Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I think I've truly lost it

What was I thinking? Will someone please answer this for me? What was I thinking, taking on the job of teaching chorus at my school for next year, in addition to band? OMG, am I insane?

Long story short, our chorus teacher's family is moving/being transferred, so the school's in a bind since it's almost July and now they need a teacher. Chorus is only 2 classes per day, just like my Band is only 2 classes as well. So when they called and asked if I'd be willing to do it, and that my salary would double, I had to at least consider it. And in the end, K and I decided it would be worth a try. If I hate it/am miserable, I guess I could go back to Band only for the following year.

I was up most of the night last night, worrying and praying about this. Told the school I'd call them this morning with my answer. My thoughts just kept coming back to the reality that no job is perfect, no one is entirely contented with their job at all times.........and that my Mom and K's parents all did plenty of jobs along the way that they might not have loved. But they did them, for the sake of their families and to give us kids what we needed and even some of what we wanted.

So in that light, I suppose I can take on this added responsibility for the sake of my family and making things easier for us. The 1998 and 2001 vehicles we're still driving won't last forever, so this added income will help when car payment time comes around. (Whew, it's been nice not having one, though) And being considered full time at my school means I contribute to retirement, which I've not been doing for the last 7 years. Benefits too......gotta look into that, see if I could cover myself for health insurance and maybe make it cheaper all around if K could drop me from his coverage.

I know I'll miss the "me" time during the day, that's gonna be tough to get used to. And I won't be quite as free to volunteer at the kids' schools, go on field trips, etc. I'm determined, though, to find a good balance and still do those things as much as I can. In the end, I hope to still be Mom first, and music teacher second, as much as that's possible.

So, congratulate me, LOL! I'm now the entire music department at my school! Hope I haven't made a big mistake.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

what we've been up to

Have I told you how much I love summer time, when we're all at home, etc? Oh yeah, I did, in that last post...........

Anyway, figured I'd share some pics from what we've been up to this week. It's Bible School time, so K and I are working on that each morning (kids are there too), but in our afternoons we've been trying to keep the kids busy, entertained, etc. Saw Kung Fu Panda yesterday. It was cute, not the same old format of cartoon movies in recent years. 4 thumbs up (one for each of us, LOL)!

Last night, we tried (NOT for the first time) to teach A to ride his bike sans training wheels. After all, he's almost 7 and will be in 2nd grade, so it's time. He's been reluctant to try, but gave it a go this time, although only in the yard. Here we are trying it---ignore the woman in the white shirt who's pushing him, LOL:


And what was little E doing? Riding his little red car, and then deciding he had a better way to sit on it:


Today, we hit the local county park. It's got a great hot-weather activity for kids, usually just called "the sprinkler". Basically, it's an area with multiple fountains spraying out of the ground. They're various heights, etc, and kids can just run and play in them. It's the place to be when it's hot, and only costs $1 per person to get into the park! The boys absolutely had a blast, didn't want to leave when it was time to, etc. Here are my skinny-minis in action:



And afterwards, right before we left:


So if it doesn't rain tomorrow, we might hit the beach. Anything to keep the guys busy and avoid 24/7 TV and computer games. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a beautiful Mommy moment

So, what are the best 2 things about being a teacher?

June and July! :)

Seriously, it's wonderful having the same schedule that my kids do, being off in the summer and for school holidays, etc. And the fact that DH does too......very nice.

So, I cherish the times that we have absolutely nowhere to go, nothing planned, no time constraints, and we can just do whatever, however and whenever. I had some great time like that with little E this afternoon.

We'd taken the kids to the library this morning and loaded up on books and DVDs (Peter Pan for the little guy, Bill Nye the Science Guy for big A). Later in the afternoon, E brought me a book about the farm that we'd checked out, and asked me to read it. For all of his ADHD-type stuff, the sometimes out-of-control behaviors, wildness, etc, he sure does love to be read to and will sit and let you read for as long as you're willing.

