Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A New Year and a New Way of Life

Well, it has been a hellava year. I guess when I start getting texts asking when I'm going to update my blog, it has been too long. Of course I had the usual holiday stuff going on... presents to buy, wrap, and hide... meals to cook... kids to entertain over long breaks from school... you know, the usual hectic chaos that accompany most holidays for most people. I also have been taking two electives for school on a modified schedule meaning each class only meets 6 times and then you have a final exam. I took one exam last week, and I think it went pretty well. I have another exam next week, and I am really worried about how this will go. The good news there is... its a take home test. Good... you can use any resources you have to answer the questions. Bad... the questions are usually harder on a take home. So, I expect to spend my weekend hashing out answers and questioning whether I really learned anything.

The other big news is....

My husband and I have split up. Yes, you read it right. The complaint has been filed for the big "D" and we are in the 'waiting stages'. I know, I know... none of you would have expected that. I'm not going to say too much except that things are amicable, the kids are well cared for, and I thoroughly expect everything to turn out okay in the end. Sure its sad sometimes. But every end is also a beginning. We are the best of friends, but we have grown apart. I guess those things happen sometimes. I have gotten a lot of flack from some friends and/or family. Let me just say, we feel like we did everything we could. I am not going to sit and second guess the decisions now. We have made some untraditional compromises for the sake of the children. People don't understand the choices, they don't understand my choices, and I am sick of defending myself. I am prepared to be happy. End of story.

Part of why I haven't been around is I was trying to decide how to tell you all what has been going on. I had to get my head around some things before I could write about them. I've also had limited internet at my temporary abode. I debated whether to say anything at all, but I think I've shared plenty of other personal stuff and it would be unfair not to include one of the biggest things that probably ever happens to a person. Mostly, I don't want any sympathy. I don't want to hear I'm sorry, and don't ask me if I'm okay. I am sorry sometimes too, and I am, and will be, fine.

All that said... Lets make this a great new year. And if nothing else, at least I know when I don't have a friend here to talk to I always have all of you. Thank you for that.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Totally Awkward... What day is this?

So, I was thinking today was Tuesday, and I was all ready to play along with Tova Darling. Then I realized, today is Wednesday. No matter though, after being home with the kids for nearly 2 weeks straight, having Christmas, Santa, more Christmas with various relatives, I am having a hard time keeping straight what day it is and where I am supposed to be. Forgive me, however, I will regain my senses once the children go back to school. In the meantime, bear with me, I have two stories today for your reading enjoyment....

Child #4 started Kindergarten this year. He went to pre-K last year at the elementary school because he needs speech therapy, and I desperately needed to get him out of my hair...uummm... he desperately needed some structure in his day. He has what his doctor termed as the most classic case of ADHD she has ever seen. We started him on some medication, not a stimulant, but something that would take the edge off his constant fidgeting and climbing and talking and... well, the medicine has worked pretty well, but it was tricky finding just the right amount at the right times. The first week of Kindergarten was pretty rough. They have a smiley face system, in which everyone starts on a green face, if you have been warned 3 times about behavior you move to yellow and get a note home, then another 2 times and you move to red face and go to the prinicpals office. Child #4 had a note home every day that first week of school for various infractions of class rules. Then Friday came, and I was so glad that week was almost over. School gets out at 3pm and the bus delivers my children to the door around 3:45pm. At 3:30pm I got a call from the school. It was the prinicipal.
Mrs. B: Are your children home yet?
Me: No, is everything ok?
Mrs. B: Well, I wanted to talk to you about an incident that happened today.
Me: What did he do? (note here: the rest of my school age children are girls, I knew it related to Child #4)
Mrs. B: While the children were lined up to get on their respective busses or in car rider lines (and the parents were lined up in cars outside, and the busses were lined up outside), Child #4 pulled the fire alarm. We know it was him, Mrs. T watched him do it.
Me: (being totally silent and thinking WTF?!?!)
Mrs. B: We called the fire department and cancelled the call, reset the alarm, and I talked to him for a minute, but he didn't seem very sorry about it. Maybe you can explain to him how important it is not to do that unless there is a fire.
Me: Thank you.... I will certainly talk to him when he gets home. I am so sorry. He really knows better.
Of course, when the kids got off the bus, everyone wanted to be the first to tell me he had pulled the fire alarm. I sat down on the porch with him and asked him what he was thinking, we certainly know better than to pull a fire alarm when there isn't a fire, yes? And he said, "but mama, I didn't pull it.... I lifted it! I didn't know it would go off, I thought there was something inside you had to pull. Besides... I can't read! If Mrs. V (his K teacher) would have taught me to read, I would have known it said if I lifted it it would go off!" Bless his heart. This is true... we have always talked in terms of not pulling fire alarms. This one you have to lift to set it off. No wonder he didn't seem very sorry. Child #4, being literal as always, did not see things the way we did. Its a blessing and a curse. So, we revised our discussion to include not touching fire alarms unless there is a fire. And on Monday I had him go back and apologize to Mrs. B and promise to never do that again. So far.... so good.... on that at least.

