Monday, August 24, 2020

Chaotic Month

There's been several times in the past month that I've wanted to blog. But I either lacked time or motivation to get it done. So this will be a hodge podge of stuff. There were a few times I wanted to get on my soapbox about stuff- defunding police, COVID politics, etc but I was convicted about sharing my thoughts publicly so only Rob got the honor of hearing them. Ha!

August has been a busy month. A week or two before school started we took the boys to ride dirtbikes and then stopped by a friend's house for a BBQ. That night E started complaining that he was tired and that his legs hurt. We chalked it up to riding his dirtbike. Monday, after playing with his friend all day, he started complaining that he was cold and that his muscles hurt. Out of nowhere he spiked a fever and we couldn't get it down. Tuesday I took him to his pediatrician and she was certain he has strep...until the test came back negative. We asked for him to be tested for COVID because of the fever and muscle aches. Tuesday was a rough day, full of tears (Both he and I cried several times). By Tuesday evening his fever broke and he was back to normal- eating, full of energy. By Thursday we hadn't received results but I was positive he didn't have COVID, mainly because Rob hadn't got sick and he always catches everything. Friday afternoon we got the call that he did test positive and that we all had to quarantine. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal but this was 3 days before I had to report for my teacher workdays. Talk about stressful!

That week was bittersweet. I hated that I missed the first day of school for the first time in my entire teaching career. But I loved that the boys got to go to theirs because they were done with quarantine. P got invited to have breakfast with some of his close friends before staring the first day of school. Then E wanted donuts to celebrate his first day. I took both boys to school then came home and cried. I literally watched the clock all day, wondering what my students were doing and counting down until the boys would be done with their school day. It was not fun.

Then I started teaching the next week and I have to say it's been a rollercoaster. I LOVE my group of students and I love teaching only ELA. But our district is doing a hybrid model and it's nuts. I can never remember which group is coming what day and what handouts have been given to what groups. Testing is all over the place because of grouping. It's a fast paced day, every day, trying to teach the kids in my physical presence while making sure the kids who are virtually learning understand the assignments. I come home exhausted every day, not because of the kids or any type of physical demands but because I'm mentally drained from trying to keep up with it all.

The weekends are fun, though. The boys are really into dirtbikes so E raced his first trail race a couple weeks ago and finished Top 10. Then last weekend Rob took the boys to watch a motorcross race, which the boys loved. This weekend both boys had friends spend the night. Then P spent the night at a friend's house the next night. Me? I've been working. I worked a few hours Saturday and then found out yesterday that school was cancelled today and tomorrow due to TS Marco. The thing fizzled out this morning and, other than a little wind and 10 minutes of rain, it's been a beautiful day. I'm sure tomorrow will be the same. Usually I'm thankful for storm days. But because of the craziness of this year, I don't like days off. I already have limited in-person time with my students so I don't want it wasted. I will be so thankful when the governor puts us at Phase 3 and all students can come back 5 days a week. 

This year has been crazy. But I'm thankful that I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. P is doing cross country and has his first scrimmage this week (If Hurricane Laura doesn't affect us. I have a bad feeling about that storm.). Both boys are having friends spend the night again. I am meeting up with friends when schedules allow and trying to get to Spin class when I can. I loved our much needed family time for a few months but I am also happy that life is getting back to a somewhat normal routine. All in all, it's been a good month, full of good times, and for that I'm thankful.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Camp Fun Memories

