Friday, June 2, 2017

You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello

In June of 2010 I decided to leave a job I had been in for seven years, and loved, to become a stay-at-home mom to my two babies, Carter and Gabe.

It was a very easy decision for ME to make. It added a whole lot of pressure to Marc P. He would be the bread winner, he'd be responsible for keeping us a float, and it meant we would probably have to move.

But MP did it. He found a job and moved Team P to his hometown of Roanoke.

Seven years later I decided to leave a job I had been in for four years, and loved, to become a stay-at-home mom, again. This time to three birds, Carter, Gabe, and Harper. The one twist is they are all now in school and can feed themselves and wipe their own booties. A tad bit different than all those years ago! Totally different challenges face me now. And totally different joys.

Once again it was a very easy decision for ME to make. For Marc, at least from what he told me, it was actually a very easy decision for him to make, as well. I am pretty sure he can tell that I love my babies with every fiber of my being and my mission in life is to be a good mom. For ME (not judging/commenting any one else) that means doing things with and for my kids. No, I am not that person that totally makes her world all about her kids and forgets who she is. I will still sub at the preschool, play volleyball, go out to eat with friends, it's just that during the day I hope to volunteer at their school more. Or run errands for the family. Do whatever is needed to make the household run.

I am thrilled and excited for this repeat chapter in my life.

But during that last week of preschool, I had my doubts. I had to say goodbye to some AMAZING families. Families I've watched since Carter started as a three-year-old. Repeat families, new families, small families that grew, families with only one child, I've seen a lot over the years. That job helped me grow as a person, a mom, wife, and friend. I learned a lot.

But I really started to have my doubts when I had to say goodbye to my co-workers. If you want to know some bad-ass women, work in a preschool. Tough as nails. We've seen each other be pregnant, have babies, have kids graduate, kids get in trouble, have fights with friends, have fights with parents, you name, we've seen it. When my Gabers had to go through OT those women supported me and encouraged me to listen to my gut. When that boy was recovering from a seizure, I had an outpouring of love from those women (and preschool families). Anytime I had a sick kid, rough patch, happy times, and confused times, those ladies were my rocks. I leaned on those women when I was having a miscarriage. I leaned on them when my first-born started elementary school. At each graduation I cried with them. We laughed at inside jokes, bonded over horror stories. They were my surrogate sisters. A little sorority in adulthood.

I'm gonna miss them. A lot. But as I told the Pastor, I don't feel as though I am walking away from something, I feel as though I am walking toward something. My kids, their present and their future.

But I definitely will still feel the need to come in, walk those halls, greet the kids, and yes, even hug those cute little beings. No one hugs like a preschooler hugs!

Friday, February 17, 2017

I Heart Teachers

In second grade I was blessed with possibly the best teacher ever, Mrs. Lockard.  She read us Ramona books, Amelia Bedelia, and was the ultimate cuddly, sweet, but firm teacher. She made such an impact on me that I knew my purpose in life was to be a teacher. A profession I pursued until the end of my freshman year of college. That's a discussion for another day though!

But since that time I have had a profound love for teachers. I truly believe grandparents and teachers are gifts from a heavenly source to parents. Teachers dedicate their lives to educating and caring for and about our kids for hours upon hours. I know MANY teachers that worry about kids long after the school day is done, spend their own hard earned money to help out their students, make connections with kids so they have a positive role model in their life. I could go on and on about the amazing ways teachers impact our kids.

In 2014 I was introduced to a whole new set of teachers when my daughter started kindergarten. She is now in 2nd grade and I have been privileged to meet even more teachers. They do not disappoint. From homeroom teachers to specials, to aides, etc., I have been impressed. And last night I saw a different side of them. There was a 4th and 5th grade performance happening while a handful of teachers and parents stood in the hallway. I got to see the teachers laughing with each other, chatting, looking genuinely friendly with one another. And it struck me that maybe part of their amazing impact on my kids is that they truly care about each other. If you like and respect who you work with, it only amps up your own game. You want to do well when you like where and WHO you work with. I saw that last night and it made my heart happy. I also have to add that a 1st grade teacher stepped closer to the door to see a former student sing a solo. Pride and joy were beaming from her like rays of sunshine. That's love right there!

