Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Rewind

At school, copying from someone else is considered bad.  In blogworld, copying from someone else is accepted AND encouraged.  So, as we watch Polar Express for the last time this holiday season, I answer questions copied from Kate, who copied it from All and Sundry. Apparently, I am supposed to link my answers to the original so I suppose I'll figure HOW to do that later.   
1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

I used my voice at work to defend myself and tell my boss that I deserved a job that he later gave to someone else.  I normally don't run the risk of going for something that I don't think I get so I was truly hurt when I didn't get the job offer.  Plus, defending myself is very out of character because I think action should speak louder than words.  To this day, I still believe I deserved that job and believe I did the right and everything I could by using my voice.

Oh, I also completed two half-marathons.  One in March and the second in November.   I found that I enjoyed these activities and plan to challenge myself with further fitness challenges (triathalon, anyone?).  I suppose you could say I also started a blog for myself.  And I joined Facebook.  With Fort Knox security.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I'm pretty sure I broke as many as I kept.  Never have understood the purpose of the activity but I make the resolutions every year, without fail.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Babies are always being born around us!  But I'm REALLY looking forward to meeting Baby Rose and Baby Schoolcraft in 2010!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Baby H (not our baby, for those wondering).  Worst day ever.  Ever. 

5. What countries did you visit?

With a toddler in our home, we were lucky to get out of our city this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

 Travel.  More date nights with hubby.  Finding trust to have a babysitter come into our home.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March - going away for a weekend with Eric to celebrate our 12 year anniversary.  I love him.
May/June- being glad a terrible school year was ending.  Enough said about that.
June - going my best friends ultrasound to find out the gender of the baby.  But instead of shopping for baby clothes, I spent the afternoon consoling her and telling family and friends that she was going to lose the baby.  That day absolutely broke my heart.  Still does.
August - my 20th high school reunion.  I am confident, secure, and totally happy with where I
am in life and it showed.  It was never awkward or uncomfortable to see classmates and I would do that weekend again, in a heartbeat.
September - finding out Dad was going on kidney dialysis.  Enough said.
October - finding out Fidelia and Casey were expecting a baby
December - Christmas through a child's eyes is incredible.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Choosing to leave a job that fulfilled my soul but I couldn't continue because dealing with my evil, manipulative, passive aggressive co-worker was destroying me. 

9. What was your biggest failure?

I wish I could say I haven't failed at anything but that wouldn't be real, would it?  I should have been a better wife and mom.  Next year, I need to do my best so I can't say I failed.  If I do my best, I won't fail.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?


11. What was the best thing you bought?

The super cute dress I wore to my 20th high school reunion.  We're on a tight budget, people!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Everyone I choose to put in my life merits celebration, in one way or another. Otherwise, I don't suppose I would choose them.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My evil co-worker (see #8) .

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, bills, and more bills.  Next year, it will all go to a house remodel.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Being home all summer with my boys.  We may not have gone anywhere or done anything spectacular but we spent every day together as a family.  And in 2 years or 20 years, those memories will be priceless to me.
And we remodeled my parents kitchen. 

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Reel Big Fish - "Your Guts (I Hate 'Em) - After every battle with my evil co-worker, I would go in my office, play this song REALLY loud, and just feel better.  Totally not appropriate but SO worth it.  And better to listen to this song than take it out on the kids.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder?  Happier.
– thinner or fatter?  19 inches thinner but frustrated that it is not reflected by the number on the scale!
– richer or poorer? Financially poorer but infinitely richer for all I have around me

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Date nights with my husband.  Put down the dishes or the laundry and played on the floor with my son

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Been unhappy at work

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve at my Grandma's, Christmas morning with my boys, Christmas Day with my family

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

I honestly think I fell more in love with my boys, than anything else.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Since we only watch cartoons, I can't say I have a favorite (does Mickey Mouse Clubhouse count?).  But we did renew Netflix so I can watch more of what I have missed (The Closer, Dexter, 24, etc) in the past 3 years!

24. What was the best book you read?

Oh, man.  Just ONE?!  I loved the Outlander series.  And right now, I'm totally enthralled with the Wheel of Time series.  Three Cups of Tea and The Book Thief mesmerized me.  Bill O'Reilly and Craig Ferguson entertained me.  I read the Twilight series this summer and was humored.  And the Parenting Magazine saved me.  

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I discovered that I will never lose my love of long haired rock bands.  Or going to concerts with Kelli

26. What did you want and get?

Even though I didn't know that this was what I wanted until just recently, I realize that more time at home with my boys was the best gift of 2009

27. What did you want and not get?

The ASB job at work.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

We only saw one movie in the theater this year - Star Trek.  And it wasn't my favorite. At all
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 38 this year.  My dear friend Jen drove up and spent the day with us.  It was awesome to reconnect with her.  Then she joined Jodie and Zak, Fidelia and Casey, Gypsy and Jeff and Eric and I for appetizers and wine at a local joint.  I don't plan to do anything big for my birthday until the 4-0.  When that day comes, WATCH OUT!  Think Vegas, Baby!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I used to think it was the ASB job at work.  I used to think it was more money.  Now, I think it would be starting the house remodel so Eric would have projects again and I'd finally have a bedroom with walls.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Interesting question.  I'd say I'm coming alive to fashion again.  After 9 months of maternity clothes and 3 years of "fat girl" clothing, I'm just now venturing to the mall and finding my fashion concept.  I can't say I've totally found it but, with the help of Jodie and Fidelia, it's coming alive!  Right now, I love the sweaters.  With leggings.  And boots. 

32. What kept you sane?
My husband.  And the captain.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Can't say I fancied anyone.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The presidential election.  I was fascinating by my students who were engaged, enthralled and educated by the ENTIRE process.  Plus, I had Kemper to keep me entertained with his Democratic rantings.
35. Who did you miss?
I miss having close friends at work.   Jen, Andrea, and Kemper.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Me.  And I loved reconnecting with high school friends.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

  I may never understand God's timing of bringing home His children but I look forward to the day when I am greeted by the babies at the gates.  Especially one sweet baby girl who makes my heart ache because she isn't here.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggidity Dog.

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


After much fussing, my blog design is done and just in time for the new year!  After a frustrating 2 mile run today (damn side-ache that felt like knives in my ribcage), I started searching the web for backgrounds and banners. I've spent the past several hours, hunched over my laptop, texting Kate, and trying to figure out the right look for my bloggy.  I had no idea how many backgrounds and banners were out there!  Of course, all the sites are now bookmarked in my browser but it turns out all I needed and Voila!  A new look that I adore.  As my cousin Jodie would say, "its high maintenance but with the illusion of low maintenance".  And it is all about me.

Next up...a fun signature!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Blog Under Construction

With the help of my good friend Kate, the blog is going through another design change. 

I changed the background (what do you think?) and hopefully, Kate can change the banner.

