Newton’s 1st Law

An object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest.

But it’s not just objects, it’s people too.

This year, for me, is constant motion. Some days the inertia driving me forward feels overwhelming. I worry that something intractable will force me to stop suddenly, and I will shatter.

My husband is the opposite. He is an object at rest and getting him in gear is almost impossible. I feel like, for the first time in our marriage, I am really and truly accepting of this and instead of feeling resentment, I am simply searching for a force great enough to move him.

Because I really need his help.

I recognize my part in creating this situation. I made choices and now I am dealing with the obligations born of those choices. But a great portion of this year’s chaos is out of my control, and I wasn’t aware of so much when I made the choices that are compounding the chaos.

In the end, I realize I’m wearing none of my hats well. I am not effective in any of my roles, and I feel like a total and complete failure. I know I need to cut myself some slack, but it’s hard. I thought I could do it all and I can’t.

I read the posts by people who evidently can do it all. It’s hard not to compare. I try to remind myself that I don’t have the financial resources to hire someone full time, to provide their livelihood in exchange for a full work-week of their help. If I could things would probably be different. And I no longer have the family help I used to (my inlaws are spending more and more time in Texas visiting their daughter who is dealing with a high-risk pregnancy – this month they were gone for three weeks). Also, some of stressors I’m faced with, I couldn’t have been predicted, and they would turn anyone’s life upside down. I know all this, but still it feels like I’m failing.

I will say, I’m handling it all so much better than I normally would. Sometimes I think I’m going to cry, and my eyes even get hot and watery, but the tears never really come. Instead I find myself resigned to the point of acceptance, and thinking more about what I can do to make things better, instead of reveling in woe-is-me and regret. In the past everything would have seemed intractably bad, I would have felt my circumstances were totally out of my control, instead of being able to recognize the part I played in creating them, and finding ways to think pragmatically about next steps.

{Can magnesium really create these kinds of foundational changes? I don’t know what else to attribute them to, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying new meds and assessing their effectiveness. I have NEVER experienced such an obvious or dramatic change in mood and ability to manage stress.}

So yeah. Life is feeling really hard right now, but I’m getting through. Day by day, I’m making it work. Or at the least I’m making it to bedtime and getting up the next morning. Sometimes that has to count as a win.

{Also, if you know how to light a fire under the ass of an “at rest” husband, please let me know. I’m desperate to get this object in motion.}

Bike Hacks

It’s not always easy to transport stuff on the bike, but I usually find a way. 

A stroller.

Three big, heavy bags of groceries.

A bunch of Mylar balloons.

Three big kids (and their back packs-two in basket and one hanging off back seat)

This is your city on smoke

Air quality in San Francisco is still dangerous. We can’t go outside. We can’t open our windows. It’s so strange to see the sun out and realize you’re still stuck inside. 

Yesterday was really bad. I took a picture from a hill on the drive between my kids’ pick-ups. I found another picture from that same spot taken a while ago, so you can see the difference.


Today is better than yesterday, but it’s still not great.

Shit, Meet Fan

Last night, the shit really hit the fan for me. I am now facing a reality I had always feared, but hoped I could avoid.

I hate to be purposefully vague, and I promise it’s nothing in the realm of really-and-truly-horrible (ie job loss, terminal illness, death in the family, entire community devastated by fire), but still, as far as shit things go, it’s gotta be at the top of the next level down in seriously awful shit. I’ll tell you all more about it when I can type the words without crying (and I stop feeling so much shame).

Right now I find myself in a trifecta of overwhelm, as it’s coming from work (catching up after being gone, nothing planned for the next few weeks, so many assignments to grade and input), PTA (SO MANY EVENTS coming up, and I have to be at all of them, also preparing things for them–why is EVERYTHING in October?!) and home (see above shit-show-that-shall-not-yet-be-named, also son’s 4th birthday, also my in-laws are gone for THREE WEEKS this month).

I don’t think I’ll be writing much in the coming days. I do have a Disney trip post that is almost done, and I want to write another about what I wished I’d done differently, along with what I felt we did right. Maybe those will make it out next week.

