Posted in Uncategorized

Six Months

0569F8DE-B5DB-4260-A064-76D872B57B88Dear Mom,

It’s been six months. I know I have been busy and haven’t written in forever, but I haven’t forgotten. I’m still looking for you – I thought I saw you in a butterfly, but I’m just not sure. I’m not sure about a lot of things these days.

Please do me a favor and watch over us. Christmas was always YOUR holiday. The missing you sometimes hides behind the craziness of the day, but it’s always there – a constant ache. It’s stronger now with Christmas coming. I really wish you were here. We all do.

There’s so much I want to say. To ask. To know. There are so many times I feel the urge to pick up the phone and call you. I think of all the people in the world missing someone the way I miss you. I’m sure I can figure this out. But right now I just feel like that statue of Atlas – carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. My mind is overflowing. My lungs and heart heavy. Sleep brings some peace, but only when it’s not filled with crazy dreams I can never recollect.

I miss you. I’m trying really hard to be strong. If you have a chance, please send me a sign for Christmas. I could really use it.

Miss Kriss


Posted in personal

The Green Journal


A wise and dear friend of mine suggested I write.  She understands that there’s a lot in my head right now, a lot that probably is better off out of my head.  After some deliberation, I concluded that she was right (of course).  But where?  And how?  I could not use this blog, because, let’s face it – no one wants or needs to be taken on this journey with me.  A journal!  Yes!  I would buy myself a nice new journal, and I would write.

I looked at Walmart and Sam’s Club since I was already there, but there was nothing.  I knew the bookstore was the place to go, and set aside time after school to visit our local Barnes and Nobles.  I was also in need of a gift, so, this was the perfect plan.  Perfect.

Until I walked through the kindly-held-open door into the store, and  took in a long, deep breath.  Bookstore smell.  I love it.

We love it.  We LovED it.

My mom and I loved to walk around the bookstore browsing through Steven King novels, magazines, trinkets, and cookbooks.  I immediately retreated to the restroom to recover from the newly accumulating tearstorm behind my glasses.   I pass the cookbooks on my way.  I pulled myself together and selected two cookbooks.  One as a gift and one for myself.  The cookbooks are carefully chosen with the right picture to recipe ratio that my mom and I preferred.  Have I mentioned how many cookbooks she has accumulated?  A lot.  A new one almost every trip to the bookstore or holiday.  My mom was the BEST cook.  Ever.

I remember my task and head towards the journal section and pass the greeting cards.  Have I mentioned how my mom ALWAYS remembered to send cards for holidays and birthdays and anniversaries and Christmas and Easter and everything?  Always.  I choose a birthday card to send to my brother next week and put a reminder in my phone to list the important dates so I can continue her tradition.

So I can.

I finally reach the journals and alongside them are these  “guided” or specialty journals. Couple journals – the kind where each partner writes or responds and an amazing keepsake is created.  A “Choose Kind Journal” based on one of my favorite YA books – “Wonder” by RJ Palacio – which I add to my growing pile.  There’s a journal for a mother and daughter. I stop and take a deep breath.  I would have loved completing this with her.  Why did I never see this?  I  I pick it up and contemplate purchasing it, but of my two daughters the one old enough would not be interested and the one who would be interested is not yet old enough.  I put it back.  But I find another, “A Mother’s Legacy Journal.”  I add it to my pile.  I will write my story for my children to find some day.

Some day.

At last my eyes dart to the right and land on a wire bound, hard cover, green journal with three four leaf clovers in the corner.

May you always walk in sunshine.

May you never want for more.

May Irish angels rest their wings

right beside your door.

-Irish Blessing

I was feeling like it was very promising as we are Irish.  So I opened the cover and one the bottom of the first blank, fresh, lined page there is an Irish Proverb printed:  “You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.”  Yes.  This is the one.  There is some stuff I need to get out of my mind.  I add it to my purchases and wince as I realize I have spent too much.  Oh well.

I pick up the kids, head home, play with the dogs, cook dinner, ensure homework is completed, do a load of laundry, and tuck in three children.

