We Are Water

I love Wally Lamb.  I fell in love with his writing in She’s Come Undone. In fact, I absolutely couldn’t believe it was a man writing that well for a female character.  Then I read I Know This Much Is True. More fabulous writing.  This is also when I realized that Lamb could weave a pretty messed up tale and talk about some truly difficult subjects, but do it so well that you want to keep reading. A about four years ago ago I picked up The Hour I First Believed.

And now I’ve picked up his latest, We Are Water.

The reviews on this one were mixed, but I knew I had to read it. While I really loved The Hour I First Believed, I felt like it was super long and maybe could have ended before it did, so I guess I expected to enjoy the book, but maybe not LOVE it.

continue reading…

Project 365 {week 27}

Holy crap!

It’s JULY!

June 29: It's summer. That means Pants Optional if you are under 3.

June 29: It’s summer. That means Pants Optional if you are under 3.

June 30: Moving day! On to a new classroom and new adventures!

June 30: Moving day! On to a new classroom and new adventures!

July 1: Just reading a book to daddy.

July 1: Just reading a book to daddy.

July 2: A morning at the zoo with daddy.

July 2: A morning at the zoo with daddy.

July 3: Bird High by the fourth of July.

July 3: our garden is Bird High by the fourth of July.

July 4: park in the morning, lazy afternoon, dinner and sparklers with friends, and then daddy's fireworks show in our jammies. A great holiday!

July 4: park in the morning, lazy afternoon, dinner and sparklers with friends, and then daddy’s fireworks show in our jammies. A great holiday!

July 5: This is exactly what summer should look like.

July 5: This is exactly what summer should look like.

Hopefully all of my American readers had a great holiday.

I know we did.

You know how I can tell? Everyone could have realistically gone to bed at 8pm tonight.

Boom.

We’re On Each Other’s Team

Cortney and I have a really great relationship and strong marriage. It’s one of the things I am most proud of in this world and feel so grateful that such a wonderful friend ended up as my life partner.

We get asked a lot what they secret to our marriage is and if it’s really as awesome as we make it look online.

As someone who as dated her fair share of turds (and nice guys, but mostly turds), I wasn’t sure if there really was a guy out there who could make me feel like we were a true team.  Then Cortney and I found ourselves together.

I guess our secret is our teamwork.

There are other factors like that we are true friends, we have our own interests as well as shared interests, etc, but the big thing is teamwork.

And most of the time it’s as awesome as we make it look on social media.

Anyway, I am writing about that teamwork over at Mommy Miracles today. I’d be honored if you would give it a read.

Off He Goes

Dear Eddie,

When you were  a tiny baby some of the best advice I was given was by your pediatrician. She said, “You can’t make a baby eat or sleep, and you can’t make a toddler potty train until he’s ready. Let him take the lead.”

I’ll admit it’s hard for me to let someone else take the lead. I like to be in charge. When we had you, we were no longer in charge…the little charge we thought we had. You ruled our days and nights. You chose when you would hit your milestones.

You cried and wouldn’t sleep.

You cried and cried and cried.

But when you were ready to sleep, you did.

You decided.

IMG_1256

You still require one of us to lay by you each night after we read with you. You say you an’t sleep without us there so you can feel safe. I’ll take that because I know that one day, you will tell me I can go upstairs. That you’re “good”.

But sleeping in a big boy bed took zero transition.  We brought home a mattress before Grandpa even had your bed made and you requested to take your nap there.  You never went back to your crib again.

You decided.

005

It was the same way with your pacifier.

You held onto that thing even when it had holes in it and we refused to buy you new ones.  Then, your friend Evan told you about the paci fairy and you started to think that getting a big boy present in return for turning in your “pipey” was a good thing.

You decided.

2013-01-19 13.15.24

Then came potty training.

We thought for sure we could get you potty trained before Charlie arrived.  You showed interest right after you turned two, and you were doing your number 2′s on the toilet almost exclusively.  Then Charlie came and you stopped caring about underpants or sticker charts or anything.

Until Althea showed up to daycare in big girl panties.  And she is a full year younger than you are. You looked right at Renae and declared yourself done with diapers.

And that was that.

You decided.

2013-05-09 18.31.45

Now you are five. You’ve been riding a bike since you were two. Your grandma bought you a tiny one from a garage sale (ok, the garage sale we were hosting), and you hopped on and took to it like a fish in water.

033

For your fourth birthday, we had to upgrade because  your legs grew about a mile from age three to age four.

In fact, we felt bad that you had to wait until almost the end of June because you were really just way too big for your old pal.

033This bike is a much better fit.

In fact, this bike quite easily takes you from our house up the hill to Kaydance and Carter’s house and back again.  It has taken you around the block with us as well.

You love your yellow bike.

2014-04-07 10.04.19

Early this summer, daddy asked you if you wanted to take your training wheels off.  You were a bit scared, but he helped you balance and learn to ride just through the grass.

But riding on the street seemed a little too scary. So daddy raised the wheels as far as they would go, and you kept riding. You weren’t even five yet, so we figured you would do it when you were ready, just like everything else.

