Week Three: Things I Am Good At

This one is difficult! I think about the things that make up the most significant portion of my life, and I struggle to find things I am good at without following with “but” or “even though.”   I am good at making bread even though I am terrible at baking. I struggled to create this list, but I managed to build it.

  1. Being organized. I am ridiculously organized. I can elaborate, but that would make for boring writing. Trust me, I am fabulous at organizing.
  2. Planning and time management. I am a self-proclaimed “pre-crastinator.” I get things done, and I get them done as soon as possible. My entire school year is planned before well before the first day of school, sometimes before the last day of the previous school year. My clothes are planned for the week. Knowing where things are going is one of the easiest ways for me to control my anxiety.

    New Planner Day is one of my favorites!
  3. Setting goals. I often tell Liam that he is not allowed to merely complain. If he doesn’t like something, he needs to either do something about it or accept it. At this point, he finishes complaints by saying he will practice. “I’m not as good at drawing circles as my other friends… I know, I know, I need to practice.” If there is something I want to be able to do, I try to create a plan to make it happen.
  4. Teaching. Teaching is the career I chose at the age of twelve when Mr. Eccelston cemented my love of reading and writing. It was then I decided I wanted to do exactly what he does. I consider myself fortunate that I knew at a young age what I wanted to do with my life. While the road to teaching was a long and winding one, I am thankful life took me down the path it did. After fourteen years, teaching is still something I enjoy. I feel I truly make a difference.                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Liam was younger, he had all the self-confidence in the world. As he gets older, he is beginning to doubt himself, which is sad to watch. I asked him what he thinks he is good at and he, too, struggled to think of real, noteworthy items to put on his list.

  1. Hanging and pull-ups. He just learned to do pull-ups and is very proud of himself, doing them from the swingset and the pull-up bar in our house as often as possible.
  2. Reading. Liam loves to read! He will read just about anything he can get his hands on: magazines, fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels. Right now, he’s devouring the Dog Man and Minecraft series. I love that he loves to read and I love his confidence regarding his ability to do so.
  3.      
  4. Playing outside instead of sitting in front of the TV. I was surprised to head Liam state this one because, like most kids, the struggle to balance screen time is real. Once he said it, I noticed that I can’t remember the last time he even turned on his tablet. He’s been reading his books. He and I had a Saturday morning date. After our classes at Laid-Back Fitness, we went to a new coffee shop then headed to the used bookstore. Liam loves roaming the isles and looking at all of the books. Because we came home with a shopping bag full of books, he has been focused on those over Minecraft and other games on his tablet. The weather has been so beautiful this week that we have been spending a lot of time outside. I’m thankful that he is conscious of his good decisions.

List 2: Routines

Week two asks to list routines in personal life and work. This is totally my jam! Most of my life revolves around routine and organization. It is comforting and helps maintain order in all of our lives.  In random order, here is a list of some of my routines:

Meal planning on Sundays, even if only for lunches. Knowing we do not need to scramble each afternoon or evening makes weekdays less hectic. I simply refill Liam’s lunch box when he gets home from school and put it back in the fridge until the following morning. This week, we made chicken breasts, rice, salad, and whole wheat pasta to mix and match into different meals this week. I made buffalo chicken pasta salad to eat each during lunch.

Setting out mine and Liam’s clothes the night before. Again, knowing that Liam’s clothes are clean and ready to go and I have all the parts of an outfit together makes the mornings easier. Since Liam wears uniforms, his outfit planning is pretty easy. I look at the weather report on Sunday and decide which days to wear skirts versus pants and which days I can run after school.

Ordering Liam’s lunches a month at a time and noting his hot lunch days on the calendar. This makes life so much easier!  I am thankful that Liam’s school allows this service.

Mornings with Banjo. Even Banjo has this down to a science! He knows who takes him out when and whether he is out there for “business” or play. He knows that if he goes out to the backyard, we are going to play with him. If we take him out front, he is to make a deposit and go back in the house.

Mornings in general. I keep a mental list of what time I should be at each step of in my morning. I won’t bore you with the breakdown, but trust me, it’s good.