So we settled in on my bed and started reading this rather long (and a bit over his head, as I soon discovered) book about farming, soils, etc. But that was ok, because as the book neared the end, he turned onto his side, snuggled up against me, and closed his eyes. I know that every Mom thinks her child looks angelic when they're sleeping, but mine really does!

I started reading softer, and finished the book. Truth be told, I was sleepy too, so I put the book down and closed my eyes as well. DH woke us up 2 hours later, just in time for supper! It's hard to describe adequately, I guess, but I just loved the chance to snuggle with my baby while he's still young enough to put up with that. And the free time to just take an impromptu nap when I felt like it.......priceless.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I swear, I leave town for a few days and everything goes to hell. :( Actually, not like I was having a rosy week before that, but........

You've heard me gushing endlessly about A's school, how much I love it, what a wonderful place it is. Wanted to work there, still do, but obviously that's not happening. I still, though, want it to remain the fabulous place for learning and for artistic expression that I have found it to be in the 2 years A has been there. I just wonder how much more the place can take and still maintain itself at the level we're all accustomed to. :(

A's first year there, 2006-07, was also the first year there of a very good principal. She was replacing a long time administrator who'd retired. Tough spot to be in, but she did great and most people seemed to love her. But the oh-so-brilliant minds at the school district decided to take her and switch her with another principal who was having trouble in her current situation. Gee thanks, let's take away the fab principal who's just guided us through a transition, and give us the one who couldn't hack it. Appreciate that, guys. That makes 3 principals in 3 years--not a good thing for any school.

So, about a month ago, guess who announces she's retiring? You guessed it......struggling principal who was foisted on us this year. Oh, but maybe there's hope.....along with bringing her in, they'd added an asst. principal which the school had not had before. He's awesome! Younger than me (OMG) and only 3 years of admin. experience (all as an assistant), but very professional and everyone liked him. Faculty that I chatted with weren't nuts about struggling lady, but she's retiring. They love "cool new assistant guy", and he decided to apply for the big job.

Teachers were happy. They wrote a letter, en masse, and sent it to the superintendent saying "please hire Mr. S as our new principal". They pointed out the need for consistency, someone who knows the school and the faculty, knows the arts infusion program, etc. They like him, he's easy to work for, morale is good with him, etc.

So, I arrive home tonight, knowing the decision was made while we were gone. I check the school's website. Wait for it, wait for it.........

Not only did they NOT hire assistant guy (but instead hired a lady from Texas), but apparently assistant guy is gone too, replaced by yet another lady no one has heard of. WTF? Do they not understand personnel/morale issues at all? Now we're talking the FOURTH new principal in FOUR years, SIXTH in 4 years if you count assistants.

The school is very tight-knit, from what I've observed. When people get jobs there, they don't leave. It's a community, and a school environment quite different from most others I've encountered. But how much can they be expected to take? No one can get their bearings about how to work with administrators because they're constantly changing. It's the "Wheel of Administrators"......round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows. I'm just afraid that when it stops, our little happy community might not be so happy anymore, and that hurts my children and their education. Therefore, it hurts me too.

All I can say is: these 2 new ladies had better be good to work for and know which end is up regarding arts infusion, and had better be planning to stay awhile. I'm always out there defending schools, defending public education, etc, but right now I find this move indefensible. I'd better be wrong.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


No, not me, although being a perfectionist is something I've been accused of more than once (or twice). This is Big A, and it's worrying me. The Aspie in him won't accept failure, won't even accept making mistakes or "getting something wrong". I submit, for your review, Exhibit A which took place this afternoon:

A sweet friend of ours turned us on last year to a great geography website, Sheppard Software. A loves learning about US states, doing state puzzles, playing states games, etc. Today, he decided to start trying some of the harder games on the site that he'd never tried before. It was unfathomable to him that maybe some of these games were ridiculously hard for just about anyone to do, much less a 6 year old, so he insisted on trying.