Growing up, some of my favorite Summer memories were of church camp. If memory serves me correctly, I went every Summer from the time I was in 2nd or 3rd grade through high school. So when we cancelled our trip to Cali this Summer due to dumb Rona, I asked P if he wanted to go to camp. Being in quarantine messed with him for awhile and he had become pretty anti-social until mid June. Needless to say, it didn't surprise me when he first said no. Then he asked if I would go as a counselor. I knew if I went he'd go and that's exactly what happened.
At my childhood church camp, I remember small group Bible studies. I remember outdoor chapel in the evenings with powerful worship songs and a dynamic speaker. I remember only having volleyball, an open field and a limited amount of pool time. I remember a snack shack that you would have to wait in line for what seemed like forever to get your sugar high. I remember a pay phone where homesick kids would anxiously wait for their turn to have a few minutes of talking to their parents before their change ran out. I remember racing to the bathroom to take a shower so you could be one to get hot water. I remember keeping the cabin doors closed during the day to keep the hot weather out and opening them at night to let a breeze through. I remember late night chat sessions with new friends. I remember camp crushes. I remember hot weather!
The hot weather hasn't changed a bit but everything has. Well, maybe the late night chats and camp crushes haven't changed from what I'm told but my sweet cabin girls were in bed early each night and didn't talk about cute boys. The cabin situation at P's camp was high class compared to mine.....air conditioning, showers IN the cabins and porches with rocking chairs so you could enjoy the view of the lake. Chapel was very different than what I experienced at church camp when I was growing up. There were silly songs, games and no guest speaker. The kids enjoyed it, though. What really got me was all the activities the kids got to choose from- canoeing, GaGa Ball, hiking, a Ninja Warrior course, a Survivor course, swimming, tetherball, basketball.... There was an endless amount of stuff to do. And the snack shack line was non-existent after the first night so P didn't have to waste his whole free time waiting for candy and soda instead of playing games. (His favorite, hands-down, was GaGa Ball!)
I am glad I was able to join him for his first camp experience. I am glad I got to meet new people from church. I am glad I got to see P form new friendships. I am glad I got to see him come out of his shell again. What a blessing the long weekend was at camp!
(I am going to be lazy and not take the time to proofread this so it is what it is. Sorry.)

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Rowdy Rebel

So, Rebel. The one that I described as chill and a non-chewer in the last blog? Yep, not the way I'd describe him anymore. In the past few days he has taken a chunk out of our bed frame....our brand new bed frame. He has eaten a strip of E's swim trunks. And he LOVES chewing on empty plastic water bottles. He has an adversity to chewing dog bones unless they're small and can be eaten within a few bites. And chill? Ha! He is only if he can see one of his people. If he can hear us but can't see us queue the howling and whining. After 9 days with us he still whines and howls when we put him in the laundry room at night. Last night we put him in one of the boys' rooms to see how that'd work. It worked great for me because I never heard him. But he kept our son up because he couldn't decide where he wanted to sleep.
This morning I wanted to "sleep in" (ie wake up at 6:15 but lay in bed and read until I had to get up). But, Rebel was up so I fed him and put him in the dog run. We've had a lot of rain this week and the dog run is grassy *insert muddy*. Rebel decided that he wanted to come back inside once he had eaten so he started digging under the fence. He was whining and howling so loud that I finally gave up on staying in bed. When I went to bring him in he was COVERED in mud. He's not supposed to take a bath for another week so I wiped him down the best I could.....and mopped again for the 5th time in 3 days.
One thing about Rebel is that he is SUPER smart! Like, probably the smartest dog I've ever had who hasn't had formal training. I have been working with him on walking on and off a leash. He has quickly learned that he needs to be on my right side and does this a lot without me reminding him. He had me laughing (and frustrated) yesterday because I forgot to bring the dog treats with us on our walk. Somehow he knew I didn't have them and he acted like he couldn't hear his commands. Little stinker! He did come back eventually after he got tired of sniffing the neighbor's yard.
Since we were told he had been thrown out of a car as a puppy, I am working on building his trust in vehicles. It's been super hot here the past couple days. But, if I am not leaving my car (dropping P off at a friends'. going through a drive-thru, etc) I put him in the back. The first time I put him back there, he jumped right back out 3 times. The second time I put him in there, he sat there with his tail between his legs, shaking. But by the third time he knew he was safe. He let me put him in there and sat obediently as I closed the back hatch.
Another big change is he's lost his cone of shame. It came off yesterday and what a difference that made! He isn't scraping up our legs with it and even Fetcha decided she likes Rebel now. They've played a bit and, knock on wood, she hasn't attacked him like she did Charlie when he was a puppy. Eventually I think they'll get along great.
I'm still nervous about him with other people because of how fast Charlie changed on us but so far he has yet to meet a stranger. He likes watching the boys play in the pool but is not high strung like Charlie was. We taught him how to "hug" by putting his front paws up on us. But we decided that probably wasn't a good trick right now because he could easily knock people off balance if they weren't ready for his hug. He has pretty much mastered the "sit" command and does well on walks. Other than yesterday, he comes when called. So, if he continues to be friendly with people and other dogs he'll be the perfect addition to our family. Fingers crossed that's the case....