After school. Come home, play with Banjo, homework, chores, dinner, play.

 

 

 

 

When I asked Liam about his routines, he was too excited to explain his morning routine:

Wake up

Get dressed

Eat breakfast

Clean my plate

Walk Banjo

Play outside with Banjo

Bush our teeth

Give Banjo love

Go to school

I asked him to describe some of his routines a few days ago and let it simmer. This morning, while sitting a the swingset playing with Banjo, he randomly told me, “I have a lot of routines at school, too. Do you want me to tell them to you?” He proceeded to explain his entire day. Liam has always thrived on routine. Even a good surprise, if it changes what he expects is going to happen, makes him uncomfortable. I am beyond thankful for Liam’s teacher, who creates many routines and is very much cultivating the organization skills that will make him successful throughout his academic career.

52 Lists for Happiness

I stumbled across a blog mentioning the book 52 Lists for Happiness. The writer is posting entries weekly on her blog. I liked the idea so much that I immediately ordered the book myself and decided to try to follow suit. The next year is bringing a lot of changes, so it seems like a perfect time to prioritize and search for happiness.  I’ve decided to use this exercise as an opportunity to get ideas from Liam as well.  We walk Banjo twice a day, allowing plenty of time for discussions.  These walks are some of my favorite times, even when Liam talks my ear off about Zelda or Minecraft. I’d love to ask Liam to create as many of these lists as possible and share them with him when he gets older.

Week one is pretty straightforward: List what is making you happy.

Mike and Liam: They’re both such great people! I am truly blessed.

Spring: Finally! We will soon be complaining about the heat and humidity, but for now, let’s enjoy the warm weather, open windows, and longer days. This is the first week Liam and I didn’t have to bundle up during our morning walks. Last night, we ate dinner outside. It is such a welcome change!

My friends: Without them, I would never have signed up for a half-marathon, nevermind been excited about it! My friends keep me laughing and trying to be a better person! What more could one ask for?

Fitness Challenges: Last weekend was the half-marathon. I’m also participating in a challenge through Laid-Back Fitness. I’m interested to see how my body changes when I focus on strength over cardio.

And from Liam:

Banjo

Going for walks with Banjo

Playing with Banjo (Do you see a theme?)

You and Dad

Harry Potter

Making my First Communion

I love the idea of focusing on the positive things in our lives. While the next few months will bring a lot of changes, there are a lot of great things going on in all of our lives. Perspective helps keep us all finding the positive things happening in our lives.

My New Mantra

Banjo is an excellent addition to the family. After four months, we know each other pretty well. In the beginning, he kept jumping at the door, only to want to do nothing except play when he got outside. He has learned to whine at the door when he needs to go potty. After playing outside, he runs to the door when called, drops his favorite ball, and runs inside for an animal cracker. He’s improving on his walks, although we did have to buy him a harness. Now that he is better on the leash, we are continuing our afterschool runs, stopping on the way to pick up Liam to walk home together.

A few months ago, I was in the kitchen with Mike, explaining that Banjo was “kind of a d**k” on the leash.” The following morning, Liam reminded Banjo  “don’t be a d**k” during our walk.

“Liam, that’s an adult word. You can’t say it.”

“I’m sorry, Mama. I didn’t know that. It won’t happen again.”

“Thank you, Buddy. I know you didn’t know.”

“You know, Mama, I know you’re an adult, but you don’t need to say so many adult words.”

Yup. That happened. I talk to my students about a “time and a place” for certain language when they say something inappropriate at school, explaining that my husband works in a shipyard and swears quite a bit at work yet still manages to watch his mouth in front of our son. Yet I was being reminded by my eight-year-old that I had been swearing too often, even if I think he is out of earshot, which can prove difficult in a 900 square foot house.

Mike found this interaction hilarious. “Don’t be a d**k” has taken on a life of its own between Mike and I. However, it’s been sticking in my mind at other times. During our Friday “day of errand errors,” the girl in front of me was blocking the entire condiment area. I stood there for a minute, slightly annoyed that our food was getting cold. I remembered our mantra and changed my demeanor. When the girl turned around, it was someone who attended the last high school where I taught. As we caught up for a few minutes, I was so thankful that I hadn’t begun tapping my feet or sighing. It was good to see her! A nice reminder that teachers make a difference long after students leave out classes.

