120/365

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My 5th day with Chance II.

Can't imagine what I'll do when this little guy is strong enough to stay home.


119/365

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dear You:
Welcome to the 21st century.
          Love,
          Your New Washer & Dryer


                    P.S. -
                    Super sorry about your sock monkey's right arm (and the tourniquet on his left arm).


118/365

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My little party animals. Jay set the ground rules - "Cee, it's my jump rope party. I want you to have fun, but I also want to play with my friends."



A good time was had by all.

117/365

Monday, April 27, 2015

Do you know what I love?

When a kid falls in love with a book.

Do you know what I love more than that?

When a kid falls in love with the entire series.

Do you know what I love even more?

When it's my kid.


116/365

Sunday, April 26, 2015

This girl. She's been to more of Cee's games this year than anyone.

What a terrific fan and a phenomenal sister!


115/365

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Love my #1...proud of how she played today.


Last game of the season tomorrow...sniff, sniff.

114/365

Friday, April 24, 2015

STAAR Testing? Done!!

For now, at least. 

Today we tied up all the loose ends of the last 9 days...we bubbled it, we boxed it, we blessed it, and then it was all returned to its place of origin. 

Whew!

I never knew how exhausting the process was, and it hit me at about 1:37 pm today. 

Fortunately, I had 3 humans and one non-human to keep me company today. 

How cute is this little guy!?!?


Chance hung out in my room most of the day today. Only 6 weeks old, it seems that as the runt he has been getting picked on a bit and he needs some extra TLC. Lucky me! He ate, took a bottle of water...


...and then settled right in for a nap. 


Until today, I was pretty sure that Shih-Tzus were the inspiration for Ewoks. Today, I'm wondering if a Yorkie might have been the first Ewok prototype. 

Inspired by his schedule, I plan to follow suit...I'm going to eat, have a bottle (not water), and settle in for a nap of my own (which, according to my predictions, should last for the next 12 hours)!

113/365

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Necessary??


Leaning towards no.

112/365

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This picture sums up my entire day: what a mess.


Do you see the shreds on the floor? The bags of shreds on the floor? All the things all of the places? That was only one corner of my room today - I'll spare you from the other three.

I have two wishes right now.

1) A literal vacuum to clean the things on the floor...
2) A metaphorical vacuum to clean up all the other things...

My cheese has been moved and my feathers ruffled.

111/365 - Side Effects

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What. A. Day.

Lots of testing.

Lots of books and bubble sheets.

Lots of stressed kids.

Lots of big business for Pearson.

Let me start by saying that Cee and Jay both woke up cool, calm, collected, and ready to tackle their Math STAAR today.

Just before we left, they both asked if I could give them some of my "Be Strong - You Got This" oil. I was more than happy to put some Valor oil on their wrists, neck, and heart, and they both seemed much more at ease than usual after I applied it.

What I didn't realize is that I should have rubbed some of that magic on myself!

(I will do this tomorrow!)

"The Company of the Tests" and "The State Within Which I Live" offered the STAAR Test online this year to a certain demographic of students, and they roughly field tested this approach last year. What they didn't anticipate was that when all of the whole state Within Which I Live was giving this online version at the same time to vast numbers of kids, more servers might be required.

Thus, many kids were kicked out of their testing session for quite awhile today.



Here's what "The Company of the Tests" and the legislature of "The State Within Which I Live" don't realize. Tons of kids have test anxiety. Too much pressure is put on teachers and students to perform well on the test.

Too. Much.

Kids feel the pressure, and teachers feel the pressure, too.

When you put them in a new testing environment and you don't have the server capacity to accommodate them, you're only increasing the level of anxiety.

Tenfold.

Or two-hundred-fold, if that's even a word.

It hurts to watch kids stress about a test.

It hurts to watch teachers stress about a test.

It hurts to see that exacerbated by an infrastructure that should be able to support its clients.

After a day like today, I was forced into this aisle of the grocery story...


I'd be lying if I told you I didn't run into a couple of other teachers who perused this aisle. I'd also be lying if I told you we didn't completely communicate through body language when we saw each other, smiled, nodded our heads once, shook our heads twice, and kept going along our merrily way to finish collecting whatever else it was we needed...

...time to prepare ourselves for tomorrow - day 2 for some, day 3 for a few, and day 4 for others.

Don't even get me started on how the playing field has been distorted for our kids who have learning struggles.

And PS, there is not a big enough glass for me tonight.


110/365

Monday, April 20, 2015

My new phone arrived today!