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Life Update

The past 10 days or so have been exciting, fun filled and memorable! About 10 days ago we went to the coast for our only "big" vacation this year (to date). We stayed at a beautiful condo and enjoyed the beach. We even got to see dolphins! E loved that his best friend was staying at a condo a few miles down the road so we even spent an afternoon with him and his family. We didn't leave the condo area much but we did venture out to a famous milkshake shop for ginormous milkshakes and a dolphin tour. The boys loved doing both!
The day we got back from the beach we welcomed a new boy to our family- Rebel. He's a 7mos old Husky mix. For the first few months of his life, he roamed the woods. He was found, with his brothers and sisters, starving, before he was rescued. At times he's skittish as he learns to trust us, but he is beautiful and so mellow. It's nice not going through the usual puppy phase. Although he's 40lbs, he thinks he's a lap dog. He has to be by one of us or on our lap constantly. He whined the first couple nights at our house but now he's adjusted and does well throughout the night. To date, he has not had any accidents and only seems fascinated with bath mats. (Ha!)
Thursday night P had 2 school friends spend the night and Friday we celebrated his birthday. He and his friends swam, did fireworks and built Legos. We went to TopGolf and grabbed Mexican food for his birthday lunch. P kept thanking us for an amazing birthday and said it was one of his best ones yet. I felt bad that it wasn't a big party but he didn't mind. He was perfectly content with having a low-key birthday.
Although the 4th of July is my favorite holiday, we don't go out and do anything big for the 4th. Yesterday was no exception. We had some neighbors come over for a BBQ feast and then we let off some early fireworks. Rebel did pretty good all things considered. I can't say he liked the fireworks as much as the kids but he just went to our room until we were done. At bedtime, I turned a fan on for him and we only heard a few whimpers as he settled in.
As fun as the past several days have been, I am looking forward to the lazy, rainy days ahead. I have to start preparing for the new school year and teaching a new grade (5th grade ELA!!). So, I am using this week to do school stuff, clean the house and the usual weekly chores. So thankful for the mix- fun, exciting and mellow routine stuff. Like I've said many times before, we are blessed.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

12 Years and Counting

This past weekend, Rob and I celebrated our 12th anniversary. Since we don't usually do a lot of date nights, we go big on our anniversary. This year we opted to have a family weekend instead of an "us weekend". We did get to enjoy a dinner out, just the two of us, at Rob's favorite restaurant (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for paying for our meal!). It was so nice to get dressed up and just talk, take a walk down memory lane, and discuss how far we've come in our marriage.
We've come a LONG way! The first 7 years were pretty rough. We got into some monumental arguments. Sadly, I was ready to throw in the towel on more than one occasion and walk away from our marriage. But, then 5 years ago, we went to marriage counseling. While I don't feel we got a lot out of the counseling sessions per se, I think it both opened our eyes to some things. In the past 5 years we've learned to talk more and argue *way* less (in fact, I don't remember the last time we've gotten into a big argument). We put each other, and our family, first. We let the little things slide for the most part and focus on the positive things in our marriage. It's amazing how a little perspective and a huge attitude change can positively affect your marriage!
We had a friend over for dinner the other night and Rob said 2 things that I've really thought about this week. We were talking about the give and take in marriage. I said, "Sometimes it needs to be 50/50. Other times it needs to be 70/30." Rob replied, "I disagree. I think every day it needs to be 100/100." I couldn't agree more, even though sometimes that's not easy to accomplish. He was also talking about peaks and valleys. He said the more you put into your marriage on a daily basis, the less valleys there are and the more shallow they become, making it that much easier to get out of. What a profound thought that I couldn't agree with more! We've been there. We've seen our share of valleys. But because we have shifted things in our marriage and our priorities in life, our valleys aren't so deep. In fact, I don't think we've been in a valley in a very long time.
Our marriage is a blessing. I know that there are some people who probably didn't think we'd make it. And there was a time I would've agreed with them. But, over the past 12 years, Rob has become my best friend, my confidant, my supporter, my rock. I can't imagine being married to anyone else and I am so thankful we have this wonderful life together!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A Family First

I have been meaning to blog all week but this week has flown by so far. We went from not leaving the house and having limited interaction for 2 months to being busy, busy, busy! Some days I handle it great and other days I'm ready to go back to the slow, monotonous pace of the quarantine. One thing I have enjoyed as we've moved into Phase 2 is more freedom. I ate in a restaurant for the first time in 3 months on our anniversary. Another thing we got to do is go on our first family vacation of the year. (By now we should've gone on a few vacays.) We did something that E has been obsessed with lately- tent camping (aka primitive camping). We stayed at a campground that offered plenty to do! From petting "wild" deer to a pool complete with a zipline to fishing to a Saturday night concert. Rob also surprised me and got me a bike for one of my anniversary gifts. So the boys and I rode bikes a lot at the campground. It was beautiful!
I can say that I'm more of a RV camper because I like my sleep and amenities (coffee pot, anyone?) too much but I'm glad we experienced it. It was loud and the two nights we were there we got maybe 8 hours of sleep total. But the smile on the boys' faces was worth it. They loved the experience and we're already planning our next tent camping experience....when it cools down.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Infuriating Headlines

