Tuesday, December 18, 2012

10 reasons I have to thank my kids' teachers

I know we were all shaken to the core last Friday when the unimaginable, the unthinkable happened.  Every heart of every person I know feels broken. There is nothing I can say about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School that hasn't already been said. We are just beginning to hear the stories about the lives cut short. Stories about sweet little babies with their lives ahead of them and personal tales of the school principal, psychologist, special education teacher, behavioral therapist, and 2 general education teachers who put themselves in the line of fire in an attempt to protect their students.

It's true that teachers make thousands of sacrifices every single day for our kids. There is nothing I can say about the events that unfolded last Friday that hasn't been said, but there is a lot I can say about the men and women who are there for my kids every day; their teachers, priest, principals and paraprofessionals. Up to now, they have never had to make the ultimate sacrifice for our kids, and I pray it never happens, but I have witnessed many small acts of heroism from them.

So, here is a new list. A list of 10 reasons I personally have to thank my kids' teachers.

1) I have the cell phone number of almost all my kids' teachers. Although I would never use them unless I was making a parent to parent call (some have common age kids in my classes) they give them gladly.

2) Eighth grade year is pretty important at our little school and the teachers go above and beyond the call of duty making the year a special celebration, most of it after school hours.

3) I have gotten personal calls, texts and emails to let me know if one of my kids in particular is losing ground and needs a nudge to get back on track.

4) I have also gotten personal calls, texts and emails to let me know of an achievement or simply a good deed that one of my kids did that they wanted me to know about.

5) Two of the teachers, sisters, who had no children of their own on the team, coached one of my kids volleyball teams for four years, mentoring them and shaping their characters as well as their skills. All without compensation and all on their own time.

6) One of the teachers, while on leave helping her husband with the fight of his life against cancer, was so concerned for her math students that she skyped the class every day to go over their math with them. She continued to do so even after her beloved husband passed away.

7) Many of the teachers share their personal testimonies and beliefs with the kids, helping to solidify the faith in which we choose to raise our kids.

8) One of my kids had a particularly bad day during a particularly difficult year of school. One of her teachers called me to give me a heads up and talked through some coping suggestions with me. During her lunch hour.

9) One day I was upset and was vocal about my feeling slighted by some other parents who I felt were looking down upon my family and me. A teacher sent me a very warm email telling me that she felt that our family had made a difference in the school and that we were very loved and respected.

10) I have witnessed the teachers at both of the schools my kids attend take care of one another through illness, the birth of children, the death of spouses, personal tragedy and triumph. They are special people who CHOOSE to be with our kids every day. I am so thankful for them and I trust that if the unthinkable ever happens, these men and women will do whatever it takes to keep our kids safe. So, although the items on this list may not seem like a big deal to some, this one is huge. HUGE. And for this, I sincerely thank them.

Monday, December 17, 2012

10 Things I would Like to Have Go Away for 2013

Here is a list of things that I am ready to have go away in 2013. Before you get all "ugh, Theresa is so negative!" on me, you should realize that I decreed "cool beans" a phrase that needed to go away last year, and think about it. When is the last time you heard that one? You're welcome.

1. Some words or phrases that need to go away are; "YOLO". Even if you are saying it ironically, stop  saying it! How about "I know, right?". That is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I don't know why. I am guilty of shouting out a strong "I KNOW" when necessary, but the right? tagged at the end just sounds so Valley Girl and valley girls stopped being relevant  a loooon time ago. Unless you actually live in the valley, which you don't. Some folks are so into tweeting that when they are having a normal face to face conversation they will throw out a verbal hashtag. "My kids are so whiny. I can't wait for the school bus! Hashtag ME TIME". Don't do that. It's dumb. Go tweet it. You can also stop saying "for the win" in a sportscaster voice when things go your way, unless you enjoy seeing the whites of my eyes when I roll them at you. Also, I just might have to slap the next person over 20 that says "AWESOMESAUCE!".

