First Grade Draft

My boss is a fitness competitor. As I walked into his office recently, I was distracted by all the shiny trophies proudly displayed on a top shelf. There were 6, I think. As I stuttered for a second in what I was sharing with him, it made me take a quick look at my own accomplishments.

Memory Lane

When I notice the rack full of medals, I don’t see the end result. I do see the work I put into earning them. And they were earned, for sure. Granted, it’s nice to have them, but it’s what isn’t written on them that makes a difference. Which leads me to this point – you can’t make someone want something they don’t want for themselves. If you’re doing it because it’s another person’s dream for you, the value is minimal, if real at all. Not to say there isn’t value, but it probably isn’t the full value you would have instilled.

All this to say…I believe there’s a draft system in public schools. Very loaded statement, Kel. As mini goes to a small(ish) school – but certainly not as small as mine was – there are 4 kindergarten classes and, I presume, as many first grade classes. So as she has begun peppering me with questions like who will be her teacher next year, I gently remind her I don’t know and probably won’t until about a week before school returns in August. Then she asks who her classmates will be. Wash, rinse, repeat.

photo credit: pexels

Which got me thinking how are classes decided? Is it a drawing? A lottery? Do the teachers drink heavily one night and pick names from an empty wine glass? There’s an idea! My predominant belief is a draft system. As the school year goes on, their teachers are keeping score. Since kindergarten is a (typically) rookie year, they get a wild card pick. So when you see kids getting traded within the first week of school, it’s because a teacher has decided to use her wild card. For the remaining years, trades can only happen when the owner, ahem principal, deems it necessary. At the end of the year, by popular vote, the teacher with the worst class gets first pick in the new school year. Indeed there lives score sheets, mugshots…I mean school photos, and printouts on how annoying the student’s parents were. Sorry, Toots, I bugged the crap out of your teacher.

I’ve been assured the draft doesn’t really take place; it’s all up to chance, so they say. Can’t fool me. I’m convinced there’s a secret society of school personnel who wait all year to call dibs on the class that will rule the school. For one year, at least.

First rule of fight club…

_______________________

I ask you –

At what point should my boss stop bringing his big trophies to work?

How many kindergarten classes did your school have? Just one.

Draft: yay or nay?

Share No More + Adopt-a-Highway

I shared my body, my peace of mind, my time, my humor, my breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks, and my personal space with her. I’m not sharing my cookie! P.S. I sat in my car alone and ate the ENTIRE cookie.

Crumbl box sans cookie

Then I did something nice (read: made plans, changed other’s plans, rescheduled the changed plans, updated the newest plans) for a group of people and they thanked me with Girl Scout cookies.

The following emoji indicates the remainder of May’s weather: 🥵 I can’t run outside in this. I can’t even walk! All. Month. Long. My fear is if it’s this hot in May, what will July look like? Please send us rain.

wind = blow dryer

And, like any half-brained person in the midst of triple digit temperatures, I scheduled a Day of Service volunteer opportunity for 2 squadrons and 1 group. AF lingo. I’m supremely pleased with the turnout – 18 people – and the nearly 10 full bags of trash we removed from the sides of a 2-mile stretch of highway. I can’t speak for other states, but Texas has the Adopt-a-Highway program where organizations can “adopt” a stretch of public highway. The intent is for each organization to host quarterly cleanup days to maintain Texas roadways. Admittedly, I had no idea my squadron owned a piece of land until a few weeks ago so my tentative plan is to offer a volunteer opportunity twice a year. Read: when it’s cold outside and the threat of snakes is virtually nonexistent.

…but why…

Oh hell no! If you need me, I’ll be anxiously scanning every piece of dry land for slithering inhabitants. Texas, please stop being so difficult.

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I ask you –

Do you hide from your children when eating snacks? You can lie to me but not to yourself!

Does your state have something similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program?

Snakes: “look, friends” or “run for your life”! Obviously – run for the hills screaming like a banshee.

Facing Giants

I’m 5 weeks into a long 10k training plan and it still blows my mind how I ran a sub 10 min/mile avg for over 13 miles just 5 months ago. And it was awesome! Now? I’m barely sustaining a 11:30 min/mile for a 5k.

Whoever talked so highly about a comeback was a liar. What’s this comeback you speak of? Because I sure haven’t seen it yet. The only thing coming back is my level of discipline. Although work is really trying hard to throw me off. Anyway – 10k. It doesn’t feel possible I’ll ever get there. On the bright side, most knee pain has all but disappeared. Sometimes there’s a twinge, occasionally it’s a little more than a twinge, but I’m reminded this is normal and may just be a lifelong effect of a torn anything. A run last week reminded me I’ve come a long way and not to be too hard on myself. Still weird though.

