Monday, September 29, 2008

Getting Organized

So, the other day after a barbie shoe had been lost, take-out had been eaten (again) and swim lessons had been missed, P and I decided to kick things up a notch. I uttered a favorite phrase of mine.....'let's get organized!' And off we went...

We started by walking the house and making note of the toy-lined playroom floor and unmade beds. Then we sat down for a chat. First, I told little miss P that we can not live in clutter canyon and that we need desperately to get back on a schedule. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I work and P spends most of the day at preschool, so we really only have two days to try and squeeze in fun, quality time, and home chores.

I grabbed a sheet of paper and divided it into 4 sections: Things P wants to do, Things mom wants to do, Things we both want to do together, and Things we don't like to do, but need to do. Here's how it turned out:

Things P wants to do:
*Play dolls
*Browse at Target (not any store, mind you, Target)
*Watch a movie

Things mom wants to do:
*Go to Starbucks

Things we want to do together
*Outings/dates to the Discovery Museum, library, etc.
*Playdates with friends
*Crafts, baking, stories at home
*Singing and dancing

Things we need to do, but may not want to do
*Grocery shop
*Prepare 3 healthy meals a day
*Clean up after ourselves throughout the day (no major labor, we're talking making beds in the a.m., taking care of dishes after each meal, putting away toys after playing with them)
*Swimming lessons (this is not a hard sell, just time-consuming)

What I loved most about this discussion was P's participation. She sat and listenend attentively, made great contributions to the talk, and seemed to really 'get it.' Once we finished, I let her go and play while I then scheduled out the tasks into the two days, keeping in mind a mix of activities and a host of other considerations. (I will now be getting up an hour earlier.) I'm really excited for Thursday to roll around to give it a try!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

They're back!

A lot has been going on, but due to some computer glitches on Friday and Saturday, I wasn't able to post. Hopefully tomorrow. For now, I am going to cap my weekend off with some old friends...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New way of looking at things...

I think I'm pretty 'Type B.' However, I tend to have very high standards for my life. Like I want everything to be perfect. Always searching for 'leaks and cracks' (as the self-help authors would say) and blowing them out of proportion.

Today I had an epiphany. If something as small as fighting with my husband about driving (I'm a scaredy cat and am always stepping on my imaginary break through curves, hills and hectic highways) is my biggest problem -- how freaking lucky am I??

With the number of people dealing with deaths, divorces, children with serious challenges, major illnesses, and crippling financial woes --- how lucky am I to have the time and luxury to needle over small things?

Now, when I find myself bothered over some minor wrinkle, I will be thankful. Thankful that my 'problem bank' is clearly so vacant that it needs to 'reach' for material.

So bring on the itty bitty issues! I'm ready with a greatful heart.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Going bananas!

Disclaimer: this is not a very satisfying story......

So, a week and a half ago, my camera went ahead and took a little vacation without telling me. Story goes like this, it was Wednesday night, after back to school night, after a debrief with my student teacher, around 9:15 p.m., when I was preparing for the following Monday (my next teaching day). I took a few pictures of classroom storybooks and that's the last I saw of my beloved picture-taker.

I had been zipping back and forth to my desk to check what was next on Monday's lesson plans and then off to prep that part of the lesson. I thought for sure after I took the photos that I raced back to my desk and set the camera on top, or placed it inside my purse. Anyway, I didn't look for it until a few days later on Saturday, and after checking all over the classroom, home, in my car and with colleagues it still hasn't surfaced. It was a new camera so I have been just plain nauseated whenever I think of it. There is just no explanation. I was actually going a bit bananas. Even E wasn't frustrated with me, as he could see how I punished myself. We decided we should just get (another) new camera, and if the old one turns up - great - we'll have a spare.

Just when I was making peace with myself...

Today, I was racing out to go to church solo, when my remote car alarm stopped working (again). I raced upstairs to switch keys with E, and then was on my way. Later at home, we divvied up our errands and decided to switch cars, and so I was given another pair of keys. Do you see where this is going?

After dinner, E decides to replace the battery on my key's remote alarm. He can't find 'em. Sighing, I push back my chair. I'm certain they are in my purse. Nope! I start searching though the house, first casually, then wildly. Not again! I had not touched them since the morning church episode. What could have happened? I even go through the recycling outside. Finally, I check in E's car which I had been driving. Hallelujah. There they are in the cubby between seats. (Why were they out? Think I must have subconsciously taken them out as I approached my car, and then tossed them in the cubby - instead of purse - when not needed.)

Oh, but the story doesn't end. As I am preparing for tomorrow's work day, I decide to call my teaching partner. E is on the landline, so I reach for my good old cell phone. Hmm, strange, not in it's spot. I continue to look in back-up places. No, no, no. Yes, yes, yes, another wild goose chase ending with me calling my phone from our landline (once it was free), calling the last store I was in, etc. Finally, E races back to his car (I had already ran out there to search) and finds, yes, the phone, in the space between the passenger seat and the door.

