Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dear Students

Dear Students,

It's that time of year again! Everywhere across the country, schools are opening their doors for the start of another school year. It's a new year and a fresh start. And there are some things I think you should know...

First, your teachers are just as nervous and anxious as you are. There is a lot on our shoulders and we don't want to let you down. Your education has been put in our care for a whole year. A WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR. That's some pressure right there. But it's also an honor. We have been trusted to not only educate you, but to care for you and keep you safe as well.

And we will keep you safe. We care. Please know that. If you think no one cares, we do. If you think no one wants to see you succeed, we want nothing more than that. If you think no one understands you, we will try. If you think you can't do it, we think you can. If you think you aren't special, we think you are.

We are in your corner. We have your back and are rooting for  you, not against you. Please remember that, even when we give homework.

Some of your teachers have been preparing for your arrival since the day school ended last year. They have spent summer hours planning lessons or trying to think of ways to to do it better. Because we want to be better for you.

Your teachers have stayed late, lovingly hanging up decorations and posters and making your classroom a place that you will enjoy coming to each and every morning.

Although everyone seems to forget from time to time, with all of the new initiatives and testing and data analysis, it's all about YOU. We are here for you and because of you. And we will try our best every single day.

So we would love if you did the same. We aren't expecting perfection. We just want you to try your best. And keep trying again, every day until you leave us at the end of the year to continue on your journey. By your journey's end, we will have been just a small stepping stone along the way. But we won't forget you. Trust me, teachers don't forget. You will always have a little place in our heart.

When it's all said and done, we hope we have taught you well. And chances are, you will have taught us just as much.

A Teacher

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Along came these 3 little girls.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was a young woman who wore a size 6 and had no stretch marks. Her house was clean and free from clutter and filled with peace and quiet and nice things from Pottery Barn. There wasn't even any crayon drawings on the walls. She slept as late as she wanted. She didn't drive a minivan. Her bank account had a few more zeros on the balance and she could go to the mall and buy whatever her little heart desired. She thought she had it all.

Then along came these 3 little girls. One by one. Each a few years apart. They showed up and they never left.

Now the house is always messy and noisy...and sometimes smelly. There is never enough time for cleaning...or when there is, what is done becomes undone in mere minutes. These girls, they fight like cats and dogs. Nothing is ever "fair".

There are still trips to the mall, but to stores with sizes no larger than a child size 14. These girls get new clothes with each passing season while the now mid-30ish year woman with many stretch marks wears the same clothes with each passing year. 

There are no more impromptu nights out with friends, twice weekly dinners with the husband, or sleeping the whole day away. No time is her own, since these little girls came along. Not even in the bathroom or shower. Her space is their space and they seem to know no boundaries.

These three little girls have demands that must be met. They need ridiculous things like baths and dinner every night.

They want the banana cut, now they want it whole. Leave the peel on so they can eat it like a monkey. Take the peel off. DON'T take the peel off. These demands are constant. If not met, feet stomping and whining will ensue. She tries to ignore it...but they follow her. In a stand-off, she leaves the banana on the table and says to take it or leave it. Turns out 3 year old will take it and the woman quietly rejoices because she called her bluff. It's the little victories...

It seems like it will never end. Most days the woman just wants to make it to bedtime. She wants to have some peace and quiet...for about 5 minutes until she falls asleep herself from sheer exhaustion.

But the woman leaves for work each morning and longs for more time with these three girls. Although it can be draining and hard, she knows time is flying. She knows that the days of peace and quiet will come again. People constantly tell her it must be true.

And she also now knows that no mall could ever give her what her heart desires...because since these 3 little girls came along, she already has it all.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sometimes you strike out.

Kids, I need you to listen to me. VERY CLEARLY.

Sometimes you strike out. Sometimes you will fail. Sometimes you will lose. (And sometimes you will win.) You won't always be included and you may feel left out. No, you will feel left out.

And you know what? It's okay.

That's life, folks. I think it's time that our kids learned that.

Now I am not saying let's crush their hopes and dreams and break their little hearts. But our children need to know that sometimes what you hope for does not happen. Sometimes things go wrong...or your dreams change. And yes, sometimes your heart will be broken.

Then you get up and dust your self off.

Why am I saying all of this?  Well, it's because kids these days don't experience failure often (or at all). And it is going to make the future all that much harder.

Let me tell you a story.

I started to play softball when I was in 2nd grade. I was the youngest kid on the team. The first day of practice, I got hit with the ball and I didn't want to go back. So guess what my mom did? She took me back the next day...and left me there. She just dropped me off and ran.

And I ended up loving it. You know what else? I was on the team with girls that were 5 or 6 years older than me. And they pitched to me. Three strikes...and I was out. There was no special rule because I was younger. There was no tee to hit off of when I couldn't hit the pitch. And there weren't endless pitches thrown to me so that I always got on base. Nope. I struck out and that was that. But I learned and got better. I LOVED playing on that team my first year and all I remember was the pool party and trips to Pappy's pizza when we won a game. I don't remember failing. Because when you are a kid, you need to learn to lose and not give up.

Let me tell you another story. (This one cuts deep.)

I was in 6th grade and it was our school Christmas pageant. I was set to be one of the narrators. Then at practice, one the the 6th grade teachers cut me off in front of the WHOLE CLASS and said, "I don't think you can be a narrator because your voice is too nasal." And that was that. I got the part of a pretty angel in the background with no lines.

Was I crushed? Yes. Did I live with years of animosity towards that teacher because she robbed me of the spotlight? You betcha.

But you know what? She was right. My voice was nasal and that part might not have been right for me. Whatevs. I got over it (kind of).