Because anxiety can rule my world if I let it (and I totally did today), I worried from the moment I got the text of my package being delivered to my front porch that my phone would somehow disappear before I got home.

As usual, logic rules, and my phone was waiting for me on my porch when I got home.

Sweet!!

I'm already in love with my new camera!!


Today our 8th graders took their Math STAAR Test. So glad it's over...so ready for Friday.

109/365

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Today soccer took us to Victoria.

Victoria.

It sounds like a really nice place to visit, right?

This pretty much sums up our 2 hours in Victoria today.


It's good to be home.

I think I'm ready to tackle the week ahead!

108/365

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Today was one of those amazing days where it felt like it was early November this morning...where you're glad Halloween is over and you can't wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the decorations, except everything outside was beautiful and green and clean. And also it's April already.

And I love spring.

Love it!

Soccer was cancelled due to rain, so we all caught a great cloudy-afternoon-nap; thing two is at a sleepover with one of her faves, and thing one is on the tail end of baking some seriously amazing cupcakes.

What a perfectly fantastic Saturday!


Also, when you have a night alone with your 12 year old, may I suggest you give her a facial? Even though her personality is huge, her knowledge is vast, and she can make you feel that she is really nearly an adult, there is something that is pretty mind-boggling about revisiting the size of her features and her face that brings you back to how young, small, and dependent she still is.

And if you're like me, it will absolutely melt your heart.

Sure do love my Cee.

107/365

Friday, April 17, 2015

One of my favorite shirts I've seen in awhile - worn by one of my favorite students this year. :)


Happy Friday!

106/365

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Let's play cards," she said.

"How about Crazy 8?" I asked.


For the first six minutes, she was appeased. Then she said (in the sweetest voice), "This is so adorable and old fashioned..."

So we turned it up a notch.

Seems like Vegas is going to be a little more her speed.


Bring on the chips!

105/365 - Uh Oh

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I have been so careful with my phone(s) for so long. Over the course of the last 20 years, I have never broken a phone.

Today, the tables turned.

Quel désastre !


I feel ridiculously irresponsible, and I can't wait to get this fixed.

I also can't wait to buy a cute new case...

104/365

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In so many ways, Jay is just like me, and in so many ways, Cee is just like her dad. We laugh about this all the time...Jay and I are introverted, solitary people, while Cee and her dad are extroverted and hate being alone. Jay and I get our fuel from the quiet, and Cee and her dad are fueled by noise and crowds. This introvert/extrovert difference drives so many of the factors of our similarities and differences.

One of the few places we are opposites on this continuum revolves around sleep. Sleep doesn't come easy for me, and Cee, my fierce competitor, prefers to resist sleep for as long as possible. On the flip side, Jay could fall asleep pretty much anywhere. This has been the case for the last 10 years!


Sisters being sisters naturally led us toward "If she can't sleep, neither can I..." (even though I knew better for Jay) and from there, the madness ensued.

For the last couple of years, bedtime has been a bit of a struggle for all three of us. It has been stressful & drawn out and sometimes leaves one (or two or three) of us in a pool of tears. Even though we never went to bed mad, it was not a great way to end our nights, and on the roughest nights, we were not getting a good, full night of sleep.

We are people who need our sleep!

One of my friends started posting a few weeks ago about how her daughter struggled with sleep, and for some reason, her posts caught my attention.

As I kept reading her posts, I realized she could consistently attribute easier bedtimes and better sleep to Peace & Calming oil. I was more than a little envious of her discovery, and last week, I decided I was ready to give it a try.

Fast forward to last Friday - my oils came in the mail! The girls were with their dad, and I waited until Sunday evening to open everything with them.

I told them about my friend's daughter and we had an honest conversation about how we were not reaching the "ideal" level when it came to our night time routine.

Just like my friend, I rubbed the Peace & Calming into my hands, gave them a foot massage, and rubbed the backs of their necks before I gave them their goodnight kisses. And guess what...

When I checked on them 10 minutes later, they were both sound asleep.

Sound. Asleep.

We talked about it Monday morning - they both agreed that it was kind of awesome to fall asleep so easily, and they both said they slept really peacefully. However, they both wondered if maybe they were just worn out from the weekend.

Monday was a long day - early to school, lots of learning, soccer practice, a late dinner and late baths...again, we did the oil thing at bedtime. They both had tons of questions: What if it doesn't work? What if I can't sleep? Can we still come wake you up? Will you still pat our backs? And guess what...

