My momma’s heart.

In the words of my friend Hilary, “My mama’s heart is so thankful!”

Hilary and I have been friends since the summer before they moved her to teach 7th grade science.  We went on an IB training trip to Princeton, NJ, along with a few other teachers from my school, and I was immediately struck by her gift to create amazing lessons.  I think she had two lessons completely planned by the end of our first day!  By the end of the trip we were laughing, joking and I hoped we would be friends for-ev-er.  We even celebrated my 29th birthday (I think?!) in the airport.  Gotta love delayed flights and spending at least an hour on the tarmac waiting for clearance!

Since that summer we’ve celebrated lots of things together – birthdays, anniversaries, last days of school, hours chatting in our classrooms, races, trips, baby showers, babies, trips to the farmer’s market and splash park.  We’ve watched each other change and grow, but the part of our friendship that I absolutely adore is watching our daughters together.

Piper and Harper

Today Hilary and I took our girls to the Zoo.  You already know how I feel about being outside so when we made plans to go to the Zoo while we were on spring break I was beyond excited.  As any momma knows, play dates are important time for teaching our kids how to interact with one another  catching up with friends and knowing that you aren’t alone or crazy in this journey called parenthood.  Parenting is by far the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life.  I never knew that such a little person could bring out so much emotion in me, truly.

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This is how most of the day was spent.  Harper didn’t want to ride in her stroller, she wanted to push Piper**.  Of course you can’t have a nearly two and a half year old pushing a nearly three year old, so Hilary just rolled with it and guided them along.  With grace and without judgement, she treated Harper like her own.  Today it didn’t feel like it was “my kid and your kid”.  Today we were the village for each other.  Today it didn’t matter who had what for lunch, we shared everything.  You want cheese and crackers?  Sure thing!  You’d like some grapes?  No problem!  Piper wants to ride in my stroller?  Sure!  Hop in!

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Today my momma’s heart is thankful for wonderful friends and a village that keeps me sane.  Or at least as sane as I can be until “the witching hour” between dinner time and bed time.  Hilary, I think I may be calling you for some tips to make it through that one!

**Note:  When Harper wasn’t pushing Piper, they were ahead of us holding hands.  It was seriously the cutest thing that I’ve ever seen!  If they weren’t holding hands then Harper wanted me to carry her.  Praise God for CrossFit!

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Outside.

There is just something about playing outside that sets me free.  I don’t know if it’s just the gentle sunshine or breeze on my face as I watch Harper play that somehow relaxes me or if it’s just as simple as being away from all of the things I feel like I should be doing when we are home.

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Maybe it’s a combination of both things.  Maybe it’s just living in the moment of being outside and all of the memories that follow me from my own childhood.  Playing outside until the street lights came on, going to Six Flags Atlantis in Ft. Lauderdale with our season passes, or going to the beach nearly every weekend with my mom.

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The older Harper gets the more I look forward to being outside with her.  Sharing some sweet moments together as she squeals with delight as I chase her, or “chase you!” as she says.  I love kicking off my shoes and just taking it all in.  I love when she asks me to “come play, momma!”

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These moments help me push past the temper tantrums that ensue on our way home or the crazy times of chasing down the naked child who doesn’t want to get into the bath tub.  These moments help me push past the whiny child who isn’t satisfied with dinner and would rather eat veggie chips and apple sauce.  These moments are what I’m going to remember when my little girl won’t want to play outside with me any more.

These moments are precious, as perfect as any moment in time can be.  I’ll have to remember to never pass up a time to go outside, take a breath and be free.

What do you think about playing outside?  Is there a special place that helps you be free?

What have you carried?

The last two days I’ve been really upset over an email that a parent sent me in response to their kid missing two assignments in my class.  All late work, per school policy, was due on Friday but there was an email sitting in my inbox, waiting to be read bright and early Monday morning.  Clearly if I’m upset you know that it wasn’t a positive email.  

I drafted three emails before deciding I needed to step away from my computer, take a breath and wait a little while before responding.  I stewed about this email all day and into the evening when I finally talked to Carl about it and had made some kind of peace with it, trying not to take it so personally.

Then this morning it was there.  Another email.  Sent to clarify something from the response I finally did send yesterday.  Again I started to draft another email, sending a response and this time telling the parent how the email made me feel.  Tears started rolling down my face.  In homeroom.  With three students watching it happen.  I went to the bathroom to compose myself and returned a few minutes later with bloodshot eyes, tear stains on my shirt, and a smile on my face.  An email from an angry parent shouldn’t define me.  I have bright minds to inspire and teach.  I make a difference!  I have to hold it together and make sure my students are ready for their exam!  The three students looked at me sympathetically, but didn’t mention a word of it to me or the other students who had entered the room.  I was very grateful for that.

