Monday, April 30, 2007


When will I ever feel normal again? I try to be optimistic...I try to act normal. What is normal?
Here is the email I sent tonight to a friend whose daughter goes to preschool with my little Brenna:

I started crying tonight when I found the invite to Viv's dance class in my van. No, really.
I saw it when you put it in our box and was so excited. We're planning to start Brenna at that studio this summer (*Hubby* went to high school with Season) and I knew how much fun that would be for Brenna. I honestly was thinking it was this week. And we missed it.

I've been so lost lately. With two close coworkers literally fighting for their lives with cancer and me picking up the pieces at school while they're gone...and it being my first year of has me pretty scattered lately. I miss appointments, forget things, screw up bills and our budget. *Hubby* keeps wondering why I'm so unorganized, he really doesn't get it. So here I am crying puddles over one more thing I've missed.

Sorry for the vent, I just wanted you to know I really wanted to bring Brenna last week. I just missed it.

I can't get anything straight lately. My brain rambles on and on. My body wants to do NOTHING. I try to keep it all together, but suddenly things are tumbling in on me. And tonight it's got me weepy and sad.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

I said this was going to be my Sunday thing - the gratitude post. Thanks, Michelle, for the idea. This week is tough for me. Not because I have nothing to be grateful for. But because it's been a rough week. Especially for some friends and family that I care so much about. It's hard to think of all the good stuff when I can't stop thinking of the pain that some of those near and dear to me are going through. I need to do it anyway.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not great at routines or sticking to ANYTHING, so I want to stick with this. SO, here goes...what I'm grateful for tonight:

* a roof over my head

* good health

* a good husband who is faithful and takes care of us

* We joined our church today and that felt really great. This church has become such a big part of our lives. Our kids go there for daycare/preschool and we also worship there. The church is really close to our house and everyone there is so nice. It's nice to make it "official" that we are members.

* Our friends hosted a fun party tonight and the kids were able to splash in the kiddie pool. This is one of Brenna's favorite activities and it made her day. When I asked her not to stand on the swing set on a particularly narrow bar, she came to me and said, "But Mommy, I really want to climb on the bar, it's my DREAM. And I want to make it come true." It was too funny! My answer was still no but all of us parents had to give her props for her originality. None of the parents there had heard that excuse. "It is my dream."

Well - that's it for now. Short and sweet.

Have a great week.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Twenty-two more days of school! It's exhilarating. I haven't had a summer off since I was in high school. I've held at least part-time work since the summer I turned 16. In college I took classes and worked 2-3 jobs. Then there was full-time work for the state government, no summers off there. Then I started working on my Master's and worked full-time and took classes in the summer. Last summer I had a new baby and finished my last 7 hours of graduate work. This is my first summer off and I'm so excited! It works out to be about 8 weeks off (with conferences and some summer work) but I am thrilled to be able to spend some real time with my kids. Days in a row of us doing things together as we choose.

We're going to have to get into a routine because I'm a terrible housekeeper and can be an impatient mom. I want us to do lots of fun things like going to the zoo and running through the sprinkler. I'd also love to please the hubby and keep the house sparkling clean. The two don't really go together do they? Still, it's so fun to finally have something awesome to look forward to!

Monday, April 23, 2007

a prom story

Okay - here is a link to the story on our district's special friends prom. I don't know how long they keep their news stories up so I won't keep it up forever.

If this doesn't at least make you choke back a tiny tear, your heart is cold and you should be frightened. Okay, I exaggerate. But seriously - check it out. It was such a FUN night. This is what makes life good. This is why I go to work every stinkin' day.

Thanks, Jacque, for the link!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

I'm starting a new weekly post, Grains of Gratitude. I'm taking the idea from Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes, who got the idea from another blogger friend. I like these weekly posts and this is one I definitely can grab hold of. I've always liked the idea of a gratitude journal. My mom keeps a daily gratitude journal and I believe in its power. So every Sunday, I will reflect back on the week before and list those things that I am grateful for.