The first game went like this (I kid you not)--You get a blank map of the US. No outlines of state borders, nothing. Then you see a star at some random point on the map. Along with the star is a text box, and you have to type in the first 3 letters of the name of the state where the star would be located. I helped a very minimal amount. He was doing it approx. 90% on his own, and doing great for the first 10 states. Got them all, including Arizona, Maryland (which I would have missed), Mississippi, Wyoming, etc. Then came a star in what I knew was Upstate NY.

He said "I think it's Vermont" and wouldn't listen to my gentle hints otherwise. "I don't think so, buddy" but he insisted, typed in the letters and pressed Enter. If you get one wrong, the state appears and is colored in red. Up pops a red NY. I swear, you would have thought the world was ending, or someone just killed his dog or something (if we had one).

When he gets like this, it's a bit scary because he just collapses onto or off of whatever is near him..........falls out of a chair, collapses onto the bed, slings himself backward against the back of a chair, etc. No concern for how hard he does it, or whether he or someone else gets hurt. And the crying.....or should I say wailing. The more you try to console him, the worse he gets. I pointed out that we'd gotten 11 right in a row, and that it was fine to just keep playing. No dice. I told him that no other 6 year olds I knew would be able to do this game AT ALL, and look how good he was doing! Nada.

I told him it wasn't worth it to play these games if it's going to upset him this much, so let's not play it, and I got a screamed "I will never play these games AGAIN!" Like I've said, there's no middle ground with him, it's all or nothing, black or white. But immediately, he just closes that game and starts up a new round of the same game.......but gets one wrong within the first 2 states this time. Wailing begins anew. Then he frantically clicked out of that game, and found another one. Nope, got the first one wrong on there. :(

K came in to see what was going on. Then, when he was up to speed, he scrolled to the parts of the site A has done before, successfully. A didn't bite......he just fussed about having done those games a million times and they are too easy, not challenging. K tried again, with another game. Again, too easy. At this point, nothing would satisfy him. Eventually, I had to completely change gears with him by letting him watch TV for consolation. He said "I think I'll watch the Food Network instead of play computer". If that calms him down, so be it. Personally, I can't stand that Giada chick, but he likes her, so I guess it's ok.

Just a couple of hours later, we got a sweet email from next year's teacher. I'd written to her, gave her the briefest outline of the ASD diagnosis, etc, and asked to meet with her later in the summer for an info/strategy session. She sounds wonderful, very sweet, energetic, open, etc. But you know what? Each passing year in school brings more "real" work, more assignments that are really graded, then you start getting A,B,C grades, then it's standardized tests, you get the idea. I'm just praying that this sweet young lady has the patience of a saint, the insights and sensitivity of a Mom and the creativity of a......well, of a good teacher. She's going to need it if she wants to avoid daily meltdowns like the one I witnessed today. Somehow, some way, we've got to break this "I must be perfect, the world is crashing down if one tiny thing goes wrong" mentality. :( :( :(

Monday, June 9, 2008

I told ya so

Hey, remember that last blog post? Pessimism rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, I didn't get it. And it's looking like it was a done deal from the start, which pisses me off. Someone else from within the district got it, someone who's been around forever and is good friends with the teacher who's leaving. Did I ever even have a chance? Probably not.

Oh, and one more thing........."The 2008 Academy Award for Best Actress goes to: ME!"

Why, you might ask? Because I got this phone call about not getting the job at about 11 am this morning. I spent the next hour in tears, then tried to get myself together since DH and I had plans to go out to a friend's retirement party tonight. Arrived at the party at 7, and about an hour later, guess who shows up? Yep, the lady who's leaving that job, AND the one who just got it, over me. :( So I've known about this for less than 12 hours, and I've got to put on the smiling/sweet/I'm having fun party face and make small talk with this woman.