2. I am not about to insult or put down "doomsday preppers", because the reality is, I ain't prepared. If some bad shit goes down in our country, I know which friends I can go hit up for a bottle of water, a sleeve of saltines and a shotgun. Go on and prep, y'all! But, for the love of God...enough with the "Zombie Apocalypse" stuff. I admit that I thought it was hilarious for a while. I laughed at the memes and posted a few myself. But enough is enough. (please forgive me, my prepper friends, if I the dead do start walking. I may still need that water and the crackers)

3. Vampire YA novels. Have you perused a Young Adult section of a bookstore lately? It's kind of ridiculous. The whole vampire thing is completely played out. Especially the sensitive, unbelievably good looking undead hottie who falls for the sweet, innocent babe story line. I'm looking at you, Twilight! So many copy cats... I am tired of all of the dystopian novels as well. America in ruins was a great idea for YA books. Strong female characters, brave male characters, lots of action....I'm just ready for something new. And so are my kids.

4. Maroon 5. That is a real live band. With guys who play real instruments. You wouldn't know it anymore, though. Adam Levine is a force of nature. The ladies love him and the guys wanna party with him. Why not just stick him in front of some music making electronic machines like all the other top 40 "singers" and let the actual musicians of Maroon 5 re-form a real band, not just be props in the Adam Levine show. Why do I care? I don't know, but it bothers me when I hear their music now and it sounds like the same old same old top 40 stuff that people are cranking out and nobody even notices the bass grooves that James Valentine is cranking out. Which brings me to...

5. Auto tune. Enough with that. There are so many extremely talented singers and musicians out there struggling to make it in local gigs. SO many. And then Ke$ha makes millions? Why? And have you ever listened to Britney Spears sing? It's terrible. And those Disney show kids who can't carry a tune in a bucket without autotune? It really rubs me the wrong way.

6. Humblebragging. My friend Colleen introduced me to the term humblebragging on her blog. Read this and this. Her posts are hilarious and I love reading the tweets, but it is time to stop! Humblebragging is described by Colleen as "the art of subtly letting others know about how fantastic your life is while undercutting it with a bit of self-effacing humor or 'woe is me' gloss". There is also a parents humblebrag site. It is funny because we all know the type. "Ugh. It is so hard having a popular daughter. All the phone calls and driving to outings with friends. Be glad your daughter never goes anywhere. It is exhausting." Umm...okay. So, while I enjoy reading the tweet sites, I really wish people would stop!! You, too, celebrities! It isn't nice.

7. I am ready for the end of reality tv shows. True, I don't watch them, but the writers strike ended years ago. Why are they still on? Sure, many of you may be thinking, "If you don't like them, don't watch them." Fair enough, but I think they make American's look dumb. Wouldn't it be fun for the USA to be the ones looking down their noses at, say, the British for their Big Brother crapfest?

8. The word "tolerance" has been tossed around a lot lately. I think we need to give it a bit of a rest. Especially since it is so misused. It really grinds my gears to hear people shout out against intolerance while bashing the beliefs of those who they see as intolerant. A prime example: Dan Savage. I read his column and bought his book "It Gets Better". He is crude at times, but passionate about his cause. Yesterday, he posted a column about the Pope joining Twitter. He then linked to a video filled with slurs and obscenities about the Holy Father. That is fighting intolerance with intolerance and is UGLY. Shameful and ugly. Which leads me to:

9. Same sex marriage. I think it's time to say bye-bye to the ban on same sex marriages. I think all people should be able to marry. Why shouldn't the gays of this world be as miserable as the rest of us? I KID! I KID! But seriously, it is about time. We don't choose our hearts. We can't control who we fall in love with. Everyone who is fortunate enough to find love should be able to be legally bound and enjoy the same legal benefits and emotional security that marriage brings. No matter what. I'm glad that all of you reading this are so tolerant  magnanimous. Benevolent. Forbearing. Unprejudiced.

