I suppose it is time…

that my girls start learning how to cook a bit more, right?

365.253 – #3 making her toast this morning.

Sorry not that quality, she did have a knife in her hand, ya know!

 

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Just Write: I am going to have to push harder.

Every year I think my life can’t more added in and well it does. Never more than I feel like I can handle. Okay well maybe a tad bit more than I handle, but somehow I do pull through. I have no doubt this adventure will be no different and I do say adventure because it is. I haven’t been the working mom of three girls ever. I have been working mom of 1 and well it was hard. Emotionally hard more than anything. But I gotta push through!


But I know that means I need to push harder. I need to push myself further. To be a better mom, a better wife and a better teacher and student. I tried last year to be the mom that did this —> Lunch notes & This! Sometimes I rocked it and sometimes I failed. I need to rock it for my girls. The reality is I am *sometimes* that mom and I need to be okay with it.

I need to be a better friend, daughter, sister and grand daughter. I used to write thank you notes, birthday cards, celebration cards and now I bow my head in shame because I forgot or there just wasn’t enough time. Do you send them late? Do you apologize? Do you pretend like it didn’t happen at all? I need to push myself to be more organized so I can never feel guilty that those around me might not know how we feel.

I am a graduate student. I have a 3.8 gpa as a graduate student. That didn’t come easily. I have seen people do much less than I have  and come away with more. They had issues, they had things, they had reasons that got them there. But I know I know I worked my ass off for my 3.8 and there were always issues, things and reasons. But I did it. I did it on time, giving it my best and my issues, things and reasons never uttered.They were merely obstacles I needed pushed outta my way!

I have a full time job now, three kids, a husband and a house. Those things are issues, reasons and things I could use but I won’t go out like that. I want this last year of graduate school to be like the first two. One I worked hard for and one to be proud of. I didn’t kiss ass to get it, I wasn’t a grade grubber and I didn’t beg for special attention. I am merely pushing myself to be the best I can be. Always have and always will!

There is one area I need to push even harder. I have to remain a warrior. A warrior for her. My #2 who, yes, gets copious amounts of my attention. But she needs it. This school will be the year I push harder to protect her. I push harder to not ever accept her as different. This is the year that she gets what she needs. The year that ISTEP won’t be the year we fears. The year that she overcomes yet again the beast that is on her back. A beast I am not afraid to slay over and over and over! I need to push harder even when I want to give up.

And last but not least, I need to recognize I work in a world that tries to fit you into a box. Not because they have ill will or because they think it is best. But because it is the nature of the field. I need to push harder to not go into that box. Because when I resist that box my students are allowed to resist that box. And I believe outside that box lies inspiration, hope and true personality. I was never meant to be boxed in. It took me until I was 36 (almost!) to say that out loud.

I NEED TO PUSH HARDER TO CONTINUE BEING WHO I AM!

How beautiful!

It was one of those sunsets that just takes your breath away…. 365.252

Life is good and my blogging will be sporadic. That much I can be sure of. I am trying to make it on here every day but I am really counting down now to the big SHOW and I want to lap up these last few weeks with my girls. Our schedule fills up more and more every day. More and more of the outside world cutting into the inside. I want to say stop. No more. But that world out there, it needs me. But so do they.

I guess I am ready to board this never ending train of balancing it all. I just hope I can do it! My great words of wisdom are short on words but big in meaning. After my stay at home vs. work post the other a convo took place on Facebook that gave me a new perspective. And that is realizing that it is okay for me to go to work, to even be excited to do so. For so long, I have felt guilty for wanting too. I let that feeling diminish my own value as a mother and the fact of the matter is IT JUST DOESN’T. It is okay to work and be a mom. The only person that can make me feel bad for that is me.

Sure others can open their mouths and say crappy thoughtless things but I can choose to accept it or reject it. I am not there yet but I am getting there. I have always been good following my calling in life. My calling is different and it is the change for all of that freaks me out. I gotta let the guilt out of that.

