Sunday, May 31, 2009

end of another year

School is over. I went and finished packing up my classroom today. Many years this day makes me feel nostalgic - it makes me want to loop up to the next grade level with my kiddos because I will miss them so much.

It was kind of strange not feeling that way today. The group I had this year was rough. The last days of school could not get here soon enough! I kind of felt guilty for not feeling sad that they were moving on... but that feeling of sadness was not there.

I came home exhausted nightly. Lessons that were normally taught in 1-2 days took 5-6 days. Even though they all made tremendous gains this year (academically and socially/emotionally), they aren't where I expect third graders to be when they leave my classroom. We were warned last year at the end of the year that this group was a tough one, that they had made great gains in second grade, but they were still behind.

I remember that we, third grade teachers, were like, "Oh. They can't be that bad!"

They were. They still are.

I have heeded my warnings to the fourth grade teachers. I told them, "We didn't listen to the second grade teachers last year.... Listen. We know what we are talking about!!"

I hope they listen.
...Cause it is a much worse feeling to not miss a group than it is to miss them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Going to Europe with Ralph and Earl in a Buick

puking: the reflex act of ejecting the contents of the stomach through the mouth

synonyms: yak, barf, blow chunks... yeah...there are actually 339 synonyms for puking that you can find here (if you are really interested)

My weekend kind of circled around the Nausea theme. I spent Sunday of Memorial Day weekend drinking longer than I think I have ever drank before. We started around 11 am and stopped around 6 pm. I think I was still drunk at midnight that night.

Spencer and I went on his friends, Travis and Kim's boat. We went to a party cove in OK and tied all the boats together. I had never done that before and it was awesome!


After we got back, we laid down for a couple of hours. I woke up at 9:45 pm. My heart was racing. I knew I was going to hurl if I did not eat something. Let me just tell you...I will do just about anything NOT to throw up! Spencer quickly took me to get something to eat. I sat and slowly ate a sub sandwich wishing all along that the room would stop spinning.

But I made it - no heavin' for me!


The next morning (Monday), we took Spencer's kids out to breakfast at IHOP and then to the park to play. We took a walk around the pond and watched the Momma duck swim with her babies. Then we headed off to swing.

After about 10 minutes, Corbin said that swinging was tickling his belly, so he got off. Then a few minutes later, Allison said she was done as well cause she was starting to not feel well. We decided to go ahead and head to the mall to shop.

No more than 2 minutes into the car ride, Allison projectiles her blueberry pancakes all over my backseat. I yelled, "Pull over!" but the damage was done.

Needless to say, we didn't go to the mall. We dropped the kids off and headed to clean my car like it ain't never been cleaned before.

All of that just because someone decided to make a technicolor tribute to Disney. Yeah...so I threw in a few synonyms for puke - Can you find them all?? I know you really want to go back and look ~ go ahead. I'll sit here waiting hoping all this puke talk doesn't make you want to toss your cookies.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Inner Conflict

I have always been the peace maker... a mediator - I don't like conflict and I will do anything to prevent it.
But lately, in my newly found sense of self, I have found myself stepping up to the plate to say what I am feeling (which tends to cause conflict) and then the peace maker in me freaks out because I am the source of the conflict ~ a conflict, that as the peace maker, I want to quickly resolve.
It is an internal struggle that I know the people around me don't understand. Most people that know me know I don't like to cause ripples, but in the same sense I am seeing that having my opinion heard (even when ripples are caused) is creating a surge of Independence and self-worth I have never felt before.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nothing up this sleeve...Maybe?... or ...A much needed surprise

Last Friday I decided to take my personal day and drive down to Texas to surprise Spencer. I love a good surprise - the anticipation, even when I plan one out, makes my day.


I got up and left my house at 5:30. By 7:30, when Spencer and I normally talk on the phone as we head to work, I was deep into the Arkansas hills. I had to keep coming up with explanations for why my phone kept cutting out. It took all of me to not text or call him as I was driving. I didn't want to ruin the surprise. Then at 11:45 (my normal plan time), I texted him. I asked him what he was doing for lunch. He said he was staying and eating at work. "Perfect!" I thought.


I headed on to his work. I arrived at 12:30~ half way through his lunch break. I pulled up and parked right next to his truck. I texted him to go out to his truck. No response. I waited. Nothing. So I called him. He said that he was playing cards and that he couldn't stay on very long.

