Find the Good

It’s 6 a.m., finally an appropriate time to get out of bed. Other than the much needed coffee brewing, the house is quiet. My boys are sleeping and the dog is curled up next to me on the couch. I know I’m not alone. I could call four other people in my family who would also be awake right now.

Have you ever experienced something that has turned your world around? I hope we all have. A new house, marriage, a new baby, graduation, a new job. For the most part my life has been filled with these moments. Moments I can’t wait to tell my parents about. Moments I want to keep re-living. I, naively, thought I had experienced enough of the not-so-great turn your world around moments. You know, the things we always think won’t happen to us.

Now, rewind back two weeks. My mom walks into my dad’s house, all smiles. My roommates in college told me once how strange/awesome it was that my parents got along so well for being divorced. Typically this occurrence wouldn’t throw me off but rewind back 6 more weeks and we were at the hospital with my dad being told they were treating him for a stroke. So, as any daughter would do, when my mom walked into my dad’s house I automatically went into freak out mode. Right when we thought Dad was on the mend, the stroke was a false alarm, something had happened and they wanted to tell us all together.

Minutes later we heard the words mass on my brain, biopsy to figure out what it is, I don’t know much else. The words came from my mom. World stopped. This can’t be real. The rest of the night and next day are a blur. I saw and talked to my mom several times that week. Several times we parted ways by giving each other a pep-talk. I called her again the night before surgery to give one more you got this! chat. I called twice, no answer both times. Weird.

She didn’t answer because she was on the phone with her neurosurgeon. 12 hours before surgery was to start he called to tell her change of plans. They were taking out the entire tumor. The tumor had grown three times in size in 20 days. World stopped, again. As we finished up our last pre-surgery pep talk my mom told me she had only packed two pairs of pajamas. She didn’t have enough cute pajamas for the length of this new hospital stay. Here she was trying to make me laugh when she had just received news that we couldn’t quite comprehend.

This past week was nothing we could have ever mentally prepared for. Especially when the game plan was changed 12 hours before go time. That was probably a blessing. Thinking about step 2 before ever finishing step 1, making ourselves crazy. There have been words in the last week we will never be able to un-hear. Craniotomy to remove a brain tumor, radiation, chemotherapy. Those words will always be in the back of our minds. They are allowed to drop by but they aren’t allowed to set up camp. We are going to have the thoughts that bring tears to our eyes. They aren’t allowed to stay.

What is allowed to stay: How impressed her doctors and therapists are with her improvement. Everyday she is making great strides to being herself again. The jokes she is able to make. The love she is being showered with from all over. A wise woman once told me: “Every day may not be good but there is good in every day.” Every day we are finding the good.

Day by day we are making this journey together. We have an amazing village of people to help us, encourage us, and love us. Today, I have a dad who has recovered like a champ and a mom who will do the same. Today, I have a mom who yells at me when I tell her to put the iPad away at 4 a.m. Today, I have a mom who continues to impress us all with her bravery. We will meet tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

Tell your people how much you care about them. Don’t apologize for being a sap. If you get emotional in the process, don’t apologize for that either. You’re human. Throw away the to-do list. Play with your kids all day. Do something you want to do. Tell the Starbucks barista she made your day. Spend way too much in the dollar section at Target. Smile at a stranger. Whatever you do, always find the good.❤

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Kisses During Playtime

As another Spring Break comes to a close I am finding myself sitting on the couch sulking at the thought of having to wear real pants again tomorrow. In between the puzzles, the  family, the mass laundry, the aquarium trip, and the snuggles watching Mickey of this last week I had many moments of Is this real life? Is this ornery, rotten, little ham really ours?  In the middle of my pouting Brantley stopped throwing his basketballs up the stairs, ran over and gave me a kiss. How did his one year old self know I needed a reality check? So, instead of sitting here  mulling over my incomplete Spring Break To-Do List, I am going to soak up one more day of yoga pants, baby loves, and remember what does make me one lucky lady…

…parents that think our son is as cute as we do.

…a husband that knows when to talk down my crazy or join in the fun.

…friends that have lasted through the years.

…family who listens to my latest and greatest business ideas.

