My husband often tells me I need to manage my expectations. He says I am too hard on people. Maybe set the bar a little too high for most. But in my own head, I set the bar no higher for anyone else than I do for myself. Therein lies the problem. In my own head.
I am a control freak. I will be the first to admit it. So when my life doesn't go according to my plans, well...there's fret indeed. So far nothing about baby number 4 has been predicable or controlled. At the first ultrasound, there was no baby. At the second ultrasound there was a little seahorse who had yet to sprout arms and legs, but had a wonderfully strong heartbeat. But the doctor let us know there was a bleed. Not a large one, and it had shrunk from the first ultrasound, but it was there and we needed to be aware of it. At the third ultrasound, everything had healed and a little person with a heartbeat of 169 was already kicking at the ultrasound machine. Is it too early to say I think I saw a tongue being stuck out at me too?
Fret has become a constant already with this kid. So has the learning (and the morning, noon, and night sickness). I didn't know how scared I could be to lose something I didn't know I wanted so badly. I didn't know how much I could love someone just by seeing their heartbeat. I also think I realize that I control very little in life. I have put off letting the world in on our little creation for fear it will somehow be taken away. But my pants don't fit anymore and the lady at the bank is starting to look at me with the wondering eye of "is she gaining weight or is she pregnant." Having faith in the world and people around me needs to play a larger role in my life. That's what baby number 4 has already taught me. There are surely more to come when we meet in the spring.
Our ten hour journey is complete. We have arrived at the site to observe and respect nature from for the next several days. We discover we are the first in our party to arrive. The land is quite desolate. There are rocks, sage brush, a fire pit, a picnic table, and much wildlife. No showers, and running water is scarce. Upon inspection of the sites we determined the best place to set up the nylon and mesh temporary dwelling unit. We determined that to be in a flat grassy area approximately 50 yards from the building of discretion, yet not down wind from it. We wait for the others to arrive.
I awoke from a fitful night's rest atop a twin air mattress with the wee one to find that Hollywood and The Man are missing. In the daze of sleep, I pray Sasquatch has not taken them. I search for my phone to call The Man, and discover in this vast remoteness, we have no contact with civilization. However, upon further examination of the site, I find that several others and the boat are missing. I learn that hunting upon the great Fish Lake began early. All of our party has safely made the trek in as well. A member of the party has discovered a tick on my left shoulder. She removed it before it's head could burrow. I am then given brief instructions on how and where to check for ticks. I find it displeasing to say the least. The littlest of the party are eagerly chasing chipmunks and finding their weapons of choice upon the fallen branches. Curly has taken a twist and has used the fallen branches and a few strips of toilet paper to create homes for the creatures in the unlikely event of rain.
It is three am and this night The Man and I have decided it is better for the wee one and I to find sleep in the more permanent dwelling unit made of steel riding on wheels. I have left my chair in the soft pallet and nasal symphony to find the unit swaying. I believe my space inside the nylon to be safer than that of a place surrounded with coolers full of meat, fish, and vegetables. We have not yet seen any wildlife of significant size and stature, however there are signs posted to warn us. This is indeed brown bear country.
A large doe made her way into camp. At first I mistook her for a large pit bull having only seen her hindquarters. When she revealed her face, I was quite embarrassed by my mistake. The matron of our party informed us about sunrise that there are indeed protective measures we should be taking. Bears are attracted to sunscreen. The sun is intense at 10,000 feet even if the thermometer shows a steady 80 degrees. We must forgo the risk of skin cancer and brave the elements if we are to withstand the wildlife. I don't believe I have ever faced such risk.
We have survived our field study. Part of the party broke down camp last night and made their journey north. We will break down our camp and clean up all evidence of our presence after breakfast and a few games of red light green light. The remaining members of the party ask if we will return to the field study next year. With the successful study we had this year, perhaps we will.
We have a rule about scissors in this house. They must be hidden at all times. If they are not, this is what happens...
Good thing Sweet and Sassy could fix this mullet into a cute little layered bob.
Not pictured is poor Oliver who also received a side swipe haircut while I was in the shower.
Other things the scissors have been used for: - Several doggie haircuts - Curly's hair - Three other self hair cuts by the wee one which did not require the same level of intervention. - A few books - More than a few homework assignments - And this morning my mom called to let me know the blinds at her house had received a few alterations the other day.
