2019 Summer Week 4

Day 24 Clean Table

Finally. Home.  (For a day at least.)  I’m not ashamed to admit that some of the tubs and coolers from camping were still hanging out in the kitchen at the start of this day.  The best part of today was recovering the kitchen and dining room.  I’m thankful for a husband that still cheers me on when I send him these kinds of pictures while he’s at work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 25 VCTM & Trails

Photo Credit: AllTrails.com

So that home thing didn’t last long.  I headed to Richmond again for a meeting of the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics board.  This was my first official meeting as one of two elementary representatives.  These kinds of situations stir up a bit of my impostor syndrome.  However, I was pleasantly surprised that the folks there were super kind, and I actually had decent ideas to add to the conversation and brainstorming.  As I had promised myself the week before, I ended the day with a ride at Pocahontas State Park on the most perfect trails.  While I was riding, my mom texted and asked if I wanted to catch up with her for dinner before heading back.  We enjoyed dinner at Chuy’s while chatting about her upcoming surgery and how her friends remind me of the movie Wine Country.

Day 26 Middle School

This week Chica has been attending a middle school orientation of sorts.  The bus picks her up at the top of our street, and she spends the morning there having breakfast, going to a few “classes” and eating lunch before she gets dropped off back at home.  While Bubba has certainly missed her company during the day, I think it’s overall been a great experience for her.  She’s talked about making a new friend, taking a tour, visiting the herpetology lab, and decorating a pot in art.  I’m thankful for the teachers who gave up part of their summer to make sure incoming 6th graders feel prepared.  Now we just need to figure out how to help moms and dads feel prepared too.

Day 27 Podcast & Bike Ride

Today was a first for our podcast!  We welcomed a remote guest, Alice Aspinall, who talked about her book, Everyone Can Learn Math.  She wasn’t afraid of our 6AM start time, and we joked about how thankful we are that a podcast is just audio and not video!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Chica was having something special each day at school, I felt like I should do the same for Bubba.  We chose a morning bike ride on the trail and did almost 7 miles together.  When I go on short adventures like this with him, I can’t help but wonder what’s to come.  When he gets bigger and stronger, will he still want to go with me?  I would love hike the entire VA section of the AT one summer.  As of right now, it’s looking like he’s the only family member that might find that fun.  We’ll see.

Day 28 Girls’ Weekend

 

 

 

 

This spring, Alissa reached out to three of us who have girls the same age about planning a weekend getaway together.  Other people who heard about it assumed we were going to have “the talk,” but I think we’ve all already given it in one way or another.  Really we just wanted to get together to chat, eat, run, swim, hike, and let our big kids have fun hanging out.  We ended up in a little Airbnb on the Shenandoah River with way too much food for just one weekend.

Day 29 Hike

All the moms:  Time to go on a hike!  Yay!

All the girls:  Noooooooooooo…..

All the moms:  We’re going anyway.  Get your shoes on.

Despite their whining, we hiked the Hightop Peak Trail, a 3 mile out-and-back on the AT that you get to from the Shenandoah National Park.  The view at the top ended up making it worth it, even for the kids.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 30 Run Surprise

 

 

 

 

The cabin where we stayed was surrounded by beautiful farm land and an event space.  Both mornings, Alissa and I went out for a five mile run along the corn fields.  This morning as we were rounding the corner of one of the barns, we saw a guy sitting down taking a smoke break.  I tried to act like I didn’t see him because we weren’t sure if we should even be there, but apparently Alissa didn’t look away.  And she got an eye full of nekked lady!  We spent much of the rest of the run trying to figure out why she was there in the first place.  Were they the newlywed couple from the night before?  Limo driver and guest?  Owners?  Who knows.  Whoever they were, they certainly weren’t expecting us to come trotting around that corner in the middle of nowhere.

We were crazy hot when we got back, so jumping in the river in our shorts and sports bras seemed like the right thing to do.  Eventually everyone else joined us…until they saw a snake in the water!  Not being a 6 (look…I’ve learned something about the Enneagram!), I decided I wasn’t worried about it, and I stuck with my plan of swimming across the river and back while Rachel paddled along beside me.  The snakes stayed away.

 

I’m so incredibly thankful for this weekend that we had away.  No spreadsheets, no little people, no drama….it was perfect.  Here’s to conquering all the hard parts of middle school together.

