Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Struggling. . . and then not (so much)

I've been meaning to write for days (does every post of mine start this way?) but time really got away from me this past week. Besides for the fact that it was Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur was coming up, I had to give a presentation to all the other teachers at my school about differentiated instruction at work on Friday ( and I was really nervous).

So I've been kinda busy.

I really want to talk about R"H and Y"K. Maybe I'm the only one who feels this. And if I am that's fine and I'll be my own support group of one. But since I've had kids, I always find it hard to move (my head) back and forth from the mundane to the spiritual. The physical acts of taking care of kids seems to leave me no room to feel the spirituality of the day.

On R"H it was really hard. Our schedule was really thrown off, I didn't have a seat in shul, the shofar blowing was not good (both because the person blowing and the fact that EVERYONE brought their noisy kids into shul-I did not). It was not the best of holidays for me. I have been known to be resentful and grouchy on such days. I don't mind taking care of the kids, but I should also be a perfect Jew and daven and have kavanah (concentration)-that just seems too hard.

Y"K is always hard depending on how well I fast. I am an inconsistent faster, sometimes I fast great and sometimes I throw up and get headaches. Luckily, this time I fasted well. But I did not attempt to go to shul or even daven until 4 pm. And the reason for that? Besides the fact that my children were fighting every 10 minutes, I just wasn't feeling it. Fasting had to be enough at that point. But that afternoon, I felt like I should daven. So I did. I said Mincha, Neilah, and some extra tefilos (prayers) while my children pulled on my clothes, tattletaled on each other, and I even pushed the baby in the stroller at one point.

I can't force myself to feel something I don't. I do think the awareness of "not feeling" or "not feeling the way I am supposed to feel" is a bit of feeling itself. Confused? So am I. But this is it. Being so immersed in the physical world takes it's toll. Am I crazy? Do other people feel this way? I was feeling really discouraged about it yesterday until I davened and tried to feel some of the meaning of the day.

I am still discouraged. But I am trying to forgive myself a little bit and just be the best person I can be-as a Jew, as a mom, as a wife, and as a teacher.


I haven't gotten the book yet, maybe today? When I get it I will give everyone a timeline.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I've Chosen

I was reading a gossipy magazine while waiting for Lulu at OT. And (gasp!) they review books.

Many caught my eye.

So I've chosen the next one to read.

It's called While I'm Falling by Laura Moriarty.

It got a good review in this magazine. So I am taking their word for it.

I am not buying it. I put it on hold at the Chicago Public Library (it seemed like there were many copies available) and I will let you know when I get it.

Go reserve it now!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's getting a little ridiculous

I fully admit my book hoarding tendencies. But it hit a new level of craziness on Friday.

I went to the library on my way home from work. And decided to look up a book that Shalva recommended-the one by Tracy Kidder. It was actually on the shelf and I checked it out and was so happy to take it home. A few hours later my mil called and among other topics of conversation she asked me to pick out a few books for her from my stash. I went upstairs right away to pick her out some books (I didn't want to forget) and as I was looking, guess what I saw? The book by Tracy Kidder, on my shelf.

Just sitting there, waiting to be read.

Which I didn't know I had. Because I have so many books I don't even remember the books I own.

Lest I give you the impression that I spend all my money on books, I don't. Yes, I have bought books at Borders (that started when I was working on National Board Certification and I did my work there and then needed to reward myself) but I ONLY buy the sale ones. And I usually buy my books secondhand at resale stores and used book sales. So in my defense, if a book catches my eye in one of those places I will usually get it. But I won't have had the intention to buy it. Which is how I can forget I own it. Because I didn't know I wanted it in the first place. Or I guess my memory is suffering from having 4 kids and working full time. I'll let you make your own judgements.

Now about picking a book to read. I'm scared. What if I pick a book everyone hates? Then everyone will think my taste in books is terrible. The first book I chose, I cheated a little bit. I had already read a book the author wrote previously. So I knew he was a good writer. Also, I started reading the book before I suggested it so I knew it was interesting. So as long as people promise not to judge me for my selections-I'll pick something this week.

Maybe I should look on my book hoarding shelf for ideas?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dominick's deals and Screen eating squirrels

Friday and Saturday were not normal days. Nothing bad, just different.

After work on Friday I stopped at a Dominick's on the way home which was about 3:30. I was looking for something specific which they didn't have. As I looked around the store, I saw lots and lots of people. And those people were filling carts and carts with stuff! I was very confused until I looked at some signs on the wall that read "Everything in the store 50% off (except the liquor)!" Well, you can imagine how excited I felt-I grabbed a basket and started putting cans of formula in it. Formula alone can bankrupt a person so I am always looking out for deals. Then I started with other items: juice, lunch bags, detergent. It turns out they are liquidating their stock to close the store and then remodel/reopen it. It is grungy and run down but the food is the same there as anywhere!!

There was one sad part to this story however. I didn't have my coupons with me!! I usually carry them everywhere or leave them in the car but I wasn't prepared on Friday. So of course, I had to go back. 2 hours before Shabbos! With construction traffic everywhere. It ended up that I got home an hour before Shabbos and still had to shower me and the baby (did I mention I took her back with me and her diaper leaked and that still didn't stop me)! So good deals abounded but it was a strange way to enter Shabbos.

But my joy was marred by a screen eating squirrel Shabbos afternoon. We left the kitchen window open and a squirrel chewed through it and started eating food on my counter. I don't know if I can describe how terrifying it was to walk into my kitchen and see food and other items strewn all over the counter and sink! Thank G-d the squirrel was gone, maybe all the noise we make scared it off. I threw away everything on the counter and now we have to replace the screen!! The squirrels in this city are truly a menace-I can think of a few creative ideas to get rid of them.
Poison. . . Traps. . .Larger animals that eat squirrels. . . BB guns? Maybe I should call my alderman with some suggestions?