And with that I am off for some cuddles. Well end of summer wishes to all my readers.

Too many photos, too little time.

Who knows what day I left off…I am just gonna catch up as best I can from memory!
365.248 – Last week kiddos and I got together with Mommy Jargon and her kiddos to have a “crafting day” for my classroom. It was so fun to watch Mommy Jargon work and I did watch. I tried to help but she excelled where I didn’t in this field. But I can’t wait to see final project.

365.249 – This weekend we went to the park  (As I said in Saturday Sharing). There ended up being trails every where so my guy and I walked #3 all around. Sadly, they were very hit by the drought and most things were dead. The creek stagnate and not moving at all. But it was still fun none the less. My guy manage to capture a surprise kiss from #3.

365.250 – #3 was horribly afraid of following through the slats on the bridges we hiked over. I am guessing she hasn’t figured out quite yet that proportionally speaking she can’t. She kept making these funny body stances to avoid accidentally slipping through.

365.251 – And oh yea, we need to work on smelling. Apparently, she thought when I requested she “smell” the flowers she needed to eat them.

I adore my family so much and don’t think I am bad Momma for having all #3. #’s 1 & 2 were boating with papaw and he didn’t take a camera.

The rest you can see on my flickr, to the right!

Dialed In – Saturday Sharing…

Well it is Friday, but I am here trying to not skip my Saturday sharing. We are headed to Indy to visit with family and my girls are doing their annual cousins weekend with my Dad on his boat.I grew up on a boat and on the lake. When we weren’t boating, we were camping and I loved every minute of it. I remember being on a tiny fishing boat as a baby and growing up on  different boats. Now my dad has a quite nice boat that has sleeping area and a bathroom. Much different than propping up over the side of the boat.

Some may ask well then why don’t you go? At first it was because I had babies. I used to take my babies. Then I had one horrible bad experience. I spent the weekend with #1 and #2 on my dad’s boat. I had a blast and my guy met me for a full day (he didn’t want to sleep on it) and we boated and swam. Unfortunately, I came home and spent the next day and half fighting motion sickness. A new friend that now plagues me as an adult bad. I get motion sickness in the car, on a swing, when I read sometimes. I am quite sure it is related to my migraines and sinuses but I realized it is more fun for me to stay on land and let them experience it.

Lake Sharing…

So of course, to torture my OCD the DNR released warning about Blue Green Algae in the waterways of Indiana this week.

Got anything you want to know about blue green algae? Ask me. I am now an (un)certified expert. Thankfully, I think the lake they are heading to is getting better in the bga department. I will try and encourage them not to drink the lake water and wash their hands! LOTS! It seemed mostly like contact issues versus the others unless you are purposefully drinking the water.

I think back to my days of boating with my pops. My favorite treat was always a lake soaked fig newton cookie. Oh how inactive and dormant my OCD must have been.

Anyway, girls are heading to Lake Monroe (government site) which is close to the IU Campus. My guy and I and #3 are gonna stay at my dad’s house and do whatever. I am not sure yet.

Eating Sharing…

Eat. That is usually top on our list. Eating at restaurants we  haven’t had a chance to eat at but we loved when we were living there.

  1. Frank and Mary’s
  2. Coachman
  3. Donato’s

All the top three. There are others in there but we shall see. I kind of want to try sushi and I think there is one close. My guy would never so that will be a carry out kind of thing I guess.

Visiting Sharing…

I also hope to get to see my grandpa who is in the critical care unit at St. Vincents Hospital. A trip I have been dreading not because I don’t want to see him, but because I don’t want to see him like that. But it needs to be made. A special hospital in my heart always because baby girl #1 was born there and my guy and I spent days and days walking around that stupid place trying to make my contractions more consistent.