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2019 Summer Week 3

Day 18 Fight & Make Up

Today was the reset day.  The plan was to unpack from our camping trip, clean a little, pack again, and head to Grandma’s house for a few days in Richmond.  I knew I needed help, so I did what any desperate mom would do….I hit both kids with a great bribe.  They each had a list of chores to do, all afternoon and evening to do them, and a trip to MayLynn’s for ice cream waiting on the other side.  Well, Chica bit, but Bubba not so much.  Here’s an accurate summary of how it went down:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exasperated, I asked Chica if she had any suggestions.  And she did.  She said I should extend the deadline by 30 minutes and let him know that we were going to Grandma’s tonight, instead of tomorrow.  Whadayaknow?!?  It worked, the chores got done, apologies were said, and they stuffed themselves with ice cream before setting out for two more hours on the road.

 

 

Day 19 Pocahontas State Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we were camping last week, Becky encouraged me to check out Pocahontas State Park.  I realized just how close it was to Grandma’s house, so I talked her into taking us there on our first day in RVA.  The kids played by/in the water while I ran a few miles.  (What’s with that muddy trails sign, BTW??)  I made a firm plan to come back with my bike the following week when I would be in town again for a meeting.  They have the most well-maintained and marked bike trails I have ever seen…which I fully realize might not be saying too much because this (early) mid-life crisis hobby of mine is still fairly new.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 20 Kings Dominion

Keeping with our summer tradition, we visited KD today and did all the things.  We were waiting in line for the Avalanche, and Bubba looks over and asks, “Is that my cousin?”  Sure enough, their cousin was in line too!  What a fantastic surprise.

 

I was able to talk Bubba into a few more rides this time.  We rode the Racer 75 (also known as the Rebel Yell to old people), Grizzly, and Flight of Fear.  Right before the FoF took off he asked, “Does this go upside down?”  I honestly replied, “I don’t think so…”, then BOOM!  We flew out of the start and immediately went upside down.  LOL.  As soon as the ride was over, I started apologizing:  “Bubba, I’m so sorry!  I didn’t know it went upside down.”  He replied with a funny “Wait…what?”  That kid had kept his eyes closed the entire time, and he had no idea we had even gone upside down.  We ended up riding it 2 or 3 more times until he could keep his eyes open long enough to see the whole thing.  Fingers crossed for Anaconda and Twisted Timbers with him next year!

Day 21 Dressing Room Selfies

I don’t go shopping often, but losing a few pounds and attending a friend’s wedding definitely call for something new.  Jay and I were not only guests, but Lori asked him to take her photos, and I was planning to help as his second shooter.  I was feeling pretty particular about what I wanted, including nothing that needed a new bra, something other than black, and a high enough neckline and long enough hemline that I could bend and squat without flashing anybody.  After trying on lots of things and admitting just how embarrassingly bad I am at mirror selfies, I finally settled on a navy & white polka-dotted jump suit.  Thanks to Rachel’s suggestions, I followed that up with flip flops from Old Navy and a clearance rack necklace from Kohl’s.  Looking at these pics again now, I still wish I bought that one with the orange top, but the jump suit was definitely the best choice for working a wedding.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 22 Wedding!

Here are just a few of my favorite shots, but you can see many more on Jay’s site.  It was a beautiful and joy-filled day.

Day 23 VT

 

 

 

 

 

Jay and I spent the morning walking around Tech before we met Justine for breakfast at Gillie’s.  I feel sad thinking about this day because it’s probably the last time I’ll see her for a long while.  She and Kyle are moving to Charlotte where she’s taken a new teaching job.  Working as her partner this past year was such a privilege.  She’s smart, funny, caring, organized, and flexible…all the things you could want when working with somebody.  I’m going miss her like crazy, but I’ll attempt to keep up with her life in NC through her dog & cat Insta posts.  Also…why the heck didn’t we take a picture at breakfast?  This picture of them from the night before will have to do!

 

2019 Summer Week 2

Day 8 Soggy Starbucks Run

This morning Jay was photographing a race, so I had a short window of time to get my not-very-long long run in before I needed to be home with the kids.  It was slow, soggy, and almost cold, but I never regret a run once I’m out there.  The best part was running into Jay with about one mile to go.  My new watch has a tracking feature that allows certain people to access where I am along my route.  (No, this does not feel creepy stalker-ish when my husband’s the one doing the tracking.)  He surprised me along my course, and we chatted for a few minutes before I had to keep moving to get warm.  I like that guy.