I said, "You don't follow directions very well, do you?"
"What?" he asked.
"My text."
"I haven't read it yet."
"Just come outside."


I wish I could have been a fly on the wall of that break room. I guess the break room window faces out to the parking lot and when I said "Come outside." Spencer saw my car, his jaw dropped, he handed his cards over to the guy next to him, and all the guys were like, "What's going on?" and he said "Dawn's here." and as he headed out the door, they all ran to the window.


He came out dumbfounded. He was speechless. I was so proud of pulling off a perfect surprise. But to my dismay, he kissed me, told me he needed to go finish his lunch, and sent me on my way to his house. All I could think was, "I came 7 hours for this?"


I stopped at the Dairy Queen by his house to get something to eat... I mean, I was expecting to eat lunch with him, so I hadn't eaten. As I was waiting for my order, he called to make sure I had made it to his house okay. I told him I was getting something to eat, but that I knew where I was going. He kept talking to me as I drove to his house. He has two driveways that lead to his house (the paved one is his landlord's and the gravel one is his) so I asked if I should take the paved or the gravel. He said paved.

I pulled in and parked. As I was talking to him, he hung up. I was like, "What?" So I called him back. "Why did you hang up?"I asked. "I didn't." "Okay?...well, I'm here. I'm going to let you go so I can go eat."

I hung up with him and walked up his steps. As I got to his door, I saw his work boots. Strange~ maybe he got him a second pair. I walked inside and turned into the kitchen. There he was! Standing... waiting for me! I really do think I jumped out of my skin! I said, "but...how???"

Then I realized that he was able to beat me because I stopped to get something to eat, and that he had me go down the paved drive because he was on the gravel one, and that the reason he hung up was so I would look down at my phone so he could get out of his truck and into the house before I got out of my car.

I truly do love that he was able to surprise me back~ I love a good surprise!!!!

We enjoyed the rest of the weekend just having time together - much needed face time - but as always our weekends are always too short, but we were both glad that we would now only have to wait a week before seeing each other again.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

difficult times

I know my youngest is a difficult child... he always has been. As a baby he wouldn't let anyone outside of our immediate family hold him without screaming. He continued his rampage well into year two and three.

Last fall, when he headed to school, we knew it would be well out of his comfort zone. We eased him in by letting grandma go along with him. As we weaned grandma away, Sam slowly broke out of his refined shell of needing things exactly his way all the time. Along the same time we potty trained him, took away his sippy cup, and made him start sleeping in his own bed nightly - a LOT of changes for a little boy, but necessary ones as well.

However, still today when things get too stressful for him, he has kicking, screaming fits. I deal with these by putting him in the other room and closing the door. He normally strips his bed of all of his stuffed animals, pillows, and sheets. When he calms down, he is always ready to put things back in order and come join the rest of us as though nothing ever happened.

I hate these fits. They truly upset me. They make me feel like a bad mom - like "why can't I control this child of mine?" After having a happy-go-lucky child like Colby, it is hard to see your second-born act in such a manner. It doesn't make me love Sam any less though~ He is mine no matter what(no matter how he acts.)

However, it is putting a strain on my relationship with Spencer. He feels like I coddle Sam. That because Sam throws these unbelievable fits, something should be done. He tells me that I drop everything (even conversations) when my children beckon, and he's not sure my life has room for him. I was floored when he told me this.

See, I feel like I am a very understanding, giving person who tries to put everyone first before me...and this does include Spencer. My children, however, are my world. There has been so much happen in my life and I know life is bearable because I know I will always have the love of my children even if no man ever decides to love me unconditionaly again.

I also know this is all part of blending two families...I know that these hard conversations have to happen so that there are no regrets and no questions later... I just wish the source of them wasn't my son.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Do as I say, not as I do.

Lately Sam has really started paying attention to what I have to say about rules around the house. I don't know what light bulb that has finally been switched on in his young mind, but it seems to keep coming back and biting me.

Examples:
Colby was chucking crayons at my kitchen wall the other night. He said, "It seemed like it would be fun." He thought that until I spanked his bottom. I reminded him (and Sam) that it is never okay to write on the wall... even if we think it will be fun.