In April, I also faced a different kind of giant…the celebration of my great Aunt Mary Catherine’s 95th birthday! She’s no giant. But the revere and awe I am of her is bigger than life. You’d think she’d stop falling for these surprise birthday parties, but it worked again. Her big smile, bigger heart, and sweet words make my soul sing. She is a giant in my eyes – of the most tender loving kind I’ve ever known. Many relatives, family friends, and neighbors were there to share in her day. I even convinced her to eat two pieces of cake. It wasn’t difficult.

Mini finagled her way into Rubik’s cube lessons with my uber-smart cousin.

fast learner

We also had time to take Bluebonnet photos on the side of the highway. This was near where I had the car accident 2 yrs ago so it felt good to find something beautiful near a place I’m not fond of.

Giants aren’t always scary, looming creatures; sometimes they’re just small stepping stones. Other times, they’re the people you love the most whom are giant in your eyes.

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I ask you –

Are you currently training for anything? Survival counts!

Who is the oldest living person in your family?

Tell me what a “giant” looks like to you!

Spring Cleaning

Where has the time gone? How is it April?

My incredible co-worker, Ms. Pat, and I located some gloves and trash bags for “Spring Clean Up Day” at work. Photo op fail. We looked like a service crew who had lost their party…like a prison work group minus the orange jumpsuit. From our vantage point, we didn’t see but one other person outside participating in an event touted as “base wide”. Hmmmppphhh. 30 mins later, with 30 mph wind gusts, we tossed the bags in the dumpster and returned to our building. Spring cleaning: ✅.

One man’s trash, you know the rest. I decided weeks ago to participate in the “Citywide Yard Sale” something or other. Even my neighbors happily gave me their discards to haggle. Why not. As I reminded my MiL I was going to be camped out in her lawn from dawn to whenever, she had a fabulous idea: to ruin my party of 1 with a robe-wearing rendition of old lady humor complete with a solid dose of “GET OFF MY LAWN!” Maybe it was funnier pre-sale. Alas, I waited all day for the show, but none appeared. I sold each item for $1 while Mini bombarded them with items she thought they needed. Team work!

And, on a less funny but more in line with spring note, it was past time for a haircut. I needed something lighter for hot weather.

New do, who dis?

P.S. mini will be 6 years old tomorrow and I’m in shock of how this happened. I swear she was a newborn yesterday. If you leave her happy birthday wishes in the comments, I’ll read them to her tomorrow!

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I ask you –

When was the last time you paraded down the street picking up trash?

Are you a garage saler? Negative. Haggling gives me anxiety.

Spring cleaning: yay or nay

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane!

Some know my love for flying. Even as a child, I wanted to fly. Off the staircase. Even now, as a mostly functioning adult, the airport is a happy place. People trying to get somewhere fast, the focus of being on time – it just amazes me. Some are fearful of flying and I respect that, but it isn’t me! Fly me to the moon!

Mini recently had her first opportunity to fly. I’m slightly disappointed her first flight wasn’t with me, but it is what it is. Fun fact: I’ve only ever flown alone. She did pepper me with questions until the day; I think I did a great job alleviating any fears because she seemed to enjoy it! The ‘to’ trip was a success in her book and she was able to complete post-flight checks with the Captain. I hope she asked all the hard questions.

Credit: Southwest Airlines

Her Tennessean spring break was eventful, to hear her tell it. She enjoyed an outdoor dance platform, visited a space museum in her loathed state of Amabama (story for another day), and most likely ate all the Panda Express (Panda Bear, in her terms) she could hold. Alas, she did have to return to school at some point. It felt like both the shortest and longest week for me.

In true Mini fashion, she made a friend on the return flight home. A young girl – same age as mini – was experiencing her very first flight and on her own. Of course there was a whole story to go with this situation, but it’s not my story to tell. However, mini (now an expert flyer) was the girl’s seatmate and happily showed her the ropes…ehh, wings. Her brave, new friend made it back to Love Field and now each has a story! (Note: I did meet the young friend’s family. I’m amazed at the teamwork that came together to get this little lady home and the support system they have. It was not by accident my mini and her friend were able to sit together. Praise God!)

And then she arrived!