Any suggestions for the banner? 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Elephant versus Gazelle

A few years ago, right before I became pregnant, I discovered that I like to run.  Well, let me clarify.  I like the RESULTS that come from running so therefore, I like running.  Get it?   Almost four years later, I am rediscovering my inner athlete.  Ok, I admit I am a mediocre athlete, at best.  And definitely less than a mediocre runner.  The very thought of running along side someone makes me cringe. When one watches me run, I suspect they think, "giant lumbering elephant-like runner girl" rather than "graceful gazelle-like runner girl".  I have to have music so loud that I don't hear my panting.  I know my stride is all wrong since pain shoots through my ankles with each step.  And don't get me started about all the parts of me that wiggle and jiggle as I jog.  Ugh. 

Naturally, this graceful gazelle wanna-be needed to add a few running accessories to her Christmas list.  Every girl knows that accessories can make any outfit or event better, right?
A headband to keep my ears warm during the winter months?  Check.

A wallet/carrying case for my arm so I can take the cell phone, ID and my music while keeping my hands free to wipe the tears running down my face as I face wind and rain?  Check.

A new hoodie that is a longer length to hide the aforementioned parts that wiggle and jiggle?  And has a cool hood?  Check.

And, as an added bonus, I bought myself a new ipod nano since my old ipod mini bit the dust, despite Eric's valiant efforts to Macgyver it back to life.

I gathered up all my new little toys and went for a run today.  Before all was said and done, this lumbering giant of a girl finished 5 miles in an hour.  Not gracefully.  Not quickly.  Not all of it was running. But she finished it.  And she can't wait to go again tomorrow.

If she can get out of bed in the morning.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Life Is Better Because...

I have chosen these wonderful girlfriends to surround me with love, laughter, and lots of red wine.

    18 years ago, I fell in love with a boy.  3 years ago, I fell in love again.

    My wonderful family.  They were VERY generous this Christmas season.

    I can't think of two people who make Papa happier than this sweet boy and girl.

      my sis and I

      my  mom
      (my favorite co-worker too!)

       my bro and I my bro and sister-in-law live in Florida and we missed them on Christmas Day.  A lot.

      I have a cousin named Jodie who called me at 10PM with a brilliant idea for an obnoxious White Elephant gift. A White Elephant gift that only a grandmother can love.

        Fidelia and Jodie.

        We laugh.  We dance. 
        We love Skinny Pirates.
        We take a lot of photos.  Of us.
        And we love the baby girl in Fidelia's belly.  A lot.

          Who do you surround yourself with to make your life better?

          Tuesday, December 22, 2009

          True Story Tuesday

          It's 8:15AM and both my boys are STILL asleep.  I'm drinking coffee, playing on the computer, and embracing the silence.

          True Story.

          Last night, a girlfriend received an incredible gift and was asked to pay it forward when the time was right for her.  I can't wait to see how this moment transforms her because I'm certain she is no longer the same person she was before that envelope arrived at her desk.

          True Story.

          Last year, at this time, there was several feet of snow on the ground.  We were homebound for 10 full days and my dad had to pick us up with chains on his car so we could enjoy Christmas as a family.  Despite that snow, everyone in the family made it to Grandma's for Christmas Eve.  The power of family is much stronger than the power of Mother Nature.  I must admit, I'd like a white Christmas...but just a dusting this year!

          True Story.

          It's day two of my vacation and I already want it to slow down. Thankfully, all the Christmas shopping is done.  When we were at the mall yesterday, watching all the stressed out shoppers run around, my sweet husband looked at me and thanked me for the years of Christmas shopping that I have done for us.  It made my heart happy to hear him acknowledge that I've done all the shopping in our almost thirteen year marriage.  It is a rare year when he has to go out and buy something.  The pleasure of shopping really is all mine!

          True Story.

          I love Christmas.  Everything about it.  Yesterday, we took Alexander to the mall to see Santa.  He was a champ and talked to Santa for a full 10 minutes about wanting a "woowoo train" and "mama home".  When we were leaving, he grabbed our hands and said, "wuv you Santa" and swung from his parents hands, with the trust that a toddler has that someone will hold him up when he lifts his feet off the ground.

          May you be surrounded and loved this holiday season by those who hold you up.

          True Story.

          Monday, December 21, 2009


          It's rare when my son cuddles up with me.
          So, I take it when I can.

          Oh, how I love being home.

          Friday, December 18, 2009

          7 hours and counting...

          ...until winter break! 
          I'm looking forward to...

          A date wth Eric to see a movie (thanks to Grrma and Ho-Ho Papa!)
          Obnoxious family events with people I adore
          Holiday parties
          Being Mom
          Being Michelle

          Wednesday, December 16, 2009


          For the first time in my teaching career, I feel completely disconnected from being a teacher.  Being Ms M has been my identity for fifteen years.  I have been the teacher students turn to when issues of relationships, drugs/alcohol, or teen pregnancy enter their lives.  Or if they have a new car, get accepted to college, or if it is their birthday.  I am the adult they talk with when they can't talk to their parents.  And I love that role because that is the reason I entered teaching.  I have always been less concerned with teaching content and more about helping the individual student.

          This year, I am finding it hard to be patient and listen to students. The hurt I feel from the lack of loyalty from my administration is trickling into my daily teaching.  I don't want to be close to co-workers. I don't want to be close to students.  Most days, I'm 15 minutes late to work, I don't leave my office until it is time to teach, and I've been known to beat the busses out of the parking lot at the end of the day.  I don't want to care because when I did care and gave all that Ms. M had, it broke my heart.  I'm not ready to give my heart again.   The three closest friends I have had have left in the last two years.  I'm not ready to show my loyalty and care about co-workers who are going to leave.  I haven't had a favorite class since 2006 graduated and love when they come home from college so I can laugh again.  It isn't like me to go through the motions, yet that's exactly what I am doing.  Students still confide in me but I'm finding it to be more of a burden than anything else (not that they would ever notice, though).

          In my head, I know that teaching is just a job and I should have no problem disconnecting from it. 

          My heart hasn't figured that part out.

          Tuesday, December 15, 2009

          True Story Tuesday

          Alexander has a cold.  Eric woke up with a sore throat.  I woke up with sinus pressure and a sore throat.  We have a house full of sickies.  Bah Humbug!

          True Story.

          There is a holiday party on Saturday with our group of friends.  I would hate for any of us to miss it due to this winter cold.

          True Story.

          I'm trying to create a written assignment for my Fitness class so we can go to library.  The heating/cooling system in our building isn't working and it must be about 100 degrees in the gym.  Hot Yoga is one thing but add 45 students and it becomes Gross Yoga.  Trust me.

          True Story.

          This time last year, my winter break began four days early due to a foot of snow and school closures.  Looks like rain is forecasted and I'm putting in a full work week.  Only three more days!

          True Story.

          I'm SO ready for two weeks at home with my boys.  Sick or not.