If not, forgive me. And either way, wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

Red Sun Over the City


We came back to a Bay Area blanketed in smoke. The setting sun was blood red before it disappeared completely behind the wall gray wall, only to emerge again right above the horizon.

When we left the North Bay hadn’t been engulfed in flames. Now entire communities have been consumed.

I gathered four giant trash bags of clothes to donate the victims, the people who lost everything. We will gather and donate more. There are no words to express the devastation.

It feels as if our country is being destroyed, piece by piece, by flood and flames.

The few friends I have in the North Bay are safe, and their homes are safe, at least they were when I last spoke to them. We shall see where the wind, and fire, goes.

So much loss and devastation in this country lately. Hard to wrap one’s head around.

New Family Traditions

I worry sometimes that we don’t spend enough time creating and cultivating our own new family traditions, but instead work only to preserve favorite traditions from our childhood (which are, of course, very important).

But then I was realizing that traditions don’t have to be a really big affair, they can be the little things we always do, that are small but still special and important.

I hadn’t recognized that we have created some of our own family traditions, like putting gel clings on our front door for the major holidays (and even in the downtime in between).

This morning we opened the new Halloween gel clings, and the kinds had a blast decorating the glass with them.

These days they can do it pretty much by themselves.

We also really love making these 3-D foam kits for the holidays. These are the ones we’ve made in the past for Halloween.

 

We keep them on top of the speaker above the TV for the month of October.

We already have a new set to make this year. I actually bought it last year but it was one of two I got and after making the first one, I didn’t have the time or energy to make this bad boy.

When it’s done I promise to share it with all of you.

What new family traditions have you created?

What are your favorite traditions at this time of year?

Things I’m Loving Right Now

Despite the stress at work, and surrounding the PTA, there is much I am loving these days. Here are a few things that are making me happy.

~ Magnesium. Seriously, I really do think magnesium is helping me so much, and has helped my daughter (again!) so much. I really need to keep taking this stuff forever and ever.

~ Hanging out with my daughter. She is so much fun when she can manage her emotions. She’s interesting, insightful, and she straight cracks me up. I’ve really been enjoying my time with her lately. She is also at an age where a lot of movies and books I loved as a kid are interesting to her. We just watched the Never Ending Story together and have plans to watch The Princess Bride and The Last Unicorn soon. I also think she’s ready for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (to read together first, of course), which is my favorite in the series.

~ One-on-one with my son. My baby is about to turn four, and he’s definitely struggling with a lot of big feelings (frustration being the most prevalent), but recently I’ve had opportunities to spend some quality time with just him and that has been awesome. We used to go to the zoo and the Academy of Sciences together a lot, but neither has happened in a long time. We went to the zoo this weekend and it brought back a lot of fond memories of alone time we used to share when he was younger. Watching my daughter grow in such a fast and furious way, makes me acutely aware of how little time I have left with him as a preschooler. I was in such a hurry for my daughter to grow up, but with my son I’m determined to savor these last years of his “little-hood.” I’m looking forward to make more of those kind of outings happen in the future, and to appreciating the wrastling and hanging out together on the floor, building Legos or playing with cars.

~ October! Halloween! I do not remember being such a fan of October, or Halloween, as a kid, but as an adult I really love it. I love the slow decent into colder weather, which after the Indian Summer month of September (and weeks in October) I’m always so ready for. I love decorating for the holidays (both Halloween and Day of the Dead). It’s also my son’s birthday, which he is so excited for after enduring everyone elses’ birthdays in June and July. I also love teaching and celebrating Día de los Muertos, which officially takes place the 1st and 2nd of November, but which we talk a lot about (and decorate for!) in October. Also, I am a pumpkin spice fan, so I get excited when those products start appearing on the shelves (though I do appreciate it’s gotten way crazy in the past few years).