At the store and it’s busier than usual? Don’t be a d**k.

Kid wants to talk to you about Pokemon while you would rather talk about anything else? Don’t be a d**k.

Traffic? Don’t be a d**k.

It’s been a few weeks since we started this voyage. I have to admit that it has definitely made me calmer.  I should also admit that, while I told Liam I would watch my use of “adult words,” I have only really been watching my use when he is within earshot. In my car, texting, or after he is asleep? All bets are off! Time and a place, right?

Liam asked if I would teach him to play tennis. I am not at all a tennis player, knowing enough to explain the basics of playing on a court and scoring, but it is never something I would express interest in doing on my own. However, because Liam wanted to learn, we bought two rackets and a bag of tennis balls on our last Target run. We experienced several failed attempts at home, the first because Banjo wanted to catch the balls and is much faster than us and the second when we tried playing in the street and spend more time chasing missed balls that managed to travel four houses up the street.

After driving to South County to drive this weekend’s half-marathon route, we stopped at a local high school tennis court to attempt to “play for real.” There were two other moms with their three kids riding bikes nearby. We went to the court. I let Liam practice serving, hitting the dozen balls across the court, heading to the other side, and repeating the process. One of the girls, who looked about Liam’s age, came and stood at the door of the opposite side of the tennis court. “I think she wants to play with you,” I told Liam.

“I wish we had an extra racket. We could let her play, but you and I are playing.”  I considered giving her my racket and letting her play, but Liam made it clear that he wanted me to teach him to serve. The window of time that Liam wants to play with me over his friends is closing; I’m going to take it while I can. Also, Liam learning new things is always tricky; he’s still learning the art of perseverance and isn’t always pleasant during these struggles. It is better not to invite anyone in to witness potential meltdowns.

The girl stooped down, took one of our balls, and walked away. Liam stopped and looked up at me, waiting to see my reaction because generating his own. “We have plenty,” I told him.

The girl’s mother watched the bit as well.  “Put that back.”

“They have a lot of them.”

“Put that back. Give them back their ball.”

She continued to play with the ball. The mother eventually giving up on getting her to return it, allowing her to take it with her. Liam continued to look to me to gauge appropriate reaction.  “We have plenty,” I repeated, “Let her have it.” He followed my lead without question.

Here’s the thing: it wasn’t at all about the tennis ball. The dozen tennis balls set me back $7.49, meaning the missing one cost sixty-two cents. This family was well-dressed and the children had nice bikes and helmets. Unless something recent happened, they could probably also give away a few tennis balls and not have it affect their quality of life. Through this girl stealing one of Liam’s tennis balls, I was able to teach him a few important lessons:

  1. Pick your battles.  Yes, what she did was wrong. But we didn’t need to turn it into a battle and ruin our afternoon.
  2. Do the right thing, even when others around you are not. Liam waited until we got into the car to talk about what happened. Even he noticed that her mother let her steal the ball. We had an honest talk about it.,”What will happen if she tries that at a store and gets into a lot of trouble? A parent’s job is to teach their kids right from wrong. It will catch up at some point.”
  3. You can be right without proving others wrong. This is such a huge lesson. You don’t always have to knock someone down to come out on top.
  4. Don’t be a d**k. This was worded to Liam as “Treat others as you want to be treated,” but they mean the same thing.

Liam’s Christmas Trip

This was the first year we struggled to decide what to get Liam for Christmas. Even he couldn’t think of anything he to tell Santa he wanted this year. Because we all had all of the “stuff” we needed, we decided to take Liam to New York City for a weekend. When Mike and I were down there last summer to see Hamilton, we purchased a small “I love NY” teddy bear to wrap up and give Liam.

When we gave him his gift on Christmas, the four months before the trip seemed like years. As life flies by, it arrived in a flash! We took the train, which was so much easier than trying to drive and equal in cost when factoring in the cost of parking a car for three days in the city. It was a comfortable, three-hour ride.

