Day in Photos, pt 6

The long weekend of mini’s return to midsummer Texas finally arrived! In probably not chronological order –

First, beautify the nails. Sure, ballet shoes cover her toes but it’s proven women who wake up and see their toenails painted experience higher levels of YAY hormones. Totally made that up, but it’s true for me so why not.

Maj Aaron Green & I

Prior to mini’s homecoming, I said see you later to someone with the biggest heart and passion for Airmen. It’s been an incredible few months working with Maj Green – I will miss him and his huge family. Key Spouse life.

Without further ado – I present to you my little ballerina. She rocked her performance and is such a helper to the other young ladies.

It wouldn’t be a weekend without my sister visiting. We have too much fun together.

see the little face?

Overall, the weekend was a success. Nevermind the outdoor temps of 112°. I believe mini had an incredible time. And I’m thankful mini’s dad made the very long trip to support her dance dreams. Everything went by so quickly; before you know it, school will be starting again and we’ll be in another loop of school, dance, repeat.

I feel the heart palpitations returning already.

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I ask you –

What plans do you have for the upcoming holiday weekend?

Do any ballerinas read my blog?

Large crowds: yay or nay? Mostly a nay for me.

Pirouettes and Parking

Dentist appointment last week went well! Post-meal flossing albeit a dedicated task is worth it. As I’ve never had a cavity or filling, the nice dental hygienist told me I was 1 in 10,000. Nice as it sounds, I doubt I’m 1 in anything because…really.

I’ve been rewatching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It was several years back when I started the show – I had no idea there are now 7 seasons. Clearly I don’t watch much television.

Not sure if I should put this on my blog, but I’m doing it anyway. Some weird things are happening at a neighbor’s house. Not the naked neighbor’s home. Cars without license plates, other random vehicles early in the mornings. This also happens to be the house I always find spare change near. One week I collected 31 cents. What a bargain for me!

task 1 is complete

Mini’s dance performance debut is at the end of the week which means…she’ll be home for a few days!!!!! I’m so excited to see her and hug her and kiss her and call her George – I mean mine. Jokes. We just have to make it through rehearsal, nail polish, lip gloss, hair buns, and other diva-ish things I know little about. I need coffee just contemplating it. Unfortunately, her dad’s family is unable to come like originally planned but thanks to technological advances I feel confident she can wow them with her abilities.

Public service announcement: it costs nothing to be a decent human. All that’s required is don’t be an asshole. Believe it or not, there was a car parked to the truck’s right prior to this photo. If it had been my car, a photo might have not been my first choice. Decent humans can suffer from distress.

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I ask you –

What shows are you currently watching or rewatching?

Is the weirdness at that house illicit substance related or am I being paranoid?

Tell me your kindest words for people who park like I’ve shown!

Yes, I’m Still Thinking

As I continue to traverse the stages of shock within utter humility, my mind is blown that I’m attempting to get a doctorate. You know the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin”? Yeah, that’s me. Perhaps a doctorate isn’t the wildest idea in my history – I did join the military at age 28 which is still almost incomprehensible. But the smokescreen of doubt lingers. Do I have what it takes? Funny thing is I don’t worry about failure. Once I get started, I know I’ve got this. It’s the getting started part that worries me. When I look back on the moment I received the phone call stating I had passed my master’s capstone (essentially the final mountain), I was speechless. I looked around my big empty gym and took in the silence. Then I smiled the biggest smile I’d ever had until that point. I’d done it.

Shortly after I shared the good news with anyone who would listen, someone asked what’s next? I recall answering something to the affect of this is it for me. When the thought of a higher degree crossed my mind, I told myself ‘that’s not me’. Why not? Because it can be me. In time that passes so quickly, it will be me. In the meantime, much work remains.

I haven’t shared the news with mini yet. Perhaps the scope of it will be lost on her; that’s ok, too. But I did speak with her on the phone a few nights ago. Typically we video chat but she was with other relatives and it was late, etc. I had a tough time grasping how old she sounds on the phone. Not “age old” but “mature old”. She’s very matter of fact and wise in all her 6 years. She was also exhausted so anything she could do to stay awake was fair game. She had been struggling that night with a headache – when I asked questions related to how it came about, her answers were child-like, then I remembered she’s still my baby.

Proof

Me: Have you been drinking enough water?

Her: No, I haven’t drank any.

Me: Well, that may be part of the problem, honey. Did you hit your head on something while playing?

Her: Maybe!

Nothing like a conversation like that to bring life into perspective. I can hear the conversation in my head right now. “Mom, why is (this, this, and this) happening?” Me: I don’t know. “Well, you’re a doctor!” Leave it to a child (my child) to make you question your education.

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I ask you –

What song resonates with a journey (no pun intended) in your life?

Have you ever limited yourself with the phrase or mindset of ‘that’s not me’?

Share a moment where a child put you in your place. If you dare.

What do First Graders do?

