Sunday, April 29, 2012
Times are tough all around, and I guess until now I have been fortunate to remain relatively unscathed. Of course, we are a family of seven living in a three bedroom house in what many consider to be an "icky" place, so I guess the definition of unscathed is all a matter of perspective.
We've had our fair share of hard times, but we've remained intact, and the kids seem none the worse for the wear. I am a part of my district's negotiations team. A job that would be not much fun in good economic times, it's horrible right now. I am not very good at it. In fact, I am terrible at it. I wept through the last session. A sense of panic set in that I am not sure how to shake. In addition my husband has been laid off, so hearing the changes that are to come in some way, shape, or form is to put it simply, terrifying to me.
I probably don't give my husband enough credit, he is my rock. (There honey, if you ever figure out how to work a computer and how to find my blog you will see in writing how much I appreciate you!) When I came home all a weepy mess he simply said, "We'll be okay."
I've had to change some plans for the summer. There will be no pool membership, no family vacation, and no trip to American Girl. Ruby, I should add took it all in stride. She simply asked if we could send her doll to the doll hospital so she could play with her. I think that's a pretty fair deal considering we had been planning a trip to Chicago!
Yesterday was our Opening Day for baseball. It's one of my favorite days of the year as it signals the beginning of ball season, and all the hustle and bustle that goes with it! I love spending my days and nights watching my children play ball. My friends are there, my children's friends are there, and there is a real sense of community down at the fields. Working together, we manage to provide an almost magical memory making place for our kids, not to mention a really awesome bunch of ball players! My kids love being down at the fields, and they run wild with their friends while at games and practices. Our fields are not for the faint of heart. They're near train tracks, and (gasp) a run down trailer park, but I don't think my kids have ever even noticed. While they are there, they are a part of that proverbial village being raised by the many parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles that fill our fields any night of the week.
I guess it was the ballpark yesterday that helped put everything in perspective for me. I don't need to move somewhere better, I don't need to have a fancy house, car, or clothes to be a part of something meaningful. If I can manage to hold on to what I have I will be alright. Everything I care for, need, and want is here with me already.
So while the future is uncertain and scary, I've decided to be okay with that. I am certainly not the only one in that boat, and I can sit around feeling angry or sorry, or I can choose to make the best of it. I will cut back, buckle down, and weather the storm. In fact, I might even choose to learn to dance in the rain... (I've heard there can be money in that....)
God is good. All the time.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
To commemorate the event, I tried to take a picture of the kids together...
Here is what I came up with...
Notice Noah's happy face... try again....
Well... Noah isn't pouting, but Matthew decided to close his eyes...and I am not sure what Ricky is doing with his hand, or his head for that matter....
Friday, March 9, 2012
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing you to today because I am not sure where else to turn. I am not writing for just myself, but for perhaps thousands of public school teachers who are in the same situation as I find myself.
I have been teaching for thirteen years. I never imagined myself doing anything else. My earliest memories bring me back to the childhood wonder and admiration of the teachers who unlocked the mysteries of reading, writing, science, and math for me. In first grade, I proudly wrote, “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.” Luckily for me, dreams do come true, and I have a job I love, despite the ever-present lynching of public school teachers in the media.
I was blessed to find a wonderful husband, and together we have a family of six children ranging in age from twenty-one, down to our six year old twins. As our family grew, so did the need for me to attempt to get my master’s degree in an attempt to increase my pay. Again, I had to use student loans.
I now find myself in debt, deeply in debt. My student loans prohibit me from getting ahead in life, for saving for my children’s educations, or even saving for a rainy day. Currently it’s all we can do to keep our house, (which is worth about half of what we owe on it) keep the growing children in clothes, and fed, and keep gas in our cars.
Recently, my student loan payments ballooned from $388 a month to over $1,000 a month, which is simply an impossible amount for me to come up with each month. My student loan debt has increased to a ridiculous amount over the years. In desperation, I applied for the Federal Teacher Loan forgiveness program, but was dismayed to find that I do not qualify, despite teaching in a high poverty district for my entire career because I have loans that were in existence prior to 1998. This stipulation simply does not make sense to me, as it seems that those of us that are teachers that are still trying to pay off our loans from prior to 1998 could really use some help!
Our public schools are under attack in Michigan. My little district of Ypsilanti is over 9 million dollars in debt. In addition to concessions that we have made in prior years, as we go into negotiations we know that we will again take pay cuts and pay more for our health benefits making those of us with heavy student loan debt finding ourselves faced with filing bankruptcy, losing our houses and cars, or struggling to feed our families. My American dream is becoming an American nightmare. Sometimes, I simply feel trapped and hopeless. My family and I, and many of families like ours are trapped in a murky purgatory. We make “too much” on paper, but not enough to loosen the noose of debt from around our necks. I guess that is what inspired me to write to you sir.
I do not envy your position Mr. President. I fully realize that the whole country is struggling during these difficult economic times, and there are many people in far worse situations than I find myself. I simply ask that as you consider economic stimulus packages, you consider easing student loan debt for teachers, especially those of us with “old” student loan debt.
God Bless America, and may God continue to bless you Mr. President.
God is good. All the time.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
"Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success." - Oscar Wilde
I do not have a very fine nature. My co-teacher, my partner in crime, my sounding board, my FRIEND has gotten a wonderful opportunity and instead of helping her celebrate I cry every time I see her.
I am the QUEEN of DENIAL, and I do not want Monday to come. I can't even begin to wrap my brain around how different things will be when I can't walk by room 1 and see Debra. I never went to Perry expecting to find such a wonderful mentor, exercise partner, and more importantly friend. I think I often take for granted how amazingly lucky I have been for the past six years.
