Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring! Spring?

We've had some lovely weather these last few days...almost 60 degrees! Yesterday we met a friend for brunch at a restaurant with patio was AMAZING! Felicia was happy as a clam sitting on our laps the entire leisurely meal and then she had a blast walking around outside. It was her first time outside like that since she has started walking! While the guys took care of the check, I walked down the sidewalk with her and she was laughing so hard! She is an outdoor girl, for sure!

School has been okay despite the lingering stress in the air. I have been doing some really stunning projects with the kids - things I've wanted to try over the last 6 years but was too afraid to. Now I figure, what is there to lose? So far, they have been successes with all grades. I decided I'm going to try to keep this momentum going through June so that if (when?) I don't return, I will have gone out with a bang!

Tonight my husband is working late again. Felicia was in a bit of a mood, so we walked to get the mail and then walked the halls of the building. We ended up walking to the laundry room where she proceeded to yell, "Mama! Mama! Mamaaaaaaaaaa!" and "Puppy! Puppy! PUPPYYYYYY!" into an empty dryer. It will be nice when the outdoors are a little better for playing. We have giant, dirty ice piles and mud puddles everywhere outside right now. So, for the time being, yelling into dryers for fun with have to suffice. The weathermen are saying snow late tonight and through the morning commute...hopefully an early April Fools' joke!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The dark side of spring break

Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic, but we've had some struggles since I had that glorious week off earlier this month. The babe isn't sleeping well, which could be more teething (we try to blame EVERYTHING on teething, cheeks? teething. slight fever? teething. wants to nurse a lot all of the sudden? teething. fussy? teething. weird, messy diapers? teething. biting things/people? teething. won't eat her favorite foods? get it...the list goes on) but I think it is trouble adjusting to me being back at work. She also now wakes in the morning screaming (truly SCREAMING, with tears shooting out of her eyes), "MAMAMAMAMAMAMA!" Usually I am just about out the door when she wakes, but I get her dressed and put her hair up for the day, anyways, so I get a little time to play and sing with her, even if it means I walk into my classroom later than I should. Note: I've never been late for a class. I have always been there at least 35 minutes before my first class starts, but I have been "late" by a few minutes by what the spoken contract time is this year.

Yesterday, she pulled a Sleeping Beauty on us and slept in way past when I needed to leave (probably because she slept so terribly during the night) so I didn't get any awake time with her and I didn't get to say goodbye. At around noon, my sister (who watches the babe 4 days a week) send me this text:

Felicia is missing you something fierce today--she keeps looking out the window for your car and saying mama

Ugh. Cue tears and tight chest on my lunch break. You'd think it would get easier after 7 months, but it really hasn't! Here's one big point in the "pros of staying home" column.

Do any of you other working moms kind of hate that you are faced with the choice of staying home vs. working? I guess I should ask SAHMs, too, because you had to make the choice to stay home at some point, too. Most (married) women didn't even have to consider it 70 years ago. I get the whole "women's rights...blah, blah, blah" standpoint...girl power and all that...but balancing work and family is so, so hard. Sometimes I just wish it was the norm for me to be home so I wouldn't have to make the choice. But, some weird part of me feels like I am letting down my teacher friends if I quit. Especially my mentor teachers from student teaching (who I am totally facebook friends with). I am admitting defeat or saying teaching isn't important. The ONLY time I can recall my Mom saying she was proud of me (IN MY WHOLE LIFE) was the one time she visited my school with me and Felicia when I was on leave and she saw all of my co-workers and students so excited and respectful when they saw me. Then I read this paragraph and think, "Are you 15-years-old? WHO THE HECK CARES WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS?" Sorry, I have a one track mind right now and it is the stay at home or work topic. Sorry for boring/annoying all of you. Ugh. Off to finish getting ready for work now...

Monday, March 24, 2014

74 Days and .8

The meeting with my principal went as well as it could have. She was very respectful and sympathetic about the way the changes in the school will be affecting teachers and staff (at least I thought so). My position will be .8 next year. Time will tell what exactly that means. I told her that I would rather work 4 days, with Wednesdays off, than work 5 partial days (why would I want to commute and put the babe in childcare 5 days when I am only working/paid for 4, you know?).

Work agreements should come out in the next few weeks, likely before Easter, and that is when I will need to make the final decision. Music will also be .8 next year and Library .6 (from .8 the last 5 years), which makes me sad for my friends.They want and need that .2!

On a cheerier note, I just counted how many days until the end of the school year. I counted weekends and days off (we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off! Woohoo! Plus, of course, Memorial Day) as well as days of school and the count is 74 days! And because I am 13-years-old, I wrote the number of how many days left in the bottom corner of each calendar spot on our family calendar at home. Ain't nobody got time to recount when I need a little happiness! So, 74 days until summer vacation!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Should I stay or should I go? (Oh, and happy SPRING!)

Several (all?) teachers got an e-mail yesterday about setting up a meeting with our principal to discuss our positions for next year. How they might change/what additional duties we may need to take on to stay full-time or even almost full-time. This happens to me every spring...the sun is up longer, my classroom is brighter, everyone (students and coworkers) are all cheerier than they've been in months! This is a great time of year to be a teacher! I've gone from feeling pretty sure about making some big changes next year to second guessing myself. Darn sun. Darn spring weather! Darn happy, funny, creative kids! I guess I should use the meeting as an opportunity for ME to figure things out as much as for my principal to figure things out. I do not envy her right now. What a hard job, to have to decide who stays, who goes, who gets cut to part-time and no longer has health insurance...she is not in a fun position right now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Today is Tuesday

...and it ought to be better than yesterday!

I'll leave you with these tidbits about yesterday:

1. I had to peel  myself out of bed at 5:30am
2. A kid coughed INTO MY MOUTH during my preschool demo
3. I had my 8th graders for the first time since November of 2012
4. My left eye seems to be infected. Not pinkeye, but something equally unsightly that won't allow me to wear eye makeup
5. After school, I ran to use the rest room (no bathroom break all day) and found myself standing in a PUDDLE OF SOME KID'S (I am assuming it was a kid's and not an adults) PEE while I was wearing my FELT BOTTOM BOOTS.

More on all of this later. Sigh.

Monday, March 17, 2014

All good things must end

Back to work today. You'd think that this being my 6th year as a teacher I'd be used to the feeling of going back to school after a break, and I suppose I am, but it still involves more anxiety than I'd like to admit. Thank goodness for this little secret weapon in my coat pocket:

I picked it up at Whole Foods last August when the beginning of the school year was approaching. 
Pros: natural, fast acting. 
Cons: makes you smell like brandy (it is 27% grape based brandy as a preservative)

Do you suffer from anxiety? What do you do to manage it?

Here is another helpful thing I do to help with mine:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Do you iron for your husband?

Almost radio silence on Monday's post (thanks for your thoughts, Megan!). I've been doing some reading on grief, so hopefully I will know what to do/say next time I see her/write to her/call her. In my research I realized that I hadn't even considered how hard Mother's Day will be for her. Her first Mother's Day and her little boy won't be with her. On Mother's Day, he will have been gone for almost exactly 5 months. He should have been 7 months old in May. I'll be sending some sort of "thinking of you" card and maybe a seed packet of forget-me-nots.

Moving on to ironing...

This morning, my husband got home around 3am, after leaving for work TUESDAY MORNING AT 8:30am. His job is out of control and craptastic to the max right now. Well, this morning he had to go to a client's office instead of his regular office, so he wanted to look sharper than usual. He has known about this for a few weeks and had the outfit picked out (pants, dress shirt, tie all from Express that fit him like. a. glove.). Anyhow, after doing night care of the babe (the TEETHING babe with a possible EAR INFECTION starting) I probably only got as much sleep as mister "I work 'til 3am and don't see my family." So, this morning at 6:30 I am trying to get Felicia back to sleep for the umpteenth time when my husband's alarm starts going off. I am simultaneously comforting the babe and kicking the man out of bed. He rolled out of bed at 7:02. He was shooting to leave home at 7:30 to get to the client's office. He showers quickly, then freaks out because he hasn't shaved his scruffy face and his pants haven't been ironed. I get up and ask him what he needs me to do. He glares (overly tired men are really like women). I ask/yell "WHAT DO YOU NEED ME TO DO TO HELP YOU?" "My pants, my pants!" he cries. To be fair, I guess I couldn't have shaved for him. But I was tired and not being logical when I asked what he needed me to do. In my defense, he should be able to ask me to iron his pants instead of just getting mad and expecting me to offer. So, I iron his pants. I do the best I can, but I am not good at ironing! I avoid it at all costs, in fact.

So, ladies...Do you iron for your husbands? I feel like I should watch some youtube tutorials or something and get better, but I don't want The Bee to expect that I will be his personal ironing slave, especially when I am home next year.

Now, because I am overly tired and have only had 2 sips of coffee thus far and it seems like a big deal this very moment...I have to share that I missed buzzing in the diaper service because I was ironing said pants for my husband. GREAT. Now we have a week's worth of dirty diapers to hang on to for another week. And possibly no clean diapers for the coming 7 days. Hopefully they left the cleans in the lobby. I'll have to wait to check, though, because that teething, ear infection suffering girl is now SOUND ASLEEP at 8:15am.

And in case it is unclear, I really do love my husband. I just hate his job.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What to say to a friend who has lost a child?

Warning: For those with new babies, don't read this unless you are certain it won't make you worry about your own little one. After my friend went through this, I checked on my daughter as she slept for several weeks despite the fact that she was 11 months old already.

Last June, I attended a baby shower for one of my best college friends. This was her second pregnancy (the first was an early miscarriage) and all was going well! Her due date, which was late September, came and went and she was induced the first week of October. After a difficult labor that ended in an emergency c-section, she delivered a tiny, little boy. He was small, especially for being over 7 days late. After about a week spent hooked up to tubes and monitors, they got to go home as a family of 3. He grew and grew! By his 2 month check-up, he weighed as much as my daughter did at 2 months (and she was an 8 pounder with rolls from day 1).

That's when the nightmare began for my friend and her family. He went to bed in his crib that night after a perfect 2 month check up and he did not wake up the next morning. They had an examination done, and it was labeled SIDS. My friend lives in another state, so I was not able to attend the funeral. I sent a card to her and her husband right away, but have only been in contact with her via facebook as she goes through all of this. Finally, today, just over 3 months after they lost their son, I made it to the post office to mail her a letter, a paper angel from my school (more on that later), and an angel ornament I had her son's name engraved on.

Here is the letter (almost word for word, but a little different because I am typing from my handwritten rough draft, not the handwritten final letter):

Dear ___,
Sometime in January while I was taking down our Christmas decorations, I was trying to think of a way for my family to remember and honor your sweet boy, H. I decided to keep his birth announcement with our Christmas things so we can hang it with our cards every year.

Enclosed is a paper angel that I hung on my school's prayer tree back in December. I just took it down last week so I could send it to you. My entire school community has been praying for you, [her husband], and H. I've also sent you an angel ornament with your little angel's name in it.

Thinking of you everyday, my friend.


My question(s) for all of you: What kind of support can I give her on ordinary days? When his birthday comes in the fall? When the anniversary of his passing comes in December? Whenever I try to talk to anyone about it, I just start to cry. Even after my depression and extreme sadness surrounding infertility, I cannot begin to fathom what my friend and her husband went through and what they are still experiencing.

The situation is not the same, but I found this guest blog post from A Cup of Jo, written by a woman who had a stillborn baby, helpful when thinking of what to write to my friend: 
Motherhood Mondays: I had a stillborn baby

I thought I'd share the link, because this community, more than most, has connections to people with such losses.

Friday, March 7, 2014

2 down, 1 to go!

Today is the last day of my school year's second trimester! Spring break is next week and I am almost done with my report card grades (thank you, field trip to the zoo yesterday, that gave me an 80 minute chunk of time to grade work!). I had my sixth graders for the last time yesterday. I have known those kids since they were squeaky first graders. Eighth graders start my class the day we return from break. I haven't had them since first trimester of last school year...they have all changed so much since then and so have I!

All teachers and staff received a "Reduction in Force" letter this week, stating that because of declining enrollment of the school and static/declining church offertory, the school/the affiliated parish is facing a $150,000 deficit for 2014 fiscal year. Even though I am almost certain that I will not be returning, I got an eye twitch just reading the letter. That is equivalent to approximately 5 teachers' salaries for a school year. Not good. Not good at all. Those affected by the cuts are to be alerted by early April. Reduction in force will begin in mid-April.

Yesterday I again realized how very lucky I am that staying home is even an option for our family right now. In the midst of this reduction in force, my husband had a great quarterly review at work and may be up for a that would mean a raise that is almost equivalent to 1/3 of my current salary. That makes me feel pretty lousy about my salary, but makes me think staying home is definitely the right choice at this point in time. If he gets that raise and I am home (eliminating childcare costs, cutting down on fuel costs for commutes) it is really almost a wash when you think about losing my pay.

Back to the main positive here: SPRING BREAK! I am hoping to finish the last of my grading before leaving school this afternoon so that I don't have to worry about it over the next 9 days. Over break I will be doing some curriculum mapping, photographing some student work for their portfolios, and selecting/mounting works for the fine arts night show coming up in May, but most of my time will be spent visiting friends, cooking from scratch, and playing with this funny girl:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Much to my husband's delight, I decided to give up Facebook. He HATES Facebook (or pretends to, anyway...he benefits from me having it because I show him all of the pictures worth looking at, read him the best status updates, and he gets to attend functions where the only invite goes out through fb). Anyways, I am hoping that I will see my time seeming less crunched and that I will have more time to update this little blog of mine over the next 40 days as long as I can think of things worth sharing. Life has been none too exciting in these parts.

Happy Ash Wednesday (is that okay to say?)!