When the routine is all we have.

Linking up with my people at Five Minute Friday today.

The theme?

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There are days when I get up, I get dressed, I swig some coffee, and I sashay on out to the world and say,

“World, greetings and salutations! I just had some coffee and my kids are dressed with 75% of their clothes facing the right way, and I’m PUMPED. Let’s DO this!”

Today friends, is not that day.

Today was a wake up, stare up at the ceiling, wish for more sleep, more coffee, more time when my brain didn’t seem to hurt so bad, kind of day.

I was not ready to face it, the day, or anything else for that matter.

I just wanted to pull my covers up over my head and hope for sleep and chocolate and perhaps a Corgi puppy. A puppy would help.

That would get all messy, though. And you know the puppy would also eat the chocolate which is bad and there would be stains on the bed and UGH WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO HARD EVEN PUPPIES.

And that’s when I start in on the whole exhausting mental checklist of Doom:

  1. It’s sunny, but I’m still sad.
  2. My children are healthy. Yep, still sad.
  3. Chocolate is in the house somewhere. SAD. SAD. SAD.
  4. We are fed, watered, have a roof… and still there is this horrible dreadful SADNESS. GO AWAY.

I have no reason for this sadness. And I really hate that. I want it to go away. I want to fight it. But the more I do, the more I get stuck in the sadness. Do you remember that verse in the bible about temptation? It says not to engage. Don’t make eye contact. Just RUN DA HECK AWAY? Well, that’s what I need to do, I think.

But I’m too tired to run.

I hate this sadness SO much that I have a tendency to hunker down and listen to a sour, angry voice inside my head that I like to call my “Inner Asshole” (sounds so inappropriate and kind of gross, but really? It’s just who he is). And he says things like:

“You’ll always feel this way. This day is gonna suck so hard it will just be impossible to even MOVE and your kids will hate you and everything is awful and why even try. Nothing matters except that you know that you are a failure for feeling things so hard that they make you immobile, so for the love of Pete, MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MOVE THEN. It’s super important when feeling immobile to KEEP ON BEING THAT WAY.”

But this morning, I did this:

“Hey, Inner Asshole, shut it. (Again, kinda gross.) I gotta go teach a bunch of college kids how to write good.”

And I got up, got dressed, even brushed and flossed (win for me AND the college kids) and got to work.

I didn’t want to.

I really just wanted to stay home.

I kinda hate parenthetical citations, really.

But sometimes? The routine is all we have. And we get up, and floss, mutter the serenity prayer six times, and talk about parenthetical citations, and we hold onto all that stuff as a tiny, bobbing life preserver.

Not a big pink floatie in the shape of a flamingo, folks. Just a tiny, yellow, beat-up life preserver. That’s it. That’s all you get.

The sharks are still out there, but by goodness, I am going to float the heck out of that preserver and paddle on. 

NOT TODAY, SHARK.

NOT TODAY.

 

 

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Let’s face it. I’m tired.

too tired

This is a List of Things That Make me Tired.

By: Momsie

  1. People who just say, “I’m just sayin'” at the end of an obnoxious statement, thinking that somehow “I’m just sayin” makes it not obnoxious. I’m just sayin.
  2. Instagram pictures that involve abs and something called an Acai bowl.
  3. Commercials during football games. Beer and Viagra. On repeat. It confuses my children.
  4. When Kansas City Royals players just LEAVE us for OTHER teams simply because of MONEY I mean where is your LOYALTY. You must STAY WITH US FOREVER.
  5. The fact that the Royals players make so much money and that they are actually in a place where they think like this: “Well, I make fifty kajillion here, but over there I could make sixty kajillion so it’s actually a negotiating point, that last ten kajillion,” where I am thinking my head would explode if one kajillion just sauntered by and just waved at me.
  6. I need to get off my Royals kick. Sorry guys. I love you, Royals. Hugs!

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7. When my student turns in an entire paper he cut and pasted off of the internet and then insists that somehow he had no idea how that could have possibly happened. (True story. Just happened today. I’m still processing.)

8. Those shirts without the shoulders? They just make me feel cold.

9. When my post starts to double-space without permission and now I’m stuck in double-space land for some reason.

10. Whenever I go a little crazy and say something like, “Hey kids! Let’s make these cookies/craft/happy family project together. It’ll be fun!” because then, within about five minutes, it is so not fun. It’s all a conspiracy.

