My Real Life

April 30, 2013

I Cried at My Son’s Teacher Conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Teacher conferences for Baby and Monkey in the Middle were last week.

I went in pretty confident that I knew what the teachers were going to say.

Both boys are smart, do well, need to slow down, pay more attention to detail and write neater.

Monkey in the Middle (3rd grade) is all about structure and the rules, has a lot of friends and seems happy.

Baby Monkey (1st grade) doesn’t talk much, but enjoys his friends and seems happy.

I was dead on with both conferences.

However, at Baby’s conference, I was thrown a bit of a curve.

Nothing terrible.  Nothing of extreme concern.

His teacher mentioned that they have a chart on the board where kids move their name magnets to show who is buying lunch and who brought their own lunch.

When the kids come in, in the morning, the first thing they do is move their magnet to the appropriate lunch space.

Apparently, if Baby Monkey doesn’t get there first, he rearranges the magnets so that his can be on top.

When they read books on the carpet, he makes sure he weasels his way in between everyone so that he can be front and center.

She said, “He never does anything wrong or breaks the rules, but you can tell that it is very, very important to Baby to be first.”

And, while it is age appropriate (what first grader doesn’t want to be first) the fact that he is rearranging magnets to be first and weaseling in-between people got me thinking.

He’s such a laid-back kid.


And he’s kind of had to be.

He has an older brother who has anxiety and requires a lot of our time and attention.

He has a younger brother who is a toddler and requires a lot of our time and attention.

He often gets his needs attended to second.

Or third.

Or fourth.

And he never complains.

It’s outside of his control, and so he goes with the flow and lets it go.

But, at school, by moving those magnets or smushing in-between his friends on the carpet, he can control being first, and so he does.

And as I thought about it on the way home, I started to cry.

This kid is such a good boy, and yes, there are great lessons to be learned in having to wait your turn and be patient and realize that you aren’t the center of the universe, but every now and then, we all deserve to be the center of the universe, and I want to be sure that he knows that he IS the center of our universe.

He’s not alone in the center of our universe, but he is there, and I don’t ever want him to feel like he’s hovering on the outskirts and we’ll get to him when we’re done with everyone else.

So, I gotta do better with my Baby Monkey.

Because he’s awesome.

And sweet.

And kind.

And loving.

And mine.

And just as important as anyone else in this house and I want to be damn sure that he knows that each and every single second of each and every single day of his life.


April 29, 2013

A Cry for Help

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

So, we’ve gotten ourselves into a bit of a pickle, over here.

A pickle.

I’m so sleep deprived I’m starting to sound like my Grandma.

Who, in normal circumstances, would not be a bad person to sound like, but, “a pickle?”

I think even she’d be embarrassed by that one.


We’ve always had quite a sense of pride over the fact that our children are excellent sleepers.

Monkey Girl started the trend when she began sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old, and I don’t mean midnight to six a.m.

I mean 7:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

She rocked it.

The only blip in the system was when Baby was about three months old and decided that 10 pm was the witching hour and he would only stop screaming if you bounced him in an inverted “V” pattern.

That only lasted three weeks, but it felt like three years while we were in the midst of it.

Tiny continued the pattern of great sleeping and allowed us to feel superior when others would complain of their bedtime woes.

Not only did our kids start sleeping through the night early, but we put them down awake and they’d happily chatter themselves to sleep.

Life was good.

But, like they say, karma’s a bitch.

You’ll remember when Tiny and I spent four days in the hospital, back in March?

Apparently, during that time, he became quite accustomed to me being there while he slept, and now…?

Now, he wants to be rocked to sleep and then put in his crib asleep, and if he wakes up in transition (and he always wakes up in transition) he starts screaming and we have to start the process all over again.

Our doctor said we should just let him cry it out, and that he’ll eventually come around.

He’s stubborn, though, and letting a toddler cry it out is very different than letting a baby cry it out.

Particularly because it’s not just crying.

It’s “Mommy!  Come get me?  Mommy?  Where are you?”

Breaks. My. Heart.

And so, I am humbly looking for any and all advice to help get this guy back on track.

No bashing anyone’s opinions, please.

Just share what’s worked for you, and I will be forever in your debt.

April 27, 2013

Coming Home

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:47 pm

In 1996, I began my first full-time teaching job in a public school.

Prior to that, I spent a year as a permanent substitute, and a year as the sole high school teacher in a residential school for girls with emotional and psychological disorders.

However, in 1996, I interviewed and earned my first public school position as a 6th grade Social Studies teacher.

