What in the world was that?

Yesterday, I was so lazy and stayed in bed all day long sleeping on and off all day long. I was sleeping a good little stretch when I saw a tree outside of my window unnaturally bent in a direction it should not have been. I got up quickly and looked outside and just then the suction in the window scared the crap outta me. Sleepy Mommy went in to panic mommy mode and had my girls in our bathtub with pillows and blankets in 15 second flat. #3 was asleep in her bed by a window and my guy took up camp with her.

Whatever was moving through was freakishly weird. It was a storm without rain. There were raging winds, pitch black skies and eerie screeching sounds. I knew whatever was going on outside was not good.

I peeked outside and snapped that shot quickly. And while out there my trees were literally on their sides. Trees that I had never ever seen sitting on their sides.

Honestly, this picture does it little justice because our winds were recorded at 91mph during this storm. This picture clearly is not 91mph. During those gust it was hard to even open our patio door. I tried.

Finally 10 minutes later it calmed down and actually stormed. Thought it left little rain in its wake. However, there was quite a bit of damage and our cell service was spotty because of it all. The photographer in me was dying to get out there and see it all as it just happened so I did.

A tree that just totally uprooted here in this yard. It is missing a huge hunk of itself though. Wanna see that?

It is in the neighbors yard across the street. How unsafe is that? I consider my whole neighborhood incredibly blessed because this was a common scene. Trees all over the place. Not little twigs. Full on adult mature trees.

And roof damage like this…everywhere! This is our neighbors behind us back yard. We were watching as their shingles were taking flight. And praying hard our newly placed roof weathered the storm just fine (and it did.)

And here is Cece who is kind of tired of me leaving her and going outside to snap pictures after the storm. She hates storms. She is clearly exhausted. Whatever it was, was scary! Since I have moved here I can honestly say we have had some of the worst weather like that that I have ever seen.

Saturday Sharing…The Family Is Coming!

My brother & sister in law are making a visit today. The girls adore their uncle. They always have. Don’t get me wrong, they love all their relatives. They just love their uncle.

Education Sharing…

I haven’t honestly been surfing much this week. Well I take that back, I have. But it is curriculum and well that is probably boring city for my readers. This is a great site thought even if it you are just a parent. I have always made it part of my job to familiarize myself what is expected of my girls. Not to hold it against the teacher and their teaching but to hold myself accountable as a partner to their teacher. The learning connection had a great site for all things education in Indiana.

I found a great site similar to pinterest for education. It is called Learnist. I am only beginning to check it out! It is still in beta form and you have to request to be invited! But from what I was introduced to it is nice.

IPAD App Sharing…

I am new to the ipad scene. But I have been bombarded in training and just mere spread that I have an IPAD with help. Here are a few of my favs.

  • My #1 by far….Nearpod. It claims to be the only app synchronizing teacher and student ipads. Think about it. 30 some kids and each has an ipad. How in the world do you keep them engaged in your lecture? Nearpod has the answer to that. The IPADS through the use of a pin # pull students into a virtual classroom/presentation where you control their ipads and the speed of the lecture. You can give quizzes on it, visually see who has left and gone to home screen and react accordingly,  take surveys and have kids draw. The capabilities are endless. And it is free. You only can use ten “lessons” but I think that is entirely doable. The even better part? If you have created a power point lesson plan it will convert it for you allowing you to add in some of the interactive features likes quizzes and surveys. How awesome is that?
  • Mickey’s Road Rally-An interactive Mickey’s Clubhouse. An obvious hit at my house with #3. She adores it and can talk back to Mickey when he asks questions.
  • My fitness pal has an awesome app. What I like about it is its smart uses….scan your food. It has all the nutritional information. Tell it what exercises you are doing it calculates your loss. It has massive interactivity for your goals and how to meet them and tells you when you haven’t eaten enough or too much. Same with exercise.
  • Draw Something-Just a fun game all around and I love playing with my daughters. They try and cheat and just write the word. I refuse to play then. I make them draw. It is so fun!
  • Coolest Looking App-Weather Channel’s App is so cool looking and if you flip to the landscape view it shows what it is doing which I imagine will be kind of awesome with snow. 😦
  • Though the app is still under development I really think I like My Big Campus. Which looks and acts a lot like facebook with Blackboard interwoven. This is what my district has decided to use for our students and classes. It is just one more way to reach them where they are and all grades pre-k-12 will be using it. It has censors in place as it should with this age group. I accidentally tested it out. I was example of how to connect twitter to it. Well then I wrote my Bad Ass softball player post (they always go to twitter too) and it posted to my wall on big campus. I got a love note suggesting I be a little more careful with my language. HA ha! Whoopsy! Needless to say I disconnected.
  • Last one…Directv. It allows you to watch direct tv in real time. It is actually amazing technology. Supposedly, you can watch your dvr’ed stuff but either you can’t or we can’t figure it out yet.