11. Any sort of situation that involves me calling customer service in any capacity for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter how good I’m feeling, how great my hair is, how wonderful the weather is outside, once I start pushing 1-800 on my phone my life loses all meaning and I no longer feel the will to breathe.

12. When anyone, anywhere, says “I am shook.” Only Beyonce can say that. If you learn anything from this post; if there is any sort of takeaway at all, it’s this: Don’t mess with Beyonce.

13. When I take the car into for an oil change and they ask me if I need my fluids flushed. I NEVER KNOW. I NEVER KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS EXACTLY AND IT FEELS TOO PERSONAL FOR THEM TO BE ASKING ME THAT.

14. When I make homemade macaroni and cheese with butter and cream and all sorts of momma’s love and goodness, and my son says he doesn’t like it because it’s “slippery.” I just nod and tell him, “That was what I was going for, son. Slippery.”

15. Moms who bring homemade cake pops in the shape of ALL the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to school for their child’s birthday. I love you, moms. I do. You go, with your baking skills and knowledge of pop culture. I’m just gonna sit over here with a cup of coffee and my Little Debbie.

16. This post. It just goes on and on. It’s tiring.

17. People who say things like: “The trick to getting up at 5 am to work out is to sleep in your workout clothes.” Like somehow, sleeping in a running bra will make me more vigorous in the morning. Instead, I just feel… constrained. And thus, more grumpy. Plus, I slide all around in the sheets because spandex and that is not proper bedtime etiquette. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

18. People who actually try to get away with saying, “Nudge nudge wink wink.”

19. When one of my wee children approaches me and says, “Mom? Do you want to discuss Minecraft? I gotta free hour and a powerpoint presentation here. Have a seat.”

20. Nothing about you. Nothing ever ever about any of you poor darlings, my sweet readers, who actually made it through the randomness that is this post.

 

Today’s post was brought to you by:

  1. Not enough coffee.
  2. Grumpiness and kinda a total feeling of disbelief due to #7.
  3. Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday wonderfulness. And yes, today’s theme was:

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Privilege

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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I’ve been working a lot on gratitude lately.

Do you know what? The thing with gratitude is, if you work it, it really works!

Say that fast five times, I dare you.

Gratitude is a conversation with yourself and God about how blessed you are. Here are some other things I am learning about gratitude:

  1. It’s just like a three pointer – you really can practice it and improve. Or, if you’re like me, you can practice it and get real close to the basket but feel better about it.
  2. It should be a daily thing.
  3. It should be an hourly thing.
  4. It’s really a minute by minute thing. You get the idea.

I think gratitude is my simplest way to worship. And privilege is right in there. I mean “privilege” in a good way, not in the “I’m taking over the world” kind of way.

It’s a privilege – to walk down the street every morning and teach my kids about writing and thinking (hopefully at the same time). It’s something I don’t take lightly. It has strings attached, little 18 year old souls that need more than just teaching. It’s a privilege to be with them and learn who they are and learn their stories.

It’s a privilege to relate with my husband. Notice I didn’t just say, “HAVE a husband” because we’re past that now. I have him. I done had him over ten years ago – snared like a 6 foot rabbit in a trap. A rabbit that was in looooove.

He’s still in love, and it’s a privilege to keep walking that path with him – the one where we figure out how to stay in love and work on it and screw up and keep working and on and on. Marriage, y’all. It’s hard core.

It’s a privilege to have these two boys. Red and Blonde. Don’t even get me started. They are just the sweetest, most intelligent, perfect adorable nuggets of humanity. While, at the same time, they are also frustrating and sometimes they have me at: “I don’t even know what to say here. Go to your room. Stay there for two years.”

It’s a privilege. This whole life is that. I was granted special permission by Christ, about twenty years ago, to have a life with him IN it.

And, it’s also totally not, because he never said anything like, “Well, I’m only going to offer out this relationship to a few folks. The special, super elite ones – with the good hair and a really great grasp on the the Old Testament.”

And thank goodness because I am very often 0 for 2 on the hair and the bible thing.

It’s a privilege to talk to Him every day. I ask him stuff and complain and then remember to thank him and keep on talking, and he actually listens.

