Sunday, April 27, 2014

Jefferson City, Missouri

I know it's been a few days since I've posted.  To be honest, I've been trying to make up for some lost sleep and I've had a lot going on.  And, the getting back lost sleep was all due to a trip I took on Wednesday.

I got to visit the building in that picture.  That is a picture of the Jefferson City capitol building, located in Jefferson City, Missouri.  The place I got to visit with all of the 8th graders from our school.  It's the field trip that the 8th grade class gets to take every year, but I got to go this year because I just happen to have a child that's an 8th grader.

On Wednesday morning, I was up at 3AM.  I had to be in order to be at the school by the required 4:30AM time.  Peanut had decided to spend the night with a friend the night before, because she had participated in a track meet.  So, I was on my own, except for the two kids I picked up on the way so that they'd have a ride.

We arrived at the school, loaded the buses, and was pulling out of the driveway by 5AM.

The drive to Jefferson City is about 4 hours long.  We made a quick stop at McDonald's for breakfast, and when I say quick, I mean quick.  My principal had called ahead to place our order, so the food was waiting for us when we got there.  The kids were fed and back on the bus within 30 minutes.  That has to be some kind of record when it comes to feeding 70 kids.

We made it to the state capital by 9:45.

We spent the entire morning touring the capitol building.  The architecture and art was absolutely stunning.  It's the first state capitol building I've ever been inside, and it was breathtaking seeing the intricate details that are housed inside such a beautiful building.

That last picture shows the "Whispering Gallery". It's the place where visitors can go up in to the dome and even climb higher to walk around the outside.  I passed.  My fear of heights just wouldn't allow it.  I had trouble just watching other people (especially Peanut) go up there.  But she said it was pretty amazing.

After we toured the building, we got to go inside the House and listen to an active session going, which was pretty fascinating.  The room was full of representatives all discussing and talking "Bill business".  Our school got an official introduction by Representative Lant and the Speaker of the House, which was pretty awesome.

I was pretty mesmerized by the way business was conducted.  The whole place was full of fancy desks with laptops and electronic devices sprawled across them.  Representatives sat and chatted, or checked their email, or sent text messages while others stood up and discussed certain bills.  I was trying to make sense of what was going on, but I'll be honest... it was really hard to figure anything out.  I couldn't figure out who the people speaking were talking to, or what they were talking about, or what was happening after they finished speaking.  Despite not understanding a bit of it, I was kinda bummed when we had to leave.  It was still pretty entertaining, even if it didn't mean anything to me.

Once we were done there, it was to a reserved area for a pizza lunch.  The kids ate, and then we went downstairs to walk around the capitol museum.  After that, we took the kids across the street to have a little "recess time".

Once recess time was over, it was the time EVERYONE had been waiting for.  Our trip to Missouri State Penitentiary.  The place is fascinating.  It was open for over 100 years and closed about 10 years ago.  The place is absolutely huge, and I was excited to see all of the history.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that the prison is undergoing some renovations, we were limited to where we could tour.  What we did see, however, was AWESOME.


I could have spent a lot more time walking around that place, and I would have LOVED to do a ghost tour at night.  I can't even imagine what type of paranormal activity that place has.

Anyway, our day was over when we were finished at the penitentiary.  It was then time to start the long drive home, with a stop at Applebee's on the way.  We had a fantastic dinner, and then we drove home.  I wish I could say that the rest of the drive was quiet and peaceful, so that I could get some sleep.  But, no such luck.  The girls on the bus thought it would be HILARIOUS to sing, and laugh, and scream all the way home.

We made it back at 11PM, and after delivering children home we pulled in to our driveway at midnight.  It was a LONG day... but worth it.

I was up at 5AM the next morning and went to work like usual.  It was a very tiring day, but I found out that my kids had behaved and everything had been good while I'd been gone.

It's taken me 4 days to finish this blog post.  I'm not sure why.  I could have written it in a day or two but for some reason I just had a hard time sitting down long enough to get it finished.  I really hope I'm not losing my desire to write.  I mean, after 4 years why on earth would that happen?  I don't know.  I'm not sure what's going on, but I've finally finished this post.

Now, I'm going to enjoy this Sunday.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Need to Get a Few Things Straightened Out

Blogging is very important to me.  It is my outlet.  My place of comfort.  A blank canvas waiting for me to do something with.  My day just isn't complete without writing something down on these pages.

Yet, yesterday, for the first time EVER, I actually considered shutting it down.  Closing it off from the world.  Never publishing another blog post.  That was before I realized that I was just over reacting, and that I just needed to clarify a few things with the people that choose to read my blog.

Some bloggers write opinions.  Some bloggers write reviews.  Some bloggers write articles or stories or online diaries.  I am a mixture of all of those things, I guess.  But, one thing I definitely do is write from emotion.  I'm an emotional writer.  Many bloggers are able to keep their personal feelings or emotions out of their blogs. I'm NOT one of those people.

One thing I've learned since becoming a blogger 4+ years ago, is that MOST emotional bloggers are also anonymous bloggers.  Meaning no one knows their true identity.  They write behind a persona or alias that keeps them protected and shielded from people that know them in real life.

Up until about a year ago, I thought that concept was weird.  Why on earth write an emotional blog without letting the world know who you really are?  Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks why people do that.  So, that they can say whatever they want to say, and not hurt anyone's feelings in the process.  One area that I have had extreme difficulty with in the past year.

How many of you have ever received an email or a text message and, after reading it, thought "Wow, I've done something to upset that person.  The way they wrote that email/text tells me they are definitely NOT happy with me",  then found out that you read the email or text completely out of context and the sender had absolutely no problem with you at all?

Blogging is EXACTLY the same way.  There are often times I write something meaning it one way, but it's perceived by someone else in a completely different way.

Let's take yesterday for example.  I wrote something along the lines of "I have a few frustrations going on at work that  I wish I could scream from the rooftops, but I'm going to be professional and keep my mouth shut".  That's not exactly what I said, but I don't remember exactly what it was because I edited it later in the day.

Not long after hitting the publish button I started receiving messages and text messages from friends and co-workers asking me WHO I was having issues with at work.  I got questions asking me if everything was OK with my team, if I had gotten in to trouble for something, or if there were people that were being unkind to me.

The answer to those questions was simple:  I'm not having issues with ANYBODY.  The statement was in no way, shape, or form directed at anyone I work with.  I had written that statement with one thing in mind, yet it was completely taken out of context by whoever read it.  My purpose for that statement was my beef with the government and the mandates and rules that swirl around standardized testing.  By making the statement that I was going to "be professional" and not scream out what I had to say merely meant that I wasn't going to bash the education system or speak badly about the laws/rules that govern our schools...regardless of how I really feel about them.

It was NOT a personal dig at anyone or anything going on in my school or with the people I work with.

Thankfully, I work with people that have no problem coming to me to ask me if I'm OK and if I'm having problems.  It helped me realize pretty quickly that I needed to make some quick edits in order to set the record straight.  And, I love the fact that I work with people that are able to ask me questions about my blog and help clear up any misconceptions they might be having.  It makes my life a lot easier for being able to write posts like today.  I have come to count on them for being my editors and critics to help keep me in check and help clear up problems that occur, such as the one from yesterday.

Which, by the way, I will also throw out there that I wasn't speaking about the people I work with when I made the statement that some of the kids I work with are fed constant excuses as to why it's OK for them to not put forward their best efforts.  I was speaking about kids, in general, that come from less than perfect living situations.  Again, a general statement about society as a whole.  Kids being fed excuses as to why it's OK they don't do as well as others.  I in NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM believe that anyone I work with enables or promotes these kinds of excuses with the kids we work with.