At first, she didn't even know who I was. She knows DH, and so someone introduced me by way of saying "this is K's wife"....and then she realized. She verified what she'd heard about where I teach now, and asked what I teach there, etc. Oh, and a few minutes later, when I had walked away and was talking elsewhere, she asked DH if I might be interested in the job she's now leaving. Sure, Miss H, your leftovers are good enough for me. Thanks for honoring me with the job out in BFE that you don't want anymore. Can you say "absolutely no freakin way"! But I smiled, and was so friendly, told her my son's going to be in 2nd grade and would be her student, etc. Like I said, hand over that trophy because I deserve it!

And one last irksome thing.........all of my friends who know about this, online and otherwise, have been so sweet and supportive today. But I am absolutely sick to death of the "it wasn't meant to be/God has other plans for you" junk. Forgive me, friends, and I hope I don't make any of you mad with this, because I know you have the best intentions. You're right to say those things, and in a few days (I hope) I'll have a better perspective and a better attitude about this. But right now, it's too fresh and hurts too much. And I have to admit that, for now, I just DO NOT see why this wasn't meant to be, wasn't the absolute perfect option for me and for the family. Better in terms of salary and my ability to help provide for the family. Better in terms of commuting. Better in terms of being in a school where the arts are valued and music is an integral part of the curriculum and of school life. Better for me for self-esteem and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with success in career. Better in terms of employment benefits........I could cover myself on insurance (cheaper), would be contributing to retirement again, etc.

So someone explain this to me, would you? Why is staying in the sports-dominated, cash-poor Catholic school (where at least half the kids don't even know we have a band) the better option for me? Why is it right to NOT be with my kids and NOT be working in a job that fills so many needs in such a logical way? I know we're not supposed to question, and often we'll never know why things turn out as they do when it goes against what we want......but it doesn't make it hurt any less. Self-esteem's not my strong suit anyway, but I think I just went down another notch. :(

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I'm not going to get it

There, I admitted it. I know, I know, things always seem worse at night, and here I am wallowing in my sorrows at nearly 11 pm........but I just know somehow that this new job I want isn't going to work out.

DH always tells me that I'm the natural pessimist in the family, and he's the natural optimist, and I guess that's true. I'd like to think of myself more as a realist, but I digress......

So, job interview last Tuesday, first interview I've done in 5 years. Big A's school has a teaching position open (music) and I really, really want it. There are just so many reasons why this seems right, both for me and for the family. No more stupid commuting to DI means much less gas to buy, WOO HOO! After one more year, little E will attend this school as well, so what could be better than Mom working at the very school both of her kids attend? And I'll have at least one child in this school until 2015! The school is a truly amazing place and incredible things happen there on a daily basis; it would be a honor and privilege (scary too) to teach there.

Interview ended with the principals saying "we really want to finish this process up by the end of the week, and we'll call everyone to let you know. Monday at the latest." Well, Friday came and went, no call. Obviously, they don't work weekends, so now we wait until Monday, and with each passing hour I grow more pessimistic. I guess I'm just trying to prepare myself mentally, get myself ready to be disappointed, so I'm thinking up all of the reasons they wouldn't choose me.

The youngest age group I've taught is 5th grade, and this school is K5-5th. To them, I'm just a parent, just a Mom who helps out at field day and goes on school trips. If they really wanted me, they'd know by now and I'd have gotten the call already. I didn't express myself in the interview as well as I should have; I should have just spoken up and told them how much I want this and how dedicated I would be to doing the job if I got it. I should have told them that NO ONE else loves the school the way I do, and that they just have to hire me! But I didn't.

Plus, I'd already started thinking about the difference in salary between my current job and this one.....can you say DOUBLE? :) And I'd started thinking about what that might mean to us, things we could do that we'd been putting off, maybe an extra cushion to help during this tough economy, etc. And then to have to forget all that, and go back to being a freakin' doormat in my current school......12 kids signed up to start the year, only 4 of whom will stay til the spring. :(

This is the time, damn it. I'm ready to move on, ready to leave on my terms and move on to the next phase of my career, new challenges, etc. I can say that I really tried here, gave it 5 good years and took it about as far as it can go, so I wouldn't feel like I just gave up if I left. Everything just seems to be pointing toward this job at this time in my life. I have a wonderful friend who constantly shows how strong her faith is; you always hear her say things about following God's path, listening for his call and his direction so that she'll know what to do and where to go. I'm trying, Lord, really I am, and I truly do think this is it, this is where I'm supposed to go and how it's supposed to work.

