My Real Life

July 31, 2013

Mom Always Said, Don’t Play Ball in the House

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Okay, I’m mixing my Brady references, but believe me when I tell you, I am feeling every bit a Brady these days.

Marcia, to be exact.

Not the cool, beautiful, brushing her hair exactly 100 strokes per night, Marcia.

The one who gets her nose broken by an errant football.

On Sunday, I was having a catch with Monkey in the Middle, which I’ve done a thousand times before.

Either my game was off or the Benadryl that I had taken earlier that morning hadn’t yet worn off, but I misjudged a hard, fast ball that he threw my way.

I swore my glove was right in front of it.

It wasn’t.

Guess what was?

The bridge of my nose.



This picture was taken on Tuesday, and you can see that the swelling on the bridge of my nose had gone down a bit, but now my eyes were starting to swell.  It is now Wednesday morning and I’ve got two, dark shiners which are actually kind of fun to sport because I am thinking of all kinds of stories that I can tell people, although from the looks I’m getting, I think the stories they are making up on their own are probably more interesting!

I’m guessing that the ball hit a bit more to the right than to the left, but even the left is starting to get the tell-tale blackening underneath and in toward the tear duct.

Thank goodness my glasses didn’t break.

THAT would have been awful.

Everything I read online said that there is nothing they can do at the doctor, so I didn’t bother to go.

I’m tough…I’ll survive.

Here’s how I see it.

Life with Monkey Girl is going to leave me with a lot of emotional bruises and scars, as life with a teenage girl is apt to do.

Life with the three active little boys will involve a lot of physical bruises and scars, and I think I’m pretty lucky that, so far, this is the worst I’ve gotten.

July 29, 2013

My Alone Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Saturday night, I was working on a migraine and needed just five minutes of alone time.

Just five.

So, I snuck into my room and lay on my bed and pulled out my phone to check my email and Facebook.

Within two minutes, this is what my room sounded like:

Memo (3)

I pretended like I was still on my phone and recorded it all, because if I had let them know I was recording, they would have stopped, and I’d have no evidence to share.

It started with Monkey in the Middle coming in with his trumpet, followed by Baby with the guitar.

Then Monkey Girl brought in Tiny, who was, apparently asking, “Where’s Mom?”

Then Monkey Girl started singing.

One day, it’s going to be very quiet in my house, and I’ll miss all of this noise.

That day was not Saturday night.

July 26, 2013

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 11:01 am

1. What is your best secret cleaning tip?

Clean as you go.

When I cook, after I use an ingredient, I put it away.

When I finish with a measuring cup or spoon, it goes right in the dishwasher or I wash it off and put it away.

Otherwise, I never want to cook because I know there will always be a mess when I’m done.

I try to use the same method in general living.

Before I head to bed at night, I fix the pillows on the couch and make the kids put away the toys that are strewn about.

I hate waking up to a messy house.

Walking through a room, see something out of place?

Pick it up and move it right then.  Don’t walk by.

2. What is your favorite food to snack on during movie night?


Boring and predictable, but I love popcorn.

It may be my favorite snack.

So, on movie night, I want a big bucket of popcorn, cooked in a pot on the stove.

3. If it was up to you, what would you have named the royal baby?

I would have named that baby Spencer.

I think it would have been a nice tribute to William’s Mom.

However, I’m pretty much on board with George and I realize that King Spencer would have sounded weird.

King George is a proven winner.

Okay, not a proven winner, since one of the King Georges was insane, but it is a regal name.

And it was my Grandpa’s name, so it’s got my vote.

It’s historic, which is important, and I love Alexander and Louis seems to go nicely with the first two, so I’m good with it.

4. If you could be any Disney character who would you choose?

Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

Have you seen the library in that castle?

5. What’s the most important part of a healthy relationship?

The ability to take criticism.

If I need to tell you something, I need to know that I can do so without you getting hurt or angry or upset about whatever it is.

If people need to hide how they are feeling about something, that’s never a good thing.

I’ve seen way too many relationships where someone says “Oh, I could never tell him that I feel that way…he’d be so upset!”


What kind of relationship is that???

July 25, 2013

Big News

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I haven’t written a lot lately.

Not because I haven’t wanted to, but because I’ve wanted to write this post, but wasn’t quite sure what to say.

You may remember that I wrote a post that went mini-viral (in my little world, it was totally viral) and then was picked up by the Huffington Post.

That post can be found here.

It was a good post.

It was heartfelt, poignant and true.

It was about the last days of school from a teacher’s perspective, and had I known that it would actually be my last last day of school as a teacher, I can’t even imagine how much I might have cried while I wrote it.

See, I have a new job.

I’m no longer an 8th grade World History teacher.

I’m now an administrator.

My official title is Supervisor of Instruction (our district is moving away from the Vice-Principal title, for those of you who are wondering what the heck a Supervisor of Instruction is) and I’ll be the Supervisor of Social Studies and Language Arts in our building.

I’m thrilled.

I went back to school for my Principal’s certificate, and obviously, I wouldn’t have gone back for the certification if I didn’t intend to use it.