Needless to say, the reunion filled my soul. I love how mini has had so many opportunities to do things some people never experience. She takes it all in stride. As a mom, it’s tough to watch your children get older and more independent; however, mini’s independence is much a part of her as it is a part of me. She is a very blessed girl who has never met a stranger and happily befriends those she meets, young and old alike.

Yes, spring break has come to an end but mini’s adventures are lifelong. She is already looking forward to flying again. And now we have new friends in the DFW area. This child is forcing me to be overly social. Bring on the coffee!

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I ask you –

At what age did you first fly?

Have you never flown and wish to? Or are you intentionally never flying?

Tell me your thoughts on flying alone vs with others! I’m not opposed; the opportunity has never presented itself.

Do You…?

Meditation is my thing. But I’m not going to lie: sometimes I go into my closet and lock the door so no one can find me.

Gwen Stefani

Part One

Even before mini started school, I had wondered what parts of it would mimic my own school experience. Because things can change in —- ohhhhhhh —- nearly 20 years. I wondered about cafeteria food, her first book, and loads of other variables. Including the book fair! I’m pleased to report, indeed, there is still a yearly book fair, even for children as young as 5! However, it wasn’t the overflowing library of carts covered in books I remember from years gone by. Instead the book fair was only a small rendition; a miniscule scale of the elaborate week it once was. Mini enjoyed it though. She has no other comparison. Blessed be the innocent.

Part Two

Dan (the one and only) sent me this article: How to Use the Two-Week Rule to Become Remarkably Successful (and Optimize Your Bucket List)

Quotes like “I can do hard things” by Des Linden are prime motivators for really anything you encounter in life. But what if someone told you that in two weeks you’d know exactly how reachable your goal is…would you believe it? Probably not. I met interesting people during the course of 15 physical therapy sessions. Some I’d like to have coffee with; others I could do without ever speaking to again. Get back to the point, Kel. In particular, I met a previous runner now cyclist who was dealing with some knee issues. She stated she kept their business in business. As we discussed various running distances and the local, famous cycling event, she said she had completed 2 marathons and encouraged me to at least once in my life complete one, as well. When I raised my eyebrows as if to say ‘look lady, I’m here because I can’t manage a long run much less 26.2 miles’, she reiterated the word run. Not race. Run. Her words were ‘walk if you have to, run when you can; your goal is to cross the finish line standing up’. And in that moment I saw it all. Start with two weeks, then think about the next two weeks, and so on.

On the topic of bucket lists (and knowing I’ve shared much of this before), a marathon is included. As is a trip to Mexico and/or Las Vegas. Mainly because many of my friends have taken a trip lately and I’m feeling left out. Other to-do’s are to restore an old truck, then outfit a van into a camper and travel from state to state. I also want to complete a Ragnar. I’d love to see the northern lights. For now, I think I’ve got a good start on a list.

Now What?

I have no idea *massive shoulder shrug* When I wrote this post and decided to combine book fair with motivational statements, it didn’t work then either. I make the rules! You’re welcome.

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I ask you –

Can you do anything for two weeks?

What’s on your bucket list?

Name something from your childhood you fear (or know for sure) has changed. Definitely school lunch.

 

Day in Photos, pt 723

These are kind of my fall back posts when it’s been a slower writing time. Or when I get lazy. But posts like this can be fun and equally entertaining.

Salad on repeat. I actually enjoy the meal prep routine. Some people I know meal prep every.single.meal but I’m not that dedicated. Or strict.

On the topic of salad, these are my final baby tomatoes from the plant we’ve had growing since this time last year. It has survived ice, snow, seasonal changes, and me. Mostly me. I suck at growing anything. I grew a human. Surely that counts!

My gummy game is still going strong! I’ve considered stopping. Ctrl-Alt-Delete. But I really have a hard time considering not playing. Maybe I really am addicted.

And, finally, we visited with my parents. Mini always asks if Scoot Scoot will be in attendance. Fairly certain she loves animals more than people. Can’t blame her.

Mom, Mini, and Dad

I brought my own iced coffee on the way. This time I had no alternate agenda searching for coffee shops. In case you were wondering.

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I ask you –

How many times a week do you eat salad? A typical week: 5

Should I stop playing gummies? It’s ok if you say yes.

Tell me about your upcoming weekend!

Day in Photos, pt 4 + Snow Notes

First snowstorm of 2022 was a rousing success, in my humble, North Texas, don’t drive on wet pavement opinion.