Then 2 nights later, I called the boys into the laundry room where I mark their heights on the wall. (Something my mom always did when we were kids.) Sam turned and looked at me and said, "Mom, you said we weren't supposed to write on the wall."

uh...yeah...about that....

Then on Friday I told the boys, "Remember to please turn out your bedroom light when you leave the room so we don't waste electricity." Not more than 10 minutes later, Sam calls for me. "What Sam? I asked. "Mom. You are wasting electricity." He says as he is pointing to my bathroom light that I left on.

I guess I should be happy he is listening, right?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'm no Ace of Cakes...

Every year I ask my boys what theme they want for their birthdays. We start brainstorming around Jan/Feb. I take pride in the fact that if I can't do anything else, I decorate my boys' birthday cakes.

Last year, my boys had decided on a dinosaur theme. I couldn't find a dinosaur pan I liked so I bought this teddy bear cake pan




and transformed it into this
and this


This year they decided they wanted Incredible Hulk and Spiderman. Again, I couldn't find cake pans...so I took that same teddy bear pan and created this


and this.


They may not be as good as what you see on TV on Ace of Cakes...but I know Sam liked them because he said, "Mom you are the BEST cake thinger ever!" ...and that's good enough for me!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What's in the water in KC???

Yesterday, I headed to Kansas City with my friend Laura so we could go to a to a writing conference today. It was Cinco De Mayo, so we decided to go out last night for a few hours. A friend of mine suggested we go to the Power and Lights District of KC. Laura, nor I, had never been so we decided "What the heck?"

I have to say I really was impressed with the Power and Lights district. It is an area where they check your ID before entering (so there are not minors) and then you are free to roam around the open area and from bar to bar (without giving up your drink :) There are tons of cops around, so you feel safe, but they aren't there heckling people - just making sure you are safe.

However... (yes, this is where I describe the weird/strange/alternate universe occurrences) the people there were....(How do I say this?)....from a freak show! I am not normally a critical person... but this was just TOO much!

The first bar we went into there were these obesely over weight people moshing up against each other. I would describe it as a train wreck - you don't want to look, but...

Then, we headed out to the open court. We saw some people playing with fire. I say playing because they were supposed to be fire twirlers, but the guy kept dropping his pole that was on fire. I realize everyone has to start somewhere, but you would think they would want to be somewhat good before doing it in public.

The second bar we went into had stripper poles on the bar ~ that should have been our first clue! They were having good drink specials, so we stuck around... and enjoyed the "show".

To start things off, there were LOTS of little people there...wearing shirts that said. "Got Midgets?" and if that wasn't bad enough, I was one of the tallest people in the bar and I'm not counting the Midgets! I mean, I know being 5'8" is a pretty good height, but when I am taller than 90% of the women and men something is seriously wrong!!

And there was this really drunk chick that wanted to climb the stripper pole, but couldn't, so she had her friends push her up the pole.

Then there was this overly tan gay guy that was watching people dance on the bar. Then it was if something possessed him and he couldn't help himself. He pushed through the crowd, jumped up onto the bar, and cleared one end of the bar (of people) so he would have enough dancing space. He was totally into himself. The funny part was...after a while, this middle aged woman decided he was just too much, that she must partake and she got up and started dancing behind him. Not sure he ever noticed.
Someone who seemed to notice everyone though was this guy at the end of the bar that all the girls were giving lap dances to. I'm not exactly sure why though. He was NOT good looking in the least...In fact, he reminded me of a salivating dog. He mouth dropped open. Panting.

The bar held a "Hottest Body" contest. Two not-so-hot blonds decided to kiss which (for some reason) made them win.... but not before one of the midgets decided to join in the contest and pulled off his pants to reveal a shiny metallic blue thong banana hammock.
That was our cue to leave.
Of course, we couldn't leave before seeing the man with knees as big as my waist (I'm not kidding!!!!) or the woman who seriously could have played the witch from Snow White with her crooked nose and her jutting chin.

Let me just tell you ~ we were only out for 2 hours... yes, 2 hours!!!!

The next morning we passed by a bus that stated that KC's city water was voted #1... well, I'm sorry, but if their water has ANYTHING to do with what I saw last night, I'm NOT drinking it!!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Blogiversary

A year ago today I started blogging... I did it because I had things that I had to get off my chest and out of my mind... I have always kept a journal, but I knew these would be joys and sorrows that I would want to share.

