A Thank You!

Thank you to all who dropped by my little slice of the internet blogging world.

I’d like to say my blog will continue on through the year until next March, and who knows, maybe I will post here and there;

But I do love the specialty of this routine that comes in March. Something fun I don’t normally do, a place to share, connect, and make friends!

Thank you for all the encouragement, the humor, the real-ness you shared! And I think I’ll continue to write, but in my own journal, and with my students (not to mention the papers for the classes I’ll be starting in May!)

I look forward to connecting with everyone again next year! Keep being the amazing  educators, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, human beings!! This Slicing world is always one I love coming to. 🙂

Word Vomit

I write this is a walk a mile back to the car; feeling defeated and like I just can’t win, even when I try so hard.

Seasonal depression hits me pretty hard, especially around the February/March mark- which, I know, hits most hard.

I guess that’s why I felt so defeated, like a failure and like someone who broke even when she tried so hard not to break.

The past two weeks have been the hardest 2 weeks I’ve mentally had in as long as I can remember. I was breaking down because we ran out of plastic bags. I was a puddle on the floor because I forgot about the bagel I was roasting and it burned. I was in tears, or on the verge of, just about every hour of the day- including at school (which as you all know is so so hard).

I don’t really know why.  Nothing awful is happening in my life, at all, unless you count the fact that I like a plan and I feel like my life has no plan, but that’s like a whole other problem.

In fact, things really couldn’t get any better; until i get my cat, and the sun comes out, and the grass shows green, and it’s warmer than 40°.

I finally broke this past week. Jake convinced me to take a day. I didn’t want to; I’ve never done that. Ive never felt so defeated that I needed to “take a day”, and finally being at the point where I wrote out my personal day form- I felt like I had hit the lowest of lows. (This is not meant to “bash on” those who take these mental health days!! I am jealous of the fact that you can take them with pride and not guilt!!)

I added a 4 mile run in to my mental health day. It was good until mile 3.5, my knee felt a pain I’ve never felt before. I’m a pretty avid runner, though it’s been awhile since I’ve been outside (it was a chilly 45° cloudy afternoon but it was enough to get me outside), so I figured the change in terrain was to blame.

Today’s I set out for the same run, figuring if I’m consistent with it it will be fine.

1.5 miles in and the pain is almost unbearable.

I turned around, walked a little, and couldn’t hold back the pain I was trying so hard to hide by biting my lip and pushing on.

So here I am, walking.

I don’t like needing to be this person.

This person who needs breaks and who can’t do the seemingly simple things I’ve done all my  life.

I know this will all pass. I know it’s a time, or a phase, or maybe there’s a bigger reason. But I know it won’t last. I’m just impatient to get back to the person I know I am and can be.

It’s frustrating to not be and feel yourself.

Selfish Post

SEEKING RECOMMENDATIONS!!

I want my cat to be well traveled- and by that, I mean, I want to take him places! These places would include long-ish car rides- say, Maine to Vermont (4-5hour drive).

Do you take your kitty friend in the car?! What do you bring along? Do you have one of those seats that hang over the front passenger seat and provide a soft place for them to sit and look out the window? Or maybe one of those seats that suction cup to the window so they can lounge up close to the world outside.

I don’t want to keep him in a kennel or box, I want him to be comfortable!

Also- do you bring a kitty box for the car?!

Please tell me all your tricks to getting your kitty to love the car!!

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2 teachers

The life and relationship of two individuals who are both teachers (and coaches).

September & October

My schedule:

Coaching Girls on the Run as well as Varsity&JV soccer practices, with at least 2 games a week.

His schedule:

After school choral rehearsals, watching home soccer games, and getting dinner ready almost nightly so that when I get home we can eat together before 9pm.

November-March

His schedule:

After school choral rehearsals and hockey practice with 1-2 games (not starting until at least 7pm) every week. Don’t forget rehearsals for Chizzle Whizzle (he directs the high school talent/musical).