I am sure at some point I'll get a bad one and be sad and disappointed, it happens, but for now I am going to stay in my little bubble of loveliness.

Last Saturday I put up a status on facebook about how much I love my son's teacher and let me tell you, parents were itching to comment on how much they love the teachers at the elementary school. It makes me wonder how often teachers are told how much they are loved and valued? I imagine it's not often, but I guarantee they hear a lot of negative comments and often.

This post is a piggy back to my Facebook status. I want the universe to know that my kids' teachers are rockstars. I may be slightly obsessed with kids and want to spend as much time as possible with them so I am in their school a fair amount. Part of it is that I really love the community. I love the secretary that checks you in, I love the guys that clean the school, the women in the cafeteria, and all the teachers and aides. It's a great place. I truly hope this trend continues and I stay impressed. So GCES teachers, please stay bad ass! :)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Be the Good

It's been a crazy week, no? If you have been on planet Earth this week you know there was a presidential election in the land of the free. You also know that a lot of feelings were shared in the wake of the election.

I have seen a lot of ugliness on social media since Tuesday. I mean stuff that really makes my heart hurt. Really hurt. I felt sick all day Wednesday because of a post I read that was so shameful and embarrassing for the human race. It's gross how humans can treat other humans.

So you know what I did? I hung out with elementary kids. I went on a field trip with my son, I ate lunch with my daughters, I walked the hallways of their school, worked the book fair. You know what I didn't see? Ugliness. I didn't see the word "fag" spray painted on a sign, I didn't hear the f-word shouted at someone, didn't see rioting or property damage. I heard laughter. I saw smiles. I saw my daughter hug a classmate who hurt her head. I saw a student help another student up after she fell. I heard kids debating which candidate they wanted as president without any vicious words used. Doors were held open for others, "thank you" and "please" were phrases often used. I was right where I needed to be to keep my faith in humanity.

You see, these kids only know goodness right now. They are taught that bullying is bad and will not be tolerated, they are taught to have good manners and be polite. But you know what, they're watching, they're listening. They will mimic adults. So it's up to us to keep their sweet spirits alive. We can't let these kids grow up to be the assholes we have all seen this week. We have to do better, we have to BE better. We have to encourage dialogue that gets the point across without attacking. We have to teach them that differences aren't bad, differing opinions aren't bad. What is bad is being a shit human.

I hope those who are hurting find peace and solace somehow, someway. I would never tell them to get over it or move on, that's just silly, but I do hope they can continue the good fight and keep believing in themselves. And for those who are hurting others, I hope they realize their behavior is ugly and needs to change.

What a week. WHAT A WEEK! I want to rinse this bad taste out of my mouth. I want to smile and laugh and be happy. I want others to smile and laugh and be happy. Let's be the good we wish to see in the world.

On a sidenote, to ALL my people that left me this week, shame, shame, shame!!! How could you do that to me! I had no one to vent to. AGHHH!

So, tell me, what is something GOOD you saw this week? And I swear to God if you put something involving politics I will hope you get a hangnail. Yes, I am resorting to the ugliness I am so against! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Life of a Crier

So I wrote this blog, Emily's Super Soul Thursday, when I was sort of the opposite of happy. I was trying very hard to make myself happy. Overall it worked. Thinking of good things, not bad, obviously will change your mindset. But after weeks it's hard to keep that going, so on Tuesday night I let it all out.

I mean I cried and cried, I cried so much that at 11 pm Marc told me I should really go to bed. HE didn't even know what to do for me and he's been watching me cry for almost ten years. It started when the kids got home from school and I saw a note on Carter's test. During a test she read a multiple choice question and decided, "Yep, that's me and I should make a note of it." She is "filled with happiness" and it just overtook me. The kid is happy. Always has been. She's our angel baby. 


I gained enough composure that I could continue on with my motherly duties and even play volleyball. Volleyball was great, it was a teammate's birthday, we had fun and won. But on the way home I kept thinking about Carter's note. And songs would play that made me cry, and well, that's when the randomly crying started.