10.  I get it. Bacon is delicious. Can we all just agree on that and move on?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Potty Talk

When you become a parent, they plant some sort of microchip in your body so that when you need to make a phone call or use the toilet, and all call alert goes out to your children. Seriously, you could be all alone in the kitchen, kids all off and scattered about doing their thing. Maybe you are kind of lonesome or maybe you are getting kitchen-y things done. It doesn't matter. But, step into the bathroom, I dare you! Suddenly you are NEEDED! Like, seriously needed. Mom? MOM!? Where are you. I neeeeeed you! It never fails.

The bathroom intrusions have gotten a lot less frequent now that my kids are older. It used to be constant. Now it is occasional. The other morning, though, I had bad flashbacks. Bad, bad flashbacks. Everyone needed a piece of me and it was all very, very important stuff. And, of course, I was indisposed. It went something like this:

Me: (in my head) Well, everyone is on track this morning. They are all eating breakfast, making lunches...look at them go! I'm just going to go upstairs and use the bathroom, get dressed..Hey! Maybe I won't drop the kids off in my pj's this morning!
Child 1: (roaming through the house) Mom? MOM!? Where are you? WHERE ARE YOU!? MOM!!!?
Me: (oh, crap)
Child 2: Mom?
Me: *sigh* I'm in the bathroom.
Child 1: I called her first. Mom? I need you to do my hair.
Child 2: So? I need her too. Mom? I can't find socks.
Child 3: Where's mom?
Child 1: In there, but she has to do my hair!
Child 4: What's going on? Why is everybody up here?
Child 2: Looking for socks. Mom's in the bathroom.
Child 4: Mom? I need the hair dryer.
Me: Okay. Look. I'm in here. I will do your hair in a minute. The hair dryer is under the cabinet. I will give it to you in a minute. The socks are all in the basket in front of my dresser. Now, everyone just go about your business and let me finish up in here.
Child 5: Where's mom?
All together: She's in there.
Child 5: What are you doing?
Me: I'm baking a cake! What do you think?
Child 5: I forgot...I have to take two 2 Liters of pop to school today. They have to be empty. Do we have any?
Me: Um, no. Since we don't have pop in the house, we obviously don't have pop bottles. We'll have to stop at the Quick Trip on the way to school.
Child 3: No! I'm tired of being late because everyone else can't get ready on time! It's not fair!
(the sound of many voices bickering breaks out)
Me: HEY! Everyone, go downstairs and finish getting ready. I'll be right down. No one will be late. Just....just...go downstairs.
Me: (what was I thinking...)
Now I can hear breathing outside of the bathroom door.
Me: Who's out there?
Child 4: Me. I need the hair dryer.
Child 1: I still need my hair done.
In the distance I hear bickering.

Aaaaand that was the way it went. Join us tomorrow for the continuing saga.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mug, mug, mug

I love this mug!
I got a new coffee mug. I love it. I know this doesn't seem like the most obvious topic to blog about, but something about this mug just makes me so happy, I thought I would share.

It has a cute picture of a bird on it. I like birds. We have a few bird things in our house. Some are mine that I purchased and some were given to me as gifts. Some belonged to my grandma and my mom gave them to me after grandma passed away. But the bird isn't the thing that does it for me, cute as it is.

There is something about the weight of it. And the way it fits perfectly in my hand. It has a pleasant texture. Sometimes I can be pretty sensitive to certain textures, so a pleasing one is something I notice. It just feels good in my hand.

Everyone in our house seems to have a favorite mug. Even Stephen, who doesn't like hot drinks, uses a mug most times.

You know how sometimes when you repeat or think about a word a lot, it starts to sound strange and loses all meaning? Mug, mug, mug, mug. What a strange word mug is!

Mike has two favorites right now
Mary's and Clare's mugs

Maggie's and Anna's mugs

Stephen's and Dominic's mugs