I have a lot of blessings in my life – I am a healthy, financially ok, employed, white woman with a lot of perks that a lot of people in our world don’t even get to consider.

Realizing this, I am privileged. Blessed. Made alive with hope and wonder with the daily business that is faith.

Amen.

 

 

The Best Lesson Plan in the Whole World

Merry Christmas break, y’all.

I start out with glitter and cookies and reindeer magic. By the end? I’m covered in crumbs and fatigue. You know if reindeer hang out too long, it just gets… messy.

Teachers have a slightly different view of all this. know from experience. They are getting a much needed break. Unless they have children of their own, and then it’s just kinda a continuation of their lives but without a planning period.

I have been thinking lately about my favorite lesson plans. I used to write many of these. We teachers, we’re always planning, thinking, plotting, commenting, “Oh! I need to use that in my classroom!” We can’t help it. We are wired weirdly. I’m sure a science teacher could explain.

As a teacher, I was in the classroom for over twenty years. Think of it. Six classes a day, for some two hundred days, for some twenty years, with plans upon plans and more plans… YOU do the math. I don’t teach math. That’s another teacher’s department.

But as a substitute teacher, these past two years, I have come across some real lesson planning gems.

Some teachers go all Big Brother:

  1. Here is a list of all my students’ pictures, seating arrangements, allergies, likes, dislikes, deepest fears, hopes, dreams, and what they had for dinner last night. Please make sure to utilize this list throughout the day.

Or, General Patton:

  1. 7:52: start the hour with spelling and pushups.
  2. Continue the pushups into math at 8:43 on the sharp.
  3. Children will remain silent and lined up at all times.
  4. Everything on my desk needs to remain at right angles.
  5. There is no crying in math class.

Or, Unicorns and Rainbows:

  1. Hug the cherubs! Tell them I miss them! Arts and crafts for everyone!
  2. Glitter and candy!
  3. I’m on a long break but I’ll be all better soon! *twitchy laughter*

Or, my favorite:

  1. Whatever you do, don’t feed them after midnight.
  2. Good luck, kid.

I recently “subbed” at a living museum called “The Body” at our school. I was in charge of The Mouth. There is really no reason to point out the irony here, is there?

So, here I am:IMG_6186.JPG

Those scrubs are so commmmmmmfffyyy. I have a plan: I am going to start wearing scrubs all the time. That way, people will assume I am in the medical field, which is so cool,  AND I’ll be sooooo comfy at the same time. Double bonus.

Also, yes, that are gigantic nostrils looming above me.

Then, there’s this:

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And as I unpacked my gigantic toothbrush and floss, I came across my lesson plans, a series of instructions for how to keep the kids seated on the huge teeth without flipping over, and that Laffy Taffy is basically the devil.

And then, of course, there was this little tidbit of information:

“DO NOT ALLOW THE CHILDREN TO PUNCH THE UVULA.”

You know? You just don’t hear that very often in a lesson plan.

Merry Christmas, and have a very merry vacation, teachers. You deserve it.

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An Open Letter to the Teachers Who Must Contend With My Birthday Cupcakes.

 

 

 

Dear Teachers:

Well, first of all, I guess you don’t HAVE to eat them. But still.

I feel your pain. I know you have twenty small heat-seekers in your room, looking constantly for sugar and way out of thinking in a logical pattern. I know it. And I know that you have twenty some birthdays to deal with, because, as you know. All these kids were born at some point.

And so, it begins. The birthday cupcakes.

First of all, I can vouch for quality control, here. Cupcakes are of the Betty Crocker variety. Also, it is VERY important to state that the frosting is home made.

I repeat: THE FROSTING IS HOME MADE.

The deal is, I cave. I cave every time. I tell myself:

“Keep it simple. Do not, do NOT look at Pinterest. Do not, whatever you do, try to figure out a way to make anything cute. Just stay away from the cute things. Cute is your GATEWAY DRUG, woman.”

It’s possible, you see, that in the past… the Pinterest searching had led me down the momsie rabbit hole and the next think you know…. I’m trying to make a Death Star with fondant and angel food cake.

And it would have WORKED too. Except that butter is all melty (darn you, saturated fats! I shake my fist at you!) and well, sugar and hope does not hold a Death Star intact. Not even a Jedi was gonna keep that travesty intact.