So...Happy Blogiversary to me! I hope there are many more to come!

Happy 4th birthday Sam!

Today is my other beautiful boy's birthday. Sam is a completely different cookie than his older brother Colby...and I love him for it ~He has a persistency like no other.

Sam from the start wanted this world to know that he was present and came full force. I knew 2 weeks in, that I was pregnant. In the womb, Sam would kick Colby when he was sitting on my lap. You can laugh...but those kicks were always so much stronger than ones when I didn't have Colby around. I used to say that was Sam's way of ensuring he had a place in this world before he even got here.

I also had pre-term contractions with Sam. I was put on bedrest from week 28-36. And even though I wasn't ever sure if Sam was going to stick it out in the womb the entire 40 weeks, he came only one day before his due date.

On the morning of May 4th, I headed to my doctor's appt. that was scheduled at 10 am. My doc checked me and said I was already at a 4 cm dilated and that he wanted to break my water and send me over to the hospital. He (rhetorically) asked me, "You don't have anything to do today do you?"
My response was NOT what he expected! I said, "Actually... we are supposed to close on our house today...and I would REALLY like to sign those papers." Because it was just a few blocks away, he gave me permission, but told me to hurry back to the hospital.

When I walked into the title company and asked if I could sign the closing papers early, they asked why. I said, "Cause... I am in labor." They started to freak out on me and wanted me to go to the hospital NOW! I told them not until I closed on my house. I'm sure that was the fastest closing in history~ I didn't read a single thing.
Our realtor (a single guy) was worried I wouldn't make it back to the hospital when I had to keep stopping to breathe through the contractions. I made it though!

I stopped off at Steak n' Shake for a milk shake before heading back to the hospital, since I knew I wouldn't be fed once I arrived at the hospital :) (I know, I know...priorities. :) I arrived back to the hospital shortly before noon.


Robbie had been at a baseball meeting and I couldn't get a hold of him since he had his phone shut off. So, I had everyone at his school scrambling to find #'s to get him the message.

Unlike Colby's birth, with the first twinge real pain I got an epidural. I decided I didn't want to go through that kind of pain again! By 3:30, I was ready to push~ but we had promised Marie (Robbie's mom) that she could be there for the birth and she hadn't arrived yet. So...I held off till she got there and then (just like Colby) I gave 2 nice pushes and Sam arrived into this world.

He, too, was a beautiful baby. The nurses thought I was crazy because right after, I was up wandering around, watching them bathe Sam, and chatting with everyone . I was just an excited mom of two!

Sam had a completely disposition than Colby. Sam was reserved. He saved his smiles for me, Colby, and Marie. He didn't want anyone but close family to hold him. It was a blessing and a curse all in one~ especially when others wanted to enjoy & hold our new bundle.

Sam has always had the most expressive facial expressions. I wish I could have had a camera on him 24/7.




As Sam continues to get older, he has slowly loosened his quiet reservations. He will be around others, other than family members. He still has his strong-will though...and until he has made up his mind, he won't do whatever you are asking.

I know that his persistence will get him far one day. He is not a people pleaser like his Mom... and I love him for that!




Happy birthday my wonderful boy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune.

I have realized lately how envious I am of people my age who still have their parents in their lives. My mom was killed in a car accident when I was 22. I realize age-wise, I was considered an adult...but mentally and emotionally, I was still a kid. My mom and I had just started participating in the friend role with each other versus the parent/child roles we had always been when she died.

Many days I think about how my adult life would be like if she hadn't. I think about how much she dreamed of being a grandma (but didn't want to rush us into being grown up), and how wonderful she would have been with my boys and how much they would have loved her.

My friend, Laura, was going on the other day about how anytime she goes home her mom always knows Laura is going to have a new project for her to work on...and even though her mom gives her a hard time about it, Laura says she knows her mom just loves it. I know my mom would have been the same way... I know how much she knew I couldn't wait to have my own classroom and would have sewn or made anything for me.

I also see Spencer and how he just wants to hang out with his parents. It's hard for me to imagine. Knowing someone wants you to drop in any time because you are theirs. I understand that from a parent's perspective, but I am lacking in the understanding of it from the grown child's perspective. It truly is a void in my life.

There are still many a days that I feel the need to call and tell my mom my worries, hopes, dreams...a call that only a mom can answer... only problem is there is no number I know to dial.