Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whatever You Do, Do NOT Say the Word "Xerox." No!

It's so cold here that my coffee gets cold from sitting on an end table that is right next to our living room picture window. Gah.

The windchill is 30 degrees below zero this morning. It was whipping across the farm fields behind my house all night, swirling snow around like dust balls and banging the windows. I really need to move to a less punishing clime. I mean, yes, I know that living here makes you tough, but honestly...I don't need to be this tough.

Other than the ridiculous weather, we're doing okay. My little part-time job is going great. I'm still getting used to the schedule, and sometimes the speed at which this whole thing went down leaves me with a head-spinning sensation and I'll suddenly think, "For real? I have a paid job every afternoon now?! How/when/why did that happen?!" Because honestly I didn't really have time to think about it. I applied sort of on a whim, and after that it all happened at warp speed. And after 9-1/2 years of being a full-time mom, it's a little jarring. But that's OK. Because it's perfect for my life/family/childcare priorities right now, and I'm loving it. Plus, yesterday I mastered a giant copier machine (do not call it the Xerox machine! I was scolded by a staff person at school for doing that. um...yikes?) and successfully made about a million copies of various worksheets, including all sorts of one-sided-to-two-sided-and-sorted-and-stapled instructions, for my supervisor, even though I had not used a COPIER MACHINE in ten years. For reals, you all. So yay.

The girls are learning guitar. It's awesome. Enough said. They also just finished up the winter session of tae kwon do and are now on a break until starting up again in April. Tae kwon do is also awesome.

In other news, in response to an earlier crisis regarding how easy school is for Genevieve and her need for alternate things to do there, she has been put in charge of tutoring a little kindergartner in reading and writing. This is BEYOND awesome. She is so, so proud of this and truly enjoys it. And I can't stress enough what a kick it is to come across her while I'm at work, sitting in the commons or a quiet hallway with this little boy who's no smaller than she is, expertly coming up with little exercises to help him with his letters and words. It's just like her pretend classroom, only she gets to do it for real! Smart, smart teachers at that school.

This post feels really random; sorry for jumping all over the place. I felt like I owed you an update, and "jumping all over the place" is certainly a reflection of my current life. But it's all good. Other than the weather. I hope it's all good where you are too, only warmer. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bring It Here Too.

You don't know this, but an entire lifetime has been lived since last I wrote here.

See, Tuesday and Wednesday went along swimmingly after Monday's blizzard. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the sun came out and the temperature soared as high as 44 degrees. It felt like spring! There were puddles all over the streets, water was running in the gutters, birds were chirping noticeably, and TWO different nests went under construction under our eaves. (Oh, birdies. Too soon. Too soon!)

And then....people started talking about the GIANT SNOWSTORM coming on Thursday. We're talking the storm of the year, if not the storm of several years.

I will now skip over all the boring details to simply summarize things by saying we have been out of school the past two days due to a giant snowstorm. There's lots more to say, and nothing more to say.

This morning, my favorite local TV-news weatherman said that it is now appropriate to call this year The Worst Winter Ever. #worstwinterever. When the weather guy calls it The Worst Winter Ever you know it's serious.

The other day my BFF and I were discussing the sorry state of our fitness levels. Specifically, she was simultaneously wallowing in and lamenting the fact that when she began a part-time temporary job late last autumn, she stopped running for awhile, being too busy with the new job and whatnot----and then never resumed, even when the job ended. I was saying that I'd slacked off from Halloween to January, and then just when I was starting to get back into shape after the holidays, I caught this current cold/virus/sinus infection which has halted all exercise for the past two-weeks-plus. (Seriously, other than working at my new job, the most I have moved my body in the past two weeks was when I took my daughter to Target to buy a birthday present for a friend's party.)

When I woke up this morning to ten inches of new snow, blizzard-strength winds, another school cancellation, and the promise of more sub-zero temperatures moving in, I also found an email from this friend, which said only, "I truly did not think my behavior could be anymore sloth-like. But now, BRING IT."