I hear precociousness in children is a sign of intelligence. If that's true, I have a genius on my hands.
I have been catching glimpses of you for a while now. We have talked often of what you might bring and of how we might evolve into you. I have found it easier to look backward than to project forward. I have memories stored that have left me breathless, but to project into them is something I believed impossible.
I hold close the memory of when my sweet little curly haired girl became helpless to the virus within her and had to be hospitalized at 9 months old. I remember so clearly the paramedics whisking away her limp, naked, little body in her car seat strapped to a stretcher. I wanted time to stop. I wanted to go back and redo whatever I could have done to prevent that moment from happening. At the hospital I believed that if I just held her the whole night instead of placing her in the metal crib I could will her better on my own. That I alone could take away her pain and make her breathe. That I could protect her and keep her safe from the world.
Last night my sweet little curly haired girl sat on a bench crying and coughing. I rushed over to her to see if she could breathe. Instinctively, I began the firm pats on the back between her shoulder blades, to which she squirmed away from me slightly and said she was fine. I asked her why she was crying. She said she was sad. She said Fiona's kiss couldn't save Schreck and he died. She told me Fiona loved Schreck but she couldn't save him and that wasn't fair. And suddenly it was me who couldn't breathe.
2020, I know you could be the year that some boy comes along and breaks my little girl's heart. You could be the year she learns love sometimes isn't enough to save us. That we can't will things to be simply by loving them. It will be a moment I will want to go back and redo whatever I can to keep that reality from her a little bit longer, take away her pain, protect her, and keep her safe from the world. By then she will be too big to hold through the night. Yet I will still attempt to will away her heartache.
Until then I will prepare her. I will show her that love saves us from more than anyone is capable of believing.
1. It's not about politics, or a tea party, being Republican or Democrat, or about some bureaucrat getting fat off of the profits, or even about an election year. It is about the state of education in one of the most under served states in the nation. Proportionately, Arizona's budget crisis is the worst in the nation. As is their education ranking and per pupil spending.
2. The bill is a constitutional amendment and protected by voter rights. The first paragraph clearly states 2/3 of the money generated will go directly to primary and secondary education. The other 1/3 goes to public safety. The second paragraph states the tax will be repealed on May 13, 2013. No smokescreens. It is a 1% sales tax increase for a three year term.
3. The 1% tax increase will affect families grocery bill $1 for every $100 spent. A bottle of water costs more than that.
4. The Arizona Tax Research organization, the MOST conservative watch dog organization in the entire state has come out in support of Prop 100 because they recognize the impact on schools without it.
5. PE, Art, Music, and Reading specialists have received their RIF (reduction in force) notices in many districts in the state. Ironically, legislation was also recently passed stating that if is child is considered illiterate in the 3rd grade, they will be retained until they are proficient in reading. Who will teach them?
6. Teachers are being asked to take furlough days (unpaid days off) and a reduction in salary and benefits. Currently, the pay for teachers in Arizona starts at approximately $32,000 a year. A six percent pay cut would be $1920, leaving teachers with a salary of $30008 before taxes. These are the people educating America's future.
7. One district in the state projects an additional $26 million in cutbacks if Prop 100 fails. This number is in addition to the $17 million in cut backs that have been made in the last two years.
8. Capital funding will be completely cut from school budgets. This includes items such as desks and chairs for students, as well as textbooks and technology.
9. Class sizes are projected to increase by at least 3 students in every classroom. This means an average 1st grade classroom could have 27 students. If even 7 of them struggle with reading, there will not be enough classroom resources to support them, and reading specialists will be cut. A students chance at success significantly decreases, as does their projected likeliness of graduating high school.
10. This bill is expected to generate $918 million annually for education and public safety.
11. Response times for police and fire will go up by approximately 4 minutes. The average brain can only go without oxygen for 4 minutes before brain damage occur. Those additional four minutes of response time will cost thousands of lives.
12. The medivac helicopters for use in Northern Arizona will no longer receive funding. Response times for those helicopters coming from the south will be more than an hour.
13. Schools will be told to absorb the rising cost of utilities into their own budgets. In some parts of the state Arizona American Water is asking for 100% rate increases. These increases will create further cutbacks in the schools.
14. Pay to Play could be implemented. Any student wishing to play in school athletics will be required to pay. This will impact many low income families.