And now, I’m all alone with a green journal and my mind.  So now, I write:

Dear Mom,

Posted in parenting, personal

Disappearing Act

My husband likes to roll his eyes at me when I do something for (or with) the kids that he thinks is excessive, or beyond age-appropriate.  Don’t worry, internet parent police – I’m not doing anything weird.  We are talking about pouring a cup of milk, scratching backs at bedtime, and pausing my evening tasks to give extra bedtime kisses to chase away nightmares.  See?  Not weird.  Not excessive.  At least not to me.

We all know that the parenting experience is different for men and women, in obvious and sometimes funny ways.  But, I want to tell you why I stand by my eye-roll-inducing choices.  Because I’m hyper-aware of how quickly my children are growing up.

Case-in-point: my oldest is less than a month away from thirteen.  In many ways, our relationship can be described as close.  We get along well at school (the poor girl attends the school I work at – which is a wonderful and sometimes horrible thing that I really should write about some day) and we are close enough that she still openly shares a lot of her day-to-day “action”with me.  But, sadly and quietly a treasured  eye-roll-inducing task has disappeared.  See, every day since the moment my oldest sweet girl had enough hair to make a teensie-weensie ponytail, I’ve been doing her hair.  Even when she was a baby and would pull out the rubber bands before I knew about the “good” ones, even when she was a preschooler and liked to “let her hair down” sometime between nap time and pick up time, and even as a first semester 7th grader because I was always able to make her hair stay “flat.”

Then one day a few weeks ago someone dared her to wear her hair down (gasp!) until after Advisory.  And then she never asked me again.  At first, the hustle and bustle of the morning routine was enough to distract me from the loss, but after repeated days of wearing multiple rubber bands on my wrist I became painfully aware that my hair-styling time was up.  And it’s good because I can’t do her hair forever, and growing up and becoming independent is the goal.  And it sucks, because I can’t brush her hair a few more times than necessary just because it’s nice to be close to her.

So, I smile defiantly at the eye rolls when I read the incoming text, “mommy can you come tuck me in.”  I smile and tuck in that almost thirteen year old, kissing her forehead and wishing her sweet dreams.  And I’ll try not to freak out about the fact that there was no text for the last two nights.  I’ll just tell myself she was just really tired and fell asleep…I hope.

Posted in parenting, personal

At the Dinner Table Post Election #NaBloPoMo2016

Today BlogHer NaBloPoMo Prompt asks, “How are you talking to your kids about this election?”  Fitting topic, seeing how at dinner this evening the news was playing in the living room, away from our eyes but just loud enough to hear.  Talk of protestors.  Talk of what’s next.  Talk about “what happened” when all the polls pointed to a different outcome.  I didn’t even really mean to talk about it, but it happened all by itself.

“Is Donal Trump really going to build a wall by Mexico?” my 10-year old asked.  Her question was flanked with random comments that other 5th graders in her class said aloud today – comments that are clearly echoes of the adults in their homes.  We talked about “the wall” and why some people might think we need one.  About how people can move to different countries legally and illegally.  About how we could still eat quesadillas and Taco Bell (where we NEVER eat, so I have no idea why it came up) would not be immediately out of business.  Funny to talk politics with a 10 and 6 year old.

My 12-year old is slightly indifferent to anything other than her friends, but also chimed in on the topic.  Her Social Studies teacher had posted some articles on the white board and they were encouraged to read what what posted.  Someone wrote “kill” with arrows pointing at Trump’s name in the articles.  She was closet to the board and she was blamed.  It bothers her, and me, of course.  She is far from perfect, but THAT is not the kind of thing she would do.  She said it was resolved, but concluded by saying things felt heavy at school with many adults today. I agreed, and promised not to confront the teacher…this time.