Forever and ever amen.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Barbie Bathtime

This is what greets me pretty much every day in my bathroom lately:

The kidlets have taken over my tub. Makes me chuckle daily. The Barbies love to go swimming in bubble baths, don't you know.

I'm still sick. I'm finally going to the doctor today, though, so hopefully I'll leave with a 'script in hand for some superhero antibiotics. Good Lord. It's hard working every day when you feel horrible. I'm so mad that I ruined my streak of wellness, too. Other than a very quick virus last October when I was supposed to be at a job interview, I hadn't been sick for almost a year and a half! It is no coincidence that four days after beginning work in an elementary school, the germs hunted me down and got me.

Because I don't feel like I can or should call in sick to a brand-new job this early in the game (or ever, I'm hoping), and because after all this time I'm sure I'm posing no contagion threat to anyone out in public so I have none of those qualms about going in, I've been doing almost nothing during the hours I'm not at work in order to conserve what little energy I have for...uh, working. Longest run-on sentence ever. Sorry. Brain not operating at full capacity due to sinus pain and cold meds.

But 11 days into that plan (the doing next to nothing plan), the house is looking a little, um....dirty.  Neglected. Dusty. And the fam is no doubt getting tired of dinners from the freezer on the regular. (Fish sticks....again?) Gah. Plus I had to cancel a guitar lesson yesterday, because there was a blizzard, and a ton of snow, and I was still sick, and....yeah. No.

I did dust most of the main level this morning, though, so that means I can cross "dust" off my to-do list, right? Even though I couldn't manage the upstairs? Right.

I have been successfully getting the kiddos to school every day, and, with some husbandly help at times, to tae kwon do class and swimming lessons when appropriate. Also, homework has been getting done and checked, and school forms and papers have been attended to. We missed one 4th-grade student council meeting, but in all fairness that happened the day before I got sick, but on the fourth day of my new job, when mucho changes and distractions were going down in this house.

Ah well. February is almost over thank the Lord because doesn't March mean spring? Ha ha ha ha ha! Enjoy the laughs, stay healthy, see you soon.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day. Yesterday after school the girls and I made pink heart-shaped cookies for teachers, our 91-year-old next-door neighbor, and the special friends that come to our house after school several days a month (including today), but I didn't get a chance to photograph them for the blog this year (hence this poor sad photo-less post). It's rather a feat that they got made at all, frankly, let alone photographed. We had less than two hours yesterday between getting home from school/work and leaving for tae kwon do, in which to cram going through the kids' school backpacks, doing homework, making homemade cut-out heart cookies, making homemade valentines, making lunches for tomorrow, and eating dinner.

We did it, though. With no photographs.

It's not that starting a new 15-hours/week job is so monumental as to throw my whole life out of whack. It's starting the new job plus having a sick child plus getting sick myself that's really done it. It is a miracle that everyone's been getting where they need to go (at the proper time), eating three meals a day (I'm not saying they've been good), and finding clean clothes to wear each morning.

And that's where things stand. Happy Valentine's Day, loves. Hug your littles extra hard today and eat plenty of chocolate. I hear it's good for cold viruses and ear infections.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Living on Zinc and Vitamin C

Soooo.....does it surprise anyone that exactly four days after starting work at an elementary school, I got sick? No? Me neither.

My birthday weekend went by in a blur of visiting (grand)parents, Olympics watching, pizza takeout, and Urgent Care. Julia's cold turned into an ear infection which necessitated the Urgent Care visit on Saturday morning (which Christopher took care of, after Genevieve said, "Daddy, you take her. It's Mama's birthday and she shouldn't have to take Julia to Urgent Care on her birthday."). Well OK then. Thanks, girlfriend!