This past week was crazy busy and hectic on top of that. I'm glad that we made it through in one piece! Here are the other things I feel grateful for today:

1) I went to a wonderful conference about autism (a post about this conference is in the works) for 3 days this past week. The conference was in Kearney, NE, where I went to college for my bachelor's and where my best friend still lives. Not only did I get to learn a whole bunch of new information about autism, I also got to relive the glory days with this friend and drink a few gallons of beer with her. Fun that night, not so fun the next day! I'm so grateful for the people who put on that conference, for the people who are on the autism spectrum and were brave enough to educate those at the conference, and for a safe trip home. It was so windy coming home on the interstate, our vehicle was really getting tossed around. I was very grateful to be home.
2) Last night was Special Friends Prom. This is an event put on by a group of people who feel that it is important to make sure that students with special needs get to have the same memorable high school experiences that other students get while still meeting their needs in a smaller, accessible setting that isn't so intimidating. Students in the general education population also attend and it makes for a really fun night. I'm so grateful that the event was a success, that I had such a good time, and that most of my students attended and also had fun.
3) I'm so glad that the back issues I've been having for the past few days seem to have resolved themselves for the time being and that I am in much less pain today.
4) I finally took the time to check out Google Reader. It is going to save me so much time! Now I can open that and see if any blogs I read have been updated, instead of going to each one. Yay! I never took the time before to figure it out and now I'm really glad that I did!
5) Finally - those that I am grateful for every single day: my kids, husband, a good job, my church, my faith. I am blessed. It's so easy to be grateful for that!
So that's it for this week. I know there are many others that are not coming to mind - but these are the biggies. Anything on your mind that you are feeling especially grateful for today?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Typical Morning

I'm scrambling around, looking for Brenna's shoes. She's watching Berenstain Bears, which she has done every morning from 6:30 - 7:00 this year. We've seen them all 42 times. We also have several of the books, so we know those crazy bears quite well.

I happen to be looking for her shoes in the t.v. room now.

"Mommy! I can't see the t.v."

"Brenna, I'm looking for your shoes."

"That's okay Mommy. Just don't look for them in front of the t.v."

Sigh. Never did find those sneakers, she's wearing flip flops with her sweat pants today.

Monday, April 16, 2007


The school I went to had roughly 400 or so kids. In grades K-12. The school I teach in now, 2,100 in grades 9-12. The town I grew up in only had about 800 people total. It's intimidating for a small town girl to be a teacher in such a huge school. It's also frightening sometimes.

School shootings seem common, but they really are not. Yet it's in my head almost every day. Not a paralyzing fear, more of an awareness. That there are wackos. That mental illness is a problem. That teenagers are impulsive. That we've got kids at our school with anger problems. Kids who are in gangs. Many a lunch table conversation among my coworkers have revolved around what each of us would do if met with a student and a gun. It's scary.

Tonight hubby and I had to watch NBC and their coverage of Virginia Tech. The shootings that happened there today have set records in terms of mass shootings and deaths in American history. The worst campus massacre in our history. Of course, they also had to review the shootings at the Amish school that occurred a few months ago. And Columbine High School.. We were also reminded that April 20th is the anniversary of that horrible tragedy. It left me trembling.

Tonight there are families who have lost their babies to a young man with a gun. He took many, many lives along with him. Tonight there are people who are planning their son's and daughter's funerals instead of their graduation. Kids who were probably planning graduation receptions or summer vacations. Gone. Dreams of future careers or of first generation post-secondary degrees, gone. Theses that will never be finished. Engagements that have ended. Young lives taken for absolutely no reason.

I leave my own kids for 10 hours a day at our church daycare. I feel that they are safe. I don't worry about much more than a virus going around or a scrape on the playground. It is unimaginable what happened today. It makes me want to stay home and be "safe". Kids should not have to be scared to go to school to learn. Teachers should not have to fear going to work.