…a living room floor piled with books, balls, blocks, and stuffed animals.

…piles of clean AND folded laundry waiting to be put away (I know, this is impressive!).

…coffee and muffins I didn’t have to make this morning.

…a dog that always has a slobber filled kiss for her little human.

…a job that doesn’t feel like a chore to get up and go to with students who keep me on my toes.

…a babysitter who loves Brantley like her own which makes it easier to leave him to do a job I love.

… kisses smack-dab in the middle of playtime.

…and a week off with my toddler to witness moments like these.

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As always, the laundry can wait, the dishes can be done later, and you just let that dust keep piling up. If you’re going back to work tomorrow after Spring Break or just going back because it’s Monday, I hope you greet this week with attitude and spark. ❤

If Dad’s Not Home

Here’s a little shout out to the single parents, the parents who work opposite schedules, the military families, and basically anyone who has ever had to juggle the craziness of life and a babe on their own at any point in time. Recently Sam was out of town for a work trip and it was our first time apart since Brantley was born. He was gone a mere 48 hours (I know, that’s like a blink of an eye) and we made it through but of course not without a little adventure.

Most mornings, with the exception of maybe 3 days in the last year, both boys are still sleeping when I leave for work in the morning. This means I’ve only had to get myself ready before heading out the door. A typical morning looks something like this: wake up to my fifth alarm going off and the dog whining to go out; shower real fast; make the coffee; find a matching outfit that I hopefully didn’t wear the week before; pour myself a cup of coffee that I take maybe two drinks of; do my hair and make up; find an outfit for Brantley; kiss Sam goodbye; search for my car keys before remembering I left them in the car; get in the car; realize I left something in the house; grab that something and finally leave before getting stuck behind the bus that has a million stops on my route. Remember, this madness happens when Sam is home.

When Sam isn’t home: wake up to my fifth alarm, a whining dog and a toddler waking up; shower real fast before the babe starts screaming for momma; find those clothes even though I know we both definitely wore the same thing last week; make the coffee; get the babe from his crib and grab a few toys; lock ourselves in the bathroom while I get ready; pick the hair dryer up off the floor and put it away since it’s now become a toy; calm a near meltdown because we have efficiently brushed our teeth for five minutes and have to put the toothbrush away; put my coffee in a to-go mug; grab a granola bar; calm another near meltdown because he didn’t get his own granola bar; find his blanket to help with the meltdown; grab the lunch meat, cheese and bread to make my lunch at school, no time for that at home; figure out how to carry everything plus the toddler to the car; leave the coffee on the counter, I’ll stop and buy some; throw on some shoes and put Brantley’s shoes in my bag; make it to the sitter where he jumps out of my arms; stop at McDonald’s for coffee and wait 10 minutes while I watch all the employees fix the ice cream machine at 6:55 a.m.; make it to work with 30 seconds to spare and find the babe’s shoes in my bag.

Oh and night time? Check to make sure all doors are locked at least 5 times; decide locked doors and a doberman aren’t sufficient enough security; move a chair under the front door knob; decide that’s still not enough; move the ottoman under the door nob, too. Run up the stairs after turning off all the lights but one because obviously a light on through the night (when there’s usually not) means, I’m definitely not home alone. Fall asleep watching HGTV because anything else would probably make me have wacked out dreams.

Let’s be honest, my brain is a little more chaotic than most. I would like to think I would get in a flow if I had to do this often but I thank goodness I don’t.  Major kudos to those of you who do. If you can balance all this and maybe even add in a second child, you should pour yourself a large glass of wine and run for president. 😉

When I Think I’ve Lost It

In the classroom, this time of year seems to be a matter of making it through each day. The students are restless, teachers are restless, the cold weather makes you want to lock yourself in a closet. There are all sorts of meetings, deadlines, data collection, state testing, conferences, and middle school behavior issues like whoa. This past week I was driving to pick up the little babe when I started to think about my day and remembered a little Pinterest “research” I stumbled upon recently.

80% of unwanted behaviors come from 20% of students.