When I checked on them 10 minutes later, they were both sound asleep. Again.

Although it's only been two nights of successful bed time routine, I am sold.

They love it.

I love it.

We were all so much happier last night, and this morning was nearly fuss-free.

Bonus? Actually, there are two. First, Mae loves bedtime because she thinks of it as a time to attack my hands. She thinks it's time to play and rumble, and when I'm tired, that just doesn't work. I've rubbed her ears (with the leftover oil on my hands) for the last two nights, and I swear it calms her, too.

Second, the scent of the oil on my hands helps me fall asleep much more quickly than usual, and I think I'll be able to wean myself off of one of my sleeping pills (yes, I take TWO different pills each night - one to fall asleep and one to stay asleep!!) before too long. Hooray!

This is a big positive change for us - I went ahead and ordered more Peace & Calming last night - it shipped today, and I should have it tomorrow.

I feel like a new woman and a better mom, and the girls feel better because of their improved sleep. We are all happier after just two days, and I can't wait to see what other benefits we'll see as we get further into this!

So that's my good news...

and I'm so happy to tell you about it.

103/365

Monday, April 13, 2015

Today's photo creds go to the girls.

Jay took (and edited) this one while we were waiting for Cee's soccer practice to end.


Seriously?

Seriously.

Love her perspective and innovative approach.

And Cee snapped this one on the way home...


Again, perspective and innovation: admired.

Also on the way home, we talked politics - just a smidge. We talked politics and education on the way to school this morning, and (as a side-note) I promised myself before I was a parent that I would never push my views on my kids; instead, I would introduce both sides to them and let them make up their minds. I had the same thing in mind for religion, and...there is definitely a special place for wishful thinking to reside. :)

By the time we hit the first school zone this morning, I could feel my face getting red and my blood pressure reminding me to simmer. Both girls had good questions, and we really had a good discussion.

On the way home from soccer this evening, I realized I forgot to tell them about Hillary in the midst of my Pearson diatribe! So I told them.

One of them: Wait. I thought she was dead.

The other of them: Yeah, I did, too.

Me: What?!?!? No!!! She's Chelsea's mom and Bill's wife!

One of them: I thought she invented the railroad.

The other of them: Yeah - the underground railroad.

Me: {moment of silence to collect myself}

Me: {another moment of silence to collect myself because...}

Me: Ummmm, that was Harriet Tubman. 

One of them: Oh.

The other one of them: So who are you talking about? 

Oh.

My.

Time for me to lose the whole politically correct facade and hop on my mama soap box. 

Can't wait...

P.S. - tomorrow I'll tell you my good news!

102/365

Sunday, April 12, 2015

       perfect spring weather this afternoon
   +
       sweet friends
   +
       Black's BBQ
   +
       Bob Schneider
   +
       a great cause
   +
       my new favorite venue
____________________________________

    a seriously wonderful Sunday afternoon



I think I have something exciting to tell you, but I need to wait until tomorrow (or maybe Tuesday) to make sure I don't jinx it!!

101/365

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Today has been mostly gloomy. It's a gray kind of day, and for some reason, the day perfectly fits my mood.

Super proud of these soccer girls - they work hard, they play hard, and they always make me proud.


I'm glad the rain behaved until after their hard-fought victory. ;)

100/365

Friday, April 10, 2015

I've been wrestling with a weird feeling lately...I'm starting to feel a little restless.

I'm totally familiar with this feeling - I've had it several times in my life. This is the first time I've had it since I've been a mom, and that makes it much more difficult to navigate this time around.

What to do, what to do?

These views and my little ladies dramatically tighten my radius. :)



I guess I'm going to have to get creative this time around...

99/365

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's day 99, and in honor of this day, I have to tell you that 99% of the time, I think middle school is absolutely, most certainly my calling.

What about the 1%, you ask? 

Well, when I visit an elementary school and see a gem like this, I totally think I'd love working with younger kids!



98/365

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cee asked me to send her some pics from when she was in Kindergarten.


I totally cried.

So tiny!

So cute!

So when Austin Java was only 10 minutes away!

This whole "raising kids and watching them grow up" thing isn't for the faint of heart!!

97/365

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The most perfect way to come home happened today.

Walked through door, greeted by thousands of puppy kisses. Poured glass of wine. Settled into favorite spot on couch, turned on T.V.

Sound of Nightly News had just started, and this was on FaceBook.


Check, please.

I ran out of sleeping pills Sunday and forgot to pick up my refill yesterday. This means I've had less than one full night's sleep for the course of the last two nights, so please don't judge me if I slip off to bed...in the next 10 minutes.