I managed to make it inside and sit on the couch though. Not a single thing made me cry. Progress. Then I asked Marc if he wanted to watch a happy show or sad. He said happy.  STILL MADE ME CRY. There's a new show called "Speechless" and it was funny but also sappy. Overall, I handled myself well though. Maybe? You'd have to ask Marc.

After two or three episodes we decided it was time for bed. So as Marc was snuggled up in the bed I was in the bathroom starting my weeping fest. Uh, it was ugly. I had to stifle it so Marc wouldn't hear, then I had to make it to the bed without crying, and then somehow talk without my voice sounding funny. That's when I knew I HAD to watch something sad to get it all out.

That's where "This Is Us" comes in to play. Have you seen it? I cried from minute one of the first episode to the last minute of the second episode. That's when Marc kindly suggested it was time for bed, even though we had one more episode to watch. 

Since August we have had a lot going on. I could go in to all the boring details but they don't much matter. What matters is it's been a lot and I am tired. Really tired. So is Marc. We need a Zack Morris timeout.

The one thing I will jump in to quickly is the thing that has been making me sad for a long time. I don't want it to make me sad anymore, I want to move on, I've tried, but I have failed miserably. Anytime I think I'm doing better something reminds me of it and BOOM! back to sadness. My miscarriage. I don't think I'm supposed to still be sad about it, I mean it happened in February 2015, but it still has a very strong hold on me. What's really crazy is I do not want any more children, so it's not about that, it's about the fact I wanted THAT baby. That bird was supposed to be mine. That bird is supposed to be one right now. On September 10th we should have been celebrating a first birthday. I should be toting around a baby that's just starting to get in to everything. I shouldn't have worked all last year, I should have been with a newborn. I shouldn't be so involved with everything, I should be a mom to four kids and busy with all that comes with that.

But I try to tell myself that I did work last year. I worked and got really close to the three teachers I assisted. And I am grateful for their friendship every single day. And I try to tell myself that I've met so many awesome people because I am so involved with everything. And I am grateful for the new people in my life. 

So with the bad, I try to focus on the good. When sad thoughts pop in to my brain I literally say to myself, "Emily, DON'T DO IT, think of something happy." 

But on Tuesday, October 11th my tear ducts had enough and finally opened up the flood gates. I am happy to report that I watched the third episode of "This Is Us" and I didn't cry. *Pat on the back* *Thank you!*

I guess this is a blog to say that if you know someone who has lost someone, a mother, a baby, hell even a pet, reach out to them every once in awhile to see if they are ok. A lot of grieving people fake it until they make it. When you are hurting you have no idea who to turn to who or to talk to. You feel as though you are burdening them, or you should't talk about it because it's been so long. But pain is pain and they may just need to know someone cares. 

And just tell them that a tv show about a family with Mandy Moore as the mom will really get the tears going.

Jesus Christ almighty I still can't believe I cried so much.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

You've Got A Friend In Me

Last night I led my very first Daisy Scout meeting.  I was nervous. Very nervous. But I did it.

I kind of just agreed to be the level leader without giving it any serious thought. I've found that a lot of my most important decisions go like that. Although I am great at over thinking, over analyzing, taking my brain on crazy think trips, the big decisions come easily.

So when my friend and overall troop leader, Jordan, asked if I wanted to lead the daisies, I said, "Sure." When Jordan said I could keep the troop to just three girls or grow it, I said, "Let's grow it." The number is now up to ten. Again, it started with three!

"Go big or go home" is the troop motto, after all.

But this post isn't necessarily about the daisies. Oh yeah, the meeting went great. The girls are ADORABLE and that's all I really care about. (Not really!) They appear to be thoughtful, kind, caring individuals, and I hope I can foster that. But what this post about is my friend, Jordan.

Back in 2011 we moved in to our current house. When I walked in this house I knew it was perfect for us. I just felt it. I didn't know anyone in the neighborhood or surrounding area, but I didn't care. I was a stay at home mom to two babies with a third on the way. I needed a sanctuary, a place to hide, and this was it.