Answers will come out. He was crazy. He had a fight with his girlfriend. He had been kicked out of his program of study. Who knows? All I know is that tonight all I can do is pray for those families and for the kids left behind, who will be stunned with fear for so long. Pray for professors and officers and college faculty who will have to find the courage to go back to work. And I thank God for the safety of my family. And that tonight we are all here together. Sleeping soundly under the same roof for another night.

I'm so sad for those who aren't. And I pray for their sorrow and that they will somehow find comfort in others. Tomorrow morning they are having an assembly in their basketball arena. A campus that enrolls 25,000 kids. Will anyone show up? What can they possibly say? I don't know what else they can possibly do. But I know the world will be watching to find out.

Please God give the people handling the fallout from this tragedy wisdom and patience. Many are trying to place blame for this horrific event. Please also give the media covering this event intelligence and empathy. Please help people to see ways to help and lead them in that direction. Please help this bring people together rather than divide. Please be with them tonight and through it all.

in the car

The Girl: "Mommy, who did you say your brother is?"

Me: "Uncle Brad."

The Girl: "Oh. And why don't you live with him now?"

Hubby: "Honey, big people don't live with their mommies and daddies and brothers, they live with their own families."

The Girl: "But Daddy, I won't have any money for a house of my own."

Hubby: "I promise you can live with us until you are ready for a house and a family of your own."

The Girl, after thinking for a minute: "Daddy, I think you should hide some money for me and I'll come get it when I'm ready for my own house."

Hubby, laughing: "Okay, I'll hide away some money, just for you."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dear Buddy,

Mommy's going to be one very tired lady on your first birthday. It's tomorrow. Your first birthday is TOMORROW. I was laying in bed just now, trying so hard to fall asleep, when my mind started to wander. I knew I wanted to post a special tribute to your big day tomorrow, but wasn't sure when I would do it. I'm working during the day, since teachers don't get to pick their days off (and I would pick tomorrow if I could). After work I'll come pick up you and your sister to come home and get ready for a few visitors. Then it's an evening of greeting some family members who will drop in to wish you well and bring you presents. To bed at eight, as always. You've started spending your days in the 1-year olds' room this week and it's left you very tired by the end of the day.

So I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep and wondering why I couldn't. I'm usually in bed and asleep by 10:00. It's 10:30, I should really be asleep. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was 10:30 on the nose on this very night last year when I went into labor with you. And so begins my tribute, I will tell you (and the world, apparently) of your arrival into this world. It is a story worth telling, trust me.

At 10:30 p.m. on the night of April 10th, 2006, I went to bed and tried to fall asleep. I had a contraction. A contraction! I was so excited - I had been waiting for any sign that you were on your way. Your first sign was a pretty strong contraction. I laid in bed after that, sitting up every little bit as I would have more contractions. I wondered, should I be watching the clock? So I did. About 10 minutes apart or so. No biggie. I labored like this with Bee for a day and a half. My thinking was that I would go into my scheduled appointment with the OB/GYN the next day at 11:40 a.m. and would probably get admitted into the hospital to have you. That's sort of how it worked with Brenna, thought it would be fine if you wanted to do it the same.

I woke up your daddy around midnight and told him I'd been having contractions for about an hour and a half, so I'd probably need him to drive me to my doctor's appointment the next day at 11:40 a.m. I was thinking ahead, figuring I probably wouldn't be up for driving after having contractions for TWELVE hours. Did I really think it would take that long? But I'm getting ahead of myself...

The contractions continued. 7 minutes. 9 minutes. 11 minutes. Pretty regular for over an hour. Guess I should try to remember how regular and for how long before we go in. Everyone says labor as long as you can at home, it's better that way. It took almost two days for Brenna to come out, I figured you would be no different. Besides, I've had no sign prior to this that you were coming. This quick labor came as quite a surprise!

