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 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 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


Posted in parenting, personal

Project Purple, Day Plus One


Officially my Project Purple ended yesterday, but I have some unfinished business.

Today I wanted to share some epilepsy-related images and facts that I never got a chance to use, but I still want to share. Later this week I want to show everyone my purple door at work with ALL the facts posted on it and reflect on my all month blogging experience.