In other news, I was trying to be a fun and entertaining mama (and not have the kids trash the house any more than it already is) and took my kids to the zoo on Monday. It was a pretty good time. We wandered around, the boys got to run off some energy, they played on the really huge jungle gym. We watched the monkeys swing around and walk tightropes while the boys tried to get their attention by making monkey noises and hopping around. We at lunch at the zoo restaurant. Looked at all the spiders and snakes in the reptile building. Brushed and petted every single goat in the petting zoo area. I spent 7 hours at the zoo. I was really sure the kids would be worn out. No such luck. Just me. I was worn out and the kids were pumped up. How does this happen? It just reminds me of why I don't teach school. I love kids, I think they are hilarious, but how on earth do you survive the energy? Maybe I need to take more vitamins....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Totally Awkward Tuesdays

Tova Darling had a wonderful idea for Tuesday blogging. Every Tuesday you can post a Totally Awkward story on your blog. Then, leave a comment telling Tova you've participated, and also link from your blog from hers, and she'll include a link to your blog in her post - that way, we can all cringe/laugh /die of shame together! The awkward story can be anything - something awkward you saw, you did, or you were unwittingly a part of; the most awkward moment of your week or the most awkward moment of your life.

So... here goes.....

By the way- this one reminds me a lot of a story that Vodka Mom over at I Need a Martini Mom could relate. I'm sure she has had something similar happen. Kids....

When my twins were in first grade they were learning their "letter partners". You know, when you put two letters together and they make a new sound, like /ch/, /oo/, or /sh/. The letter partners they were working on were /sh/ and the teacher had the kids sitting around in a circle on the floor. They were talking about the letters and the teacher asked them to think of words that started with /sh/. The kids were taking turns raising their hands... "shoe", "shirt", "shelf".... my sweet Child #3 (who just never gets into trouble) raises her hand and says she knows one, but she thinks it might be a "bad word". The teachers says, "well, we probably shouldn't say it at school then, thank you Child #3". The teacher goes around a few more times... "she", "shine", "shore", and then Child #3 raises her hand again.
Teacher: yes Child #3?
Child #3: how about "shit"?
Teacher: Child #3! I thought we decided we wouldn't say that one at school!
Child #3: but it starts with /sh/!
Note home to Mama. Please discuss with child #3 that we should not say bad words at school, even if they start with the letter partners of the week. I'm not sure which is worse, the fact that my 6 year old child knew the word and knew how to spell it, or that the teacher didn't realize that word was eventually going to be said. I mean, it is one of the more common 'bad words' out there. I'd like to think if it weren't my child, it would have been someone elses.

Next Tuesday.... the story of the fire alarm..... I know, I can see you all on the edges of your seat. Yeah... its that good. And he sure to check out Tova Darling and play along!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Fragments

- Child #5 woke up this morning and said he felt sick. Then he ate two chocolate covered donuts. I thought all was well. Then he puked them up on the couch. Thankfully its leather.

- I have one more class before Christmas break. Then I have 3 classes after break, then exams. I really want to get all my reading done for all the rest of the classes over the holidays. Then I can study for exams. I know, its ambitious, but I'm going to try.

- I signed up to take Immigration Law and the instructor quit. They have a new instructor, but she can't teach at that time. The class is cancelled/put on hold. Damn.

- My 12 year old wants some of those fancy furry boots. I think I may look at TJ Maxx because I don't know where a Payless is and Target didn't have any.

