Category Archives: working

Surreal Parenting

Standard

This is my workspace 30 minutes after my son gets out of school

Every once in a while, I will have one of those parenting moments that are hard to put into words. Those moments that you cannot believe you are here. I have had a few lately as we cross the path into medicine for my son.

My son was diagnosed with seizures at 3 1/2 and has been on meds ever since. We have always known we live in a world of EEGs and MRIs, but we thought that was the bulk of it. We knew he had a bit of a wild side, but many boys do and then he started school…we learned his wild is wilder than normal and it is affecting his learning

So now we are on new uncharted territory. Riding the rapids of ADHD medication and testing for learning disabilities for all the time that focus might have kept him from learning. Hard to be sitting here having these conversations of side effects and dosage but here we are. In the middle of the chaos, God spoke to me at a worship night.

“You were made to be his mom. You were created for this.” 

No one will advocate, fight, champion, and dig my heels in the dirt more than me. No one is more stubborn and will do all things possible to ensure he learns. God chose me to parent him…I was born to love this child. This may be new territory, but we will conquer it together.

5 Things I Learned from Lupus

Standard

I feel like I am a success story with Lupus. One big reason is that the good Lord gave me mild symptoms and for that I am grateful, but another big reason is I have learned to live with it and know my place with this autoimmune disease. So here are the top five things I have learned after being in tune with my autoimmune:

1. What you eat matters!

This took me a while to accept but it is true. Certain foods (mostly processed) will send me into achy overdrive. It does not mean that I cannot or do not eat those delicious cheese fries, Cheetos or fried anything…but it does mean I know I will pay the price and honestly it is not always worth it.

2.Have less fear if the liquid is clear.

I had read somewhere that the darker the liquid, the more things added to it. No clue if it is true, but I have found the clear liquids do not send my body fighting as much as the dark. Coke, beer, sweet tea (why, God, why?) get me achy and fatigued, but if I stay with Vodka, Sprite or of course water then I can usually keep the party going.

3. Say yes to the mattress!

Who would say no to a good nap?? I immediately get sick when I live a lifestyle of less than 8 hours of sleep. Now life is busy so this is not always possible, but our bodies are made to need rest and we need to choose to listen.

4.Say NO to stress!!

As a teacher, stress is inevitable. A quote I read says “Teachers make more minute by minute decisions than a surgeon.” I believe this…so stress will happen, but I can choose to avoid stress whenever possible and I do. One way is I stopped watching reality shows or any show that is fighting just to fight…trust me this was hard…but Real Housewives or Mobwives just had to go. FB drama had to go too…I refuse to click on the video with the fight or add comments to the political posts going nowhere. In my marriage, when things get heated…I go to the word and prayer instead. Life in general is lived more peacefully when you know God is in control and has a purpose for you. Now, I am not quite at the place where yoga is more calming than painful, but I am sure I will get there.

5. FINALLY..Exercise helps.

This is tricky because overdoing it wears me out. Also, when I have already worked all day the last thing I have energy to do is go to the gym, but it helps. I will admit that. Probably helps with the stress and mind part of things, too. But I used to refuse to work out and now I make time for it. In the beginning, it is exhausting, but as you build stamina it gets better. 

Now I am sure you are all reading and thinking duh! Even people without Lupus know eat right, get exercise, and rest will help the body…but here is the question: do you do it? Likely, a little but not all the way. I have learned I have to do it or I have no energy, run a fever and experience joint pain. No fun, right? So everything is a choice but my choice is made loud and clear with my body. I have learned to (finally) listen to my Lupus for a happier life!

Power of a Teacher

Standard

I never knew the value of a teacher until I put my son in a classroom. Up until this moment, there was no one human (beside his parents) influencing his life…now there is one person we call his teacher; it changed everything.

It started with her rules becoming our rules around the house. Like one day I said booty and he quickly chimed in “Ms. Monica says we do not say booty!” It later turned to the way she does things like pass out snacks or wash hands. I quickly learned Mrs. Monica is a powerful person and to get on the same page as her or be told I am doing it wrong.

