Summer Reading: Tips for High School Students

You might remember that once upon a time I was a high school English teacher. And a damn good one at that.

I just ran across something I posted to Facebook five years ago (also the final year I was paid to stand in front of a classroom). It was a note to my students of my thoughts on the list their school (not me) sent for summer reading choices.

Look at me, still using the public library like it's my job.

Look at me, still using the public library like it’s my job.

I got a chuckle out of it today and I think it is worth reposting here. Feel free to pass this nugget along to any high school student you know who still hasn’t thought about that summer reading assignment due August 24th, especially if that assignment came with a list of classics to choose from. Continue reading “Summer Reading: Tips for High School Students”

Mommy’s Losing It

It is 9:19am. I’ve now reheated the same mug of coffee three times. I have forty minutes before the baby wakes up and I begin the 45 minute process of getting all four children into the car so I can make it to yoga at the Y and only be 5 minutes late. Nevermind that everyone is currently fed and dressed. Nevermind that I am, for once, fed and dressed.


Someone is crying.

Ain’t happening today folks. Continue reading “Mommy’s Losing It”

Childhood Graduation

So many things to celebrate (or cry about, depending on the day and the kid).

Today was Carter’s last day of Kindergarten. I can respect a school that refuses to call it a “graduation” and avoids the caps and gowns. I’m going to note here, however, that Calvary does include the awkward simultaneous handshake/handoff of a rolled up blank piece of paper.

So you know. Don’t call it a graduation.

We know what it is. Continue reading “Childhood Graduation”

Dog Pile

Of almost every mother I know, I think I might be the best at saying No. NO to impulse buys at the grocery store. NO to spring soccer at the YMCA. NO to kid-friendly tablets and letting my kids play even educational games. NO more (next year) to the three o’clock carline. NO to volunteering at the school (but absolutely YES to bandwagoning on group gifts for teachers). NO to having that friend over this afternoon. NO to taking care of kids or the house before noon on Saturdays. YES to a housekeeper so NO to cleaning toilets myself. NO to just about anything that is going to make my mostly manageable life even a little bit more complicated.

You can see that I’m maybe a little bit spoiled.

So it stands to reason that I’m a little bit terrible at handling life’s dog piles. Continue reading “Dog Pile”

Passing Notes

Me to John:

Had the most annoying day today at Walmart.
Well. Actually that’s wrong.
Had a STANDARDLY annoying day today at Walmart.
But that damn kitty litter box is returned and I got two tomato cages for my big plants and was judged by what I can only assume was a mom from Clemmons….
Things I maybe almost said.

John to me:

I had a similar incident at Home Depot when Isaiah was helping me carry that long piece of metal in the garage by the diaper pail.
The cashier was freaking out that he would cut his hand on it.
Me to John:
Yes well, after the eyeball moment, Avery snatched a plastic bag out of the cart and decided to eat it.
So you can imagine how well THAT went over.
John to me:
She is so QUICK.
Best friends, y’all.

A Saturday Morning List

Things I wrote a week ago and never hit “publish” and promptly forgot about. Have been suffering from some serious Spring Forward Grog this week, and I suspect others are as well. This won’t take long. Happy Friday, and Happy Spring Break. 

  1. John and the kids are running a 5K this morning and I’m at home with sleeping Avery, a hot cup of coffee, and a half a donut.
  2. I know I’ve mentioned that I don’t like to use my blog as my secret public journal, but today, just for fun, I’m going to publish what should otherwise be written with a felt-tip pen on a blank page of a green spiral bound sketch pad.
  3. There was a time in my life when I really loved journaling. I’m a line-free journaler. I don’t draw, I don’t even really doodle, but I do love a brand new blank sketch pad and some felt tip pens. And it just happens that I’m particularly skilled with writing in perfectly straight lines. (Even on a white board.)
  4. After four kids I’ve changed my mind about something. I now believe wholeheartedly that personalities are pretty much engrained. And because I know this to be true, I also know that I do not get to look forward to a fourth child who never talks. Blabber-mouth #4 folks.
  5. Two things I miss most about teaching: (1) Friday silent reading for 45 minutes in each class for a total of 135 minutes of weekly pleasure reading for me. (2) Ten minute guided-journaling at the beginning of each class, which I participated in with my my students most days of the week.
  6. Though I like to take time to write down my things-to-do every day, I often make lists of things I’ve already done, just to have a tangible sense of stay-at-home mom accomplishment. (And you can only imagine how it feels now that I’ve hired someone to clean my house, three-quarters of my weekly to-do list erased in one day by one amazing woman.)
  7. It is cold outside, but the sun is shining and daylight savings ends tonight. Spring is on the way but not quite here. Half of me is still hibernating. Half of me is itching to spring clean something. Maybe I just need to spring clean my brain.
  8. Isaiah pronounces his sister’s name “Ee-vray,” and I hope it sticks for life.
  9. I want to start my garden this weekend and I really want to grow blueberries in my yard.
  10. Has anyone stuck with the New Year’s Resolution this year? Didn’t make a resolution this year? Here’s another idea: call an attorney get your estate planning documents in order. You need three: a Last Will and Testament, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a Durable Power of Attorney. If you have kids and you haven’t done this, put it on your own Spring Cleaning list.
  11. It is Lent and I didn’t give anything up. I haven’t even considered a 40 day spiritual focus of any kind. Throughout most of high school and all of college I was bombarded with the church teaching of daily “quiet time” which is not happening regularly, or even a few times a week month, or even really at all. I feel no guilt about this and I’m quite sure I’ve done more spiritual growth in the last eight years than in all of high school and college combined.
  12. Yesterday I had a conversation with my neighbor about a fight she recently had with her husband and I was so delighted and relieved to know that John and I are normal. I mean. I know we are normal. But God. It was refreshing to hear someone else admit the same kind of childish things we do and say in the presence of unconditional love. I guess it is easier to be transparent when you are truly that confident of forgiveness and acceptance on the other side of the temper tantrum.
  13. Watching New Girl on Netflix right now and I do believe it is the perfect replacement for those of us who never missed an episode of Friends ten years ago. John thinks it is better than Friends.
  14. Whenever I have pre-bed anxiety and find myself exhausted but unable to fall asleep, I just imagine Pinterest pages of organized closets and laundry rooms, and things that utilize a label-maker, and somehow that does the trick.
  15. I plan to never give in to the current parenting trend of owning an expensive camera. That way I can simply say of all my non-expert-lighting snapshots, “Yeah, I took that on an iPhone,” but whenever I take a really great picture I can say, “Yeah, I took that on an iPhone!”

A New Reason To Celebrate

The kid that made me a mom for the first time.

The kid that made me a mom for the first time.

One year ago today, I was pregnant with Avery. Only twelve weeks, and already miserable enough to know I had to be carrying another girl. I didn’t blog about that pregnancy, I didn’t put anything in Facebook updates, and I didn’t post any pictures. Generally speaking, I lived every single day of those 39 weeks counting down the seconds until my next nap.

One year ago today.

I know the date because it was Eliott’s 7th birthday. Standard Dadderday, John was taking all the kids to the gym for the morning. He bought tickets to take Eliott and Carter to their first ever movie in a theater (Frozen) which would allow me to take a nap with Isaiah that afternoon. Then we were all going out to eat for Eliott’s birthday dinner. Her choice: Golden Corral (damn you, Saturday morning cartoons and your chocolate fountain commercials). Continue reading “A New Reason To Celebrate”