Billy FOREVER!

YBW is at Target and just texted me this pic with the question: Do you need?

image

It’s like he knows me or something.

My response was: Giggle! No, I’m pretty Billy sorted. Thank you for thinking of me though!

It really is the “little things” that make my heart happy.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

imagination spools

Two of my little students came to me this morning: Miss Robynbird! Come see what we built! Hurry! You have to see!
(Kinda hard to say no to that!)
Two little blonde heads bouncing with excitement as we walk to the back of the classroom together. And then I see what they built!

20150722_085940

Tell me about it. I say to them.
He says: J and I built it together!
She says: We used all the spools.
I see that. Can you tell me more about it?
She says: They’re all in a line.
He hugs me with joy: We did it!


20150722_085946

I know nothing of their intent.
I don’t know what they think it was.
All I know is that they did it together and their pride was BIG!

You know, when it comes right down to it, I don’t really need to know any more than that.

Categories: education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

sassy birthday love

I write a great deal about my love for my daughter, Thing 2. Partly that’s because I’ve honestly never loved another human being the way I love her, and partly because she (frustrating as she is) has become one of my favorite people. She’s become a bit of an acquired taste, but if you can get through her thick hide of protective armor she’s rather spectacular!

The kind parts of her personality are truly something to behold. The unkind parts are somewhat amusing, she can sarcasm and sass like nobody’s business, but sometimes it can cross that line between amusing and cruelty. I don’t believe that’s her intent. She just calls it like she sees it.
She’s quite like me in so many ways. Perhaps years of life have helped my sass remain more so on the amusing side of the line with occasional jaunts over to cruelty. I’d like to think so anyway. My sass intentions are never cruel and, surely that counts for something.
Thing 2 is still in that ‘figuring it out’ phase. That wretched place in life we all have to wade through to get to the place where our actions more and more reflect our intentions.
We do think very similarly about things and have those moments when we call each other and report some event of the day when she had a “Momma moment” or I had a “Thing 2″ moment. We laugh about them and I tell her I’m so glad she’s a good sport about being so like me.

There is trouble in her heart. A wound that she simply hasn’t figured out how to let heal. I’m hopeful that with time and hard work she’ll realize that it doesn’t have to define her. But I have great concern she may not ever know how to come to that place. I’ve offered every kind of help I can think of. She’s becoming more open to help…perhaps that’s a good sign.

She celebrated the eighteenth anniversary of her birth last week. Eighteen years of Thing 2. With all honesty, I can hardly believe it! It seems only a moment. Only a moment since she was a teeny little think in the NICU. Since she was fitted for her first pair of glasses (at sixteen months). Since she put on her first black leotard and pink shoes. Since she got on the school bus the very first day of kindergarten holding her big sisters hand and smiling from ear to ear. Since she stood on the stage for the first time as a young princess in disguise.
Since the terrible moment she told me she didn’t want me to be her mom anymore. And the beautiful moment we found our way back to each other.

Eighteen years of love and laughter and sadness and tears. Eighteen years of silliness and snuggles and sassiness to spare.
One of the best gifts I’ve ever received! And so many more to come!

I wasn’t with her on her birthday, that was hard for me. But I’ve come to terms with it. She was with her friends and her big sister even came to town to celebrate with her. She and I decided to celebrate later on, when she’s here for a while. I didn’t even send her gifts (some she even knows about). Because I found what I hope will be the coolest gift and I selfishly want to be with her when she opens it. I can’t yet share the secret because she sometimes reads these words. I can say the item is celebrating it’s centennial this year, that it was involved in an important historical situation, and that it is meaningful to our family.

Interestingly enough, it was YBW who came up with the idea that sparked my search for this perfect item. I love that he gets us, even though he sometimes doesn’t understand us.

I have this item for her and wanted a special way to present it to her and nothing felt quite right. So I made a trip to the craft store and found the thing that sparked my idea for the way to present Thing 2’s special gift. A janky little balsa wood suitcase that with a bit of stain, antique travel and map stickers, and some mod podge became the perfect box for her gift!
20150628_163943
Thing 2 loves antique suitcases and bags, I hope she loves this one too!