~ Disneyland and California Adventure! We’re taking the kids to Disneyland next week! They know we are going, but think it’s happening over my son’s birthday weekend, which is still a few weeks away. I’m really excited to surprise them on Sunday morning as we drive down (we’re going to tell them we’re driving somewhere else, to something boring, when we get in the car). I LOVED Disneyland as a kid and I LOVE Disneyland and California Adventure as an adult, and I’m really excited to see my son’s face when he first lays eyes on Radiator Springs, and sees Lightning McQueen in real life (he is a massive Cars fan). His head is going to explode. I’m also excited to go with my husband (last time I went alone with our daughter, when she turned four). I will also admit, I’m stoked to miss two days of school too (and another staff meeting!).

~ Family Halloween Costumes! Every other year we do up our Halloween costumes big time, and this year we’re all being someone from Star Wars. I already have my Princess Leia white dress and boots, my daughter’s Rey costume, my husband’s Chewbacca jacket, and my son’s Han Solo costume (or Yoda sweatshirt, in case he changes his mind). I just need a few accessories (quarter staff, blasters, light saber) and we’ll be all set (sorry Chewbacca, no crossbow for you). I’m looking into a place to get our photo done right, because I really do love the matching Halloween costume thing. Two years ago I did Where the Wild Things Are and a set of those pictures are my favorite of all time.

~ Argan Oil. I randomly got a bottle of MyChelle’s Argan Oil at Whole Foods a couple of months ago, because I’m still looking for something really hydrating at night (but don’t want to pay for “anti-wrinkles” yet). It was on sale, and not all that expensive full price, so I gave it a try. Well, I am happy to report it’s been amazing. My skin looks incredible ( I’ve had several people mention it so it’s not just in my head) and feels even better. I’m definitely sticking with this stuff for the foreseeable future.

~ Our fish tank. I will admit I was so done with our fish tank after this summer. I was frustrated that I bought a new one after the first one developed an intractable case of overgrown algae, and I seriously considered just getting rid of it. Instead I cleaned it out, we got new live plants and two beautiful new guppies, and we made a habit of actually turning on the light every day. Now it feels like the center piece of our living room. It’s so pretty and it makes me really happy.


~ Making a new friend. I have become friends with the woman on the PTA board who doesn’t need to be helping me so much, but is actually my right-hand woman. We worked together a lot last year, but this year we talk or text pretty much every day. We had drinks together two weeks ago, and my husband and I bought tickets to attend a Mezcal tasting with her and her husband in early November (maybe we could be couple friends! A girl can dream. 😉  Her son is VERY similar to mine, so we have lots to talk about besides PTA. She is also exactly my age, which is a rare find (usually parents with kids my kids’ ages are a good decade older than me), and which I really appreciate.

~ New teaching method (and textivate). I love the new way I’m teaching this year, even if it has been really hard to learn how to implement it along with all the other changes. The kids clearly enjoy it so much more than how I used to teach, and creating unique characters and stories in each class keeps my interest piqued. I am also loving a new internet-based program, which generates activities based on original text that I input. With this program, I can offer valuable activities that promote fluency, and are based on each classes’ unique characters and stories, without doing all the work myself. It’s also super easy to track my students’ progress.

~ My current morning coffee. My morning coffee has been evolving for years, and I am a huge fan of its current iteration which includes (but is not limited to) Mexican Chocolate and Coconut Coffee. Sipping my coffee on the way to work is a great way to start the day. It makes me happy.

~ Braving the Wilderness. I am a MASSIVE Brene Brown fan (she is my spirit animal). I have loved (and listened multiple times to) all of her books. I think her work on shame and vulnerability are truly life changing. But I believe her new book is even more important than anything else she has written, especially in today’s political climate. I really wish every adult would read this book, I think we’d be a much happier, healthier country if we did. (I promise to write more about it when I’m done).

~ My marriage. I wrote about this already, so I won’t harp on it more, but I’m really enjoying my husband and our relationship right now.

What are you loving these days?

My Marriage These Days

I’ve been meaning to write about my marriage these days, because it’s in a good place, and as you all know, that isn’t always the case.