Too bad by Sunday morning I'd been hit with the plague and spent all day lying on my bed. Since I refuse to call in sick during my second week of a new job, I've been dosing myself up, neglecting all housework and cooking (sorry for the lame-o meals the past two days, family), and sleeping as much as possible when not going in to work. At least mine's not an ear infection (yet?).

Despite all that, I had a very nice birthday. I made an ice cream cake, which was delish if I do say so myself.

A full week into things, and sickness notwithstanding, I can now confirm that I love my new job. So far, at least, everything about it is perfect for me. Ask me that again in May when I have to accompany "my" student outside for P.E. and do Lord knows what in the hot sun wearing whatever probably P.E.-inappropriate outfit I wore to work that day.

For now, though, it's great. I help a developmentally/cognitively disabled child with his afternoon activities in a mainstream first-grade classroom, get him packed up at the end of the day, and bring him to his bus. Sometimes I work with another child in the special ed room as well. It's challenging, and not for everybody for sure, but it's perfect for my background and interests right now. And there's nothing better than seeing my kiddos' faces light up when I greet them by the main door at 3:20 to take them home after school. I hope their delight in having me work at their school never gets old. Well, at least not before June, anyway. This job is temporary, remember?

Always more to say, but I'm feeling rundown and have work in 90 minutes, so I'd better sign off. Hope you all have good weeks, despite the shivery cold temperatures of this brutal winter! It has to end sometime.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Work Smarter (and Harder)

Welcome to my dispatch from the front lines of working-part-time-SAHMhood, Polar Vortex Edition. Because yes, like the rest of the country, MN remains entrenched in bitter cold. Which makes me very bitter. And cold. How many more weeks till spring??? Moving on...

I didn't get to start my new job until Tuesday. Which means, yes you figured it right, I've only been working part-time for a few days so far. Not long enough to have fully figured out a.) the job; b.) a new infallible routine for Doing All The Things; or c.) how things are gonna go for the next four months. That said, I'm working on all those things.

I love working at my kidlets' school. I love that I know a bunch of the teachers, and when any of them sees me in the hall with a staff badge around my neck, they're completely enthusiastic and excited for me. I love the hours, which give me the whole morning to get things done at home before clocking in (easier said than done) and allow me to punch out just as my children are dismissed.

I would say more about the work (generally speaking, of course; nothing confidential) but I don't feel like I'm versed enough in what I'm doing yet to speak on it. But I have enjoyed this week and think this will be a perfect way to spend my winter/spring afternoons.

I will say that the pre-employment physical screening I was required to do with an occupational therapist at the sports medicine center in town actually left me sore the next day (you guys! lifting, holding, and carrying a 50-lb. dummy who is as tall as you are (granted that's not very tall) is NOT EASY, particularly when you can't prop him on your mama hip and say, "Put your legs around my waist" like you still can with your 7-year-old, but actually have to use a cradle hold). I will also say that this job is going to be unexpectedly good for my tight/old/useless/runner's hip joints, while I sit cross-legged on the floor next to "my" student during Music and P.E. instructions, marveling that my hip joints don't seem to bend that way anymore. Youch!

It is definitely a change of pace to be gone all afternoon and come home with my children at after-school time. I used to use my afternoons for finishing all the stuff I didn't get done in the mornings: workouts, showers, cooking dinner, cleaning, laundry, errands. No more, friends!

Because the time between school dismissal and dinner (also between dinner and bedtime) is fairly crazy/hectic/requiring massive quantities of organization and patience, I have to be a time management wizard (not really) before I go to work. I have been getting up at five a.m. as always, only now I don't sit and drink my coffee in peace while checking email, Facebook, online news, and my fave blogs; instead I throw on workout clothes and squeeze in a little (lot) Jillian Michaels DVD torture before my kiddos get up. This is the only way to fit exercise in right now, I believe. In the spring when the sun is still out in the evenings, I will have no problem zipping out for a run when Christopher comes home from work; but right now that's just not gonna happen (plus, there's a Polar Vortex out there, remember?).

