Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Glimpse Of The "Old" Me...

I went to a professional conference this weekend and it was a very strange experience for me. Truth be told, I was going for two reasons: a cheap, easy way to get credits/continuing education, and to see my friends.

It was two full days of wearing a name badge, sitting in mostly uncomfortable chairs, eating hotel food, taking notes, listening to speakers talk and talk and talk, and more sitting. Wanna know something strange? I really, REALLY enjoyed myself all weekend. Yes, even the sitting.

I realized something pretty major at the end of those two days...I miss that part of myself and my life a whole lot more than I thought I did.

I used to work in an elementary school full-time and was part of a district-wide group of colleagues that was at least 50 in number. I used to complain daily about the number of meetings and staffings I had to attend...they are usually how I would both begin and end my day. Now, I seriously wouldn't mind just hanging out in the conference room during a staffing -- and if you are reading this and have been a special educator at any point in your life, you will know just how sad that is. Pitiful.

The thing is, now that I'm contracting on my own, my professional contact with other providers is EXTREMELY limited, and it's all done via phone, fax or email. I had no idea how much I missed the face to face conferring, and all of the fun chit chat that goes with it. I guess saying that I'm professionally lonely is the best way to describe it, as ridiculous as that sounds. I miss my team...a lot. I mean, I know I missed them before, but man...I REALLY miss them now. I think that they made me better at my job, and they certainly added to my enjoyment of it.

I called a friend of mine (a teammate) last week...I dialed her cell phone. Someone else picked it up and I recognized the voice as another teammate but thought I must be losing my mind because I know I dialed the first person's cell phone. Turns out that she was just goofing with me and that they were at a class together. As much of a pain in the butt as those were, I remember how much fun we would have, eating salads from Wendy's as we all watched the clock. We did some learning but we also did a LOT of laughing. I know that they would all have rather traded places with me, sitting at home in my sweats, cleaning my kitchen...but for a brief moment, I wished I was at class with them.


Anyway, I'll get back there eventually and I know that when I do, I'll be aching for the gift of freedom that I have now. The freedom to work three hours a week and not have to attend one single, solitary meeting or staffing. The freedom to compose my notes and reports in my pajamas. The freedom to not have to submit grades or do progress reports for 60 kids 3-4 times a year. I know I'll miss it.

Right now, as crazy as it is, I can't help but think that the grass is just a little bit greener on the other side of the professional fence. Good thing I have two sweet little sleeping peanuts upstairs to remind me why my feet are firmly planted where they should be. These moments are theirs...they are ours. I'll jump the fence again someday, and I know that the pangs of regret and "I would love to's" are much easier to digest from this side.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I feel like Ziggy...

Remember Ziggy with the ginormous pile of stuff in the "in" box and the teeny tiny pile of papers in the "out" box?

Yeah, it's like that.

I have this huge "to-do" list and even though I scratch off a thing or two each day, I also add a thing or two each day, so that hamster running in a wheel thing seems to be status quo around here. I guess the good thing is that no one is hurt and no walls have fallen down yet because of the unchecked items on my list.

A definite negative is my own little mental game around this pesky list. I think that I have overwhelmed myself by putting too much on one list and then I never feel like anything gets accomplished.

I think what I need to do is make a list that's full of longer-term items and more like a daily/weekly list for shorter-term things. I think that will work much better...I can cross off a couple from each one every day and then I won't feel like the whole thing just grows. Yep, that's my new plan.

I think I'll put making my new lists on my list of things to do.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Anyone want some? Anyone? Anyone?

I'm over it. It's pretty to look at. The first time. Maybe even the second time. Now that it's (I think) the 5th snowstorm since Christmas week, the novelty has worn off. The road suck. The sidewalks suck. It's freezing.

The thing is, I was prepared to just enjoy this one. 1-3 inches, not so bad, right? Ha! I get up this morning (after my angel hubby let me sleep in, by the way) and looked outside to see that it was going to be MUCH more than that. He said "Yeah, they revised it to up to 6 inches." Now, I understand that this is a don't shoot the messenger thing, and that it's not the weather people's fault that it's snowing, but COME ON.

I'm just cranky and cabin fevered and ready for some warmer days and clear streets and sidewalks.

Okay, done complaining. For now. (It's still snowing really hard so I reserve the right to pick up where I left off if it gets on my nerves again.)

Monday, January 15, 2007

I've gotta be smarter, right?