I’d like to say that I was able to get some clarity after talking to the student today but honestly, the response that I received made me even more upset than I had been about the emails.  Nice.  

I know that all of these feelings of hurt come from a place of perfectionism and being a people pleaser.  I know that these feelings of hurt come from someone saying something that made me feel like I wasn’t doing the best that I can as an educator.  I know that these feelings of hurt are my own and how I react is in my control.

I just hope there isn’t another email waiting for me in my inbox tomorrow morning.

Normally I wouldn’t write something like this on my blog, but this post is in response to the following prompt: “What’s been on your mind? What have you carried and gnawed over?” (From Old Friend from Far Away, page 154.) that I saw on Freckled Italian’s blog this afternoon.  I just couldn’t keep this in today.

Made my Monday

There are lots of reasons for Monday to not be my favorite day today, like staying up way to late last night because of Daylight Savings Time, instead I decided to find some joy in it and share with you some of the things that Made my Monday!

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1. An empty turn in bin!  This means that all of my grading is up to date and will stay that way because all of the late work for the quarter was due last Friday!

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2. Catching up my CrossFit log.  I really need to get better at writing my daily workouts in here but today I caught up the last two weeks.  I’m so excited to see my progress through the CrossFit Open as I’m really pushing myself do try weights and workouts that I wouldn’t normally do in a regular WOD at the gym.  Look for a whole CrossFit post coming soon!

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3. These ballet flats from Target.  I was in desperate need of some new brown shoes and I found these beauties at Target last week.  They are so comfortable and at $19.99 the price was great, too!

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4. Do you see that?  Those three white squares are the only things keeping me from SPRING BREAK 2014!  That’s right!  I only have three more workdays before I get an entire week off!  Yes!

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5.  This little girl!  She loves to check the mail with me.  Or more like she loves to go on walks and sort our junk mail into these bigger compartments before throwing them away.  Her sweet face just makes my day.

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6.  Moments of peace and quiet all to myself!  This is a horrible selfie but I was so excited to take a few minutes of alone time while Carl gave Harper a bath.  I used this time to check FB, IG and my email.  For lent I gave up using my phone/computer/internet after 8pm in an effort to be more present where life is happening, as opposed to reading about what others are doing, which I also love!

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7. My ranking for the CrossFit Open after scores for 14.2 were submitted.  I know I’m in the bottom 5% of people competing, but the fact that I’m doing the Open at all is a huge win in my book.  The support and encouragement from the people in my box has been simply awesome!  I’ve grown so much these last two weeks, mentally, physically and emotionally and it’s all because I decided to challenge myself and see what would happen.

What has made your day today?  What are you looking forward to?

Time change donuts and other ramblings

Today was one of those perfect days.  Not because everything was actually perfect because, trust me, there were temper tantrums, raised voices and running errands when we all just wanted to be doing something else.  I like to think of today as perfectly imperfect.  Today was perfectly imperfect because even in those imperfect moments, I was with two of my favorite people in the world. 

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My favorite part of today was when we went to Dunkin Donuts to celebrate Daylight Savings.  Lose an hour of your life that you’ll never get back?  Celebrate with a donut!  

I realize it’s not the healthiest of traditions, but last fall when we were coming back from the park and passed the DD that is by our house our car was just drawn there and since it was time to gain and hour and celebrate I figured a donut was the way to do it.  Now there is something to look forward to those two weird weekends out of the year.

So maybe it wasn’t the actual trip to DD that I liked, but watching Harper just delight in the simplicity of a donut.  Girlfriend had her entire face covered with chocolate frosting and “pinckles!”  She knows how to eat a dount, lol!

After DD we went to the park to let her burn off some energy.  She loves to play in the sand volleyball court.  I don’t think we have a player on our hands as she’d rather run around in the sand or lay in it and make sand angles.  I love to watch her play – complete delight on her face as she runs around, free as anything, not a care in the world.

Today she came over to me while I was sitting on the grass with Carl and said, “Mommy!  Play with me!” and pulled at my shoes.  I’m not always the best player but something about being at the park just makes me take a deep breath and just let go.  Harper helped me take off my shoes and socks and off we went to feel the cool sand between our toes, make little sand mounds, and take turns burying each other’s feet.  

Eventually she grew tired of playing with me and went off to try to play with the older boys who were also in the sand.  I love that she just went right up to them and said, “Play?”  Of course they didn’t pay much attention to her and kept playing their own game, but I love her willingness to open up to others.  If she wants to play, she’s going to play with whoever is there no matter how old they are.  She stood there and watched these older boys play for a little while before walking over to a younger little girl.  Carl and I were on the other end so we couldn’t hear exactly what Harper was saying to her, but the mother there said Harper was asking if the little girl wanted to run and play with her.  She was a little too small for running and playing, but it just warmed my heart to see Harper try to include her in the fun.  

I hope Harper always keeps that love for others alive in her heart.