- My 22 year old brother bought his girlfriend (who I just love) an engagement ring and trusted me enough to help him pick it out. He isn't going to give it to her until this summer (for a lot of weird reasons), so he has also trusted me to keep it in my safe until he is ready. Right after he paid for it, he looked at me and said "Shit, now I really have to do this" and then laughed nervously. Its funny to see him being grown-up.

- I'm being overwhelmed with crafts from kids. I did get a really cute ornament though- in case any of you are crafty.... You take a plain colored Christmas ball, drizzle some glue on the top part the toss on some white confetti paper or sparkles, then glue an ice cream cone on the bottom. It makes an adorable little ice cream cone ornament.

- The high today is 66. I love it. I wish it never got colder than this. Ever.

- It has been foggy here for the last several days. I live out in the middle of nowhere and the fog + winding + curvy roads = a mess. It has taken me forever to get anywhere. Especially at night.

- My mother in law got me this thing called "elf on the shelf". Its an elf that watches and reports back to santa. You move him around each night and the kids have to find him. Its like a real life Wheres Waldo game. Kinda. For all you Christmas-y folks out there, you'd probably love it.

- I figured out the perfect gift for my husband. I am getting his garage doors fixed on his workshop. I know it sounds weird, but he has been complaining about them for so long I figured it was worth it. I exceeded the spending limit, but its something we would have had to do anyway. And since he kept saying he was going to do it, I figure this will save him at least a day of messing with something he doesn't want to do.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I grew up in Northern Indiana, just east of Chicago. It was cold there. It snowed. A lot. I happened to live on the east side of Lake Michigan, and being that it is a huge lake it creates what we liked to call "lake effect snow", meaning that as the storm crossed the lake from west to east it picked up a ton of water out of the lake and deposited it on my fair city in the form of snow. Like 4 feet of it at a time. I always swore I would leave that dreadful weather for somewhere warmer. When I had a chance to move south, I took it. I interviewed with a couple places in Jacksonville, Florida and in Nashville, Tennessee. I took the job offer in Tennessee and have lived here for the last 10 years. I love hot weather, I hate cold weather. We get lots of hot, and not too much cold. It only snows, on average, a few inches every year and it is usually melted and gone in a day. The caveat to this lack of snow is that schools close at the threat of a winter storm, everyone rushes out to buy enough bread and milk for a month, and absolutely NO ONE knows how to drive in inclement weather (including torrential rain). I digress.... when we got up this morning it was really cold. So cold, in fact, that I just had to trek outside in my pajamas and bathrobe and get a picture of this....

Not to worry though. The high today was 55 and everything is just nice and wet again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Tip #487

Preschool children do NOT understand a gift exchange. I don't mind going out and buying the $5 gift for a particular gender child, but unless we are all buying the same gift the outcome is not going to be pretty.

Today I went to Target to pick up the last few things I needed for the class Christmas parties, and get the water and snack for my son's Kindergarten class. Tomorrow is Child #5's Christmas party and gift exchange at his twice a week preschool. We wandered Target and I found a pair of snowman socks for $1, a package of Cars stickers for $1, and a puzzle for $3. I thought I had a good thing going. Until Child #5 saw the puzzle. He claimed it as his own. I've tried to explain the gift exchange concept, but I think its lost on a 4 year old. No, he doesn't want to trade "his" puzzle to his friend and his friend give him a surprise present. He wants "his" puzzle. Its a freakin $3 puzzle! I even tried to convince him that if he really wanted it maybe Santa would bring another one just for him.... it would be like you both had this awesome present. NO. That does not work. For the past 3 plus hours all I've heard is intermittent whining about this damn puzzle.

My tip to all you folks out there considering a gift exchange for your young children: Don't even think that it will be so cute to have all the kiddos exchange stuff because its going to turn into a throwdown fight when someone else has whatever cheap ass gift it is that your kid wants. Boycot it. Its not worth it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

5:08 a.m.

I am sound asleep. The phone rings. It is 5:08 a.m. I answer. It is a recorded message. A cheery voice greets me.

"Good Morning! This is Director of Schools 'Happy Lady'. 'Your' County Schools are closed today due to inclement weather. Have a Wonderful snow day!"

I hung up and returned to bed. Swearing obscenities at this chipper woman who called me to tell me that even though I have a paper to write for class tonight and was counting on children going to school today, and even though Christmas break starts next week and they will have a full two weeks off school, they will be fighting and screaming under my feet ALL DAY LONG.