So we moved on and talked about their daily life and how we may and may not be affected.  My 6 year-old decided that the only thing he really disliked about Obama was how much traffic he caused us when he visited Hawaii.  We followed the natural course of the conversation and reminded the kids of our job – to be kind, law-abiding people who try to be the best we can and learn from our mistakes.  I told them no matter who the President is, our job remains the same.  And for now, that was enough.  Tomorrow is a new day, and we’ll have to wait and see what it brings.  I just hope that my words hold true for my children…and all of us.  I know I will be praying for kindness and grace.



Posted in parenting, Uncategorized

Do-Over #NaBloPoMo2016

Today’s BlogHer Promt is a great one:

If you could redo one moment in your life, what would it be and why? How would it change who you are now?

Ah, one moment?  It’s a toss up for me.  In my left hand, I have the story of the first time I met a girl who I’ll call “K” who was dating the older of two brothers.  In my right hand, a story of bottles.  Today, I’m choosing my right hand and keep the other story for another day.

Bottles?  Yup, bottles.  Baby bottles, to be exact.  When I had my first daughter I was certain I was going to bottle feed, and and any doubts I had went out the window when my cervix tore and I lost a lot of blood and was a little MORE out-of-it post-birth than the average mama.  We purchased fancy Dr. Brown’s bottles and my baby girl drank and grew and was mostly happy and healthy.  The bottles were treated with care – sterilized prior to each use and replaced at the smallest sign of wear…you know, first time parent awesomeness.  When she was weaned off the bottle, I knew we would try for more children, and I carefully sterilized and packed up the bottles to save for the future.  It was the same thing I did with clothes, blankets, infant toys.  I was being a good mom.  I was pleased with myself.

Two and half years later when we welcomed our second daughter into the world, I weakly tried breastfeeding and fell back into bottle-feeding quite quickly.  I was second-baby tired and happy I didn’t have to buy new bottles.  They worked and were cared for in the same manner as with my oldest.  I never thought twice about it.  Until about two years later when she had her first non-fever related seizure.  Already knowledgeable about epilepsy and seizures, I dove headfirst into the murky waters of “online research” searching for answers that my brain knew didn’t exist.  I wanted the cause.  The definitive cause for my child’s seizures.  I read a few articles suggesting plastic with BPA.  The bottles I cared for and lovingly saved were made before the “BPA-free” plastic revolution in all baby and children’s products.  Those bottles that my daughter drank from every day had BPA in them.  They were warmed and sterilized and USED frequently.  I asked our neurologist who told me I was crazy, but still, I wondered.  The unknown is what gets me every time.

And so it is for this reason, that if I could redo a moment, I would have thrown away those bottles.  I would have purchased new ones (I would also tell the younger me that she should really stick with breastfeeding/pumping – cause it can be done).  Perhaps the person I would be now would NOT have a child who had seizures and the challenges related to those seizures.  Or perhaps I would be the same mom in the same position, but without the guilt associated with a “what if.”  I guess we’ll never know.


Posted in Food, personal

Thanksgiving Fail, or Not #NaBloPoMo2016

Today’s BlogHer #NaBloPoMo2016 prompt asks about our worst Thanksgiving food failure.  I’m not sure if I’m happy to say that I haven’t really had a Thanksgiving food failure or absolutely paranoid at the thought that it just hasn’t come YET.  Great.  Something else to worry about – because cooking at Thanksgiving isn’t stressful enough, right?

I’ve read about all kinds of entertaining accidents – plastic wrap on pineapples and cordless phones in casseroles, yet, my “normal” adult Thanksgiving experiences are almost boring comparatively.  There was the year I made waaaaaaaay too much mashed potatoes (leftovers for all!).  There was the year immediately after the too-much-mashed-potato-year when there was not enough mashed potatoes (excuse me, but what happened last year?).  There has been the many different vegetable side dishes that I have prepared in hopes of finding the “perfect” one that nearly everyone likes…glazed carrots (nope), asparagus (not really), creamed corn (sort of), brussels sprouts (better), and french onion soup stuffed mushrooms (best so far).  There was also the Thanksgiving we were house-sitting for my in-laws and inherited the turkey-cooking duty, since my in-laws host Thanksgiving and they ALWAYS cook the turkey.  I was a mess on THAT Thanksgiving.  I had never cooked a turkey, and I have not cooked one since.  I googled a million “recipes” for the best Thanksgiving turkey and went with this one from Ina Garten.  Basically, it was a LOT of butter and the turkey was amazing and I have never been more relieved.  But, again, there’s no “fail” in my string of short stories.

