Friday, February 12, 2016

Thank Goodness for My Village

Yesterday was one of those days where everything was held together by a thread. I had planned everything and packed everything and sent every reminder text I could think of. But...you know what they say about the best laid plans.

I had to teach, and the kids were going to get off the bus at a neighbors, where my babysitter would get them by 4 to take Issa to dance. Issa had her dance stuff in case she was running a couple of minutes late.

Then I got the call at 3:40: 40 was shut down because of an accident, and my sitter was not at all sure she would make it. First, I took a deep breath of gratitude that she thought to call early instead of waiting until 4:20 to say she wasn't going to make it.

Start the phone chain. I called Jennifer, dance mom one, who couldn't get there because she was having a weird day, too. But, she reminded me Robin, dance mom two, also goes right past my house. I got a hold of her, and she picked up Issa and got her to dance no problem.

My neighbor was more than happy to keep Evan a little longer. All was right with the world.

But at that moment, all I could think was thank goodness for my village. There was nothing I could do from 30 minutes away, but they rallied. And I will be forever grateful.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I'm a Better Mom at 5:30am

My alarm goes off at 5:30 every morning, and I'm pretty masterful at hitting that snooze. It's so early, and my bed is so warm.

However, this week I have committed to actually getting up, and I am such a better mom because of it. When I get up that early, I'm ready, including having my devotional time and first pass through my inbox, before the kids get up. I can be fully present for their first few waking minutes. I'm not feeling rushed to do my things, therefore, I don't rush them like a crazy person.

I can get breakfast on the table, lunches packed, and snacks in backpacks before the kids come downstairs. I can give Neela some attention, put away clean dishes, and do some laundry. I can sit down and drink my coffee while they eat instead of throwing it a travel mug. No rush.

This week, because we've had calm mornings that don't start behind the eight ball, I've been better able to juggle evenings. Coming home to a clean kitchen and an occasional dinner in the crockpot means I don't start the night rushed. It just sets the tone for our family.

It's hard to hear that alarm that early, but it's so worth it. I just want to capture this feeling so that I can remind myself on the crazy weeks when I'm exhausted that it really is worth it. If my prayer is to Unrush Me, which it is, then I have to make the time to be unrushed. And that's what I plan to do.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy 101st Day!

Celebrating the 100th day of school is for kindergartners. Big first graders celebrate the 101st day of school as all 101 things should be celebrated: as Dalmatians:
They made ears yesterday at school that will be added to this cuteness. He painted the shirt all by himself. The tongue was Issa's idea. The idea of being a puppy all day was more than Evan could stand, though. He came into my bathroom at 6:20...

"Mom, my alarm hasn't gone off and it's 6:21!"

"I know. It goes off at 6:30. You woke up on your own early."

"I'm just so excited it's Dalmatian day! If I get dressed super fast will you do my nose and tongue?"

"Of course, buddy."

And he did. I've never seen him move so fast in the morning. I sure so love my little puppy--although I hope all the barking is out of his system by the time he gets home. He was really freaking out Neela this morning.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dancer Date Night

Friday night, I got a little date night with my favorite dancer:
 We spend a ton of time together, but there is something very different about intentional time away from everything just the two of us. We enjoyed a leisurely Italian dinner, during which she chatted my ears off. There is a lot going on in the fourth grade, her heart, and her head, and she openly shared it all. I pray that this is always the case.

After dinner, we met up with some of my students to attend the ballet:
It was one of our cultural events, and I'm always grateful when an extra ticket shows up and Issa can tag along. She is getting to know more and more of the girls, and I love watching her interact with them. I also loved listening to her talk about the ballet on the way home. It was a series of original pieces centered around Shakespeare's sonnets. It was a great taste of Shakespeare in the ballet before we go see Midsummer Night's Dream this spring!

It was a great night, and I'm looking forward to our girls' weekend this Friday! We are headed to the first convention of the year, and we have big plans! How I love this girl and the person she is becoming.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Favorite Seminar

Last night was my very favorite seminar of the year. It's the seminar in which I invite last year's grads to come and talk with my current juniors.

These ladies left us last May as teachers, but they come back in February as teachers. They have lived their first semester, and they are confident, incredible teachers. I love their honesty, and I love hearing their stories. I especially love seeing how they have grown into themselves. You can see shadows of previous mentors, but they have really come into their own.

And then I look at my juniors, who are in the hardest year of their lives, and I see them smile. I see them breathe a little bit, and I hear them laugh. The graduates become their light and their confidence boost.

And then my freshmen come in at the end, all bright eyed and a little over-whelmed and lost, but for the first time I really see them see the future as a reality. As a flesh and blood possibility of what will come.

It's magic. And I would be lying if I said I didn't have to bite my lip a time or two. These students become my kids, and while I love to launch them out into the world, my heart bursts when I see them all together again and doing so very well. It's a wondrous thing.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Practice

So...Brad and I are nothing if not goal driven. You throw down a gauntlet, we will pick it up.

Brad had a terrible mattress on his last work trip, and his back was killing him in the hotel. He decided to try a little yoga, and it really did help. As it turns out, it was a 30 day yoga challenge. He came home, told me about it, and he graciously agreed to start over at day 1 with me. Gauntlet accepted.

Now, right after we tuck the kids in, he and I do our yoga practice together. It's lovely for a lot of reasons. We are on day 6, and I can certainly feel a difference. Some of it is stress and tension relief, and some of it is muscles reminding me they are there. I also love the commitment to the mat every evening. It's a nice end to the day. And doing it with him, well, I'll take any extra time I can get with my favorite man.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wonderland

I think I am officially recovered from my adventures in Wonderland--minus a few bruises on the back of my calves from the flower bed.

You see, every four years the faculty at Meredith produce Alice in Wonderland for our students. Last week, I spent the evenings rehearsing for my first appearance. I was a flower:
 Thankfully, I was part of a whole patch:
Our role was to provide commentary on the events on stage via signs and props. I called Alice a nerd as she was reciting poetry, and we ducked under umbrellas anytime the word dog was mentioned. You get the idea.

I also had way too much fun with my education colleagues back stage during our three performances last week:
After every show, we met with students, who were most amused to see us all in costume. It's probably the closest I'll ever come to feeling like a rock star.

It was great fun--exhausting--but great fun. Seeing colleagues from across campus in a whole new light and working at a campus that has this kind of tradition is a magical thing. As far as we know, we are the only campus in the country that has this kind of production, and we're very proud of this labor of love for our students...and we are also very glad we have four years to recover before we do this again.