          True Story.

          Monday, December 14, 2009

          Monday Mini Moments

          No one really likes a Monday.  So, in keeping with that theory, I decided to start Monday Mini Moments.  Moments to embrace to help kick start a week.

          I love, love, love hearing Christmas music 24-7.  I'm going to play it in the locker room all week (until a student complains).

          I stepped on the scale this morning and didn't gain a lb!  This is a BIG accomplishment since I self-sabotage on weekends.

          There are only 5 work days remaining until I'm home for two FULL WEEKS!

          All my Christmas cards/letters were mailed today.  All 95 of them. 

          My Christmas shopping is DONE!

          Happy week to you!

          Sunday, December 13, 2009

          What a Handsome Date

          When the doctor confirmed that we were having a boy (for the record, I never thought otherwise), my mind instantly flash forward to the relationship my son and I would build together.  Most specifically, "date nights" that find mother and son spending quality time together.  I've been waiting and waiting and waiting...

          Date #1 - Saturday night!

          Someone was VERY done with pictures

          Alexander and I went to see Disney's Imagination Movers Live Tour.  We dressed up, drove downtown, and enjoyed the first of a life time of mother and son dates.  He may not remember it. 
          But I will.

          Friday, December 11, 2009


          Yay for the weekend!

          And herein lies the the first true test of whether I'm going to stick to my new healthy plan. I can be plenty good during the week - stay within my points, work out 5 straight days, and avoid junk food.  Within 48 hours, I can sabotage any well laid plan. 

          ESPECIALLY with that bottle of wine staring me straight in the eye...

          Thursday, December 10, 2009

          People I can't live without...

          It goes, without mention, that I can't live without the amazing family and friends who surround me during the daily grind (although, I could probably live without a few co-workers).  So, let me clarify that this blog entry is about OTHER people in my life who will devastate my world when/if they retire.

          My hairdresser, Suzy. 
          She and I have been together for almost 13 years now.  I first met her at Gene Juarez.  When she left the salon she decided to travel to people's home.  I used to pull in 5 or 6 family/friends to have hair done at the same time and I'm pretty sure we paid her mortgage during that chapter of life.  Now, I travel to her home.  And if you shoud know anything about me, it is that I do not leave my city if I don't have to.  Everything I need is close at hand so why put the extra miles on my truck?  Except my hairdresser.  So, I drive the 20 minutes every 6-8 weeks..  I love the time we spend catching up, sharing child-rearing stories, and updating lives as she cleans up the dark roots (not a true blonde?!) and trims the length. 

          My dentist, Dr. M.
          I may not travel to Arkansas for a dentist appt (like the aforementioned hairdresser does) but whenever I call and give my name, the receptionist instantly remember who I am, my son's name and can instantly recall how long since my last visit!  And she doesn't even make me feel badly for my absence.  Anyhow, it feels like family in my dentist office and makes the visits bearable.  Alexander is going to see the children's dentist in the same office.  Funny story - when I was pregnant and Eric and I were debating names for our son, I had a dentist appointment.  The dental hygeniest was telling me a story about her 2 boys, one named Alexander.  Of course, I IMMEDIATELY fell in love with the name and it jumped to the top of our non-existent short list.  So, J the dental hygeniest, thanks for the name suggestion.  It's a good thing Dr. M has two boys to put through college because I don't know what I will do when he retires.

          My OB/GYN, Dr. G
          When I had my first appointment with her, I told her she was going to deliver my children.  I was 20.  She delivered Alexander.  I was 35.  When I called her during labor and demanded the epidural, she spoke to the nurse and it was done.  Need I say more? 

           Who would you follow?

          Wednesday, December 9, 2009

          What a difference...

          ...a new playlist on my IPod makes!  Wow!  Tried out the new running playlist today and I'm a fan!  It made the time fly by and before I knew it, the run was over.

          Here are a few songs I added from the Itunes store: 
          1. This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race - Fall Out Boy
          2. Liar (It takes one to know one) - Taking Back Sunday
          3. I Don't Wanna be in Love - Power Music Workout
          4. First Time (workout remix) - Power Music Workout
          5. No One (workout remix) - Power Music Workout
          6. Stronger (workout remix) - Power Music Workout
          7. Crush (workout remix) - Junior Torrey
          8. Love Drunk - Boys Like Girls
          I'd love to hear what songs keep you going during a workout!  I'm always looking for new ideas.

          Tuesday, December 8, 2009

          10, 11, 12...

          So, here's the thing.  It's truth time.  Cold, hard truth.  I figure if I put it into words and out into the blogworld, I will have to hold myself accountable.  Clearly, I can't do this by myself so blogword (friends and family), it time for you to start kicking my arse!

          I haven't exactly been...uh, committed to a healthy lifestyle.. I've been saying for the past six months that I want to lose the last 5 lbs of pregnancy weight.  If I'm completely honest, it's more like 10...11...12 lbs that need to go before I'm back at pre-pregnancy weight.  Ugh. When did that happen?  I should know better than to allow myself to carry that extra weight.  I'm a PE teacher, for crying out loud!  It is embarrassing to be so big when I'm in a job that is all about health and fitness.

          How hard can it be to lose 12 lbs and get myself back into shape?  I did it in 2000 and kept that weight off for six years.  I know exactly what to do, how to do it, why I should do it, and yet, I'm choosing to be lazy and make excuses.  I have always struggled with body image. I imagine I always will.  But I hate carrying this extra weight and I want it over.

          I am running but no more than 3 times a week.  And I haven't been to Curves in two months (I did work out at Curves today and was measured for the first time in 2 months.  The numbers are not good - not good AT ALL.).  How embarassing to admit that I'm the woman paying for a gym membership but never goes! 

          My Goal:  Work out 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day.
          • Continue running on my prep, every other day, for 20-30 minutes.  This will vary from 2 - 3 times a day.  
          • Run/walk with a friend once a weekend
          • Alternate days at Curves with my running days
          After I work out, I do this crazy thing with my mind and convince myself I can consume more calories.  These calories are usually in the form of alcohol empty calories.  Since I don't eat after six, that gives me about two hours in the evening and apparently, I fill the 120 minutes with eating and/or drinking.  And, as it turns out, those calories are turning to fat (duh) and I'm packing on the inches (duh). 

          My Goal:  Reinstate Weight Watchers program since it works for me

          • Write down every, single thing that I eat during a day
          • Drink a full 32 oz water bottle before I leave school at 2:30.
          • Do not eat after 6 PM.
          • NO MORE SNACKING (damn near impossible with Eric and toddler but will do my best)
          I imagine you are wondering why I would rededicate myself during the holiday season.  The answer is simple.  I stick to a routine better when I'm home. I always do better during the breaks than at school, where I become easy distracted.  Since winter break is coming up, I will have the time to focus and fall into a strong routine for the new year.  I can count points on Weight Watchers and plan ahead to meals.  I can avoid snacking by preoccupying myself with Alexander.  Instead of running during winter break, I'm taking borrowing my parents Wii to do Wii Fit each day and plan to go to Curves every morning after Eric wakes up.