I will miss our daily chats, especially during my Facebook free Lent! I will miss your funny toe running shoes, even though I just point at them and giggle and refuse to run. I will miss you saving me a seat at PD days, you always know how to keep me focused. I will miss marathon IEP days during conferences, and the Good and Plenty that you always have on hand when I most need them.
Thank you Debra for being an amazing friend. I will miss you more than you can imagine, even though you are just across the district.
"I'd like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me. I'd like to be the help that you've been always glad to be; I'd like to mean as much to you each minute of the day, as you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the way." - Edgar A. Guest
(I am totally NOT calling you old, that was just in the quote...)
Debra, I wish you the best of luck in your new position, and nothing but happiness with each new day.
God is good. All the time.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Well being off of Facebook is no fun, (just in case anyone is wondering) but I am going to keep trying to stick to my plan!
Today Ruby had a twirling competition. She did well. Better than she ever has before, but it was a very long day, especially for a six year old who couldn't sleep the night before!
Ruby and her partner in crime Elly, manage to take it all in stride. They prance, strut, and flit around having a ball, only to be interrupted by those times that they have to actually COMPETE. It's a long day for us moms. Thank goodness for MY partner in crime Jody!! =) I couldn't ask for a better twirler mom to hang out with. =) Sometimes I think Ruby goes to the competitions strictly to socialize, or for the concession stand. Why is popcorn so much more alluring when it cost me $1.25 a bag? If I had popcorn at home, she would surely want to eat something else.
Today the girls were getting tired, and we still had their duet left to perform. Thankfully the boss lady who runs the show took pity on them and let them perform their duet early... otherwise we would probably still be there!
As we dressed the girls in their outfits, Jody suggested that the girls practice the their duet one more time. Ruby replied, "We don't have to. That's why they call it a "duet" you just look at your partner, and you do it!"
Out of the mouths of babes.... (They got second place in case you were wondering!!)
Good is good. All the time.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I will admit, I am tempted. I mean, if SHE could cheat as a child on Sundays then it's okay... right? I thought about it, but I've decided that I will NOT cheat on Sundays. I am going to stick to my whole Lenten Facebook free pledge. My cheats will be my Donors Choose posts (keep an eye out for those the week of March 12th and feel free to donate) and my posts of my blog, which do not require me to look through my home page. =) Of course, this is only day two... things could change. ;)
I have not undone my Facebook notifications, so I have gotten emails letting me know that my dad is checking on my will power, and my friend Kelly wants to know what alms are. I have resisted the urge to reply, so on the off chance you read it here, Kelly, (and Jackie too) Any material favour done to assist the needy, and prompted by charity, is almsgiving. I figure Jackie's charity could be keeping an eye on you my dear friend, since I am NOT on Facebook for now! (That should answer your question too Dad!)
A few years back I gave up salting my food. Now this might not seem like much to some of you, but I am a certified SALTAHOLIC. If there were a 12 step program, I am sure that I would be a founder. At first it was not so bad. I may have even eaten less. My biggest temptation was when I went to the movies and ordered popcorn. I LOVE movie popcorn!! I also take a napkin full of salt to shower over my popcorn while eating it, lest I run out of salt. I was at the movies with several friends, and was drooling all over the counter as my friends salted their popcorn. Lucky for me, one of them spilled some salt, so I was able to convincne her to throw some salt over her shoulder (you know, to ward off evil spirits...) while I may or may not have stood behind her. =) She did not take salt into the theater, so while I may have cheated A LITTLE I took a LOT of grief from my friends. The salty popcorn was delicious, however it was a bit tainted by my guilty conscious.
Here are the posts you WOULD have seen today if I WERE on Facebook...
1) Why do my dogs insist on eating socks and barfing them up, after the first two or three, wouldn't you think that they would think...EATING SOCKS is BAD?
2) You know that dead slobbery bird that was in my living room the other day? My husband SAW it on his way to work and LEFT it for me to clean up!!
3) I still wish I had a hot tub....
4) I wish I were in Disney World, even if birds sat on my head....
My mom is in Disney World with my sister. While at the beach, a seagull landed on her head. She says she felt a "weird pinching" and thought that she was getting stung by a bee. Now WHY she didn't start flapping and screaming on the first "weird pinch" I will never know, but apparently a seagull had perched ON HER HEAD!! My sister was laughing too hard to take a picture, and the bird flew away. I miss all the fun.
God is good. All the time.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Thoughts for today:
1. Delivering 300 boxes of cookies sucks. I am very happy that Clara met her goal and sold 300 boxes and will win a stuffed giraffe, but next year I think I will sell a few boxes and buy her a stuffed animal. It will be much less painful. =)
2. Only 40 more days until I can use Facebook again.
3. I wish I had a hot tub. We just got back from my friend's house and she has a hot tub in her back yard. I am pretty sure that if I had a hot tub in my backyard, I would never have any reason to leave my house. So it could keep me from going out shopping, which could save us money. I wonder if my husband will go for that reasoning.....
4. I have decided that sharing my blog on Facebook is not actually USING Facebook, and that way if all my friends who live in Facebook want to comment on my blog, I can still kind of know what they are doing.
5. All my imaginary plants are going to suffer a long and terrible imaginary death in Monster World.
6. Why do I even PLAY Monster World??
Well, that's it for now. It's about time I get out of my pajamas and accomplish something. I would bake cookies or something, but I am pretty sure there is an unwritten rule about baking cookies when you have 200 boxes of cookies left to deliver.....
God is good. All the time.