Thursday, December 20, 2012

What Do You Think Thursday with Skinny Scoop: Classic Christmas Songs for Kids

I love Christmas music.  LOVE IT!  I made a list of my favorite tunes last year in case you missed it.

My kids have been listening to Christmas songs since they have been in utero.  They could probably name any song sung by Bing Crosby with the Andrew Sisters in three notes.

This year, I could see that they have been acquiring their own taste in Christmas music, so I decided to make them their own playlist of Christmas tunes.

Here’s the Skinny Scoop list.  Click on it if you want to see all 14 tracks. 

What are your favorite Christmas songs? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

No Longer Full-Time Stay-At-Home Mom

I have a big announcement – 

*takes deep breath*

I have a part-time job teaching social media for marketing at a local business college.  It’s one class, one time a week for four hours. 

I’ve been shadowing the current teacher for the whole semester, and she has generously shared her lesson plans, rubrics, and power point presentations with me.

I am excited that I have an opportunity to combine my passion for social media with my former life as a teacher.  I think that teaching adults will be different than teaching teenagers.  I am relieved that I will not be reading essays and trying to decipher the meaning amidst horrendous grammar errors.  I am also super excited to wear real work clothes, not my uniform of black yoga pants and black long-sleeved T-shirt!

So why have I taken so long to make this exciting announcement?

I’m nervous.  Really nervous.

Getting in front of a class full of students (possibly in in an auditorium with a microphone) is not the major source of my anxiety.  It’s the total shift in my identity that I will not be a full-time stay-at-home mom.  I am accountable to someone else.

For example, I was not home the night before Thomas had his surgery.  Marie was in a fit of tears knowing that I wouldn’t put her down for night time nor would I be there in the morning since Thomas’s surgery was so early in the morning.  Even though my husband, their father, was there to tuck them in at night, I felt like the worst mother in the history of motherhood.

I know it’s only one night a week, but I remember how caught up I got in grading papers and making lesson plans when I taught junior high.  I also had a long list of reasons that teaching had left a sour taste in my mouth:  the lack of support from administration, the pressure to add additional duties like coaching and heading the English Department, the helicopter parents that fueled the self-entitlement culture, etc.

I’ve already made it clear that I am a mom.  When I went to sign some papers, I asked if it was OK to bring Thomas.  I was told it was totally fine since it was super informal, and I was just signing a few papers.

While an administrator and I sat in a conference room, Thomas waved his bag of M & M’s in my face.  While we were discussing the minor detail of salary, he proceeded to ask me how M & M’s are made while dropping them all over the floor.  Because he’s not particular about germs, he sat under the table and ate all of the candy off of the floor.

If that doesn’t say I’m not climbing the corporate ladder, I don’t know what does.

Here’s the thing: I’m interested in creating a career in which I can work mostly from home.  This seems like a great next step in creating a platform from which to jump when Thomas is in school full-time.  (Did I mention that I can make this class a hybrid class of online/ traditional class time)?

I know I should not be freaking out over one night a week and just enjoy an evening in grownup clothes doing grownup stuff.  And I’m sure I will. 



I don’t usually do this, but any words of encouragement or positive perspective you can add about working part time while being a full time mom would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Me = Buddy the Elf + Clark Griswold + Marie Bamford’s Character from Target Commercials

It is Friday, and I still haven’t posted here yet!  There are a few reasons for the delay:

Thomas had surgery on Thursday to put in a second pair of tubes and his adenoids removed.

I am embarking on a totally new project that has required time for preparation.  Stay tuned on this one – I’ll make the announcement on Tuesday!

I have been totally preparing for Christmas.  In fact, I would be surprised if Santa doesn’t ask me to join his team as an official elf.

I am suffering from blog guilt – I haven’t been reading or commenting on blogs.  I have been neglecting Mommy on the Spot this week.  I have not been as active on my social sites.

But Christmas is one of my most favorite times of the year.  It is such a magical time of year that I am trying to be present for Marie and Thomas (despite the above list that didn’t even mention Harrington’s last minute business trip to California).

But in spirit of honoring my love of the holiday and my passion for blogging and my new obsession with YouTube, I have decided to use YouTube clips to describe me at Christmas.

It usually starts out with Harrington and I having a variation of the conversation like Ellen and Clark Griswald share (in which I could not find a clip – YouTube Fail).  It starts out with Ellen (Harrington) telling Clark (me) that her parents and his parents were going to be staying with them during Christmas. 

Clark responds, “All my life I’ve wanted to have big family Christmas.”
Ellen cautiously says him, “It’s just that I know how you build these things up in your mind.  You set standard no family event can ever live up to.”

Clark replies in disbelief, “When have I ever done that?”

Ellen lovingly reminds him by saying, “Parties.  Weddings.  Anniversaries.  Funerals.  Holidays.  Vacations.  Graduations.”

After I blow off Harrington’s cautionary reminders, I usually march ahead with my child-like enthusiasm and make lists of all the fun holiday things we will do as a family, just like Buddy the Elf (minus the elf costume).  (Note to self: consider finding elf costume for next year).

I then become so excited about Christmas I start to take form of Maria Bamford’s character from the old Target Christmas commercials.

Inevitably, I end up having some kind of meltdown in which I end up sounding like this:

Which brings us full circle with me being the female version of Clark Griswold.

Yep.  This is me at Christmas.

I promise to have a real blog post that will be announcing the new direction my new life is taking.  (Re: I am no longer in denial and signed on the dotted line).

How is your holiday season coming along?  Are you a Clark Griswald/Maria Bamford/ Buddy the Elf type of Christmas person?  Or do you lean more on the Grinch side (which, no judging.  I am a total Grinch about Halloween.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Teacher Has Become the Parent

 Alternatively titled: Shit Just Got Real

Thomas has been in nursery school for about two months now.  He has made friends and when I watched him sing during the Halloween presentation, it appeared that he was paying attention

And then one day:


I am pulled aside by the teacher, and she proceeded to tell me that he is having trouble listening because he is goofing off with his friend.   She also informed me that he has a tendency to give dirty looks to other classmates when they want to play with him and his friend.


I feared this day would come, but I didn’t expect it so soon.  The teacher told me not to worry about it because he is just testing boundaries, but I did need to talk to him about making good choices.

And talking about good choices we did.  In fact, by 10:30 the next day, we had made a traffic light chart to help him visualize his behavior choices along with a reward system.  I also thought that an extra physical outlet for his energy would help him stay more focused in school, so I enrolled him in a gymnastics class.

Shit Just Got Real

One might say that I overreacted to this statement.

However, when I taught junior high, I was on the giving end of this kind of information, which was often times received with blank stares and comments fueled by denial and embarrassment. 

I vowed that I would never fall prey to the “not my child” mentality.  Which is why I may have overcompensated.

I have to say that this system is working for us.  The vicious cycle of empty threats of taking toys and screen time away communicated in a volume that I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with was failing.  (Shocking, I know). 

At first, he didn’t like the traffic light chart (really, who does like to be accountable for their actions?).  Eventually, he accepted it, and now he’s works with it.  I am not saying that he is not making any more bad choices, but I will say that he is understanding the consequences of his choices.  I also realize I may regret the reward system, but I think it may be unrealistic that I expect a 3 ½ year old to be intrinsically motivated. 

With this chart, I feel like I am not squashing his spirit, but rather teaching him to be responsible for his actions.  I also feel it is easier to take the emotion out of a heated situation since there is a clear set of expectations.

So for now, this working.

I stress, "for now."

Have you ever received unfavorable news from school?  How did you handle it?