          Realistically, if I lose 1-2 lbs a week, I should have this done in six to eight weeks...just in time for our trip to Arizona/Disneyland! 

          Wish me luck...and be prepared to call me out when I grab the junk food give me much needed support because I can't do this alone!

          True Story Tuesday

          Last night, I downloaded about a dozen songs for my running playlist.  Now I need to go running to find out if I made the right choices or not.
          True Story.

          Every morning I check the daily bulletin to see which teachers are absent.  And then I try to figure out if they are legitimately sick or taking a day off.  And then I get really jealous that they are home and I'm not.

          True Story.

          This weekend, I'm taking Alexander to see the Imagination Movers Live Tour with Mika and Evan. Everytime the Disney Channel shows the tour commercial, Alexander jumps up and down and says, "MAMA AND ME, MAMA AND ME, MAMA AND ME".  How can I not be excited to take him?  Must. Take. Camera.

          True Story.

          I was reading Bill O'Reilly's book last night and read a line that went something like "when one lacks goals and goals and challenges, life becomes tedious".  This is not a direct quote; I didn't think to bring the book to work.  However, this statement really hit home.  I have no goals or challenges at work, thus my job is tedious and boring.  I wonder if the next chapter will teach me how to find the motivation to set goals and find challenges in a job that is so boring.  Shoot.  Should have brought that book to least, I would have something to do.

          True Story.

          I have a craving for chips and salsa.  At 8AM.

          True Story.

          Monday, December 7, 2009

          Holiday season

          Oh boy.  I'm starting to feel it.  The spirit of giving.  The house is decorated.  Bright lights on houses that fascinate a three year old and brings giggles from the back seat. Most of the shopping is done.  Christmas cards are beginning to trickle in.  All the holiday treats that beg me to eat them. 
          Yep, it's officially the holiday season!

          Of course, this also means I'm starting to feel anxious to be on winter break. 

          And that doesn't happen until the 18th.


          Friday, December 4, 2009

          Worlds collide

          There have been many moments in my teaching career from the last 7 years, when memories of the past collide with moments of the present.  First day as a teacher in this school, walking into the gym...and having a former teacher come in to wish me luck and to carry on the traditions of our building.  Students personalities that are so similar to those I graduated with that it is like ghosts walking the hallways.  Working with the student leaders to create spirit and pride in this building has been, what I think, to be my greatest contribution back to this community (I suppose that is why it is so hard to not be a part of student leadership this year).  The school has been remodeled since I left but the feelings of being a student in the halls remain.  I truly loved being in high school, was involved in just about every activity, and I'm pretty sure blue, green, and silver run in my veins. 

          Teaching at my old high school, where my mom is the librarian, my dad is the football announcer, my former teachers are now friends, and my cheer coach is the head secretary, is always where I dreamed of teaching.   There are three alums that now teach here so you can imagine the strong sense of community we have.  When I was looking for jobs out of college, I chose to teach at the middle school level to develop my teaching skills, classroom management and avoid being asked to Prom since I was so close to high school students ages because I graduated from college at 22. Plus, I knew the PE teacher at my school would eventually retire.  She did and here I am.  7 years later.  . 

          21 years ago, I was a senior in high school and our football team went to state.  The boys I adored and grew up with won a state championship and as a cheer leader, I was on the sideline.  I can VIVIDLY remember, looking into the stands and seeing the sea of blue, green and silver.  Parents.  Grandparents.  Cousins.  Alumni.  Parents of alumni.  And friends.  So many friends in support of this little school who had made it to the big dance.  That night's energy and confidence bled into the remainder of our senior year and more athletic teams played in state tournaments that year than any year since.

          So, now it's December 4, 2009.  Tonight, my students will be playing in a football state game.  The students I adore are filled with the same excitement, confidence and pride that my friends and I felt all those years ago.  I have received many texts and emails from my high school friends who are going to the game.  It will be very fun to see them but you know what?  My eyes will be watching the students.  Watching their faces light up and create memories that they will carry with them of this magical school year.  Watching the senior football players who have been playing together since middle school play with all they have and leave their hearts on the field to create something that only they will experience.  Watching parents cheer on their children and friends support their loved ones. 

          As I watch this community that I adore support and cheer each other on tonight, faces from the past and the present will surround me. I have no doubt the ghosts and memories of '88 will flood through me.  But oh, how I am looking forward to the memories created tonight.

          Go Patriots!

          Tuesday, December 1, 2009

          True Story Tuesday

          By 11AM, I had called 911 for a top 10 PE injury.  Freshman + Jumping over a net = Broken nose, split eyebrow, and instant blood.  At least the paramedics were cute.

          True Story.

          I'm super excited to put Christmas up this weekend.  The big rule is I have to wait until Eric's birthday (3rd) so that means I only have 4 days to go! YAY!!  Ihope we can figure out a way to put lights on the house outside. 

          True Story.

          I'm terrible at picking games in a college/nfl football pool.  If you want to be in last place, ask my advice.  I think they only let me play so they can take my money.

          True Story.

          My Christmas letter is written and I'm waiting for the cards to be printed and sent to me.  I'm so excited about this years card!  Who knew that a Christmas card could bring me so much excitement.

          True Story.

          The football team in the high school where I teach is playing in the state tournament this weekend.  The last time this school played (and won) in the state game was when I was a senior in high school  and cheered on the sideline - 21 years ago (I teach where I went to school, remember?)!    GO PATRIOTS!
          And no, I will not be wearing my cheer uniform this time around.

          True Story.

          Sunday, November 29, 2009

          There is no "I" in "Team"

          I completed my second half marathon today!  WOOOHOOO!!  Yes, I walked it.  Yes, I finished it.  And yes, it took longer than the last time. 

          The first reason my time was slower was because we didn't run as much as I anticipated.  My running partner's ankle hurt and we decided that walking would be better for her.  At one point, we were able to run about 2 miles across the bridge, about the same time that the mathon runners blew by ran past us.  We tried to blend it with the runners but it didn't take much to realize we were overdressed for a marathon run...and we were WAY slower than them!

          The second reason was simple - a teammate was down and we were not going to leave a woman behind.  So, our  pace definitely slowed as one of our own struggled to keep up. The good news is that she did finish and we are so proud of her for pushing through the physical challenges she faced today.  I will admit (with a twinge of guilt) that two of us pulled away at the end, simply because our muscles hurt and walking slow actually hurt more.  And by mile 11, ya just want to be done.