At the end of the day, being an emotional writer can have plenty of downfalls.  When I'm writing, I'm saying what I have to say how I want to say it.  At least, that's what I'm thinking as I'm putting the words on the screen.  What I don't, and often can't think about is how someone else may read what I have to say.

While I may be writing something with a specific purpose in mind, someone else may read it and completely misread what my intentions are.  That's not their fault, it's mine.. in a way.  Except, I often don't realize or know that I've done something to upset someone UNLESS they tell me about it.

Like I said, yesterday was the first time I've ever considered shutting down my blog.  Keeping it completely private and not allowing anyone else to read it.  Only because it's absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for me to read my blog after I've written it and come up with all the different ways that it could be perceived.  When I write something, I have my feelings and emotions in mind, but have no way of truly understanding how someone else might take what I have to say.  I can read for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and punctuation, but there's no "perception checker" in my tool bar.

The only thing I can say is that if I ever write something that you feel weird about, or are wondering about, or you feel I may mean something completely different to how it sounds after YOU read it.... PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know.  I am not soft skinned.  I can take constructive criticism.  I have absolutely no problem clarifying, editing, or explaining what I meant if I need to.

I could say that I won't ever write about my family, work, or my personal life in order to avoid situations like this.. but.. well.. then there would be nothing to write about.  My family and my job make up my life.  All the good stuff, anyway, so why on earth would I not write about those things?  But, with the good there is always some bad.  Sometimes I need to write about some issues or frustrations... and sometimes, when I do that, the words I say don't match the meaning that I'm trying to put out there.

OK.  I think that about wraps it up.  If not, don't hesitate to send me a message or comment.

I have to get ready to be at the school by 4:30.  YAY!!

Thank you, again, to the people that reached out to me yesterday.  It warms my heart to know that I have such caring people in my life, even if there's nothing bad actually going on.

Have a great Wednesday!!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Drawing a Blank

I've been sitting here, looking at the screen for the past 12 minutes, and I have absolutely NO idea what I should write about.

I've considered writing about how stressed I am about the upcoming standardized testing.  But, I'm so mad at myself for being stressed about the testing that I'm trying to avoid that.  I've considered sharing my weekend and how I spent several hours digging and raking to get my garden up and running, but there's really not much more to share than what I just did.  There's the trip that I'm taking with Peanut tomorrow to Jefferson City, but I really want to be able to discuss that on Thursday, after we've taken the trip.

There's so much going on in my life right now, but none of it is really "news worthy".  I've shared about the kids' sports.  I've discussed how much I've been gone and how little I'm getting to see my house.  I've mentioned how standardized testing is fast approaching, and I'm trying to keep my head on straight.

But, all of it is just the same old stuff.  Nothing new.  And, honestly?  It's boring the crud out of me.

How can I be so busy, stressed, and bored all at the same time?

And the worst part is that I've only been going at it for two weeks.  This routine is going to continue until the end of June.

I know that once MAP testing is over, I'll feel better.

Thankfully, this is the last year we have to worry about MAP testing.  Next year, we move in to using Smarter Balance.  Which won't really be any different in terms of stress control, but well, I can keep an open mind.

At the end of the day, I know that my frustrations and stress isn't JUST related to the test.  I won't try and pretend that I like the test.  I don't.  There's no way that a standardized test could EVER show how much growth my students have gone through or the obstacles that they've overcome.  It just barely gives a glimpse of what my kiddos are capable of.

No.  It's not the test.

It's actually the kids that seem to have just given up or have already checked out even though there's still over a month of school left.  And, it's not like it's something that's just started happening.

I don't know what could be more stressful or more infuriating than kids that don't seem to show much care about their education.  I never, in a million years, thought that having kids that have absolutely no problem not doing anything would bother me so much.  But, it does.  More than anything.

I've worked with some lazy kids in the past few years, but lazy has never meant uncaring.  Those kids just needed a little push, and may have been a little ready for the year to be over, but would NEVER just NOT do anything.  Some of the kids I have this year have ABSOLUTELY no problem not doing their work, making bad grades, losing privileges, and don't bat an eye.  Nothing changes.  They just go about their day, not doing any work, not caring about it, and it is really getting to me. What seems to make it a little worse is the fact that these kids keep getting handed excuses as to why it's OK to act that way.  Bad home lives, poor living conditions, language barriers... but when do the excuses stop?  As long as they are given an easy way out, why on earth would they ever try to overcome those obstacles?

I suppose the fact that it bothers me so much is a good indication of why I became a teacher.  Because I care.  But, sometimes I wish I really didn't care so much.  That I was able to turn a blind eye and let some of the kids continue digging themselves in to holes that would be harder and harder to get out of.

Anyone that knows me probably knows that's not possible.  No matter how much I've declared that I'm done caring, and that I'm done trying to push kids that don't seem to want to be pushed, I just know that somehow, someway I will continue trying to get these kids to understand how important their education is.

The problem with that thought process, though, is that the kids that DO care and DO work hard and DO everything they are asked to do are suffering because I put in so much time and energy trying to push the two or three kids that have checked out (or never really checked in).

If I had a dollar for every time I've stopped my lesson to redirect one of the kids not paying attention, or when I give one of them a heart-to-heart about how sad I am, or when I've listened to another excuse about why an assignment hasn't been done, or have listened to another reason WHY these kids are doing what they're doing, I'd be a VERY rich woman.

I have, honestly, gotten to the point where I'm on the verge of checking out and giving up, myself.  Just letting it go, running through the motions, and doing what I need to do to finish out the school year.  It's just taking too much out of me to care so much.  Plus, there are 15 other students in my room that need all of that energy.  They are more than happy to learn, do their best, and try and overcome any obstacle I throw at them.  And, I am going to try and convince myself that if I keep pushing the kids that want to be pushed, everything will be OK.

Just a few more weeks to go.

I can do it.

But, right now, I need to get ready for work.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Do You Want to Build a Garden?

The weather for the past couple of days has been absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  The sun is shining, birds are singing, and my allergies aren't bothering me too much.  I think I've finally gotten to the point where it's time to get my garden started.

Last June, I wrote this post about the very same thing.  I went out and bought all kinds of goodies to transform my drab side garden in to a small oasis for me to enjoy.  Unfortunately, I waited until June to think about doing it, and it was already too hot by that point to do anything.  So, I packed everything away and decided to wait until this year.  And that time has come.

This is what my side garden looks like today:



Still very drab and boring.  It's full of weeds, old mulch, and broken rock.  It's going to take a lot of work to get it where I want it, but it's work I'm actually looking forward to.  I have seeds, and decorations, and ornaments to make this drab little corner of my garden in to a relaxing, calming, wonderland.

But, before I think about doing any planting or decorating, I need to do some manual labor and clear out everything that's there.  Get rid of the old mulch, weeds, and debris.  I need to fix the broken rocks and bring in new soil.  It probably won't all get done today, but if I can at least get a good start on it, I hope to have my seeds planted by next weekend.

My hope is that my garden will be my meditation place.  When I'm stressed, I can dabble around by pulling weeds and watering and tinkering or I can just pull out a chair and enjoy the sights and sounds with a good book.  Just a place all to myself, where I can get away from everything and everyone, even if it is 2 feet away.

Lord knows I've been feeling the stress, lately.  I've been so darned busy, that it's completely wearing me out. That's not the part that's bothering me, though, it's the fact that despite how busy I am, I am still expected to keep up with all of the housework and the daily house duties without a single scrap of help from anyone else in the house.