15. This is for the child who's favorite part of the day is Music because it is a part of the day they feel successful.
15. This is for the child who's favorite part of the day is Art because it is there they hear "Well Done!" regularly.
16. This is for the child that cannot afford playing club sports but got a scholarship to college playing high school football, basketball, or soccer.
17. This is for the child who struggles to read and needs more help than one teacher alone can give.
18. This is for my first grader who loves her teacher who taught her to love school.
19. This is for my fourth grader is inspired by his teacher to go to college.
20. This is for my toddler who wants to grow up and be a big kid that goes to school.
21. This is for the students I tutor.
22. This is for the the gifted students and future inventors of the world.
23. This is for the school librarian who took a significant pay cut just so she could stay with the children, and yet may still lose her job.
24. This is for the 23 first graders and 26 fourth graders I see every Friday in class.
25. This is for the Advanced Placement students in High School.
26. This is for all of the students attending Charter schools and Montessori's who's education will be impacted in many of the same ways.
27. This is for the firefighter called to rescue a drowning child in a swimming pool.
28. This is for the firefighter called to rescue a mother or father in a car accident.
29. This is for the parent who must call an ambulance and pray they get there fast enough.
30. This is for the police officer who jeopardizes his own life to safe another.
31. This is to ensure our children get an education which will allow them to compete in a global market.
32. This is to ensure our public safety.
33. This is for my brother who is a teacher.
34. This is for my neighbors who want the best for their children
35. This is for the reader who has a dream for their child that starts with a proper education...
There are indeed 65 more reasons and budget cuts I could list. There are 65 reasons you might give to refute it. No more taxes is one I hear often. But me, I will gladly pay the extra one dollar in one hundred to see my daughter's face light up when she shows me the picture she drew at school, or when she passes a sign and says, "Look mom, that sign says Best Friends. My best friends at school are Anna and Alexa." I will gladly pay that one dollar in one hundred to see my son carrying his trumpet to band next year. I will pay it over and over again to ensure that if I ever needed an ambulance, they would respond fast enough to save my life, or the life of someone I loved.
For more information on Prop 100 please visit www.yeson100.com. Early ballots were mailed yesterday, and the vote is May18th. However you exercise your right, please get out and vote.
If you live in the state of Arizona, or have a gallery of readers that do, please consider giving your 100 reasons to vote yes on Prop 100, or re-post these. Please help get the word out.
On April 4, 2010 the sugar world lost a dear friend. Funeral services were held in Glendale Arizona on April 5, 2010 It is survived by food like substances including lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and other members of the dull food family
There were many fond memories over dessert at the dinner table At the ice cream store Standing in front of the candy section at the corner drugstore In line at the drive thru Over a shared Slurpee Judging people on reality TV
Sugar has always been a dear friend It never talked back like the kids It tasted better than therapy It called to me when the the caller I.D. showed no missed numbers Goodbye chocolate covered pretzels Goodbye Frosted Mini Wheat's Goodbye Cadbury Mini Eggs, I shall miss you the most.
Sugar passed away in a bitter fight to the end. The battle was messy and included horrific details. But in the end, sugar had to lose, and let me tell you why...
I have 12 weeks to lose ten, got that 10, pounds. If I do not lose ten pounds in these 12 weeks, my brother has in a sealed envelope a very terrible picture and the passwords to both my Facebook account and my blog account.
Is this really what weight loss has become? Am I really that unmotivated by money, or the love of beauty, or even health, that this is what it takes?
Before some of you get all crazy and say, "Oh geez, you can totally do that," remember this. I am the girl that worked with a personal trainer for six months, three times a week, for two hours, and only lost 5 pounds. Remember that I am the girl who weighs more at the six week follow up check than I did at the last appointment before I had the baby.
This is war. So forgive me if I seem a little edgy in the coming weeks. I have a terrible photo that must be kept confidential!
You can't help but be drawn to the mountain tops this time of year. The beauty is breath taking. Even if breath taking includes sneezing fits and wanting to scratch the back of your eyeballs with forks!
"Logan please go put the diaper basket in my closet since we don't need it any more."
15 minutes later...
"Logan, seriously, please put the diaper basket in my closet."
10 minutes later...
"Logan, stop playing the PlayStation and get over here and put the diaper basket in my closet."
5 minutes later...