Once I got to thinking, it’s true. The overwhelming amount of students do not cause those whoa moments. This little thought popped in my head…I need those students, the 80% AND the 20%. Maybe need is the wrong word. I tried to think of a less dramatic word but I can’t. Of course I need the students because if they aren’t around, there’s no school, which means there’s no paycheck, which means the husband wouldn’t be happy. 😉

Just yesterday, after a night of little sleep, topped with more deadlines and the feeling of there’s never enough time, I had a student ask me, “Mrs. Haddix, where’s your smile today?” Those six words really got me. Similar to the 80% situation, its not their fault the 20% takes over our mind and some days makes us want to lock ourselves in that closet. It’s not the students’ fault my child is teething and can’t sleep. It’s not the students’ fault that education’s always changing, the paperwork never ending.

I need the students to call me out when I lose sight of my “why”. I need their light bulbs to flicker in the process of learning until it’s shining bright once they master something. I need those 20% of behavior students to challenge me and throw bumps in the road. If I had nothing to investigate during the day, I’d get bored. If I didn’t have behaviors to break down, the days would never change. I also may need that little surprise cupcake found on my desk after a long meeting.

I like to think the 80/20 rule can be applied to real life. The overwhelming majority of people are good-hearted. People who help little old ladies to their car when leaving the grocery. People who read books to kids stuck in the hospital. People who shovel their neighbor’s driveway. Like my students, just because they are currently in the 20% doesn’t mean they can’t get out. These 20% need the extra love and support that maybe sometimes it’s hard to find. If we keep loving our people, and our people loving their people, the 20% can possibly, maybe, hopefully decrease.

If you’re struggling with your why lately, I hope this leaves you with a smile. Keep on keepin’ on my friends. Your why matters.

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The Craziest Thing We’ve Ever Done

If I were asked what the craziest, biggest adrenaline rush, oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-I-did-that thing I’d ever done was I would come up with a blank stare. Well…I did start the wave at a Red’s game that made it’s way around the entire Great American Ballpark. I also thought it would be a good idea to hike up a trail at Red River Gorge while 6 months pregnant. Both crazy and hilarious stories, yes, but not wowza! worthy. I think I’d have to give a real simple, yet so complex answer. Parenting.

When I started my first teaching job at 23 I was giving advice to parents on tips and tricks to help their children be successful. I would always start the conversation with, “I don’t have children yet but…” Five and a half years of schooling, two degrees, and the support of some great co-workers, of course I can help a parent out when asked for some advice (and maybe sometimes when not asked 😉). Now that I have my own child it’s not always that easy.

You know the saying that says something about wearing your heart on your sleeve? Everyday we are wearing our hearts on our sleeve. Literally. I can tell you the moments it falls off and the moments it’s picked back up. Brantley takes a rough spill, I’m a sobbing mess, he’s totally fine, heart gone. Brantley puts his little hands on my face, leans his head into mine and giggles, picked back up again.

I overheard Sam tell someone they don’t teach you this kind of stuff in baby class. That can’t be more true. They spend waaayyy too much time on how to breathe during labor and zero time on the emotional rollercoaster you’re going to be on for, ohhh…the rest of time. I mean, just 30 minutes to scare the crap out of us while giving a motivational pep talk would do the trick.

I see people I’m friends with, co-workers, friends of friends, random strangers at the mall and think,

“Dang, they really have their stuff together. Their child’s pacifier is on a string so it doesn’t fall on the ground a million times. Their child’s socks match their outfit. How the crap did they get their child’s hair to look so presentable?”

I have these moments where I wonder when I’m going to have it all together then I remember I didn’t really have it all together before  Brantley but we sure did enjoy life. He’s obsessed with hugging his cousins, he eats his fruits and veggies (ugh, sometimes 😊), he laughs when I tell him he’s not allowed to stand in his chair, he gives the dog a bone..or 4..when we leave the house, he shoots a ball into his basketball hoop, and he’s finally coming back around on the cuddling thing. These moments remind me we have to be doing something right. I have to remind myself to take a breather and just enjoy the moment, the now.