Trying to get anyone to help me is like painting a wall with glue.  I ask for someone to clean the kitchen, and it's arguing and fighting over who did it last or whose turn it is.  If I ask for help clean up the house, they think that means their bedrooms.  They won't think of touching any area that doesn't contain their belongings.

Yesterday afternoon, I lost it.  I asked for some help getting the house clean so that I could enjoy a Sunday off without having to clean.  Both older kids started cleaning their bedrooms.  When I explained that I meant the HOUSE, one pottered around picking up things here and there and the other disappeared in to the bathroom.  Jelly was the only one that offered any help by sweeping the floors.

For over 30 minutes I tried to get the kids to do SOMETHING.  But, I ended up fighting more than getting anything done, so I did what I always do... just did it myself.  A stupid thing to do, because those kids know darned well that if they push me hard enough, I will just do it myself.

I was so angry I actually got in my car and left.  Drove off.  I couldn't take one second of it anymore.

I love my children with all of my heart, but I have really dug myself in to a giant gaping hole by never wanting to be like my own mother.  My brothers and I were always convinced that the only reason my mom had kids was so that she didn't have to clean her house.  We did all of the cleaning and cooking and the sort when we were younger.  I never wanted to be that way.  I never wanted my kids to feel like their purpose for being on this earth was to wait hand and foot on me.

But, then I went the complete opposite direction, and ended up raising LAZY children.  Children who don't want to do the slightest, minor chores because they've never really had to.  The only "chores" my kids have is doing their laundry, keeping their rooms and bathroom clean, and the dishes every other night.

And that hardly ever gets done.

I'm so stinking angry about it because they are the reason I am so busy and don't EVER get home at a reasonable hour.  They are the reason I spend $100 a week in gas for my car.  They are the reason that I can't make any plans ahead of time because I never know if there's going to be track practice, ball practice, or some kind of game or meet.

Yet, what thanks do I get in return?


So, as you can see, I desperately need a place I can get away and be in calm and quiet for a while without any disturbance.  That and some tough love thrown at my children to make them understand that I'm tired of being their personal chauffeur and maid.  I am thrilled to be their mother, and be apart of their extra curricular activities, but I don't think it's too much to ask to get a little help.

My brain is so warped that I even feel guilty about feeling mad about the lack of help and support I get around here.  I mean, I complain that I don't get any time off, but they don't get any time off either.  We are ALL gone every day.  The kids are tired by the weekends, too.

How messed up is that?  I feel bad that they are involved in so many activities that THEY are tired.

But, the truth is, these kids need to start pulling their weight a little more around here.  I have absolutely NO problem driving all over SW Missouri to attend games and practices, but they are going to have to help me out a little more so that I can at least have a couple of hours to breath on the weekends.

And, today, I am doing NOTHING except working in my garden.

I need a day off.  I need a break.  I am aware that today is Easter, and we'll have a little family thing this evening.  But, today, it's my day.  I don't want to hear a single whine, answer a single questions, or be asked for a single thing.

I'm going to build a garden....a place all to myself.

Starting NOW.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

T.G.I. Thursday

Yay!!! It's Friday.  Well, it's Thursday, but it's MY Friday.  Meaning, the last day of my work week.  After all of that snow, we still managed to hold on to Good Friday as a day off, and I couldn't be more thankful.

I am EX-HAUS-TED!  I feel like a zombie.  I'm moving, but there's nothing really going on inside.  I'm too tired to really think.  I've only been going at it for three days, yet this week has felt like one of the longest weeks yet.

There's been softball practice, baseball practice, show choir tryouts, tonight there's a track meet.  I haven't been home this week before 8PM, and I haven't been making my way to bed until well after 10PM.  Then, I'm up at 5AM the next morning.

But, I could write this pretty much any week for the next couple of months.  I better get used to it, now, because it's not going to stop any time soon.  Hectic is my life right now, and it's just taking a little getting used to... but I'm doing it.

There's only two more weeks until our state MAP testing, and I'm starting to feel the pressure.  Part of me has accepted that the time has come, and the kids will do the best they can.  Another part of me is thinking that the kids have basically checked out for the year and will just want to get through the test as quickly as possible, without really thinking about it at all.

This week, we have been taking practice tests and the kids haven't exactly done their "best".  And, it's frustrating.  Frustrating because I know they know the content, frustrating because I know they don't really understand the importance, and frustrating because several of them really don't show any sign of caring about test results at all.  And, why should they?  They are 10 and 11 years old.  Trying to explain the importance of state standardized testing is like trying to teach them quantum physics.  They don't understand, and they don't really want to.

It's the time of year when I really start to feel the stress.  We've spent the entire school year teaching, learning, following pacing guides, learning standards, and core objectives.  We've watched our students improve, grow, and understand so much more than they did at the beginning of the year.  Yet, all of the work we've done this year has to be neatly wrapped up in a standardized test.  And, if the kids don't really try and do their absolute best on that test, then nobody else will get to see and understand all of the hard work we've put in all year.

It's not fair.  But that's how it is.

So, I'm tired.  I'm stressed.  I'm ready for this test to be over so that I can go back to my regular scheduled programming. But, until then I'll just do what I need to do and try my absolute best and try and motivate the kids to try and do their absolute best.

Thankfully, this week, I get an extra day off to destress, rest, and recuperate.  It's needed... even after having an extra month off of school because of snow.  Probably more so after having an entire month off of school because of snow, because that's really intensified all of the feelings I'm feeling right now.

My plan is to get through today, spend the evening watching my kids take part in a track meet, come home and sit on the couch for the rest of the evening.  Then, spend a long weekend not thinking about work, tests, or how many days I have left to prepare my kiddos for their tests.

I'm just going to relax.  I'm going to have some fun.  And I'm going to enjoy my weekend.

Happy Thursday, everyone!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Time to Air Out Some Dirty Laundry

Hope you've got a nice, hot cup of coffee ready this morning... because it's one of those days where I"m going to let it fly.  Whatever comes out of my fingers, comes out.  Because this post is 110% charged by pure, raw emotion.  I don't care who reads it.  I don't care what anyone has to say about it.  If they don't like it, well...there are MILLIONS of other blogs out there to keep you entertained.

I've shared some pretty personal stuff on this blog.  Issues I've had with my mom.  Issues that stemmed from having issues with my mom.  But, in ALL of those blog posts not ONCE have I aired out any dirty laundry, said anything nasty or personally attacked any of my family members.  I've done my best to keep it PC.  I have written with many emotions, but rarely are they anger.  I have written about my mother with love, sadness, hurt, and fear.

Never Anger.  Never Hate.

Yet today?  Today comes the anger.  And it's not just driven towards my mother.

Back on March 25th, I wrote this blog post:  Woman Within

That post made my mother FURIOUS!!  While I thought I was laying out my feelings and trying my hardest to not make her sound like some heartless monster, she was angry because I posted that she was better from her cancer.

OH yes.  Did you read that right?  With everything I said, it was this sentence that infuriated her:

 I am happy that she is finally healthy and overcome a horrible disease.

She was angry that I shared with the world that she has overcome the disease, when she won't get the all clear for another couple of months.

After my mother expressed her anger, then my little brother and sister got on their rampage and started bombarding me with text messages about how selfish, ungrateful, and mean I was to treat my poor mother that way.

And all of it stemmed from the fact that my mother and my siblings think I'm mad that my parents are foster parents.

Let's get one thing straight... no lots of things straight right off the bat.


I am NOT a heartless, selfish, vindictive person who just wants her "Momma" all to herself and wants her to get rid of the extra children living in her home.  IF those kids really were in a better home, I would be happy for them.

