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!

Posted in Middle School, personal

Bad Day? #NaBloPoMo2016

*taps mic*

Hello?  Is anyone still around?  Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be either considering that I haven’t touched my blog in, um, THREE YEARS.  But, here I am.  I’m sure I’ll have time to catch you up on what’s new with me…BUT, for now, I’m checking out the prompts put out by the good folks over at the BlogHer Writing Lab and trying to follow along in hopes of getting my groove back.  We’ll see.

NaBloPoMo2016 Day 1: When you’re having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do with yourself?

The short answer is sleep.  There’s an Ingrid Michaelson song I love called, “Keep Breathing.”  In the song there’s a line – “I want to change the world, but instead, I sleep.”  This is totally me.  When I’m really overwhelmed; really, really overwhelmed, sleep is my refuge.  It’s safe.  It gives my brain a break from all the over thinking that I’m usually busy doing.  I know it drives my husband crazy cause it looks and feels a little escapist.  But, it works for me.

The longer, and more socially-accepted list includes the “regulars:”  bitching to chatting with friends, debriefing with my hubby, working out (this actually does keep me from acting on secret thoughts of punching people in the face), writing out the issue and brainstorming the elements related to/complicating the issue, hugging my furry and feathered friends, cooking, hugging, wine/alcohol (responsibly, of course), reading, and vegging out on my beloved iphone.  I guess I never thought about the many ways I help myself in times of stress.  I wonder what would happen if I started teaching my students some of these HEALTHY coping strategies.  I know they are not all model behaviors, but if it takes me all of these (and sometimes more), what are our young people to do when they don’t have as many “tools” for dealing with emotions.

Sounds like a pitch for social  emotional learning, huh?  It wasn’t the intended outcome, although I will say, it’s a welcome realization.

Thanks for stopping by.

XOXO auntytriss