Saturday, March 11, 2017

Missing Out

It has been a slow process but I have finally learned a life changing lesson.  
I will always be missing out on something.
Due to my husband's work schedule and his Masters Program, taking care of the kiddos and our house has mostly fallen onto my shoulders.  A few weeks ago he offered to take Kiddo 1 to the Children's Museum, but we had not been there before and I did not want to miss that experience with her. Everyday it feels like I have to choose between spending time with my family and getting school work done.  At the end of the day, I don't want to miss experiences and memories with my kids. So, I pile more things on my plate and I sacrifice sleep in an attempt to get everything done.  For months now, I was convinced that if I just figured out how to do this working mom thing better my life would be easier.  I just needed to figure out a better schedule or be more organized or not sleep as much.  Last night was a moment of clarity for me.
I will always be missing out on something.
Once again (for the third night this week), my husband had a school event, so entertaining the kiddos was all on me.  At times I feel jealous that he gets to be out of the house.  I know he has work, but sometimes I would love to have time to get work done and not feel rushed or be on a time limit. For me, time to get work done and not feel rushed is fleeting and I envy that he has so much more of it than I do.

Last night was honestly one of the best Friday nights I remember in a long time.  Pick up did not go as quickly as I would have liked so we scratched going to the library and headed straight home.  Kiddo 1 and I started our Friday Fun by making a blanket tent in the play room. We have made tents in living room and in her bedroom, but never in this location.  It was something new and fun and she was very excited about it. She loved clipping the clothes pins everywhere. We made homemade pizza for dinner and Kiddo 1 had a blast putting hand fulls of cheese on her pizza and spicies (pepperoni) on mine. After dinner we made popcorn and she insisted on putting the corn into the popper by the handful.  We played Disney Yahtzee and ate our popcorn inside the tent. I was impressed she lasted twenty minutes playing a board game.  We "played" with Kiddo 2, called Nanna, had ice cream for snack, watched Tube (YouTube) and went to bed without much of a fight.  Kiddos and I were all asleep by the time my husband got home.

I know there is nothing special about any of these activities, but they are wonderful memories that I have with my kids.  I have these memories and my husband misses out because he is at work.  Yes, there are times I would love to be in my classroom working or to go grocery shopping without wrangling 2 kids, but last night showed me that these moments are important. 
 I will always be missing out on something.
Sleep, time for myself, time for my family, time to get work done or time to clean.  Something will always be left undone.  It's up to me to pick which tasks get my energy.  There will always be something left on my list.  I will never be completely done.
I will always be missing out on something.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dreams

I recently finished the book 'The Magnolia Story' by Chip and JoAnna Gaines.  One things that the authors talk a lot about is how they would spend time dreaming.  They dreamed about what their life would look like, what their business would look like and what they wanted to do with their life.  They dreamed all the time.  In many ways it sounded like visualization and I know from listening to the work by Joshua Medcalf (T2BClutch) that this can be a powerful tool. Sometimes I just need a kick in the butt or a gentle reminder about a tool or idea.  Reading this book gave me that gentle reminder.  I also realized that I spend so much time trying to survive the day that I don't spend enough time dreaming about life.  I am trying to dream more. Trying to be intentional.  When I dream about my life it is split into three categories: Family/Friends, Professional and Personal. 

I dream about ...

Family/Friends

  • Being a happy person; smiling and full of positive energy.
  • Being filled with beneficial self talk.
  • Having strong relationships with my closest friends.
  • Having strong relationships with my family.
  • Being intentional with my words and actions.
  • Being a spiritual person and spending time in Bible Study and Prayer.
Professional
  • Having a positive impact on my students.
  • Leading by example.
  • Feeling organized.
  • Being happy and sharing the joy of music with the school/community.
Personal
  • Reading books.
  • Learning something new everyday and getting better.
  • Being Happy.
  • Finding peace in the balance between home and work and self.
I am a firm believer that we need to be intentional with our thoughts and words. Days go by fast and without being intentional, we risk loosing time and wondering where the days went.

When is the last time you dreamed about your classroom or life?


Thank You Kiddo 1!