My schedule:

Watching home hockey games and traveling to games that are no more than 1hr away (I hate driving alone and especially at night), making dinners so that we’re eating before 9pm (on non game nights- game nights I usually deliver Subway, Chipotle, or a good ole fashioned PB&J.)

March-June

My schedule:

Tutoring 3 nights a week, 2 hours each night. Coaching Girls on the Run.

His Schedule:

After school choral rehearsals and……The new Varsity Boys Lacrosse coach!!! (proud GF moment-  Varisty high school coach at age 28?! He rocks!)

Here it is, 8:50pm, I got home around 7:30 after Girls on the Run practice and 2 tutoring sessions. Made (yes- like rolled out the dough, and saused and seasoned) a pizza- had it ready to come out of the oven by 8:30 for when I thought he’d be home…… still waiting for him to come through the door! The crappy part of outside sports practicing inside one gym- rotating practices- his was a late one tonight.

Tomorrow our schedules both allow us to be done by 4:30pm. We have a date with the gym, and then a trip to one of our favorite little take out restaurant. I can’t wait! I miss him!

Our summers (kind of) slow down- but neither of us would trade our lives! We love school and coaching and having each other has been such a wonderful thing to cling to when the days get long and hard, but so worth every second.

The life of two teachers coexisting and trying to create a solid life together- busy, but beautiful 🙂

What is “Fair”?

Here’s my deal:

I want kids to be kids. I want them to express themselves how they want to. I want them to do things that make them feel comfortable, and I want them to feel like they can wear what they want, do something how they would like to, and be able to express their wants and needs in multiple ways.

All appropriately, of course.

And before you jump down my throat, this doesn’t apply to everything. 

I dabble in flexible seating.

I have tried a “new trend” of not raising hands, but instead, standing up (in place of raising the hand) and reading signals (eye contact, head nods) or recognizing appropriate social cues (pause in conversation, polite conversation initiations).

I allow “fidget tools” such as the fidget cube, putty/playdoh, or a small “squishy” that fits in the palm of their hand- and stays there- and is only used to foster comfort, confidence, and focus during learning times (they know that the first time I see them “playing” or that their “tool” becomes a “toy”, I ask them to put it away for the rest of the day).

But none of those are what I really have issues with, because, well, they’re done within the walls of my classroom, they work for me and for my students, and no one else really knows (or cares to know) about it.

What I’m talking about here, are hats in school.

It started with one girl; when the season changed to fall and it got chilly, she wore a beanie to school and asked if she could wear it throughout the day. I said as long as it wasn’t a distraction to her or for others, she could continue to wear it.

Since that day, I have about 2 or 3 girls who will regularly wear a beanie with their outfit. I have one girl who loves her Pikachu hat, and says it brings her comfort and happiness when she wears it.

These kids never play with their hat. They never touch it, they don’t continuously take it on/off, no one else plays with it- in fact, the only people who ever have commented on them wearing it, have been adults.

I told the kids, that if they wear their hat, it is only to be worn in the classroom. Honestly- I don’t even notice these things anymore, so if we walk to a special or to the lunch room, I trust that they have taken it off. Occasionally, they forget, because they’re children (read: humansand all they need is a quiet reminder to take it off and they will shyly smile, apologize, and take it off. They are never rude or disrespectful.

It was brought to my attention the other day that my allowing of hats has [caused a problem] in our school and has [crossed a school rule] line and that, with my allowing of this [behavior] to happen, it shows other kids that they can also [break the rules].

I reassured that it should only be done in my classroom, that I would be more vigilant, and that if the student were to ever be disrespectful, they would lose the opportunity.

But then I was told that wasn’t fair, either.

Sometimes, you can’t win, huh?

Please don’t criticize me. Instead, if you think what I’m doing is “wrong”, give me your point of view- why you feel it isn’t appropriate and what you feel I can do instead to still foster that “independent, individual, comfortable” feeling.

I need tissues

Almsot every Sunday, we go to dinner at my parents’. They live about a half an hour away. I’m not going to lie- sometimes, it’s really hard to get the energy at 4pm on a Sunday to go over.