I will admit now most of my uses are social in nature. Once I am teaching I am 100% positive that will change. For now, my girls enjoy this more than I do.

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Get a glimpse of where I surf regularly? Go to Saturday Sharing.

Bad Ass Softball Player

When I was 17 and I played softball (yes I totally know I shared this before) we had a tournament that we did extremely well in and it gave us a berth to the NSA World Series of Softball held in Kansas City. I had played softball with this travel team for much of my softball career.

We had the most adorable pin striped shirts that were the polyester blend with red polyester baseball pants. We had the thick white socks with red stirrups (the real deal not the included in sock kind). And bandanas.

Can you find me? We were a groovy looking bunch of ladies, I know. But with this excessive heat we are having it keeps bringing me back to that world series. It was a record producing heat wave back then too. The temp when we had one of our games was a record 116. I remember them having ambulances on standby at the diamonds knowing many girls would end up in them.

I suffered too from heat exhaustion. I remember pitching a few innings and feeling horribly nauseated and dizzy. I thought I would puke. I ended up on the ground with ice on me and cold wash clothes. I was more irritated that my coach made me lay down for an inning than I was worried about being ill.I remember all these other girls running around in sports bras and the baseball pants. ESPN was there filming and I was so scared my parents would see me in my sports bra and be mad if I did that so I opted to sweat.

But what is making me smile tonight is that this team introduced me to several things in my life and things that still make me smile and feel like a bad ass softball player.

  1. Grape Crush
  2. Highlights in my hair
  3. Always having to listen to Phil Collin’s “I can feel it in the air”to get up pumped up
  4. And who could forget our loud softball chant to the tune of 4 Non-Blondes “What’s up
  5. Taco bell
  6. Loud and annoying softball chants that irritated everyone but come nothing close to what #1’s cheers say. Our cheers were about our team, not making fun of the other. Things have evolved.
  7. Mean catcher comments. I moonlighted as a catcher sometimes for this team. I am the type of person that comes across nice but have a tougher meaner side that no one sees coming. Well I was quite known for telling my 17 year old opponents what I knew about their boyfriends and it isn’t at all appropriate for this blog. Funny thing is it was a team effort. They devised it, I just said it.
  8. How to do hair fluffy and big. Most of these girls were cheerleaders and totally into hair and make up so that was a part of this team. The whole hair and make up scene has never really been mine. But they showed me. Funny thing is looking at this picture I think I look kind of funny and not at all trendy and fashionable like I thought I did back then.
  9. Bandanas and softball do not go together. We even wore helmets then so bandanas and running, hitting and throwing didn’t really work. But hey we looked awesome!
  10. It is okay to love people you once hated. Some of these girls were the mean girls. I never tolerated mean girls much. I bullied the bullies (remember that post from way back?) so I didn’t really give them a chance to be nice girls. I just assumed since they were mean to people I knew they were turds and treated them as such. In the end playing summer after summer and many of nights spent in hotel rooms up all night and freezing when a coach or chaperone would walk by I got to know these ladies. I did end up loving them and almost everyone of them taught me a valuable lesson.

If I had any of my top childhood/teenage memories that were the best my time with these girls and these coaches were probably second to memories with my family. They were my second family and my family from April till September of every summer. I wish I would have appreciated it more when I was in like I can now because I was one bad ass softball player back in the day.

