Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Masks We Wear

Most people see me as upbeat, perky (maybe annoying). I don't mind this perception because the truth is when life is going really well I feel like that's me. And life seems to go well a lot. It's when life starts unraveling that I find my mask to wear. I had to go through a ton of crap as a kid...well it was more like pre-teen/early teen years. More crap than someone that age should have to deal with. I think I learned back then to adorn this mask, to not let people know the real me when things weren't peachy. I learned to be good at bottling up my emotions. Of course when you bottle up your emotions, eventually the bubbles start moving and the more you add the faster the bubbles move. Anyone who's shaken up a carbonated drink knows what happens if the lid comes off...KER-BOOM! That's me after I let things get to me for some time. I know it's not healthy, but it's a habit I've had for so long it's hard to change.

Lately I've had some of these little things creep up; things that don't seem big enough to spend time worrying. It's especially hard when people around you are dealing with much bigger issues. You don't want to whine about minuscule issues when someone else is going through something much bigger. It's like complaining about not having shoes when the person next to you doesn't have feet. (I heard this comparison recently and it stuck.)

So these issues start collecting because you feel too petty to actually confront them. Someone says something that hurts your feelings, your toddler decides he's not your biggest fan (or straight up wants nothing to do with you), work gets more and more stressful, etc... These may not be your exact baggage, but these are a few issues that have been piling up on me.

This week I started missing my sister, really missing her.  She joined the Peace Corps and will be in Morocco for over 2 years. She's been gone since January 13, and I haven't talked to her in what's felt like ages. I have been so strong about her leaving because I want her to know I support her choices. I think I was really pushing down the feelings of how crazy I'm going to miss her.We are close...super close. We went through that crap I mentioned earlier, together. I feel like a piece of me is missing when she's gone. We have secret phrases so no one else will know what we're talking about. She was my maid-of-honor. She was the only other person in the delivery room when I had my son (besides my husband and hospital staff). She has thrown every shower for every special occasion. She's helped us move and paint rooms. The list goes on and on.

So Friday morning I start thinking about the thing that is on my mind the most these days...the upcoming birth of our little girl. I think about how she won't be here to help us get ready. She won't be here to have a special celebration before her birth. She won't be here for the delivery or for the difficult weeks shortly after. All of these thoughts (along with stress from other things and pregnancy hormones) bring me to tears. And I cry all the way to work. Once I get to school I just can't get over all these feelings, but I have to put my mask back on. One of my best friends saw through the mask and made it a point to stop by and ask if I was ok. That helped a lot; just knowing you're not alone always helps.

I will get through this. Even though I feel alone right now I know in my heart I'm not. I'm surrounded by people who care about me and love me. Just spending time with my toddler yesterday helped. I will start to feel like me again and I can put the mask away...until I need it again.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Losing an "Appendage"

Ok, so I didn't really lose a body part...but this is what it felt like to not have my phone. Maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but anyone as obsessed or addicted to their phones as I am will understand.

Last night my phone wouldn't charge. I tried turning the charger when I plugged it in. I tried unplugging and replugging into several outlets. Nothing worked! Then my phone, with 3% battery life, died. I thought I would hyperventilate. I may be a little too dependent on this little device... My husband, who is more of a technophobe, let me use his phone as an alarm clock. I haven't had a real alarm clock in years.

Today was fine because I'm usually so busy teaching I don't use it much. The hardest part was not being able to snap random pics whenever I wanted. I scheduled an appointment at the Apple store for after school because you NEVER want to show up without one. That place is always nuts! Except today. I think the weather kept people away because there were more blue Apple shirt people than actual customers. They got to me 10 minutes before my scheduled time. After a diagnostic test it was decided I needed a new battery and it would take 30 minutes. Ugh!

So I walked straight to the food court for some fries! I want fries a lot these days (cravings!) and figured it was a good way to waste time. Without my phone I had to guess how long to be gone. (I was pretty good.) When I get back and they try to get me out of there my phone won't turn on. Turns out someone broke the power button, so I end up getting the whole thing replaced. Sweet!

I now have my phone back and feel much better. I know it's an addiction, but it could be nose isn't covered in white powder and I won't get maggots in my brain.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sometimes Life Just Sucks...

 When Michael and I talked about having kids we wanted our kids to be 3 years apart. He and his brother are 2 years apart and my sister and I are 4 years apart, so 3 seemed like a good in-between. So we decided we could start trying anytime after Dylan turned 2. Dylan's birthday is in March, and I had the best maternity leave. I had him right before spring break and then took the rest of the year off, and had summer break to boot. I wanted to aim for another leave similar to his, and since his conception was so simple for us I thought it would be no problem getting what I wanted. I decided we should start trying as soon as school was out.
June came and went and the whole time I joked about it happening right away. I wanted to be really positive and upbeat about the whole thing. The week before 4th of July I felt "odd" and took a pregnancy test. It was negative. I was fine with that and really enjoyed partying with my friends over 4th of July weekend. Monday came and my not-so-friendly visitor didn't show up. This visitor is always showing up like clockwork, so I took a test. I go the faintest second line ever, but everything I read said a positive is a positive. I started getting excited. The next day I took another test to see if it darkened, and it hadn't. The next day (or the day after that) I took another test and this one was negative. I felt like this was so weird, but the next day my visitor showed up. After some research I realized this was something called a chemical pregnancy. I was bummed, but not devastated. I decided we would just keep trying.