The truth is, I’m not quite sure why my marriage is doing better these days. I can make some educated guesses, but I can’t be sure. The reality is a marriage is a relationship between two people, and how either one is feeling, what they are going through and how they handling things greatly affects the dynamic. When you add in two other, younger, human beings, who have their own issues, well the variables just keep multiplying.

But I have been giving this considerable thought, since I personally am in a really stressful situation at work, and as president of the PTA, which I would expect would put a strain on our marriage. Happily, this hasn’t been the case.

So a few things I have identified as helping our marriage lately.

~ I do think my email helped, for whatever reason. I’m certain I’ve sent very similar emails in the past that weren’t of much discernible consequence, but for some reason this one seemed to help him change his attitude toward his own responsibilities at home.

~ I also forwarded him some interesting articles I read about why women in happy marriages cheat (the women describe their marriages as happy, despite having affairs). I honestly started reading the first because I was confused by the title, assuming that “cheat” referred to acting dishonestly out in the world. Ha! Once I started reading it I was hooked, because I had always assumed people in happy marriages didn’t cheat, that an affair was a symptom of an unhappy marriage, not something that happened when a women felt mostly content. One of the articles mentioned that even if a woman was in love with her husband, and felt they were good friends, if she perceived an imbalance in household workload, the ensuing resentment could be enough to send her looking for an escape in another relationship, one where that resentful dynamic didn’t exist. Maybe my husband took that to heart?

~ Come to think of it, I generally send my husband EVERY article I read on gender inequality in marriages, on the “invisible” or “emotional” labor that women take on, and the consequences of its prolonged, unshared, weight. Maybe the are making an impact, slowly and subtly.

~ I think me actually applying, and interviewing, for jobs last year changed a dynamic that was creating friction in our marriage. This dynamic looked like me complaining about my job, but feeling stuck in it, and doing absolutely nothing to find something else, and my husband eventually refusing to engage me on the topic, since he felt it wasn’t fair for me to bitch about work when I clearly wasn’t serious about finding something different. The fact that I finally took steps to find another job helped my husband see that I was, in fact, seriously unhappy, and serious about finding something new. It dislodged an entrenched issue that was causing resentment on both sides, even though the final outcome looks exactly like it did before (I’m still at my job and it’s making me vaguely miserable). My husband respects that I put myself out there, and is empathetic that I am still stuck where I don’t want to be, despite attempting to make a change. Now when I do mention how hard work is, he responds in a very different, more supportive way, and I think what he says genuinely represents how he feels about it.

~ After an initial rough start (and a nightmarish summer), my daughter has been thriving this school year. She really loves her teacher (I am not a fan, but she likes him and that is what’s most important right now), and is handling the stress of homework and activities so much better than she has in the past. Needless to say, when we aren’t spending our emotional reserves managing our daughter, we have more for each other.

~ I actually started taking Magnesium, which I swear helps my daughter manage her moods and behavior so much (I actually stopped giving her magnesium over the summer–not sure why, I just forgot with all the travel?–and I truly believe that starting it again is part of why she’s doing so well right now (and that not having it this summer is part of why she struggled so much). I don’t know why I didn’t take magnesium myself, when I believed it was helping my daughter so much, especially when I know we are very similar people. But I did start and I swear I am calmer and my moods are more balanced. I am better able to handle the stress I’m under and I just feel more in control of my thoughts and feelings. Things at work, at with PTA, really are so stressful right now, but I’m not at nearly the place I have been in the past when things were not as challenging to manage. I really do believe it’s helping. Obviously when I’m happier, my marriage is happier.

~ My husband and I have a new nightly ritual that we really enjoy and gives us an opportunity to spend some quality time together and feel connected. Before bed we watch Desus & Mero (on Viceland) and then my husband shares with me all his favorite tweets from the day. It may sound silly, but both the show, and the tweets (which are mostly from comedians and other funny people because his Twitter feed is carefully curated to include only the users that make him laugh) help us process the insanity that is the world right now, and give us a more lighthearted way to engage in conversation about the shit that is going down. It also helps us remember that our similarly odd, quirky, senses of humor are what drew us to each other in the first place.