Liam was in awe as soon as we exited Penn Station and stepped foot in the city. He loved the buildings. Our first stop was McGee’s, the bar that inspired McClaren’s in How I Met Your Mother. It was the only place Mike specifically mentioned wanting to visit, so we made sure to get there as soon we arrived, which worked out perfectly because we were starving and they hadn’t become too busy.

As we walked to the restaurant, Liam was able to see Times Square for the first time. On Friday afternoon, it wasn’t too busy. After lunch, we walked by Rockefeller Center on our way towards the subway to check in at our hotel. After a small, panic-inducing mix-up at the first hotel, which was not the one we where we made a reservation, we arrived at the correct hotel and settled in for a little bit. There was nothing scarier than hearing they did not have a room for us. Because there are three Holiday Inns in a small area, they said it happens pretty frequently.

     

After our break, we headed towards Battery Park. I could not wait for Liam to ride the Seaglass Carousel. We walked around, making our way to the 9/11 Memorial.

9/11 is difficult to explain to a child. We told him about a little bit about it at the airport last year. He gets the gist of it but still has many questions. He was incredibly respectful as we walked through the memorial. We stopped for pizza, providing Liam his first New York pizza experience. Like the Seaglass Carousel, it lived up to the hype!

We continued walking along the water, stopping to look at boats and the Brooklyn Bridge. Finally, we admitted defeat and headed back to the hotel to crash.

The following morning, we woke up early so we could eat breakfast and head to our reservation to visit the Statue of Liberty and climb to the crown. Our timing was perfect! We got there before it was too busy, being only the third group to reach the crown that day. As I wrote yesterday, Liam was scared but managed to do it anyway. He was so glad he did! The views were amazing! We visited Ellis Island, but, again, a lot of the significance went over Liam’s head.

                    

After leaving Liberty Island, we raced to Times Square to make sure we were there in time to see The Lion King. Mike’s folks bought us the tickets for Christmas. It was such a great surprise! The subway system is much more efficient in New York than it is in Boston; we never waited more than a few minutes for a train, and they seemed to travel much faster. In Boston, we sometimes wait fifteen minutes for trains. The MTA is a nice improvement, which brought us to Times Square with a lot of time to explore!

Times Square on a Saturday was a beast! None of us enjoy crowds and were not overly excited to spend any more time there than we had to. Liam, who is eight, could not wait to eat at the huge McDonalds! While we rarely eat fast food, I was happy he was up for a quick, cheap meal. After lunch, we explored the M&M Store, which instantly made Mike and I queasy with claustrophobia. Liam was happy but eventually got tired of being pushed around.

We made our way to The Lion King, thankful for a chance to sit for a few hours. The show was amazing! It was as great as we hoped. I am eternally grateful for such a great gift!

Liam was such a good sport through our trekking through the city that we decided to make a stop just for him at the Nintendo Store. He was in heaven! Even though we told him we weren’t buying anything, we couldn’t resist buying him a T-shirt.

Done with the crowds, we head back towards our hotel in the financial district. We found a great old pub where we had dinner. By this point, we had been going for twelve hours, walking over ten miles. Liam was tired, but holding up. (Actually, we all felt that way.) Liam asked if we could walk back to the Seaglass Carousel and ride it at night. How often do we get here? When would we be here again? Knowing it was a gamble with an exhausted child, we took the risk.

 

Liam proved he was my child by saying, “The city is so much nicer when there aren’t any other people around!”

 

   

It was one of my favorite moments of the trip! At night, the Seaglass Carousel was even more beautiful! We reached the sweet part of the day where the crowds had gone home. We didn’t have to wait to ride the carousel again. We walked along the water, admiring the Statue of Liberty and the city skyline illuminated. It was a beautiful way to end the evening, bringing our total daily distance walked to twelve miles.

