Thursday, January 31, 2008

I messed up again

So last night I asked my DH to read my last two posts, thinking that once he read how I've been feeling we could sit down and figure out together some strategies to make it better. It didn't quite work out that way.

I need to set the record straight.

I have a great husband. He is an amazing father. And when I write about all I have to do and how overwhelmed and frustrated I am, it implies that he has been doing nothing, which was NEVER my intention.

We have taken the time to write down all the jobs that need to get done around the house and worked on dividing them up in a way that make sense to us. Recently we readjusted the list so my DH could do a few more little things that would make a big difference in my day, things like filling up the kids "rocket cups" (cups with a lid and straw) with milk and being sure to unload the dishwasher before he leaves for school each day. It might sound small, but that makes a big difference in my day.

When he is home, he willingly takes over with the kids in a really hands-on kind of way, playing board games and hundreds of turns of hide and seek, reading books, doing all kinds of great things with them. His schedule is MUCH better than it was for the first half of the year. He has rehearsals for the show he is directing after school three times a week, so on those days he is home by 5:30. He has evening rehearsals for the show he is in three nights a week (Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday). We agreed that he could be in a show this season (just one) and while he is pushing me to try to get in a show so I get a chance to perform when his show is over, but I don't think I should take on one more thing at this point in my life.

When he is home, he helps me with any chores that I have not finished for the day. The other night when I was writing that I had to clean up the eggs and the rest of dinner, DH came home before I finished this task so he jumped right in to help me clean it all up.

When he read what I had written, he felt that it was implying that he did NOTHING here. He read the comments and was so upset that people he knew would read this and feel the same way. I never intended for him to read it that way, or for anyone else to feel that he does nothing. We both have busy schedules; I've just been feeling overwhelmed and used the blog to vent about all I had to do.

On the plus side, I finally made clear to him that the big thing I needed was definite time each week to plan and prep for my classes, at least four hours (and that doesn't mean it has to be four hours straight). So we worked out a way that I could get that! On the days he comes home at 5:30 and does NOT have to go out again, I will leave with the laptop, go where ever I want to go, and plan out my week, my classes, whatever! And at my request, he looked over all that I have to do and my schedule and offered some suggestions on ways that I could accomplish more. They sounded reasonable, so I'm going to be trying them today.

So, bottom line, to my incredible, wonderful husband, who is also my best friend, life partner, and one of the best fathers I know, I love you! I'm so sorry I hurt you, and I so appreciate that we can sit down together and work out ways to make this time in our lives a little easier.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I messed up

Today it was brought to my attention that comments I made on here about my classes, even though I did not specifically name any kids, were inappropriate. While I have little specific identifying information on my blog, I do include it in my signature when I send an e-mail. I foolishly had not thought about the fact that people who know me can and will read my blog, and people associated with my synagogue will be able to figure out who the kids that I have written about are. Don't know how I didn't put that together, but I honestly didn't. I have now gone through my blog and took away any reference to any kids in my class - please let me know if you find others that I missed. I am so glad that the director told me about this because I truly hate the idea that anyone had seen this, felt uncomfortable about it, but didn't want to say anything for fear I would take it the wrong way or whatever. I am SO sorry if I offended or made anyone uncomfortable by anything I wrote on my blog. I use this blog as a sounding board, a place to vent. I use it as a place to write down what's happening in my life, good or bad, for me to remember and for anyone who reads it to celebrate with me or offer advice if they have any. I pledge to be more careful in the future when I write about anyone not in my family.

I have always had the desire to make everything better for everyone else, as I'm sure most other people do, but this also tends to make me stick my nose in to everyone's business to attempt to ensure that everyone's needs are being met. Ever since I have learned about A's special needs and the importance of early intervention, I am always on the lookout for any red flags in other kids I see. But I seem to forget that the other professionals I work with are well-educated, incredible teachers who are so on top of things I have no reason to ever be concerned! In fact, I would love to get a chance to just be a fly on the wall in both of their classes so I can soak up all the amazing strategies and techniques they use.

Since I had some time between conferences, the director and I had a chance to chat, which was so nice (Thank You!!!). And because I've been a little (HA!) stressed lately, any talk about the stress I've been feeling quickly became emotional for me - what can I say: I try to always keep a smile on my face at all times . . . until I can't. And when I don't have a smile on my face, you KNOW it's bad!