          There was a point when my pace slowed and I looked out over the waterfront, when I realized that being a teammate has always been more important to me than the competition.  I was an athlete in high school but never at an elite level.  I didn't have the competitive fire.  Well, I have the fire but I ALWAYS chose to put the team before myself.  I suppose thati is why I was the setter and the catcher for my teams.  I could direct and lead but I could also take the blame, even if it wasn't warranted, in order for my team to succeed.  Don't get me wrong - I do not like to lose.  I do not like being the weak link.  And I do not like being in last place.  Ever.  But I want others to feel good about the experience and I suppose that is why there never has been an "i" in "team" for me. I just couldn't ever feel good about being so competitive that it caused others to have a terrible time.

          I wanted to run today.  I wanted to be that runner who was being cheered on by the crowd (they don't really cheer for the walkers, like they should).  I wanted to cross the finish line at a run.  I didn't like feeling that walking was less than running to the people on the sidelines.  I want to know I can set a goal of 13.1 miles and complete it at a full run.  I absolutely have the fire to succeed and I have a desire to train and run the half marathon next year.

          However, being with my friends, supporting them through the aches and pains, and choosing to be by their side was more important to me than a fast time.  At any point today, I could have run ahead and my team would have supported that decision.  But a fast time isn't why I do this event.  I love the girl time, the gossip, the laughter while we train and then sense of accomplishment when we cross the finish line.  Together. 

          I guess if I want to run, I should sign up by myself.  Because we all know, I'm going to put the team first.  Every time. 

          Saturday, November 28, 2009

          Ready, Set, GO!

          If you look over to the right of your screen, you'll notice the ticker for the half marathon.  That's right people;  it is the EVE of the half marathon! 

          I'm done carb loading.  I've taken it easy today (this actually describes the past 3 days).  The troop is scheduled to leave at 5:45AM for downtown, for a 7:45AM start time for the walking crew.  The weather is predicted as cold (30's) but dry.  Since we've prepared by walking in rain, we are ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at us!  And the thought of a Dicks burger and fries waiting for me at the end will be enough of an incentive to push through anything!

          Someone asked me today what my goal was for the event.  I know I want to finish closer to 3 hours... I think we finished the last one around 3:30.  I'd like to say that I will run 5 or 6 of the 13.1 miles and last time we ran 3 or 4 miles.  But I don't want to leave teammates behind and my running partner is injured.  And I left my watch at school so interval running is going to be hard to keep track of.  So, I guess we'll take it as it comes.  Rumor has it, the energy will be high and adrenaline will pumping and I'm eager to experience another challenge.

          Ready, set, GO!

          Wednesday, November 25, 2009

          Vaccination Freak out

          I hate vaccinations.  Wait a minute before you start thinking I'm somone who doesn't believe in vaccinations.  That assumption couldn't be further from the truth.  I work in a cesspool school.  I know vaccinations are important and necessary to protect my son.  I'm not opposed to protecting my child against childhood diseases.  I just don't like having them done.  I may have freaked out about autism every time we had them done.  The idea of injecting a virus into my perfectly healthy child doesn't seem natural to me.  However, underneath all my issues about vaccinations, I knew they were the right thing to do and trusted my pediatricians advice.


          This H1N1 vaccination is a whole different ball game.  I spent most of the fall, trying to schedule an appointment for Alexander.  I finally schedule one for November 24 and don't think about it again.  The day arrives, we have to leave at 1:15 and..I FREAK OUT.  I know I should have had my thoughts clear about this weeks before our appointment.  I guess I thought I did.  I need to protect my child and this vaccination is supposed to do just that.

          But when the moment came to leave the house, I freak out.   No joke.  Exorcist-head spinning-FREAKED OUT.  I'm crying.  I'm babbling insecurities about not being a good enough mom to my son.  I'm frantically searching the internet for any type of information that will put my mind at ease.  I am yelling at Eric to make the decision for me. I start text messaging friends who have three year olds for advice.  I even text message a high school friend who is a OB/GYN in California to ask his advice (Michael is a saint for patiently dealing with my neurosis issues over the past 20 years!).  Keep in mind, this is all being done so I can sabotage the appt by leaving late and have the decision made for me.  Turns out the doctor office has a 15 minute grace period.  Who knew?

          My logical husband isn't much help because he thinks Alexander will be fine either way because he is a very healthy little boy.  But he lovingly supports whatever decision I make - which is the problem!  I can't make a freaking decision!   I have a nasty habit of thinking "what ifs" and freak myself out even more.  I feel I have no control over this issue and that freaks me out even more.  There is no guarantee.  Of course, there are no guarantees in life.  But a parenting manual sure would be nice.

          In the end, Alexander had the shot.  BUT he is not getting the booster shot in 30 days. 

          Of that, I am sure.

          Damn H1N1.  I think I hate you.

          Tuesday, November 24, 2009

          True Story Tuesday

          I was carded last night.  Honest.  The waitress then says, "I've never seen a minor fake an ID that puts them at 38 so I guess it must be true." 

          True Story.

          I love, love, love the idea of having four days at home with my boys.  I'm looking forward to playing with trains, reading books, watching my son's imagination grow, and giving my loving husband a break from full time childcare.  Plus, if the planets align just right, I'll be spending the long weekend re-doing Alexander's room!

          True Story.

          I am looking forward to challenging myself during the half marathon on Sunday.  And eating greasy fries and a burger at Dick's afterwards.  Delicious.  And well earned.

          True Story.

          There is no better meal than a Thanksgiving meal.  And spending the day with loved ones.

          True Story.

          The other night, I told Eric I wanted a baby (I blame the red wine for my honesty that night).  His response - "I know.  I'm sorry." and gave me a hug while we had a moment about no more babies.  We didn't notice Alexander watching us from across the room but he toddled right over, climbed up his Dada, wrapped his arms around both of us and said "love you mama.  love you dada."  The sadness melted away.

          True Story.

          Monday, November 23, 2009

          Lovin' this week

          I love the week of Thanksgiving.  First of all, I teach three short days.  There are multiple absences in my classes to bring my classload down to under 40 - totally manageable!  Former students are back from college and I never know who is going to walk in on any given day, during any given class period.  Today, there were two from the Class of 2004 and, for the life of me, I could not remember their names when they walked in!  I felt terrible but I was able to cover it well (btw, this happens to every teacher eventually).  Tonight, my favoritist kids from the c/o 2006 are meeting me for drinks/dinner.  Last year, when we met up, the bar tab was $150.00 and I didn't feel very good the next morning!  

          And then there is Thanksgiving itself.  DELICIOUS - even at room temperature.  Not only will there be the traditional meal of turkey, mashed potatos, salad, pies, etc BUT the infamous "cheesy brocolli casserole" will be on the table.  Talk about artery clogging!  But when I think holidays, this dish is at the forefront.  About 20 of us will be at my grandma's house and then cousin Jodie is staying the night with us.  All around, good family fun!

          Still working on details for the remainder of the weekend...