Day 9 Put a Bucket on Your Head

At some point this weekend Bubba turned an old popcorn bucket into a helmet.  I guess if you have to unload the dishwasher, doing it with a bucket on your head is the way to go.  I just tried not to think about what nastiness was getting in his hair.

Also today, there are no pics to prove it, but I met Emily and Alissa for Starbucks and race stories.  My friend is strong, brave, and able to run 100 miles in less than 24 hours, and now she has the belt buckle to prove it.

 

Day 10 Camping Prep

This coming Friday we leave for our annual family camping trip.  The kids have been busy prepping by spending many hours in their hammocks.  Jay has installed hooks both outside and inside, and they’ve alternated back and forth with the rain.  Here’s a picture he sent me of Chica asleep for the night right beside his desk in the basement.

 

Day 11 Professional Development

Today I led two different math PD sessions for LCS teachers.  The first was a repeat of a training that I led in the spring.  I tweaked a few things and planned for it to be twice as long, and I think this one went beautifully.  I led a second one in the afternoon that was longer and had many more teachers in attendance.  This was a training that I planned during one of my Master’s classes, so I was excited to have a chance to try it out.  Facilitating something like this with people that don’t know each other is always tricky, especially if participants are a bit hesitant to share.  I was pleased with how things went overall, but I definitely know elements I will change if I get a chance to lead it again.

Day 12 Picnic

Today we enjoyed the annual University of Lynchburg faculty and staff picnic.  I think this was at least our third year attending as a family.  Chica spent the whole time cuddling kittens that one of the librarians is fostering, Bubba got me soaked in the water balloon toss, and Jay stalled in the shade as long as he possibly could before returning to his office for a meeting.  I’m so thankful that U of L has been such a great fit for him and our family.

Day 13 More Camping Prep

To me the worst part of camping is not the bugs, lack of air conditioning, or sleeping on the group.  It’s the packing.  For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get my butt in gear and get ready until the last minute this time.  We altered our usual final night dinner from hot dogs to hamburgers, so this is the picture I sent Jay from Walmart to make sure I was getting something he’d approve of.  In case you’re wondering, these were great.

 

 

Day 14 Finally On Our Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the picture I sent Jay around 11am, just one hour after I was originally hoping to leave for Twin Lakes State Park.  I was so proud of myself for getting everything in the van and all of the bikes on the rack without a great struggle, so I sent a text to brag.  He was appropriately impressed.

The past few years we’ve gone to James River State Park, but we decided to try a new spot this year.  We were so excited to find that friends of ours are the camp hosts at Twin Lakes this summer.  They have kids almost the exact same ages as Chica and Bubba, so the four of them spent countless hours together riding bikes, exploring, going to the ranger programs, and swimming.  I don’t have a ton of pics, though, because I purposely let my phone die and put it away for most of the weekend.

Day 15 Kayaking

 

 

 

 

 

We spent the morning lounging, reading, and watching the kids ride bikes.  In the afternoon I took them to the lake to try kayaking.  Much like last year’s tubing debacle, Bubba hated it.  That child literally pouted and scowled for 35 minutes straight.  Turns out he was scared of jellyfish, but his fear gets translated straight into anger for whatever reason.  I tried all the mom tricks I knew and finally declared, “I am NOT going to let you ruin my hour of kayaking too.  I am choosing joy!”  (Fake it til ya make it, anyone?)  Well, some switch happened, he suddenly decided he was fine, and he paddled out to the center of the lake to meet up with Chica.  With our 20ish minutes left, we explored the entire left side of the lake, and that stone-cold kid even cracked a smile or two.

As I was finishing up washing dishes after dinner, the kids told me they were going to go on a bike ride with their friends.  I said okay, then asked if they would mind waiting for me to join them.  Well, IT happened.  I got a heavy sigh, bit of an eye roll, and a totally unconvincing “okay” from Chica.  My brain jumped from hurt to understanding to back to hurt, I told them to go on without me, and I trudged back to the campsite to pout to Jay.  That wise guy encouraged me to suck it up and go on my own bike ride…a perfect solution to get my mind off the idea that my kids are entering a new stage of independence that I’m not sure I like.  I rode three hard miles on the Beaver Trail and forgot all about her heavy sigh.  I was mostly just thinking about how I should have brought water, and hoping I’d make it back before dark.