So, please know that I am absolutely thrilled with this turn of events.

Yet, I have shed some tears over the fact that the days of having my own class of children are over.

I will miss that daily give and take.

I will miss the relationships that form.

I will miss teaching.

I am so excited, however, to give back to our students, our school, our community, in this new way.

I’m ready to work with teachers and students, together.

I believe in public education.

I believe in the other administrators in my building.

I believe in the teachers with whom I work.

I believe in the students that attend our school.

I believe that I have made a difference over the past 18 years, and I cannot wait to make a difference in new and exciting ways moving forward.

So, those last days of school I wrote about will now be indelibly inscribed on my heart as my very last days as a teacher.

And as I look toward my first days as an administrator, I am embracing the challenge and looking forward to all of the new things I am about to experience.

The times, they are a-changing, and it is only out of change that great things can occur.

July 22, 2013

Land of Make-Believe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:00 am

Last July, almost a year ago exactly, we took the kids to the Land of Make-Believe in Hope, New Jersey.

I wrote about it here.

We had a blast.

This past weekend, we decided it was time to visit again, and once again, had a great time.

It’s like an amusement park without the lines.

There’s a water park attached, but we didn’t hit that part, although it was in the high 90’s while we were there.

Maybe next time.

If you are in the NJ area and feel like Great Adventure might be a bit much for you, the Land of Make-Believe is a good bet.

Just remember, they only take cash and Discover because they have a beef with Amex and Master Card fraud policies, whatever that’s about.

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July 20, 2013

Interview with Me!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:42 am

One of my amazing co-authors, Johi Kokjohn-Wagner, has a regular feature on her blog called TMI Fridays.

On TMI Fridays, she interviews someone with interesting, random questions.

This week, it was me!

Somehow, Johi is under the impression that I am “sweet” and “precious,” so, let’s go support her by reading the interview and hanging around to check out the rest of her awesome blog, “Confessions of a Cornfed Girl.”

You can link to the interview here.

July 19, 2013

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:58 am

1. What is one thing you have too many of in your house?


We still have toys from when Monkey Girl was Tiny’s age.

The kids don’t even play with 3/4 of the toys in this house, but there is a magical thing that happens when I even think about donating a toy.

I can find a toy in the back of a closet and not even verbalize my intention to get rid of it.

A day later, one of them will say “Hey…have you seen my X toy?  I really want to play with it.”

This summer, though, I plan on doing a major purge.

Major purge.

2. Did anything go not quite as planned on your wedding day?

It rained.


We had scheduled pictures at the Frelingbuysen Arboretum, which is a beautiful outside location, but it was not to be.

So, they took us to a local hotel that had some pretty features for the background.


However, it took so long that we completely missed the cocktail hour which we had painstakingly planned with all of our favorite foods.


We were starving, but at the end of the day, it didn’t matter.

Best. Wedding. Ever.

3. What is your favorite summer smoothie recipe?

I’m not a smoothie girl.

Monkey Girl has been making them for the boys, though, and she’s been using low-fat, plain yogurt, frozen mixed berries and bananas.

At the rate they are being consumed, I’d say they are a hit!

4. What is the weather like where you are?


I got into my car after work yesterday at 3:30 and the thermometer registered 102.

It’s supposed to be hotter today.

5. What is your favorite book to read to your kids?

There are two.

One is “A Fly Went By.”

The kids love the repetition in that book and the big kids will still sit and listen to that one.

Also, “Bert and the Missing Mop Mix-Up.”

Lots of misunderstandings which make the kids shake their heads and laugh.

My favorite book to read with Monkey Girl, when she was littler, was “Big Susan.”

About a doll house that comes to life on Christmas Eve, which, if you know me, you might think would be along the lines of a Stephen King novel for me, given my deep-seated fear of dolls, but it’s a beautiful story.

July 17, 2013

Practice Pets

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

My kids are dying for a pet.

We aren’t getting a pet.

I don’t even keep houseplants because with four kids in the house, I don’t feel like I really need something else to feed and take care of.

The only pet I really actually want is a dog, but Real Man has put the kibosh on that one because he remembers the six years we had our old dog and the late night and winter walks that were always delegated to him.

So, (for now), no pets.

However, one of my kids favorite times of year is when their cousins go on vacation and we get to take care of their pets.

For almost two weeks, my kids get to pretend like they have a hermit crab and a hamster.

And they love it.

They take their cousins handwritten notes very seriously.


At night, they spray the hermit crab, rewet his sponge and make sure everything is in order.

And the hamster?

Forget it.

Tiny is obsessed with the poor thing.

Even if he wasn’t already, I think Tiny would turn him into a nocturnal animal by yelling “Hi Nibbles!  Hi! What you doin’, Nibbles? You runnin’ in your wheel?  You eatin’, Nibbles?  Hi Nibbles!” at the highest possible decibel, right outside his cage.


(You’ll notice you can’t see Nibbles in this picture.  I believe it’s because he’s hiding from Tiny.)

However, even with the hamster, the kids are super responsible.