So, this time. I tried. I really did. I figured, an October birthday and cupcakes. Orange frosting and some chocolate chips and BOOM,  pumpkns for the little angels.

But you know and I do, that motherhood is often a gut-wrenching affair, fraught with difficult choices, and I was up against the wall.

The kid, you see, wanted to decorate them himself.

 

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I tried to distract the little bugger. I offered to let him lick the bowl. I even gave him the option to use sprinkles. But no. He would not be deterred.

I know. It was tough for us all.

So, dear teacher of my now eight-year-old, let’s review:

  1. I totally had a vision for those cupcakes.
  2. Motherhood is all about vision.
  3. Children are all about blowing that vision right outta there.
  4. As God as my witness, Blonde did wash his hands.

Just by the by… Blonde is anti-sprinkles. It’s another of those little quirks about him that I find a bit troubling, as we ALL KNOW that sprinkles cover a multitude of sins. In fact, I pretty much think sprinkles are God’s candy, and we should use ’em on broccoli. BUT, did you know?

Red, is pro sprinkles. I give you… HIS cupcakes:

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Feast your eyes on those babies. Crunchy.

I sign off, with much love and many hugs for being the teacher for my wee blonde, because you, Dear Teacher, are AWESOME ON ALL  THE LEVELS FOR TEACHING HIM. And some day, I will be sending you some thank you that does not involve frosting.

Until then, go for the one on the upper right of the box. It’s the only one I could get to before Blonde decided he was Paul Hollywood.

Sincerely,

Paul Hollywood’s Tired Mom

Aka Momsie

Aka the one with sprinkles and chocolate chips all over her kitchen. Like, all over. Forever.

 

 

Send in the clowns.

So, this morning, I was up with the chickens.

Literally. Chickens. SOMEONE in my very respectable neighborhood is HARBORING CHICKENS. I can HEAR you, rooster! I know you’re around here somewhere. And, as I want to buy eggs from these people, I will say no more.

Anyhow, I was up EARLY, y’all.

Wanna know why? Well, I shall tell you.

But FIRST:

I worked out:

IMG_5834.jpgThis is what Steve does when I do my HIIT stuff. He feels so bad for me, gasping away to the tiny girl on the glowing tv, that he reaches his paw out. As if to say,

“Dude. Take a break. Sit. Be still. Like me.”

NO, Mr. Fat Furry! I still have fourteen burpees to do, and they are so fun! And so aptly named! Kelli, al la Fitness Blender is a tiny and sweet girl who manages, somehow to be perfectly toned with washboard abs but still totally not annoying, gets me through something where I plank and slap my arms and sing the Star Spangled Banner, all at the same time. Then, she asks me to do a lateral hop, which sounds cute and like a bunny, but  only if that bunny has a death wish. And then, I die.

Nope. DIDN’T DIE.  Even after the hopping. I then had coffee, and I put on real, adulty clothes. Usually it’s all running shorts and tshirts with holes in them around here. But No!

Not today! Know WHY????

I’ll tell you. In a minute. But FIRST:

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BEHOLD. EYELINER. AND LIPSTICK. THIS IS THE BIGTIME.

Ok. I’ll tell you. I am substituting today. I know. I built all of this up to make you think I was meeting with California people who wanna make Bottled into a movie. Still waiting on that one.

AND this:

I showed up three hours early. Evidently I am not supposed to come until 12:30. I am just way too excited about this gig.

Wanna know WHY?

BECAUSE IT’S FOR MUSIC OH MY GOODNESS I AM GONNA GET SIIIIIIIING.

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Oh yea. You better believe you can google “Singing cats” and find lots of options. You’re welcome.

Have I ever told you? I have always kinda wanted to be a back up singer for Pink. I mean, I don’t think she even has backup singers, but in my head I made them up and I was one of em! Because that’s what my head can do!

My head can also put me in the lineup to interview The Rock one day and also, to win the Olympics in dressage, OR rhythmic gymnastics. Take your pick.

So, anyhow, whilst making breakfast for the wee cherubs this morning we had this conversation:

Blonde: Mom. Mom. You’re gonna be my teacher today.

Red: *silently chewing.* He doesn’t speak much until 8 am. That’s when he turns on and he doesn’t shut off until 12 hours later. Quite the battery on that one.

Blonde: Mom. MY teacher. I’m not gonna call you Mom though. And I will also be really good in class. So, you don’t need to worry about nothing.