Oh…and one more story I don’t want to forget.  Jay decided to sleep in the hammock tonight.  The kids were already in the tent, I was trying to finish up the last few pages of a book, and he was turning in early.  All of a sudden I hear the distinct sound of a tree falling from his direction.  Then silence.  Nothing.  I instantly knew what had happened, and the moments of complete stillness were so frightening.  Yep, you guessed it…the part of the tree where he had attached the strap of his hammock completely snapped off.  He came down with it, and he was laying flat on his back tangled in the hammock when I finally got over to him.  He had managed to roll out of the way while the huge branch was coming down, and he was laughing by the time I got to him.  Someone from a nearby site called out to see if we were okay, but by that point all we could do was laugh…and laugh, and laugh.  I finally helped him up, he tied the straps around a thicker part of the same tree, and got back in the hammock.  He made it through the whole night without breaking anymore trees. 🙂

Day 16 High Bridge & Legos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our camp host friend, Becky, is training for an upcoming half marathon, so she needed to run 10 miles today.  I was so excited to join her on the High Bridge Trail, another nearby state park.  We hit the bridge at the most beautiful moment of the sunrise.

 

 

 

 

 

For Father’s Day we gave Jay a 3 in 1 Lego set, and he had completed all three by the end of the day like I knew he would.  The kids and I decided on another spin out on the lake, and this time Chica and I tried their stand-up paddle boards.

Day 17 Home and Back and Home Again

 

 

 

 

 

I had an interview back home this morning, so we got up early to have breakfast and start packing up our campsite.  Our breakfast choices were limited because SQUIRRELS!  Saturday one of the kids left the food tote open, and while we left the site for a few minutes, a squirrel got in a helped himself to some of our bagels.  Well get this…on Sunday the plastic tote was completely shut, but they still found a way in while we were out.  Those suckers chewed through the tough plastic top and got to the rest of our sliced bread and more bagels.  Lesson learned:  Food. Stays. In. Van.

Anyways, I traveled back home in the morning, showered so I wouldn’t reek of campfire and sunscreen, completed the interview, then headed back to the campground for a few more hours on the beach with my kids.  And guess what crazy thing happened while I was at the bathhouse trying to help everybody cleaned up before heading home again?!? I received the call that I GOT THE JOB!  I’m so excited to share that I’m staying at my same school, but I’ll be moving into the role of Instructional Coach.  Basically that means that I will do whatever I can to help teachers teach better.  What a great end to a great vacation…probably the best our family of four has ever had.  We celebrated the new job with dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and many excited texts with friends and family.  Woohoo!

 

2019 Summer Week 1

I wrote a whopping two blog posts this past school year.  One was a social story about dropping cinnamon buns on the porch, and the other was a list of all the things I want to do after finishing my grad courses.  Good news….I’ve already accomplished seven of the 23 things on The List, and I’ve started working on four more.  And since one of the 23 things is “blog regularly again”, here I am with a return of the photo-a-day summer posts.

Day 1 Smoothie

I chose this picture because it represents victory.  We have finally found something that Bubba will willingly eat every day for breakfast: a berry & banana smoothie.  For so long there was great gnashing of teeth whenever he was asked to find something to eat in the morning.  Cereal? No. Toast? No. Eggs? No.  PBJ? No. Anything?  Noooonoonooonononono.

Because I grew up an Earley, I don’t believe in skipping breakfast for any reason other than a blood test.  So Bubba’s breakfast refusal has always been particularly bothersome for me.  Enter the smoothie and some cool new flexible, reusable straws that Jay bought, and we can now usually avoid any fighting until at least 8:00 a.m.  Here’s the recipe in case you want to try it.  It makes one great-big-ol’ smoothie for me and a reasonable one for the Bub.

1/2 a frozen banana
2 cups of frozen berries (right now we’re using this mix from Kroger)
3/4ish cup frozen chopped spinach
1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 cup plus another splash of skim milk

Day 2 Conquer the Cove

The third thing on The List was “run faster.”  Already done!  What what?!?!

This was my second year completing the Conquer the Cove 25k, the final race of the RNUTS series.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect for my pace because I hadn’t done a ton of long runs before the race, but I was pleasantly surprised with dropping 20 minutes off of last year’s time!  I don’t think my training has been much different this spring, so I have to attribute the difference to the weight I’ve lost lately.