~ Things at work are good for my husband right now. Sure there is much he’d love to change, but generally he feels acknowledged and appreciated by his colleagues, and he is grateful to be doing work that is meaningful to him. When he is happy at work, he is happier at home.

So those are the things that I feel have helped us get to a better place. I’m sure there is stuff I am missing, and if I think of anything else I’ll mention it later. No matter what it is, I’m really happy in my marriage at the moment. My husband feels like my friend in a way that he hasn’t for a long time. He is actually out of town right now, and I was realizing before he left that I was really going to miss him. There have been times when he left and I felt relief that I wouldn’t have to negotiate a strained dynamic for a few days, and could just do things how I wanted without having to feel resentment for taking it all on. This time I just missed him being around at night; Desus & Mero isn’t the same when I’m watching it alone.

How is your marriage these days? What is helping and/or what is hurting you attempts to be happy with your spouse?

 

An email

The book fair is over today. I can’t wait until it’s all packed up and I walk out of that room until spring.

Yesterday I had big plans to work out this morning, but in the end I was so tired I gave myself permission to get a good night’s sleep. I was passed out before 10pm, with my daughter asleep next to me-and besides one wake-up with my son, I didn’t get up until 6am. I really needed that.

I still wanted to post though, so I decided to put up an email I sent my husband a little while ago, when things between us were frustrating me. Since this email our marriage has been great. I don’t give the email all the credit, but I do think every time I send one of these, we inch closer to where I – and we, honestly – want our marriage to be. I also think I’m handling a lot of things in different ways, which is also helping. I definitely take responsibility for the negative I bring to our marriage.

So here is the email, which I’m posting because I always find it gratifying to see reflections of my marriage in the marriage of others, especially when I know the couple is find ways to improve their dynamic.

For some context, I sent this email during the 2nd week of my school year, when I was a total wreck trying to juggle the demands of my new schedule, with the responsibilities of managing my daughter at school. I had so many events in the evenings that my husband was doing way more than he usually did. We had very different takes on that arrangement.

I have been wanting to talk about the last two weeks, and how uncomfortable it has made me asking you for increased assistance. You ask me what you can do to help me manage the stress of the beginning of the school year, and then when I do need help, you seem overwhelmed, or even resentful.

What is most distressing, is you perception that right now you are doing everything and I am doing very little. Honestly, to me, our current set up seems more “balanced” than what we normally do, but it seems clear you don’t see it that way.

Of course the big thing here is bedtime, which I am guessing you think we used to “split,” and I felt used to fall more on my shoulders than yours. My perception of bedtime (before this week), was I got (our son) ready – made his leche, had him pee, got him out of his clothes and then into PJs, read a book to him, brushed his teeth, and then snuggled. You did the same for (our daughter), but from what I tended to see, a lot of that consisted of you sitting on the couch and asking her to do things for herself (get on PJs, brush teeth, pee), and then reading with her, and then helping her get everything into bed, and then me coming in a snuggling until she fell asleep. In my mind (which I admit, is surely skewed toward me doing more so can’t be entirely accurate) that was me spending a lot more time on bedtime than you, especially when you take into account the 30-45 minutes I lose lying next to her with my arm over her body in a very specific way, until she falls asleep. And yes, I know many times you have to deal with (our son) during those minutes, but it’s not as all-consuming or consistent, as lying next to her for that time. I would trade helping him pee/poo getting him water or changing his music with lying down with her every night any day. I’m guessing you’re not as interested in making that trade.

I know you do the dishes. I know that is A LOT. I know EVERY NIGHT you have to go into that disaster of a kitchen and make it usable for the next day. I know that. I see that. I appreciate it. The problem is I don’t think you really see or appreciate all that I do. And it’s frustrating that when you take over more of what I do, you still fail to recognize how much it is or how it equates to how stressed I am.