The inside had to be as perfect as the outside.
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How precious is this little case?
I’m so excited to celebrate my baby’s birthday!

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

provoking thought

I talked about the questionnaire YBW and I had to answer for A, the church rector, for our “marriage counseling” meetings in the months leading to our wedding in how very Robynbird.

The first set of questions were about each of us personally, and we weren’t allowed to discuss them (questions or answers) before we talked about them with A.
They were personal, but not intimate. General, not terribly specific. But thought provoking nonetheless. They were completely focused on the self.
1. What are your life’s goals? How will your marriage facilitate your attaining these goals?
2. What personal strengths do you bring to a relationship?
3. What areas do you, as an individual, need to strengthen for the enrichment of your relationship?
4. Do you perceive any personal losses in sharing your life with a spouse, and potentially, family?
5. What benefits do you hope to derive through your marital relationship?
6. If you are currently living with your potential spouse, will marriage change your relationship, if so, how?

The second set of questions were more focused on us as a couple.
1. What are your expectations of marriage?
2. How do you you perceive the role of a husband?
3. How do you perceive the role of a wife?
4. How do you (husband and wife) perceive your role with your children?
5. Out of your experiences together, what strengths have emerged?
6. Out of your experiences together, what weaknesses have emerged?
7. How do you perceive your relationship with the church?

The second set of questions was a bit trickier. As much of a ‘girl power, votes for women’ kind of girl I am, I’m also really traditional when it comes to gender roles in marriage.
The husband as provider.
But while the wife makes martinis wearing pearls when her husband comes home, she can change the oil in the car and replace light fixtures and still fold the laundry like a boss.
I believe husbands can be great cooks, amazing dads…sometimes infinitely better parents than their wives.

I want a husband who will take good care of me in a practical way so I don’t have to fret about finances. But not to the point I’m left clueless.
I want a husband who will treat me with kindness and respect.
I want a husband who knows I’m a badass and isn’t intimidated by that.
I want a husband who loves me because I’m flawed, not in “spite of it”.
I want a husband I can be real with. A man with whom I can say what I think and expect the same.
I want a husband who is my partner. Who will hold my hand when something is scary and when it’s pants peeing exciting.
I want a husband who will rely on me. My opinions as well as my compassion.

We’re in a trickier but overall simpler situation when it comes to kids. YBW told me once that he didn’t like being a stepfather and didn’t want to do it again. As it turns out he really hasn’t had to be.
I think the biggest challenge for me is being mindful that our kids were raised completely differently. That has to be taken into account before expectations are placed. It’s hard to parent other people’s kids. To know that you only have “so much” say. But if I am mindful and come from a place of love that’s what that really matters.

As many strengths as our relationship has I think it has a pretty significant weakness.
We’re pretty crap at communicating about important stuff. So much so that sometimes I choose not to initiate conversations because I don’t believe we’re get anything resolved.
I do have a tendency to over-talk and this frustrates him. I’ve been working really hard at reigning that in. I even made an outline the last time I wanted to talk to him about things that were bothering me so I would stay on track.
I don’t think we’re hopeless…I think we just need to keep at it. And keep at it. And keep at it.
I need to tone down my sarcasm.
He needs to realize everything isn’t a personal affront.

We’re lucky to have each other. We know that. We do enrich each other’s life. I come at him from a place of love and believe the same of him.

The questions for these premarital conversations with A are doing part of what they’re supposed to do. They’re provoking thought.
We must make time for follow up dialogue.

Categories: wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

when I’m Queen of the World

Taurus horoscope:
A certain person or situation is not as “perfect” as you would like it to be. In an ideal world, things would be quite different. In an ideal world, the accessories of your life -including the people in it and the situations that exist within it – would be entirely different. There would be no trouble. There would be no conflict. Everything would be a mirror image of your imagined ideal life. If that actually happened though, Taurus, you would find it dull. What you really need to do is to revel in the imperfection that is your life. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. That is the key to a happier existence.