       

By Sunday, we were exhausted. We went downstairs to eat breakfast, then went back to our room until checkout, watching The Discovery Channel and lounging. When it was time to leave, we headed one last time down to Battery Park and wandered around. We discovered a cookie spot that offers warm cookie delivery until 3am! I am a suburban girl at heart, but knowing I could have warm cookies brought to me at all hours of the night might make me rethink my position about cities. We tried our best to explain Wall Street and the Stock Exchange to Liam. While he didn’t fully comprehend the significance, he was happy to see the bull. We stopped to visit Hamilton’s grave.

A childhood friend lives in New York. I was delighted we had the chance to catch up Sunday afternoon. She suggested meeting at Chelsea Market and walking the High Line. These were two events we never would have known about on our own.  Chelsea Market was interesting but crowded. Liam enjoyed some gelato while we waited. The High Line was beautiful! I am so glad that we explored it, giving us a chance to enjoy the city and catch up with Liz.

The weekend was better than I hoped! Liam was an absolute trooper! He walked and stayed with us and made all sorts of safe decisions, making it easier for Mike and me to relax a bit. We made a point of giving him time to be a kid, letting him chase pigeons in a park or burn some energy on a playground. While Liam is not exactly a traveler; he followed along with us great!

This weekend may begin a tradition of weekend trips in lieu Christmas gifts. Liam asked if we could do it again next year, choosing a different city to explore. When we began discussing Philadelphia as a possible destination, Liam asked us to stop talking because he wants it to be a surprise. I am thankful that we were able to travel together. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a great family tradition!

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated by the lovely Laketra Chick!

I love her writing style! She manages to be optimistic and positive while creating engaging, thought-provoking pieces. I have been moved to tears by some of her reflections and experiences.

In response to the nomination, I have to thank the blogger who nominated me and link their blog (check!), write a post and answer her 11 questions, nominate 11 other bloggers and let them know, write 11 new questions, and display the award on this post.

Here are her 11 questions…

1.) If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Time. I feel like I am always trying to get the most of every day and preparing for the future. In doing this, I feel like there are never enough hours in the day. I would love to have a few extra hours to get in more runs, read more chapters of Harry Potter with Liam,  throw the ball for Banjo, and maybe even just get caught up on my DVR, which always makes me feel guilty.

2.) Celebrity crush? John Green. He’s a nerd writer who looks very much like my husband, proving that I do, in fact, have a type.

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3.) If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza. I don’t even need to think about this one! I love all types of pizza: traditional pepperoni, breakfast pizza, fire cooked pizza. I could each pizza every day an never tire of it.

4.) If you had a time machine, would go back in time or into the future? I would not use it. I like where I am right now and would not want to mess with things.

5.) What would the title of your autobiography be? When I was younger, I lived in a town that was one town north of a town called Harmony.  North of Harmony always seemed like a great title for an autobiography.

6.) What is your biggest accomplishment thus far? The eight-year-old who is currently playing in the yard with his dog. He is inquisitive, smart, thoughtful, reflective, and kind. If I can keep him this way, I will have lived a successful life.

7.) If you can instantly become an expert in something, what would it be? When I was younger, I wanted to earn a degree in late 18th Century American Literature and write a dissertation comparing the Peanuts characters to Mark Twain’s protagonists. Now, I am happy being happy with my life. I would love to be an expert in being content with what you have.

8.) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Recently, I’ve been hearing “Run the mile you’re in” a lot. It carries over into other parts of my life. I get caught up worrying about the future and worrying about what ifs.

9.) As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was very young, I wanted to be an astronaut. This dream was shattered when I realized I was scared of flying. Since I was in seventh grade, I knew I wanted to be an English teacher. I’m thankful that I am able to live my dream.

10.) You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick? The only time I’ve even sung karaoke, I sang Superstar by the Carpenters.

11.) Are you a morning person or a night owl? When I was younger, I was a total night owl. Now, I am the exact opposite. I am in bed by 9:30 most nights, even on weekends, and rarely sleep past 7.

 

Why, yes, I was asleep at 9:19 last Saturday night!

 

Four Weeks and Go, Red Sox, and Feeling Like an Adult!

Four weeks from now, my car will have a 13.1 sticker on the back window! Is it sad that I am ridiculously happy about that?