Then one day, you came screaming down the hill at top speed on Carter’s bike.

Carter who is a whole year younger than you had his training wheels taken off a month ago.

2014-06-17 18.06.39

Carter came behind on your bike.

Out of breath, you ran up to daddy, “DID YOU SEE ME? NO TRAINING WHEELS!  Can you take mine off too?”

And then off you went.

You decided.

Daddy took them off, gave you a few quick reminders about safety, and off you went. I felt like I blinked and you went from a mushy baby to a kid riding a two-wheeler with the neighbor kids.

I stood there for a second watching you peddle off wondering how it all happened. Didn’t I get some sort of say about when you were ready for things? Isn’t that what part of parenting is?

You are teaching me so much about this parenting gig, Eddie.

You will do things on your own time, when you are ready, and I will always be there to cheer for you.

Love,

Mom

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Recently I was interviewed by Working Motherhood and my podcast is now live!  Go give me a listen!

Orange is the New Black

I’m not sure if you noticed, but there is always a story as to how I came to reading each book that I decide on. I had Orange is the New Black on my To Read List for some time, and because I am a book nerd, I wanted to read the book before I started watching the series on Netflix.

Then I found out I get to meet Piper Kerman this summer when I go to San Jose for BlogHer.  Let’s just say the book moved right up my To Read list onto my READING list!

Continue Reading…

My Other Ex

When I was a kid, I used to lie on my bed on Sunday afternoons and plow through one, maybe two books in an afternoon. Once I had read all the craptacular YA lit that our local library had to offer back in the late 80′s, my mom started bringing home Agatha Christie mysteries for me to read.  I was hooked. Before I even made it to high school I was a voracious reader.

I didn’t do a lot of my own writing back then, but I did fantasize about being a famous author.  Not so much that I would be a celebrity, but that I could think of stories like that.

Well, fiction has never been my thing, but at some point all this writing that I have done on my blog since 2007 started to be something. Something I didn’t know I had in me.

It started to be good.

Maybe I couldn’t make up stories, but I could definitely tell my own.

This year my dream of becoming a published author came true when Three Minus One came out.  In September more of my writing will be published.

I am one of the author’s in the HerStories Project anthology called My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friendships.

The book is due out in September, but you can pre-order here (which also means you’ll get your book early!  WOOT!), and get a $1 off by ordering early. Aw yeah.


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Project 365 {week 26}

So this week was pretty awesome.

June 22: Grocery shopping with this guy.

June 22: Grocery shopping with this guy.

June 23: Happy birthday to our FIVE YEAR OLD! Look how excited to get a Nintento DS!

June 23: Happy birthday to our FIVE YEAR OLD! Look how excited to get a Nintendo DS!

June 24: I made cake, frosting, and ice cream from scratch for Eddie's big day. And now we are eating it every day. There are no complaints.

June 24: I made cake, frosting, and ice cream from scratch for Eddie’s big day. And now we are eating it every day. There are no complaints.

June 25: Because sometimes you need to wear Turbo eyes and mardi gras beads.

June 25: Because sometimes you need to wear Turbo eyes and mardi gras beads.

June 26: I tried to wake this kid up from nap for 30 minutes before he pulled the blanket up and told me to "go way". Summer makes a boy sleepy.

June 26: I tried to wake this kid up from nap for 30 minutes before he pulled the blanket up and told me to “go way”. Summer makes a boy sleepy.

June 27: Now this guy is helping me at the store. One at a time is key. Both at once? NO.

June 27: Now this guy is helping me at the store. One at a time is key. Both at once? NO.

June 28: beach and cook out in the morning, fun with friends playing outside and then cards and a meat/cheese tray while the kids crashed. This day = perfect.

June 28: beach and cook out in the morning, fun with friends playing outside and then cards and a meat/cheese tray while the kids crashed. This day = perfect.

This week Eddie turned five, I saw my new classroom, met with my therapist, had a day absolutely alone with nothing to do but watch TV, and ended with a fun-packed family fun day.

I’d say summer is maybe looking better to me.

Just in time for July!

Netflix For Me

netflix

Each month I get a little email about what theme we Netflix stream-team members can post about. There is always a little craft or snack or something we can do with the family too if we want.  But this month is all about the momma, and I have to say it came at just the right time!

Cortney and I just finished season 1 of Breaking Bad this weekend. We are not binge-watchers, but we do take in a couple episodes a week. I know it goes on for four more seasons but I keep thinking, “oh they are done for this time!”  So good!

breaking bad

On my list to watch with Cortney next is Orange is the New Black. I just finished reading the book and I am excited to watch the fictionalized version of the book. Piper Kerman’s memoir was so good, but I know the show is more over-the-top.

oitnb

 

Also on our list to watch is Freaks and Geeks. Our high school sociology classes watch this show and discuss it and the teachers are ALWAYS quoting it and talking about it in the lounge. Even though it’s only 18 episodes-long, I know I need to see it.

freaksandgeeks

And lastly, one that will probably be more interesting to me than to Cort, I want to watch Call the Midwife. This might have to be my “daycare day” show. On the days the boys are in daycare, I might have to carve out some “me time” to watch a show just for me. When Eddie was a baby, I would binge watch all the episodes (and movies) of Sex and the City, I think it’s time I upgrade, yes?

callthemidwife

While we LOVE Netflix for our kids (mine are watching Curious George as I type this), it’s fun to have some shows just for us adults too.