I also hope we can take #3 to Hummel Park. Another very special place. Our reception was held at the Hummel facilities. They have an awesome toddler park that has everything toddler shaped. You can hike, play, move about the huge park.

And we always are sure to drive by our old house and see the old neighborhood and changes made to the house. I still love that old house. It was the house that love built!

Last but not least sharing…

The first novel I will share in my classes are: Novels: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have read this story numerous times and I just adore what it can teach to 9th graders and in my Developmental Reading we will read Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This class I have less control over reading and concepts are meant to coincide with their English 9 class. I am excited about it just the same.

In the research for deciding these novels I found a great teaching resource. I may have shared it here before but it is so awesome I will share it again. Web English Teacher. I don’t copy the lessons because my lesson planning is much like my menu planning I like it to be my own. But it is a great place to start and it inspires tons of ideas.

 

The conversation I refuse to get into!

I have been a working mom since the minute I became a mother. I fought tooth and nail to say that. Some may have said I wasn’t and may have thought I added no value to the working moms of the world because I didn’t bring in a pay check. But I disagree. When I was “just” home I worked and I worked hard. When I worked part time I still worked just as hard. I just had a job outside of my home. And now that I will be working outside of the home full time it is no different. My mom role didn’t change. I am working folks. Even when I am asleep I feel like I am working. I wake up worried about my girls, worried about work or just worried about how I can accomplish it all.

I am just so sick of the argument out there between the two groups of moms. I am sick of it because no one can win, everyone thinks they work harder or becomes offended. But more than anything who the heck cares what mom Suzy down the street is doing to take care of her family? I don’t. And what I mean by that is I don’t care to the extent that I feel like I can judge any decision Suzy  has ever made regarding her mom status. Truthfully, I pray she does the same for me. We all are just trying to do what is best for our family.

When my girls were younger it was right and what worked for my family that I be here 100% of the time. But it was at a large financial cost to our family. We sacrificed a whole heck of a lot for me to even do that. With each daughter the needs of our family became more and more and the money less and less. For awhile I could supplement with teaching part time. But more than anything the medical benefits were needed.  I say all of this not to justify why I am going back to work but to lay the ground work for how I headed in that direction.

I have been in school for a long time and the end goal was always out there. I knew I would never be fully happy not establishing myself professionally.  The more advanced I got into my education the more that goal became clear and defined. When this opportunity arose I would be a fool to walk away and pretend I was not interested.

So I guess what I am saying is, “I want to have my cake and eat it too.” I know now that I can be a good mom and work full time. It took me awhile to get there but I did get there. I don’t need to justify that to anyone. Some may see it differently and that is their prerogative. But so we are clear that doesn’t make me an insensitive and uncaring mom. I have heard several comments about my decisions to go back to work and whether they were backhanded or unintentional they still hurt.

But if you can introduce me to a mom that doesn’t agonize over leaving her kiddos in the care of someone else and doesn’t dwell on that Mommy guilt from time to time I don’t want want to meet her. But I know she doesn’t exist. That is the mistake I think people make. They judge what it takes to be a ‘stay at home mom’ or a ‘working mom’ and really have no right too.

I am so torn up about not being home for my kids. So much so I can hardly even type it out without shedding a tear or two. But that is what my guy is for and that is what my friends and family are for. They can lift me up and remind me why I am doing this. As well, good child care is a key component. For my guy and I we had a very specific idea of what we wanted for child care. I prayed hard about it and trusted that it would work out the way it needed too. And it did. It may not always work but I have plans B, C and D if it doesn’t.

I guess what I am saying is if you feel the need to judge any mom on anything step back and look at your own life and know that as moms we need to support each other and each others decisions. Refuse to get into the conversation or competition. What we all do is hard work. It cannot be done without support. What works in your house may not work in mine and I promise to lift you up and support you no matter what you decide because it is hard. No road is easy. Being a mom is the best and most rewarding job I could ever do.

But more than anything, leave the judging of me to me. There is enough self judging going on to go around.