I feel like you don’t really see or appreciate the 15-30 minutes that I’m up before you every morning, getting both of them leche, starting the toast, finishing her lunch and packing up her backpack, buttering and cutting the toast, and then lying with (our son) when he wakes up. Just the stress of knowing I have to be the one to get my ass out of bed every morning on time is stressful. You go to sleep every night assuming I will be on it and when you get up, a bunch of stuff will already be done. I go to sleep every night panicked I’ll sleep through my alarm, or just get up late enough to fuck the whole morning into a frenzy.

I feel like you don’t see or appreciate the fact that I get up with (our son) 95% of the weekend mornings. Even if I just have him pee, make him leche and lie with him for a while before putting him on the pad, that is still 30 minutes, and a much earlier wake up. And whenever you do it, I feel like I owe you or something, which just doesn’t seem fair. I know you’re not a morning person, and I know it’s hard for you to get up. That is why I do it every morning. But I would also love to just sleep through some of that stuff once in a while, or just stay in bed while someone else does it. Today you said you were giving me some time, but that meant having both kids in bed with me with a loud radio play going. Would that feel like some “time” for you in the morning?

I ALWAYS get less sleep that you do. My sleep is ALWAYS more interrupted. And yet you seem to lay claim on being the most tired. Maybe you are more tired, despite getting more and better rest. Maybe you aren’t sleeping well because of your snoring. Maybe you just need more sleep. Any or all of those things could be true. But I feel like the fact that you are so tired makes you unable to see how much less sleep I’m getting, and how much more I do before you even get up every morning.

I also feel like you have no idea, and don’t appreciate, how exhausting pick up/afternoons are. Yes, I know you have more time with (our son) at home every morning, but I spent more time picking them up and then being with both of them before you come home, than that time. Pick up is fucking exhausting. Everyone is tired and hungry and expecting some candy in the car (an expectation that was created elsewhere and now we need to manage). If I get to (our son) by 4:45, I’m still not home with both of them until 5:45 because somehow it takes over an hour to drive one mile, find parking, get out of the car, find (our daughter), gather all her things and make sure nothing was misplaced, coax her away from her friends (or a movie if it’s Friday) walk back to the car, break up an argument, get them both in their seats and buckled, and then get them home. Then I have to get HW done (which involves SERIOUS emotional management for (our daughter) (and me quite frankly), deal with the backpack, make dinner, and manage TV expectations (both what they watch, which is alwyas a flight, and how much they get to watch). Pick up alone is totally depleting, the hour afterward is hard too. And then you come home and see me on a chair or on the elliptical machine, and have that tone in your voice and/or look on your face when you hear they are watching a third show, and I can tell what you are thinking, or even if I don’t I know what you’re thinking, I know it’s NOT, oh I’m glad she’s getting a minute to sit down or work out.

I won’t even go into all the invisible mental energy I expend dealing with her school and making sure everything is turned in and that our family is participating in an effective way (and I’m not talking PTA, but just paperwork that needs to be turned in for her, and meetings that needed to be attended as a parent, not a PTA officer).

I know I’ve had a lot of stuff going on in the evenings and you’ve had to take over bedtime and it’s hard, but surely if we tallied every night either one of us has been alone for bedtime, even just since (our son) was born and not before with just (our daughter), I’m still behind you by a lot. Which means I’VE had countless more of those incredibly tiring nights, and that has just been the expectation. There was no, oh I can’t wait for it to go back to normal, because that just was normal. (I also think those nights are so much more exhausting for you because on a night where we “split” bedtime, I’m doing more, which means you taking over my “half” is more depleting for you than when I have to take over your half when you’re gone.)

And that is really where I’m at with all of this. It’s not the whole set up, because I know that is never going to change. I’m always going to be the one doing pick up every day (except when one of our parents take it on), and I know I’ll be the one to get up first every morning, and I know I’ll be the primary parent at school. It’s just the expectation that I will do those things, and the lack of acknowledgement. It’s that, when I’m not available to do everything I usually do, there isn’t a thought of “holy shit she does a fucking lot and must be exhausted,” instead it’s I can’t wait for it to go back to being “fair.”