Then I run around in my workout clothes doing housework and laundry and getting my daughters ready for school until they're out the door, when I get my own self groomed and dressed. If I can get most of the cleaning done before the school bus comes, I still have a few hours in the morning to cook dinner in advance, run errands, and/or grocery shop, that sort of thing.

I know it's only 15 hours a week so compared to some of you working mamas it's definitely no big thing, but it's going to take me awhile to fine-tune my new routine. Gotta maximize my time, you know. 'Cause two nights a week the kiddos have tae kwon do right after a super-early dinner, and another afternoon they have a guitar lesson, is busy, you all. Nothing new, and everything new, all at the same time.

And today the grandparents are coming for the weekend to celebrate my birthday which happens to be tomorrow, so I'm outta here, friends. I'm turning 39 again you know. ;)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

First Week Post-Whole30...

Happy Thursday, friends!

I've got a post coming tomorrow about my first week of work :) so stay tuned if you're curious about that. In the meantime, it's been about a week since I finished my Whole30 challenge, and some people have been asking how it's been going since then.

In the past week--without using the formal reintroduction protocol in the Whole30 book It Starts With Food, mainly because my life has been way too busy/crazy to even read that let alone do it--I have included small amounts of non-Whole30 foods into my diet. I haven't put much thought into it or gone crazy in any direction; but I have nibbled on chocolate, eaten a few rice crackers, and had some half-and-half in my coffee at Caribou with some friends last weekend. None of these amounts have been large. For the most part, I haven't noticed any ill effects of eating these things again, at least not in these very small amounts. Well, my belly probably isn't as flat as it was before. :)

I continue to be absolutely amazed at how much less stiff and sore my joints feel since going for 30 days (mostly) without processed food, grains, dairy, or sugar. As I've said before, I mainly suspect the sugar and perhaps the wheat (and processed foods in general, I guess, since most of them contain sugar and many contain wheat!) in that regard, but who knows. I do know that I've been reluctant to resume eating very much of those things--and that's no doubt a good thing, since candy and Cheetos and potato chips and ice cream really aren't good for you--because decreased joint pain is an almost indescribably HUGE increase in my quality of life.

I'm not kidding, I used to flip-flop in bed at night and have to turn over gingerly, because my hips were sore. I'd have to change position at night like an old lady! And upon waking up each day, I'd slooooowly stand up and shuffle out of the bedroom, because my body was so stiff and achy first thing in the morning. Like I've said before, I'm 42, not 90, so this was a problem! It truly amazes me that these things aren't happening anymore. That fact alone makes the Whole30 worth it, for me--even if I wasn't perfect on it.

I did have an incident the other night when I made a baked pasta entree for my family for dinner and, feeling too lazy to prepare myself a separate entree (such as eggs, which I'd often eat during the Whole30 instead of grain-based entrees), I ate it too. OMG. I had the worst stomachache EVER right after dinner that night. (And I am not one who normally gets stomachaches--ever.) This was the kind of stomachache that makes you want to cry. I had to lie down on my back in bed, not move a muscle, and try to distract myself with the television for 45-60 minutes before it went away. Owie ouch ouch, you guys. No, no, no. My body says NO to whole-wheat pasta (the gluten?). Gah! It was horrible. I don't think I'll dare eat pasta again for a very, very long time, if ever. Which in all honesty is not a problem for me because I've never really been into pasta dishes!

OK, blah blah. I've got to get to work. :) My birthday is coming up, and with it my parents' visiting for the weekend, so I know that sugar, grains, dairy, etc., are on the agenda! I mean, I plan to make a big decadent ice-cream-toffee-something-or-other dessert for my birthday dinner on Saturday, so I'm definitely not a hardcore abstainer! (But I won't be eating pasta, ha.) I'm hoping that by keeping my serving small, I'll be able to enjoy it with no ill effects.

Talk soon!