HELLO!!! I'm a teacher.  I am also in the business of helping kids.  I have not NOW or EVER hated the fact that my parents were foster parents.

The part that has driven me to this point is the fact that once they became foster parents, they FORGOT about the kids they brought in to this world.  And I'm not just talking about me.  I'm talking about ALL of us.  My mother became OBSESSED with being a foster parent, and it consumed her every waking moment.

But, it's not even JUST that.  There are so many reasons I'm angry, frustrated, and just ready for the whole freakin' world to hear about it.

Let's make a list, shall we?

#1.  Let's talk about how many times I've been called in the middle of the night by my brother, begging me to go and pick him up because he "can't take another second of living in that house".  He's mad at my parents for some reason or another, and he's sick of being there and just wants out.

#2.  Let's talk about how many times I've had to drive to my parents house in the middle of the night to break up a fight or talk to some sense in to the ADULTS living in the house so that there can be peace, once again.

#3.  Let's talk about how many foster kids have been sent away because they were "too much to handle".

#4.  Let's talk about the fact that Peanut found out that my sister was TRYING to get pregnant, and destroyed the relationship she had with my sister when Peanut told me and then my mother about it.

#5.  Let's talk about how my mother took care of that problem.  My sister is expecting her first child this summer.  That's how it got taken care of.  Even though Peanut was made out to be a liar trying to do nothing more than break up a happy home.

#6.  Let's talk about how devastated and upset Peanut was about my sister getting pregnant, and how angry she was at my mother for letting her.  Peanut was put through the absolute ringer during that whole mess, and my mother VOWED to make it right with Peanut.  Did she?  NO.

#7.  Let's talk about how Peanut spent a lot of time with my mom while she was in hospital, keeping my mom company.  How Peanut asked about my mom every day, despite how hurt Peanut was feeling over having to see my sister and the uncomfortable, awful feelings a 13 year old girl had to endure just so she could spend time with her grandmother.

#8  Let's talk about how often my mom contacted Peanut, after all of that, to check on her, ask her how she was doing.  The answer?  ONCE.  And it was a month later.  And it was when Peanut told her that she was upset because my mom hadn't contacted her.  Do you know how my mom handled that?  She didn't. She just stopped talking to Peanut.  My mom was angry because Peanut hadn't bothered to check on my mom while she was going through chemotherapy.

And....the winner of the reason for this post and the absolute ANGER that is fueling it?

Yesterday was Peanut's birthday.  Peanut received an empty card from my mother.  The usual $20 that comes inside was missing.  You want to know why?

Actual response from my mother:  "For my birthday, she couldn't even wish me happy birthday.  I wasn't involving any kids, but she involved herself"

She's mad and upset that Peanut didn't wish her a happy birthday, and because Peanut (having more guts than me) told my mom she was hurt and upset.  My mom took it personal, got all huffy about it, didn't bother to follow up anymore on that message sent to her on Facebook, and then decided to hold it against Peanut on her birthday.

Nice, right?

So, no, I'm not mad that my mother is a foster parent.  I'm mad that my mother is a self-centered, heartless, word that I won't put.

She cares about NOBODY but herself.  She uses my little brother and sister to fight her battles.  She takes out her frustrations on a 14 year old child.

Thankfully, she's not fooling anyone that knows the truth.

She wants everyone to think that she's doing a selfless act of love and kindness of being a foster parent.  Really?  HA!!

The minute one of those kids step out of turn, they are GONE!! She won't tolerate any form of misbehavior.  She can't "deal" with issues that involve mental instability.  She's a great foster parent to any kid that doesn't come with any form of "baggage".

Her own children are and have always been SCREAMING for attention and have issues of their own...

I was 17 years old when I left my parent's house for good.  I was pregnant.

My sister got pregnant at 18, and then again a year later.  Both of those kids are now in the permanent custody of my mother, because my sister couldn't take care of them.

My youngest sister is 18 and now also pregnant.  No job.  No car.  No money.

The brother closest in age to me lives in Virginia.  He comes home once maybe twice a year.

My other brother, who knows where he is.  He went off the grid a while ago.  Hasn't been in contact with anyone for years.

My youngest brother is home-schooled, yet doesn't "school".  He stays home and takes care of my mom.  His whole life is centered around my mother.

Yeah.  Perfect family right there.  Sounds like any kids entering in to that home are surely to be JUST FINE.

I am very angry.  I am very ashamed.  I am very hurt.

My entire family have rallied together and sent me some NASTY messages, calling me all kinds of names coming to the aid of my "poor mother" who I have been "bullying".


Glass houses, people... GLASS HOUSES!!!

Take your rocks and stones and throw them back at yourself.  Not now, or ever have I claimed to be a perfect mother.  I have said MANY times that I make mistakes.

Before you smash me about how mean and hateful I am, how about taking a look of some of the issues going on in that house.  I will NOT be intimidated or threatened to keep quiet.  I have the absolute right to say whatever I want to say.  I have spent years pretending and sharing that life was all perfect and that my mother was perfect, just so I didn't upset anyone.

That time is OVER.

I am done.

When my own children are the ones that have to endure pain from a family squabble, then there is no more squabble.  The squabble is over.

And so is our relationship.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Here's to the Start of Another Fun Filled Week!!

Boy, that's the truth.  Except I wasn't really getting into my weekend, I felt like it was just getting started.  I got a whole half day off, and how did I spend it?  Cleaning.  I was gone all day Saturday, spent all of yesterday morning cleaning and then did some grading, then spent a couple of hours at softball practice, then went and picked up Peanut from her friend, came home, and spent the evening working on plans and entering grades.

Not exactly what I call a relaxing weekend.  Or even just "weekend".

When I think of a weekend, I think of laying on the couch, relaxing, maybe a trip to the grocery store, a fun day out with the family.  Not every minute of my weekend filled with non-stop go, go, go.

Thankfully, this week is a short week.  After having ALL of those snow days, we still managed to hold on to our Good Friday being a day off.  Which really is perfect timing.  I was one of those people that made a point of stating I would NOT complain about not getting any time off after being out 20 extra days from school this year.  I was perfectly content going the rest of the school year with my weekends off, and making the most of every day we had.

Yet, I'm going to admit right off the bat, I'm NOT upset about having Friday off.  I am thankful, just so I can at least get a couple of hours to breath, sleep, and relax.

This week is going to be another hectic one.

Tonight Peanut is attending the first night of show choir tryouts, then we have softball practice.  Jelly has softball practice at the same time.  Butter has a track meet.  Tomorrow, Peanut is trying out for show choir and Butter has baseball practice.  Wednesday, faculty meeting and then softball practice.  Thursday, track meet.  I will be home maybe 30 minutes or so each night before I collapse in to bed.

The week in school is just as busy as my week after school.

Practice MAP testing, short week, a planned trip to the local resort for an afternoon of fun in the sun as a reward for select students who have made their growth, and staying on top of our regular learning, of course.

Today is Peanut's birthday.  We have to leave a little early so that I can stop off and pick up her custom ordered cupcakes she wanted for her class.  I also have to pick up Gatorade's for my team's softball practice.

I can't believe Peanut is 14.  She's growing up so stinkin' fast!  It's crazy to think that this time next year I'm going to be thinking about driving permits and preparing for her sophomore year in high school.  Just thinking about her being a freshman this next year is making me a little queasy.  I just can't believe my little girl is a young lady.  A beautiful, smart, talented, motivated young lady.