Skillet Cake?

Who has ever heard of such a thing? Not me. I accidentally found it on pinterest while looking for chicken thigh recipes. Who knows how it popped up in the midst of that but it was certainly intriguing. Once in there it was kind of obvious I had to make it. It was just what I needed to get me through the evening (because the summer life of a teacher is so rough…feel sorry for me 😉 ). The best thing about this recipe is that it is a much smaller version of the very popular texas sheet cake.

PIN36) My guy and I used the bonding time to talk about the trials of the day and made the cake together. I forwent the skillet part because I don’t have a skillet that can go into the oven. I did the boiling in the skillet and then pour into a 9 in round pie plate and baked it that way.

Now I know normally I don’t just plop down the end result. However, this time the process was not all that appetizing. I took the pictures and when I put them on the computer I kind of felt like if I showed them ya’ll might not try the recipe and not give its proper attention. It deserves to be tried and loved.

We did skip the nuts because I am the ONLY person in my family that can appreciate nuts and chocolate together.  My recommendation on this pin is to make it, it is so good. Find the recipe at Willow Bird Baking – Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake.

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Want to see my other pins from the 100 Pins Series? Click here!

MommyJargon and her pet-less Kiddos

My kiddos have had four pets. All of them fish. All of them are no longer living.

I grew up having dogs, cats, parakeets, finches, aquariums full of fish, hamsters, and rabbits. (Not all at the same time, in case you were worried.) Sadly, Hubby and Middle Kiddo are allergic to all furry animals and tend to have asthma attacks after being around them.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, in my last post, we were getting ready to head to Michigan for vacation. Little did I know then that we would almost be coming home with a pet.

While my kiddos were playing on the beach at Lake Michigan Middle Kiddo found a little frog.

All three fell in love. Deeply in love. They played with it for hours. Hours!

They built sand castles for it. They built vacation sand castles for it. This frog had more homes than Oprah.

They used a snack size Pringles container for a bathtub. They took him for walks up and down the beach.

Look at the love and happiness:

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Youngest even taught him a trick:

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They began begging and pleading to take Froggy home with us.

I wanted to cave and say yes, but I was seriously worried that the frog wouldn’t survive the trip home. We didn’t have anything to keep him in or anything to feed him.

As it started to get late and they knew that we had to leave him, they denied hunger just to stay longer. That is saying a lot for my kiddos.

It was really sad.

Then while Middle was taking Froggy for one last walk, he found another frog!

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The kiddos introduced the two and showed the new guy his lovely new homes.

They all happily said goodbye to their little friends.

Of course ever since then they have been asking for a pet frog.

I said yes.

I am a dork….

If this picture isn’t evidence of that than what more do you need really, readers?

365.245 – Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.  ~ Elsa Maxwell

365.246 – One of my #1’s friends cheering on her games and being the official softball cheer memorizer. We were trying to remember to take them back to our home league. She did good! Wanna read her Momma’s blog? Go here!

365.247-MommyJargon is BACK! Yeah! And she brought me back a BIG HUNK!

And yes my guy totally tried to say it was named after him. The best part about it is the instructions for eating it:

“Whack your big hunk against a hard surface and enjoy little bites.” Come on, I totally couldn’t make that up! How funny!

My suggestion, Talk about what you can’t.

Last Friday morning, I was struggling to sleep. I got up at about 5:15 and turned on my morning news as I always do.  The feeling I had immediately was sick after hearing about the movie shooting. I jumped on the twitterverse right away to see the latest of the mayhem that ensued after the Colorado shooter took all those lives senselessly. All I could think is what everyone else thinks in those situations. WHY?

But immediately everyone was focused on guns. And how if we had better gun control. And I am thinking really politics already? So okay fine, talk your politics, but I am gonna put my focus elsewhere. I am gonna focus on mental health and the damn stigma attached to it.