It's been awhile since I've stepped on my soapbox so let me spend some time up there this afternoon. In case, you don't watch the news, a man about my age was killed by a police officer in Minnesota a few weeks ago. The man was black, the officer white. It has outraged tens of thousands of people and has once again brought division to our nation. Terms like "systematic racism" are being thrown around on a daily basis. People are getting fired for supporting police officers. Sports teams are once again telling players and participants that it's ok to kneel during the national anthem. A country music group is changing their name because the word "Antebellum" is racist and offensive, according to them. And the latest? A kids' carton, Paw Patrol, is losing one of its main characters because liberals are in an outrage that kids are being taught that there are nice, decent cops in the world. (Just typing this sentence gets my blood boiling!)
First of all, there are good people and bad people in this world. There are good black people and evil white people and vice versa. There are good cops and there are bad cops. There are good teachers and their are bad teachers. I can go on and on about every profession, every race, every nationality, etc but you get the point. What was done to George Floyd was despicable. He had no right to die a slow, very public death at the hands of that evil police officer. Quite honestly, I hope that officer gets the punishment he deserves for his actions. But one person can't define an entire profession. Last Fall, a local middle school teacher and her police officer husband committed some heinous crimes to children. Crimes that had me crying myself to sleep. But, thank God, my teaching profession was not thrown under the bus because of one evil person. The main stream media likes to hype up the controversy, point fingers and then play the "nice guy" role, causing unnecessary friction in society.
I can't wrap my head around why people have deemed all police officers as horrific people because of a few really bad ones. I can't imagine that a person whose child is kidnapped thinks the police are evil when they find the person's child. I can't imagine how people think the police that risked their lives to stop terrorist acts are evil. I can't imagine how people can think that a police officer who helps a stranded motorist late at night is evil. The police officers I've been honored to know are good, honest people. I have only had a run in with one officer and it was on a personal level when I taught his son. (I am 99.9% sure that after the fact he realized his son had lied and was in the wrong but I never received an apology. So who knows?)
Second, why is okay to defund police departments (That should be interesting for crime rates!) while looters and rioters walk away without any fines for the damage they've caused? 2020 has been a rough year for a lot of small business owners- first COVID-19 and then looters literally destroying their business. One business owner broke my heart with his story that I saw. He was an older, black man who looked to be close to retirement age. He was distraught about why, as a black man, he was a victim of the looters and rioters. He had just re-opened his business after having to stay closed for several months due to COVID-19. But, within a week of re-opening, the looters completely destroyed his business, wiping out his life savings. How can evil like that get so much media attention when it's so wrong? (And why is it okay to gets hundreds to protest but businesses are still at limited capacity due to COVID restrictions? Another blog for another day I guess.)
Third, why are so many people jumping on the "Systematic Racism" bandwagon? The Golden Rule is treat others as you would have them treat you. Despite trying to shelter our boys from the evil in the world, our oldest saw a clip of George Floyd dying with an officer's knee pressing down on his neck. He was very troubled by what he saw, which led us to having a conversation about right vs wrong. I told him that it was not okay for that officer to treat Mr. Floyd the way he did. But I also told him that you need to treat others with respect no matter what color their skin is, or what language they speak or how they look. EVERYONE deserves respect, including police officers. So, I can't jump on the Black Lives Matter movement because, to me, EVERY life matters.
Here's the thing: I don't know, nor will I ever know, what it's like to be a black person. That's not how God chose to create me. I will never know the oppression they face. I will never understand their fear of police officers. I do know that a lot of people choose to make it in this world despite their circumstances. I do know that a lot of people know right from wrong. I do know that a lot of people don't label others based on people's looks, race, nationality. And I do know I have hope that this world will get better. I've been reading the Old Testament a lot the past few months and I am appalled at how people were treated during those times. Innocent men beheaded or stoned. Others set up so they could be sentenced to death. But, here we are, thousands of years later and civilization still exists. Albeit, not harmoniously, but we're here. So that counts for something. And I'll keep praying that sooner or later we'll ALL start treating others how we want to be treated: with respect.