I mean, he's only 4. I've got a few years on him.

Then why do I get the feeling that if he's not already smarter than me, he's closing in quickly?

I think it's just his quick wit that gets me. That and the fact that those little wheels never stop turning. (Well, perhaps BRIEFLY while he's sleeping, but I'm not kidding you -- half the time the first words out of his mouth pick up exactly where we left off before bed. Like he was on pause or something.)

Tonight we put him to bed a bit early, but it just worked out that way. He had a bit of a nap in the car because we were driving around a lot today, but we let him run wild at the mall play place for quite awhile and gave him free play time when we got home before dinner. A nice, soothing bath, a book with Daddy, and all set, right? That was at about 7 pm.

8:30 pm ... Chris and I are snuggled in on the couch watching Super Nanny (ironically). My husband would probably appreciate it if I let you know that he was only watching the show because he usually works late on Mondays and so I watch it by myself, so tonight he was just being nice by watching with me. Anyway -- I tell him to pause the tv because I hear little footsteps on the stairs. Sure enough, there's M peeking his head around the corner.

M: "Uhhh, Mommy? My really hurts!"
(See me looking at Chris and both of us stifling giggles here.)

Me: "Well, come here and let us look at it."
(Under my breath to Chris: "Pause the tv since that's what he wants to see.")

M: (with a completely lame fake limp on the way over) "Uhhhgggg. It hurts." (In a weak voice.)

Pause. Looks at paused (love that tivo!) TV.

M: "Hey!! What's this show?? Who's that boy?" (In a completely rejuvinated voice. It's a MIRACLE!)

Me: "M. Which leg hurts?"

M: "I don't really know but it hurts bad." (His weakened state has returned.)

(See us both giggling out loud a little bit at this point.)

Chris: "Come here and let me look at it."

(Looks, prods, squeezes M's leg.)

Chris: "Looks fine, buddy. 'Night!"

M: "Uhhhhggggg..." (all the way up the stairs)

What I'd like to know is who taught him this trick??? I am a horrible sleeper myself. (As a matter of fact, it's 12:30 am right now.) I can remember being 4 years old and sitting on the top of the stairs wayyyyyy over next to the wall watching my mom and dad's tv while they watched from the couch in the living room with their backs to me. I never figured out how they knew I was there, but they usually let me sit there for a few minutes and then utilizing those infamous eyes in the backs of their heads, they'd tell me to go to bed. In all of my years of childhood insomnia did it EVER cross my mind to fake a leg injury? No. A stomach ache? (Last week's claim.) No. Any sort of ailment? No.

I can't wait to see what he comes up with next week. I'm guessing foot. He really likes that fake limp he's developed.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Random thoughts...

**I hate waking up at 4 am for no good reason, especially when it's FREEZING outside and that's awesome sleeping weather.

**My hubby brought home a new electric blanket last night. I turned it on about 10 minutes before I got into bed, turned it off before I fell asleep and I was so happily toasty warm. Heaven.

**I love this new cookbook my dad got me for Christmas. Total nerdy thing to be LOVING, but it's really perked up my week. We're doing phase 1 of South Beach and the new recipes to try has made it a little more interesting, food-wise.

**Now that we're gonna move, I'm really noticing how much crap we have that we need to just part with. Unbelievable how much you accumulate!

**I'm gonna be a crying wreck on her birthday.

**Having sick kids is one of the quickest ways to make me feel helpless.

**I still like to bowl! (And I don't totally suck.) I just started bowling with my mom again once a week with all of these little old ladies. It's super fun and SO not about anyone but me! Imagine that!

**Renee, honey -- I'm thinking LABOR, LABOR, LABOR and praying hard for ya, sister!!!

**The only thing standing between me and Starbucks this morning was the FREEZING cold weather. Sigh.

**I have a pretty incredible husband and he is such a good Daddy.

That seems like a good place to stop.

Monday, January 08, 2007


It's so hard. It doesn't matter what you're (okay, I'm) trying to change, it usually stinks.

Right now I have a few personal goals I'm working on and they all pretty much suck. I guess the part that sucks is trying to find the motivation, stamina and willpower to make them happen. I don't feel like I've set too lofty of goals, I just feel like I'm all BLAH to try and get to them.

Are there really people out there that set goals and say "Gung ho!! No stopping me now!!" Come to think of it, when did that stop being me? I used to be like that, but now I just feel like a lump.