I really do understand some of the "everyone wins" mentality. But sometimes it seems to be a little much and I worry that we are raising a generation of kids so accustomed to being coddled that they don't know how to fail. Not only do they not know how to fail, but they don't know how to get up and try again. They give up and take the easier path. But the easier path isn't always the right one.

I just really wish that we could stop making up all of these rules where everyone gets invited to the party or everyone gets on base or no team wins because "we don't keep score in this league". 

We can teach our children to work hard. To rejoice in their successes and to learn from their failures. We can show them that it's normal to make mistakes or not succeed at something. Give them the tools that they need to persevere in this crazy life we are living. Because it doesn't help them if all they know is how to win.

Sometimes you strike out. But you can get back up to the plate and try again. You can ALWAYS try again.

Everyone goes through adversity in life, but what matters is how you learn from it.
~Lou Holtz
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Time that I Went Back to College... (My BlogU Wrap Up)

Last week I turned 36 years old.

Then I went back to college for a weekend. I lived in a dorm room and all. And it was SPECTACULAR.

Let me tell you a little about my back to school experience at BlogU!

1. I met some of the MOST AMAZING ladies ever (including my roomie Lynn from Nomad Mom Diary). Actually, most of them I already knew in my virtual life. They had lived in my computer for years and we were pretty much already besties. Then I met them in real life. And we are even more like besties.

2. My BFFs and I took some kick ass selfies.

 Kerry from House TalkN is one of my favorites!

 I absolutely LOVE Teri from Snarkfest!

 And I also LOVE Bethany from I Love Them the Most When They're Sleeping, the photobomb queen!

3. I learned SO MUCH that I thought my head would explode. Part of me wanted to throw in the towel because I was overwhelmed by all of the blogging/business info. The other part if me had a renewed confidence that I would be able to take the wealth of knowledge and run with it. So that's what I going to try to do.

4. Susan from Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva gave us very useful information about how to treat your blog like a business! She thought her session was boring...but it was chock full o' good info. To show her how much I appreciated it, I took the most fabulous awkward prom picture with her. It's a framer.

5. Yep, you read that right. I said PROM. We went to the best prom EVER, sponsored by the wonderful folks at NickMom.

Plastic sofas and all.

Jennifer from Real Life Parenting and I ROCKED the retro prom theme!

6. Speaking of the NickMom Retro Prom, the highlight of the night for me was when Christine from Keeper of the Fruit Loops wore my prom dress from 1995.

 I almost died. Hilarious!

Bitch stole my look!

 Christine and Stacia from Dried-On Milk kickin' it old school.

7. We had the amazing opportunity to meet editors from both Huffington Post and NickMom...and they were super helpful and sweet.

8.  Nicole from Ninja Mom was the funniest person ever any time she got on the mic to speak. She needs to be a stand up comic! And she was also the most adorable thing ever. I wanted to put her in my pocket and take her home with me. So freakin' cute!

9. I got to meet one of my idols...a blogging/writing superstar, Jen from People I Want to Punch in the Throat!

10. I stayed up WAY TO LATE and laughed until I cried with Keeper of the Fruit Loops and Foxy Wine Pocket. We perfected the art of roundhouse kicks.

11. It turns out that I won't do a reading from my blog in front of hundreds of people...but I will take the microphone from the DJ and rap every single word of Young MC's "Bust a Move".

12. I have found my blogging tribe and I love each and every one of them!

In closing, it was a FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC weekend in which I learned more in 48 hours than I learned in 4 years of college. Sorry, no that's not true. It took me 5 years to finish college. And I did learn a lot. But I #GotSchooled at BlogU!

It was great and I am already looking forward to next year!!!

A special thank you SHOUT OUT goes to Stephanie from Binkies and Briefcases who was the mastermind behind the entire BlogU conference! Also to the faculty, who were terrific and informative and patient and helpful and fabulous. You should really go check out the faculty list and visit each and every single one of them!!!
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Truth about Girls

The other night in a ranty Facebook post, I mentioned that I was fed up with reading all of these posts about being a mom of boys.

Let me state for the record that I actually enjoy reading these posts and I am very certain that they are accurate. My frustration comes from that fact that many believe, or seem to believe, that girls are just the complete opposite of those rowdy, gross, mama-loving boys.

And that is not true.

I have 3 daughters. Trust me.

Here's the truth about girls.

They like to be dirty.
Seriously, most girls don't give a crap about getting their hands dirty. They like to dig their pink sparkly painted nails in the dirt just as much as the next guy.
They are dirty.
Their rooms can smell like complete @ss and they don't care. There are clothes and toys and stuffed animals and barbies and dirty socks strewn everywhere. AND THEY DON'T CARE.

They are rough.
My girls will knock a b*tch out. And by that, I mean each other. They will throw punches and kick and wrestle. They also will try to slide down our railing or jump over it onto the sofa. Instead of playing IN their little playhouse, sometimes they enjoy sitting on the roof. It all depends on whatever mood they are in ... that minute.

They love potty talk.
Not a day goes by that they don't talk about poop or farts or butts...and with girls, you most likely get the added bonus of "boobie" talk.

They like to be gross.
They also think burps and farts are hilarious. It's even funnier when they do it right on each other. My 5 year old loves to torment her older sister with her feet. All the time.

They love their moms, too.
It's not just boys that love to kiss and hug their mommies. Sure, they love their dads a whole lot. But sometimes all the want is mommy. And they might even tell you over and over again that they NEVER want to move out because they want to live with you forever. Ummmm, talk to me in 10 years, honey.

They are not sweet and girly all the time ... and sometimes they never are.
It's not always princesses and tea parties. It's not always pink frilly dresses. But when it is, they are usually a size too small and they still insist upon wearing them to the grocery store.

It's not always sugar and spice and everything nice. Sometimes it is everything crazy and gross and dirty. It's a little bit of everything. And it's wonderful.

That's the truth.
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