"You want me to freak don't you?! I. am. seriously. going. to. lose. my. mind!" (Only effective when said through gritted teeth)
Controller smacks on the ground
In an exasperated tone I hear, "Ok, ok, gosh I'm going."
After vacuuming, doing the dishes, and folding the laundry, I went in to take a shower so that I could take them to the bounce house place for the afternoon. This is where I found the basket. I didn't yell at him because he had me on the technicality. All two inches of it.
Did you notice the smiley face sticker openly mocking me?
I haven't returned a phone call, e-mail, text message, or a request for some face time. My dishes, floors, laundry, and blog have all been neglected. The wee one stuck 17 band-aids to her knees yesterday and I failed to notice until I put her in the shower today. Hollywood and Curly ate 8 packages of fruit snacks in a meager attempt to sustain themselves while they waited for dinner. I know I have to get back to the real world in 73 pages. Until then, shhhhhh I'm busy.
I am not quite sure when it happened. I cannot pinpoint a specific day, or even a month. I think it has rapidly deteriorated in the last two weeks, but I can't be sure. Somewhere, some how, I have gone stupid.
A few weeks ago, as I barreled my car through the night sky trying to accomplish the day's tasks, my cell phone lit up the cup holder next to me in the car. On the other end was a concerned parent of a student I tutor. She wanted to make sure everything was ok. Confused, I responded, "absolutely, every thing's great." She then proceeded to tell me she was concerned since I didn't show up to the house today at 4:00pm. Who forgets to go to their job?
Last week, in an unsuccessful attempt to sound semi-intelligent and simultaneously spiritual, my soliloquy abruptly ended when I forgot what I was talking about in the middle of a sentence. Who forgets words? In a coherent order? To make sentences?
This morning, in it's very wee hours, as I drudged out the door, and smashed a toe into the back fender of a Barbie scooter on my way into the car, I got my phone out to let someone know I was on my way to take them to the airport. As I stared at the phone waiting for my car to warm up, I couldn't remember the phone number. I scrolled through the out going call log to find the number and waited for the number to look familiar. I pushed send when I landed on one that I had called several times in as many days. One ring. Two rings. Three rings. Crap! Wrong number. Who forgets their mother's phone number? Who randomly calls people at 5:00am?
I think my brains are falling out. Can that happen? Does it happen when you clean your ears too much? Or is it keeping up with the weekly schedule? Or does it rapidly magnify when you have to ask three children four hundred times a day to take out the trash, clean their toys up, and pick up their socks so the dogs don't chew them?
I am sure it is related to the grey hair I found sticking out of my scalp, right near the temple of my left eye, openly mocking me in my peripheral vision. I yanked it out.
I am not old and I am not dumb. At least in my own leaking mind.
The math we do is really easy. If your child is either too lazy or too stupid to finish it in class, I'm sending it home so that you can work with them and judge for yourself whether it is laziness or idiocy that inhibits your child's progress. We do part of it in class. How on earth they can NOT finish it is beyond me, but please help them with the part that we do NOT do in class. If your child is one of the mediocre few who excels on the homework, please congratulate them with a warm handshake or perhaps a halfhearted high-five, since finishing this homework is the equivalent of a twenty-year-old wanting to be congratulated for knowing how to tie his shoes.
Regarding Field trip lunches: We have a peanut allergy in our room and a few in second grade in general. Because of this, everyone must eat nut-free foods. We also have a child who is mourning their puppy who got run over last week by a garbage truck, so we ask that no one wear anything resembling puppy fur, or that is red and flat. Further, one of our students has a nervous tick that causes him to slap himself in face several times a minute. In order to help this child not feel conspicuous, we ask that your child imitate a crazed masochist for the length of this field trip."
Let me just say, I am not really one for controversy. I mean sure I love a great debate, and if people have their proverbial panties in a bundle over something important to them, well then I am all ears. But generally I do not pump billows of air into a fire. But this was too good to pass up. It is all over the news and blog-o-sphere.
A principal in Phoenix valley was fired this week over a satirical letter he forwarded to one second grade teacher at the school. The letter was apparently marked to be sent home to students. The teacher did not read the letter before making the 25 copies and filing it in the students cubbies to be sent home amid paper bag puppets, worksheets, and writing journals. Oops!