Every day since then, I thank my lucky stars for that opportunity.

I am grateful that I earned that job because it truly was the beginning of my career in public education which has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

I am grateful that I earned that job because I was hired by a woman who would become my career mentor and helped me with many key decisions along the way.

But, mostly, I am grateful that I earned that job because of the people that I met in that school.

It’s a small school, and the atmosphere that existed in that building was that of family.

True family.

I left that school in 2004, and there are many things that I love about the district where I have worked since, including some amazing friends that I cannot imagine my life without, so I don’t wish that I hadn’t made the change.

But I miss the teachers from my old school every single day.

Most of us started our careers together in that school.

We figured out how to balance full-time jobs and social lives together.

We told each other about first dates with the men who would become our husbands.

These are the people on my wedding video, dancing like fools and laughing like we always did at work.

On Saturday, we had the opportunity to come together again to celebrate our colleague, Carolyn, who is having her first baby in June.

Carolyn has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met, and I am over the moon with excitement for she and her husband, Lamar, that they are expecting their beautiful little girl in a few months.

I was thrilled to get the invitation to the shower, and even more thrilled when I arrived and found the room full of people that I loved and missed.

We hugged, we talked, we laughed, we caught up, and more than once, we remarked that it was like we still worked together.

That instead of it being 9 years since we were all together, it was like we were hanging in the team room yesterday and happened to all wind up together again on Saturday.

Most of us have kept in touch through Facebook, and for those who aren’t on Facebook, we get news of each other through those who are.

I can’t tell you how very lucky I feel to have these people and to feel this way.

Walking into that room was like coming home.

We said that we have to get together more often, and I’m hopeful that we do, although I know how it goes.

We all work full-time, have families, and time slips away and before you realize it, 9 more years have passed.

I hope that’s not the case, this time, though, because spending the afternoon with them was definitely some much needed food for my soul.

I’m a very, very lucky girl.




April 26, 2013

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:39 am

1. Who drives when your family is together, you or your spouse?


My car is the one that is big enough for all 6 of us, and even though it used to be his car, Real Man likes me to drive it when we are all going somewhere together.


Because I handle that ridiculous machine like it’s a little tiny sports car and I’m the only one who can swiftly and easily maneuver it back into the garage.

Like a boss.


2. Are you an introvert or extrovert?

I am a total introvert who has the ability to pretend to be an extrovert when needed.

However, I’m an introvert who could completely live Sandra Bullock’s life in “The Net.”

Hopefully without the murder and danger.

Well, no…I guess if I was going to live like Sandra Bullock in “The Net” I’d need a little danger in my life to spice it up, so scratch the last part.

Except for the murder.

Well, maybe.  Definitely not the murder.

3. Are you married to an introvert or extrovert?

I am married to someone who is even more of an introvert than I am.

We have to remind ourselves to go out, sometimes, because we might never leave the house otherwise.

It’s probably hurt us, because people know that we are introverts, so they don’t invite us anywhere, even though we would totally go.

So, it’s a vicious cycle.


4. What’s your favorite type of social media?

I’m a fan of Facebook.

I really am.

I feel like I can get all of my information about people, the world, celebrities, anything, from Facebook.

I need to double-check the important stuff against actual news sources (notice that I didn’t say “valid” news sources, because I don’t think that such things exist anymore), but I love the pictures and just knowing what people are doing, because people are doing some pretty great stuff.

5. What’s your favorite way to “recharge”?

I feel like most things that I do to relax still drains my batteries, just because they continue to be physical activities.

Playing outside with the kids, walks, exercise, etc.

However, reading definitely recharges me.

The only problem with reading is that I have to be careful when I start a book because I have a very difficult time doing anything else until the book is done.

But when it is done, aside from the disappointment that the story is over, I feel completely recharged emotionally, creatively, and physically.

I am ready to write, to run, to play, to do whatever because I’ve been able to fill up my soul with words, and I realize how utterly corny that sounds, but I just love to read and it works for me.

April 25, 2013

Karaoke, Baby

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

It’s National Karaoke Week, my friends, and if there was ever a week that I was down with, it’s this one.

Here’s a little reminder:



So, yeah…Karaoke Week.

It’s hard not to love Karaoke.

Even people who don’t sing well can rock Karaoke.

(And, yes, I continue to capitalize the word “Karaoke” because I think that is the respect it deserves.)

I believe the last time I participated was after Kim’s engagement dinner.

Along with a variety of other songs, I think it was my serenade of Real Man with Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” that finally broke their sound system.

