Friendship=True Love.

Have any of you seen this movie?  Especially any of you with daughters?  My nine year old daughter has liked this movie for a few years now.  It stars Emma Roberts (Julia Robert’s niece, who plays Addy on Nickolodeon’s Unfabulous) and JoJo (teen pop star) as two young girls whose strengths combine to make each one’s individual weaknesses more bearable.  They stumble upon a young mermaid and give her advice on how to win the affections of a lifeguard that all three admire.  Aquamarine has to find true love in the next few days, or her father will make her remain a mermaid, although she so desperately wants to be human.  The ensuing drama is oddly reminiscent of “Mean Girls”, with a bit of “The Little Mermaid”.  

But the ending, well this is one that you mamas are going to LOVE.  I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say, it’s not your typical Disney-fied movie where you don’t find happiness unless you get the prince.

And one of the lead characters has a strong, powerful single mom, struggling with her willful teenage daughter.  Granted, the other character lost both of her parents previously, but is being raised by BOTH grandparents.  Read this post for a great discussion of how mothers are underrepresented in Disney movies.  

Mamas, watch this with your girls.  It sends the right message.  The one we all talk about all the time.  And definitely a message about how much your friends can mean to you.  (Your virtual support groups too.  😉  ).

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Cramming for school.

So it’s a done deal.  I took the job.  

Thanks to all of you who helped and supported and weighed in on this major decision.  I’m now fully preparing for the upcoming school year teaching Chemistry (which I taught college chem labs for the last five years so I’m not feeling as nervous about that) and Physics (eek, not my normal subject area and it’s been years since I’ve dealt with it, so I’m studying up extra hard).  The first half of the year it’s Chem and Physics every day and the Regents in January.  Then the next half of the year it’s just Chemistry.  The same one I will have taught in the first semester.  So that at least should be easier.  It’s just the first half of the year that will be overwhelming.  But I’m up for it-I’m going to get as much planned ahead as I can.

Any teachers out there?  Any science teachers?  Anyone want to help out? 😉  

How do you all prepare for a  new job, where you don’t know anybody???

Happy 9th Birthday Little B!

Though I suppose you aren’t so “little” anymore, we still continue to call you that.  

You have made my life exactly what it’s supposed to be.  

You are the kindest, most empathetic, compassionate person I’ve ever met.  You have more spunk in your one braid than most of us do in our entire body (could it be from watching Bring It On-All Or Nothing so many times?;)). 

I’m sorry it’s raining today.  I know you wanted a boating birthday, but we’ll do that another day.  I guess maybe it’s God crying happy too.  I know yesterday and today, I’ve been emotional.  Last night, when I “kissed eight goodbye” and you laughed at me, I was serious when I said you are halfway to college.  Unlike lots of people, it hasn’t flown by-it’s been AMAZING.  I’ve never had so much fun in my life and I’ve certainly never loved so much.  And “kissing nine” this morning, well that was pretty special.  I’m sure I’ll be a bigger wreck next year when you hit the double digits.  

It’s been you and me for so long, and this past year, when we moved in with the boys and got married, well it’s been a much harder adjustment for your mommy than for you.  I’ve never really been good at sharing you.  That’s why I didn’t give birth to you until the day they were scheduled to induce you to come out.  I like you being mine all mine.  I know that’s selfish, but I just enjoy so much about you.  That attitude is amazing.  Where did that come from?  You have so much of your Daddy too.  His creative side, the musical side, the laid back demeanor-that’s him.  The hyper, perky, childlike fun side…ha, ha, that’s your momma.  Silly faces and endless giggling to the point where we can’t breathe…oh yeah, momma again.   There are some days I miss our alone life so very much.  We still spend lots of alone time, but it’s very different.  You love being a “family”.  You love being surrounded by more people than I do.  B, you are going to do really great things.  Yes, even greater than showing your mommy what real love is.  

I of course, got you tons of presents.  But when I went to work yesterday, I played Tim McGraw’s song “My Little Girl” (the one we did a video of you with for your Daddy’s birthday this year), and I realized one thing.  This whole job decision has been so hard because of a comfort zone issue.  But I have the option now to choose the most important thing-time with you.  Thank you for being the one steady constant in the five years of single motherhood.  The reason I got up.  The person I crawled into bed with on all those long, lonely nights.  Your breath and warm skin soothed me more than you will ever know.  