The district office was flooded with calls from from 25 angry parents regarding the letter. As a result of sending the letter to one teacher, a teacher who did not read the content before sending it home, the principle was placed on administrative leave, and will not be allowed to return to the school, nor will he be allowed to take his scheduled position of principal at a new elementary school slated to open in July.
I could just leave it at that, and let you decide if the punishment fit the crime. But I am going out on a limb here, and pose the question, really? When did we become so sensitive? Ever made a joke at work? Ever work in an environment where the stress levels are so intense that you would be in a rubber room if you couldn't crack a few jokes? Ever work at a place where every year the demands increase while the funds diminish? Ever been in a classroom for 8 hours with 26 7 year olds? Can you discredit an individual's entire career because of the principle of immediacy?
Did it change your feelings if I told you he's Mormon?
I'm just sayin'...Think about it. And don't shoot the messenger, er the blogger.
On Monday when I asked the wee one to pick up her toys, she snapped, "I'm not doin' nuh-sing!" So I put her down for a nap.
On Tuesday when she insisted she needed to be unbuckled so that she could close the garage door and I told her no, she screamed "you ruined my life!" Did I mention this all took place on the freeway which happens to be nowhere near our actual garage door?
On Wednesday, while at lunch, she began pounding on the window and yelling when two ducks attempted to end a third duck's life by drowning it. While this all too disturbing act was occurring, she turned to me and through pursed lips stated, "I am really pissed off at that duck!" I tried not to choke on the tortilla chip and encouraged her to use another word like angry, as in that duck is making me angry.
So when you see us out together and wonder when we are having another one...the answer is...never. This one has done me in.
*editor's note - While it did take roughly 20 minutes to recover, the duck was fine, no natural selection took place in the process of lunch
6:03am Alarm goes off again, I tell him he better get up, he's gotta go
6:07am Lights flicker on and the shower starts
6:30am Sucrose Guy is off for 6:50am meetings
6:32am My alarm goes off and the shower starts again
7:05am Wake kids up to go
7:15am "Come on I gotta do your hair, we gotta go, we can't be late"
7:18am Curly exclaims amid sobs during the hair brushing, "I hate when church is in the middle of the night!"
7:22am "Did everybody brush their teeth?" to which Hollywood grumbles, "We haven't even eaten yet, what's the point?"
7:27am Lights off, Oatmeal to Go, juice boxes, socks, and shoes in one hand, church bag in the other, wait, where are the crayons? Who used the crayons last? Where are they? Got um, ok let's go...hopefully we make it on time
Middle school is generally considered a "time of growth" by many. Most are awkward 12 and 13 year olds with far too many hormonal changes infused with an intense desire to belong. Throw in the daily mocking and cat fights and it is a recipe for disaster.
Valiant efforts have been made to retain as few memories as possible of these awkward days in my life, but yesterday the dam of repressed memories sprung a leak when report cards came home.
Whie we haven't yet entered the awkward middle school years, this year has proven challenging for Hollywood. When no homework came home for the first month of school, I thought it odd. On curriculum night I learned it wasn't because of his superior ability to focus and plow through tasks, but rather he "forgot" he had daily assignments. His efforts were rebuffed with daily communication with the teacher for a while, weekly progress reports, and followed up with weekly visits in the classroom by mom. There were also a plethora of chores added to the list when homework assignments were not completed. Being the intelligent kid he is, he quickly learned school and homework were far less painful, and we saw dramatic improvement in his studies.
Curly is in love with school this year. She skips through the gate when I drop her off, and usually has a great story from the day on the walk home. Yesterday, she couldn't wait to get home with her report card. We were thrilled to see she is above benchmark in most areas; and it came as no surprise she is excelling in art.
After heaps of praise were pronounced upon Curly for the fabulous job she is doing, we asked Hollywood where his report card was. When he responded defensively he had not received it, the flashback began.
In an endless dual of sibling rivalry, my brother never ran home faster than on report card day. During those awkward junior high years, I will concede his academic achievement was far greater than mine. He would dash home to receive his heaps of praise and I would hide mine under the mattress and tell my wise mother my teacher forgot to hand them out.
While my pants burned in fire, an e-mail from Hollywood's teacher confirmed she had in fact forgot to pass out report cards and promised to send them home today.
Yesterday, the memories not just of middle school came flooding back, but also the curse of every mother..." I hope you have one just like you so you can someday understand what it is like to be me." I definitely got mine. He's just way better!