This weekend, I went out with a group of fabulous Rhode Runner ladies for a long run on the East Bay Bike Path. It is one of my favorite places to run but because it is about a half an hour from my house, I rarely go there on my own. Sometimes, Liam, Mike, and I will venture over there, visit an amazing playground, order Subway sandwiches for a picnic lunch, and walk along the bike path. It is beautiful, and I have sworn that if I lived closer, I would be the sanest, fittest person around.

The following pictures are a few years old, but they illustrate the beauty of this bike path and playground:

        

As we met up that morning, I was unreasonably nervous. Yes, I had already run ten miles. Yes, I knew all of these ladies. We’ve pushed each other through self-doubt and celebrated so many victories. Honestly, my anxiety, which hasn’t shown up in a long time, decided to visit. Ten miles will take us well over two hours. That is a lot of time to chit-chat. What if I say something silly or inappropriate? What if my fear of silence kicks in and I talk too much? What if my fear of talking too much kicks in and I don’t say enough, causing everyone to think I don’t want to be there? I had a knot in my stomach as I drove there. Once we got going, I was fine. I am so thankful to this group of ladies who encourage me to do things I would never do on my own. We ran ten miles, laughing most of the way. This past year has been focused on stepping out of my comfort zone. Yet again, I am glad I did! I am so happy that I faced my fear and met up with them! I cannot wait for all of the hugs and tears that will flow freely as we cross the finish line of the half-marathon… in twenty-seven days!

My knee pain has plateaued. I am aware of it when I run and lift heavy weights, but it is manageable and not getting any worse. I’m glad I visited the doctor and know that it isn’t anything serious. I’ve been really good about icing it and stretching. As long as it doesn’t get any worse, I can manage the pain. Even though I followed doctor’s orders not to run for a few days, I still managed to have my busiest week ever in my five plus years of owning a FitBit!

Yesterday, we went up to Fenway. It was bitterly cold, and we went up there knowing that we probably would not stay the entire game. Liam has been attending games since he was a few months old, often enjoying the State Street Pavillion seats occasionally offered to us for free. Last year, when we sat in the grandstand during the tickets I bought Mike for his birthday, Liam complained that we had to go and get our own food instead of having it brought to us by a waitress. “You mean I have to get my own hot dogs?” he exasperated. Yesterday, he realized quickly that right field seats do not come with access to an indoor viewing area. Mike and I were well into our twenties before either of us had visited Fenway; I hope Liam someday realizes how fortunate he is to have so many experiences at a young age. Even though it was sunny, by the fourth inning, my toes were icicles. The game was moving at a snail’s pace, they were down four to one, and we decided to cut our losses and head home. Even though they came back in the seventh inning, we stand behind our decision. I love that we have a tradition. Even when they lose in thirty-degree temperatures, I’m never disappointed to head to Fenway.

  

While I would never want to live in the city, I do enjoy walking around Boston. After the game, we strolled Newberry Street and Copley, enjoying the excitement of next week’s Boston Marathon.

     

Can I tell you how much I love Amazon’s Subscribe and Save? Seriously, I have an unhealthy love for it. For the most part, the prices are cheaper than at Target or the local markets, and I never feel more secure and put together than when I realize that I will never again run out of granola bars, Nuun, or Lysol wipes. While it was weird to do the math to figure out how many poop bags Banjo uses in a month so we could order the correct amount, but Subscribe and Save makes me feel like I have my life together! Nothing makes me feel like a successful adult more than having a box containing contact lenses solution automatically mailed to my house each month.

Speaking of feeling like an adult, my texting and phone habits created the ultimate “You’re really an adult” realization this weekend. Saturday morning, the group texts began just before seven. A few years ago, I would have cursed whoever thought of texting me at that hour of the day. Now, the texts began while I was washing the pan I used to cook myself breakfast. This morning, my first text message came through before six. I was already up and getting ready.  I am amazed that I rarely sleep past 7 or stay up past 9:30, even on weekends. For years, I had read about the importance of maintaining a steady sleep schedule. I finally understand how much truth is in this sage advice!

Random Things Making Me Happy

Baseball is back!

We look like babies in this picture!