Sometimes it’s more stressful than enjoyable to go over, either because I have too much to do on a Sunday evening to prep for the week, or because I did so much all week/weekend that I just want to relax on my own couch all evening.

I’ve been getting better at recognizing when I’m feeling sluggish about going. For a while, I would go, even with a sour attitude, and I hated the way I felt and acted. I never wanted them to think that I was “upset” to be there, it was just stress, exhaustion, or both. Now, if I realize I’m feeling a certain way, I call my mom and explain, and she of course understands and always makes me feel okay about my decision to stay home; but I still always feel a little selfish. I know they’re only getting older, I know they’ll be moving to Florida soon, and I know how fortunate I am to have both of my parents still living together in the same house I grew up in only 30 minutes away. I know what a privilege that is. (Not to mention I get a home cooked meal and free laundry).

Today, before we went over, we attended a funeral for a friend who’s mother passed away last week.

He’s my age.

As I say there and listened to the beautiful readings and speeches, I became overwhelmed with the thought of “what if it was my mom”?

I don’t even know what words I would use to adequately portray the amazing woman that my mother is. I’m choking back tears again just writing those words.

My mind stumbles on the mundane every day things that she does for us. I fumble through thoughts and memories trying to think of one that would capture what is the pure beauty, strength, and selflessness that is my mother. I can’t even find the right words to describe her.

I wish I could say “I never hope I have to”, but I know, inevitably, I will have to.

I dread that day.

We left the funeral, and went to my parents’. I spent the rest of the time soaking up every minute spent with them, knowing that it’s so possible that it could be the last.

 

24 more days!

Since I left you in a little suspense yesterday, I figured today I should probably share with all of you the wonderful creature that will soon be ours! Slice of Lifers- meet Pinarello aka Rello!

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He is a Siberian, and if you’re familiar with the breed, he will basically look like a mini lion- they say he will be at least 18lbs full grown!!

Don’t hate on me for going through a breeder, please. If I could adopt (and spend well over 1,000 less than I am), I would. In a heartbeat. In fact, the whole reason we are going through a breeder started with a trip to the pet store. Here’s what happened:

One day this past winter, we caught a mouse in our garage. Our landlord uses seeds to lure them in a bucket, and voila, there he was. She asked us if we were to find one, to take the bucket up the driveway and let him scurry out in to the woods. So, we’re driving up the drive with this mouse in a bucket on my lap, and I say to Jake (boyfriend), “Can we get a pet? Maybe like a mouse? This guy is cute!”

Jake and I both have pretty bad allergies. Even though I grew up always having cats around, after moving out, I noticed how much they really bothered me. Jake has always been very sensitive to cats and dogs (and hamsters, and guinea pigs), so having a cat was never really on the table, even though I desperately missed having one around; I knew it just wasn’t really possible.

Jake laughed at my request, but agreed we could go to Pet Smart and take a look. Maybe a lizard? He was down for the idea of a hairless/furless pet. We got there and I decided that, just because I wanted to see, Id walk past the kittens for adoption.

Bad idea.

I fell in love. Hard. So hard, in fact, that Jake nudged me to call the Humane Society to come let me in to the cage so I could meet him, and just seeeeeeee how things went.

Of course, I snuggled the crap out of this cat. I loved on him hard and he nuzzled right back. Jake and I looked at each other, knowing there was no way we were leaving without him now. We went outside to talk it over, he could be ours for $70 next day!

But within minutes we noticed the itchy skin, red puffy swollen eyes, sniffly noses…. we were dying, but didn’t want to admit it.

Sadly, we did not get to adopt him. We knew it wasn’t right.

I cried the entire way home, and that’s when Jake realized how much I really wanted (and needed) a furry companion in my life, so he did his research.

Siberian cats are one of the “most hypoallergenic” cats you can get. We learned about the breed, we were excited about the potential, so we decided to really look around for a breeder now.

After one scam (thankfully, got the money back), one allergy testing, 5 waiting lists, lots of days wondering, dreaming, and thinking…. we finally got an email saying we were first on the list for a pick of the liter from a liter born on Valentine’s Day.

