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?

Friday Night

  I met my husband right out of high school. I never dated in college. We went on dates. We had fun, but in reality he was in a 3 year Bachelor degree program, and I was trying to double major in music education and special education. Our dates consisted of movies rented at Blockbuster (yes I am that old!) and doing homework. We would study and quiz each other and fall asleep on his couch while reading text books. I would find myself sneaking back into my house at 4 AM because we fell asleep and were exhausted (sorry mom and dad!) I never did the whole “single and ready to mingle” deal, and I know how lucky I am.

Steve and I have always kept it really casual. We do dinner or a movie, or we do take out and Netflix. I am back in school, finishing a degree I should have finished over 10 years ago. He is working more than I have ever seen before. We have three boys, and we are wanting to move to a bigger home with more land and less neighbors. Therefore date nights are casual.
We also take a lot of time to be with our friends. We have discovered that being with our friends helps our marriage. We vent to our friends, we come home to each other and we feel relaxed.
Tonight he is out with his friend, I am home reading text books and our boys are in bed. I do miss the days of highlighting textbooks side by side, but I am grateful for the opportunity to do it. I dropped out, got married and had babies right away. Thirteen years later, I am almost finished with my degree, still married after a hell of a few years, and a mom to three beautiful young men. I wouldn’t change a thing! 
So, Friday nights aren’t what they used to be, but they have new meaning. I am working hard to be a better mom and teacher and wife. We are working hard at our relationship. Our boys are working hard in school because they see us working hard every day. Studying my text has new meaning as each chapter shows me that as a mom, a wife, and a teacher I have so much to learn, and I do so much right. My doubts may step in, but my knowledge and my heart remind me that my passion is imparting wisdom on children (my own and others) and learning more myself.
Always keep learning, always keep teaching, always keep growing. Your relationships may depend on it! 

  

Back to Life

a part of my classroom
a part of my classroom
the essential teacher bag
the essential teacher bag

I am definitely still feeling the relaxation coming off of our vacation.  Today we were back to the real world. As a teacher my job doesn’t end when school ends, and it certainly does not begin when school begins. This summer, I have been working since May to prepare for this school year. I have been doing paperwork, cleaning toys, and many other tasks to be certain the school I work at has a smooth start to the year.  I also have been writing lesson plans, and preparing my classroom. I work with children ages 4 and 5. My classroom has to be fun and interesting. This is quite a challenge but I enjoy it!

i love my new school bag
i love my new school bag

I  am a full time student. I am preparing my text books, my notebooks, and my laptop to be ready for being a student again. I am almost finished with one degree, and then onto another. As A teacher, I know that my education is important. If I want to be an effective teacher, I need to be on top of the latest research. I also know the example I am setting for my own children.They see me reading my text books, writing papers, and finishing projects for my honors program.

just a small sample of the boys school supplies
just a small sample of the boys school supplies

I also am a mom to 3 wonderful boys. All three will be at the same school this year for the last time.  My oldest in 6th grade, my middle in 4th, and my youngest in 1st. Getting them ready for school was my first priority. I purchased school supplies and lunch boxes. We prepared them for the bus ride and our new routine. I also have prepared them for how busy mama will be. I think it is important for them to know that when they have my attention they have my attention.

seriously love this bag
seriously love this bag

In order for mama to stay organized in our busy schedule I need several bags. Sounds crazy, but I find having a bag for each event works best. I have a bag for teaching that holds markers, stickers, lesson plans, curriculum, and anything else I may need (water and lunch). I have a laptop bag for school for mama. This has my notebooks, a folder, my laptop, and a section for pencils, pens, highlighters, and my flash drive.  I also have a wonderfully large purse that goes with me to church or out with my husband. How do I keep it all together?  I have a few small zippered bags that hold all of the essentials. This way I can  just grab the small bags, change them to the other bag, and go!

the moving pieces
the moving pieces

I love that I can organize myself in a way that I always have what I need. Sometimes I have more than I need, and that works for me in situations like teaching or learning because I would never want to be unprepared for the opportunity to learn.  I am currently enjoying the last bits of summer I have with the boys before we all begin school again next week. I hope that I have prepared them for school in a way that will leave them having everything they need, and knowing that the woman that prepared it for them loves them more than they will ever know.

I find this to be very inspiring...
I find this to be very inspiring…

Being a mom

a wife

a student

and a teacher

means my heart and mind are always full

and I am pointed in a direction that means so much!

Taking Care of Mama

realizing how important image is to me.
realizing how important image is to me.

This week I have had a few transformations that have been important to me. One is, after years of teeth that were stained from medication, I had my front teeth bonded. This experience was intense, but totally worth it as I have a smile now that I am not afraid to show and it did not break the bank to get it done. Feeling free to smile after years of hiding it back is amazing, and I am still getting used to it!

heather business card

The other transformation is my hair. This is not a new experience. My hair stylist Heather is awesome. She is honest, knows the seasons and her clients well, and is always willing to do the best for her clients hair care. I try to cut my hair every 3 months or so. I know it is time to see her when I need a ponytail holder for my hair every day! A few years ago I started adding color (a combination of low lights and high lights, and always a little trim. When I first started visiting her it was for haircuts to donate. Now I maintain a style. A little color, a trim a wash, and a blow dry can make you feel like a model for days!

seriously so excited!
seriously so excited!

For me this feeling is important as I am trying to feel better about myself in everything. I am running eating healthy and dressing nicer. I want to be beautiful for my husband (even if he thinks I am, I want to feel it). We work at our marriage every day, and every day it is work. We have had our moments, every marriage does. I believe there aren’t many exceptions. Right now we are preparing for a trip to a place we went to a few years ago, this trip will be a much different experience. We are in a better place now, but it wasn’t easy, however, that is a story for another day. Right now it is important for my family to have time together, but also, for me to spend time with my husband.

After almost 13 years of marriage things can sometimes get monotonous. You eat the same food, you watch the same shows, and you talk about the same things. The daily “grind” can make it hard to see the person you married sitting across from you. Sometimes you see instead a checklist of things that need to be done. When you are never home because of activities for the kids, work, friends, church, and family commitments, you need a moment to stop. It is nice to get away from the “real” world and spend time together. We planned this trip a while ago, and we are excited to be spending a week at the beach.

One of the things we have been doing to get ready is to take better care of ourselves. We do this not just for ourselves, but for each other as well. We have changed the way we eat, the way we sleep, and the way we communicate. Going on vacation will be a fun and exciting way to reward our hard work. Don’t worry, we have packed our running gear and our protein shakes and a plan for sharing the workout load. We also, have plans to spend time together as well.

I most look forward to sitting on the beach or on the deck of our room, looking out at the water and just being there together. I also look forward to running in a new place. Feeling the sand in my toes, searching for coral, and being with my boys. steve and me

I am finding that I need certain things to prepare myself for a vacation. A list for packing. A family for loving. Something to keep us busy. A way for me to feel beautiful as I head to the ocean for fun! I am most grateful that I get this opportunity with my love.

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