Around 3:30, I got nervous. I woke your daddy up (yes, he slept the whole night as Mommy labored right in the room) and called the doctor's. They said call the labor & delivery at the hospital. Okay. Calling them, having trouble talking a lot by then. Contractions are every few minutes. They say come on in and get checked. Okay.

4:00 a.m. The big daddy of all contractions brought me to my knees in the bedroom. I'm stumbling around by then because I haven't got a bag packed yet. That's on tomorrow's to do list. You know by now, Mommy's a last minute kind of gal. Grandma and Grandpa are on their way to get Bee. Daddy's getting excited, though a little nervous due to the heavy breathing and loud moans and groans from Mommy. I'm not going to lie, Buddy, by then it was getting serious.

I got to the van at about 4:30. Dropped to my knees in the driveway and shouted so loud I thought I'd wake the neighbors. Contractions are a minute apart by now. Mommy's tummy really hurts now. On the way there, Mommy kept saying, "I can't do this." And also some other things that I can't type here. You know Mommy doesn't usually say swear words, but tonight was a special night and I said them all. I didn't know it then, but I was in what they call "transition". So we got to the hospital. I only dropped to my knees once in the parking lot and then they got me into a wheelchair. I will call in the wail chair, because I was one loud mama. They checked me right as they wheeled me up to the table. We were just in time because your Mommy was at 10 cm. when we got there and I was ready to have you!

I'll spare you the details of the rest. Let's just say I pushed twice about 15 minutes later and it was all over but the stuff you really don't want me to talk about. And you were beautiful. And the nurses forgave me for the swatting and the swearing and the sputtering. You were worth it.

The story made it all over the hospital. About the baby who was born at 5:02 a.m. to a Mommy who had gotten there 20 minutes prior. And I loved you from the very first moment. You completed our happy little family and we haven't looked back once. We may not have planned to have you when we did (just a couple of years earlier than our plan) and we may have barely made it to the hospital, but you have been a wonderful blessing since your very first breath.

Thank you for being a beautiful baby. Thank you for becoming a loving and adventurous toddler. I will do my best to teach you to be a respectful and kind young man who is, above all, not a jackass.

I love you, Buddy. I really do.

Monday, April 9, 2007

It's not all about me

I'm starting to realize that there are numerous things I enjoyed much more as a child than I do as a mom. These are the things I feel I should let my kids experience because I enjoyed them so much, but don't really want to do because the selfish side of me wants to do something more fun.

There are many things I do enjoy as a mom: playing dolls, Barbies, make-believe, all holidays and traditions that go with them (for the most part), singing, dancing, being silly, watching cartoons, going for walks, playing outside, outings to the zoo, the children's museum, going to the playground, to name a few.

Then there are the aforementioned things that either turn my brain to goo (singing the same song over and over or reading the same book we've already read twice) or terrify me (swimming pools, high places, amusement park rides). All things that amused me as a child, but not as a mom.

The latest in this long line of requisite childhood goings on that I do not enjoy nearly as much as I did in my developmental years: dying Easter eggs. We got about halfway into this project and I realized that I was not enjoying myself and wasn't really sure why were even doing it. Between my constant wiping off of the counter (man, that stuff can stain) and Brenna screeching, "Why are you doing it all?! Why can't I do anything?!?!?!", it was not pure entertainment. It just wasn't.

They are cute.

And Brenna ended up having fun. She thought the pink ones were pretty and liked drawing on them with a white crayon and then seeing how it looked after they were dyed. Overall, pretty much a success. Just not nearly as fun as I remembered.

When we were done, I was stumped. What do you do with all of these eggs? Huh. Really stumped. I actually called my sister-in-law, "What am I going to with all of these *$%#! eggs in my fridge?". She just laughed at me. "Well...egg salad is always a good choice", she said.

A delicious option. I must say, it was pretty darned good salad for my first try. It certainly made dying eggs a much more profitable pursuit.