Second best part of this day?  The nap I took in the shade while Jay finished up taking pictures of the marathoners.

Day 3 Classroom

Like just about every other year of my teaching career, I wasn’t done-done by the last day of work.  I had to go back and pack up my classroom, and thankfully Grandma was willing to stick around to help.  I’m pretty sure if she wasn’t there, I would have just stood in the center of the room, spun in circles, and repeatedly said, “I don’t know where to begin. I can’t do this.”  There was still plenty of that, but then Grandma was there to point to a pile and tell me to get started.  I didn’t end up finishing Monday, so I had to go back a second day.  She rearranged things at work and stayed an extra-extra day.  The first picture is one she took when the Hoffmans stopped by to grab some things from his classroom, and the last two are the finished product.

 


Day 4 Barnes & Noble

At some point while she was here, Grandma took the kids to B&N, I’m pretty sure with the intention of getting them an end-of-the-school-year reward.  Bubba ended up with Pokemon cards, and Chica got a new journal, but this kid couldn’t take his mind off of the Pokemon card holder he also saw while they were there.  Somehow he talked me into writing him a chore list so that he could earn a few bucks to go buy it.  And then miracle of all miracles, he completed the list in an hour or two, without any whining.  So after dinner we went and bought the thing, and he’s been carrying it around, rearranging and talking about his cards non-stop ever since.

Day 5 Library

I count today as the first real day of summer because I didn’t have to go to school.  I took a barre fusion class at the Y for the first time, and I didn’t die or embarrass myself too terribly much.  We went from there to the library to read to the Therapy Dog.  We wanted to stick around for the free lunch, so we also painted with watercolor pencils in the adult section, checked out books, and worked on a math puzzle together.  I’ve tweeted it and told my librarian friend directly, but I just need everyone to know that the Lynchburg Public Library is doing a bang-up job.  We have nothing but great experiences every time we go there, and they are doing so much this summer to engage kids and families.  Give them a visit!

 

Day 6 Podcast & Girls’ Night

Though I regularly blow up Twitter with news about it, I haven’t written about our podcast here.  Ruth, Jay, and I started a math education podcast this fall, and today we recorded episode 30!?!  It still catches me off guard to realize that there are people, other than my next door neighbor friend and mom, who actually listen to us regularly.  If I had to guess, I think we’re safely at at least 20 faithful listeners around the country & Canada.  This project has been one of the biggest joys of my year because of how it’s stretched us as teachers and communicators.  Today’s recording was especially fun because we took things on the road to Ruth’s school to talk about Math Fact Fluency with several of her teachers & administrators.  We were both super encouraged by the conversation.

I spent the afternoon at a technology training, followed by reading in the Student Center at Randolph College.  Then I met my work friends for drinks, dinner, and dessert downtown.  The second picture here are all the pictures that Hannah texted Jay while we were out, because….well….why not?!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7 Walking, Fight, Nature Zone, & Reading

There were too many good things to write about today to pick just one.  So you’re getting four.

Big news:  Jay and I walked together FIVE mornings in a row this week.  Yep, I couldn’t believe it either, but it happened.  Today it was rainy, and he agreed….actually suggested….that we go to the Y Express to walk on the treadmills and talk.  This picture was on the way out.  (Pics or it didn’t happen??)  He was trying to emulate Rachel with the shoulder drop.  I think it’s working.

 

I swam laps at the Y today too.  Check that off “The List.”  Meanwhile the kids were in the Kidz Gym, apparently being absolutely horrid to each other.  From what I can gather, Bubba monopolized the karaoke machine, and Chica laid the hateful comments on thick.  But I went all PBIS on them, and decided that my best bet was to just do some reteaching about how to treat each other with kindness right there in the Y lobby.  It worked.

Here they are 30 minutes later thoroughly enjoying playing together while I bought myself more time to read.  I’m proud of Chica for admitting she was ugly and working to make it up to him.  I’m proud of Bubba for not dragging his #mood out all afternoon.  I’m proud of Jay for suggesting via text that I give them a chance to work it out.  I didn’t storm home and separate them all afternoon…my initial plan.  I didn’t just ignore it.  We talked about it, worked it out, and moved on.  These are the important moments.