          Should I hit the Black Friday sales and finish Christmas shopping?  Or should I attend the semifinal football game instead to watch my students play (and, I fear, lose)?  Should I plan on staying home so I can sleep and nap every afternoon?  Will we finally clean out my parents garage?  Will the Cougs beat the Huskies in the Apple Cup?  Will I break three hours on Sunday during the half marathon?  Will I be able to move on Sunday after the half marathon? 

          All these questions and more (and maybe some pictures?) will be answered at the end of my favorite week!!  Stay tuned.

          Friday, November 20, 2009

          Happiest Girl on Earth!

          One day, I'm wondering why I'm in a funk.  The next thing I know...I've never had a better day.  Funny how life works.
          • Yesterday, my family (8 of us) planned a trip to Disneyworld in March to visit my brother and sister in law (who aren't coming home for the holidays)!  With Dad's health issues, I'm personally looking at this trip as a way to celebrate his life. No better way for him to celebrate than having ALL of us around him. 

          • Six weeks BEFORE our trip to Disneyworld, the three of us are going to be in Disneyland with Eric's family (9 of us).  The last time we went to Disneyland (Nov. '08), Eric and I said we wouldn't go back until we brought Alexander.  Little did we know what 2011 would have in store for us. Two trips to the Happiest Place(s) on Earth makes me the Happiest Girl on Earth!

          • I taught the leadership class today. I loved being there.  The kids loved having me there. And my heart didn't hurt.  Progress!

          • Our football team is playing a quarter final state tournament game tonight!  The school/community hasn't seen this level of Patriot Pride since...well, since I was a senior (20 years ago!)! I admit, it is pretty surreal.  It fills my heart with joy that my students are learning to love blue, green and silver as much as I do. It is wonderful to wacht them experience the energy.  Especially when I can recall that football playoff fever like it were yesterday.

          • I've been running for about three weeks and the effects are starting to be noticed by others!  Today, I had several compliments from staff members and I'm not gonna lie, IT FEELS GOOD!  The half marathon is next weekend and I am looking forward to it

          • Weekend plans include:  the last training walk and I think we are going to do 11 miles.  We're cleaning out my parents garage and I'm giddy with the idea of throwing things away.  I love to throw things away.  Laundry, laundry, laundry. 

          • And next week is a 3 day work days before we spend Thanksgiving with the least I get to rub a belly bump!  No, not mine, people. 

          Wednesday, November 18, 2009

          Could be

          I feel like Alexander acts when he wakes up badly from a nap.  Only I'm 38, not almost three, so I can't cry, rant and carry out a tantrum like I want to do.  I suppose I could.  And probably should. 

          I can't even put my finger on what is bothering me.  Which may be the worst part of it and exactly why I fear this post is going to be a rambling rant of nothing.  At least I have one of these by my side...

          Is it starting Weight Watchers again (for the hundreth time?) right before the holidays?  Could be.
          I am NEVER very fun when counting points, no matter how EASY the program is for me.  I lost 20 lbs on this program in 2000 and now I'm struggling to lose the last 5 of my pregnancy (that ended 3 years ago, btw).  Having a toddler and stay at home husband means the house is FULL of treats and snacks.  And I have no willpower.  Although, I must have some willpower because I haven't eaten after 6PM the past three weeks.  And my latte was a skinny vanilla instead of the egg nog or pumpkin spice that I wanted to order! 

          Is it the weather?  The rainy, windy, nasty grey days?  Could be.
          Being inside ALL day does have a tendency to make me crabby.  I crave fresh air and the outdoors.  I even ran on the track yesterday, in the cold., simply because it wasn't raining.  Unlike today. 

          Is it my father's health and understanding this stage in life?  Could be. 
          Or maybe it has more to do with me having patience with my mother to help her accept the changes.  Could be.
          But we're working on it as a family and that's progress.  I'm blessed that they taught me the communication skills to share my opinions and that they listen to my opinions.  And I'm really blessed that they agree to listen to my husband's logical point of view, leaving me to emotionally rant to my brother who lives 3000 miles away.

          Is it dreading going to work because I know there is nothing exciting waiting for me when I get there?  Could be.
          But I'm thankful for this job and it allows my son to be raised at home, rather than in a daycare.  I have awesome students.  Remember that student who brought me scones last week?  She just left another pile on my desk...which I will share with my department members, so I don't eat them!  And our football team is in the playoffs for the first time since I was a student here so it's a pretty fun place to hang out.

          Is it needing a vacation and/or time alone with my husband?  Could be.

          With the holidays, it is difficult for us to ask friends and family to watch Alexander for us so we can get away.  And we don't trust any of my students to babysit him...even though I literally have hundreds available if I were to ask.  The idea of sleeping, uninteruppted, for 2 days sounds divine.  And completely out of the question.

          I'm not sure what it is going to take to bring me out of this funk.  Maybe it is enough just to recognize I'm in a funk and tomorrow could be a better day.

          Let's hope so.

          Tuesday, November 17, 2009

          True Story Tuesday: It's all about me.

          Last night, my toddler spent 4 hours naked.  We're potty training.  I was so worried about him spraying that I must have asked every 20 minutes, "need to potty?".  He went three times.  New record.  And no spraying.  I admit, my parenting wasn't about the potty training; it was about saving my couch. 

          True Story.

          I bought a new pair of boots from Jen's blog sale and want to be a classroom teacher for a day.  Just to wear the boots.  But I don't want to grade papers.  Ever.

          True Story.

          I have no patience for matryr's and went on a tirade against one today.  I'm mean like that.  I'm sure I hurt her feelings but in reality, someone should have called her out long ago.  I decided it should be me.  I'm nice like that.

          True Story. 

          I need a vacation.  With just my husband. 

          True Story.

          I started running again about 2 weeks ago.   I ran for a year before Alexander was born and was in the best shape of my life.  While I hate the idea of running, once I'm going I don't mind it.  Of course, it may have something to do with burning calories so I don't feel so guilty consuming red wine.  Yea, that's probably it. 

          True Story.

          Sunday, November 15, 2009

          Say You're Sorry

          The power of words. Think back to the childhood rhyme, "sticks and stone may break my bones but words can never hurt me."  So not true!  Words can hurt. Words have power.  They can strip a person of confidence just easily as build self esteem.  They can make a person's day through a compliment or ruin a moment through insult.

          When we were struggling with infertility and drew closer to the three year mark, loved ones started running out of things to say to ease the pain.  In the beginning, many would say, "keep the faith", "you'll be a mom", or the phrase I learned to dread, "it will happen".  As time passed and IT didn't happen, they lost the easy cliches and words of wisdom because they couldn't ease my pain.  I can almost remember the exact point when people said the two words I needed most to hear to ease the pain.

          I'm sorry.  Simple.  True.

          I use those two words on a daily basis with my students.  You know, high school students can find drama in everything.  Yet, in the past year, I have learned that I may not be able to right the situation but I can help a person in the moment by saying those two small words.