Later it turned into more than that…more meaningful. When she picked up his early signs for seizures were starting again so we could call the doctor. When she could tell he was acting off and might have an ear infection. When we were worried about his development and she could honestly say what was normal or delayed or influenced by others. Her experience and input became very important and valued.

Finally, as he was in her class for over a year, she became like a second mom. I trusted her to call me if the symptoms got worse so I could come pick him up. She also would tell me good ideas for next birthday gifts based on things he enjoyed. Made me aware of good times and bad times with other kids since I would hear about it later anyway. Helped with the transition when he began to be over aggressive and allowed us time to correct it before labeling him the bad kid. When he fell she doctored it up and knew he loved band aids or helped me out when I forgot a blanket. She understood the vomiting was not sickness but a side effect of his meds so let him stay at school or the coughing was allergies and not a cold. She especially was a saint when he had diarrhea due to his meds and allergies and heroically changed him or kept him near the potty. Clearly going above and beyond, but did it anyway.

As a teacher myself, she understood that days off are hard so she helped out when she could or at least gave me time to get a lesson plan made and return. She gave patience, grace and mercy knowing that the teacher life gets complicated because you cannot just call in sick without creating a plan. I never expected this of her, but was grateful when she offered.

With all this talk about teacher this and that…it all changes when it is your kid and you really see their power and influence on your child. You want the best and I was fortunate to have that in Mrs. Monica. Today is his last day of Pre K. He will no longer go to this daycare as he starts Kinder with me in the fall. I am thankful he has had a great 2 years, but sad that it is over. It means he is growing up and moving on and the moving on means change which is hard for this mama. I will no longer have her as a partner in raising my child (and for those haters…teachers see the child awake more than the parent most days so yes they partner to raise them…the teacher should not do it all, though). 

So today I thank and salute the teacher that does way more than teach. I thank you for loving and praying and filling in the gaps that this working mom leaves. You are a gift from God and an answer to prayer. Your influence is endless and will be remembered for a lifetime as his first school teacher. Thank you!!

Uptown Update

Standard

Kinda hard for me to believe, but for 10 years my husband was a police officer. He loved his job until the city he worked for struck chaos. All of a sudden overtime, no days off, bad shifts, getting the run around and unappreciated became the norm. He saw the writing on the wall and got out when an opening came up. He did medical sales only to learn it was not his thing. Selling to the elderly was a challenge and he realized policing had not destroyed his heart after all. So he went back to his roots and first job out of high school and jumped back into the world of hotel sales. 

He got the unique chance to sell for a brand new hotel that was in the process of being built. I got the privilege to stay the night over the weekend and it was an eye opener. I always just enjoy hotels without thinking about how it got there, but hearing him talk about all the little details and why that was the best fit for that particular location was fascinating. The notepad on the nightstand, the brand of shampoo, the decor, the thread count of sheets, the lighting, the size of rug…every detail has to be considered. He hung the TV, put batteries in every remote, plugged in every alarm…this hotel has kind of become his baby and now it is about to open. The property is beautiful in a trendy spot walking distance from dog parks,restaurants, bars and fashionable shops. The rooftop bar has the best view of Dallas, dogs are welcome with pooch perks and their is filtered water stations on each floor..boutique hotel for sure and it is all Hilton! 

The best part of my stay was hearing his passion as he was eager to tell me all about it. I also got to meet his coworkers and people he spends all day around. He knows my love of skylines and got me a prime spot to just look at my city, watch the planes and read my books in a lounge chair. Love to hear the passion back in his voice when discussing his work and I get some pretty cool hotel perks. It will make the nights he will be gone checking on clients much more tolerable. 

God heard our prayers and blessed him with a purpose in his job and I am grateful to have seen him in his element. I write all this to encourage you that if you are in a job that does not fit we patient, pray and keep working hard. That year in medicine was challenging as he wanted to quit. We often questioned if leaving police was the right choice, but he kept working hard and being prayerful and went to work. In time, he got the answer to his prayer and it was a big blessing. We took a pay cut and it was scary, but we followed Old Diminion advice “chase after the dream not after the money” and it paid off.  Proud wife post as we look forward to the big opening.

