Sunday, November 30, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things....

I have some new favorites in my life...the little things that make my world brighter...

The first is Aliza as an alarm clock. I love how, on weekends, I get to wake up to the best music there is. The sound of Aliza's little girl voice, making cooing noises as she hangs out in her crib and wakes up. Of course, my other favorite thing is how, when I go in her room in the morning, she kicks her feet and waves her arms and gives me the biggest, happiest smile in the world.

Another new favorite is family dinners. See, I grew up eating dinner with my family every night. I can remember, very clearly, the phone ringing and my dad muttering under his breath about how it is the dinner hour and who could possibly be so rude as to be calling now. That time was sacred family time. I cherish those memories now....Now that Aliza is eating solids, we eat dinner together. I thought this would happen at the dining room table, but instead we gather in our cozy kitchen and sit at the table and eat. Sometimes Aliza is eating with us. Sometimes she is just hanging out. And the other day? The phone rang, and Russ and I both began muttering about the dinner hour and how could someone possibly interrupt us during that time....And I laughed to myself.

Yet another new favorite is "cooking" for Aliza. So far I've made my own baby food--carrots and sweet potatoes. I don't know if this trend will continue, but I have to say, I take a certain amount of pride in the fact that she is getting homemade food.

My last new favorite (for now at least) is my new bedtime routine....I now sneak into Aliza's room right before I go to sleep to check on her. Her room is always dark and cozy warm and smells of baby, of MY baby. And she is always on one side, with one arm flung out and the other folded across her body, breathing softly.....the picture of contentment. When I start my morning with a smile and end my day with this, well, it life can't get any more perfect.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

C.A.T. Part 2

I passed!!!!!

Two more modules to go.
A few classes.
And I can actually be a principal.....

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I fell off the wagon.....or rather, I fell asleep last night and didn't wake up to post. I blame it on whatever illness is attacking my body leaving me with a croaky voice, runny nose, sore throat and cough.


What's amazing to me is that one year ago today, Aliza was a wonder. As in, I wonder if she is a boy or girl? I wonder when she'll arrive? I wonder if I'll be a good mom? I wonder what she'll look like? I wonder what her personality will be like? I wonder....

Today, one year later, Aliza sat at the Thanksgiving table with us, eating her own meal of sweet potato mush. She is a real little girl with a clear developing personality. My brother, her Uncle Mike, even commented on what a little snuggles she is.

I am thankful for a lot of things in my husband who loves me despite all my craziness, my family, amazing in-laws, friends who support me, a job I love going to, being able to wake up every morning and see and hear and walk and talk, living in a place where I get to see the seasons change, being able to afford a home and food on the table.....but if I have to name the thing I am most thankful for it is without a doubt Aliza. She is perfect in every way imaginable and I can't help but think how blessed we are that we created this miracle who is healthy and happy and growing and doing everything she is supposed to. Not to mention pretty darn cute! She is, by far, the best thing I have ever done in my life and I thank God for her every single day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The one that started it all

Kelli wrote a post about sifting through old emails and rediscovering some nuggets of memories from her past. It reminded me of how I too have some old emails....some very special old emails....for those of you that don't know, Russ and I met online. He "winked" at me, I winked back and then we began emailing. A few weeks later we chatted on the phone and a few days after that we went on our first date. I think we both knew, early on, where we were headed....I know I did. Anyways, I have all of his emails of these days I will print them out and tie them together and stash them somewhere so I can tell the story to Aliza of how Mommy and Daddy met online before they ever met in person. Below is the first ever email Russ ever sent me. Actually, the first email was blank, he hit send by accident, so technically it's the second email.....and here we are today, five years later.


Well so much for first impressions, my email inability seems to have proceeded me here. I truly hope you ignore the prior blank email, apparently when you press enter on the subject line it automatically sends the email. Anyway, from reading your profile it looks like we may have a lot in common. I would like to learn more about you and what kind of teaching you do. I'm actually taking the summer to write a new curriculum because I'm moving to a sixth grade language arts position. I must admit, I'm having a great time rereading these novels that I read so many years ago and can't help but to see the irony in the fact that I'm now preparing to teach them. So, as per the above subject line, I would like to know more about you and your interests. I hope to hear from.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Meme Monday

Five Old Things About Me
1) When I was little I used to think that little men lived inside of stoplights and controlled when the lights turned red, yellow and green. I was convinced they came out only at night to change shifts.
2) I knocked out my top and bottom teeth while playing tag with my Dad and talked with a lisp for quite some time. My speech teacher's name was Mrs. Zilvetti, which was hell to say when you couldn't say your S's. She used to tell me "keep the bird in the cage!" Translation: keep your tongue behind your teeth when saying s.
3) I sucked at P.E. Last picked for the team and all that jazz.
4) I had long hair to my waist, and braces and pimples. I did not peak in high school and for that I am forever grateful.
5) My sister was my role model and my friend and my brother was my playmate. We used to fight like cats and dogs, my brother and I, but couldn't stand it when the other was away or busy.