Is there a full moon out tonight? Me thinks me need to s-l-o-w down a bit. I can be a bit careless with things like sunglasses, but not to this degree. I try and take a lesson from frustrations. I think this lesson is telling me that I need to limit my to do list (although it is very tempting to do as much as I can squeeze in) so I can stay more present of small details. Re-reading this post, I see an image of myself like a bat out of hel*, with my phone sliding out of my purse into the door. Unnecessary!

Here's to a smoother week.....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top reasons I'm a slacker mom lately!

Today as Paige and I shared a typical Friday morning, stopping at Starbucks for my cup of heaven and Paige's chocolate milk, followed by a walk through the shopping center to pause at Diddam's Halloween decorations and peruse the latest magazines at Safeway (P: Disney Princess and Fairies, Me: Us Weekly), I had an epiphany: Aren't there other things I should be doing right now? I am slackin'! Here are some other areas I've been slacking in lately:

3) Miss P's school readiness: P attends a play based preschool three days a week. I hear she is doing great (i.e.: she cooperates, takes turns, is attentive at circle time, etc). I know she's a pretty bright cookie in terms of language development and general knowledge. I also know she is only writing the first three letters of her name independently. Developmentally appropriate? Yes. I also know as a kindergarten teacher, that it will behoove her to have strong fine motor next year. Do I do anything to support this at home? Very little. Seems like we are too busy having fun singing and dancing...
2) Program watching: Thank heavens for the high quality children's programs out there, or I'd really be mortified. (I can hear 'Steve' singing now: "line, line, circle, circle..") P doesn't really watch that much I guess, but there has been an increase lately. Last year P would go three to four days a week without watching any TV (yes, I counted), and now I feel like I give in too quickly when I have something important to do, you know, like talk on the phone or blog.
1) Nutrition: Oh lord, this is the biggie. Again, P used to eat very healthy as a baby and toddler. Now as a preschooler who obviously only eats people food, she has adopted my sub-par eating habits. I'm one who longs to eat healthy, but totally caves for fast food and sweets. Like one who tries every diet and fails, I have tried many healthy eating regimes, that end up going south after a few weeks. Making matters worse, she has received, I don't know, 5? goody bags at preschool filled with suckers and hard candy, along with a full-size bag of cotton candy at a back to (pre)school carnival. 1 point for me for at least trashing that stuff ASAP. However -1 point for the fruit snacks and granola bar she had for dinner (in my classroom) when I was working late last Wednesday night...
So, there you have it. I'm a slacker... : )
How about you???
Update: Paige turned off the TV and is now on the floor next to me practicing her name and drawing people. Maybe there is hope for us yet!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So far, a great, yet exhausting year...

Whew, another marathon day. Left the house about 7:20 a.m., made my 'must stop' to Starbucks, then arrived to the classroom to begin my day. Rolled up my sleeves, and dug into work, prioritizing and tweaking lessons for the 45 minutes before the students arrived. When the first bell rang, it was time to put on the music, and get the show on the road. I think the actress in me (I starred in the high school plays), loves the chance to be on stage, the controlling part of me, the leader, loves to have the autonomy, and the mommy part of me likes to be able to have chunks of the day where I can calmly focus on projects without interruption (this would be before and after the students are in the room!) After a high energy day with just a 40 minute lunch break, I had a two hour grade level meeting. Was I done then? No! I zipped next door to pick my daughter up at preschool, chatted with friends outside for a bit, settled her back in my room and let her watch two videos and eat a snack and then finally dinner, while I called and emailed parents, made copies, prepped an art project, read through and sorted parent paperwork, and called my partner (who is on tomorrow) to chat about everything and plan curriculum. Despite it all, I have to say, I am really enjoying this school year.

And I don't want to think or talk work, until I'm 'on again' next Monday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Little 'tube therapy

After I took naps on both Friday and Saturday (something I never do), I realized I was likely fighting Miss P's bug. Thankfully she's better now. Yesiree, just in time for school tomorrow.
We had a nice family weekend of needed downtime together. Today I got busy and collected about 12 bags of old toys, clothes and other miscellaneous stuff. How could one kid accumulate so much? Anyway, about halfway through my efforts I realized I had misplaced my camera. Yesterday as part my weekend (home) warrior routine I worked on fall decorating. I wanted to get some pics of my efforts thus far, and that's when I realized the camera was missing. After some major mental retracing, I remembered having the item last Wednesday night when I was at school. I was taking some photos of books for a project I'm doing tomorrow. Anyway, I raced to school not once, but two separate times tearing the room apart and can..not..find..the camera! Soooo aggravating. I am usually pretty mellow, but I let myself get a little nuts over this, because it is a newly purchased camera (had left the old one at the park in July. Raced back for it an hour later, and some kids had taken off with it.) Anyway, finally realized the agonizing wasn't helping. Hopefully it will show up!!!
About the photo above. After getting Miss P to bed, and churning about an hours worth of work out (weekly classroom newsletter, parent's copy of yearlong math plan, and updated daily schedule, along with emails to jobshare, student teacher, and principal), I settled down with this cute new show Privileged. Very cute and just what I needed! Go Monday!