I choose you baby.  I’m letting go of my fear of depending on someone financially and I’m jumping into a risky prospect because you won’t need any daycare or any summer care.  For the next nine years-I choose you.  I choose to spend time with you and love you and wake up with summers full of no obligation.  I may have to pull out all the stops someday and find another job or something, but for now, I’m going to take this one.  And choose…you.

Job changes?

So  in keeping with some of my fellow bloggers like Liz, who are contemplating other jobs and career moves, I have another job I’m mulling over too.  Some of you know that I am a research scientist and have been for over 11 years now.  At the same place!  It’s like my second family.  However, I did work at a pharmaceutical company right after college, and really didn’t like it.  I stayed there six months and then was offered a positon with my current employer.  We’ve been through buying several houses together, a divorce, numerous serious relationships.  My daughters entire existence I’ve been with this people.  And it’s a stellar job.  Downside?  It’s one hour from my home.  Two hours of commuting daily.  And my daughter is an hour away from me during the day.  Her dad is in town though for his job, which is why it works ok for us.  

I have a job coming up teaching in a Catholic school-chemistry and physics.  I went to grad school for a Masters in Education.  The only part of that degree I haven’t finished is the student teaching.  And I won’t, because I’d have to quit my job while I did it.  And that’s just not reasonable to me.  However if I take this job, I’ll have a big cut in pay, but it will count as my student teaching and we can push my certification through (NY State is a toughie when it comes to teaching requirements, for those of you who aren’t aware).  So, great job, summers and school vacations off, shorter workday, no commute.  Drastically lower pay.  

Everyone says take it.  Our business is doing well and the money isn’t really the issue.  However, I have my single mom mentality permanently ingrained.  What if this marriage doesn’t work out?  What if it’s just me and B again?  I can’t support her as I have in the past, with this type of pay cut.  

Oh and the kicker-my precious Gram Julia, while in the hospital shortly before dying, said to me (when I contemplated skipping one of my grad school classes to hang with her) “you go be a teacher”.  And in a Catholic school…oh Gram would LOVE that.

So why am I so afraid to do this???  I’m afraid to depend on my husband.  He says I do way more than my share here and take the job that will make me happiest.  But what job IS that?

Child athletes.

Did any of you read “The Uneven Playing Field” in the NY Times Magazine?

I thought a lot about this article, and the subsequent interview on NPR, and whether or not my daughter was playing too much soccer already, at eight years old.  B loves soccer.  I coached her teams the first couple of years and loved it, but she really didn’t pay much attention to me.  (Ok, she WAS three when she started, but she really ran around in circles and picked dandelions behind the goal).  Now, she’s 8, on a premier, elite girls team and had a 4 game tournament this weekend, about two hours from home, in a 157 team event.  She enjoys it more than ever this year, does twice weekly practices and attends one or two yearly soccer day camps.  All events which she requests and enjoys participating in.  Her team is now on hiatus for a little bit, post tourney, until she starts again in the fall, indoors, with the same team.  

 

After her first game at the tournament-90 degree heat and only two subs, not withstanding.

After her first game at the tournament-90 degree heat and only two subs, not withstanding.

 

 

This article, written by Michael Sokolove author of the book Warrior Girls, was a huge eye-opener for me. It offers evidence of the harm that is being caused to young girls bodies, by the continual practice/play of one sport, year-round.  Granted, my girl isn’t non-stop on that one sport all year, but it’s pretty intense.  So I’m going to start more actively “cross-training” with her.  Make sure we get our bike rides and roller blades and swims in, shoot some hoops and play some volleyball.  Work out those muscle groups that she doesn’t use as much in soccer, and give her “soccer muscles” some rest.  She loves doing all these things, I’ll just be a little more aware that she’s not so soccer driven.  And she’s not going to play on the city league that starts in a couple weeks, during her time off from her team.

From “The Uneven Playing Field”:

Anson Dorrance, the women’s soccer coach at the University of North Carolina, is a fierce critic of the tournament system, which he says began when the women’s game was young and good teams had to travel to find strong competition. “But now,” he told me, “everybody’s got a tournament. There’s the Raleigh Shootout, the Surf Cup in Southern California, and ding, ding, ding, they’re everywhere.” Dorrance was animated, his words coming out in a rush. “So now girls are going somewhere every two or three months and playing these inordinate number of matches. And you know what? They’re playing to survive. And the survival is not just the five games in three days. It’s the two or three weeks following. They’ve got a niggling this and niggling that — sprained ankles, swollen knees, aching backs. They were overplayed and they never rested. But part of what’s developing is this question of who’s tough enough, who can play through it?”