I have been cranky lately. Little things are bothering me more and I have to admit I am not always the best company for my family. I feel stressed, overwhelmed and tired more than I ever remember. After talking to coworkers and friends,  I now know I am not alone. It took me a while to stop feeling like a failure (those feelings still come back some days). The guilt of not feeling good enough is a real struggle. I am slowly accepting the fact that these feelings are normal. Young kids make life wonderful but they also make things more challenging. Simply knowing that others struggle with the same challenges does not always make it easier.  I do like knowing that I am not alone. 
This morning Kiddo 1 asked me to workout. I am sleep deprived and did not feel like doing much more than laying on the couch. Kiddo 1 would not quit. Someday I will learn to appreciate this qualitiy. Finally I told her we would go on a walk. My husband decided to join us and we made it a family activity. She walked a bit, wanted me to carry her, went on my shoulders, had her daddy carry her and sat in the stroller with her sister. 

After walking for about 20 minutes she decided she wanted to run. I started the walk feeling cranky and I finished our 45 minute walk/run with a smile on my face and feeling better about things. Thank you Kiddo 1 for "making" me go on a walk. Thank you for reminding me of the joy of running. These moments with my kids are ones I will always remember and they fill my heart with joy. I am excited to have a new running partner and I am thankful that Kiddo 1 does her best to help me start kind, thankful, focused and in shape. 

What I Know for Sure

I started reading 'What I Know for Sure' by Oprah Winfrey and it made me start thinking about what I know.  I am in a phase of life where I am learning new things. As a new mom, I am trying to learn everything I can in order to help make my life and the life for my family better.  I am only a chapter into this book, but I am already thinking; 

What do I know for sure...
  • My faith is extremely important, but I do not make time for it like I should.
  • My family is the most important thing in my life.
  • Teaching is stressful, but I cannot imagine doing anything else.
  • My students give me energy and fill me with joy (most days).
  • Watching kids learn (my own and my students) is a wonderful experience and I feel honored to be a part of it.
  • The world is full of hate, but most people are filled with good.
  • Everyone deserves respect.
  • You are more than your job.
  • Life is hard.
  • Many people are just trying to survive the day (I find myself part of this group often).
  • Negatives usually feel worse than they are.
  • Treating people kindly goes a long way.
  • Reading is one of the best ways to spend my time.
  • Treasure moments.
What do you know for sure?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Gold Star (and My Love-Hate Relationship with Facebook)

This blog post idea has been in my brain for weeks now.  Part of me has been hesitant to put words on paper because I am afraid I will sound silly or pathetic. Motivational speaker Brendon Burchard says there are millions of people in this world and thousands of years of recorded history, so we should not think we are the first to experience something.  This seems logical and is probably true. No, I do not think I am the first person to feel unappreciated or overwhelmed. But, what if I sound like a pathetic looser? What if I just need to deal with it and get over it? What if I am being childish and petty? Or, what if I am being human and experiencing a normal emotion? I am not sure which one it is yet, I hope that writing helps me find clarity. 

Writing has always helped me clear my head. That is the main reason I started blogging in the first place.  It helps me reflect and clear my head. Knowing other people can read it (regardless if anyone does), forces me to put my ideas into coherent sentences that will not embarrass myself or get me in trouble.  I love writing in a journal too, but because it is a "safe" place to write, I can get a little negative.  Posting in a public space helps me keep my thoughts more balanced. 

I have been having issues with Facebook the past few months.  I go stretches where I delete it from my phone and stop checking it.  It wasn't until recently that I figured out why Facebook bothers me.  I knew if made me feel depressed and like I did not measure up, but I could not express why.  Seeing a video someone posted last week made me realize why I was having issues with Facebook. 

This is going to sound childish and pathetic, but Facebook bothers me because I want my gold star.  Last November, I read the book 'Happier at Home' by Gretchen Rubin and she talked about the struggle of wanting recognition. We show those around us appreciation and we praise them for their accomplishments and sometimes it is a struggle to not want that praise too.  I related to this struggle when I read it in the book and the last few months have made this struggle even clearer.  Lately, this is a big challenge for me! I am "just" a teacher; I am not working on my masters and I am "just" a mom. I have a few Facebook Friends who post about their work or lives and their posts fill up with comments praising them for how great they are or how hard they work. My first thoughts when I see these posts are usually 'So what! You did _____ but I did _____.'  