There are just things, I guess, that I won't enjoy as much as my kids. As much of an adult kid as I always consider myself, I suppose there are just some things that won't have the same sparkle as they once did. I will do them, not for myself, but for the kids. Novel idea.

So be it. At least my kids will have those same fond memories and will hopefully want their own kids to have such fun some day.

After all, that's what it's all about.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

not-so-Frequently Asked Questions

Alpha Dogma sent me 5 questions as part of the interview meme that's been going around. It's a lot of pressure though, because hers was so very funny. Mine, not so much. That's alright though, because her questions made for good conversation. For more on AD's interview, click on the crush link below.

So, without further ado, the Q & A:

1. What musical act (past or present) would you most like to see live in concert?

This one is tough for me because I always want to see acts that come to Omaha, and there are a lot. Billy Joel and Elton John came together last year and I really wanted to go to that, but didn't. American Idols Live came to town and I really wanted to see that (because yes, I am a geek who watches American Idol), but didn't. On my mind right now are Tim McGraw and Faith Hill because they are coming to town in June and I'm not going. I like the music they do together and apart, I have for a lot of years - and would love to see them together live. Our "extra" money (ha, ha, ha) never goes for something as expensive as a concert.

Past - probably a big show, like The Beatles. A predictable choice, I know, but their music is awesome and it would have been fun to be part of the craze (if I weren't claustrophobic and terrified of large, out-of-control crowds).

I'm pretty much in awe of anyone with the talent to sing, so I am even impressed at high school productions if the kids can sing (the swing choirs in our district are really good).

2. A telemarketer calls at a highly inconvenient moment, and you do not wish to stay on the line. Do you end the call by being polite or by being rude?

Rude. My typical response is, "No thank you." And I hang up before I hear their rebuttal. I suppose it's sort of polite, since I say thank you.

3. How old were you when you first tasted alcohol and did you enjoy it?

It was my sophomore year of high school, I suppose I was 16. We mixed some Strawberry Schnapps with Mountain Dew. The guy who bought it for us gave us each a tiny shot and took the rest (his fee, I guess). We drank from big sports jugs with straws. Then we walked uptown (the town that I grew up in has a population of 800 people) and acted like idiots. None of us felt a thing. It was fun, but not because of the alcohol. I suppose I enjoyed it, but not because of the alcohol.

The second time I had alcohol is what I count as the first time I really had alcohol (or it had me). Still my sophomore year, last day of 10th grade, party at the river. Drank too many beers, peed in poison ivy, cried out the truck window all the way home. I was so busted the next day when I broke out with poison ivy all up and down my legs and backside. My parents figured that, coupled with my monstrous hangover were punishment enough for my actions. It was fun while it was happening, but I paid for it the next day!

4. What is behind your aversion to pointy chins? Choose your words carefully as Jennifer Garner and her chin of doom may hunt you down and go all 'Alias' on your ass.
I feel I should clarify for those not involved in my email to Alpha Dogma. I apologized for mocking her crush on Captain Picard and then told her how I also make fun of my hubby's crush, Jennifer Garner, for being too pointy. What is my aversion to pointy-ness? I have had to give that some real thought. I guess I like a more rounded face and pointy chins just turn me off. No reason, just personal taste. I don't think it's just chins. Often pointy people also have sharp cheek bones, shoulders, elbows. They just look pointy. Then again, maybe I am just jealous of their low body fat content, since I am so very rounded at the edges these days.

Side note: I actually really like Jenifer Garner as an actress, "13 Going on 30" is a good movie and she's really cute in it. Her chin was much less horrible when she was pregnant, but she's on her way back to pointy now. But I digress...