Towards the end of July I started having some interesting symptoms. One night I had to have garlic fries, I couldn't stop thinking about them and drove to Red Robin just to get some fries to go. The next night I was at a party and I couldn't stop eating. And I was already visiting the bathroom frequently. I had a hunch that something was up, so I took a test that Monday. 2 lines! I didn't want to get my hopes up, so I took a test almost everyday and got the same results. I was still almost a week away from even expecting my visitor again. That day came and passed and I still got the same results. I started to let my guard down and mentally planned our future.

One week later and I started having weird feelings in my stomach. I got nervous and bought a test from the Dollar Tree (I had already spent a lot on pregnancy tests). That night I took it and it was negative. I immediately did research to look at reviews. I got mixed results, so I wasn't sure if the test was right or wrong. I had so much trouble sleeping that night and the next day I felt terrible. My stomach was hurting even worse so I decided to take the day off. I couldn't find my information to call in for a sub (not happy with our new sub calling system at that time) and had to go in to school to find it. By the time I called it was too late for a full day, so I was going to take a half day. Shortly after school started my principal let me know we wouldn't be getting a sub and they would have to split my class, but I could go right away. I felt guilty pawning my kids off, but I physically and emotionally wasn't up to staying.

On my way home I stopped for another test (a brand name one this time) and it showed positive. My nerves were somewhat calmer, but I was still uncomfortable. I laid down to sleep for awhile and was feeling much better. *GRAPHIC ALERT* Then I went to the bathroom and realized I was bleeding...really bleeding. I called the doctor on call because it was Friday afternoon and the office was closed. He said there was nothing they could do at this point. I knew what was happening, and the control I like to have over situations was impossible to gain. I was miserable that weekend, but I went on with things. I have a family and they needed me to continue moving forward, even if I would have preferred staying in bed with the covers over my head. Besides, being around people felt good. Monday I called into school so I could see a doctor, and I emotionally didn't feel stable teaching without crying. I cried through my entire appointment (and almost cried in the waiting room). The doctor was patient and kind and comforting, but it didn't make me feel any better. Everything she said was logical and made sense, but I didn't want to make sense of it.I went back to school the next day. Though my day began rough I began feeling better. Teaching doesn't give you much time to ponder personal thoughts, so that's a plus.

 Here I am, a week later and I feel much better. I still have random moments of sadness, but that's how grief works. I am trying to be positive and think that what will be is out of my hands. I have had the most supportive friends and family. This is what helped me to heal. I have never been good at giving words to people in times of sorrow, but I think I now understand it's not what you say that is important, it's just the fact that someone is reaching out saying "I love you and you will get through this". Hopefully, in time, I will take a positive test that will work out. Until then I am going to keep loving my friends and family and be grateful that I have a wonderful life right now.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teaching Woes

I have so many things I could blog about that I haven't yet (Dylan's  2nd birthday for one), but I really need the therapy that sometimes only writing can provide me.

Today was one of those teaching days where I wonder if I'm really doing what I'm meant to. I need to preface with the fact that I have one of the best classes I've ever had. However, I still work with prepubescent adolescents who are still searching for their way in the world and sometimes make decisions I can't agree with.

Let's start with the test anxiety I'm feeling. I completely agree that we need to evaluate teachers so those lazy, "only in it for summers off" kind of teachers are weeded out. I don't feel that evaluating teachers on how well students do on a standardized test is even a bit of a good idea. Now that I'm a mom I really understand how our children learn in different stages. This never changes. So the fact that someone (who's never even stepped foot in my class) can tell me that me kids have effectively completed 6th grade is RIDICULOUS! I know the growth my students have made. I've seen students who worked to raise their reading levels several grade levels, students who hated reading get told to put books away because I need to teach, students who didn't want to write a sentence write an essay. I've seen my kids mature from "elementary" students to middle school students. I may not be the greatest math or science or writing teacher, but I give my effort daily. It's not fair to them or me to be evaluated on these tests; especially with what we've gone through this round. So, yeah, I'm very anti-testing right now.

Then we can add in the fact that I am fighting factors out of my control daily. Kids who are home alone all night, who are raising brothers and sisters because their parents are working, kids who've had someone walk out on them, kids who do not see school as a priority. I am correcting behaviors daily because we seem to have different ideas of what is appropriate behavior for school. When correcting behaviors I get arguing, eye rolling, shoulder shrugging...the whole nine yards. Even though you aren't supposed to take it personally, after awhile it really wears on you.