Also, I had just recovered from a stomach bug my generous mini brought home from school. Bless her heart. Every single year during Jan/Feb time frame, I inevitably contract some sort of digestive issue resulting in at least 24 hours of disgusting unmentionable symptoms. Truly an exciting time to look forward to. You may think I’m being dramatic, but I’m not. Every year for the past 10+ years. Like clockwork. It’s a running joke now. If you’ll recall, I was almost finished with a 31 day run streak in Jan 2021 when I got suspected food poisoning on the 27th. Run streak: busted. I could barely walk to the bathroom much less run.

Anyway, the photos. Who needs proper snow weather clothing when Crocs and a thin nightgown will do just fine.

Anyone else addicted to the popular game Wordle? Jason, I know you are! I’ve got two degrees and this is what I use them for.

Doing well!

As the day progressed, it got colder and snow-ier. We also found appropriate clothing, less pants that fit. Stop growing! If anyone is looking for me, I’ll be scouring all 3 local stores in search of ski or snow pants for an almost six year old.

Sledding for days

As my office and I were discussing the possibility of snow days, of course talk turned to driving on ice. I stayed quiet. Upon my coworker’s remembrance of the reason I don’t drive in this weather anymore, the next sentence ensued “…what kind of employer would make their employee drive to work in that?” Let me clear it up. No one except my own insane need to do what I felt was right made me drive that day. I felt a loyalty to people I worked with and for. Repeatedly they instructed me to stay home. Repeatedly I replied I got this. And we know how it ended. Now, I am thankful each day I believe in my heart there is nowhere I am more needed than to stay home when the weather turns bad. My family is here and I have nowhere to be.

Now excuse me while I patiently await the next round of snow days. After a weekend of 70 degree weather to make it really complicated.

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I ask you –

Do you play outside in the snow? I’d rather watch.

Wordle! Who else plays?

Give me your best snowman-building tricks!

Day in Photos, pt 6,370

As a reward for reading her entire red folder, Mini decided she’d like to take her friend, affectionately called Jules, on a lunch date and an afternoon at “the jumpy place”.

If you’ll recall from prior blog posts, my experience at the jumpy place isn’t always a happy ending. What with waning pelvic control and a natural birth, it’s just best I leave all the jumping to young children and other women of ability. No need to embarrass myself further. I did mention to the kind staff how amazing it would be if they sold coffee or alcohol, but the guesstimated 12 yr old attendant didn’t crack a smile. He probably hears that sentiment all the time.

As a mom with a twin who gave birth to a single and only child, mini is a social butterfly. However, as the day continued, it seemed she and Jules were growing disgruntled with the other. I know well the feeling. As I always had a built in playmate, alone time was rather rare…which I’ve come to appreciate immensely. I truly believe mini hits points of too much togetherness and may gasp even begin to realize how hard it is to entertain others.

Nonetheless, each girl was a good sport. Probably helps I’m an expert negotiator. Icee’s for everyone!

_______________________

I ask you –

What types of rewards do your kids enjoy?

What would your ideal date be? A bookstore and coffee date.

Tell me your guess for what Mini will request when she completes the next folder prior to school end! Probably a pony.

Final Christmas Thoughts

We finally (like it’s not only January) got snow, then the following day I had to take down Christmas decorations. But I was rewarded with nature at its finest – tiny ladybugs everywhere! It certainly wasn’t enough snow to play in; I still have plenty of hope we’ll have another February blizzard like last year.

bare feet

Belated Christmas with mini was a rousing success. We had her requested snack supper and she opened gifts until I couldn’t see the floor for all the wrapping paper, boxes, and tissue. How does one small child have all this stuff? Maybe next year we can do a one gift limit. Somebody tell Santa. I’m still sorting the gigantic plastic tub of gifts she returned with from Tennessee and her dad’s family. It never ends.

Now that I’m thinking about it…the title of this post seems a little dark. I didn’t mean it’s the final Christmas. I meant it’s my final thoughts on Christmas. Since Christmas was held at my house in January. Whatever. You’ll figure it out.

As school has gone back into session, the familiar feeling of gotta-do-it-all’s returned. From homework to reading folders to checking out her first library book, the sleepiness of holidays faded into the background. Just where I like it. Even after all these years, I still struggle getting into the holiday spirit and end up sounding like a Scrooge with my final comments…

school routine

I’m really glad it’s over. Now, where’s the spring flowers that bring May showers? Or whatever they say.

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I ask you –

Any final Christmas thoughts?

Did you get snow on Christmas Day?

A report I read stated thousands of people or more will go into debt during the holidays. I just don’t get it.