Something’s Gotta Give

I have come to the unfortunate realization that life is kicking my ass…

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I’ve spent one too many mornings waking up worried about all of the things I need to accomplish for my students that I can’t sleep. I’ve gotten everything done but that doesn’t stop more work from coming in. It’s making me delirious… and tired. Very, very tired.

I haven’t had any time to myself, time with my husband or time with my kids and I’ve gotten to a point where I couldn’t handle it anymore. I hit a wall and it just so happened to be while my best friend Emily came for a visit.

I hadn’t seen her in two years and was beyond excited. However, this excitement didn’t keep me from falling asleep at the airport when I went to pick her up. Her flight was delayed so I sat down next to strangers to people watch. The next thing I knew I was jerking awake fully aware that people were people watching me. She made fun of me when she walked up to me and I didn’t even see her because I was staring into space.

I was so frustrated all weekend because I couldn’t muster up the energy to celebrate her being in town like I wanted to! I had faked having energy one too many days and I was all dried up.

So I did what any rational grown woman does when she’s frustrated. I cried.

And she did what any good friend would do. She told me to take a nap.

Later that night we sat down at my kitchen table with a glass of wine and tried to figure out a schedule so that I could manage to fit everything in my life that I needed to fit in. She was the perfect person to have around at a time like this. She thrives on planning things and meeting nearly impossible deadlines. In fact, she’s so good at it that she’s made a living out of it. She’s the cofounder of Austin’s first Television Fesitval, ATX so she knows all about handling stress. And posing for magazine spreads apparently…

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(While she was here she failed to mention that she was being featured in a magazine. She’s the one on the left.)

Anyway, getting back to the point, she told me that her trick is to plan her day in thirty minute increments. But first we had to make lists, because she loves lists. We did it together and made the following lists:

Priorities: Family time, Me time, Brent and me time, exercise, eating healthy, reading, writing

Must Do’s: Grade a million papers a day, plan lessons, laundry, clean house, grocery shopping, meetings, checking emails,

Here is a glimpse of the daily schedule that we came up with together:

5:00-wake up

5:15 to 5:45- Grade, plan, drink coffee

5:45 to 6:30- Get ready for the day/Get Penelope ready

6:45- Drop Penelope off

7:00 to 8:00- Grade papers, answer emails and plan lessons

8:00 to 10:00- Teach at school 1/pack everything up for other school

10:30 to 11:00- Go for a walk/go to meetings

11:00 to 12:00- Grade papers, answer emails and plan lessons

12:00 to 3:00- Teach at school 2

3:00 to 4:00- Meetings/after school help for kids

4:00 to 5:00- Grade papers, answer emails and plan lessons

5:00 to 7:30- Family time (Cook dinner, deal with tantrums, sing songs, do laundry, run errands, walk the dog, etc.)

7:30 to 8:00- Penelope time (bath, stories, songs)

8:00 to 9:00- Get stuff ready for next day, hang out with Bridget

9:00 to 10:00- Get ready for bed/read/actually have a conversation with my husband

10:00- Go to sleep

Now that I think about it… it actually makes me more exhausted typing it out. I don’t even know if this will work because I have a 2 year old wildcard who rarely does what is planned. For instance, as I sit here trying to type this blog post out at 8:45 at night she is screaming her head off in her room refusing to sleep.

Wait… now she’s howling like a wolf. Or is it a ghost? There’s just no telling with that kid.

I thought I could go grocery shopping today and get some meal planning taken care of but this about sums up how that went…

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We came home nearly empty handed and ended up eating Peanut butter toast for dinner instead.

I’ll look back at this and smile one day, right?

Everything is pretty exhausting but it’s not all bad. Here is a list of things that make up for the chaos…

1. The fact that my husband is a much better housewife than I am. When I get home the house is clean and he has some form of dinner planned out and ready to cook.

2. At night when I’m dog tired Bridget will just curl up in bed with me and read a book while I pass out after drinking a cup of sleepy time tea.

3. Penelope who constantly tells me she loves me and lets me know how much she likes that “sunshine song” I sing to her.

4. Friends who sit at my kitchen table and help me try to formulate some sort of survival plan.

5. Other friends who are willing to wake up before the crack of dawn so that I can go for a walk and talk while the sun rises.

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6. Students who thank me for holding them hostage during their lunch hour because they have assignments missing in my grade book. “Thanks for caring so much Mrs. Chapman.” Seriously, what 13 year old says that? Weirdos 😉

Okay I feel better now. Thanks for that.

I think we should skip the part where I weighed myself and weighed in at 199.6 pounds. Too late.

Somethings gotta give ya’ll and lets hope it’s not the seam in my pants. Yikes!

There’s a Dolphin in My Room!

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I feel like I’m getting my balance back ya’ll!

It’s been a long time coming. The past two weeks I’ve worked 12 hour days while battling the cold from hell. I also managed to share that cold with my entire family. This nasty cold seemed to result in some strange behavior at our house. During nap time Penelope ended up having a conversation with a dolphin in her room. She was super snotty and beyond tired so Brent was sure she would sleep well. This was until he heard her screaming in her room.

“Get. Out…. Get out NOW!!!”

Brent walked in to check on her and found her looking in the corner. Brent asked her who she was talking to and she said, “Dolphin.”

“Why are you yelling at dolphin?”

“He told me to listen… and I said, Get. Out… Get out NOW!!!” The last part was said in a shrill scream.

She seriously doesn’t like it when people tell her what to do. I’m pretty sure this frustration was meant to be aimed at Brent and I because we are constantly telling her she needs to listen. When she yells at us she gets put into time out, but when she yells at a weird dolphin in her room we laugh. It’s a win, win situation if you think about it. You get out all of your frustrations AND you get the attention you were seeking.