Five New Things About Me
1) I'm getting far more opinionated the older I get. And a little meaner, although some might say I'm not being mean, just developing a tougher skin. Frankly it's about time I think.
2) I love accessories. I was never much of a shopper (just ask my Mom, I used to be OK for about an hour and then I'd be all done), and I am still not, although I enjoy it more now than I used to, but still in small doses. But I do love accessories. Shoes, bags, jewelry....
3) I love cooking. I'm not very good at it--that is to say, like many things in my life I'm not a natural. I can read a recipe and follow directions but I'm not one of those people that can think about ingredients and know how they will or won't fit together. But I love to cook. It is calming and satisfying.
4) Aliza is my world. It is a struggle to be the person and the teacher I always was, and to be the mom I want to be. But she is my world and the struggle is a joyous one.
5) I hate confrontation. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Five Things I’m Still Working On
1) Balance. I've become good at separating school from home. I bring school home, the way I always did, but I don't touch it every night. And I don't touch it when I am with Aliza. Of course, while I am at school I stress out over everything I am not doing, the education my students are not getting, the teacher I am not being. But the second I am home, that flies out of my head when I see Aliza. Because when I am home, all I can think about is her.
2) Confrontation. I am getting tired of being taken advantage of. Walked all over. My kindness being mistaken for a weakness and people treating me like crap because of it. People who call themselves my friend not acting like that at all. I am getting more and more fed up with it and feeling like those people don't deserve my time or energy. I would rather devote it to people who care about me. But I also don't want those people to be let off the hook so easily. So, I am working on confrontation. Letting people know how I feel before it builds to the breaking point.
3) Believing in myself. I am still, to this day, astonished when my principal looks to me to lead. Or asks my opinion honestly. I forget that I am a leader in the building. That I have been a teacher for nine years and have a little bit of an idea about what I'm doing. I still think of myself as someone who has so much to learn, so far to grow.....that I forget that I'm doing a darn good job right now.
4) Gardening. I love to garden but I'm struggling with finding the time to do it. Hopefully this spring we'll turn over a new leaf and grow some awesome veggies!
5) Reading consistently. I want to build it into my day so that Aliza sees that her Mom and Dad are readers. When I'm into a book I'm better about it. If I'm not then I won't be as good. I have to be more consistent....I used to be more consistent. I need to get back to that.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Aliza had carrots- her first real food- tonight! The carrots were fresh from Nonna and Grosspapa's garden! Here's a video, funny expressions, messy face and all!

As if that weren't enough, we also gave her a cup for the first time. She couldn't quite figure out how to drink from it, but she sure had fun holding it, waving it around and sucking on the handle. She did get the spout in her mouth once or twice....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fake Thanksgiving 2008

For those of you that have been around this blog for awhile, you know the tradition of my in-laws to hold "Fanksgiving" a few weeks before real Thanksgiving. Last year was quite the event, as it was when we announced Aliza's imminent arrival to our respective families. (And did so in a very creative way, I might add!)

This Fake Thanksgiving there were no big announcements, but still much fun to be had.
We still spent time with family:

And we did some crafts:

And we played:

And ate:

It was a wonderful time....made more special by the fact that Aliza, who was only a dream and a wondering at this time last year, was a real little girl sitting at the table with us this year....

Friday, November 21, 2008


A hodgepodge of a post:

It was a very rough day in this educator's classroom. Friday's are notoriously bad in my room with one child taking all of my energy and patience so that by the end of the day I was shoveling Star Burst into my mouth in a frenzy. Paper airplanes were thrown, kids were shoved off of their seats, inappropriate comments were made, coins were rolled across the classroom, more inappropriate comments at the loudest possible decibel, dice chucked across the room, jumping jacks in the hallway, rude drawings on the board, an entire box of tissues was shredded and thrown away, pounding against a wall, a desk, a window, a book....and the list goes on.
I'm wiped.


Aliza gets to eat "real" food this weekend. We are starting her with carrots, fresh from Nonna's garden. I can't WAIT to see the expression on her face when she gets a taste of real grown up food for the first time.


I need to find a tailor. (Please don't shoot me when I say this next part.....) Nursing, and now running around like a maniac, has caused me to lose my weight. I still have a belly, much to my frustration as I try on top after top and none of them work, but my pants don't fit me so well anymore. They sag in horrible places. Most of them I can get away with, but I have two pairs that practically fall off of me. And they are relatively new! I refuse to get rid of them so instead I need to find a tailor.