She's got a great head on her shoulders, and she has big plans for her future.  I sometimes wished she spent a little less time worrying about stuff and just spent more time being a kid and having fun.  But, she's my daughter.  I can't really be surprised.

Last night, we sat up late planning her birthday weekend trip away.  It's not really for her birthday, being that it's still three weeks away, and we wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't a band trip...but we're making it in to a birthday celebration weekend.

Her band is going to World's of Fun in Kansas City.  They are going for a day trip, but I decided it would be a lot more fun if I drove and we got a hotel room for the night and drove back the following day.  We can spend the night right next to the park, so we can stay until it closes at 10PM if we want to.  Then, on Sunday, we can do a little sight-seeing before heading home.  Neither Peanut or I have ever been to Kansas City, so we want to make the most of it.  Plus, Peanut's friend is going to stay with us, so she'll have someone to keep her company and have some fun with.  Besides me.

OK, I really need to think about getting ready for work.  Hopefully this short week won't seem too long, and I can't get through it with only a small amount of stress and exhaustion.

Wishful thinking.

Have a great Monday, everyone!!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Life of a Track, Baseball, Softball, & Band Mom

I am NOT a soccer mom.  None of my children play soccer, I don't take them to any soccer practices, I haven't ever bought them any soccer equipment.

Nope.  Definitely NOT a soccer mom.

Now, track mom?  Yep.  Baseball mom?  A-ha.  Softball mom?  Yes, and coach.  Band mom?  Absolutely!

I have many faces, and yesterday I got to put on the "band mom" face.  It was the annual band trip to Pittsburg State University.  A day trip the band takes so that the band as a whole and individual performers can take part in a music contest.  This was my second year to attend.

Peanut is my band kid.  She has been playing the clarinet since 5th grade.  She's very good at it, but she has decided to pursue other activities in high school next year so this is the last year for adding "band mom" to my list of activities.

Being that I work for the school, I'm an easy target for being a chaperon.  I don't need a background check to ride the bus, so it's a lot easier for the band director if I not only agree to go but also agree to ride the bus that takes the kids.  In order to ride the bus, I had to be at the school by 5:45 yesterday morning.  Meaning I had to get up at 3:30.  Always fun.  Nothing like getting up in the middle of the night, knowing I would spending almost 2 hours on a bus with about forty riled up Jr. high kids.

And fun it was.  From the moment we pulled out of the parking lot, I started to wonder if I had gotten on to the wrong bus.  The kids broke out in to song...singing all the way until we pulled in to the university parking lot.  It would have been much better had the kids been singing the same song, or even in the right key.  But instead, it was more like this...

No wonder these kids went with band.  HA!

After the long, entertaining bus ride, we made it to Pittsburg State University.  The entire band performed at 9:30, but my group's solos didn't start until 1:30 that afternoon, which meant a lot of time to just sit and wait.

All of the kids in my group spent time playing outside or hanging out in the food court.  I parked my behind down in the coffee shop with a drink, my iPad, and a book and enjoyed the time relaxing.  The plan was to get my lesson plans done, but of course the website that I use was down.  So, instead, I did some research on taking some college courses to continue my education and read...for the fun of it.  Something I haven't done in WAY too long.

Finally it was time to start the solo performances.  Peanut did a great job.

It sounded beautiful, and if she made a mistake I didn't notice.

After Peanut finished, I walked around and listened to the solos for all of the kids in my group.  They all did a great job, too.  It's so awesome to hear such young kids with such musical talent.  It made me a little sad to think about the kids that will be giving up their musical talents after this year as they move on to high school and bigger and better things.

Peanut, for example, isn't giving up on music.  She doesn't want to be a part of band anymore, but she is very interested in joining the show choir.  She has tryouts on Monday and Tuesday.  She also wants to play sports, and join the debate team.  All activities that match her talents.  Despite that video that doesn't show the best voice talents, Peanut has a beautiful singing voice.  She is also an awesome volleyball player, discus thrower, and debater.  She is a girl of many talents.

Anywho, our day came to an end around 5PM so it was time to load back on the bus and make the trip home.  We got home around 7:30, and I pulled into my driveway around 8:30.

It was a fun, but extremely tiring day.

I wish I could say that I was going to get to spend today relaxing, but that's not the case.  I have a house that needs to be cleaned, TONS of laundry piled up (and a washer that's about to go out on me, which is not making my life any easier), and baseball/softball practice this afternoon (if the weather holds out).

Life is always on the go around here, keeping me on my toes.

Which is what I better get to right now.  I really don't have any time to waste if I'm going to get everything done on my To-Do list.

The life of a track, baseball, softball, and band mom is NOT an easy one.  But.  It IS an amazing one, that I wouldn't change for anything.

Have a great Sunday!!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Future of Education is AMAZING!!

That is Alan November.  Education and professional development specialist, and an AMAZING person to listen to about the future (and not so future) of education.

I will admit, I'm not the biggest fan of professional development training sessions.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I love learning about new stuff when it's related to education.  But, sitting in a chair for about 6-7 hours listening a person talk can be a bit much.  I am a teacher.  I'm used to being up on my feet for about 6-7 hours a day.  However, I could have listened to Alan November speak for days.  Everything that came out of his mouth was inspiring, motivational, and just plain awesome.  He's a little quirky, but very funny. And I couldn't help relate him to some kind of mad scientist.  A pure genius, in his own right, I'm sure.

He's a HUGE proponent for technology innovation, which was the topic of yesterday's conference.  He believes that most of the classroom experience should focus on technology.  He also believes that students should no longer be attending classes in the traditional sense:  Teacher lectures, models, and assigns students to do problems in the way they were shown.  Instead, teachers facilitate learning, guide learning, and allow students to do a huge chunk of investigating and coming up with their own ways of solving and completing problems and assignments.  Not just that, but allowing students to become teachers and learn about stuff that teachers DON'T know about.  And what I mean by that, is allowing students more freedom to explore areas that are outside of their teacher's "expertise" and the teacher be open and willing to learn just as much from his/her students as he/she teaches.

What I loved about yesterday's conference was the fact that it was focused on other teachers sharing how they are using technology in the classroom.

The first presenter shared how her district has gone completely ZERO textbooks.  They are now focused on eSourcing.  Which is where all content is used through the internet or a computer.  Of course, their district also has a 1:1 ratio of students to laptops.  Each student has their own Chromebook to work off of in the classroom, so it's a little easier to eSource when there is always a computer available for a student to use.  She shared a few sites that her district is using to help mainstream the process, and provided great resources for the curriculum.

Then, it was my turn...

Yep.  That's me.  Presenting on using Minecraft in the classroom, and promoting my class blog.  I have to say it was an amazing experience.  Mr. November was extremely excited when he was told what I'd be presenting.  Apparently, he's been trying to get more teachers to think about using Minecraft in the classroom, and thought it was very cool that I'd been able to do so much in such a little amount of time.  He was genuinely fascinated with my presentation, what I've been doing with my kiddos, and how I'm bridging together class work and Minecraft time.  My fifteen minute time slot ended up being closer to thirty, by the time I finished presenting and Mr. November finished asking me questions.  But, I didn't mind.  I was happy and excited to do it.

After me, there were presenters that shared websites that teach ELEMENTARY students to write code for games and presentations.  There were presenters who are using online portfolios, that the students create themselves.  We heard about websites that offer free college courses from Harvard, Stanford, and MIT.  We watched as presenters shared work that had been submitted by students electronically:  videos, writing samples, games, etc.  Websites that offer online curriculum support and resources, such as articles and research help, and online interactive textbooks.