Birthday Celebrations!

We have pretty much been celebrating #2’s bday for 3 days. I am guessing she feels pretty darn special.

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Totally knocked my girls socks off with this one. She got a kindle fire and had no idea it was coming. She has rarely left it alone since. I am so glad we saved for this one. Currently saving for #1’s.

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Here we are singing “Happy Birthday, Abbie!”

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Finally, today (three days later) my girl got a birthday meal. I knew she would be in love with the dessert bar at this restaurant so we ventured out. She wasn’t disappointed!

-First two photos were taken on my IPAD and the last on the blackberry. I have been running around and keep forgetting to have my camera in tow. I improvised.

Just Write: With tears in my eyes

Here I am at it again. I can’t quit crying. I woke up at 6 elephant on my chest. I tried to snuggle in close to my guy. He rolled over. I flipped on the DVR with the idea it was perfect timing to catch up. I hear #3 whisper from the floor. “No, I don’t want you.” I glance over and wondered how she got there. I knew I had to get up early too many things to do.

My to-do list. Final clean out of my university office. Student files, tons of student files that I must hold onto for a year. Turn in my key. It will be sad. A key to the past but also letting go for the future. IPFW was my security blanket. I could sit out there and gather my bearings and figure out who I am. And here I am again wondering hallowed halls of a building and a life that I never have. The possibilities seem endless. But scary. How will I ever relate to these kids? I am used to adult children.

Back to my to-do list. Copies of my Indiana University transcripts, Copies of my Praxis Test scores, copies of my social security card, copy of my check voided, copy of a note from my boss at IPFW that says how many years experience I have. Copy of the proof I was born. And retirement #. Oh yea, I will have a retirement. My retirement fund was in a penny jar and likely had all the stale, old, crusty, pennies that gathered at the bottom of my purse but grossed me out enough to be granted a reprieve into the mason jar.

Off track again you to do list. Curriculum. For a year now I have heard my guy complain about the “new” way to do things coming down from Indy (or the state). You know, the politicians that decide how teachers should teach. They want each child to determine in elementary who they are meant to be from the get go. Think of college majors but for elementary. Once that decision is made they are set on a path. A path amply named “Pathways” by our lovely politicians. Well that path tells me how to do it. A text book tells me what to teach on what day. Where do I fit into that. I sit in my boss’ office and say, “Can I put myself in there?” “Well yes, that is exactly what we want and why we hired you.” I remind myself, “Teaching isn’t the problem. It never was.”

To do list continued. Gotta get certified in CPR. Check. Gotta satisfy the state that I am qualified to teach children. Check. Gotta get my classroom ready. Gotta paint my classroom. Gotta disinfect all the desks in my room. And oh yea my students desks have screw legs that make them all at different levels. Gotta screw them all so they are same level. Gotta collaborate with English 9 teacher and try and swerve and miss her curriculum while still scaffolding on what she is doing. Gotta clean my house, do laundry, vacuum, actually make dinner, pay attention to my guy, shop for professional attire and scrub my damn toilets (they need it bad).

This to-do list though it distracts me. It takes me away from what matters. I am one of the lucky moms who gets to do this every summer. I get to be home with my kiddos every single second. And amazingly I just signed a contract that will allow me this for years to come. And for the last three weeks I have done anything but. I have been a bad distracted mother. They probably wonder why I won’t just settle down.

Sit with me and read a book. “No, I gotta email this lady back.”

Momma, wanna go swimming with us. “Honey, I gotta finish looking at this textbook.”

Hey, you wanna watch a movie? That one you taped a few weeks ago? “Well, I do but I should really sit down and look over this paperwork.”

Can we go shopping? “Not today. Too busy honey.”

I am not the first mother to work. I won’t be the last. I just pray we all survive. I feel so disconnected from them all. We cuddle at the first of every morning and we love at the end of every night and there are fleeting moments in between. But is it enough?

I suppose my thinking I am not enough is only just beginning. I am just not sure I can handle it. The plight I contend with is, “My presence is needed.” But my job can provide things that my family needs and wants and has done with out.