I am not much of a shopper, but lately, all I want to do is go shopping. I think it has something to do with the above paragraph. Or perhaps the frustration of trying on six tops in the morning before finding one that works, discarding half as I go because they are too old, too small, too tight...My pile for Salvation Army is growing while my number of possible shirts is shrinking. Yes, I plan my outfits in advance but who has time to try them on in advance? Certainly not me. So I have an outfit in my head that I think looks good, and I put it on and, more often then not, the shirt doesn't work. So then I have to go through a good ten minute struggle to find an outfit that does work. Frankly, I don't have time for that in the morning. It is time to shop, if only to make my life easier at 5 in the morning. Plus I'm really into cozy dresses (after seeing my sister in law in a fabulous one last weekend) and I want some in my wardrobe. I bought two from Target (I never online shop, but I did it, only because it said, very clearly, that the dresses can be returned to any Target store), we will see if they fit. I am also very into accessories lately. Necklaces in particular. I've always loved earrings, and still do, but lately necklaces and bracelets are my new thing.


I still need something to hold all of my jewelry. I have all these fantastic earrings that are jumbled in a drawer. Another thing that takes me time in the morning- pawing through all of the various earrings to find the one I want, then pawing through again to find it's mate. Kelli found something for me that I really liked, but decided was way too small. So I never got it. (Sorry Kel!)


Time to go eat dinner....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

6 month stats

Aliza had her 6 month check up today! The doctor was wonderful, as usual, and helped me just as much as she cared for Aliza I think.

Here are her stats:

Height: 26.5 inches (75th-90th percentile)
Weight: 16 lbs 9 oz (50th-75th percentile)
Head diameter: 42.8 cm (50th to 75th percentile)

She used to be 90th percentile for her weight, but she's evened out a bit more over the last two months! We are ready to move to "real" foods this weekend! We are going to start with orange veggies; carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash! Messy face pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why I do what I do

Today a former parent stopped me in the hallway to give me a hug and welcome me back. She told me that her son, my former student, is struggling with writing. She said that he talks about me all the time, about how I helped him so much as a writer and he can't seem to get the same results since leaving my room. She told me that I should teach the gifted program because I have such an obvious passion for writing. And then she told me that I made a difference in his life.

I almost started to cry.

Lately I've been feeling so overwhelmed. Actually....Every day I feel so overwhelmed. I am caught up in the minutia. Trying to get to know my students, teach everything I'm supposed to in the way that I'm supposed to....heck, I'm still trying to find stuff in my classroom that between last May to this November has somehow gone missing. I haven't hit my stride yet and I'm waiting until I do....fearing that I won't. I feel I'm in a race, and barely keeping up.

Sometimes getting so caught up in the details you forget the reason you are doing what you are doing. That parent reminded me.

So tomorrow, when I go into work, I'm going to not worry so much about being a super star teacher. Tomorrow I'm going to enjoy my students. And I'm going to write with them. I'm going to show them that there are adults out there who love to write. Who approach it with passion and enthusiasm and a wish for nothing more than twenty or thirty uninterrupted minutes to let their pencil roam over the page. I'm going to remind myself that I can do this. Especially if I stay focused on why I'm doing it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Last Thursday I had the opportunity to return to my old school...the one where I started my career nine years ago. Actually, I was in the very classroom that I once taught third grade in. I happened to be there with my current principal, who was there at the school with me, and a colleague that had been there too. The three of us couldn't help but reminisce about the "good old days".

Maybe it is because I am getting older....maybe it's because I have been teaching for nine years and despite the fact that I love my job, nine years of anything will make you look at things a little differently.....maybe it is because my "new" school is so completely different- in appearance and feel....but a part of me longed for the days when I taught in this "old" school.

It was built a long time ago- late 60's I believe. Like most buildings built then it is heavy and ponderous; made of institutional brick and built, without apology, to withstand anything. It is not fancy in any way, it is built in a simple rectangle, with a courtyard in the middle. The classrooms are bigger than the ones that I currently teach in, and since I left, have all been painted in light blues or yellows. The classrooms are right next to each other, and right across too, and lockers line the hallways. Artwork is everywhere and you can tell that there is a community. It is a school, and meant to be a school.

My current building, although beautiful, is impractical in the extreme. It is built to look more like an office building; all sweeping lines and curving walls. Floor to ceiling glass, which sounds really nice but has made it rather difficult to control the heat, and leaves the building feeling (and looking) rather cold. Teachers clearly weren't consulted when they designed the building either because there are any number of things that any one of us would change in a heartbeat. Starting with a desk that must sit in the front of the room for computer access and continuing with a small classroom made smaller by the huge cubbies that have to go into each classroom because the hallways were designed to barely fit two classes passing through, let alone lockers for the students. It is a beautiful building, to be sure, and there are architectural awards to prove it, but it doesn't feel like a school. And it is an effort to make it look like one.