YBW likes to tease me about my love of reading and finding meaning in my horoscope. It’s OK though, it doesn’t bother me. I really do love to read it and see if and or how it’s applicable, but I don’t let it rule my life.
But this one…this one kicked me right in my uptight-control-freak ass.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said: When I’m Queen of the World… or When I run the World…
I like things the way I like them and I have no shame. I can see so clearly how it ‘could’ be and quite possibly ‘should’ be.
This is not to say that I truly think I know what’s best for everyone. I just know how I’d like it to be for me. If I could make it so then I would like it most.

But as my horoscope so helpfully points out, I might be bored out of my skull if every thing was exactly the way I imagined I’d like it.

When Thing 1 and I talked about the swelling in my brain I teased her about how I’d been telling her and Thing 2 for many years that I was going to try to less uptight, that I was going to attempt to be less of a control freak and this situation was actually forcing me into doing that.
She expressed her humor and pleasure that this scary medical condition had something positive going for it.

So here I am, realizing that I can’t control everything no matter desperately I long to try. Realizing the actions of others don’t really impact me unless I let them. I’m attempting to let the “little things” slide. Things that would have made me frustrated and angry, I’m just shrugging them off. I can’t let those things rule my emotions.

YBW told me last week that I’ve been a “hater” that I’ve spewed a great deal of hate lately. I kind of lost my shit and began to cry. I screeched that I am in pain every single day. I’m miserable every single day. I’m working my ass off at school and home every single day.
I’m acutely aware of how unpleasant it is to be around me! I’m me! I’m miserable and feel horrible. I have raging pain most days and dull, residual pain every single day. I knew the meds weren’t working and I knew I was suffering from the side effects. I saw the neurologist and she changed my meds. I have to wean off one but can start the new one in the process. The meds for acute pain wasn’t helping so that was changed to one that we know works.
I don’t know if it’s psychosomatic, but the first morning after the new meds I woke up feeling better for the first time in weeks.

I can’t control any of this medical stuff and it has negatively impacted every aspect of my life for the past two months.
Would I like to create a “perfect” situation from this hot mess? Absolutely.
Would I find it dull? Absolutely not.
Can I change it? Nope.
Am I going to fret about it? I’m working my ass off to not.

I’m focusing on the benefits of these new meds. I’m focusing on healing my brain. I’m focusing on the time I have with my little three and four year olds. I’m focusing on the excitement surrounding our wedding. I’m surrounded by love.
And it really ‘could’ be the key to a happier existence.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

mad (libs) responses

On October 24th, when Robynbird and YBW _______________________________

                                                                                                                                      (verb)

down the aisle,   ________________________________________________________

                                                                                                              (your name)

______________________________ be there to ________________________________

                      (will/will not)                                                                                                       (verb)

them.  I am so ___________________________________ for Robynbird and YBW! I can’t

                                                              (adjective)

wait to see them __________________________________. I wish them many

                                                                              (verb)

years of ______________________________ and _____________________________.

               (noun)                                                                                                                          (noun)

This is a sample of our response card.
I’m asking each person to return a card whether attending or not. I’m going to create a book to display at the reception so everyone can read all the mad (libs) responses.
I’m so excited to see how creative our friends and family will be!
This is going to be great!

Categories: wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

a bit of pants peeing weirdness

Well, I did it!
I ordered my wedding dress today!
I’m torn between “pants peeing excited” and a bit of weirdness I can’t seem to shake.

The excitement makes sense. It’s the last big purchase I needed to make just for me. I’ve made initial payments to both the venue and photographer and split the first payment to the caterer with YBW. But those were for “the wedding”…well the photographer was mostly for me, but I know he’s going to thank me in the long run.
I’ve ordered dresses for the girls, and as you know, our shoes are already here. So apart from something to wear in my hair, which I think I’ve finally decided upon, my dress is the last “just for me” thing to buy.

The weird feeling is…I don’t know…just weird I guess. I clicked that button and felt like it’s done now. Ordered that dress and it’s a done deal.
Not in a bad way.
I guess it just feels weird.
I’m not sure how to explain it…I think it’s just that I didn’t try it on, I’m going on photos and reviews and emailed conversations. I’m taking a shopping leap of faith with one of the most important articles of clothing I’ll ever wear.
But the reviews are all positive. The emailed conversations have been quite successful. The moment I saw this dress I knew it was the one. I’d been looking for the longest time for exactly this dress. Etsy is truly an amazing place.