In my beginning of the summer enthusiasm, I used the Macaroni Kid website to look for more fun ideas of things to do these weeks when I don’t have class.  In case you haven’t been lately, the Nature Zone is in a new location at Miller Park.  It’s free and open Fridays and Saturdays.  We visited, and I think our favorite parts were the turtles, snakes, and drawers of treasures to explore.

 

Finally, I had great aspirations of cleaning up our house this week.  I wanted to put away all the laundry, unpack many, many bags of junk from school, start to organize the basement, etc.  But it hasn’t happened yet, and I’m okay with that.  Instead, we had many more important moments like this one, reading on the couch together.  The mess will wait.

The List

This is the encouragement/lie that I tell myself daily:

Things will calm down if I can just get through ______.

Many years ago I filled in the blank with sleepless nights and potty training.
Sometimes it’s a short term obstacle like posting grades or I Love Math Day.
Other times I’m just trying to survive a holiday season or a tough school year.

These days that blank is always filled with “grad school”.

I’ve been in school for four straight years y’all.  First it was a self-paced program at WGU.  Next I spent a year at Virginia Tech in a program that I ended up realizing was a good stepping stone, but ultimately not the right fit.  These past two years I’ve been working through a program at VCU that I absolutely love, but I’m weary.  So weary.

I love the learning and the challenge.  I’m inspired by my classmates and professors, and have even come to not hate the writing.  But the hard part is this:  the never ending feeling that any break, no matter how short, comes at a cost.  There IS NOT enough time to fulfill every responsibility that weighs on me as a teacher, a mom, a student, a wife, and a friend.  So if I do choose to take a break, that time has to come from somewhere.  I find myself in a disappointing state of never fulfilling any of my roles as well as I would like to.

There are many things I try to tell myself to make it through:

Your kids are learning from watching you set a goal and meet it.

This is the next necessary step towards what you’ve been called to do.

It’s supposed to be hard.

Be thankful for this opportunity and the crazy amount of support you get that so many others don’t have.

Things will calm down if I can just get through August.

But the one thing that is truly keeping me going these days is The List.  For months now I’ve been drafting this unwritten list of things I’m going to do with my free time* when I’m done.  So this morning when reviewing The List on my open loop, as my pastor calls it, I decided it was time to write it down.

Here’s The List in no particular order:

Lose 20 pounds
Run the Holliday Lake 50K
Run faster
Figure out and fix this nagging problem with my right hip
Read the books I bought last summer but never started
Read the book I asked for for Christmas
Read every book on the Newbery Medal list
Fix up my side of the basement into a space I actually want to use
Try at least once to fold my T-shirt drawer Marie Kondo style.  (Anyone who knows me knows it won’t stay that way.)
Blog regularly again
Have friends over for dinner
Start teaching 2 year old Sunday School again
Talk to Jesus more
Start something like Math on a Stick or Math Anywhere
Buy the Carcassone Big Box and learn to play every expansion at once
Finish the hat I started crocheting two Christmases ago
Try art journaling
Get better at mountain biking and take Bubba with me
Figure out something Chica and I can enjoy together
Play disc golf and ride bikes with Jay
Cook dinners
Relearn calculus
Swim laps again

This list makes me happy and hopeful.

But I should come back to the *free time comment.  I’m trying to be realistic and know that there will still be work and new projects that come up and everyday time suckers.  “Things will calm down if I can get through August” is only partly true because there’s always something else.  However, I’m so looking forward to giving school a rest for the near future.  As my friends go on to start their doctorate studies or I stumble upon the next program that looks perfect, I hope I will reread this list and remind myself that The List is what’s next for me.

If You Drop Your Bun

The following is an actual social story I wrote and delivered this morning:

If you drop your cookie dough Cinn City cinnamon bun face down on the wet front porch, this will make you sad.

 

 

 

 

If you are sad, this might make you want to beat your head against the wall in your room.

 

 

 

 

If you beat your head against the wall, it will hurt, and you will get a consequence.

 

 

 

 

However, if you are sad, you could also choose to do something else to get your mind off of the sadness.  You could take a nap, you could put together a puzzle, you could draw, or you could play Legos.

 

 

 

 

 

If you do one of those things, soon the sadness will not feel so bad.  You will feel better, and also Mom will be proud of you for making a good choice.

