent animals get hurt, let alone when they take their own lives in my swimming pool!

The mood quickly shifted after that, and the kids couldn't spend much more time in the pool.  

My only guess was that it was in the pool before the lights went on...that it somehow hadn't seen the pool as it hopped through the yard or it came up for a drink and didn't realize the distance between the edge of the pool and the surface, causing it to fall in.  I don't know how I managed to miss it, though, when I did the pool inspection.  But, surely, someone would have noticed a bunny jumping in while they were swimming.  

So, since moving in, we've had a vole, a turtle, several frogs, and now a bunny that have chosen our pool as their playground.  It has been fine for the turtle and the frogs... but the vole and the bunny?  Not so much.

When we were told how careful we had to be having an in-ground pool, I had no idea that meant for the wildlife that lives around us.

I definitely think we'll be doing a much more thorough investigation of the pool before any one goes night swimming again.  

I'm just glad Jelly wasn't here.  It would have broken her little heart.  She's such an animal lover.  She doesn't even like it if bugs die in the pool...she tries to save them all.  With the exception of the wasps that I forbid her to try and save...or any other form of bug that has the potential for stinging and/or biting.

Oh well, enough morbid talk like that.  Right now, I need to start getting ready and cleaning my house a little before my mom arrives.  


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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Movies, Mall, and Miniature Golf

 
                              

Yesterday was a fun day.

I got the kids out of bed - Peanut and her friend - and we got ready to head out for a day of movies, shopping, and dinner.

We went and saw This is the End.  It's a great movie.  Hilarious.  Suitable for two 13 year olds?  Probably not.. but they thought it was funny.  The worst part of the movie was the language, and being that both of the kids have heard, and probably used all of the words in the movie I wasn't too worried about it.  

Peanut is very mature, and I am one of those parents that's OK with her watching just about anything. My only rule is sex.  If it's a movie that has some pretty graphic sex scenes - it's off limits.  But, the bad language, and even references to drugs, I'm OK with.  Especially with a movie that shows how stupid drug use is - and what can happen using drugs.  And I use some pretty colorful language on occasion, so it's pretty stupid of me if I try and make her avoid movies with words she hears quite a bit coming out of my own mouth.

Anywho, I was so shocked when we got there and there wasn't a single other person in the theater.  Hubby, the two kids, and I had the entire theater to ourselves...right up until about 2 minutes before the movie started and one other guy came in.  But that was it.  Just the 5 of us watching the movie in the theater.  

Once the movie was over, we headed outside and discovered that it was raining.  Awesome.  Our plans were to head to the Promenade Mall, an outdoor mall.  But, a little rain wasn't going to stop us.  We were actually thankful that the rain clouds were overhead and blocking out the direct heat from the sun.  

We got over there and ignored the ominous storm clouds that were rolling in our direction.  Hubby and I gave the kids a few bucks, let them wander off in one direction...and we walked off in the other.  Being that I don't really shop at the Mall for anything, our time was spent basically walking around and talking.  We stopped in a few stores here and there, but it was so nice to just enjoy a nice walk and some adult conversation.  

We talked about how good our life is, and laughed about how ridiculous some of the prices were for stuff in the mall.  We both agreed that even if we were rich enough, we'd probably never shop there.  We're those kind of people that enjoy spending money on a new house, newer vehicles, smartphones, and high end internet...instead of paying $100 for a pair of jeans or $60 for a flimsy t-shirt that I'd undoubtedly stain up with something the first time I wore it.  Joking and laughing aside, we agreed that we're doing pretty well for ourselves, and have come an extremely long way from when we first got together 8 years ago.

After a while, we tracked down the kids and decided to go and eat dinner.  We opted for Chinese food.. and so that's what we ate.  The kids sat with us and we made small talk about the movie and what they'd done at the mall.  It was nice.  We also talked about what we wanted to do for the rest of the evening.

One idea that came up?

Miniature golf.

Being that the rain and storm clouds were still in their full force when we left the restaurant, we agreed that miniature golf would be a great thing to put off until tomorrow (today).  And so we just decided to head on home, get in our jammies, and watch TV for the rest of the evening while the thunder rolled and the lightening struck outside.

The kids went in to Peanut's room to continue their Harry Potter marathon they started a couple days ago, and Hubby and I started watching a new Netflix show called Orange is the New Black.  A show about a women sent to prison for 15 months over a crime she committed ten years prior.  It's actually a really good show, and we ended up watching 5 hour long episodes before we called it a night and decided to head to bed.

All in all, it was a great day.

Today?  I'm going to get in the pool for a while and then later this evening we're going to go play some miniature golf.  There's no rain forecasted for today, so we should be OK.  

I'm honestly more excited about tomorrow.  That's when my baby girl comes home.  My how I've missed her.  I've missed my evening snuggles and bedtime routine.  I've missed waking up to her smiling face.  A week is just too long to be without her.  

I know that sounds kinda one sided... what about the other child that's away, right?  And I miss him, too.  I miss him just as much, but Peanut and Butter stay away quite often.  I've gone through the worry and loneliness of them being away for many years and I'm just kinda used to it by now.

Jelly just doesn't go anywhere very often..and if she does, it's only for a night or two.  Being gone for a full week is tough on this momma.  She's my baby, and her place is at home with me.  

OK, enough of that... I'll start getting all teary eyed and blubbery.  

I need more coffee!

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Jo