Not long after moving in Jordan showed up in to my life. I was in a comfy, yet ridiculous, outfit and my babies were running around in just diapers. We were on the Hot Mess Express and Jordan got a glimpse of the train going by. I am sure she was both amused and terrified. She showed up to invite us to her holiday open house. I immediately called my BFF and told her about the situation. She said, "Be careful! Don't agree to get coffee. Keep your distance." Lisa and I may be the most anxious, worried people you have ever met!

But seriously, I should have been careful!!!

You see, Jordan doesn't let you sit on the bench of life. She gets you in the game, on the playing field, giving your all. No bystanders here. She constantly pulls me out of myself and gets me out in the open.

I sent my kids to preschool because of Jordan.

I started working at the preschool because of Jordan.

I started going to PTA meetings because of Jordan.

I continued to stick with the PTA because of Jordan.

I started Carter in Girl Scouts because of Jordan.

I then started leading the Daisy Scouts because of Jordan.

The only thing she hasn't gotten me to do yet is go to church. Hmm, that may be her secret motive behind all of this! I kid. I kid.

In short, this is a thanks to a lady that has introduced me to a lot of new people, new situations, and gets me out of the house. She's even gotten me to go camping. Twice! I have to say though, she's good about knowing when I need to just be and not come out, I am a recluse in reality.

I think it's important to have all kinds of friends. Friends that teach you new traditions and customs, new ways to navigate the world, introduce you to new ways of doing things, those who push you outside of your comfort zone. Jordan has been that for me and in turn, she has introduce me to gaggle of people that do the same.

After living in Roanoke for almost six years I am truly starting to feel like I belong. That I have my people, my community. AND I am even starting to learn how to get places without using a gps app! That's a big one.

Anyhoo, thanks JSH for helping me assimilate. And hopefully I have been hella entertaining to you!

Which friend pushes you outside of your comfort zone? Gets you involved in the game of life?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Emily's Super Soul Thursday

This past weekend I spent time with my parents. Just me. Just my parents. Well, Scott and a friend of his stopped by Saturday night, but for the most part it was just us. I cannot tell you the last time that happened. I am guessing in 2006 before I met Marc and was whisked away in a love story.

Anyhoo, on Sunday we watched a few episodes of Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday". Great show. It led to a lot of discussions on love, sadness, fear, anger, what makes us all tick. It was a great conversation, one that I've been thinking about ever since.

I've been thinking about what makes me happy. What makes others happy. And just how unhappy some people seem. Happiness is the best drug in the world and yet probably the hardest to get. It's almost as if we are afraid of truly being happy, we down play it. Have you ever thought or heard someone comment, "That girl is just WAY too chipper in the morning." I know I have. I am not a morning person and someone being happy at that time is quite strange to me. But to that person, it's completely normal. Or if you come across someone that is naturally happy you think they are actually depressed on the inside or are hiding something. Ok, now that I've typed all that out I am starting to realize maybe I am a pessimist!  My point is, though, that I think some people are naturally happy and some people naturally are not. But no matter what, you can train yourself to be happy. You can seek the drug of happiness. You can convince yourself to get out of a bad mood. Life is all about choices and I have learned to choose happiness. 

So, what makes you happy? Like what makes you take a deep breath in and say, "Awe, that's nice. I am just so happy right now."?

My list:
Eating a really yummy bite of food and dancing in my seat because of it.
Beating a difficult level in a game. So satisfying.
Laughing. I love to laugh and I LOVE to make other people laugh. It's my favorite sound in the world.
Painting my nails. People always try to convince me to go somewhere to get it done, but goodness do I love the act of painting my nails.
Organization. Organizing a mess makes my heart settle and feel true joy.
Praise. When someone tells me I did a good job or I am great at something, man does it make me happy. I have gotten better at not needing it but it's still pretty awesome when it happens.
A follow up to that is doing a good job. If I am going to do something I am going to do it right. It makes me very, very happy to do well.
Now this is one I don't like to share, but hugs make me happy. BUT ONLY FROM MY FAMILY. So you crazy huggers out there don't start attacking me. I'm still picky about interlocking our bodies together.
And for the last item on my list, sharing. I love sharing my stories with others and I love when they share we me. Isn't that what this world is kind of all about? Connecting with one another? I love the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tell me a funny story, an embarrassing story, your love story, how you came up with your dog's name, the time you traveled somewhere and ate good food, doesn't matter, I will listen to your journey and I will love it.