I was completely fascinated at the amount of tools and ideas that were shared, and the living examples of how easy it really is to incorporate MORE technology in to the classroom and move away from the traditional pencil to paper classroom.

The whole time, I was busy writing notes down in my notebook and watching Twitter.  Another fun aspect of the conference.  A streaming Twitter feed.  It was very cool to watch other people in the same room share their ideas and comments while presenters were presenting.  Even MORE resources to store away.  I walked away with three pages of notes and ideas.  That's about 2 1/2 pages more than I EVER have after a professional development session.

Not just that, but by the end of the day, I had been signed up to present at ANOTHER conference in Joplin.  I will be presenting at a educational technology conference in June, and I'll be presenting about student blogging and Minecraft.  How awesome is that?

Not only was the conference amazing, but the drive to and from was great.  I rode with my principal, and it was great to pick her brain and listen to some of the ideas she has about the future.  She is just as fascinated with all of the technology components as I am, so it was great to hear how she'd like to see more of it and some of the things she'd like for the teachers to start thinking about in the future.  And, I love the fact that she completely understands and knows the teachers that work for her.  That not all of the teachers would be as excited about a technology take-over, and that there is no need for an entire overhaul of the way her teachers are currently teaching.

It was an amazingly fun day, and I'm so glad I got to be part of it.  I'm just a little bummed that I only got to go to the last session.  It was the last of three, and I now wish I could have gone to all three sessions.  But, no biggie.  It was great to hear and see what I got to see, and present.

Today, I'm up at 4AM because I have to chaperon a band trip.  Peanut is performing a solo and in the band, so I'm going along to help out and watch her play.  Which, I better get to getting to, because I have to leave in about 30 minutes.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Saturday!!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Finally Friday Update

Sorry I've been gone for a couple of days.  I haven't really been gone, I've just been busy working on my other blog.  Most of you have seen the Minecraft blog pop up on your Facebook page, and that's where I've been making sure that everything is up to date.

The reason I needed to get that done is because I'm going to Joplin, today, to make a presentation over that blog.  I told you all about it in my last blog post.  Well, today is the day.  I'm ready.  Kinda.  A little nervous, not sure what to expect, but I know my Minecraft blog and I know what I need to talk about.

I'm not concerned about doing the presentation, I'm more worried about getting the opportunity to say everything I want or need to say.  I only have about 10-15 minutes for my presentation, and that's NOT much time.  Anyone that knows me knows that I can talk.  I talk a lot.  And, being constrained by a time limit is not usually good for me.  But, I am going to do everything in my power to stay on topic and keep it brief but informative.

I also don't like being away from my students.  I mean, I'm getting to take part in a great opportunity and I'm excited and honored that I was asked to do it.  But, it doesn't make it any easier to leave my students.  It's a very vital time of the year, and any time I'm gone makes me nervous.  Although, if I had to pick a day in which I had to be gone, it would be Friday.  The kids are super charged for the weekend and ready for the week to be over.  Fridays are also a big assessment day in my classroom, so the kids will be busy taking their weekly formative and summative assessments today.

This is such a stressful time of the year, and I am trying so hard to keep my classroom's mood calm and collected.  I'm trying to not change our routines and schedules too much, and trying extremely hard to constantly remind the students that there's still 7 weeks of school left so they need to stop acting like summer break is a day away.  It's tough, but not impossible.  Most of the kids are staying on track and doing what they need to do.  There's one or two that have started getting a little lazy and unmotivated.  They have stopped making an effort, and don't really act that bothered about it.  Those are the kids I really hone in on and constantly remind them that 7 weeks can make a DRASTIC and DEVASTATING effect on their grades, and that they don't want to end the year off with F's when they've been making A's, B's, and C's all year.

Another thing I've really picked up on is the fact that my kids have started to mimic my sarcasm.  The same thing happened this time last year.  The kids finally start testing the waters of using some of my common sarcasms.  This year, however, they're having just the tiniest bit of trouble knowing when it's appropriate to use it.  They have tried it out on other teachers, and some of the those teachers think it's a little disrespectful.  And it is.  My kids know when and how they can use the sarcasm with me, and they understand how I use my sarcasm, but it's just a little confusing for them that other teachers don't respond the same way I do.

That's one of the downfalls of using sarcasm with my students.  They know that it's my "Language of Love" and that I'm only ever sarcastic with them when I'm playing around.  I never use sarcasm to belittle or make fun of my students, and it's our class language.  But, trying to get them to understand how and when they can use it with others is still a work in progress.

Anywho, I really need to wrap this up.  I have to get ready because I have to be at work early this morning so that I can get to the conference.  I'm hoping I can get up early enough to share more tomorrow, but I have to be back at the school by 5:45AM for a band trip... so no promises.  More about that when I DO get back on.

Have a great Friday, everyone!!


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I'm Going to Present at a Conference

Well, yesterday was a FANTASTIC day.  I received TONS of compliments on my hair, and I won't lie... I'd liked them.  I liked the attention.  It felt good.  I'm certain that women just want to hear that they look good every now and then, and I got my fill of that yesterday.

I'm not sure if it was the hair, or the compliments, or neither but I was in a good mood yesterday.  I felt cheerful, optimistic, and had some pep in my step.  One of my co-workers playfully joked around and told me that I felt like "hot stuff" how.  Sad thing was, I kinda did.  Not "hot stuff" as in sexy or good looking, but in the sense that I felt more empowered, like it took me out of my shell a little.

And to go hand-in-hand with that more confident feeling came a surprising piece of information.  My principal told me that she wants me to go with her to a conference on Friday and PRESENT on using Minecraft in the classroom.

At first, I was completely dumbfounded.  Scared. Unsure.  I mean, I have only been using it a couple of weeks, and didn't really feel like I could offer much of a presentation being that my kids and I are basically creating the lesson plans each week as we go along.  But, when she told me it would be a 10-15 minute presentation and could totally be about the fact THAT the kids and I were making up our lessons as we went along... I felt a little more excited.

I've never done any form of public speaking like that.  I mean, I've spoke in front of large crowds.  That doesn't bother me a bit.  I've presented to college classes and at meetings.  But, at a conference? With lots of people I don't know... one of them being Alan November?  Yeah, that makes me a little nervous.

Alan November is basically an educational guru.  He's an author and creator of various professional development courses for teachers.  He has a website that you can check out, if you're interested:  

It's all very exciting.  I've been hearing about Alan November for a long time from my principal and others who have attended his workshops and conferences.  To know that I'll be standing up in front of him and telling him a little about what I'm doing in my classroom is a huge honor and privilege.

Of course, now I have to get a presentation ready.  And with only a couple of days to do to it, I'm nervous.  I have SOOOO much going on this week with track meets, ball practices, etc. I'm not able to stay very long after school each night... so I really have to buckle down during my planning time to see what I can put together.  

Thankfully, I started the blog for my classroom.  That will help.  I've been trying to write a new post about our latest endeavors, and I guess I really need to buckle down and get that done.  The kids have been applying our latest learning about area and perimeter to create architectural plans of the house they want to build in the game.  They had to figure out dimensions, total area and perimeter, and the area and perimeter of each room.  This week, we have moved in to learning about 3D shapes, so they will now create a 3D representation (on paper) of their building, adding in the dimension of height.  They than take their plans to the computers and build their house in Minecraft.  

I've actually been pretty good about taking pictures and documenting the learning that's taking place, so as long as I get on the ball and put it all in to a nice presentation, the concern will be more about whether I can fit it all in to a 10-15 minute presentation, rather than wondering how I will fill that amount of time.