So, I sat in this classroom, my old classroom, and was nostalgic. Not only for the physical space that I so dearly miss, but also for the staff members that used to work there. I remember how we'd all stand out in our halls in the morning as the kids came in and, because we were so close, be able to talk to one another easily. I remember my colleague (who is now a principal in the district) that worked across the hall, shouting out to me from his desk in his classroom, and being able to respond. I remember I belonged to a school community. Not that I don't feel that now but it is different. I can go days without seeing teammates if I want. I can also go weeks without seeing some of my colleagues that work downstairs, or in another wing of my building. It is harder, requires more effort, to get that same community feeling.....we have to work for it now and before, it just happened because we were all so close.

I drove away thinking that as much as I love my school now, and the people I work with and the reputation I know I have built with families in my area.....I wouldn't mind going back to my "old" school.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday baby!

Aliza is 6 months old today! I can't believe that six months ago I held my baby girl for the first time.

She is so different now than she was then....I can not wait (although I don't want it to happen TOO quickly) to see what the next six months brings.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I came upstairs earlier tonight with Aliza to get something from her room and heard an irritating buzzing noise coming from our bedroom....I dismissed it as one of Russ' many electronic devices and went downstairs again. An hour or so later, back upstairs, to hear the buzzing still happening....and again, after our bedtime routine with Aliza the buzzing was STILL happening.

I took a moment to track the noise down and discovered our Carbon Monoxide detector was flashing an alarm.

And promptly freaked.

Not in the screaming, running around the house kind of way. No, in the "what the hell do we do now? Oh my god are we going to be one of those stories on the news about the family that gets violently ill in the middle of the night because they were too dumb to leave the house when their detector went off" kind of way. I called to Russ who did the same thing I did, which was to push the test/reset button, and sure enough, it was still buzzing and flashing. He decided to bring it downstairs to see if it flashed there. It did. Then he brought it outside to the garage to see if it flashed there. It did. Throughout this process, I frantically opened windows, lowered the heat and debated with Russ about calling the fire department.

To make the night even more interesting, our cat, Linus, escaped onto the roof because one of the windows didn't have a screen on it. So I crawled onto the roof in the pitch dark to get him, envisioning falling and breaking a limb, ambulances, flashing lights, trips to the E.R....while doing so....luckily we both made it back into the house safely and Linus was locked in the basement.

Finally, I did call the fire department. They told us they'd send a guy over to take a more accurate I ran around closing all the windows, figuring the reading won't be accurate if the windows are blowing fresh air in. The fire truck arrived (we got reprimanded for our house number, which is difficult to see because the previous owners painted it the same color as the house so it blends right in) and three very nice fire fighters arrived. One walked around with a Ghostbusters-looking gadget to take couch and noticed our various gaming systems. They reassured us everything was fine, encouraged us to buy new meters and departed.

I'm still sleeping with the windows open and a fan going in Aliza's room. And, yes, we are buying three new detectors in the morning.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bag lady

Teachers are notorious bag ladies. On any given school day I have anywhere from three to five bags. I get in trouble with all of my bags at home. They accumulate in the office and stand, propped against the desk, until Russ inevitably trips over them and then starts complaining, loudly.
He doesn't have any school bags.

Now that I am a mom, I have even more bags. No joke, I left to go to school and I had five bags. I mean, they are all nice bags, so there is that. But five bags.... As I stumble out of the house with my many bags, fresh from saying goodbye to Aliza, I can't help but think, every time, how my literal stumbling is a metaphorical reality these days: life is all about balance. I have to balance my many bags--one for pumping, which is for Aliza; one for lunch, which is for me; one for school work, which is for my is difficult to balance all of these things. Literally and figuratively.
I've never been very good with balance. Literally or figuratively.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Here are recent videos of Aliza in one of her chattier moments.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Me me

Outside my window: a lawn covered in leaves, water reflecting off the lake, swans.

Daily rhythm: Lately? Frantic.

I am thankful for: Aliza. My family. A husband who is an amazing father. Good health. A job I love. Waking up every morning with a fully functioning body in a cozy home. My friends. That I need nothing stronger than a good cry, a long hug and chocolate to get me through a rough day. Living in an area where I get to see the leaves change colors, the snow fall, the spring buds blossom and the summer sun shine. And so much more....

In the kitchen: is where I grew up watching my Mom cook.

Breakfast:Varies by day but is absolutely essential I believe.

Lunch:Usually eaten while standing up in front of my kids teaching these days.

Dinner tonight: Baked ziti, thanks Mom!

I am wearing: Jeans and a sweater.

