Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Just Call Me Tracy Flick

I thought I had a good plan and was confident in my decision.  All I was going to do next year was develop my curriculum, infuse some technology and help kids find success in math.  I figured doing all that was going to be stressful enough so no reason to pile on extra duties.

But then I was cornered by one of our young, cool coaches who raved about my superior Excel, Word and general organization skills.  He commented that my skills were JUST what he needed to help him run Student Council next year.

Apparently in the few short years we've worked together, he has figured out that flattery will get you EVERYWHERE with me.

So now I'm signed up to co-sponsor Student Council and with all the new technology, grading and curriculum changes coming down the pipe, I will also be designing a new approach to teaching Algebra and 8th grade math.

I guess I'm just not happy with life if I'm not going a hundred miles an hour, white knuckle gripping the steering wheel with my hair on fire.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fear of a Name

Tonight Natalie, Craig and I (plus the two pups of course) were all curled up in the big bed in our bedroom watching Lady and the Tramp...or the dog-dog movie as Natalie puts it.

She looks over at Ajax who was splayed out on his back in what must have been a state of near nirvana as I gently scratched his belly.

"What's that?" she asked while pointing at his private bits.

Craig and I glance at each other.  He cocks his head in anticipation of how I will handle this special moment with our daughter.

"That is Ajax's penis.  It's how he goes pee-pee," I answered in my most matter-of-fact-its-really-no-big-deal voice.

And not much else was said as she glanced once again and then focused back on the debacle of Lady in the muzzle.

So that's how we're going to handle it for right now.  She's two and just naturally curious so I'm not terribly concerned.

To be honest, I hear "what's that, Momma?" approximately forty-seven times a day and as annoying as it can be to answer "that's the can opener" forty-seven times in a row...I understand it's just part of her learning and processing the world and I'm thankful for a curious child.

For as long as the answer is satisfactory, we're going to keep with the functionality of those parts and keep it short and to the point.  I also have the phrase from Harry Potter floating around in my brain when it comes to this subject - fear of a name increases fear of the itself.  If Craig and I freak out and make a big deal out of the human body then Natalie will pick up on those cues and all of a sudden, the differences between male and female and the idea of having "privates" at all will be a HUGE, big thing.

So we're keeping it casual and answering her questions matter-of-factly and for the time being, it seems to satiate her curious little heart.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Little Bit of This and That

1. I'm trying to get back into the blogging groove.  It's not that I haven't had anything happen lately, I just hit a busy spot in developing and creating curriculum back in January and then things started piling up and soon enough the thought of catching up on everything felt so very overwhelming.

2. Natalie spent the day at my school yesterday with the Exploring Careers class.  The teacher does a baby-sitting unit with her classes and as the culmination project for their unit, she brings in teacher's kids and grandchildren for the classes to take care of.  It was actually a LONG day for me because I knew she was on campus and I just wanted to go downstairs to play with her!  All my students said she was adorable and tons of fun, but around 7th period she hit the wall and needed her Momma so I happily cuddled her while running a badminton tournament in the small gym.

3. Craig runs select basketball teams and tournaments and up until this year he has only put on tournaments for girls teams.  A few years ago when the economy started the downslide, his tournament entries took a hit because there were fewer teams being formed due to the cost to families.  He struggled for the past couple of seasons trying to figure out how to reinvent his business in order to build it back up and even bigger than before.  This year he and his buddies figured out that they could put on both girls AND boys tournaments which would increase publicity and participation.  And so far it's going VERY well - about 80 teams in his tournament last weekend!  I'm just proud of him for thinking outside the box and finding a strategy to build his business back up.

4. I won our family NCAA bracket competition - for the third year in a row.  This weekend we are going to pick out my prize for winning - a new pair of sneakers.

5. My BFF Amy who lives in Washington state is coming home in a few weeks and I am taking a day of from work to spend it with her!  She hasn't seen Natalie since Natalie was about three months old so I'm excited to re-introduce Natalie to her "Mamy," as she puts it.  Our other lifelong friend Heather is also taking the day off and it will be just us girls all day long.  I absolutely cannot wait.

6. After this week, I only have eight more weeks of school.  Time to get started making summer plans!

7. The best thing that Craig and I started this year was our weekly meal planner.  I took a see through glass frame from Target and stuck in five pieces of scrapbook paper - one for each day of the week (not counting weekends, obviously).  Then on Sunday mornings I map out what nights we will be home or when we have other commitments and then from there I figure out what we are eating and create a grocery list.  It really has streamlined our shopping trips and helped with the budget and our waistlines!  Since I was home alone with Natalie on Sunday my focus was on getting us caught up to date on laundry, I didn't make it to the grocery store let alone making a meal plan in the first place...and let me tell you - I feel so OFF this week because of it.