And I'll do that while typing up my softball practice schedule, and grading papers, and entering in grades, and after driving an hour to a track meet and an hour home again, and after my own softball practice, and even after Butter's practice on Thursday if I have to.

If I don't become the queen of multitasking by the end of this school year, I don't know if I'll ever be.  Holding down so many different ventures and personal activities is tough, but I can't ever complain that I'm bored or lead a boring life.  

Jelly had her first T-ball practice last night, but unfortunately I didn't get to be there.  I had to attend "Art Night" at school.  Thankfully, Jelly has a coach that didn't mind keeping Jelly for me during the practice, and Jelly wasn't upset that I wouldn't be there.  She even told me that there would be LOTS of practices for me to watch.  Apparently, I'm raising that girl to understand how busy I can be sometimes.  But, I will DEFINITELY be at her practice on Wednesday... well, for half of it.  My own team will be practicing at the same time.  

Art Night was lots of fun.  I was so happy to see so many families come out and enjoy the art activities and see the artwork that the students have made all year.  Our school cafeteria really did resemble a fancy art gallery.  There were artist impersonators, kids dressed up as art work, cupcakes that were made to look like an artist's palette, and all kinds of fun activities for the kids to try such as drip painting, dot paining, and even graffiti art.

Peanut and Butter had a blast and tried out all the activities.  I felt a little sad, because I know that Jelly would have really enjoyed taking part, but given the choice between Art Night and T-Ball practice, she went with practice.  That girl has been on my case for MONTHS about playing a sport, so she was all kinds of excited when it was FINALLY time yesterday.

It was no surprise that by the time we pulled in to the driveway around 8PM last night, I was more than ready for bed.  I spent a little time chatting with Hubby, got the kids fed and ready for bed, and then it was straight to bed for me.  And now I'm ready for another VERY full and exciting day today.

Which I better start getting ready for RIGHT NOW.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!!   


Monday, April 07, 2014

Extreme Makeover: Me Edition

Have you ever woken up one morning thinking "I wish I was someone different"?  Not in the sense of being a completely different person, like your boss or your friend or a famous celebrity, but different in the sense of changing certain aspects of you.

Maybe change your shy personality, or that you worry too much, or you're not happy with your style, or maybe you feel like you've let yourself go and want to do something about it.

This happened to me a few weeks ago.  I woke up with a craving to make a whole new persona for myself.  Break out of my comfort zone, do something different, go a little crazy.

I'm sure that the feelings came from the few months leading up to that morning.  Family problems, work issues, me continuously feeling sorry for myself, and every time I looked in the mirror thinking, " I really look like that?"

A visit to P-Momma's helped put a new change in to motion.  A new wardrobe.  I needed some color in my life.  I needed to update my closet that offered me more color instead of the various shades of brown, gray, and black that hung inside.  I am a firm believer that our clothes can speak volumes about our personalities.  If I wore nothing but brown, black, and gray, it was no wonder that I always felt a little down and melancholy.  All I was missing was the black make-up and combat boots and I'd be a thirty-something Emo Chick.

So, I took to the internet and ordered myself some new kicks.  Bright colors, spring colors, colors that would reflect my personality to be fun-loving and upbeat.  But, hopefully, not turning myself in to a thirty-something going on sixty-something.

When my first order arrived in the mail, I was very happy.  Pink and yellow and green and red and purple burst out of the package and completely spruced up my closet, transforming it from a dark and dingy place to a rainbow of options.

I spent a week wearing my new clothes, and have to admit that I felt a lot better when I was wearing something bright and cheery.  But, it didn't take long to realize that I needed more.  The clothes were a good start, but I still looked in the mirror wondering what I could do that would really compliment the new wardrobe, and the progressing new me.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with the next phase jumping in my head:  My hair.  It had, quite a while ago, gotten to the length that was easy to put up in to a pony tail.  Any time that happens, there's only one thing I ever do with my hair:  Put it up in a pony tail.  If you look at any picture of me in the last six months, you'd think they were all taken on the same day because nothing changes about the way my hair looks.  The same, dull, pony tail.  

So, I drove to my local hair salon and decided that  I was going to tell them that I needed a new me.  Something totally different.  Totally out of my comfort zone.  Something that screams "I'M A FUN PERSON".  Before I walked in, I decided to take a picture of what I looked like.  A "before pic", if you will.  And here it is...

Don't you love the boring, flat, frizzy mess that was my hair?  No wonder I wore it up all of the time.  It has this life of it's own that leaves the top half completely straight, and the bottom half curly.

When I walked in and told my hairstylist what I wanted, I'm pretty sure my she thought I was going through some kind of mid-life crisis.  There was a solid look of confusion, maybe thrown in with a little side of worry when I told her I wanted it all chopped off and made to look totally FUNKY.

She told me that there were a number of options she could do, and I then said the words that I think all hairstylists either dream of or dread:  "Have at it, and do what you think will work...keeping my original ideas in your brain as you go".

Her eyes lit up like the 4th of July.  She asked me a couple of times if I was really serious, and told me that she could really get "funky" if it's what I really wanted.  I told her to have at it, and off she went.

She cut, she colored, she cut some more, she styled, and then it was time to see the new look.  Say hello to the NEW ME!!

I ended up with a short cut in the back and a longer, face shaping cut in the front.  I got blonde highlights with a little "rocker red" thrown in there.  It is COMPLETELY different than what I've ever done, and I absolutely LOVE it.

I walked out of that hair salon feeling like a completely different person.  I felt younger, a little crazy, a lot more fun.  On the drive home, I thought about all the troubles I've been dealing with lately, and they all seemed a lot less important.  It was a start to a completely new me.  I was getting rid of the sad, boring, and bland me and inventing a happy, fun, funky me.

Last night,  I decided my nails also needed a little color and then this happened...

They're not perfect, but they'll work for now.  I need to get them done...manicure and professional polish, but my version isn't terrible.

It's amazing how some new clothes, a new hair cut, and a little color on the nails can do to someone's whole outlook.  I mean, sure, they are all "outside" changes and don't really change the person on the inside, but I don't think there's any reason why it can't help.  I was a person that wore the same dark colors every day and put my hair in the same boring pony tail.  That person whined and complained a lot, spent a lot of time feeling sorry for herself, and often felt like a rain cloud was permanently fixed over my head.

Since changing up my wardrobe, and since getting my hair cut and my nails "did", I feel upbeat, fun, and HAPPY.  It's crazy to explain, but I really do feel SOOOOO much better.  Like I really AM a different person.  The people that bothered me before yesterday just don't seem that important today.  The issues that were dwelling on my mind have started to fade.

I feel better.  So much better.  And I'm excited about it.

Right now, I need to go and get ready for work.  Start out a new week with a new me.  I'm curious to see what my kiddos think when they walk in to the classroom... I'm sure they'll be shocked.

Shocking can be OK...sometimes, it can even be GREAT! 


Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Things I'll Do For a Good Cause

For the past several days, I've been logging in to my Facebook and watching people from all over being "challenged" to jump in to freezing water for the sake of raising money for various charities.  It's called the "24 hour cold water challenge".

Basically, it boils down to being called out on Facebook by a friend and once they've completed their challenge, you have 24 hours to complete your own.  If you do it, you pay $10 to a charity of your choice.  If you don't do it, you have to pay $50 to the charity.  

When I first started seeing the videos circulating, I thought those people were NUTS!  Grown adults, jumping in to rivers.  But, watching the videos was extremely entertaining.  I had a good laugh at every video I watched.  Then, I started noticing that people I actually KNEW were doing the challenges, and I started getting a little nervous.