I love baseball! Loving the Red Sox was a non-negotiable while Mike and I began dating.  We can compromise in other areas, but the man I married needed to be a Sox fan. Baseball played a huge part in our dating. One of our first dates was to Fenway; we’ve been countless times since. Mike and I even had Red Sox undertones at our wedding. We took Liam to his first game when he was only a few months old. While he appreciates the excitement, fanfare, and $5 hotdogs more than the game itself, Liam enjoys visiting Fenway. Opening Day signifies that summer, with her long, warm days, is quickly approaching. We are attending our first game of the season this weekend. I am beyond excited to continue our Fenway traditions, even if we are supposed to get some snow that morning.

Assumptions are never a good idea!

Yes, Liam did line up the garbage cans

Through my years of teaching, I’ve learned to meet students where they are and help them fill any gaps in their learning. I’ve also learned not to make assumptions about what they know, as backgrounds and learning experiences vary. Wednesday afternoon, Liam, Banjo, and I walked home from school. As we walked into our house, I asked Liam to grab the trash bins from the curb and line them up by our house. He lined up the trash bins, just as I asked. I giggled, reminded the importance of explicit directions. As I finalize my last project of the year, I am reminded to not only be clear with my expectations but also to remember the importance of modeling and support each step of the way to help my students achieve.

Rainbow clouds!

While I was pregnant, Mike’s Aunt Char was very sick. She tried to hold on long enough to meet Liam but passed away when I was six months pregnant. After her funeral, I saw rainbow clouds for the first time. It seemed like a sign. Since then, I have only witnessed rainbow clouds a handful of times. Once was at Mackerel Cove while we were all playing on the beach. Once as I drove to Target to get Liam new pajamas the night before he had to have his ear tubes surgically removed (I was a nervous wreck), and once the other morning while driving to school.  I am a big believer in signs but cannot figure out why I saw rainbow clouds at that moment. I know about science and such, obviously, but I just like to think of such occurrences as signs.

I learned to make GIFs!

animated

Banjo manages to sit moving just his tail. It is the cutest thing to watch. I managed to get it on video and loved it so much that I downloaded a GIF-making app and made him a GIF.

The Mondayest Tuesday Ever

Monday can only be categorized as a comedy of errors. It started off great! I woke up before my snooze when off, Liam and I made great time getting ready and out of the house to walk Banjo. Banjo was well-behaved on his walk. During our walk, a second button fell off my coat. I managed to find the button and planned to take it to the tailors after school to have them put back on. It’s going to be warmer for the next few days so I can go without my heavy winter coat.

We have a great routine in the morning.  Liam takes Banjo outside and plays with him while I put lunches together and do the last few things around the house before we head to school. My plan to quickly put clothes in the dryer turned into a debacle. I couldn’t find the first lost button. They were major problems, but they were slowing me down and getting me frustrated.

Because it was warmer, I did not go outside and warm up my car. When it was time to walk out the door, I proudly remembered ice cream I had to bring with me that morning. Because I had been used to starting the car early, I was used to not grabbing keys on the way out. It wasn’t until I got to the car that I remembered the keys were on the hook inside the house.

We kept a spare key under a rock in one of our flower beds. Because Banjo has been running all over the yard, he knocked over the rock and dug up dirt in the garden. I could not find the key. I called Mike’s best friend, who lives one street over from us. He had already left for work. I continued to search, but finally gave in and called Mike, who immediately left work. I kept searching, eventually remembering we have a metal detector in the sunroom. It took about five minutes because the nails in the fence kept giving false readings, but I found the key after fifteen minutes of searching.

Through all of this, Liam was amazing! He kept me calm, even when I wanted to cry out of frustration.

After school, I called a local shoe repair about my boots.  I dropped them off five weeks ago to be resold with the promise that they would be ready four days later. It’s been over five weeks now and I’m getting ignored calls, unanswered messages, and when I stop in the shop, excuses. The owner has already cashed my check; I just really want my boots. I wish he had just admitted he didn’t have time to do them when I dropped them off to be repaired.