Friday, September 12, 2008


What a week! Remember how I was saying how much I've been enjoying being back at school?? Still am, but this week has worn me out some.

I'm enjoying the kids and actual teaching quite a bit, but lets just say there have been some 'politics' and extraneous nonsense going on, that's been a bit draining. We had Back to School Night on Wednesday night (which is my Friday, last day of the week.) I stayed until nearly 10 p.m. finishing my prep for next week. Typically, I pick up P from preschool, we are home at a decent hour for dinner, bath and bed. As soon as her lights are out, I'm back in action working from home and then showering, and doing morning prep.

Anyway, last night I came home to learn that Miss P has a bug. At least she waited until I put my ' Th/F SAHM Hat' on to fall apart. Yesterday and today we have just laid low. Actually yesterday, P was pretty significantly under the weather. However she perked up when I suggested we zip to Target to buy Barbie's new Diamond Castle movie. We zipped over shortly after they opened, grabbed the film, and stopped at Bucks on the way home to get coffee and my beloved pumpkin scone. We had a nice mellow day together.

What I find usually happens on my Thursday and Friday off, is I'm filled with huge to-do lists. I want to clean the house, run errands, plan the weekly menu, but also, have some fun quality time with Miss P. Go to the park, library, museum, or zoo. Have playdates. I am keenly aware that this is our last year at home together, and already feel disconcerted thinking about how next year I'll be ALONE on my days off - not ready for that! Still want our special time. Anyway, what usually happens is that we do our fun stuff for most of the day, and the rest of the time, I spend somewhat lazily sipping my coffee, organizing, catching up on emails and phone calls, while P watches her programs, reads or plays on her own. I'm basically recovering after 3 days of non-stop work and connecting with the outside world again. Then around 5:00 p.m. I'm hastily doing a zippy quick cleanup and throwing something together for dinner that is only a few rungs up from what's on the table on a worknight.

Today, P was feeling much better. We actually headed out to Tar-jay again for just a short outing. My daughter is such a shopper. I do enjoy a putter around Target with a coffee in hand, but this is a world class event for P. We had fun looking at the Halloween decorations for awile, then headed to what P has affectionately dubbed 'the girls' area.' She ooohed and aahhed for awhile, then turned to me and said: 'Mommy, this is the best time I've had in awile. Let's just really enjoy this magical experience together.' No lie. (Have to admit, I talk a bit like this.) Some of the 'nonsense' I mentioned earlier re-reared it's head in the form of new preschool fees and miscommunications. After a few irate yet articulate phone calls, I handled the 'bidness.' Sigh.

This weekend I hope to recoop with a little cozying up with my new book Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter, some 'bucks and a little couch time with the fam. Sometimes an under the weather kid can give you just the break you needed!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy Fall

Good Lord, it's Pumpkin Scone time at Starbucks again. Had my first of the season this morning; is tomorrow too soon for another? Dee-lish!
Here are some other things I'm excited about this Fall....
School! As a teacher, you'd think that I'd be still in mourning for summer, but you know, I was actually ready to be back last week. Weirdo that I am, being busy accomplishing things, and having structure and routine really work for me. I love having the balance of three days working (I jobshare), and then four days off. The days off feel like dreams! During the summer, when each day is off, I start to feel a bit in a rut. During the school year, I love working hard, and then feeling like I'm earning my laziness on my off days with Miss P, sipping some 'bucks and going to the park.
Holidays! I'm a big holiday nerd, and my favorites are all in the Fall/Winter: Halloween, Thanksging and Christmas. Miss P's fav is Halloween. Around here, the Halloween 'Spirit' stores have billboards along the main streets advertising their wares. It's a big black and white sign with a ghoul. P loved it last year, we would purposely take routes that would lead us pass the Spirit Ghoul. I love Thanksgiving because it is so much fun to teach; we have a big feast and parade at school, and of course there is the whole gratitude concept. Finally, Christmas - no brainer. I'm a total shmaltz, crying at commercials, etc., I totally eat up all the Christmas rituals - from decorating to teaching P about the story and true meaning.
Cozy times! Where we live, we don't really have weather, but it does get chillier and eventually rainy. I love bundling up and and watching a movie, sipping coffee or hot chocolate while the rain falls. I love the sound and visual of rain (while watching safely/warmly from my perch on the couch.) And of course I dig a comfy sweater, pea coat, and scarf.
New TV Season! What to do when braindead on a weeknight? In late Fall, never fear, some good TV is sure to be near!
What do you love about Fall???