This parenting gig is the craziest, biggest adrenaline rush, oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-I-did-that thing we’ve ever done but there’s no way we would turn back time. This kid has us wrapped around his little fingers and we wouldn’t have it any other way. ❤

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I Get to be Momma

As a working mom it seems like the hours somehow turn into days and the days finally turn in to the weekend. This has to be done after work, that has to be picked up from the store, and for the love I can’t fit in one more appointment. The floors need vacuumed, laundry needs switched over, dinner needs made (and cleaned up!), books need read, diapers need changed, lunch needs packed. And what the crap?..The dog puked!

On any given day I find myself being a teacher, counselor, security guard, problem solver, mom, nurse, friend,  investigator, peace-maker, performer, and enthusiast. People, this is before I ever see my own child for the day. Please don’t take this as complaining because it’s not. Even on the long days in the classroom, I love playing these roles. I love being trusted to do this from 7-2 every day. I also hope that someday Brantley will have someone in his life willing to play these roles for him when I can’t.

But, this week I get to play only two roles: momma and wife. For the next nine days, I get a chance to play the stay at home mom role. The dinner on the table before 8 role. No more leaving before the baby is awake. No more working after bedtime. No more grumpy mom after a bad day. Nine whole days of snugs and loves with my boys. I c.a.n.t. wait.

Nine days to clean the house. Nine days to make dinner at home. Nine days to catch up on laundry. Nine days to go to story time. Nine days to go to Target at 10 a.m. Nine days to drink my coffee while watching Kelly and Michael. Nine days to organize during nap time. Nine days to play ball on the living room floor. Nine days to read books. Nine days to search Pinterest for all sorts of things I’ll never do. Nine days to listen to baby giggles. Nine days to watch basketball on the couch with the hubs without thinking about work. Nine days to play my favorite roles.

Let’s be real, I won’t be doing much cleaning, cooking, or laundry. I will definitely be doing plenty of Target shopping, book reading, and Kelly and Michael watching.

Ladies (and gents), being a working mom (or dad) is hard work! Even if you aren’t blessed with nine days off, enjoy the time you do get. The laundry and cleaning will always be there. Read the books, watch the movies and just love your people. They won’t always be there. ❤

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One Year Old Brantley,

Mr. Man, you’re ONE! It can’t be that a whole year ago I made your dad stop at Speedway for a poptart on our way to the hospital because I had to make this one last moment about me. A few hours, several orange jellos, and one glorious epidural later we were holding you in our arms trying to decide your name. Your dad is thankful I finally realized Knox was a little much. Brantley Robert had way more meaning and fit your chubby little cheeks perfect. Who knew a tiny little human could teach two people so much? We didn’t. Of course you taught us the typical baby things such as: to be careful when changing a diaper, the fastest way to warm up a bottle with a screaming babe in our arms, how to bathe a baby in the kitchen sink and so on.

The things you taught us that I didn’t plan on learning are my favorite:
1. The exact spots in our floor that make a creaking sound.
2. Just how much it takes for me to throw myself on the ground, curl up in the fetal position and cry. If you’re wondering– It takes nearly two weeks of you being sick, trading days off between mom, dad, and your grandparents; then waking up, when I thought we were in the clear, to a fever that kept us from being able to take you to the sitter. Your dad let me throw my fit for about .2 seconds before he told me to stop being dramatic. 😊
3. Poop comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
4. How to walk our 80 lb. doberman while simultaneously pushing your stroller, by myself. We almost took a spill down the driveway during our first attempt but we didn’t give up. We are now dog and stroller walking masters. It’s still a better idea to wait until Dad gets home.
5. Target’s dollar bin has a new meaning. We browse that bad boy for a few minutes before finding you a new toy to keep you busy during our shopping trip. Ain’t no shame here. If it gets me 5 more minutes of looking at aisles of things I don’t need, you can have 2!
6. 12 month shots are THE WORST. Sorry, I missed the memo. I would have totally had your dad come (I told him it was no big deal) so at least one of us was a non-teary-eyed-mess leaving the doctor’s office.
7. We have to celebrate the little things! A diaper change without rolling all over? Dance party. A meal without feeding all your food to the dog? Dance party x2.
8. My love for you and your dad grows by the day. Seems impossible, right??? I don’t get it either but it happens.