What else should be on my list?

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with a Roku and a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

 

Through the Lens {June}

At the beginning of the year I decided to join my friends Greta and Alison and their year-long photography project called Through The Lens Thursday. You don’t need a blog to join in, just join our Flickr group and post each week! It’s great for practicing photography in a low pressure, fun way.

This month our prompts for Through the Lens were: sunset, deep, smooth, and imperfect

I used my 50mm for all of them.

prompt: sunset f/9.0, 1/20, ISO 100

prompt: sunset
f/9.0, 1/20, ISO 100

prompt: deep f/1.8, 1/250, ISO 100

prompt: deep
f/1.8, 1/250, ISO 100

prompt: smooth f/1.8, 1/250, ISO 100

prompt: smooth
f/1.8, 1/250, ISO 100

prompt: imperfect f/1.8, 1/80, ISO 100

prompt: imperfect
f/1.8, 1/80, ISO 100

How is it the end of June? Ugg.

Anyway, this month was challenging for me because I felt like I just didn’t have any good ideas or approaches to the prompt. Because of the trees, it was hard to get a typical sunset, I was lost on deep and smooth, and my imperfect birthday cake was a good idea, but turned out, well, imperfect.

June has been a bit of a let down as far as photography goes.

What do you think?

an identity change

In December of 2000, I walked into a ninth grade English classroom to meet some of the students I would have the privilege of student teaching after Christmas break.

Since that moment I have been a high school teacher.

Oh, I have taught lots of subjects: English 9, Honors English 10, English 11, Honors English 11, English 12, Mass Media, Drama, Speech, Humanities, Applied Writing, Study Skills, Spanish 1, and Spanish 2.

I have been in two different high school buildings in the same district and even traveled to teach 9th graders when they were moved to the junior high.

I went through the combining of the two high schools.

I was an adviser for Student Council, headed the 11th grade state testing, was senior class adviser, and ran the Students of the Month program.

I have chaperoned proms and homecomings and swirl dances. I have been to countless sports games, band and choir concerts, and theater productions.

I’ve spoken at award ceremonies and been given awards by students.

I’ve been to 13 graduations, helped with the ceremony in at least half of those, and gone to numerous graduation open houses.

I’ve hugged and cried with students as they succeed or fail.

I am a high school teacher.

Actually, I was a high school teacher.

For thirteen years.

teacher

 

As of last week, I am now a middle school teacher.

I got the email/call from my principal and from central office that an ELA position (and three other high school positions, actually)  had to be eliminated at the high school due to budget cuts, but because of retirements and resignations, there were not going to be any job losses, but people would have to be shuffled around.  I was chosen to be one of those people.

This summer I will pack up my classroom that I have only been in for two years (because of the high schools combining, I moved to the high school building two years ago) and move to the junior high.

This fall I will be an 8th grade ELA teacher (unless the schedule changes, which it might. I could be teaching anything from 7-9 ELA or Spanish. But the chances are zero that I will stay at the high school).

I went through a lot of emotions last week. The strongest were rage and sadness.  I was also confused.  I don’t think I reacted as well as I could have and I said a lot of things without thinking them through.  As with many things, I reacted strongly and quickly. It didn’t help that I was already staring down at the hole that is depression. This pushed me into the hole.

But after a week of talking things through with Cortney and one of my most trusted professional friends, I have come to the conclusion that I am not mad that I am going to teach 8th grade ELA. I am not unhappy about working at the Junior High.  Our district is amazing. Working in any of our buildings means a chance to influence and help kids.

No, I am grieving a change in my identity.

After 13 years, I am no longer a high school teacher. That is what is hardest about all this.

It’s not moving buildings or teaching a different class.  I’ve done those things before with no problem.

It’s not working with new staff or a new department. I’ve done that too.

Being a high school teacher was who I was. It was part of my identity. In the blink of an eye, my identity has been changed.  And because of that I am grieving.

I know everything will work out and that my  new position will be fine. I look forward to the people I get to work with in my “new” department, and the administration at the Junior High is awesome. It will be fine.

But it’s still hard, ya know?

I loved my seniors this past year. They rekindled my love of teaching. Perhaps that is exactly what I needed before this new adventure.  I thought that the great year meant that I was finally in the place I needed to be. But maybe it was preparing me for the place I needed to be.

seniors14It will be fine…great even.

In time.

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For all who donated books, fear not! They will come with me while I build my library at the Junior High. Some may be stored due to being too adult for 13 year olds, but I am still planning to do Reading Workshop with my 8th graders. In fact, I added some more age-appropriate titles to my Class Library Wish List if you are still thinking of donating.  Thank you all for your support. You are my village.

 

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