96/365

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mondays.

Soccer.

Jay likes to take pics on Mondays.




95/365

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nothing says Easter quite like new tennis rackets, cracking eggs on each others' heads (they got me good!), a round of tennis with said new rackets, and gifts for the pooch.






Warm Easter wishes to each of you...

P.S. - Croques Monsieur et Madame, où avez-vous été toute ma vie (moins l'oeuf frit, ce que je pouvais faire sans)?

94/365

Saturday, April 4, 2015

I love Austin.


And I love dog swag (it's a real thing).

We probably won't have to buy food or treats for Mae until mid-summer!

The Mighty Texas Dog Walk didn't disappoint, and as a bonus, we got to see some champion dogs showing off their skills.


 

Icing on the cake? They got their picture made next to a world-record setting fur ball


Gross, right?

93/365

Friday, April 3, 2015

Holy Harper Hayes Henry - what a sweet baby!

The girls got to meet their newest cousin today, and she was perfectly squishy and perfectly amazing.



What a little snuggle bug - we were all completely infatuated with her.

Welcome to the world, Harper.

92/365

Thursday, April 2, 2015

How lucky am I? This little love was my date for the night!


At the beginning of the school year, Cee decided her goal for 6th grade was to earn herself membership in the National Junior Honor Society. Let me tell you - she worked so hard! With each progress report, she determined her average (she needed a 93 to get in) and if she was not meeting or exceeding her goal, she made sure to stay for tutoring and redid assignments she wasn't pleased with.

Last week, we found out her hard work paid off, and tonight she was inducted into NJHS along with several of her best friends. I'm so proud of them for all their hard work! It's a pretty cool thing to watch your daughter choose a path and forge her way through it.


Jay is at a sleepover, so I made sure Cee knew the entire night was hers. She picked Mexican Food for dinner, requested a trip to Wal-Mart for tennis balls and brownies, and now we are curled up on the couch in our jammies playing UNO and watching Mysteries of Laura waiting for our brownies to bake.

I love that this is her idea of the perfect night, and I love her...to infinity.


91/365 - I Need a Break

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Somewhere between yesterday and today, we reached the quarter mark of the #365tolife endeavor.

Yay!

This week has been spent deep in the throes of testing.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Our kids have been tested to death, and they handled it with oodles of grace. Super proud of them for their dedication to learning and progress.

For the course of the last week, my classroom was turned from a learning environment into a testing environment, and I reeeaaaalllly look forward to restoring it to a learning place tomorrow morning!

We can all thank Pearson for the culture of testing...don't even get me started. And for the record, this picture was taken after ALL secure testing materials were out of my room and in the safe hands of the district guardians. The contents of these boxes? Lots and lots of headphones.


This year, Pearson mainstreamed Computer-Based Testing for a specific demographic of students, and I have to say I am impressed with how the kids managed this technology. It's their turf: they are 21st century kids who are used to instant gratification and who don't know life without a computer in their back pocket.

Today I realized how ready I was for the week to end, and it's only Wednesday (whaaaaat?). I think every kid and every teacher who tested or altered their normal schedule this week, all in order to test, deserve the pink sign right about now!


At my school today, we finished round 1 of STAAR, all of TELPAS, and all of G/T testing. I was on the brink of tears when I went to pick up the girls. The sweet lady who keeps them after school used to be an instructional coach, and as soon as the tears started welling up in my eyes, she stopped me and simply gave me a high five.

"You're done! You survived," she said to me!

Same words I spoke to so many of our teachers who tested this week.

She saved me from a whole mess of tears. Whew!!! And thank you.

In the midst of all of this, Jay has been trying to raise money for the Walk for Diabetes (primarily because she knows a few people who suffer from this horrible affliction, and secondarily because she really wants to win a Sumo Blow-Up Outfit so she can "run into walls and stuff"), and today I realized I failed her as a mom this week.

She created her own "Go Fund Me" page specifically for this purpose on Sunday evening, and I promised her I would promote it. It's one of the few promises I have not kept with her, and I feel awful. However, I do love her sense of humor...with my whole heart.


I hate that I haven't been able to give her efforts more attention this week, and next year I vow to be a better multi-tasker.

It's 8:10 pm, and I could have put myself to bed 2 hours ago. Instead, I am going to enjoy one more glass of wine, and then I'm going to call it a night.

Thanks for reading...weeks like this are times when I remember just how therapeutic writing is to me!

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