We use the words; crazy, nuts, psycho all too much. We tell ourselves it is okay they act a little strange. Our red flags wave but we ignore them. Do I think any of these would have stopped that shooter? No, not if he were intent on doing it. No one could. But maybe just maybe when someone noticed he may have been acting strangely much sooner they would have reached out to him.

I just wonder if that wasn’t what he was missing. I mean they contact his mom and she says immediately, “You have the right person.” No I am not blaming Mom and Dad. But to me that indicates there was less surprise that he did this and therefore less surprise he suffered some sort of mental break.

But Mom and Dad cannot do it alone. In this society so much so we are trying to cut Mom and Dad out of the equation for whatever reason. But this guy was in contact with so many others in life. Whether or not he involved them who knows. I am sure those stories will surface. But I imagine someone found themselves a little perplexed by his behavior. A gun range owner, He says he was. What could he do about this encounter? Not much really. He turned him away. A classmate? Maybe. But what should they do? That is just it. No one knows or assumes it will happen to them or around them.

So maybe just maybe we should talk about it a little bit more so we do know how to handle it. But that is the thing. I know as a college instructor I was trained on what to do “if”. But not much help was offered when I was concerned. Yea I talked to my superiors and got advice on what I could do in my classroom. But truthfully there just was not much to be offered on the “what if”. So how do we cross that path?

It was a mental break right? No one sets out to do this whose brain works logically. But here is the thing I have learned with my OCD in my own life. Logic goes out the window. An example, in my classroom I have wiped things down first with magic eraser, then antibacterial spray and then lysol wipes. So logically, IT IS CLEAN. But still when I touch them they feel dirty. This is how my OCD works out “safe” and “unsafe” in my new territory.  My way to cope is to continue to touch and not wash despite everything saying to do so! Eventually “unsafe” turns into “safe”. This my folks, is what you call exposure therapy. My reason for telling you this is not to say he has OCD or to say I am gonna be a mass murder. It is to show that logical thought tells us not to kill. But the logical thought with someone who has neurons misfiring is almost impossible despite them seeming entirely normal.

This is where we, as a society,  have to begin talking about what is hard to talk about. Instead of writing people off as crazy, odd, weird or lonely. Maybe take the time to know them and be observant of that behavior. Maybe then the person who is suffering from a mental break will feel less afraid to ask for help and the person who is worried about someone’s odd behavior will be a little less afraid to speak up.

Again with my line of speak you can run the risk of saying, “If only this had happened” and thinking that was the be all and end all and none of this would have happened. When in reality it isn’t. When situations get like this it is too far gone. If there wasn’t evidence of that in the court room yesterday I don’t know what it was. Some will say he is faking. I am inclined to think he coming down after a long episode of a mental break where mental fatigue, exhaustion, lack of food sustenance are prime factors.

I am not a psychologist though. I am not a lawyer or politician. I am merely a Midwestern mom and teacher looking for a way I can make changes in my life that would help someone like this. I do tend to live in a hearts and flower world where I believe people can be good if given the opportunity. I struggle understanding evil and the will to want to do evil. I know I am naive in those beliefs and they often get dashed. But that is me. I do acknowledge evil exists. I am just not sure what to do with it.

I just wish if we are gonna talk politics we turn our attention more to mental illness and those types of politics. Follow the likes of Glenn Close who pushes for this cause because we can and should talk about mental illness. A great place to start… Bring Change 2 Mind. Then maybe we can find ways to support one another and ways to expose these types of evils before they make national headline news and we all sit back in shock asking ourselves why.

“When you are mad, mad like this, you don’t know it. Reality is what you see. When what you see shifts, departing from anyone else’s reality, it’s still reality to you.” ― Marya Hornbacher

*It is important for me to say I have no idea if this guy is mentally ill and really my focus is meant to be less on him and more on the stigma of mental illness and how do we get away from not talking about it to talking about it openly!