I wish so badly we could actually change places for a month so each of us could better understand where the other is coming from. I’m sure I would better appreciate how overwhelming everything feels for you, and I’m sure you would understand better where I’m coming from. But we can’t do that. Instead we have to fall back on empathy. I try to be empathetic. I do. I believe you are doing the best you can, and that is a big reason why I step in and do what I do, in the mornings, in the afternoons/evenings, and at school. I do it because I really do believe our family is better off if I just get that shit done. But I feel like instead of getting empathy back, what I get is an expectation that I will do it all, and frustration and resentment when I can’t.

I know we’ve had this conversation a million times, especially when I am overwhelmed and can’t keep up with all that I normally do. I know the actual dynamics aren’t going to change, I’m just hoping our attitudes might. Please let me know where I need to clarify my own understandings and perceptions, because I know they can’t possibly be accurate – I’m a human being and not a machine. Hopefully we can figure out a way to better support each other, because this year is going to be really stressful for me, and that could really upset things at home if we’re not tackling this stuff proactively.

Sorry for the long email, which I know you hate. I figured it was better than a hostile conversation, which I know you hate more.

On a Tuesday…

{I started this post yesterday, with the intention of posting it yesterday morning, but then life got in the way.}

I took the day off today to set up the book fair at my daughter’s school. We can’t actually get access to the room until 2pm, but we have a staff meeting today, which means I wouldn’t have been available to set up the book fair until after 6pm, unless I missed the meeting, which would have cost me 1.5 hours. But here’s the thing, if you are absent on the day of a staff meeting, you lose 7.5 hours (the contracted school day) and not 9 hours (the contracted staff day plus the staff meeting). So I figured I’d just take the day and try to get out from under a massive pile of paperwork I hadn’t graded or entered.

{Of course, planning for a sub took me over three hours. With my insane schedule I had to write very detailed notes to make sure everything went okay. I even included a map so he could find all my classrooms. I hope he made it to the other campus okay.}

This weekend, which was busy but nice, I found myself building up the list of things I expected to get accomplished during my “day off.” I’ve written before that I tend to create impossible goals for days off, and then feel disappointed when the day is over over and I haven’t gotten nearly as much done as I’d wanted. This time I recognized what I was doing quickly enough to scale my expectations way back. All I hoped to do today was grade all my papers, create a handout I need for tomorrow, and workout. I also hoped to do two of three online safety trainings that I am required to complete before mid-October (while grading papers and/or working out). I am playing the blood borne pathogens presentation while I write this. I’ve heard it before twice, so I’m hoping I remember the answers well enough without really listening. I’ll let you know how it goes.

{Right after I wrote that I remembered I had to use exercise time to send reminders to the Book Fair volunteers. Which I did.}

Now it’s 10pm. I’m listening to the Mandated Reporter of Child Abuse training (I’ve gotten 100% on the Blood Borne Pathogens AND Sexual Harassment quizzes!) and creating that handout I wanted to get done.

And the handout is done! Woot!

And I passed the Mandated Reporter training. Ugh, that was super depressing, but I’m relieved to get those out of the way. They’ve been stressing me out for a while now.

I also got all the papers graded, though they are not yet entered online.

We got the book fair set up in three hours, which wasn’t too bad. I was picking up my kids at the same time as I would have been if I’d gone to work and stayed for the staff meeting. I’m so glad I got to miss the staff meeting – they are almost always a total waste of time.

Tomorrow my husband leaves for five days. It’s bad timing with the book fair, but my in-laws are stepping in to help, for which I’m very grateful. They have been spending 7-10 days in Texas EVERY MONTH, so I’ve gotten more used to making things work without them, and I’m much more grateful of the help they give when they are around.

Things at work are still really stressful, but I’m falling into a routine. It’s a rushed, chaotic routine, but a routine nonetheless.

I actually have a “things I’m loving right now” post in the drafts folder of my brain that I hope to post soon, because there are some things I’m really loving these days. I guess I’m mentioning it here to hold myself accountable.

Now it’s late so I should head to bed. I’m super tired and I’m working hard to get more sleep every night. I know I need it with these crazy busy days.

I hope you’re all doing well.