And, wouldn't you know, yesterday I was challenged by none other than E.  

I will admit, when I got challenged I was actually OK with it.  I'm all about joining in for a little fun for the sake of a good cause.  The only problem was, at that point, I wasn't around a river and had no intentions of being around a river before my 24 hours expired.  

So, I decided to improvise...and came up with this....

I tell you.  That water was FREEZING!!!  That first burst of water that hit me completely caught me off guard.  The weather wasn't exactly warm, but I didn't think it would be that bad.  Then, when I turned around for the other blast, it was like jumping in to an ice bath.  And, of course, the kids thought it was HILARIOUS!! 

Once I was done, my legs started to feel numb.  I was tingling all over, and shivering.  It's amazing how quickly cold water can freeze you from the inside out.  But, I quickly went inside, changed my clothes, and was all nice and warm again.  I posted my video on Facebook and went about my business.

It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I got to take part.  I just wished I'd gone to the river to do it...I'm sure that would have been a lot more dramatic.  And, you know I'm all about being as dramatic as possible.  HA!

Today, the kids and I are going over to P-Momma's house...again!!  Twice in two weeks.  That's some kind of record, I'm sure.  And I couldn't be more excited about it.  I love going over there and so do the kids, so anytime we can make it we are all very happy about it.

Before we go, though, I'm going to get a hair cut.  It's time.  I'm not going to elaborate any more than that, because that's what tomorrow's blog will be about...

So, today.  We're going to P-Momma's.  We're going to have some fun, she's going to make dinner for us, and we're going to enjoy her company.  I get to tell her all about the new clothes I've bought, thanks to her referral.  I get to tell her about what's been going on in my life since last week.  And, I'll get to hear all about what's going on with her. 

In between all of that, I need to go and buy Peanut a ball glove for softball that starts this week.  Yesterday, at our meeting, we coordinated practice schedules.  My team, which is also Peanut's team, will be practicing on Mondays and Wednesday from 6-7PM.  Jelly's team will be practicing on Monday and Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30PM.  Butter will be practicing on Tuesday and Thursdays from 6-7PM.  And, my and Butter's team will also be practicing on Saturdays.  So, from now to the end of ball season, I won't get home until about 8PM four nights a week!


It doesn't last forever, though, and the fun we'll have will be worth it.  I just hope poor little Jelly won't get too tired from practicing so late.  I know that she falls asleep around 7:30PM on school nights, so it will be tough to keep her awake and practicing two nights a week.  

Anywho, I better get to getting right now.  I have to go and get my hair cut and do some other stuff before we head to P-Momma's.  SO much to do, and SO little time!!

Have a great Sunday, everyone!!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Play Ball!!


There aren't many things that will get me out of bed before 7AM on a Saturday.  Even if I fell asleep at 8PM the night before.  If I didn't have to get up, I probably wouldn't have.. but I did.  And that's because, this morning, I have a summer ball meeting at 9AM.

It's a meeting where all of the coaches, players, and parents come together to find out what's going on with the Summer Ball program:  Practices, games, uniforms, etc.  My little family fall under all categories of coaches, players, and parents.  Being that I'm coaching, all the kids are playing, and I'm the parent of my children.  

It's been a long time since I coached softball, but I'm so excited to be doing it once again.  I coached Peanut's team when she played in 3rd-5th grades.  I'll be a little out of my comfort zone with the coaching I'll be doing this time around, being that I'm going to be coaching the 13 and under team.. but I'm ready and excited for the challenge.

Although, with three children playing ball, me coaching one of the teams, and Peanut and Butter also being in track, our weeks are going to be crammed full of activities.  Softball, baseball, or T-ball practices almost every night, thrown in between track meets, on top of every day of track practice.  And, because there are so many other activities taking place during the week, it will mean scheduling some practices on Saturdays.

It feels just like the good ol' days of Hubby complaining that I'm never home, and that I'm putting too much on my plate.  Back when I was going to college, holding down a job, and coaching softball.  If he thinks that was bad, he has no idea what it's going to be like now.  We just had one kid that played back then, what on earth does he think it's going to be like with all three kids playing, and two of them playing two different sports?

But, I think he's finally gotten used to my crazy, busy schedule.  Now that we both have calendars on our phones that sync and he knows when I will and won't be home, it makes life a little easier.  Plus, he knew full well that once I did get a teaching job, life would be constantly in the fast lane.

I have to be busy, though.  I'm always wanting something to do, something that keeps my mind off of stresses and being so busy helps calm the stress.  Some would probably disagree with that statement.. and think that adding more stuff to my plate would only increase my stress level.  But, it doesn't.  Not for me.  I don't have time to dwell or overthink when I'm running here, there, and everywhere caught up in tons of extra-curricular activities.  

Even figuring out how I'm going to get it all in doesn't stress me out.  It's just apart of the challenge.  It requires me planning and scheduling and coordinating what's going on, and that makes me feel more in control.  If I'm able to make juggling all that's on my plate work, then I'm able to somehow convince myself that I can take on whatever is thrown my way.

There has been quite a bit of tension in my house, lately.  Not between the people that live in it, but between us and stuff outside the house.  I'm dealing with some issues, Peanut is dealing with some issues, and Butter is dealing with some issues.  All separate issues with the same result:  Stress and worry.  And, we've all been depending on each other to help with the stress and worry.  None of us have solutions for each other, but just the support we give each other helps...somewhat.

By having stuff that keeps us busy, it helps keep our minds off of our issues.  Even if it's just for a little while.  It's not running away from the problems, but allowing our minds to take a break.  And that's what we all need, right now. Breaks away to think about other things and do other things.

What I've discovered these past few months is that being a parent to teenagers is TOUGH!  I have sat here in this very seat and preached about how I want my kids to make their own mistakes and learn from them.  Be a listening ear, but staying out of the issues as much as possible and letting them try and figure them out on their own.

Yet, I've discovered, that's a lot easier said than done.  When my babies are hurting, I want to take care of the issues and take the hurt away.  I'm forgetting one very important piece to that, though: They're not babies anymore.  They are young adults.  And, if I don't allow them to spread their wings more, take control of their issues, and face them head on, I'm doing them a major disservice.

As much as I know that I will always be there for them to talk to, and for me to advise them, I can't solve the problems for them.  They MUST stand up on their own and take charge of their own situations, and figure out the best way to resolve them.

Which is hard.  Too hard.  

I also have to realize that I CAN'T use my own personal situations as a way of explaining my thoughts and feelings about their problems.  I can't share what's going on with me with them.  I'm an adult, and I have to deal with my problems and let them see me doing that... rather than telling them my problems  and us all pow-wowing how to solve them.

They are children.  And even though they are growing up so fast, I MUST remember that they are not the people I should be talking to.

Thankfully there are three people I can talk to:  E, P-Momma, and Hubby.  The three people that will listen, offer advise, and just allow me to vent when I need to.  Plus, they won't sugar coat what I need to hear.  Each of them offer their own suggestions, and never just feed me what I want to hear.  And, sometimes, brutal honesty can be SOOOOOO refreshing.

Getting back to the original topic, I honestly feel like the summer ball program will give us an outlet to deal with stresses without having to talk about them.  Hit a few balls, throw a few balls, build some friendships, work as a team, and just HAVING FUN!!! Something that I've been wanting a lot more of around here.

I'm excited and ready for this new challenge, and optimistic for the good it's going to do for my little family.  We're going to be busy.  We're going to be exhausted.  But, we're going to have fun.  And that will make it all worth it.

So, I better get to getting if we're going to make it to that meeting on time.

Have a great Saturday, everyone!!