I am so tired this week-getting back into the swing of things of working full-time has been hard. I did use some of my precious free time finishing The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory. It was reeeeeeaaaaaaaaally good! It focuses on the time period of the War of the Roses (York v. Lancaster for any history buffs out there). She did a great job with the main character. Still waiting for some book suggestions. Waiting. . . and waiting. . .

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Moving On

Baby deleted post I just wrote.

And I was going to say I miss her now that I am back at work.

Oh well, what I wrote probably wasn't good enough to publish and she just saved me from embarrassment.

And I do miss her. A lot. When I see her in the afternoon and evenings she wants me to hold her for hours. Literally. She yells her head off when I put her down. Which makes it hard to get anything done around the house AND my back hurts. But that's ok because she's only 10 months once. Before I know it she'll be a year and then two. So I am happy to hold her while she still wants to be held.

I'm getting off topic, though. In other news, the engineer and construction workers finished my classroom. Over Labor Day weekend. It looks beautiful, no holes in the ceiling or burst pipes sticking out of the floor! I am getting high off the fumes from the sealant they used to finish the floors. Even with all the windows open and 2 fans going. But I am really appreciative of all the hard work they did-I need to get them a present! Maybe I should give them the 2 Brittney Spears tickets my bro-in-law with Downs Syndrome won. (He's lucky like that).

Also, I am not feeling well. I have a sinus infection and finally went to the doctor today to get some meds. I feel yucky and achy and have been fighting it for a week. Now the drugs have to fight it for me.

Reading-wise I am having a hard time carving out time to finish anything. But I am trying. I read Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner. Not my favorite of hers ( a little too predictable) but a light read. I am reading The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory but I just started it so I can't say how good it is. It's historical fiction and if anyone likes that genre you are welcome to read it along with me. I have to finish it soon, it's due back at the library next week. I also can't verify how clean it is, although I don't think her books are too graphic or inappropriate. But that's a personal decision. I'm too tired to add links, so google the books if you want to know more.

That's the update for the week.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Grief filled day

I just came back from a funeral for a 5 year old girl.

Horrible, Terrible, Tragic, Horrendous, Gut-wrenching, Unspeakably painful.

So many feelings. Such terrible hurt.

Too many tears. Not enough tears.

No mother should ever have to bury her child. Ever.

But Hashem decided that this little girl fulfilled her purpose here on Earth and took her back.

Hashem gives and Hashem takes.

But the pain is still there no matter what.

HaMakom Yenachem Eschem B'soch Sha'ar Avelei Tzion V'Yerushalyim.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back to school and some laughs

Getting back to school has been soooooo hard this year. Having kids in two schools, me going back to work, a fourth child to plan for; I'm not sure why it's been so hard.

The school supplies have been packed for weeks (I like school supplies, could be why I became a teacher??).

Uniforms bought and planned out for the year.

Afterschool programs planned out for the kids.

Lots of food/ diapers/ wipes /paper goods stocked up on so I don't have to run errands at this busy time of year.

And yet no matter how organized or prepared I am it seems that there is always some feeling of being overwhelmed and nervous about going back to routine and schedule. Don't get me wrong-the kids NEED to be in school and I like routine too. But I can't help but wonder how I will manage my life working full time and taking care of the kids and house too. I mean, the summer is hard enough. When fall comes I have to start adding another thing to think about-my students. ( Don't even get me started about the fact that they decided to do major construction in my classroom a week before school starts!! That equals no classroom for me AND I haven't set it up for the year yet! Which I guess is a good thing because it would all be ruined anyway.)

Then I start to think about all the holidays coming up and I am NOT prepared for that. Does Rosh Hashanah really have to be 3 weeks after school starts? That requires a whole other level of preparedness that I am just not ready to face. So I'll be in denial about that until I absolutely can't be in denial any more. I happen to like that coping strategy but I seem to be getting off topic.

Anyway, so many things to do and not enough time to do them all.

Might be why I am awake writing this post at 3 am.

But, I have been meaning to post 2 funny Little T stories that happened lately. That kid says the funniest things without trying to be funny and then gets mad when I laugh. Or retell the story. But sometimes I just can't help myself.

I did something really crazy last week and took all the kids to the doctor by myself. I know, I know it was stupid. But they all needed physicals before school and the thought of going to the doctor 3 separate times was enough to make my head spin. So I decided to grin and bear it. That visit could be a whole post by itself. But the reason I bring this up is because I tried to prepare Little T that she needed to behave while her other 2 sisters were being seen by the doctor (the baby just came along for the adventure). But Little T thought just they were going to have doctor appts. and she wasn't (I hadn't gotten to that part of preparing her yet). So she says(starting to cry) "But Mommy, I have problems too! I need to see the doctor too!" To which I responded "I know you have problems too, you are also seeing the doctor." She stopped crying and all was well. I think going to the doctor usually makes kids cry but we don't do usual around here!!

Yesterday when getting in the car the windshield was all foggy from all this crazy cold weather we've been having. So Lulu saw it and asked if it was spring outside. I told her no that spring comes before summer and now it's fall. Little T (in all seriousness) says "No it's not, nothing's fallen yet." We are quite literal around here. But then I started to think-she's right. What's with all this cold weather when the leaves haven't even started to change yet?

Oh well, it's too late at night to start pondering the mysteries of our wonderful/weird/annoying weather.

Here's to hoping everyone's back to school goes smoothly!!