I am creating: A future citizen of the world that is, hopefully, responsible, respectful and kind.

Bringing beauty to my home: happens every day in the form of Aliza.

I am hoping for: a life filled with laughter, light and love with only a few rough spots for Aliza.

Around the house: baby stuff EVERYWHERE. She has taken over in a very good way.

Making plans for: the future- both immediate and way far off.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A day

NPW wrote a post about what she dealt with today...I read it and kind of wished my day went anything like hers.

My day was more...colorful. Yeah. That's the word. The highlight was having a student in a corner, behind a window shade, beating his fists against the glass of the window while crying and screaming at the top of his lungs., I take that back... the highlight might actually be another teacher, who has worked with this child for three years and knows him a lot better than I do (since this is only my fourth day working with him), to check in and see what was going on and then promptly leave the room calling out over her shoulder, "Let me know if you need help." Really? And how am I to let you know that when I have an out of control kid on my hands and no adult around?
The behavior spiraled from there and I spent the rest of my afternoon desperately trying to get through the lessons for the other students in my class who weren't shouting out, or jumping up and down repeatedly, or slamming the bathroom door, or singing, or throwing paper airplanes, or doing any number of disruptive behaviors. 3:45 sure didn't come fast enough for me today.

Coming home.....well, I was exhausted and emotionally drained. But it all disappeared the second I saw my beautiful Snuggles. She smiled and kicked her feet and immediately started to whine because she wanted to nurse. My heart melted and the stress of the day melted away with it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Six month photos

Taking advantage of a day off of work, our little family of three headed to get six month/Christmas portraits of Aliza taken.
Not knowing what to expect, I packed a few changes of clothes, some toys, my nursing tent, diapers etc. I thought it would take an hour, maybe two, but not much longer than that. We had an appointment after all. Doesn't that mean you shouldn't have to wait to get in?
Apparently not.
We showed up on time for our appointment, and then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, we were ushered into a small room to take our pictures and peppered with questions: "how does she do sitting?, what kind of portraits? can she stand? how about crawl? will she prop herself up? what background do you want?" I repeatedly told the photographer that she was just barely six months and therefore not doing much of anything on her own yet. Finally we settled into the picture taking. We were only planning on taking pictures of Aliza, but the photographer asked us to get in the shots- both individually and as a family. Although we weren't quite dressed for such an event, we did so. Of course, now we are happy we did.
Once the pictures were done we headed outside to meet with a consultant to order our prints. We waited. And waited. And dear lord, waited some more. Finally, we got to choose our prints. We definitely got suckered into buying a larger package than we had intended, but decided it was well worth it since we got a DVD of all of the shots.
I'm not giving too many away- after all, they will be presents in a month and a half, but here are some pictures of Aliza in her Christmas dress at six months old. Well worth all the waiting, as far as I'm concerned!

Monday, November 10, 2008


When I was pregnant a good friend that I work with came up with a nickname for me: PL. It stood for pregnant-Lisa. So it wasn't the most clever of nicknames but she used it to describe those times when I deviated from my normal personality, which seemed to happen quite often during my pregnancy. I found that I had less patience for people, and tolerated less b.s. when I was pregnant. I was also more opinionated, and more vocal about it. My friend loved it when PL came out, and told me frequently she hoped that PL would stick around after Aliza's birth.

I'm thinking she has....

The other day at lunch I was having a conversation with this same friend. She was asking me about Aliza and how she was doing taking the bottle. I made some offhand comment about how we went with the expensive bottles, and had to switch up to something cheaper and shaped "more like mom". Another colleague overheard and chimed in with "Gross."

This annoyed the crap out of me.
First of all, why is she butting into a conversation that doesn't even involve her.....
Secondly, there is nothing gross at all about nursing, about having a baby who nurses. It is beautiful and amazing and a gift that I am blessed to share with my daughter. There is nothing like it as far as I'm concerned.

Of course, because I'm me, I thought of several clever retorts. About an hour after this interaction. It's a good thing too, because PL was definitely showing her face again in any of the responses I came up with. We'll see if she makes another appearance, but I have to say, I'm not so sure I'll mind it if she does.....

Sunday, November 09, 2008

New pictures!

Here are some recent pictures of Aliza:

Playing in her activity chair.

Tummy time!

Sitting up in her high chair like a big girl!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Day 2

Friday went even better than Thursday. I cried on the way to school after saying goodbye to Aliza, but managed to make it through the rest of the day without any tears. I also managed, for the first time in my nine year career, to leave by 4:00. Nothing like a little motivation in the form of a six month old to make me walk away from the piles the sub left behind, the papers that need to be corrected and the many curriculum binders that need to be reorganized after having two different people pawing through them.