I have no idea what I'm trying to say other than I frustrate myself. Sweet.

(By the way, Mitchell started saying "Sweet!" this weekend...whoops.)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

My sweet girl...

Sweet, Sweet Georgia,

It is crazy to think that your first birthday is only two months away. You have grown and changed so much, and before even one more day goes by, I want to document what makes you "you". I know that you are our last child and I'm so afraid that I'll forget some of these things. So, Georgia, if you are now a teenager and reading this in your scrapbook, here's what you are like at 10 months old...

*Goofy! If you figure out that what you are doing is making someone laugh, you will keep on doing it over and over and over. Prime targets are grandparents, as your new "tricks" are usually pretty novel to them and they will encourage you to keep on doing whatever it is you think is so hilarious. Favorites at the moment include blowing raspberries (which you are NOT encouraged to do at home), hiding behind something and popping your head out, shaking your head back and forth when someone says "nooooooo", your version of "dancing" and saying one of your new words, like "uh oh". One of the things I absolutely adore about you is that you are smiling the majority of the time you're awake, and the majority of the time you're smiling, you're also giggling. There is no shortage of things to smile or laugh at in your world, lovie.

*Curious! A friend of mine brought the term "Curious Georgia" to my attention. Here's what prompted that label...

You had just finished breakfast and I was simply rinsing off your highchair tray before I came to play with you and Mitchell in the living room. It's gated off on both ends to keep you contained, and I don't think I was away from you for longer than a minute. I came back and you were standing up in the train table drawer! First I helped you sit down so you wouldn't flip backwards and hit your head on the heating vent, and then I ran for the camera. The funny thing is, Kiki and I had just been talking the day before about how you were turning into a climber and we'd have to watch you with dresser drawers...guess we should have added train tables to the list. This picture captures you so perfectly at this age; you are at your happiest when you are right in the middle of everything, surrounded by chaos. You get awfully proud of yourself in situations like have just learned to say "Ta-Daaaa" and it is just SO you.

*Sweet! You are such a sweet baby girl, Georgia! You love to give kisses, and your idea of a hug is to smother something completely. You have several toys that you love to "give lovies" and to you that means laying on top of them and smushing your face into them. (Why I haven't yet taken a picture of this is a good question -- today I definitely will!) I guess that action describes you pretty do everything to the extreme. You can't just "kiss", you have to bathe someone or something in a big, wet, openmouth extravaganza. You can't just "hug", you have to use every available square inch of your body to show your love. You love to give people kisses and your favorite part is when they say "Oh, thank you!" Makes you clap and smile.

*Busy!! Yes, two exclamation marks for this one. You are on the go all the time, and the only time you're not is when you're sleeping. You have been like that even before you were born. When I was in my last few weeks of pregnancy, I had a horrible time sleeping. You would move like CRAZY for up to 4 hours (and that is not an exaggeration). It didn't matter what position I was in, you were just going nuts. My dad called you "The Tsunami" when you did that because it was just huge waves, one after the other. I can't remember who, but someone also said it was like two cats in a bag fighting...not too far off with that description. We should have seen it coming after that, I suppose. Anyone who spends more than 5 minutes with you usually offers up a "She's a busy girl, isn't she?" We just nod and think to ourselves that they have no idea. Your brother falls asleep in the car after 10 minutes, no matter what time of day it is. It is a rare occasion when that happens with are just so afraid you're going to miss something. (Scary moment for us both: that is exactly how I was described as a child. Uh oh!!)

*Chatty! Your brother waited until right up to his second birthday to talk (and hasn't stopped since, I might add), so it took us by surprise when you decided that 9 months of waiting was long enough for you. "Dada" was your first word of all time at about 6 months, and I'm convinced this was nothing more than a strategic move on your part. Your first word other than one of us was "Santa" at 9 months, just in time for Christmas. You also like to say "uh oh", "thank you", "mama" and "ta-daaa". I played peek-a-boo with you and Mitchell at Kiki's house just to see if she heard what I did (I didn't tell her to listen for anything either) and she said "Did Georgia just say 'There he is'?" Guess I'm not crazy after all. You find something new to say just about every week now. You shake your head no and I'm sure a big fat "N-O" is on its way soon.