Making sure he seems happy and comfortable, switching out the wheel for his climbing house so he doesn’t get bored.

I said at the beginning of this post that we aren’t getting a pet, however, if I’m honest, I think pets are a great way to teach responsibility and empathy in children, and every time we watch our cousins pets, I’m reminded of this and impressed with how well the monkeys do.

It’s hard to know, however, if it’s the novelty of the pet and if once that wore off it would be Mommy who was feeding and cleaning and caring for the pet(s) to keep them alive and healthy.

Because, let’s be honest.  Eventually, our cousins came home and we gave the pets back and really, anyone can be responsible for two weeks.  It’s the long haul that is the concern.

I don’t know.  It’s something to consider, for sure.

I’d love to have those of you with children and pets chime in, here.  Worth it?  Do the kids step up, or does it all fall to Mom?

July 16, 2013

Why We Stay

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

There’s something about living in the town where you grew up.

I can’t deny that I have always had a bit of a yen to live elsewhere, but at the end of the day, I know we’re here for good.

And that’s okay, because there is a definite awesomeness to pulling out of a parking space at a store and having your sister-in-law pull in.

Something cool about leaving a note on your Dad’s car when you see it in a spot near the library where you and the kids decided to go on a whim.

Something cool about working in the schools you went to as a child.

I’ve written before about how I teach in the middle school where I went, and there are a million memories there.

This week, I had to do some things over at the school where I went to 4th-6th grade.

It was another trip down memory lane.

Erin and I used to play outside at recess and we called that spot in the field our “patch.”


I can’t believe it’s still there.

I ran right into the corner of the building right here and split my chin open.


My desk was in the back row in this classroom, in 4th grade, and I used to open the window when the teacher wasn’t looking (they have since replaced the original 1932 windows we had) and it used to drive her crazy.


Sean Hennessey pulled my hoop earring right through my ear in exactly this spot on the blacktop behind the school during recess.


Memory lane.

Just cool to be able to do these things.

I never tire of saying “Hey guys…that’s where me and Daddy met!  Look!  That’s the house Mommy grew up in!”

They certainly tire of hearing it.

There is much to be lauded about the area in which we live, but this…familiarity…it’s definitely a reason why we stay.

July 15, 2013

Stitch Fix

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Pay attention, friends, because this never happens and is likely to never happen again.

Today I’m talking about clothes.

I have never had much of a sense of style, and am definitely not known for my fashion sense.

If anything, friends are usually whispering “You know that doesn’t really go together, right?”

Which, usually, I didn’t know.

I do know a few things, however.

Like, what might be appropriate to wear in public and what would not be.

For example, this weekend, I needed a new dress, so I went shopping.

I hate shopping.

I never find anything I like and it takes forever and I don’t like parting with money.

But, I had driven past this little boutique, in town, and saw something through the window that might match what I was looking for, so after a quick trip to the library, I walked over.

I was right.  It was exactly what I was looking for, it fit, and was the right price.

I knew I had a pair of leggings at home that I would pair it with and I’d be raring to go.

As the 20-something year old behind the counter rang me up, she said, “Ooh, and since it’s summer and you’ve got a bit of a tan, you don’t even need to wear stockings!  You can just slip it on and wear it with bare legs!”


Let me show you the dress:



I should explain that the part directly above the see-through fringe is also see-through with holes in the fabric.


Maybe if I was 3 feet tall and this was a floor length dress!

So, because of the fact that I know nothing about fashion, except for the fact that you really should keep your lady bits covered, and covered well, I’ve always thought that I needed a personal shopper.

But, who has the money for that?

Turns out, I do.

Okay, not the money for a personal shopper, but Kim told me about a website that acts like a personal shopper for you.

It’s called

(Just a note, this is not an ad for stitchfix.  I’m getting nothing out of sharing this info with you…I just thought it was pretty awesome!)

I went to, answered a bunch of questions about my style, my needs, my size, my clothing preferences and then scheduled a “fix.”

On Saturday, a box arrived at my house with five items inside.

A wrap-around dress, a silk tank top, a peasant blouse, a cardigan, and a silver necklace.

I tried them all on, looked at the prices and decided to keep the dress and the peasant blouse.

Everything else was wrapped up and put in the postage-paid return envelope, I went to the website, told them what I was keeping and why and what I was sending back and why and paid my bill.

I don’t know how often I’ll do this, as there is a $20 styling fee (which was waived since this was my first order) but I hate clothes shopping enough that it might be worth it in the future.  I know people who pay $10-$20 to have their groceries ordered and/or delivered because they hate grocery shopping so much.  Seems the same to me.

The things they sent me ranged from moderately priced to pricier than I was willing to spend, but it wasn’t a problem because I didn’t have to keep a thing I didn’t want.  I could have sent the entire order back, no harm, no foul.

So, this worked for me.  A stylist read my answers, figured out what I’d like and what I needed, and I never had to leave the house.

If you, too, would like to try it out, I’d love if you could use my referral link.

It could be worth it if you hate shopping, like I do, or could use a little style help, like I do, or just want to give it a try! 🙂

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