          • when a parent is ailing
          • when a friend loses a pregnancy
          • when a friend has a broken heart
          • when someone loses a child or a parent
          • when someone is struggling with life choices
          I believe I'm sorry has the most power of any phrase.  They cannot take away the pain.  They cannot take away the frustration or anger. And they can't  fix the situation.  Yet, these two words can make a person feel heard and validated.  We are taught at a young age to say "I'm sorry"  to right a wrong.  I tell it to Alexander at just about every playdate.  He hasn't quite learned the art of sharing so, inevitably, a toddler starts crying and Alexander is saying he is sorry for taking the toy.  All is well again. 

          So, next time you want to try to "fix" a situation for someone, stop for a moment.  Say you're sorry.  There may be no other words necessary.

          Thursday, November 12, 2009

          Choices and Consequences

          I live by the choice theory.  I have choices in every situation I encounter and each of those choices has a consequence.  I don't know if that is the actual definition but it's what I believe.  I may not like the choices I face but I still have to make one.  There is power in choice.  I may not have always made the right choices but, for the most part, my life is where it is because of this theory.   I preach the choice theory to my students, every chance I can.  Some get it.  Some don't. But it doesn't stop me from preaching the power of choice and how they need to think of the consequences of their choices.

          On my way to school today, I made my first choice.  I stopped at Starbucks to treat myself to a skinny carmel latte.   Today as I stood, waiting for my beverage, I did some people watching.  As it turns out, people who work in the real world DON'T wear sweats to work.  Or jeans.  Or tennis shoes.  Nor did these folks need to arrive to work by 7AM;  seems these folks have a 8:30 or 9AM start time. 

          As I stood there, wearing jeans, tennis shoes and my fleece jacket, I noted the woman beside me, wearing dark, grey slacks and a wool jacket. (and super cute shoes).  I wondered what type of job she had that allowed her to be able to make the choice to dress nicely and stop for Starbucks.  What kind of choices had she made that led her to a job that required 3 inch heels?  And why did she order a Pumpkin Spice without whip?  What is the point of no whip on a drink already laden with calories? 

          Four hours later, I was sitting next to a convicted felon in the state penitentiary. Like the woman at Starbucks, this man went to work today.  His job today was to talk with 25 students about the consequences of his decisions.  He killed 4 people at the age of 20 in a gang fight. (Yes, I chose to sit by this man; the students were pretty scared of his giant bulk.  But giant bulks don't scare me - you should see the men I grew up with). This is a man who has little choice in his day.  No Starbucks.  No fancy clothes.  No freedom to drive a car to and from work.  He made a choice with dire consequences and now he is living those consequences. 

          For over two hours, four inmates shared how they spend their days.  All of them live as positive leaders and role models in their prison community.  They answered every single question our students asked.  Two of these men teach other inmates in the education system.  All have jobs in the system (making .42/hour).  Three have children of their own.  And each face life in prison without parole.  Each of them chose to speak to our group about their lives, in hopes of making an impact on younger people today.  In that sense, the inmates and I aren't very different from one another.  

          Minus the prison tats and life sentences, of course.

          I'm not foolish enough to think that these men are completely rehabilitated.  I believe justice was served and they deserve the consequences of their actions.  Surprisingly, they would agree. They regret their choices.  But I believe, these four inmates I sat with today, have accepted the consequences of their actions and now make choices to be a positive impact in their community.  It isn't much different than what we all should do in our daily lives.  Make positive choices that lead to positive consequences.  Some choices are harder than others but we must own the power that comes with choice.  And we all should make choices that make a positive impact on those around us. 

          Otherwise, what's the point?

          Wednesday, November 11, 2009

          Friday Night Date Night

          Eric and I had been married 9 years and 10 months when Alexander was born.  Instead of spending our 10 year anniversary touring the Greek Islands (as I had greatly anticipated), we were eating dinner at Torero's, discussing how amazing our less-than-2- month old son was to us.  I bet we were home within an hour to watch our son with he just laid there, wondering what in the hell we were doing staring at him.  By the way, I'm still holding out hope that I'll be spending my 20th wedding anniversary, opening a bottle of red wine, in the Greek Islands.   Enjoying a Friday night date night.

          Every Friday, for 9 years and 10 months, we had date night. Be it dinner out, drinks with friends, a movie or a TV show we enjoyed, we spent every Friday night with no computers, no phone calls, no interruptions.  It was just the two of us, spending time together.

          Here we are - 12 years and some odd months later.  And last week, we decided that our budget and a toddler will allow us to reinstate date night.  I love that our new date night means renting family movies.  Eating food that we make at home, rather than bar food.  We might have to hit pause to play trains with a toddler or put a toddler to bed.  But chances are good, I'll still open a bottle of red wine. And there will be no computers, no phones and no interruptions. Only this time...there are three of us.  Together. 

          Any suggestions for a movie rental this Friday?

          New Design

          Like the new look?  My friend Kate patiently listened to my high maintenance self and helped me to find the PERFECT look for my new blog!

          I know for a fact she is about to make changes to her blog so be sure to check it out!

          Thanks Kate!  I LOVE IT!

          Tuesday, November 10, 2009

          True Story Tuesday: Opening Day

          My friend, Rachel, has True Story Tuesday on her blog.  Since I like to steal borrow ideas from other blogs, I'm adding this one to mine.

          My wonderful hubby saw that I was exhausted last night.  He sent me to bed early and I was asleep last night by 8PM.  It was glorious.

          True Story.

          I cried in my office today.  I'm not a pretty crier.  Nor do I like crying at work.  I was pleasantly surprised and touched by how nice high school kids are to crybaby teachers.

          True Story.

          My dad isn't feeling well.  I don't like it.  But I do like that my sweet toddler can make him feel better.  So, my parents are coming over tonight (Eric, if you are reading this, we need to clean tonight!) so Dad can have an Alexander fix.

          True Story.

          One of my sweet students brought homemade scones to me today.  I didn't have the heart to tell her I'm on Weight Watchers again.  I only ate 1...ok, maybe I ate 2.  SO delicious.  And I didn't want to hurt her little heart and NOT accept them.  Yes, I added the points in.  And yes, I will run longer on my prep to make up for the points!

          True Story.

          Hmmm...that was an easy post.  And fun.  I should do this every week. 

          True Story.

          Monday, November 9, 2009

          Know when to fold 'em

          I love teaching.  I love being a teacher.  I don't always love education and the politics involved. 

          I am struggling this year to find my love of teaching.  I just feel...blah.  I'm going through the motions and sadly, no one really knows it because I'm good at what I do.  So good that a department head from another high school in our district visited my classes today because she wants to incorporate what we are doing into her program over there.  And they are considered the better high school so the irony of it is not lost on me.  I'm good.  But God Almighty, I AM BORED.