5. You must spend 48 hours in the company of one of the following daytime TV talk show hosts: Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Phil, Oprah, or Rachael Ray. Who do you chose and will you need to be drunk for the duration?
I pick Ellen. She seems the most personable and I find her to be so funny. I imagine she would be very entertaining as long as she didn't want to go on and on about working out and eating healthy. I'd just want to discuss celebrity gossip and talk about Ally McBeal with Portia DeRossi. I would not need to be drunk, but it would be alright if I were. Oprah comes in second because I'd love to see her fifty bagillion dollar house in California and I imagine her girls' weekends are very fun. I really like Jennifer Aniston, and maybe she'd join us. Rachael Ray could cook for us, but I think she'd get on my nerves for much else.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Spring break and it can't even get up to 40 freakin' degrees outside. Brrr....

We're still going to the zoo for a play date Friday, but will obviously be doing indoor exhibits. Grrr...

I've done absolutely not-much all day, except for the constant parade of food/diapers/entertainment for the 3 and under set. You'd think I'd want to keep all of my hard work up (cleaning, cleaning, cleaning) from the last two days. Not so much. It's much more of a stay in your jammies and snack on goldfish crackers kind of day. Lots of sitting, followed by playing, coupled with sitting. Durrr....

Ah well...I guess today is my DAY OFF.

Monday, April 2, 2007

spring break (?)

Spent the day lugging laundry up and down the stairs (3 flights, what was I thinking when I thought a tri-level house was a good idea?). Then took a considerable amount of time scrubbing our carpets, ridding them of doggy/baby/toddler/adult spots. Also went out for Easter bunny goodies. A very good day in terms of getting stuff done, not much for inspiring a blog post. My thinking was that since I'm on break, I should write a few more posts - beef up the blog. Tonight my brain is mush; I've got nothing.

That made me wonder: who am I writing this for? When I started this in December, I really thought of it as an extension of my own diary; that I would write it for myself. Then I thought it might be a nice journal of our family's comings and goings, something my kids could look at someday like a baby book. Then I started reading other blogs and vice verse and now it seems I'm writing to those who may stumble upon it and read it. I'm writing to an audience. Is that what I wanted? I really like the hobby this has turned in to, like having pen pals from Texas to Canada. I really like that.

At the same time, writing to an audience certainly changes the tone of what I am writing. You see, I'm a people pleaser to a fault. I don't like unpleasant things and try not to speak of them, unless I am putting myself down - then I have no problem. But I don't like to whine, and I won't put down others. So now that I am writing to an audience, venting is certainly tamed down from what it would be in my own diary. Is it as cathartic if I'm editing myself?

I've also given the address to a few friends and also let my mom see it. I don't see why not, I don't write anything that I wouldn't let anyone see. So now it's definitely not a place where I will vent EVERYTHING. I saw one blogger who has a private blog that only she can open. There's an idea, a diary that she keeps right along her blog, that only she can see. I would be too tempted to share it and inevitably would. My life is pretty much an open book.

So what is my point here? I guess just the thoughts I've had on who I'm writing this for and why. It really has changed since I started, for the better, I think...

I'm glad I've met other women. Smart and funny women who bring their own quirkiness to motherhood. I enjoy that so much because I don't really fit in any mold and I appreciate sharing that with others who don't either. Not to mention how funny you all can be. Then there are posts that really get me thinking on topics that I didn't even know I wanted to think about.

Sunday, April 1, 2007


I made it to read at preschool on Friday. Whew. I felt so much better and Brenna was so happy. The kids enjoyed it and I felt that I had fully redeemed myself. You know when you're in the moment and everything feels so big? I was feeling so low, but it really was no big deal in the end.

Now we're winding up a great weekend with Palm Sunday services and an Easter egg hunt at the in-laws. The best part of it all is that it is our school district's spring break, so we're off for the week! The kids are going to daycare for a day or two so I can shovel out the piles of laundry and filth that have overtaken our home. Then we'll spend 5 days together with no interruptions of work or other daily grind-type activities. I'm so glad for a break, it was definitely time for a break.

Happy spring to all. I fully plan to enjoy this Holy Week with a grateful heart. My life is so full and my family is so blessed.