Mister, I’m told this year is a big one. We can’t wait to see how much you learn and how long Paisley girl is going to lay still while you climb all over her like a jungle gym. You’re still stealing hearts, buddy. Keep it up until you’re a teenager😉. We love you big time!
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Here’s to the Momma…

Here’s to the momma with the crying kid in the toy aisle at target. Its ok to cave and get him the toy so he stops. But, if you want to prove a point and let him have that tantrum, we get it.

Here’s to the momma chasing around a toddler while growing another human in her belly. Nap time is coming soon.

Here’s to the momma holding her babe tight after getting shots at the latest doctor check up. It hurts you more than him. At least that’s what the doctors say.

Here’s to the momma sneaking in one last hug on that big college campus before turning around and heading home, leaving their baby in a whole new world. He’ll be ok. He’ll call when he needs money and that’s ok. He knows he can depend on you.

Here’s to the momma whose heart is breaking because they were dealt a hand they didn’t ask for. Hang on momma, you’ll make it through.

Here’s to the momma rockin’ that zumba class, droppin’ those pounds. We all want just a tad of your motivation.

Here’s to the momma dropping her babe off at his dad’s for the weekend. And here’s to the dads for making that weekend the best two days ever.

Here’s to the mommas and daddies doing it on their own. Don’t be too stubborn, though. It’s ok to ask for help.

Here’s to the working mommas who don’t want to get a sitter for date night. There’s only so much time you get before your babes are grown.

Here’s to the stay at home moms who can’t wait to get out the door for date night. Home all day with little people can be exhausting.

Here’s to the momma with the mouthy teenage daughter. She’ll get over that stage, we all did.

Here’s to the mommas and daddies coaching their babies on how to raise their own human. We love your advice even though sometimes we think we don’t need it.

Here’s to the momma dreaming, hoping, praying for their chance to hold a little one. We are dreaming, hoping, praying with you.

Here’s to the momma making sure everything is perfect in the nursery before those contractions start. You feel clueless now but just wait for that first wiff of newborn skin. You got this.

Here’s to the momma traveling for the first time, anxiously making sure everything got packed in the suitcase. Don’t worry, you can buy whatever you forget.

Here’s to the momma walking like a zombie on her 4th trip to the baby’s room that night. You deserve that extra large coffee you’re longing for. Add whip cream to the top, you won’t regret it.

Here’s to the momma trying to make it through the mother/son dance on the day he starts a new journey with his wife. And the daddy fighting back the tears as he walks his favorite girl down the aisle to the man of her dreams. Thanks for showing us what love is.

Here’s to the momma celebrating another birthday with party hats and cupcakes. Where did the last 12 months go?

Here’s to the mommas and daddies everywhere. You’re showing that mom life and dad bod what’s up. You’re not alone in this big world. Baby snugs and puppy love can cure it all. Remember it takes a village. 😘

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#PoliceLivesMatter

This year I had a student who dealt with her feelings in some not-so-great ways. Together we decided when she didn’t know how to deal with those feelings and was frustrated, she would write. It didn’t matter what she wrote. It could be her words. It could be someone else’s words. One day she gave me something she wrote about me. Several days would go by, I wouldn’t get anything. Other days I would get stacks of papers. In some ways, I believe her writing things down helped her. So, today, I practice what I preach.

This morning around 10:15 a.m. I received the following text message from my brother:

“FYI we had an officer shot in District 2. Not me. Just letting you know I’m ok.”

No, he’s not participating in some weird, real life version of the Hunger Games. You see, my brother, he’s a Cincinnati police officer. That officer shot, Officer Kim, was one of their people.

I remember talking to one of Brandon’s friends when they graduated from the police academy; he assured me they would all take care of each other. “Don’t worry, I’ve got your brother’s back,” he said. It’s then that I knew my brother was entering a whole new family I would only know little about.

When Brandon first started working the streets, I was that freak-o sister that asked him to send me an I’m safe and on my way home text when he was off work. There were mornings I would wake up, heart pounding, because I didn’t have a text. Come to find out, it was a long night and he just forgot to text on his way home. That lasted for about a year until I got used to the fact that my brother was a police officer. My sister in law quit watching the news. Brandon and I would go a few days between talking with each other. We all didn’t sit around waiting for our phones to go off, good or bad. Having a police officer brother became normal. Normal stays normal until days like today.