So I trust. (Not my strongest skill.)
I accept the weird. (This one I’m pretty good at.)
I (metaphorically) pee my pants in excitement.
I wait (impatiently) for my ivory lace fabulousness to arrive.

dress

Categories: me, wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

way to go, brain

I got good news from the neurologist yesterday. The swelling in my brain is no longer increasing!!
WOO HOO!
My brain is still swollen.
They’re still not quite sure why.
But it seems to be holding steady where it is.
I’m thankful for “just” swelling because it isn’t increased swelling.
Good work getting it together, brain. Keep up the good work.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

how very Robynbird

So we have to answer these questions and talk about them with the priest before she’ll marry us. (Y’all, she’s the funniest thing! She said, “I mean, I’m a girl in a collar! How cool is that?”)
Anyway…
It’s not quite “marriage counseling”…but it’s the way they do it in the Episcopal church. Which is cool with me because I’m taking it seriously and answering them with thought and from my heart.

For the most part.
I say this because the second question is as follows:

What personal strengths do you bring to a relationship?
I wrote:
I’m a BAMF!

Yes, I swear to you I did.
Now, I followed it up with more appropriate things that I can’t share with you, because YBW reads these words and we promised we wouldn’t talk about the questions or our answers until we shared them when we meet with A next week.
I do bring pretty spectacular personal strengths to my relationships that go beyond those four letters. But I liked that they were succinct.

Categories: me, wedding | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

storytelling part four (classroom fun)

Friday’s heat advisories kept us indoors so we made our own fun. I got down off my soapbox and let the kids do what they wanted. After expanding our construction zone to somehow encompass the entire back half of the classroom they cleaned up and came together ready the write a story.
I encouraged the worst possible story in the history of all stories and they did not disappoint.

(email title)
total global destruction

Well…sort of.

Miss Robynbird told us how proud she was that we were able to make a story without any bloodshed, so much so that today she challenged us to make the most horrifically terrible story possible! We’re talking fire, flood, famine. We’re talking dragons, dinosaurs, witches and sharks. We’re talking destruction of TOTAL GLOBAL PROPORTION!

During the planning process we shouted out things like:
witches potions
dinosaurs
dragons
sharks
villagers
fire

KR-J asked to begin the story, and it went a little something like this:
Once upon a time there was a scary dinosaur and there was a villager. And the villager found the dinosaur.
AO:
And then there was another dinosaur. A dragon came and he blow fire on the grass where the dinosaur was. A witch came from where the villager was. She said, “NO DRAGONS BREATHING FIRE!”
VS:
Another witch found a villager’s house and saw a cloak and put it on then she went to the dragon and the dragon ate her and she “spelled” out of the dragon and found her body again.
RC:
Then another dragon came and the villager…he saw crocodiles…they are by the water…he was trying to be careful by the bridge, but fell in the pond and the crocodile is gonna eat him. Then the villager got out and runned away from the crocodile.
ZB:
Then what happened, there was a shark, and he was bad and ate some people and there were other people and they went on a bridge and the bridge broke and they fell in the water then what happened, was the dinosaur got the people and stomped on them and they was squished.
JH:
More people ran into the forest and into their house and the dragons blowed their house. Then they run into the bridge and they fell into the water and the shark get ’em.
EY:
The dragon and shark…the dragon saw a knight guard…he tried to fight the dragon and he fired the knight guard and eat him.
Miss Robynbird turned to TK: Bring us home.
TK grinned:
Then there was a bridge that was broken and the shark at the broken pieces and a dragon breathed fire on more people and then stepped on them and they were dead. And then he ate them.

Total global destruction was a SUCCESS!

(Teacher’s Note: YBW asked me if any of the parents found this inappropriate. I laughed. These parents absolutely LOVE this stuff. They think these stories are wonderful. I am blessed to have parents with senses of humor. They are blessed to have teachers who encourage creativity and critical thought.)

Categories: education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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