Weekend Highlights

-I got published! It’s here if you want to read it. Probably everyone gets published on Yahoo! Voices and it’s an old blog post but it was the one highlight to a really sucky week.

-The last two weeks were awful. MCAS, another stomach virus, eye-deep in politics at work. 8th grade girls crying, the works. My nerves were frayed by Friday morning and I spent much of Friday afternoon crying in the bedroom in between taking care of Z. and making dinner. My husband was wrecked from night shifts back-to-back with morning shifts. I was asleep by 8:30 which caused a whole new outlook on life Saturday morning.

-I’ve realized that Z. is a very physical child like all little boys I guess. He loves to wrestle and climb on us and I think Z hitting me is a part of that. I think the problem is that I’m not a very physical person. I have a bad back, a c-section scar, and a generally wimpy tolerance to pain. So I’m trying to figure out how to set those boundaries with him with my body but still respect his need for that physicality. (Is that a word?)

-Hoping this week will be smoother. It’s a four day week and then one more week until vacation. No more MCAS and just regular teaching. May your week be smooth as well!

Mercury in da House

My brother called me yesterday, out of the blue which he never does. He’s been feeling kind of down and he went into a friend’s astrological explanation about Mercury being in his house and planet alignment leading to a general feeling of malaise. I didn’t catch it all but I commiserated that I’d been feeling a little melancholy myself. So has my husband.

So what is it? Is it astrology? Is Mercury in my house? Or is it the ever changing March weather?

There are good things happening. There might be an opportunity at work for me to have a job writing more curriculum and less of the mundane paperwork. This round of MCAS is almost over. I think I’ve started to get through to my son that hitting mama is not okay. (Any ideas on that one would be greatly appreciated!)

But I still feel a little sad. I want more time as a family. I want less politics and more decisiveness at work. I want the weather to warm up and to start my garden. I want Z. to be happier and more independant from me. I want…

So that’s where I am this Monday morning. Where’s your mind this week?

Things I’m Thinking…

 

-I have this windowsill in my kitchen that we end up putting all of our odds and ends: chapstick, seashells, cool rocks, Z’s watercolor paint water cup, paintbrushes. I love it. I set up little displays.

-I made some really good bread this weekend from James Beard’s book. It’s called French Style Bread. I actually set a timer for 10 minutes when I was kneading the dough. It really made a difference. I think with some tweaking, I can make it like a crusty loaf of bakery bread and stop buying bread altogether.

-Anxious about the coming week. Z is really sick, we even sucked up the $25 copay with our sucky new insurance to go to the doctor. Of course it’s a virus, which I knew but he’s definitely been sicker than I’ve ever seen him. I also have to proctor MCAS this week which all you Mass. teachers know means no calling out. It sucks to have the “Who’s going to take care of the kid?” conversation with my husband. Makes me feel guilty.

-Looking forward to Spring and Summer with the warm weather. Z slept in the stroller on our long walk and ran into an old friend. Was able to sit on the porch and read the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. I’m getting excited to teach the first book next year.I’m also getting excited to start the garden and have started looking at seeds online.

-Have a wonderful week!

 

Spring Itch

These last few weeks have become dull in the world of teaching. We’ve had numerous assemblies, MCAS practice days, and the MCAS itself. The kids have had pretty standard assignments that they can complete independently because of the messed up schedule. Lessons are planned, IEPs are written, and I’m in March limbo. I look out the window and the weather is getting warmer, the sun is out, and I’m thinking of what I’d rather be doing if I had the time, the choice…

Which reminds me of this Boston Globe article.  The author of the book, Laura Vanderkam, states that we actually have more time than we realize, we just don’t spend it well. She figured out that she doesn’t work as many hours as she thought and basic housework takes minutes rather than hours. She realized she spend a lot of her time on the internet or wantering around the house.

I don’t think I spend too much time on the internet although it can be a time sucker, I’ll admit. But I get the wandering around the house thing. I definitely do that, picking up little toys, putting things away that are just going to be pulled out again. I’m always sort of surprised at school that when I sit down, stop checking my email, how quickly I can get stuff accomplished that I previously had put off doing.

I feel like I should be spending these freer days at work plainning curriculum, reflecting on my teaching, but I confess the Spring weather is calling to me. Perhaps a lunchtime walk to clear my head? I don’t know. March is a long month.

Shoes

I ordered these shoes as a birthday present to myself.  I’m so excited for them. They represent such a change of priorities. My family is becoming more connected to nature on our little hikes and to each other. I’ve really enjoyed them and getting outside in the warm spring weather has become such a priority for us. Today my husband and I even talked about getting a bike rack for the car so we could bike with Z. along the beach. Such a change from our old life of going out and sunbathing on the beach. Now we want to be active and exploring all the conservation land and parks around us.  I was never much of an outside girl before but now it’s really important to me that we get out there. We want to see our son running in the fields. I’m excited and looking forward to the coming seasons as we hopefully grow our family. My father sent me a gift card to Amazon and the first book I ordered was The Essential Urban Farmer. Again, a change in priorities. I never would have ordered it a couple of years ago. Now I’m excited to nourish and feed my family as much as possible and grow and make my own food.

What has changed for you lately?

Weekend Thoughts

Just put Z to bed. It was a rough one with the time change that of course I didn’t plan for. I should have skipped his nap. I can hear him fooling around in his room.