So...share away! What makes you happy, really really happy? 

Monday, August 15, 2016

AHS Volleyball

P-A-T-R-I-O-T-S WE'RE THE PATRIOTS OH YES, AND WE ARE THE BEST....clap clap.

This past weekend I went back to a place that I grew up in, my high school gym. For two years I played basketball between those four walls and for all four I played volleyball. It's amazing the growth that happens between the ages of 14 to 18.

Since high school I've continued to play volleyball, a sport I first found as an eighth grader. We had sand courts in front of my college dorms, right after college I drove to Richmond to play with my oldest brother, I then found rec volleyball in Charlottesville, and I eventually found my sport in Roanoke. Each stop along the way I've met new people, some fantastic, some not so fantastic, I've learned tips on getting better, learned all the new rules, and even became a wife and mother. Something I was DEFINITELY not concerned with in high school!

Well every year my high school has an alumni vs. varsity game and every year I have to miss. I was thrilled I could finally go back! It just so happens it's the 40th anniversary of the AHS program. A couple of the players from the inaugural team were in attendance. Amazing to think how long our program has been going strong. If you want to see the impressive stats visit the team page - http://avb.t83.net/#.

What struck me the most this past Saturday was the quality of the players. And I do not mean just on the court. The girls were lovely. They were nice, welcomed me with open arms, complimented my family, cheered each other on...it's impressive the type of girl Coach Ragland gets to play for AHS. They easily could have dismissed me since they've never met me before, but they didn't. I am pretty sure I was not so gracious at the age of 17.

At one point I was talking to two of the girls and asked when they graduated. Well, they JUST graduated which makes them around 17 or 18 years old. The last time I played in the gym was the Fall of 1997...do the math. Basically, I am old. They didn't make me feel old though. Ok, so yes they did when they COULD NOT grasp the "old school" rules of points only being awarded on a serve and the ball not being allowed to hit the net on a serve. A lot has changed since my days there. Another thing that struck me was how TALL the girls on nowadays. Mommas are growing their babies much bigger than back in 1980! I will say though, my daughters told me I didn't look old out on the court, they told me I looked like the other players. Made me feel good (minus the back pain I was experiencing and the sheer exhaustion. HA!).

I really hope I get to play in future alumni/varsity matches. It felt good to still know what I was doing, sort of, and to see some friendly faces.

Thank you to my family for coming to watch and to Stacy and Marc for taking pictures!

 I mean, you are kind of a big deal when your picture is hanging on the wall, right? #humblebrag

So the football team isn't so good. But girls are kicking a$$!

 It was quite surprising to see such a large picture on the wall. It's actually kind of creepy!
The funniest part, to me, is how long our shorts were in 1996! Now your butt bascially hangs out of them. HA!

 My cheering section!

 So artistic. 

 Alexis was CRUSHING balls. And she was super sweet!

 It's nice that some moms grew their girls the same height as me!

 I missed a serve during the alumni vs. alumni match. I am still pissed about that. Damn you, Keller!

Uncle Scotty, the fun uncle!


 Only grandmas can handle that much hugging!

 Coach introducing the alumni. If you look closely I am the one slightly taller than the toddler.

 Grandpa DK teaching Gabe some skills. And Gabe sporting my Roanoke volleyball shirt!

Harper, a wild one but adorable!

Throwback pic! We weren't the tallest or the most skilled, but we were scrappy as hell. I think we basically wore out the other teams!

After our loss in States. It was devastating. We were the first team to make it to the state finals and it was so disappointing to lose. 

If you were a part of a high school team and you get a chance to go back I highly recommend it. A fresh pair of eyes on an old place is pretty neat. 

And to this day when I have to spell my high school name, I do our old cheer:
A - L - B - E - M - A - R - L - E say go Patriots!