I also felt a little more on top of my game curriculum-wise. Slightly more organized, not scrambling quite as much....I'm still not completely on top of everything, but I got through the many lessons I had to teach without feeling like I was totally winging it.

What struck me on Friday was how much effort it all takes. Not only teaching, but all of the many people you interact with. After six months having very limited adult contact, it feels a bit like culture shock to me. The nice part about all of this is that there are so many people who are so excited I am back. Interestingly, the people that I would least expect are the ones being the nicest- the ones who left me cards on my desk or in my mailbox, or came in for a welcome back hug. And the ones I thought would be first at my door barely even acknowledged my return. The flip side is that I don't have time for conversations anymore. Between planning, copying, correcting, emailing and pumping, there is very little room for long, I feel a bit like a kid learning to ride a bike; a little unsteady when surrounded by so many people after months of my own thoughts and Aliza's chatter to keep me company. However, at the end of the day, what I walk away with is an amazing feeling of belonging. Of being respected and cared about. It really is a blessing to have so many people so excited just to see me again.....

Friday, November 07, 2008

Are you a Jackie or a Marilyn?

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Doris!


You are a Doris -- "I must help others."

Dorises are warm, concerned, nurturing, and sensitive to other people's needs.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Tell me that you appreciate me. Be specific.

  • * Share fun times with me.

  • * Take an interest in my problems, though I will probably try to focus on yours.

  • * Let me know that I am important and special to you.

  • * Be gentle if you decide to criticize me.

In Intimate Relationships

  • * Reassure me that I am interesting to you.

  • * Reassure me often that you love me.

  • * Tell me I'm attractive and that you're glad to be seen with me.

What I Like About Being a Doris

  • * being able to relate easily to people and to make friends

  • * knowing what people need and being able to make their lives better

  • * being generous, caring, and warm

  • * being sensitive to and perceptive about others' feelings

  • * being enthusiastic and fun-loving, and having a good sense of humor

What's Hard About Being a Doris

  • * not being able to say no

  • * having low self-esteem

  • * feeling drained from overdoing for others

  • * not doing things I really like to do for myself for fear of being selfish

  • * criticizing myself for not feeling as loving as I think I should

  • * being upset that others don't tune in to me as much as I tume in to them

  • * working so hard to be tactful and considerate that I suppress my real feelings

Dorises as Children Often

  • * are very sensitive to disapproval and criticism

  • * try hard to please their parents by being helpful and understanding

  • * are outwardly compliant

  • * are popular or try to be popular with other children

  • * act coy, precocious, or dramatic in order to get attention

  • * are clowns and jokers (the more extroverted Dorises), or quiet and shy (the more introverted Dorises)

Dorises as Parents

  • * are good listeners, love their children unconditionally, and are warm and encouraging (or suffer guilt if they aren't)

  • * are often playful with their children

  • * wonder: "Am I doing it right?" "Am I giving enough?" "Have I caused irreparable damage?"

  • * can become fiercely protective

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Day one

Today was my first day returning to work full time since last May.
I was scared. I am scared.

I wasn't scared of teaching. I've been doing that long enough to know that I could dive back in, even unprepared as I was, and make it through a day. Don't get me wrong, I hated being as unprepared as I was....but I got through it. And I wasn't scared of the kids. It's a little scary to start to get to know them when the year is well underway, and they have already settled into their third grade year, but that's OK too.

What I was most scared of, what I am still scared of, is whether or not I could do it.

Up until May 16th of last year I was a teacher. A pregnant teacher, but just a teacher. And then May 17th, I became a Mom. A mom and not a teacher. Today was the first day where I tried to do both for the first time--be a mom and a teacher. I wasn't sure I could do it. And even though I'm sitting here on the other side of a rather insane day, I am still not so sure I can do it.

Today was really difficult. In many ways. It was hard leaving Aliza. I cried leaving her. Again halfway through my drive and again right before the kids walked in the door. I cried when I was pumping in the middle of my day, all alone in my room. I would look at the picture I have of her on my desk and my eyes would well up. I was walking down the hall to the lunch room and I pictured her little face so clearly in my mind--the moment when she is eating and something startles her so she pulls away to look up at me, confused and puzzled, then gives me a great big smile before turning her head back to her eating. That image popped into my head so vividly that I smiled and wished I could be holding her so desperately that I had to fight the urge to just leave and go home to her.