So what’s the answer?  The article points out that building up supporting muscles and proper conditioning and injury prevention training would be a huge help-but not many coaches are willing to “waste” valuable time on these concepts-refusing to take away time from other skills, such as shooting, learning plays, and running.  It is up to the parents to be sure that these things are done, but where is this time going to come from, when the kids are already at practice?  This part of sporting should be included in the actual sporting practices themselves.  During their off-field times, these kids need to be just that…kids.

Please moms of daughters (who tend to be more prone to these types of injuries because of our differing musculature), read these two articles and let’s brainstorm.  I want my girl to get to enjoy her soccer for years to come.  Without injury.

Book Meme-A different one!

 

1. Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? My parents are huge readers, it must have been contagious!

2. What are some books you read as a child? My mom’s old Bobbsey Twin and Nancy Drews, all of the Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary, and I loved to go to the dentists because he had “Danny and the Dinosaur” which I just bought for my stepson, for that very reason.  And the Velveteen Rabbit, which was my daughter’s nursery theme and I collect the book.

3. What is your favorite genre? Non-fiction.  Classics.  Parenting and psychology especially.

4. Do you have a favorite novel? The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.  

5. Where do you usually read? On my couch in the great room, while I have my morning coffee or at night while M watches TV, in bed on a lazy day, in my car during B’s practices…everywhere really.

6. When do you usually read? Always in the morning before the kids are up, during my coffee.  And often, at night with my daughter.

7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time? Always.  Like 10.

8. Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?  Absolutely. I have to focus more on nonfiction, and fiction I just breeze through sort of easily.  

9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library? Almost always buy.  I can’t part with books.  I really need to though.

10. Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them? I keep them.  And need to stop.

11. If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child? B loved Eric Carle, and that wasn’t around when I was a kid.  WE both loved The Little Mermaid and we really love Charolotte’s Web.  And Harry Potter!

12. What are you reading now? Fiction-My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, and Non-Fiction-Wine Bible, The History of  a Mining Town (Lyon Mountain-research for my book), an Abby Haye’s Book with B, another wine guide, The Golden Notebook.

13. Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list? Yeah, but I don’t update it normally enough.

14. What’s next? Not sure, I follow whims on my reading material.  I may never get through all the books I keep buying.

15. What books would you like to reread? I could read The Fountainhead and To Kill a Mockingbird, over and over, and over.

16. Who are your favorite authors? Ayn Rand,

I’ve Come To Realize…

I’ve Come To Realize

A meme:

1. I’ve come to realize that my life…is very blessed.

2. I’ve come to realize that my job…has been a real gift and it might be time to move on.

3. I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving…my mood is directly affected by the song I’m listening to and vice versa sometimes.

4. I’ve come to realize that I need…a more challenging career.

5. I’ve come to realize that I have lost…a lot of faith in the inherent goodness of people that I once believed in.

6. I’ve come to realize that I hate it when…there are demands on my time.

7. I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk…I make foolish decisions.  Luckily I don’t really drink anymore.

8. I’ve come to realize that money…is important, but not the MOST important thing in life.

9. I’ve come to realize that certain people…should just be written off and you don’t have to humor their idiotic tendencies anymore.

10. I’ve come to realize that I’ll always be…curious. To a fault.

11. I’ve come to realize that I would like to….start doing bike racing instead of leg racing.

12. I’ve come to realize that my mom…is amazing and I don’t know how she does all she does and has done.

13. I’ve come to realize that my career is…wonderful, but I’m ready for a change.

14. I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning…I couldn’t wait til tomorrow when I’m off and don’t have to get up and can crawl in bed with my princess.

15. I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep…I should not have drank that Vitamin Water.  It must have been what made me stay awake.

16. I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking about…possible job opportunities.

17. I’ve come to realize that my dad…becoming more fascinating to me every day.

18. I’ve come to realize that when I get on my blog…I get to read comments from really neat people.

19. I’ve come to realize that today…is the day before a whole day off with my girly.

20. I’ve come to realize that tonight…I really need to catch up on laundry before we go away for the weekend.

21. I’ve come to realize that tomorrow I will…have an outrageous day with my little diva.

22. I’ve come to realize that I really want to…. be on the boat every possible moment.

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