Karaoke is just fun.

I came across this article, 15 of the Most Requested Karaoke Songs.

Pretty sure I’ve sung at least 10.

When I’m with the girls, we always like to make sure we hit up some EnVogue or Salt-n-Pepa, with a bit of Bon Jovi mixed in.

Then, it’s always a mix for our personal choices.

So, I’m curious…if you are a Karaoke kinda person…what are your go-to songs?

Leave ’em in the comments!  Maybe you’ll inspire me for my next go-round!

April 24, 2013

If I Were Two…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

…and I didn’t nap anymore,

…and I had been up, wanting to party with my Mom at 1:15 am, the night before,

…and I had a long day of playing with toys and friends and being surrounded by people I loved,

…and I spent twenty minutes in the car on the way to my brother’s hockey game,

…and I had no interest in hockey,

…and I was hungry,

…and I had to hang in the rink for an hour and a half,

…I might be a little grumpy.

But then again…I’m not Tiny.


April 23, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

This past Sunday night, 60 Minutes did a piece on the 9/11 Museum in NYC.

Joe Daniels, the President of the 9/11 Memorial, was interviewed as he explained how decisions were made about what to include, and exclude, from the Museum, which will open next year.

One of the sentences that really struck me was when Lesley Stahl said that when the museum opens, no one under the age of 17 will have any real, first-hand memories of the events of that day.

That really blew my mind because I remember every single second of that day as if it happened yesterday.

I’m gearing up to take the 8th graders to DC, and we visit many museums and memorials and I’ve always wondered how they decided what would be displayed and what wouldn’t.

This was pretty eye-opening and, of course, I couldn’t be prouder of Joe, whom I’ve been proud to know since 7th grade.

If you missed it on Sunday, please take some time and watch today.

60 Minutes Interview with Joe Daniels

April 22, 2013

That Was the Plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I had a mind full of blog posts to write this weekend.

I was going to write them all and schedule them to post throughout the week.

That was the plan.

But there were games of catch to be played.

A new croquet set to break in.

Badminton racquets that needed some exercise.

Neighbors to annoy with the incessant sound of a basketball bouncing and hitting off the backboard.

Meals to be grilled.

When we finally came inside, there was “sitting on the ground volleyball” to be played in the basement.

Make-believe games to be imagined.

At the end of the day on Sunday, here is where I found myself…



…and there is nowhere else I would have rather been.

April 19, 2013

Yeah, That Was Cool

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I had my first book signing last night.

I’m not going to go into painstaking detail, but I will say a few things.

1.  They had wine and cheetos.



That’s right.  I had Cheetos for dinner.


2.  Someone walked up to the book signing table, pointed at me and said my name.

When I asked how she knew me, she said it was because she had seen me on the front page of the paper.

Highlight of my night.


3.  Despite the fact that I spend my entire life speaking to children and adults, in large groups, sometimes in the hundreds and never even break a sweat, as I started to read the essay I chose for the night, my hands started to shake like Shakira’s hips.

And they don’t lie, my friends.

So, I put down the paper and started talking with my hands, which is more comfortable anyway.

I may have actually sung a little.

That part is a bit of a blur.

I don’t think I was nervous, but the shaking was present.

Could have been my blood sugar.

It also could have been the fact that these two were staring me down all night long:




4.  We had one hater.

Some woman walked by the table, looked at the book disdainfully and said, “Oh…it’s the Pee Alone book,” and walked off with a haughtiness that I haven’t seen since Dynasty went off the air.

But, you haven’t arrived until someone hates you, right?


5.  We sold tons of books, we loved chatting with the women who came to buy, and we signed our names in beautiful 80’s glam colored Sharpies all night long.

It was a great night.


Please, please, please check out the blogs of these women.

They are all the real deal.

Genuine, funny, kind, moms.

So grateful to have met them all.

Let Me Start by Saying

Random Handprints

The Fordeville Diaries

Bad Parenting Moments

Please also check out The Farmhouse Store.

That place is incredible.

Beautiful, beautiful furniture and decorations.

They practically had to kick us out at the end of the night because none of us wanted to leave the comfort of the store.

Could be my new favorite place.

April 18, 2013

Tiny in a Mug

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:25 am

Mommy Shorts is doing a project called “For Those Who Need a Smile: Babes in a Mug.”

It’s adorable, and they are sweet pictures to look at, guaranteed to make you smile.

I gave it a shot, and so, for your Thursday viewing pleasure, here is Tiny in a mug.




It’s Thursday.

We’re almost done.

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