It was also difficult because I honestly have very little idea about what has been happening in my classroom. It's hard to build on previous learning when you don't know what that previous learning is. I asked my students throughout the day, "Did Miss P. do this? Say this? Teach this?" She also did things a certain way, a different way. Some of it I don't mind, and I welcome the change, and some of it I don't like so I had to begin to change it today. This makes for an even longer day because once third graders are settled into a routine, if you shake it up on them they have a million and one questions. And, my student, the one who I have mentioned here on this blog....well, he was difficult too. His behavior did not magically change just because I was there as so many seemed to think. So I turned into Mean Mrs. S. and cracked down rather hard on him a couple of times. Apparently, there's already a noticeable difference, at least according to the speech teacher who was in the room. I was also bombarded by all of the various people who work with this little guy--to talk about behaviors, or academics, to set up a time to meet, to review sensory plans, to discuss what I want to do....the amount of stuff there is to talk about is, in and of itself, overwhelming.

The day was hectic. I felt like I didn't stop running all day long. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. Pumping in the middle of the day during my rather short breaks makes things even more difficult. When you only have thirty minutes break and fifteen of those thirty is taken up with pumping, it leave you very little time for the ten thousand things you have to do. I am committed to doing it though. I want Aliza to be a breastfed baby. I ate lunch today while I taught spelling. I told myself, driving home, that things will get easier. That a large part of the craziness of the day was that I am still getting used to the space of my room. Still finding things that I haven't seen since last year. Still working out where we are in the curriculum, who the students are, what they are like as learners....all of this takes time.
But, somehow, I am still scared.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I was listening to CNN on the way to work today and they did a short clip of reactions around the world to the news that Obama is our President-elect. There was chanting and shouting and the commentator mentioned that so many countries are viewing this election as a message of hope and new beginnings. So many countries are looking to reaffirm or rekindle relations with the U.S. now that there is a new kid on the block. Can you even imagine? Can you even imagine your face being known around the world? Taking a job that is, in and of itself, unfathomable in its power and influence, and then making it even bigger because of who you are and what you represent?

I can't.

Not that I am comparing myself in any way to President-elect Obama, but lately, there seem to be a lot of expectations surrounding my return to work. I have this student who has pretty much been allowed to run amuck since the start of the school year. I mean, it's messy. He shouts out VERY inappropriate things, including curse words, periodically throughout the day. He hops like a frog around the classroom. He pulls out a book and reads pretty much whenever he wants. He argues with everyone fairly regularly- even going so far as to engage in a tug of war over materials with another teacher. He sits in the middle of the floor and refuses to move his spot during reading workshop. He'll enter the classroom shouting something random at the top of his lungs. In short, he is a constant disruption.

And for some reason, everyone seems to think that his behavior will magically change as soon as I return to work. As if this kid who has done whatever he wants for the last three months will suddenly realize the error of his ways and change just because his "real" teacher is back.

Yeah right.

The expectations are high though. I can't help but think, on this dawn of a new day for America and a new beginning for me, that if you have such high expectations, how can you not disappoint someone?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


We interrupt the regularly scheduled posting for a political message.....

It doesn't matter to me if you are Democrat or Republican.....Independent or Undecided. What matters today is that you get out there and vote.
This election, as we all know, is historic. No matter who wins we either have the first (part) African American President, or the first woman Vice President. Whatever way you lean, you have to admit, that is pretty darn cool. So, quit blogging, put down the remote, leave work a bit early, and go stand in that line to cast your vote for the future of our country. Because your vote DOES count.

Monday, November 03, 2008


He was the one who read us bedtime stories as kids....

When we got older and were able to read by ourselves, he wouldn't yell when he'd come upstairs after lights out and find that we had turned our lights on again to read some more. Instead, he'd say ten more minutes, knowing full well that we'd be sound asleep in five and he'd have to walk upstairs again to turn our light off for us.....

He's the one who would let go of the bike when we were learning to ride, knowing we could do it alone even if we didn't believe it ourselves.....

He's the one that taught us how to drive, never once showing how scared he must have been as we lurched and sputtered and stalled our way around the parking lot and the back roads of our town....

He's the one who gave us our medicine when we were kids, and then a huge mouthful of whipped cream to make it go down just a little easier.....

He's the one who sat patiently by while we brushed our teeth, making sure that we did it for long enough, letting us know that we couldn't rush through it because we'd just have to go back and do it all over again....

He's the one who made snowmen, had snowball fights and built snow forts with us....

He found a scuba diving course for us to take, and then booked a trip to Florida so we could get our certification.....

He's the one that wouldn't let us leave the dinner table until we ate all of our green vegetables saying "Look at all the vitamins swimming around in there!"....

He's the one that would take us swimming and throw us high in the air to land with a large SPLASH that would leave us spluttering and laughing and asking to do it just one more time....

He's the one who asked, "you sure you want to do this?" with a smile and a laugh, moments before walking me down the aisle....

He's the one that dressed all in long sleeves, in the middle of summer, with us so that we can crawl into the raspberry bushes and pick piles of sweet red berries.....

He's the one who wrote a letter to help me gain admission to the British Exchange program, even though I am sure he was nervous about sending me overseas to live for a month....