          When I returned from maternity leave, I had the fortune to work with the ASB student leadership program, teaching the leadership class.  With this assignment, I found my place.  It fulfilled me to the core to work with student leaders.  The pace.  The energy.  Problem solving on the fly.  Facing challenges and learning how to make something work when everyone said it couldn't.  Above all else, it was an opportunity to serve others and give back to the place I grew up. Service leadership. 

          However, in the second year, the program was being led in a direction by administration that I did not and could not support.  It simply wasn't best for kids.  I did everything I could to make it work.  I used my voice and stated I was either going to run the program by myself or I was going to walk.  When the dust settled, my principal picked the person to lead ASB who will lighten his load by doing work that I don't believe the position entails.  It's a philosophical difference that has us "agreeing to disagree".  Let me be clear, I could have stayed in the position.  It was my decision to fold the cards and walk away from the table. 

          I keep thinking I will find my new normalcy teaching P.E.  But who am I kidding. I've always been a leader.  If I wasn't a leader and didn't believe in student leadership, would I REALLY spend a week each summer, teaching leadership students (well, yes, but that's beside the point)?   I LOVE working with students to help shape and develop their leadership skills.  I SHOULD be doing that job.  And I'm NOT.  Am I jealous?  Hell yeah.  Was my pride hurt that I didn't receive the job?  Hell yeah.  But did I deserve that job?  Hell yeah.   I have been a class adviser for 8 years, have taught at a leadership camp the past 5 summers, and have taught thousands of students the past 15 years .  Why wasn't that enough?  Why did he give it to a person who has LESS THAN 2 YEARS TEACHING EXPERIENCE? 

          Deep Breath.

          I really do try to not feel sorry for myself.  I simply didn't realize was how hard it would be to continue to go to this building and face that my boss thought someone was better than me. Or to watch students I care so much about struggle with simple tasks because they aren't being given the tools to succeed.  So, call it bruised pride or jealousy, if you will.  Either way, it hurts.

           I can say that physically and emotionally I am better for folding this hand.  My husband and son are happier because I am home more.  My amazing family and friends love and support me as I heal from this pain and are patient as I rant (yet again) again and again.  I sleep at night.  I'm eating healthier and working out on a regular basis.  And my liver is a whole lot happier without all that red wine. I can hide in my office in the bowels of our building and unless I chose it, I can avoid face to face conversations with the "leaders" in my building.  And I'm being true to the leader in me.

          But don't count me out of this game.  Not just yet.  I'll have my turn to deal the cards someday.  And then we'll see who's the last to walk away.

          Sunday, November 8, 2009

          Seven Strong

          I received a text from a good friend tonight, announcing the birth of their third son.  The first sentence was "it's a hat trick" and made me laugh...

          I met Sarah six years ago.  Wow.  Six years.  The beginning of a chapter and I was lucky enough to find friends to turn the pages with me.  Sarah, along with six beautiful woman, were the stars that kept me sane as I struggled with infertility.  I often grin when I speak of these friends because well, we've never met.  Ok, technically, Lizzie, Linda and I have met.  One time.  Summer of '06 in a coffee shop.  It was awesome.  For years, I made fun of Eric for having online friends, would play the good wife when he wanted me to meet someone in real life, but never, EVER thought I would make friends of my own, from an internet forum.  Oh, how he loves to remind me of the day he waved goodbye to me when I left for that coffee shop to meet my very own "make believe" friends!

          I met these women on; a forum for woman related pregnancy "stuff".  Little did I know how much I would come to need these women in my life. The summer we decided to start trying to have a baby, I found my way to a board that was frequented by these ladies and one by one, we struck up conversation that took us out of and into our real lives.  Eventually, we moved away from the forum and formed email conversations that would last for weeks.  And now it's Facebook, with our own private group. 

          Over the years, we celebrated the births and losses of babies, supported one another when our husbands weren't exactly being overly stellar (in the moment, of course), fretted over career decisions, complained about sleepless nights, bad doctors, and family issues, gossiped about ugly people, and loved one another through it all.  There was a time when each of us thought we would never conceive children (each struggled one way or another) and there are now 14 little ones!  Three of us have twins.  Two of us have two kiddos, Sarah owns the hat trick, and we have Alexander.  Amazing women.  Amazing mothers. 

          Sarah is the glue of the group who holds us together when we drift apart.  Lizzie is the fire who inspires us to fight against the wrongs in this world.  Wendy is our gentle mother, whose nurturing soul makes us strive to be better.  Colleen is laughter and grace, all wrapped up in a beautiful package.  Susie is the motivation to do more than we ever dreamed possible and still fit it all into a 24 hour day.  And Linda is the wordsmith who articulates our thoughts and dreams as women and mothers.

           I love these women as though I have known them my entire life.  I have cried for them and to them (more times than I would like to admit).  I have laughed and giggled and done happy dances of joy for them.  When there are good and bad moments that require a hand to be held or a glass of wine to be poured, my heart aches because the distance keeps me from being beside them.  But I think they know I'm there.  Just like I know they are there for me.

          So, dear Sarah, on this night that brings another precious gift into our group, know that we are holding your hand, wiping your tears of joy, and dancing a little happy dance in your honor.

          I lift my glass to each of you.


          Blog Design

          I already want a change to this layout.   Something that is uniquely me.  But with the holidays coming, the extra money isn't available for a new design.

          Jen?  Kate?  Want to help a sista out?

          Why blog?

          Actually, the title should say "Why Blog...Again?". In the fall of 2007, I created
          a blog for our son so family and friends, near and far, could follow his crazy antics. Little did I know what a blog would bring to our life. Family and friends I never suspected email about a particular post they enjoyed. I take better more pictures so I can chronicle events. And I've made connections with other bloggers, who I am convinced would be close friends in real life.

          For some time, I've felt the urge to blog my thoughts. Narcissistic? Yes. And that's the point! I can focus on me ON HERE so I can give more to others OUT THERE. I want a place to chronicle my thoughts as a woman. Wife. Mom. Teacher. Daughter. Sister. I can imagine my family and friends are cringing as they think of possible events/situations I may reveal with blunt honesty. I'll be kind. I promise.

          Since starting Alexander's blog, I've discovered a sisterhood. No offense to male bloggers, of course. With one click of the mouse, I can travel from the adventure of a new mom to a new bride to a single woman and learn something from each one of them. Many are phenomenal writers. Even more have a skill with a camera that I envy. But we all have this blogging thing in common. Sharing our lives. Sharing experiences. Giving support. Celebrate joys and grieving losses. Together.

          I am starting this blog for me. I haven't a clue where this blog will travel. But one could say the same about life. Does anyone know what each day will bring? Will I have the ability to maintain it for longer than a week? I may discover that my son's life is more exciting (not anticipating a huge surprise with that discovery, by the way).

          Kate, I blame you for starting me on the blogging path. And I thank you.

          Dad, you've probably realized by now that the name of the blog comes from you. So much of who I am comes from you and Mom so I figured starting a blog with one of your sayings would bring good karma.

          See, I told you I would be nice.