Money is tight, so I'm looking for as many ways as possible that I can bring in more. But ultimately this means I have very little down time and my brain is constantly going trying to figure out how to make ends meet. It's okay now (don't have to buy groceries with the credit card anymore because we just don't have enough in the checking account at the time), and I've worked out "extra" expenses through the end of the summer (things like putting money aside for the time during the summer when I don't receive paychecks, paying for the kids' two mornings a week camp for this summer, J's school registration for next year, the new oven, new jeans for me - I was down to my last pair and they're ripped in the knee, etc.) Using DH's supplemental pays (for directing the shows, having a student teacher, doing the school newspaper) and mine (for teaching the drama class) and our income tax refund, I worked out how we will be able to pay for everything, but we have to REALLY stick to the budget. I even was able to include $50 a week for the family to use during the summer for entertainment for the 5 full days and 2 half days a week the kids will not be in camp. We will be able to put money towards our credit card debt (created out of necessity last year), thought not as much as I'd hoped. I'm not sure what our refund will be this year. We changed DH's deductions on his payroll info so we would get more money each paycheck instead of such a large refund each year, so I really have no idea what it will be. If it turns out to be more than I expect, the extra will go towards the debt. Once that is paid off, we'll be able to work on building up our emergency fund again. I will feel so much better when we're able to put more money towards that each month!

Okay, that felt good to write down. My nephew is here (the deal I worked out with my sister in exchange for her watching all my guys on Wednesdays so I can teach my drama class, which is five minutes away from her house anyway) and he and J are playing REALLY nicely together. My boys are both laying down on the couch for "quiet time". I better take advantage of this time because who knows when it will happen again! I'm off to fold the laundry, clear off the dining room table, see what else I can check off my to do list before I need to pack up all the kids and drive them to Jessica's at 3.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My day

Such a long day. I am starting to get a little stressed with all I need to do. It's tough. I love teaching, we need my income, I love running the household, I love being a mom, I just am having a hard time loving doing it all.

I teach Preschool 5 mornings a week + a preschool program after school on Fridays = 16.5 hours
Hebrew + Religious School 2 times a week = 4.5 hours
I need an hour for each class to prep/clean up = 7 hours
I teach a Drama class 1 time a week = 1 hour + 1 hour travel time (total)
And I need planning time, usually 2 hours for both of my preschool classes = 4 hour
This is a grand total of 34 hours.

I would have needed more time each week planning for all the other classes I teach if I hadn't used so much of my summer planning all of them for the year.

I wish I could say that with all this work I can afford to hire someone to clean the house, but we can't. And I really can't quit any of the jobs because we truly do need the money.

So I stay on top of the laundry, the meals, the bills, the paperwork, the cleaning. Oh yeah, and the kids.

And I can't seem to get my husband to understand that while I totally appreciate that he has a busy, stressful job too, my job starts at 7 AM and keeps going non-stop all day long with no break until he gets home. He doesn't seem to understand that when he has his daily prep period, he doesn't have to also focus on three young children with needs and wants and questions that desparately need to be answered right now, even if I'm sitting on the toilet. I don't get a daily prep period by myself - in the morning I set up my room while making sure J is involved and making sure to respond to her every comment lest she think I'm not talking to her and get hysterical. After school I clean up the room and attempt to set things up for the next day with all three kids in my room, trying to make sure that A does not break the cd player and B is not throwing any soft toys in the air and J is getting a snack because she is starving. When we go home I fix them all lunch and then they have quiet time, during which time I attempt to respond to e-mails and deal with the laundry. Some days I get an hour, some days "quiet time" doesn't really happen, it's just me nagging at them to lay down on the couch.

Like I already said, I love my kids, I love my jobs, I love running the house, but today was a really long day. And I still need to clean up from dinner, sweep the floor of the scrambled eggs that spilled there when the kids ate their dinner so our furry critters hopefully won't make themselves known tonight, wash up and go to bed. My back and neck are KILLING me because I'm so overdue for a chiropractor appointment it's crazy, I have conferences with all my preschool parents tomorrow, I need to have a serious talk with the Education Director at my school about a situation that has been happening a lot at Hebrew School, I need to apologize to a colleague because today I tried speaking to her as teacher about a child in her class and made her uncomfortable (I tried bringing up some behaviors I've observed that were red flags to me and wanted to know if they had looked into a possible cause and she told me that she wasn't comfortable talking to me about this. I'm so used to working with a team of teachers where we all share ideas about each child to best meet the needs of each child, so her reaction really blew me away. But I'll respect her personal privacy policy even if I don't understand it.), I need to go through a big pile of paperwork here at home, I need to order my new oven, I need to . . . it's giving me a headache.