These aren’t things like fancy vacations and new carpet. These are survival things. Like dental insurance for better dental care. We have afforded what we could but it was never enough. It is eye insurance for eye exams we stretched out to every two years. Or it is not having to make payment arrangements on each and every medical bill we get. It will mean plopping down the money to pay then and there and finally take advantage of that discount they always try and coax us into if we paid right now.

It is so college can be an option because really in our house it isn’t. My girls will go to college or some sort of secondary institution. But how can I tell them they have to go if I cannot provide them with at least some financial backing. It is a house in order that works as it should. And bottom line it is extra money in the bank. Money that hasn’t been there and will allow us some room to breath and a little less stress and maybe just maybe we can buy that carpet when we save up the money.

But when they say, “Mommy, please don’t go.” It is hard. I suck it up. I know it is for the best and I know I am not the only one. And maybe that helps. But mostly not. Instead, I just know that I am doing what I need to do for my family. But now, we are in summer. I do have a lot to do. But nothing is more important than the job I have right here.

Baby Girl # 2 was born today…

The night before I went into labor I was tired and my guy was rubbing my feet and I said, “I am so ready for her to come. Any day but tomorrow.” It was June 25th and my sisters birthday is June 25th. I have always been funny about people sharing birthdays. I just kind of thought they should be special on their days.

A bad thunderstorm moved through around 2AM. I could right away tell labor was looming. #1 was fussing from the thunder and I reassured her all was well and climbed into a tub. It didn’t stop. My guy went to work and was there for two hours when I called and said, “We gotta go to the hospital.”

Once he got home we decided to do a long walk in hopes of making sure this was really it. It was. An hour labor we were in the hospital in full blown labor and getting an epidural.

This labor was so foreign to what I went through with #1. I was in labor with her for 3 stinking days. With #2 I was in labor with her for a little over 12 hours. Start to finish. It was all so quick I even delivered as the doc was trying to get dressed and prepped for my delivery.

I told him I didn’t need him anyway cause she was bound and determined she was coming. And she did. She was so tiny. 6lbs and 1 oz. By the time we left the hospital she was (edited because really…15lbs?) 5lbs and 12oz.

We wanted her so bad. She was so special and filled a hole that had been created in our loss. But nothing about her was ever normal. And you know what…I wouldn’t change a thing. She came screaming dramatically into this world and her life has not been any different.

Her presence is magnet and brittle. Her tininess is fierce and big. My sweet baby girl turned 8 today! Happy Birthday sweet girl!

My Sincerest Apologies

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

If you have sat next to me in the softball stands I apologize now. I am not new to the softball scene. This is our third year. This is the year #1 decided to take it serious (technically the end of last year). But where I am from softball is different. Or maybe it was different here. I am not sure which is more different but I know what I like. Therefore, you probably hear more of my opinion than you want to hear.

In this town you have two important things that qualifies you for softball. Two things that mean more than anything else. Your name and who you know. That has stepped on me twice already just in our regular season. Back where I am from your name helped but skill, it is what got you on the field period.

But remember #1 does travel league as well as recreational league. I don’t know it all, not even close. I wouldn’t act like it either. But I know my share and I have a blog so I can write about it. HA!

Instead my problem is behavior. Parents behavior (my own included at times) and coaches. Tonight I over heard two coaches talking poorly about a player. They didn’t think people could hear, but they did. And it was my daughter they were talking about. And I could tell she heard them.

But how is that right? You know what is special about my daughter? She gets up every morning and wants to practice. We go out and sweat our tuckuses off batting, throwing and pitching. She loves the sport. She plays any position proudly with pride because she is just one of those kiddos who loves the sport and is glad to be on the field. This weekend she had the taste of riding the bench some in her travel league and you know what? She didn’t care. She cheered loud and proud and was grateful to have the opportunity to even be part of the experience.

So I suppose I should try and look to her for how to react. I should worry less about the things I cannot control (others) and remember it isn’t just supposed to be fun for the kiddos playing but the parents in the stands. If I forget this even for a moment and you sit next to me…My sincerest apologies.