*Spunky! Let's just say that you are unafraid to assert yourself. If you are playing with something that's not safe for you, the poor person who gets to remove it from your hands is immediately met with a loud screech of displeasure, sometimes combined with the "no" head shake and maybe even a bounce up and down with hands waving all around. You get MAD at people for getting in your way and (gasp!) telling you where to go and what to do. You definitely are not afraid to take on this Mommy radar tells me that this is most likely a double edged sword type of thing for the future. Your brother is finding out how much "spunk" you have, and I have a feeling that when you figure out how to walk, he better practice running even faster!

*Adorable! Yes, I'm aware that this is an extremely biased thing as I'm your mother, but it's true. You're cute. You're beyond cute. I think besides that crazy hair, those big brown eyes, and that grin that is a mile wide, all of the things I've talked about above shine through you. You are without question, an adorable baby girl.

You love to play with your brother, hate to be strapped into a highchair or carseat, will not allow yourself to be rocked to sleep, think that batting beachballs around the room is hilarious, love to "help" with the laundry, crawl as fast as you possibly can (even though it sometimes invites a faceplant) when the gates are open so that you can explore the rest of the world, are a maniac in the bathtub, wave hi and bye bye when we put coats on or take them off, can't wait to be held by Mommy and Daddy when we come back after being away (even following naps), act like a mermaid kicking her tail when you are picked up from your crib, and most importantly, are one in a million.

Georgia, I could never "nutshell" you, but this is my best attempt. You, my precious baby, are a gift and you are cherished and treasured.

I love you,


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

All the kid wanted was a snowman...

Apparently, his name is "Mel" and he's a cab driver and he now lives in my backyard.

Chris wanted to build a snow fort with Mitchell, so they worked on that for awhile. Well, after an hour out there, my little man (who already has a cold) face plants in the snow while being silly and gets snow in his gloves, all over his face, down his neck, etc. I decide that is the signal for him to come in. He is devastated that he won't get to build a snowman. Chris assures him that he'll take care of it.

Mel comes to life.

I try to stop laughing and tell him that he's gonna be in trouble with "The Boss" because he wanted a snowman, not a snow MAN. He laughs and says "Don't you like him?" I just shake my head, roll my eyes and go inside to show Mitchell his dad's handiwork. "That's a cheese cutter hat, by the way!" I hear yelled at me on my way in.

I take Mitchell upstairs to the bathroom, as you can see the entire backyard from up there and tell him that Daddy's done. He says "Oh boy, did Daddy make me a Frosty?" I said "Uhhh, well, sort of." I lift him up so he can see Chris proudly standing next to his, errr, cab driver. Here's the conversation from that point...

Mitchell: Daddy, WHAT did you build me?
Chris: His name is Mel!
Mitchell: But where's my Frosty?
Chris: This is a snowman, buddy.
Mitchell: But where's my Frosty?
Chris: I didn't make a Frosty, I made Mel.
Mitchell: Well, make me a Frosty.

There's still no Frosty. Lucky for Chris, Mitchell didn't say another word about it. Oh, and he claims that the snow wouldn't stick enough to make a Frosty. Seemed to stick enough to make a Mel, now didn't it?

**Funny P.S. Mitchell just asked me, "Mommy, Did my man melt yet?" Not snowman. Man. Nice.

Let's start the New Year with...

Some Mitchell-isms. Here are some I've written down from this weekend:

Me: Georgia, NO.
Mitchell: Georgia, NO.
Me: I'm the Mommy, you don't need to chime in.
Mitchell: But I'M the MITCHELL.

Me: Georgia is a nut!
Mitchell: No she's not, she's a pickle.

Mitchell: You're the best Mommy I ever had in my whole LIFE.
Me: You're the best son I ever had in MY whole life.

Mitchell: Mommy, who is your favorite? (Cars character)
Me: Sally.
Mitchell (to Dad): Daddy, when I'm a Daddy, I'm gonna buy Mommy TWO Sallies.

Mitchell: Mommy, when Daddy wouldn't let me go where all the Cars stuff was (at the store) it made me angry.
Me: Well, what did you do? Did you throw a fit or use your words?
Mitchell: I cried and screamed.
Me: Hmmm...well, what do you think would work better next time?
Mitchell: Daddy could let me go play with the Cars stuff.

Me: That's not a nice word, we don't say that. (Someone in the Cars movie --sensing a theme? -- called someone else an idiot.)
Mitchell: That's right, Mommy. We need to call them nice idiots.