For months, I have tried to have at least some of my student loans forgiven. In February, I was told I was all set as long as the school department verified my position. Yesterday, I received a letter saying it was not going to happen.

So it was the Mondayest of Tuesdays. When Mike got home, I told him I was eating a mug cookie for dinner. No regrets. Well, none at the time.

Here’s the thing about Monday Tuesdays: they help you put things in perspective. As I played with Liam and Banjo outside, the warm sun assured us that spring is finally arriving. We went for a long walk with Banjo and enjoyed each other’s company. I went to yoga, laughed with my friends, and accomplished a more difficult than usual workout. I returned to snuggle on the couch with Mike and Banjo before climbing into my warm bed for the night. Yes, it was not a perfect day, but I am still a pretty lucky person.

Six Weeks to Go and Double Digit Runs

I need to start by bragging that this past week was a week filled with PRs!!!  During Monday’s strength class, I PRed my deadlift: 210×3! Yes, it was only by five pounds, but a PR is a PR! Tuesday, I ran with Banjo after school. His energy is contagious! We ran 2.11 miles in 23:52, coming in at an 11:20 pace. My second mile was 10:57, my fasted yet! I’d love to sometime run a ten-minute mile; this is a start!

Last week, I was able to get out for three short runs and one long training run. The plan called for a nine-mile run, but I was excited to break double digits and went for ten. Two miles in, I stopped to tie my shoe, pausing my FitBit but reminding myself that there will be no pause buttons during the actual race. I resumed my run, making good time. A few minutes later, I began to wonder why I hadn’t heard the “three miles” announcement from my FitBit interrupt my audiobook. Turns out I didn’t hit the “resume” button hard enough and ran a third of a mile paused. Even with my pause, I was determined to make it to ten miles. So my ten-mile run was really 10.3 miles. Mentally, this run was not as bad as last week’s run. I’m proud that I was able to reach the next goal.

That being said, my left knee started to hurt about mile seven. I’ve known of arthritis in that knee for five years now and use it as another reason to keep active. I had attended a morning yoga class as well as a conditioning class before the run; I knew I had warmed up plenty before the run.  I iced it twice yesterday and went to Rhode Runner to purchase a knee brace. I wore it around the house yesterday and on our walk with Banjo. The first run with it is tonight. Let’s hope it helps! My thought has always been to as much as I can to help before heading to the doctor.  If I do more stretching, icing, and Advil and it still bothers me, then I will head to see the doctor.

Also during mile seven, my sugar dropped. I’ve read a little bit about gels and, honestly, I feel like they are beyond where I am right now. I don’t drink caffeine so I am hesitant to try them. When Stop and Shop and Justin’s Almond Butter packets on sale a few weeks ago, I bought three to keep in my car in case I ever needed a quick boost. Something told me to grab one before heading out Saturday. Good thing I did; it saved me when I felt myself getting woozy! While taking little bits of it during my run, I felt like a “real runner!”

 

 

It doesn’t seem real that this half-marathon is only six weeks away. Since it is the day after Liam’s first communion, the next few weeks will fly by! I have another half scheduled for October so I know I have to keep up with training. I am really wondering what comes after this. I’ve spent so much time working towards this that I am wondering what life will be like the following weekend when I don’t “have” to go out and run for two hours on Saturday afternoon.

Thanks to training, I have been enjoying the benefits of having a lot more freedom in my diet. Last week, I ate a Providence Bagel Thursday morning and stopped at Knead Donuts yesterday (after buying the knee brace at Rhode Runner). I still managed to lose weight this week. I could imagine how toned I would be if I really was disciplined in my diet and continued to work out this much, but that just seems silly because I love food and have finally found a good balance instead of being “all or nothing” when it comes to dieting.) Yesterday, I had eggs and turkey sausage for breakfast, yogurt for lunch, and an old-fashioned sour cream donut for dinner.  It’s all about balance, and I am finally managing to do that.

This Saturday, I will complete another ten-mile run, this time with friends. I am actually looking forward to. Five weeks later, we will finish a half-marathon, many of us for the first time.  I am eternally grateful to the people who inspire me to become stronger, to push myself in ways I never considered possible!