I should try this tactic in my classroom.

Having a mutant cold at the beginning of your first year of teaching could very well kill a person. One night during the week I felt so miserable that I couldn’t sleep. Finally at midnight I gave up trying and busted out the laptop. I planned and graded until 2:30 and was up at 5:30 the next morning.

Each evening when I got home from work I felt like I was going to collapse, but I missed the girls so much that I always looked forward to bedtime when I got to read stories and bath time when I got to play with bubbles. Except for one particularly rough night…

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That night someone pooped in the bathtub before she could get her hair washed and then while it was getting cleaned up proceeded to run around the house naked with a towel on her head screaming “I’m Batman! I fly to the moon!”

It was me…

Just kidding.

But it very well could have been if I just so happened to drink as much wine as I was tempted to drink that particular night. I was on day two of Brent being at work and was at my whits end. Poop in the tub was the thing that almost through me over the edge.

For the past two weeks I’ve been waiting for this darn cold to go away so that I could have the energy to do everything I needed to do during the evenings. I hardly cook anymore, I’m too tired and Penelope is too crazy when I get home. Last weekend I couldn’t take it anymore I was convinced that the only thing that could ease my aching throat was some old fashioned chicken noodle soup. Real soup. Not the canned kind.

I didn’t have a recipe but I had a garden full of goodies so I went outside, picked some carrots and herbs and set to work in the kitchen…

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Doesn’t the carrot on the left look like it’s saying, “No! Don’t eat me!”?

I sauteed some veggies, reduced some wine, poached some chicken and ended up making the best soup I’ve ever had. While I was out in my garden I was wading through mounds and mounds of rotting apples from my apple tree. I kept feeling bad for the apples that never got eaten. So I decided to pick a few…

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It was the first fall like day of the season, a perfect day to make apple crisp with the girls…

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Slowly as the week progressed things started to get better. I caught up with my “to do” list for work and I was finally beginning to feel like myself again. This meant more energy to frolic outside during the evenings with the girls. We went on bike rides and hung out in the garden some more. Penelope was super excited to see that the pumpkins in our pumpkin patch were ready to be plucked.

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She played with them for the rest of the evening because they were her “best friends”. She even invited them to come inside to watch a movie and eat some popcorn. They politely declined.

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But that didn’t stop her from cuddling with them until the sun went down.

This weekend I feel like I’m finally back to my self. I’ve been looking up healthy recipes, planning which days I plan on running and getting super excited about Fall. Balancing the whole work life thing is harder than I thought it would be but I’m pretty sure, with practice, things are going to be great!

Powering Down

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Have you ever been so tired your eye balls hurt?

When I feel that way it reminds me of when I was a kid when I would try to stay up past 9 to watch the Golden Girls. I wasn’t really particularly fond of the Golden Girls but I knew that once it came on it was officially past my bedtime. Therefore, if I found myself sitting in front of the TV while the Golden Girls was on then I knew I was getting away with something and felt compelled to partake in this act of rebellion by staying up and watching it.

I would try to revel in the moment but every time I would become so tired that my eyes would start to burn and water causing me to blink a million times. Eventually somewhere in the midst of a blink I would pass out.

This was exactly how I felt last week in the middle of a class… that I was teaching.

Only I didn’t fall asleep, instead I just kind of powered down in the middle of a sentence

“The books on my book shelf are not for shorrrr teeeeerm looooaan.”

I tried to play it off like it didn’t happen but then I heard a little voice say, “Uh… Mrs. Chapman? What was that?”

Then I got the giggles and I bent over and laughed until tears welled up in my eyes while my students sat there perplexed, trying to determine whether it was safer to stay quiet and let me have my episode or to laugh along with me. Fortunately, they chose the latter which made things a little less awkward.

All day on Friday I kept blinking my eyes because they really wanted to stay shut for a nice long nap. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Why was I so tired?

Sure, I had to work late several of the nights and yes I had woken up early to prepare lessons but this level of tired was weird. I passed out around nine on Friday night with the allusion that by Saturday I would feel well rested and ready to enjoy my weekend. When Saturday came around I woke up with a long list of things I needed to get done in order to have a successful week ahead but by mid-morning I was ready to go back to bed again.

I kept thinking this exhaustion was just all in my head and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t just snap out of it. Then I got my answer in the form of a sore throat… and then a runny nose… and then headache.  I had flashbacks of the week before of all of the students with hacking coughs and runny noses who had come up to my desk asking if they could “borrow” a tissue.

“You just go on ahead and keep it.”

Thinking back on it, it was inevitable.

So that’s basically what I’ve been doing lately… trying to pretend like I’m not sick while I simultaneously pretend like all aspects of my life are in perfect control. In the mean time I’ve been having dreams about tornados and falling off cliffs.

Of all of the things I wanted to accomplish this labor day weekend the only thing I managed to do was finally take my monthly pictures so that I can honestly show you where I am with the whole weight loss business. (Hint: there isn’t a lot of weight loss going on.) I felt like it was time to get back into my routine of doing monthly progress reports. The plan was to post it on Sunday but then I felt like crap and I also looked like crap so I decided to wait to post the pictures at the end of the month with my new pictures for comparison. (I wanted to give myself a chance at redemption.)

In fact, at this very moment I feel like crap and I’m desperately trying to figure out a way to end this post so that I can go to sleep. So that’s what I’m going to do now. I’m powering down once more… in the middle of a thought. Because that pretty much sums my life right now.

The end.