So, with that I will leave you.  I will leave you with more worry then I had yesterday and the feeling like my impending Thanksgiving doom is waiting for me.  Thanks  #NaBloPoMo2016.  I *really* appreciate it.  Gobble, gobble.


Posted in parenting, Uncategorized

Playing Catch Up #NaBloPoMo2016

Scheduling is something I have always struggled with.  It’s easier at work – although I readily admit I will choose students over a non-urgent scheduled meeting every time.  But, scheduling my life is a constant battle.  It comes because of many Blessings – a busy husband, three active children, a commitment to be a healthier person and exercise regularly, and a love of many things like cooking, reading, writing and learning.  I really should be scheduling writing time to fully participate in  #NaBloPoMo2016, and yet, I probably won’t.  I’m not good at lying, anyway.  Playing catch up is a reality right now, and I pray I have my priorities in order so at the end of it all, I the things I’ve missed I won’t miss.  You know?

So, it is in perfect form that I play some catch up on the lovely #NaBloPoMo2016 prompts provided by BlogHer that I missed last week.  Cheers to a better Week 2, and as always, thanks for stopping by!  XOXO

Nov. 2: When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?

Bravery is not a word I usually associate with myself, and I can’t think of a good “deep” example at the moment, so I’m going to go with my recent trip to Austin, Texas to attend the Association for Middle Level Educators (AMLE) Conference with a team from my school.  Just GOING on this trip was, for me, a huge act in bravery considering that I felt sick with panic when it was time to leave.  But I want to talk about our segway tour.  Holy nuts was I nervous!  You know I totally purchased the extra insurance from the company, used the bathroom moments before leaving and had to hide the sweaty palms and put on a brave face…and…it was AWESOME!  Lol.  Austin is a beautiful city.  I am thankful for this tour, as we got to see and learn so much about the city.  Riding the segway was scary, but super fun, and admittedly easier than I had feared.  So yes, I was scared  And yes, the peer pressure made me ACT braver than I felt.  And…I absolutely LOVED it.  Moral learned.

Nov. 3: If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?

Hmph.  My arms are wanting to fold in thought and contemplation of the perfect thing to choose to appropriately answer the question, but remain safely protected in my bubble.  But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Right?

With that said, I would go back to my middle daughter’s Kindergarten teacher.  I would tell her that she ruined my confidence in being a mother of a school-aged child.  I would tell her that her harsh words and blind judgement have scarred me and our family in a way that is irreparable.  I would remind her that even at the very mature age of 5, children are still growing and developing and she is making an impact, for better or worse, by everything she says and does.  Little eyes are watching.  Little hearts are feeling.  Little minds are remembering.  I would point out that I did everything that I should have done as a parent who knew my daughter had special needs, and that SHE failed my daughter.  And I would remind her that each child in her classroom is someone’s everything – someone’s precious, irreplaceable gift and that she should be there to protect and nurture those children, no matter what.  And in closing, I would thank her – because I will NEVER allow that to happen again in my own life – not as a parent, and not as an educator.

Nov. 4: Which fall shows should totally be canceled already? 

This is the easiest of them all – I don’t know!  If Presidential Election coverage counts, then I’ll put in a vote for that cause I might not be able to take it anymore.  But, everything else I love on TV gets DVR’d, like Project Runway and Master Chef.  The TV is rarely on during the evenings except for the news or the 9:30pm time slot after all the kids are asleep, the time slot where “The Big Bang Theory” falls.  We just don’t watch a lot of TV.  Part of it is because of a desire to limit, but a bigger part is because our days are long.  So, I’m sorry, but I don’t know – so tell me!