So why am I questioning my career? I got into teaching because I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to impact young lives. Instead I feel like its a constant battle of controlling behaviors and teaching for tests. I was inspired by some great teachers in my it too much to want to be that teacher? I'm not giving up anytime soon, but I am going to continue looking for inspiration and answers.

Monday, January 21, 2013

When Will I be Ready?

Many of my friends are having their second baby. I am thrilled for them. Anyone who knows me gets my love of kids (could be why I became a teacher). I love seeing their baby bumps and hearing about their pregnancies. But this influx of second children among others has gotten me thinking...are we (am I) ready for another baby?

Michael and I have had many discussions on the number of kids we want and how far apart we'd like them to be. It's getting close to the time where we would probably think of having another child, but my mind has become filled with many doubts.

When I had Dylan there was this instant love that was greater than anything I'd ever felt before. And as he grows, so does that love. How can I share this feeling with someone else? Although many, many mothers have done this before me it still seems like an impossible feat. But I also didn't know the love I'd feel before Dylan, so maybe it's something like that.

I also worry about the time I'll have for Dylan. I am already a working mom, so I have enough guilt when I leave Dylan every morning. It's not that I fantasize about being a stay-at-home mom, because I love working and I love what I do. But I still have guilt that someone else gets to spend that quality time with him every day. A newborn needs a lot of attention and time, I feel like I was nursing Dylan around the clock. How will he feel when someone else is in my arms?

These doubts may seem silly to some, but they are real to me. They aren't enough to not have another baby, because I don't want Dylan to be an only child. I want him to have someone special to share secrets with, get into trouble with, and to put up with his annoying parents with. Ha! Realistically I know that no my love for Dylan won't diminish, and it will be exciting to see that love grow like flames from a candle. So maybe when the time comes to think about adding to our family, I won't be so nervous.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I finished grad school a few weeks ago. It was a big feat and since I know have a little time back I wanted to write about this adventure. Of course, the holidays hit and I was crazy busy; then I wanted to spend time with my favorite guys. Since school starts again Monday I figured I would stop procrastinating.

My parents never graduated from college, so getting my degree seemed like a big deal, mainly because I've always been a pleaser and I wanted to make them proud. College didn't seem like a seemed like a priority. All of this "pressure" and I still didn't feel like graduating was an accomplishment. I'd been in school most of my life, what was a few more years? Then I joined the "real world" and began working and taking care of myself. I knew that someday I would want to pursue a Masters degree, but that seemed so far away I put it out of my mind. Several years later the state government decided to pass a new law...teachers would no longer be paid according to level of experience. If I wanted to be paid as a Master teacher I had to start on my degree right away. The drawback here...I had just had a baby and was on maternity leave. I applied right away and was accepted into grad school at Ball State.

I spent two years trying to balance being a mom, wife, teacher, and student. It was a struggle. I slacked at doing housework, I didn't cook like I'd wanted, and I had to ignore my son at times when I would have rather been with him. I learned how great my partner was when he stepped in to pick up all the slack I had left behind. He deserves a medal or a parade! I was a less than par teacher; I had to spend extra time on homework and projects instead of spending time on lesson plans and school projects. I wasn't even a great student because I didn't have the energy to put into class work like I had during my undergrad.

At this point I don't know if it was all worth it, but I feel like I did make an accomplishment this time. I chose to further my education. I took a path that will hopefully better my future. And I will be able to teach my children that their mother doesn't back down from a tough challenge, but instead faces it head on and wins. 

As 2013 rolls out I hope that I can use all this "extra" time to meet some other goals I have.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Organized Boards

I have always been the kind of person who waits until something looks dirty until I clean it. This means I would have marathon cleaning binges. With the beginning of a new school year (with a lot of changes in the works), another semester of grad classes, and a growing and moving toddler, I can no longer be this person. I searched Pinterest for chore board ideas. Many of them seemed to complicated for me. But then I found one I liked. (Example)  I liked the simplicity of it, and used it as a model.

I went to Michael's for my supplies. I found huge frames (11x14) on clearance for $6 and scrapbook paper (which was also on sale for half off). At home I already had stencils and a Sharpie. I measured and cut my paper into 3 sections: daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning. (You can always use one background, but I liked the clean division.) Then I listed the chores. Some of the charts I had seen on Pinterest listed every single chore, but I just combined things because I knew what I meant. I just needed a way to keep track of things that had been done and things I still needed to do. I loved how it turned out, so I also made a menu/note board. I can keep track of the dinners and notes for the week (helping with shopping and deciding what to do every night). A dry erase marker lets you use these over and over.

Cleaning Board
Menu/Note Board
Menu/Note Board filled out

I hope these help me to be a little more organized at home this year.