Me: I KNOW. I am SO EXCITED. And I get to SING! Music teacher! BOOM!

Red: *coughing* Mom. I know it’s before I’m supposed to speak, but I gotta say-

Blonde: Don’t. Sing. Just no. Please. For the love of God. Do your duty. No singing.

 

It’s ok. I’ve got a backup plan. I’m bringing THIS:

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And I’m gonna tell them allllll about how I was first chair, and in KU marching band, and then?

I’M GONNA PLAY “SEND IN THE CLOWNS.”

My children will be so proud.

Here is, by the way, an obligatory first day of school pic. I know. I am just NOW posting this because I kept forgetting. That’s because I have way more important things to do. Like practice my scales and figure out if an interpretive dance while flauting is over the top.

Besides, this might be the last picture I have of them, because after this afternoon they might not speak to me again.

#Goals.

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United we stand. Or sit.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme??

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Right now I am sitting in the back of a third grade classroom. I am a substitute today, but the class has a student teacher, so my job is to… sit here.

Let me give you help you out with the ambiance:

  1. It’s a breathtakinginly beautiful spring day. This, as all teachers know, is universal code for We Are Really Not Going to Get Anything Done.
  2. Everyone is kinda highly strung, like little quivering lapdogs, all squeaky and yappish. I fear one of them might puddle the floor soon, they are all so keyed up.
  3. Perhaps it’s demeaning to say that a third grader might have an accident in the classroom but as I just observed one kid wipe snot on the other kid at his table, I am ready for anything.
  4. It’s Friday. Their brains are melting. This does not seem to have any effect on their ability to speak, however.

I have really enjoyed this subbing gig. Even with the snot and the yapping. About two months ago, as I was working on an article, I realized that the entire morning had been consumed with me trying to chip dried milk off of the floor underneath Red’s chair. Red likes milk. A lot. He also likes to decorate with it.

Anyhow. The article was going nowhere. And I wasn’t either. I had found myself doing that circular, meandering, walk of despair in my house that goes like this:

  1. Go into bathroom to brush teeth.
  2. Find bathroom a mess so start cleaning.
  3. Go to basement to retrieve toilet paper.
  4. Find basement to be the Pit of Despair so, cleaning.
  5. Repeat until sobbing occurs.

I needed to get OUT of the house, y’all. And – I missed teaching. I really did. But I had NO time to plan lessons or grade or the million jillion other tasks that teachers do.

Also? I wanted to spy on my children.

So here I am, subbing for Mrs. Oleen today. Her student teacher is young and energetic. She reminds me … of me. About a million jillion years ago. And I am sitting in the back, as she deals with each snot wielding situation. I am not getting up. I am not moving.

It is REALLY hard.

I did shoot a really pointed glare at a kid who kept making sheep noises. There is no need for sheep noises during reading, y’all. That’s where I draw the line. But as for jumping up and helping out?

Nope.

She can do it. She has to. If she wants to teach she needs to feel the weight of the whole class, even when one of them raises her hands, and says,

“I, like, don’t get this. Like. Any of it. Can you go back to the beginning?”

And another one adds:

“Wait. What was the beginning? I didn’t even know we are in the middle. I’m scared.”

And another one adds:

“When is recess? And I need to go to the bathroom. I have an earache.”

And another one barks:

“IF YOU’RE VOTING FOR CRUZ YOU’RE JUST DUMB!”

The reading activity kinda went downhill from there. But I stayed plastered to my chair, with a totally friendly but completely non-helping smile plastered on my face.

I let her do it. And I let her know, later, how much I was behind her. The whole morning. Cheering her on. Silently. (Although out-loud would have fit in with the ambiance quite well.) I am WITH her. I get it. And I wanted her to keep swimming.

Sometimes this is the best help we can offer. Not helping. But also, letting others know: I trust you with this. You’ve got it. And if you screw up? I totally get it. Keep SWIMMING.

We are united. And I stand beside you.

Or, in this case, I sit in the back and silently praise you the Big Three that every teacher has to suit up with EVERY morning before they enter their classroom:

  1. Patience. Buckets of it.
  2. Courage.
  3. Endurance.
  4. Oh, and a really really really good sense of humor.

Yes, that’s four. I probably should have paid better attention in math class.

 

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