That man’s family isn’t going to receive the I’m safe text message. His wife and sons aren’t going to spend Sunday, Father’s Day, celebrating with their father. This is the silent fear of every.single.person. who loves someone who wears a badge.

My question is, why? Why is this the silent fear? Why has our society made it okay for things like this to happen? Why do these people who protect us deal with so much negativity when they are willing to risk their lives day in and day out to keep us safe? Yes, there are bad cops. There are bad doctors. Do we still trust doctors, as a whole, with our lives when something is wrong? Why do all officers get lumped into the bad category if we don’t do this for other professions? Why did this man show up to do his job today but he doesn’t get to send the I’m safe text?

I have no idea how to find an answer for every why. What I do know is this…Love can do big things. If we all loved a little more, maybe there would fewer days like today. If you love your people, then your people will spread the love to their people. And maybe, just maybe, we can have fewer days like today. Love can beat hate.

11 Free/Almost Free Things You Can Get a New Mom

1. The largest water cup ever. Preferably one with a straw. A cup that doesn’t sweat and leave a mess all over is even better. The amount of water she’s going to drink is unreal. The bigger the cup, the more trips to the refrigerator to fill the cup you save her husband while she’s in the middle of a feeding session. He will thank you for this too.
2. A loving, you can do this, stop throwing yourself a pity party pep talk. Only give this when asked. If you take it upon yourself to give this pep talk without permission, mentally prepare yourself for the wrath of the devil. It’s not our fault we can turn all crazy lady in .2 seconds, hormones are intense little demons.
3. Silence. If you’re visiting the new mom and you notice she’s been pacing, bouncing, rocking, singing, butt-tapping, shut your mouth. Yes, in theory, baby should be able to sleep anywhere, at any time, in any noise level. Theory is easier than reality. A 5 minute break from your obnoxious story about God knows what is all that’s needed. She would love to hear your story in 5.
4. Punctuality. Text at 6:45- “Hey! How are ya? Want some company?” Yes! Company is just what she needs to feel a little more human. Text at 9:00- “On our way!” Seriously?! The baby is about asleep and mom’s not far behind. Sure, head over. She’ll stick toothpicks in her eyes to keep her eyelids open. Her husband will appreciate the break from talking solely to a whacked out wife.
5. A bottle of wine. Nothing fancy is needed. Remember she just gave birth. There isn’t an ounce in her body that feels fancy. She’s not even sure she wants a glass of wine but she sure will be mad when she’s ready for that glass and there’s no wine in sight.
6. A 15 minute, uninterrupted, no baby monitor on the counter, shower. Not only is it possible that she hasn’t showered in an embarrassing amount of days but she also may need to shed a few tears. The shower is the best, non-judgement-zone place to do so.
7. An iTunes giftcard. It’s inevitable that she will hear the most perfect song at 3 a.m. on Pandora’s baby lullaby radio. She will need to buy the song off iTunes right then. She won’t have a clue she even heard the most perfect song when she wakes up sleep deprived in the morning.
8. An Amazon giftcard. Similar to the iTunes giftcard. Facebook will be so boring during that 3 a.m. feeding frenzy that she will resort to online shopping to pass the time. Amazon has everything.
9. Dinner. Once again, she’s not looking for a marinated New York strip paired with asparagus and a roasted potatoes. Spaghetti, lasagna, frozen meals to throw in the oven. Really anything that involves as little thought on her part as possible is a win.
10. Persistance. She says she doesn’t need anything right now but she will. Check again in a few days. She may just need the ok for a celebratory 1 in the afternoon drink, she may need that pep talk mentioned above, she may need some coffee, she may need dishes and laundry done, she may need a new oversized sweatshirt from Goodwill, she may need some candles to cover the vomit smell. Or she may just simply need someone from her village to keep her from waving the white flag.
11. Ears. Let her talk about her baby without interrupting. She’ll eventually run out of things to say, even if it does take hours. Included in these ears is the ability to listen to when she’s asked for your advice. Unsolicited advice, even though it may truly be life changing, is not always great for her mental stability. 😉