Urban to Rural…year one done!

Standard

Last year, I made a big career move by switching from Mesquite ISD to Crandall ISD. Big move meaning less pay, less resources, went from 34 elementary schools in the district to 4, went from a support role with less stress to the classroom which meant more preparation…a lot of change! Now that the year is over I can say it was the right move, but I still miss Mesquite greatly; it was my home and still where I feel the most me.

But looking back here is a list of some of the biggest changes:

1. Resources- no printer in my room, a rough curriculum that was new, no chart paper readily available, one person was the go to for all the curriculum needs vs having department heads. All of this obviously due to size…this district is growing, but some of these perks are not needed yet.

2. Freedom- freedom to make your plans as you see fit, to try new ideas, to leave on time, to focus on teaching and not testing. Returning to the classroom could have only been done if I could reduce the stress and this district was the answer.

3. Respect-at my campus families still respect the profession. Behavior was awesome because parents would punish if not. Parent phone calls made a difference; the student behavior was to blame and not the teacher. The community valued the profession…lots of respect for this passion I pursue.

4. Pride- Mesquite has pride, but with so many schools that pride is spread out. So many great schools leads for lots of ways to shine which Mesquite often will, but this small town vibe sends all their students to one high school which leads to one big ball of CHS pride. I will love this in the future when I want to see former students and know where to find them.

5. Purpose- there is purpose at both but in Mesquite I knew mine daily. There you are more than a teacher..you are life. More is expected of you emotionally and spiritually. Your coworkers are your soldiers fighting the urban education battle of poverty with you. I was emotionally fatigued daily but I was needed, changing lives and doing the impossible daily. 

6. Connection..this will be the last reflection, but the smaller district gets you connected quicker.  We meet as a whole district to cheer each other on, parades and pep rallies are attended by the town, Friday night lights is a thing, the admin knows you by name and make sure to address your concerns…the lack of Title One money means there is not as much stuff, but the relationship of knowing who you are is powerful.

The purpose one often has me question if I will return to Mesquite or at least a campus in this district that is more needy..maybe even middle school someday, but for now I am trying to remember I did my 14 years in the trenches and it is now time to see a different side. Still tough, still needed, still so much work but with some benefits so I do not get burnt out. 

I am especially excited because my son comes to school with me next year!

Hard to believe this baby is now five!

If you are thinking about switching districts, my advice is think about the location, money and then your health. Decide what you can balance.  I am fortunate we could take the pay cut. The new location limits us since my family and our activities are in Mesquite plus Crandall is limited on food and shopping. We drive a lot, but at least not in the morning like I used to do for two years commuting to work. Being in the classroom is long hours, but adding driving time means you are away from home even more.  For me, it came down to health. Even when I was crying because I missed my support system and school where I was known and loved…I knew I was healthier because I was less stressed and had help when I needed it. Lupus is a disease triggered by stress and I need the less stress possible. Being in the classroom filled my passion, but it also brought back work only a classroom teacher could know. 

Health won.

I encourage you to pray to God about where he can use you and then obey. When it is all happening then you will have peace if you are in his will. Even during the tough times then you will know God led you here and He is with you. 

Adding Blue Apron to my Life

Standard

Cooking is my weakness. I am not one of those people that enjoys it…to me, it is work. I grew up in a home where we ate out 5 nights and cooked for two. I could so still do that as an adult. In fact, it is a joke that whenever my husband works late then we know food is being brought in so I am never mad about it. However, my husband’s childhood included home cooked meals 7 nights a week. He feels fat eating out more than twice in a week…it has been a issue (obviously).