 

 

 

 

When you feel better, you might change your mind and decide it will be fine to eat the cinnamon bun that was face down on the wet porch.

 

 

 

 

 

And if you decide not to eat the cinnamon bun that was face down on the wet porch, I know your dad would like to have it.

 

 

 

 

 

————————–

And in case you’re wondering….

Thankfully he didn’t go back to the head banging.  He chose to put together a Star Wars puzzle instead.

And, he ate the cinnamon bun himself, of course.

 

Summer Week 9

Day 59 New/Old Job

This picture is not from today.  It’s from the first week of school six years ago.  I’m excited to share that I’ll be returning to this classroom next week after two years as our school’s STREAM Lab teacher.  My year of math specialist courses has left me wishing in a big way that I was teaching math again.  So when this position unexpectedly came open the week before, I asked if I could make the move.  I have learned so many new things in my VCU classes that I need to try out before I try to coach someone else to do them.  I’m going to miss working with students and teachers all over the building, but I’m looking forward to building deep relationships with the 50ish kids that I will teach.

Day 60 Melt Down

I finished my morning run today by reflecting to Ruth about my kids’ recent growth.  I told her about them playing outside the day before.  Twice Bubba came in upset.  He flopped down on the sofa and announced some injustice inflicted on him by his sister or neighbor friend.  But this day was slightly different than the days and weeks before.  First, he hadn’t said the words I have been trying to erase from his vocabulary:  I’m going to tell.  Jay and I have been preaching to him that those words never result in anything good.  Finally it appeared that this message go through to him, and he just came inside when he needed help instead of extending the problem with those four fighting words.  This day was also different because he accepted help.  He calmed down quickly, and we rehearsed how he would communicate what he needed to Chica and his friend.  He went back outside quickly, said his piece, and kept on playing.  This is progress, people.

Well, nothing like an hour-long meltdown the following day to keep you humble in your parenting skills.  We got through it, but it wasn’t pretty.  Here’s a screenshot of a text conversation I had with Ruth in the middle of that mess.  Every mom needs a friend who is a few years ahead on the journey to remind her that she will one day see the other side of the hard parts.

 

 

 

Day 61 Sewing Class

 

 

 

 

Rachel invited Chica to join her daughter for a sewing class at Sew Simple.  They had a fabulous time and each sewed a tiny cover for a pouch of tissues.  She came home anxious to try something else, so I talked her into working on a stuffed animal pattern I gave her probably two years ago.  She didn’t at all follow the directions, but her finished product is super cute nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

Day 62 Birthday

 

 

 

My birthday started off great with math nerd gifts from my family.  There was no avoiding homework on my birthday, but friends and a cake pop at the Y made it better.

I spent my birthday evening here with 25 of my closest online grad school friends.  At one point I messaged them something like, “Yikes.  Bad storm here.  My ceiling is leaking.  BRB.”  I rounded up a bunch of trashcans (after calling our custodian in a slight panic….I overreacted) and carried on with class.  Little did I know at that point, however, that there was major flooding happening all over our city.  I had to go the long, long way home because of blocked roads, but I realize that inconvenience is nothing compared to what many people faced.

Day 63 Game Night

It took me over two years to follow my friend’s advice, but I finally made an appointment for a real haircut at a real salon.  I took this super awkward picture on my way home.  Isn’t that what you do when you get a good haircut!?!

What I really wish I had a picture of was game night with our sweet friends from church.  We parent leveled up that night.  Chica entertained their youngest, pretending that she was the babysitter.  The four boys got along beautifully in the basement doing who knows what, and we enjoyed playing games with almost no kid refereeing.  It was glorious.

Day 64 Fun Day

I started the day with 11 soggy, sweaty miles with Ruth.  I promise we weren’t twinning on purpose.  This just seems to be everyone’s favorite tank these days.

 

 

Earlier in the week I made a deal with my kids that I was sure they weren’t going to keep.  Except they did, so I had to follow through and take them to FunQuest.  Misery loves company, so I was thankful that Alicia was willing to bring her kids to tag along.  Guess what….it wasn’t all that bad.  Chica actually thanked me without prompting on the way out the door.  Bubba often gets angry when we have to leave something fun and complains with his “worst-day-ever-I-didn’t-have-any-fun” refrain.  This time, instead, he walked out holding my hand, telling me how much fun he had.  My mom heart was happy.