Besides the first grade draft (which is blogged about here), I officially have a kindergarten graduate. Turns out some parents were highly irritated their child(ren) didn’t have an actual graduation ceremony. It’s kindergarten, not college. Sheesh. My philosophy is the more we “graduate” our children, the more they become desensitized to the accomplishments that led to them walking the stage. Seriously…what do you do to graduate kindergarten? Answer: show up, don’t be (too) weird, and attempt to learn. Sounds simple to me.

But I digress. Mini has grown a few inches, lost a few teeth, and learned to read and write. She’s kind, thoughtful, and has a very real sense of right and wrong. She also loathes celery. Her friend-making skills are exceptional, too. To me, this is what kindergarten is all about.

Same wreath, same mini but taller

And she’s excelling at ballet. Her very first recital is in June so she and her classmates took their official photos a few weeks back. Adorable. Her opportunity to pirouette across a professional stage has resulted in many man-hours and dollars dedicated toward her craft. Not to mention the “parent dress rehearsal” and “costume rehearsals” I’ve been a part of. Those tiny tent things are super claustrophobic. Next year she wants to participate in jazz/hip hop. Help me. And send cash. Where are the inexpensive activities?

Anyway, the year has somehow flown by; feels like I blinked and ta-da here we are. Mini is excited yet nervous about next school year because she says “I don’t know what first graders do.” When I said first graders learn even bigger words, she began to rub her head. I feel ya. She has summer homework, too: read 30 books before school resumes in August. I definitely think she’s up for the challenge. The real question … is everyone else?

little brown curls

Update: she lost another tooth the last day of school. If the Tooth Fairy is a stock option, I suggest investing.

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I ask you –

Any words of advice for a first grade mom?

If you have children, what are their ages/grades?

She didn’t get grace from me. I trip over air.

Talk It Out

“Because of grace, everything in your story has purpose. Even the dark parts. Especially the dark parts. Your brokenness is what allows the light to get in.” “Our lives are built by the voices we hear. It’s why they matter.”

Credit for the quotes above belong to separate devotionals. The intent is similar. What we hear, what we read, what we tell ourselves shapes the narrative in our minds. Our ‘self talk’ is perhaps even more important than what others tell us! Think about it. Haha no pun intended. Goals, dreams, aspirations begin in the mind. Ours!

The past two weeks have been particularly difficult in my own little world. For starters, I was completely out of commission one day for allergy-related breathing issues, then there was the seemingly neverending jaunt of dance performance rehearsals and end-of-year school activities. Then I accidentally took a double dose of daily medication which really made for an interesting day. I don’t remember most of it.

tea time

As hard as I’ve tried to be gentle with myself and manage my own expectations of what life should look like, my tank has been running on E. This is why… it’s called Running on Fumes. But I think I’m completely past E. There’s strangers pushing the truck from the intersection at this point. Beep, beep! My cycle is messed up, my hormones are out of whack, and I’m alternately exhausted or can’t asleep. Classic signs of burnout.

So how do we fix it? Maybe just by saying I’m done. The world with its political everything and life with its constant battles. I need some time to reset, recharge, relax. But not from blogging. It’s beyond time to fill up the tank. Side note: who can afford to do that now?! I can. You can. We all can. Sometimes we choose not to which sounds worse than paying for it.

I’m using this four-day weekend to catch up on things that make me happy – like Tom Cruise, long runs, and meal prepping. And muffins. aka cupcakes without icing

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I ask you –

Are you on proverbial E?

What do you do to “fill your tank”?

Average gas prices where you live! $3.89

Summer Planning

With an impending TN summer on the horizon for mini, I need to find things to do with my time. Things that don’t include cleaning or working.

  1. Read all the books
  2. Create a photo album of mini’s 2021 summer vacation photos + kindergarten photos
  3. Organize mini’s massive amount of outgrown clothing
  4. Write copious amounts of blog posts to make up for all the times I’m scrambling on Sundays.
  5. Do nothing until approximately 24 hrs before mini returns, then frantically attempt to complete the above list.

All jokes aside. I sort of got a headstart on #1. Morgan from Oregon (soon to be known as just Morgan) gifted me this fantastic set of books by author Sarah Centrella. Her writing style is fun yet also very real. No spoilers from me. I love workbook-style books, too, so these are perfect for me. As I received my performance appraisal a short time ago, the final question was “What does Kelly see in her 10 year plan?” Can we just make it through today?! Luckily, I had already begun working through the guide for th we books so I was able to answer in the best way possible. “Let me get back to you!” No, I didn’t say that. For the most part.

a gift!

Broken record alert! Considering another run streak. Just to have a summer goal. Maybe June-July? One easy mile/day. More if I feel up to it. Obviously it would mostly all be treadmill miles because Texas summer is similar to the pits of hell. Pretty sure I’m right. The 5 day break we got from the heat was most appreciated, but don’t anticipate it happening again until…oh… probably November. Just something to consider. …the running. Not the heat. It stays. Moving on!

Short of registering for another degree and finishing up a book, I don’t know exactly what I want to accomplish this summer. Since those are revolving projects, best I stay the course. Hello, library!

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I ask you –

What are your summer plans?

Do you like self-help type books? If not, what is your favorite genre?

Vote yes or absolutely not: 60 day running streak!

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…

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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