It was a weird weekend. Went out with some girlfriends Friday night, neither of whom have kids. I felt weird anyway because I have to wear my glasses for a month due to an eye infection. I’ve been wearing contacts since I was twelve so wearing glasses makes me feel discombobulated. They were also late and I was early, like the dork that I am, and I ended up sitting at the bar by myself for a while which I haven’t done in a long time. Alone with the Friday night crowd with my thoughts at a hip bar. After dinner was over I was thinking that I actually had enjoyed my conversation with some other moms at daycare as we waited for our napping toddlers to wake up almost more than the dinner conversation. I felt sort of out of it at dinner and I couldn’t quite keep up with the talk of tv shows I hadn’t seen and online dating that I’ve never done. I always wish I had more friends with kids.

Today we went for a walk in a local park. I love watching Z run around, chasing birds, climbing hills to find the perfect stick or rock. Playgrounds are cool but I feel like Z gets stuck digging in the sand and doesn’t move enough. We also made sure to stock up on really good food, especially fresh produce. I need to try to eat better during the work week instead of subsisting on yogurt and granola bars. In my last job, I left the house at 6am and didn’t return until 6pm so I was much more mindful about the food and snacks I brought. I’ve had to remind myself that I feel so much better when I eat well. So this week we have tons of fresh fruit and veggies, I’m sure not local but it is New England in the winter, and some good staples. I made Amanda Soule’s leftover oatmeal muffins (best recipe I’ve tried) as well as a tortellini salad with lots of salad veggies.

Anxious about the coming weeks. We have MCAS practice days this week and then two weeks of testing for me. I don’t worry so much about how they do, it will be what it will be, but more about the behavior and emotions. Will they take it seriously or blow it off? I have a student that has refused to take it in the past, will he repeat his performance? Also just the whining and the dead time after the test. I prefer my neat, orderly classes that I have complete control over. With MCAS, I’m at the mercy of administration scheduling me the right rooms at the right times.

Sorry for the melancholy post with the beautiful spring weather coming. I think I just need to get through March and the feeling of burnout that comes with it. Z is calling me, he’s so not going to sleep well tonight!

How was your weekend? What are you thinking about?

Spring Air

Last nigth when I took out the garbage I could smell spring in the air. A cool breeze with just a hint of warmth. Next door lives a family who runs a food truck. I could hear their voices, happier and rowdier then usual as they packed up the truck. The lights illuminated the multi-colored snack wrappers so they glowed against the darkening sky. The full moon lit up the rest of the street and I took a moment to breathe in the first air of spring.

Musings on a Monday

I made my great-grandmother’s oatmeal bread today. It was rainy and cold and it looked like we were stuck in the house for the day. It seemed like a good day to bake, especially bread with the rising time and the clean-up. It’s a simple recipe really, like all loaf bread, some oats, some water, honey, butter, yeast and flour. And salt, which I forgot. You put enough Earth Balance on it though and you barely notice it.

Baking the bread got me thinking. I’ve been compelled with some of the blogs I’ve been reading lately. It started with Soulemama and has moved on to blogs like 6512 and growing. These women who are home, raising and schooling their kids, and pretty much creating everything from scratch. Knitting, cooking, sewing, raising chickens and goats. It’s a tempting way of life for me. Quit the politics of teaching and keep the home fires burning. I enjoy the routine of being at home, baking muffins for breakfast, a morning outing, an afternoon nap ( I hope!) and the clean up time in the afternoon before dinner.

What’s funny is I spent part of my childhood on such a homestead. We had sheep, chickens, a vegetable garden, 140 acres, the works. It’s funny how it all circles back. I wonder if the women of our generation are rejecting the idea of having to work outside the home, or at least have some amazing, high profile career and are seeing something valuable in running a home. My career used to be so important to me and now it doesn’t seem as important. Right now, running the home seems more important and providing my family with good food and warm, handknit items seems more vital. Growing a garden and living a simpler, more connected, life. Not acquiring so many things.

Oprah, who I’m not a huge fan of, once said that Americans weren’t living consciously and I think she was right. We were going to those big box stores and buying up crap. Now I don’t want as many crappy clothes or cheap plastic things. I want to grow our own food and buy less of it. I think realistically I don’t really want to run a farm and be isolated in a rural setting. I like my little pseudo urban neighborhood and being able to walk to the park or take the T to Boston. But I’ve always had an issue with lack of follow through. I think if I start something new, like a garden or knitting, I have to be perfect at it. I can’t just do something a little bit. As a result, I lose interest because I’m not as good at it as I want to be. I think this simpler life movement is a little bit different. A garden can be a couple of tomato plants, I don’t need to knit fair isle sweaters but the solid colored hats I like so much. I don’t need to bake artisan bread but my great grandmother’s simple oatmeal bread. But with salt this time. It’s about doing what’s manageable and you can do.

Playing Hooky

I played hooky today. It was a half day with professional development in the afternoon. We get so little time as a family that I thought it was time better spent to be at home. We went to the river, out to lunch, bought some coffee mugs as I realized all of our coffee mugs are just too small! We only have about three decent ones. All in all, a nice morning.

Lately, we’ve taken to dancing in the kitchen while making dinner to this song. I’m sort of proud that we can all make dinner together instead of parking Z. in front of the tv while trying to get stuff done.

I don’t think I’m spelling hooky right, do you?