He's the one that STILL laughs about my Moose Meadow hat....and probably still has it stashed away somewhere.....

He's the one who lives a life that teaches me that you can BE anyone and you can DO anything.....just make sure you do it with honesty and integrity and a little bit of laughter and a whole lot of love.

He's my Dad, and he recently celebrated his 60th birthday, exactly as he wanted: with a huge party surrounded by all the people he loves, and who love him.
Happy Birthday Dad.
I love you,
Your skinny banana

Sunday, November 02, 2008


No, I'm not talking about our pet cat. I'm talking about the C.A.T. The Connecticut Administrator Test.

See, I'm taking courses to get my 092 certification. That's a fancy way of saying that I'm paying a whole lot of money to get a degree so that I can one day be an administrator; a principal, a curriculum leader etc. In addition to the certification, I'm getting my 6th year degree, which is another thirty credits beyond a master's degree and gives me a sweet little bump up the pay scale.

Part of this degree is, of course, taking a test. Because heaven forbid they just give you the degree after sitting through hours of classes and writing countless papers and working on several projects, and, oh yeah, writing a thesis. I mean, you can't do all that work and not take a test too, right??? The test is divided into two modules, with two sections in each module- so, four tests all together. There is the School Improvement module and the Instructional Analysis and Teacher Support module. Each module is then divided into Elementary and Secondary (which is either middle or high school). Each module is also about an hour and a half, so the entire test taking time for all four modules is 6 hours. Yup. They don't recommend that you take all four modules at once, and I have to tell you, I agree. The test is scored on a 0-3 rubric, with a 2 being the lowest score you can get. Actually, I take that back, on all four sections, you are allowed one score of 1. So, for example you could get a 1 and a 2 on one module, and then a 2 and 2 on another and still pass the whole thing. If you get more than one 1 then you fail and have to retake it. Did I mention that the test is pricey too? It cost $250 to do one module. So, the entire thing costs $500.

I took two modules Saturday and sitting through three straight hours of testing was hard. Did I mention that they are essay questions and you have to hand write everything? In this day and age it seems almost barbaric to make you hand write an essay.

Anyways, you can't really study for these tests. You take classes to help, and you do a few practice runs in those classes, but it's not the kind of test you study for. I went in feeling reasonably confident. Who am I kidding, I went in with a stomach ache feeling ridiculously nervous. But I had reviewed the study guides I had, and the suggestions I received on my practice runs and I told myself, repeatedly, that on all of my practices I got scores of 2 and 3 so I could DO this. Like a mantra, over and over, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this....."

And, man, it was HARD. Harder than I thought. Without going into too many details (I signed a confidentiality agreement and you would be bored anyways) I'll tell you that our practices were not really like the real thing. Sure, the questions were all the same, but the scenarios were way different. I was confronted with situations that I couldn't support with hard data, and every course I took kept telling me to refer to the Strategic School Profile--the SSP, which is the document that has all the hard data in it. Every professor I had said that you should use the supporting documents to get an idea of a problem to address but you use the SSP to support anything you do. Yeah, well, what are you supposed to do if the SSP has absolutely NOTHING in it? I mean, nothing. I floundered and I knew it. I tried to remember all of the great ideas I had learned and written about, but so much of it flew right out of my head that I know I didn't include everything I should have. And the time constraint! I kept my watch out, well aware of the time, but somehow managed to only wind up with about twelve minutes for the last question. Overall, I walked out convinced that I didn't do well, and I'd be going through it again the next time it is offered. Scores come out in six weeks, so I have a long wait to find out how I really did....

Fingers crossed......

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My little huney

Our Halloween ended up being relatively low key....we drove over to Nonna's house, and then on to Auntie Tina's so that we could take pictures of all of the grandkids together. I managed to forget my camera, so I won't be able to post those pictures until my Dad or sister email them to me. Then we came home and attempted to order pizza, only to discover that everyone in creation had the same idea and it would take two hours to get it. We got Aliza dressed in her costume and headed over to a neighbor's house to walk around with them. This is becoming our annual tradition with these neighbors, and, as Russ pointed out, at this time last year we knew we were pregnant, but no one else was nice to be with them, one year later, holding our baby girl in our arms.
We didn't last too long--or rather, Aliza didn't last too long, but it was nice to discover just how wonderful our neighborhood really is. The owners of the few houses we did stop at were so incredibly kind that it made Russ and I both love our little area even more. As an aside- many of them mentioned the pink flower pots I had out for awhile, which makes me wonder just how carefully they are noticing our house and yard....which makes me think that we REALLY have to do something about those leaves that are piling up outside. Anyways, we headed home and spent the rest of the night handing out candy to the many kids from our neighborhood......

Here she is, on her first Halloween, my little Huney bear: