Happy New Year!

Happy New year to you and yours this day!

Enjoy your new year with your family, friends, and those you choose to spend time with in the new year!

 

Remember that while you enjoy the fruits of a new year, I will be hard at work bringing you content you want to read!

Love,

Melendy

new year

Blog it Forward

cropped-mamaisonlyhuman-blog-label-1.jpgI logged into facebook tonight and was greeted by a beautiful challenge from a friend. It was not directed at me, but when Chelley posts something that touches my heart, I try to respond.

Well today’s message was striking as it was about giving back.

We try to give back often, and visibly for the boys. At Christmas time it can be hard to keep the giving spirit for them when everyone is asking them what they want. My boys always do something for their teachers every year. A gift card, a hand made present, a picture they drew.  This year we did something completely different.

The boys were asking about the children we sponsor, and how to help them. They were asking on the day we received the catalog for Christmas giving. They looked through it more vigourosly than the Toy ads. They decided on three rabbits, money for education in the US, money for education outside of the US, seeds for one family to plant a harvest, and four soccer balls. These gifts will go to children who live in places where poverty is flourishing. These gifts will be the first of many.

The boys wrote notes to their teachers letting them know the donations that were made in their honor.   To my surprise, the teachers responded happily, and with notes of true gratitude. My boys came home with  such joy that their presents made their teachers happy. They couldn’t wait to give again.

They obviously do not have such a giving spirit every day. I hope this small teaching moment, repeated often, will allow them to see the good they can do for others.

It is not just money though. reminding them to hold doors, use their manners, and be respectful are just as important. I pray that if they see someone struggling with a bag, finding change, or even with a dead battery on the side of the road, that they will use available resources to help that person.

How can you give back? Pay it forward? What will you do?

 

I am challenging Lisa who has three boys like me. We have known each other for almost 10 years, and truly live parallel lives. We even share a birthday! We both love to give to others, and I know she will be willing to blog it forward!

 

I am also challenging Paula who is someone new to me. She follows my blog, comments, and seems to be working hard to overcome her fears and struggles with working out. I am sure she will take the challenge to pay it forward!

Feel free to join me and many other bloggers in “blogging it forward”

Head Here to see how you can help!

 

Happy holiday season!

Love,

Melendy

 

The Graduation Situation

graduation ornamentYou may have noticed that there are very often several days or weeks between my posts recently.

I am sorry for that , but I have to be honest with you.

I have been having an affair on my blog.

With my studies. (insert horrible fake laughter here)

All kidding aside, this semester was the hardest semester for me yet. I am at the local community (or Junior) college completing my associates in Special Education and a certificate in Early Childhood. This means that next year I will move on to big kid school and work towards obtaining my bachelors in Early Childhood Education.

This semester found me taking three very difficult courses that truly should be taken at separate times. There was a lot of writing, editing, planning, demonstrating, and reading that went into this semester. I believe that this is the first time that I have actually read whole text books for classes.

curriculum classEarly Childhood Curriculum – aka a crash course in what your classroom/daycare center should look like and be doing. This course gave me so much insight on how to make my classroom a better place for my students and how to teach to them in a way that was engaging.

literacy class

Emergent Literacy – aka how children learn to speak and read and how you can teach them. This class was one I was intimidated by. The other students had so much more knowledge than me. I had to really focus and work hard to succeed in this class.

parent relations classParent & Child Relations – aka a class about how parents and children interact – aka how you are messing up your children in one long book.  This class was hard. The professor was very into allowing us to learn our own way, but I am a “Give me a rubric so I know what you want from me!” type of student. There was a learning curve.

 

I managed to obtain an A in all three classes. All of this while being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a coach. I also am in four musical groups, and teaching preschool. It is full around here. Our boys are doing well in school. We have even had meetings with all the teachers about our boys various difficulties. We have spent time with each other. My students have fun and educational things to do every week. Track has been successful (thanks to many other coaches- we have a great team). I mostly had all of my music learned for our Christmas performances in early December. I made time to help my friend move out of state (don’t worry, I live in Rhode Island, out of state is 20 minutes away!). I have even maintained a level of fitness that is changing my whole lifestyle. But I have missed my blog. I have missed pouring my soul out into this writing thing I do for you.

More importantly, I do not do this alone.

I find it hard sometimes to balance the school work for me, the school work for my students, the school work for my children, and the day to day tasks that need to be accomplished. I am grateful to have a husband who has stepped up to the plate. He does homework with the boys, the grocery shopping, the meal planning even, so that I can work, and study. He never once complains, and even goes as far as to being sure I am happy and have everything I need to do my work.  He is at his computer until late in the night being sure his work duties are accomplished, and has had to put time with friends on the back burner because my night classes interfere with his time to be with them. He has dedicated the last few years to being super dad while I am being a student.

I often remind him that he was lucky, he did college right out of high school, and moved right into a career. Not everyone finds their passion that early. My passion for educating children came later, and here I am trying to make everything work for  the good of our family. That reminder is a reminder to me. I need to work hard for this because I cannot afford to miss this opportunity this time.

graduation is almost hereI am doing this for me, but also for them. On May 20, 2016 I will graduate from Community college, a graduation that has been in the making since I started college the first time in 1998, and I will finally complete. Let’s hope the next degree does not take as long!

 

What are you doing for you? What did you start and never finish that you wish you could? What are you waiting for?

when the moment to pause arrives

peace in the momentI stopped in to Target last Thursday to grab nylons for a dinner on Friday.

I of course grabbed a few other things, and I headed to the line to check out. There was a shorter line with a man as a cashier, and a longer line with a woman. I stopped and waited in the longer line. There were two women in front of me with overflowing carriages, and me with 6 items. As I stepped up, the woman in front of me was unloading her carriage, but offered to let me step in front of her.

It was sweet.

I declined.

Strange as it is, I enjoy waiting. It teaches me patience and gives me a moment to just be.

She almost insisted, and I again declined. We had a brief conversation about life (as you do in line at Target) and I expected her to turn away and put her things on the belt.

She did,for a moment. Then, like we were long lost college roommates, we kept talking. Other people came to the line. Calls for more cashiers rang out.  A few offered to help me. I declined, and asked the person behind me to go ahead.

People think I am strange when I do this.

My comment was, ” Thank you, but she and I have a relationship now.  I can’t abandon her!” Laughter from the cashier now too.

She was in our tribe now.

The conversation continued

Life

Husbands

children

work

saying “Yes” to too many things this time of year

How next year we will RSVP “NO” to everything we are invited to.

How I always forget to use Cartwheel

How she is worried about getting everything in with a sleeping family at home

How she has 1% left on her phone

We cheered as the cashier completed the order before her phone died so she could get her Cartwheel points, and then, she packed up.

I said happy Holidays

And she was gone

Two lives

Never before met

Never to meet again

But for a moment

Two moms at Target had a moment to laugh, and relate, and realize we all do this. not a one of us stands alone in this motherhood game. working, stay at home, separated, divorced. we all are moms, and we all will be at the store at 10:45 to get whatever is needed because well, that is what moms do. Our lives were parallel. In that moment we realized: We are not alone.

It was 10:45 at night, and truthfully, I felt bad she was going home to a house of sleeping family. Lugging the carriage full of gifts and necessities into the house alone. I wished I could help, but that was not the plan.

I am most grateful for this moment of laughter with a stranger in the checkout line because it reminded me to pause, be still, and listen!

Too often in life we are in a hurry. We want the fastest check out. The least distraction from our day. The easiest path. But how often do we miss the moments to laugh with the PERSON in front of us in line because we both are buying control top pantyhose or push up bras? How often do we miss the chance to lament our children’s wants, that they list as needs? How often do we make the cashier feel rushed to finish our shopping, forgetting that that same cashier will do their shopping from what is left over because it is so hard to shop when you work retail?

In this season of hustle and bustle it is all too easy to rush. To make haste. To be aggravated with humanity instead of enthralled with the season of wonder and love.

merry christmas to me

What moments have you had this holiday season that have reminded you to pause?

There is No Pause Button

palm trees just feel like home.
palm trees just feel like home.

We are egotistical creatures. We protect ourselves. Relationships with others can be hard and confusing.  I have always struggled with friendships. I worry if the person really likes me, or if they are playing a cruel game. I worry they laugh about me behind my back. Most of this stems from real life situations, childhood scars that I haven’t taken the time to open up and pour a healing balm of knowledge on. Some are just my own insecurities.  I find it hard to trust others. My relationship with my best friend, the only who knows everything, the one who supports everything, is not this way.

Our friendship has been fast growing, and a really important part of my healing. She believes in me. She pushed me to write, to grow my writing, and myself. She has pushed me through races telling me to “suck it up buttercup.” Those words were true, and are today. I may have taken a pause for vacation, but that does not mean that the rest of the world did. That would be my ego, thinking that I was responsible for the world.

The world did not pause. While we were away, something wonderful happened. My best friend, who lives a 5 minute walk away,  sold her house, and purchased a new one. I am beyond thrilled that she has found their forever home, and that it is almost a reality! This new house is much further away, and not one I can walk to. It is a short drive away though. I am glad she will be close enough for a visit, and I know her friendship isn’t going anywhere.

on the other side of these flowers was the shell of a baby sea turtle who did not make the journey to the sea.
on the other side of these flowers was the shell of a baby sea turtle who did not make the journey to the sea.

I am only sad because I wasn’t here. She has been preparing for this moment for over two years. A wonderful Realtor, a beautiful house, and fresh baked cookies at every open house. She has dreamed of their forever home for a long time. We have purged over online listings, driven past houses in the dark, and dreamed of what we would do to change our dream houses. This is the moment you look forward to. I wasn’t here.  I couldn’t go over with a bottle of wine and a packing tape gun and help her work. I couldn’t even answer my phone when she called to tell me the news. I was there on the beach…I wasn’t here with my friend.

In my mind, this was a turning point moment in our friendship. All of the old feelings came back. Is she mad? Was she hurt? How do I make up for being 1300 miles away when she had the happiest news of her life? (okay maybe 4th happiest with two children and a spouse!) Then she called. As we were heading home, she called. She wanted to know when I was coming back, and when we could see each other. I was relieved. I still have not seen her as our schedules are crazy right now, but, I know she wants me to be a part of her life.

So grateful for this lady in my life!
So grateful for this lady in my life!

When we work within relationships with other people, we have to remember that there are many points of view. If we always look from our own, we may miss a moment that is important to someone else. I was worried, she was elated to have made this step. I thought she would push me away because I wasn’t there. She drew me in. We cannot let our perspective cloud our ability to see the other side of the fence.

Mama needs a night out.

IMG_3172 Tonight was a good night. It has been a week of uncertainties. My uncle is not well, my mom is struggling from “complications” following surgery. It has not been an easy week emotionally. A high school friend lost her brother, we had a storm that took out power and internet for a few days, and well, life.

So, tonight, I was excited to have the opportunity to head out with a friend and the kids. I am grateful for my BFF and all she has done for me. She is an ear, a shoulder, and a supporter. Tonight we headed to the Roger Williams Park Zoo to enjoy the “Born To Breastfeed” event. It was a night at the zoo with other moms. The kids had a blast, and we were able to talk and walk and know the children were happy to be together.  I was a little sad to watch other moms happily breastfeeding, I miss those moments with my boys. I also appreciate that I had those moments. It is hard to explain, but you never forget that bond, you always want it back, and at the same time, you love the growth your children have.

I needed a distraction, a moment to breathe, and I am so glad I got to do that with her.

The animals were more calm at this evening event. They were awake, moving around, and ready to show off for the kids. The kids were just as happy to run and play. It was nice to see the children happy to explore, and not worrying about what others saw or thought. My children have their moments, but they are mine, and I wouldn’t change them. Maybe a little more respect,  but not them, just their attitude.

After we headed to my Bff’s house, and we sat and talked while her husband prepared an amazing dinner on the grill. Hamburgers, grilled onion, and grilled mushrooms! Just wow! We welcomed her friend and daughter and we enjoyed being together, outside, appreciating summer. I know summer will be over soon, and I am enjoying every moment we are having of it. Soon I will be writing papers, reading and highlighting textbooks, and taking exams. being a full time student means being tethered to my laptop and book bag for another year.  So for now, the summer is a nice change of pace. I also will be writing lesson plans, finding materials, and discovering new books for my students. It is a lot to manage, but I know I can do it!

So a night with my boys, and her girls, and friends, and food, and wine is exactly what the “doctor” ordered. I look forward to many more nights like this because without nights like this life would be monotonous.

Summer bff and wine

it comes and goes so quickly

it knows not who it leaves behind

but summer will be my friend

I know that sweet smell will not leave

because my heart lives in summertime!

 

Enjoy your summer and your time with friends!

Mama Is Only Human

An introduction to my life and my new blog:

IMG_3384I am a mom. My three boys call me Mama. I am not sure why, but they do. I met their father, my husband, right out of high school. We dated, and eventually he proposed. A year later we were married, and a year after that we had our first child.

Being a mom became my world.

Our oldest was quick to learn, happy to help, and funny. Just before we had our second child, our oldest stopped talking. For a year we went through testing, and he was given a diagnosis of PDD -NOS which is a spectrum disorder, as well as sensory integration disorder. He went to speech therapy for 4 years and OT/PT for two years. He grew older, and we learned to manage. He still struggles with Sensory issues, and Executive Functioning skills (organizing thoughts and lists). He is a great student, and  is caring, and compassionate towards others.

Our second child was born in the spring, and from the start was just a happy boy. He was laid back, and went with the flow. He needed some medical intervention for ear infections and snoring. He has a milk allergy that gives him eczema and stomach issues. He wants life to be fair, and he struggles when it isn’t. He needs to know what is next, or he gets anxious. He is loving, has a great imagination and is a great friend.

Our youngest son is a miracle. Born early, he had issues with his eye sight, Mal-absorption,  low tone, and his hearing.   He spent a lot of time in the hospital and as he aged many of his issues disappeared. His hearing recovery was considered a miracle by the doctor, and I agree. He has since caught up with his peers in physical strength, and is almost caught up cognitively and socially at this point. One of his teachers described him as “Christmas morning every day.”

Once they were older (not that old), I decided to go back to school. It started with a teacher assistant certification course. After that course was finished, I felt drawn to do more. I thought I wanted to be a Speech and Language Pathologist, but as I worked in the school setting, I discovered that teaching is what I wanted to do. I am currently a full time teacher, and a full time student. My certification and experience as a teacher, art teacher, substitute teacher, and teachers aide have allowed my employer to have confidence in my skills. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach while completing my degrees. On top of this I am a wife, working hard to keep our marriage strong. We are doing this while managing his recent Diabetes Diagnosis and all that comes with it. I am also a daughter whose parents have had health issues recently. They are doing well now and that is a blessing. I like to run, but I also hate it. I wish I could say I was one of those people who fits a run in in-between work and school while making the boys a snack, but that would be a lie. I fit that in when I can, and right now am working toward my first half marathon. I am hoping for a 14 minute mile – if that tells you how much of a runner I am. I am also involved in many singing groups in our church. I sing solos, as a part of a group, and in the choir. Singing is a stress relief for me because I can be someone else. I can show my soul through words and melody intertwined together.

I am writing down my journey because I want to be a voice. There are many people who think they cannot do something. I want to show them that they can. Many times the reason for the cannot is time, money, ability, mental fortitude, or energy. I have used every one of these excuses in my day to day, but I am choosing an attitude of I can. I hope that I can inspire others to choose this attitude as well. My struggles, laid out, my joys lifted up, and my journey an open book. Come join me and see why Mama Is Only Human!   blog picture