We couldn’t meet him until 5 weeks, after his immune system was stronger, and we will get to take him home 1 week early because we will be on April vacation so the breeder was happy to give us the extra time with him!

We are now “kitty proofing” our apartment and making sure all the “final” things are in place! But he will be home in 24 days and we could not be more excited!

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Expecting

The excitement is killing me.

He’s all I think about.

I talk about him like he’s already here.

I think about where he will sleep.

I think about what he’ll like to eat.

I think about if he’ll like to snuggle.

I have just about everything ready for him.

I get to meet his furry little self tonight for the first time.

Our kitten will be home so soon, and I can’t wait to hold him, love him, spoil him, and make him the center of my world! 🙂

Yes. I’m about to be,

A crazy cat mom.

 

Kids and Adults Alike

This post was inspired by the lesson I did with my girls during our Girls on the Run practice (Girls on the Run is a program for girls in grades 3-5- they learn life skills/confidence skills/relationship building skills as well as prepare/train for a 5k at the end of the season).

The lesson was “Confident vs. Challenge”. They were given 16 things that they were to decide if they were “confident” about choosing to do that thing, or if they felt that it was a challenge. I decided to take the challenge myself and see what I felt and if any of my answers matched the girls.

I am confident that I can choose to or it is a challenge for me to choose to … 

Be truthful- To who?” is the question that comes to mind. To others? I’m confident that I choose to be truthful. To myself? Now that, that is a challenge. I tell myself that I’m not too busy to do that one more thing, or that I have time to do everything, and well, I suffer because I push so hard to do it all, and I don’t want to fail the people or things I’ve committed to. I find it hard to be truthful about things I want to do or eat or say because I always want to please everyone and I want everyone else to always be happy or content, even if that means convincing myself that I want something else vs. what I really want.

Be accountable to myself and others- Does skipping workouts because I’m exhausted count as not holding myself accountable? 🙂

Encourage others- Confident!

Serve in my community- Confident!

Stand up for myself and my values- Ehhhh….. sometimes? I have a hard time standing up for my time, mostly. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid to use my voice and speak my mind and my opinions when I feel they need to be shared.

Be a good friend- Confident!

Celebrate what makes me unique- I’ve never really done this, I don’t think? At least not intentionally. I don’t know if it’s a challenge or if I just haven’t done it or thought it important enough to do. But hey, I’ll toast my uniqueness with a glass of wine any day!

Respect other people’s belongings- Confident!

Show gratitude- Challenge. I don’t do this enough. I focus on the negative way too much. It’s a work in progress and I definitely try to embrace all that is positive and good around me, however, I also tend to counter it with a negative.

Try and make healthy choices- OMG tryyyyyyyy being that key word! I try. Hard. But man, some days I need an ice cream. Or wine. Or a pizza. Or fried chicken. Other days I eat all my veggies, I portion my food, and I go to the gym regularly. Balance, right?

Keep an open mind and allow others to express themselves- Confident!

Do the best I can- Besides the days I’m just a big negative Nancy and want to stay in bed until my boyfriend drags me out of it and makes me see all the good in my life.

Express my feelings- Is there such a thing as feeling “too confident” about something? Yeah.. overly confident. That’s me, with this. Blessing and a curse, ya feel? 🙂

Create a safe environment where all girls can be themselves- Confident!

Find the positive in myself and others- I think we’ve covered this 🙂 It can be a struggle.

Exercise regularly, eat well, and get enough sleep- Okay, okay I get it!! I try!! 

It’s funny how even as adults we find some of these things challenging, but it’s great to share with the “little people” in our life, whether they are 5, 10, 16, 27….reminds them that even as adults we still haven’t mastered them.

 

Automatic

This week can be summed up with this scenario that happened after school today.

I finally got a second to sit down and pee.

As I reach for the toilet paper

I swipe my hand under the dispenser.

Only

The dispenser is not automatic.

And it took me a couple swipes before I realized this.

To be fair,

The paper towel dispenser IS automatic.