But yet, even in the midst of all of that certainty, is the voice of the pessimist, never far from my ear. You didn't really impress them enough, they didn't take you seriously as a teacher, you can't be considered because you've never taught this age group, they just humored you by interviewing you anyway but you were never a true candidate..........the list goes on and on.

Oh, and did I mention this? I'm taking A up to the school Monday morning, to pick up his packet for next year (teacher assignment, supply list, etc). Just the place I want to be, huh? Yeah, so one of them can pull me aside with the oh-so-sweet "I'm glad you're here, we wanted to talk to you........." and then try to let me down easy. Can you tell I'm not looking forward to that trip?

I'm just ready to know, let's get past this waiting and speculating. Just drop the bomb, already.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

a lighter moment

Seems like all of my blog posts recently are so dark, gloomy, philosophical, and LONG. So, for a change of pace, you get something hilarious that happened in our house tonight. I swear this is an absolutely true story. :)

Tonight was Tball practice, so we were hurrying to get the boys ready to leave so we wouldn't be late. I asked if they'd gone to the bathroom yet, and they said no and both tried to run in there at the same time. I told E to wait, let A go first, but A says "it's ok, there's enough room for both of us". Ahh, the joys of parenting boys!

So anyway, they're both standing there in front of the toilet, and I'm in the living room gathering up their shoes, and I hear A say "ready, set, pee!" I literally thought I was going to collapse from laughing! Talk about something that you never imagine yourself hearing..........that is, until you have children, specifically boys.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What a day!

Wow, I've been MIA around this blog for a while, haven't I? Sorry, blog-readers. I guess my excuse is just end-of-school busy stuff compounded by potential-new-job stress.

But now I'm back, ready to blog and listening to the amazing, historically significant and truly monumental news that Barack Obama has reached that magic number of delegates and will be the Democratic nominee for President. 40 years ago this Thursday was the date that Robert Kennedy was killed, and the country was horribly segregated and divided. No one in that summer of '68 would have ever believed we'd be here today, nominating a biracial man with a name like Barack Obama for President. But here we are, and I'll echo Michelle O. by saying that I'm truly proud of my country. The campaign ahead will be tough, no question, but I believe that he's up to it. And it's too important that we get a Democrat in the White House this much depends on that, we've just got to make it happen.

(oops, did it sound like I was making a campaign speech, LOL? Sorry!)

The other item that makes today a monumental day, at least in my life and the life of my family, is that I interviewed for a new job this morning. I've only taught at 2 schools in my career--the first for 8 years, the second for 5. And now, maybe, the leap into another job, quite different from any of the other 2. It would be going from part time to full time, and that scares me. As I look back, I can admit that there was a time in 2005 when I honestly came close to having a nervous breakdown.....the stress, worries and fear that came from dealing with 2 former preemies, both with some degree of special needs, just piled on me so strongly that I almost couldn't handle it anymore.

Ever since then, I've been very protective of my do nothing if I want to, to be online, to play a computer game or take a bath at night, etc. I feel like my sanity depends on it. And there's a deep seated fear in me, of going back to "that place" where I felt so sad, so overwhelmed, so out of control and helpless. Becoming a full time teacher again does scare me, and I do worry that I'm taking on too much.....or is it giving up too much? But you know what? I don't even have the job yet, so I guess I'd better quit borrowing trouble.

Update at 11......or rather, this weekend when the principal swears she'll call to tell me the verdict, one way or the other. Not sure whether to say "wish me luck" or not, truthfully. So let's just pray, shall we? Pray that if this is the right job for me and for our family at this point in time, I'll get it and be successful in it. And if not, I won't, and I'll be ok with that. Sounds simple enough..........