I realized that what it comes down to is me feeling unappreciated. I want to be told that I am great, doing amazing things and am a fantastic person that is loved by all (I tried to warn you that I was going to sound pathetic.) Being a teacher is hard. I am surrounded by people all day, but I rarely have a meaningful conversation with an adult. Being a mom is hard. I am constantly worried about keeping them fed, rested, clean, healthy and happy.  Being a spouse is hard.  It has been almost five years and I am still learning what it means to balance thinking about other's first while still taking care of myself.  Plus accepting the fact that another's life has a great influence on my own and I have little control over this influence is hard for my controlling self to accept.  Being a person in general is hard.  Our calendars are full and there are always things that need to be done.  

I do not think I am alone in my desire to feel appreciated.  I think it is a struggle for many if not all that shows itself in many ways.  I can offer no magic solution but I have learned that putting words to an emotion or experience often help me find a solution. That is my hope for this post. I hope it helps me find clarity and just maybe it can help someone else.  I may sound silly or pathetic, but I have a feeling that I am not alone. 

I don't know your individual story and I don't know what you have accomplished, but please know that you matter.  You are important! We may not hear it enough, but that does not make it any less true.  So whatever you have done today, here is your gold star!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Third Grade Concert 2017: Recorder Concert and A Night on Broadway

I used to be against concert themes but the longer I teach, the more I like them. My third graders have a concert by themselves so we have 30-40 minutes for a concert. We did our recorder unit in November and December and I have decided to do a refresher before our concert in April. This past year we purchased enough recorders for a class set so this year I am going to include recorder in our concert along with singing.

Recorder Concert and A Night on Broadway


Recorder
  1. Walk Like a Mummy (B)
  2. AAA (A)
  3. Baba Ooo Lala (BA)
  4. Glue Blues (G)
  5. Hot Cross Buns
  6. Perry the Sheep


A Night on Broadway

  1. Supercalifragilicious (Grade Three Book)
  2. Disney Medley
  3. For Good
  4. Put on a Happy Face (Find CD?)
  5. Fifty Nifty (Grade Five Book)
  6. Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Grade Four Book)
  7. Singing in the Rain (Grade Four Book)

Kindergarten Concert 2017: Harold and the Purple Crayon

Each year I have many ideas about new things I would like to try and programs/apps I would like to start using.  Sometimes I have to think about wanting to try a new thing for a few years before I finally do.  This year I finally started using SeeSaw.  I have had the app on my phone/iPad for at least three years, but never took the next step.  Right now it is by far my favorite app for sharing student work, but that is another post for another day.  The other idea I am finally doing after thinking about it for years is having a performance based on a book.  I have to say, I am very excited!

I have wanted to try this for a few years now, but I was hesitant to try something new (last year was my first year in a new district and I was never sure how to make the concert format at my old school work with a book) and I didn't really understand the process.  I am still not sure if I fully understand the process, but I think I have something that will work (hopefully).  In my current position; I teach K-3rd Grade Music. My first and second graders have a combined concert in December, my kindergartners have a concert by themselves in March and my third graders have a concert by themselves in April.  One thing I like about one grade level concerts is it allows us to perform more material because the time is not split between two grade levels.  

I have chosen the book 'Harold and the Purple Crayon.'  I read through books I have in my classroom and I could think of songs that would fit with the story line off the top of my head.  After some more searching, I was able to find more songs that I think fit and will work for the concert.  I found a website that has hundreds of read aloud books and they have Harold and the Purple Crayon. My plan as of right now is to use this website to read the story during the concert.

Harold and the Purple Crayon
Scarf Routine to Moonlight Sonata (still deciding on this one)
Put On Your Walking Shoes-After Page 7 (World of Music)
Apple Tree-After Page 11
Stinky Pirates-After Page 19 (Quaver)
Lunch Box-After Page 24 (Quaver)
Dinosaur Just Ate My Lunch-After Page 24 (Quaver)
Great Big House-After Page 29
Balloon Poem
Twinkle, Twinkle-After Page 58
Chippewa Lullaby-Before last page (Quaver)

I would love to hear about your experiences with basing a concert on a book.