We have tried a lot of compromises and all seem to start and fail. My cooking is at my best during the school year because it is part of our routine. The challenge is I cook the same things over and over. Simple meals that take no time to prepare…did I mention I do not like pasta? Yep, makes it harder. I have bought every cookbook under the sun and even paid to get recipes from websites. I have tried to spice it up, but once you have the recipe…you need the groceries. I start out strong then quit.

My perfect world would include a chef! In fact, if I have to remarry, then I am standing outside a cooking school and will grow to love the man. I should have made this part of my list.

So this week my husband agreed to let me purchase Blue Apron and see if that is our missing piece. We will get three meals with recipes and all the groceries included. A bonus is we even get to pick the dishes so we get what we like. I still have to cook it (we tried a gluten free meal delivery and that tanked also), but everything is here so no shopping. Our goal is to eat at home, eat healthier and save money on groceries because now I just shop for what we need rather than buy a bunch of food to someday or never to cook. 

My first attempt was Tuesday. Could not tell you what I made, but it had chicken. The recipe was easy, took about 45 minutes total, tasted good, fed my husband and I  (the child still eats his usual nuggets or turkey) and was quite simple to clean up. 

It is only one meal, but it is a start and I am hopeful it will help my husband to feel healthy and me to feel homemakerish. Stay tuned!

The Good, The Bad, and the Are you Serious? of being married to a police officer

Standard

After reflecting on these nine years of my husband working as an officer, I can sincerely say this list pretty much sums it up for me:

The Good:

1.They look hot in uniform.  They just do. But that uniform also makes them very hot (literally) and sweaty.

2.They (or at least mine) stays in shape.

3. I always feel safe..like he can kick anyone’s butt at anytime.  It is sexy sleeping next to a trained shooter with combat skills.

4.The only other women he is around at work are female officers and prostitutes so not a whole lot of jealousy.

5.They actually get a lot of time off and paid for their overtime (this is a teacher talking).

 

The Bad:

  1. They work holidays, birthdays, game days and pretty much every other important day that matters to you.  Forget plans and calendars.
  2. They leave your house with a gun and bullet proof vest. (The gun goes everywhere including and especially to church.)
  3. Their work gear and uniform seems to be everywhere and takes forever to put on correctly-I have seen guns and socks on the same kitchen counter (before kids). Another wife mentioned how loud Velcro can be (ha!!) and I would like to add how tricky those button covers are as well…little pieces just everywhere and always needing to be washed or dry cleaned.
  4. Deep nights means black out curtains and never being rested. Speaking of sleeping…night terrors are real.  I have to be careful not to wake him suddenly because he could be dreaming of being attacked and someone is getting hit (I took night feedings).  I have heard some helpless cries in his sleep wondering what is going on in his head-I just held him tighter.
  5. The stuff they see, hear and live every day is beyond me.

The Are you Serious?

  1. A good day at work involves a shooting or gruesome accident..a bad day is no calls and nothing happened…really????
  2. Due to today’s climate, I can’t post pics of him in uniform on FB, his social media name is concealed and changed and he pretty much does not want to be identified as an officer.  He gets legit death threats on his life and the life of his family all because he does his job. Also, the current divorce rate of an officer is around 72% last I checked…does not surprise me–their job is not easy.
  3. When someone special comes into town like the president, that means a 12-16 hour workday without notice.  This is also true of any major sporting event in our city. I know some may say 20 hour workdays are the norm for my husband..but in all that gear and hot uniform?
  4. His shift, station and duties can change at any time with or without notice and you just go with the flow.  He literally comes home some days and says “for the next two months… I will be working at this this time etc.”  You just get used to rearranging your schedule and going with the flow.
  5. He has to constantly live in fear of getting in trouble.  If he is at the wrong place at the wrong time, it will be plastered all over the Internet.  We always have a DD (that is smart anyway) and we choose our friends wisely.  If you make a mistake, get ready to read about it because the consequences are on you and everyone will know.

I am sure this list will grow and change as the years go on, but any officer wife or husband to be fair can relate to this!  We love our officers, but life with them ain’t easy–but so worth it!

 

The good news is: Officer wives are not weenies!2013-03-06 18.45.30