8. Tonight Craig and I are dropping Natalie off with my parents and then heading to the Bon Jovi concert in a suite with the father of one of the girls that Craig coaches.  This might age me a bit, but I really hate going to concerts on a weeknight because they go so late and then the next day I'm exhausted at work.  I know.  I'm old.  But tomorrow is a day off from school so I don't feel so bad about staying out a little later.  And on a slightly funnier note, I'm not sure if everyone knows this, but Craig is ten years older.  So....when he was listening to Bon Jovi as a teenager in the 80s, I was watching My Little Pony in pre-school.  Hilarious.

9.  We have a three-day weekend!  Hooray for not using bad weather days!

Monday, April 8, 2013

So Long, Farewell...

For the past seven years I've had the pleasure of watching girls fall in love with the game that I love so very much.  I've seen young women work together, overcome obstacles and find strength in numbers.

I myself, am a product of the Title IX and I had FAR greater access to competitive sports than any generation of women before me.  And after my family, participating in sports for the past twenty-one years has had the greatest impact on who I am today.

I learned accountability, teamwork, determination and assertiveness.  I learned that anything worth doing is worth doing right and with 100% effort.  I learned that in life, there ARE winners and losers but it's not the score at the end of the game, but the lesson you learn moving forward.

These girls, especially here at FMS, are MY girls.  I'm the Mama Bear and fiercely protective of them and the program I have rebuilt.

I hope that the girls I've coached along the way understand the impact they have had on me.  Taught me the importance of giving grace and the power of positive encouragement.  Shown me how to love unconditionally while still holding them accountable.

Yes, I love these girls...MY girls.  How can you NOT love kids who come every day and sweat, work, bleed and cry for you and the sport that you coach?

But as of today, I am done.  I honestly thought I would be a little bit sadder, but right now I'm just content.  I know in my heart this is the right decision for my family and that MY girls will survive - perhaps even thrive under a new coach.

And then this little moment last week solidified my contentment...

Last Thursday night Craig and I were both gone at the Zone Track Meet and we didn't get home until 9:00.  My mother had just put Natalie down to sleep so Craig and I grabbed a bite to eat before I snuck into her room at 9:30 to just peek at her.  I opened the door and a sliver of light streamed into her crib and I heard "hi momma!"

Oh.  Crap.  My heart sunk just a little as I realized that she was definitely NOT asleep and definitely super excited to see me.

I picked her up out of her crib and we settled into the rocking chair where she quickly snuggled up to me and dug her head into my shoulder.  As her body fell limp against mine and her breathing evened out, I heard her whisper "I missed you Momma."

And in that moment I knew.  I knew that I had made the right decision by taking this Math teaching opportunity and saying good-bye to coaching volleyball.

I whispered back "I know baby.  You don't have to miss Momma anymore."

Ain't that the truth.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Easter was Sunday.  I should have been into it.  But I just wasn't.

We didn't go to church.  I didn't hide Easter eggs for Natalie.  I didn't even put together an Easter basket.  I have no Easter photos to put in her baby book.

I feel like a big, fat failure of a mother right now.

I was in a funk last week, angry at my husband, my child and the world in general.  Tired of doing laundry, planning and preparing meals, and being the sole adult responsible for the care of a two-year-old in the midst of a very challenging phase.

So I sulked and I lashed out.  I got angry and used hurtful words.  I clammed up and escaped.

And now I'm standing on the other side of it all and when I turn around all I see is the wreckage that I've created in my life.  Bewildered family members, a frustrated husband and a little girl without any Easter memories to go in her scrapbook.

And then I stop myself.

Am I really upset the MOST about the pictures?  Is that the measure of what a mother is these days?

I didn't post any Easter pictures to Facebook, Instagram or this blog....so does that make me a "bad" mother.....because that's sure how I feel.

I LOVE social media because I get to see pictures of friends and family that I might not see otherwise.

I LOATHE social media because when you're already feeling a little down in the dumps, it's easy to get onto FB or Instagram and see how everyone else in the world is living such a better life than you.

And of course, I could be a little over-dramatic...narcissistic even.  Perhaps my family doesn't really care that I had a crappy week.  I know Craig forgives me and Natalie was utterly unfazed.  But my harshest critic has always been and will always be....myself.  My mistakes and missteps mean FAR more to me than to anyone else.