I know, I don't post in a week and LOOK what happens.

And I know that I just wrote about this over a week ago, but it's very much on my mind right now.

There's just so much to do and I can't figure out how to do it all and I'm getting frustrated and overwhelmed.

Okay, that being said, let me go clean up and get to bed. No amount of worrying or complaining is going to make a difference, and getting a full night's sleep is extremely important in helping me cope.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Heart Issues

Anyone ever have what feels like an extra heart beat? I had this before I got pregnant with the boys, even got worked up by a cardiologist and wore a 24 hour monitor (so of course my heart acted perfectly normal that day), and nothing was ever discoverd. This past week it started again.

Each time it happens it makes me jump. It's like a really strong extra beat. It seems to happen more at night. Tonight has been the worse and it has happened six times in the last three hours. I know that doesn't sound bad, and I guess it isn't, but it makes me nervous. I try not to think about it too much because when I actually do get nervous or upset about it obviouslly it happens more often.

Bottom line, I'm calling to make an appointment with a cardiologist tomorrow. Maybe this time they'll actually figure out what this is!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Have you seen this yet?

Okay, just one more thing before I tackle those dishes:

Have you heard about this website? If you click on this link you will see an amazing video about autism. And every time you watch it, the site makes a donation to Autism Speaks. Go on, click on it; it will make you feel good!

Where Have I Been?!!

Wow. It's definitely been a long time since I've blogged. So much to say, not even sure how to say it. I'm not even sure why it's been so long since I've blogged. I've been working hard on getting my new schedule on track and figuring out how to make it all work.

My new preschool class started January 3rd. It's only four kids, plus I have an assistant, so I didn't think it would be too tough. I figured I would just do whatever I had planned with my MWF class of 2.5-3 year olds. I was wrong - doesn't work. So that means double the planning.

My schedule right now is manageable but quite challenging.
I teach preschool five mornings a week from 9-12.
On Sundays I teach Religious School from 9-1.
I teach Hebrew School on Tuesdays from 3:30-5:30.
I teach Drama on Wednesdays from 4-5.
I teach a Parent and Me Shabbat Program on Fridays from 12:15-1:45.

I get up with the kids at 7, get them and myself ready and out the door by 8:15 or so. The boys are brought to school and picked up by a variety of different people, and they are brought to school before I'm finished teaching, joining my class twice a week and waiting until my teaching day is done the other three. I attempt to get my classroom ready for the next day while my three kids (and twice a week the daughter of the mom who picks up the kids three days a week is there too eating her lunch so I can drive her to her after-school schoolby 12:30) talk incessantly and require my attention tremendously. After I do as much as I can, we go home where I push the kids to do their "Before Lunch Routines" before I finish making their lunches. Depending on whether or not I have to work that afternoon, I then attempt to complete a load of laundry from start to finish, return e-mails, and try to do so many other jobs around the house. Also depending on the day, after the kids finish their "quiet time" and "computer time", I then have the kids sit down with me for "Homework Time" - a way to encourage B to work on his fine motor skills, A to increase his attention span with the things he reads, and J to practice letter recognition and following directions.

It's late and I need to get to bed, but I'm glad I got a chance to update my blog (and my loyal readers) on a little bit of what's been happening in my life. I have so much more to say, but have to finish washing and drying the rest of the dishes before I go to bed. I discovered a leak in the pipes under one side of the sink, so cannot use the dishwasher, and I cannot leave the dishes to dry on the counter due to the mouse problem we've been having. YUCK! They actually have nested in the walls of the oven somehow so we can no longer turn it on with filling the house with a disgusting odor. So also on my list of things to do this week is contact the exterminator to come out and help us get rid of the mice and then select a new stove from Sears and set up a delivery date. I never realized how much I use my oven (since I use my crockpot so often), but we REALLY miss it!!!

So, off to wash and dry and then get to bed. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Just for today

I read Dear Abby on-line every day. Don't ask me why. This is what she had in her column today. I'm printing it out and hanging it up where I will see it every day. Just thought I'd share it for you:

JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.
I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct and accept those I cannot.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will do something positive to improve my health. I will eat healthfully -- if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.