Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top 10 Signs I Need to Take My Teacher Hat Off Before I Come Home From Work

It's been quite a transition for me going back to work.  And one of those transitions is learning how to stop being a teacher once I come home and have to be a mom.  Here are my...

Top 10 Signs I Need to Take

My Teacher Hat Off Before

I Come Home From Work

10)  I read multiple children’s books every day, but I can’t remember the last time I picked up a grown-up book.

9)  I speak to Big C and Little C in my teacher voice.

8)  I’ve considered keeping my son up past his bedtime so he can help me assemble projects for my students.

7)  I’m so used to scarfing down my lunch while grading papers that I no longer know how to enjoy a leisurely meal.

6)  While trying to coax my children to clean up their toys the other day, I threatened to take away their recess.

5)  I almost drew a smiley face on Big C’s homework after I checked it.

4)  I now say things like “criss-cross applesauce,” “1-2-3, eyes on me,” and “put a bubble in your mouth” at home.

3)  My kids were misbehaving at meal time, and I enforced a silent dinner.

2)  When addressing both of my children, I find myself calling them “boys and girls.”

1)  I actually quoted a children’s book when commenting on a friend’s Facebook page.

 What transitions are you trying to adjust to?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday

Wow, is it Monday again?  I usually prepare a post during the weekend and schedule it for Monday morning.  But somehow my weekend got away from me, and this morning I realized I had nothing to post.  And I have WAY too much "homework" to do for work tomorrow to even think about writing a coherent post.

It's just another Manic Monday.

Is Monday killing you too?


Friday, September 24, 2010

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup!

It's Friday again so time for Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #3!
Please go visit Mrs. Muffins to link up your blog and read the other fantastic posts on the list.

Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Please Visit Me at PBS!!!!

My 2nd post for the PBS POV blog Regarding War, "Riding the Pre-Deployment Roller Coaster," went up today!!!  I would really appreciate it if you visited me over there and left a comment.  I'm turning off my comments for today in the hopes that you'll leave me a comment at PBS instead of here. 
Regarding War is a fantastic blog with a variety of viewpoints about military life today.  There are guest blogs from mil spouses, embedded journalists, former service members, and advocates for military families.  If you have some free time, please read through some of the other posts.  They also have a Facebook page, so check them out!!!
Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top 10 Things I Need to Take Care of But Don't Have the Energy To

When I started my new job, I knew it would be an adjustment.  I knew that certain chores and nagging necessities that were once a part of my daily life as a Domestic Engineer would be put on the back burner while I focused on my new demands as a Working Mom.  But as Week 3 of work kicked off and new, unexpected snafus hit me, I'm finding I just don't have the energy to tackle everything I need to.

Here are my....

Top 10 Things I Need to Take Care of But Don't Have the Energy To
10)  The trees Mr. Roller Coaster planted that I'm now required to water

9)  The physical therapy exercises for my year-old hamstring injury that I repeatedly have to lie to my physical therapist about doing regularly

8)  Cooking dinner after working all day

7)  The virus that has killed my computer...I'm now relying on my poor little netbook that needs a charge every night.

6)  The printer and scanner that refuse to hook up to that poor little netbook

5)  The 6-year-old soccer game that starts at 8 AM this Saturday

4)  Coaxing Big C to complete his 1st grade homework after I've spent all day coaxing students to do their seatwork

3)  Dealing with Little C at bedtime.  My little girl, who gave up napping 6 months ago, is now napping every day at school.  Bye bye bedtime routine.

2)  My car that decided this was a good week to have trouble starting

1)  The clean laundry still sitting folded in my laundry basket, the emails and phone calls I need to return, the mail that needs opening, the carpets that need vacuuming, the floors that need mopping, the dishwasher that needs unloading.  Is it pathetic that I wish I could bust half my paycheck on a housekeeper?!

What do you need to tackle that you just don't have the energy to do?

Monday, September 20, 2010


I am an introvert.  But oddly, most of my life I've been quite the opposite.  As a child, I never shut up and I craved attention.  I dominated conversations and made friends with anyone who could tolerate my hyperactive tendencies.  The personality assessments I took throughout college to properly match me up with a freshman roommate, then as practice when I was studying psychology, then before I was hired as a dorm resident advisor all classified me as an extrovert.  However, with each testing, my extroversion percentage got progressively smaller. 

Now, over a decade after taking those tests, I have officially crossed over to the other side.  I am a scientifically-proven introvert.

Don't get me wrong, I like people.  I like attending social gatherings (sometimes), and I like associating myself with a social group.  But if given the choice between going to a party where I don't know most of the guests and staying home and reading a book, the book will always win.  When I'm in a social situation where I'm a newcomer, I'm much more comfortable listening in the background than standing in the spotlight.  And my definition of relaxation usually includes being alone.

I realized how truly introverted I've become during my recent vacation in Jamaica with my husband.  Mr. Roller Coaster will talk to anyone with a pulse.  Following his lead, I found myself in a pool with a swim-up bar, milling around with a dozen people taking turns sharing their life stories.  I liked these people, and I enjoyed their stories, but I didn't go on vacation to spend my time with people I'll never see again.  Call me antisocial, but soon I had migrated with my fruity cocktail to the lone hammock overlooking the clear blue sea.  While Mr. Roller Coaster conversed with the other vacationers, I swung in the hammock with my iPod set to my Ruminations playlist, book in hand, ignoring the world.  To me, that was pure bliss.

My introversion is probably why I love blogging.  Blogging is the perfect way for an introvert to be gregarious.  I can socialize from the comfort of my home without having to wear makeup.  Facebook and Twitter?  Yeah, they're introvert compatible as well.  Introverts can ostensibly get their daily recommended allowances of socialization without ever changing out of their pajamas.  Personally, I'm not THAT introverted, but I'm sure there are people out there who are.

I have no explanation for my personality shift over the years.  If anything, you would think I'd become more extroverted considering my life as a mil spouse and my career as a teacher.  But I am who I am.  I am an introvert.

So are you more introverted or extroverted?
Take this personality test to find out!  (I promise it only takes a few minutes.) 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #2

It's Friday!
That means it's time for Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup.  Make sure you head on over to Goodnight Moon to link up your favorite post this week!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Breaking Up With My Surrogate Spouse

My latest Blue Star Families post...

My husband is home. The deployment is over, and our family is settling in quite nicely through the post-deployment stage of getting to know each other again. However, there’s another person who is greatly affected by the end of the deployment as well: my surrogate spouse.

When my husband left for deployment, I filled the gap caused by his absence with another love of my life. She is my best friend, my confidante, my sounding board, my most enthusiastic cheerleader, my back-up baby-sitter, my emergency contact, and yes, my surrogate spouse. We used to joke that we might as well be married to each other because we spend more time together than with our husbands. And the joke always ended with my warning that I’ll be breaking up with her when the deployment ends. Now that the deployment is over, it seems the joke is over too. I feel like I really did break up with her.

While my husband was gone, my surrogate spouse and I shared dinners, held sleepovers, talked on the phone after the kids were tucked away in bed, and even went on a girls only weekend road trip. But when my husband came home, everything changed. As I welcomed one love back into my life, I felt like I was saying good-bye to my other love.

We all rely on our friends while our husbands are deployed. But what happens to those friendships when our husbands return? The time I once spent with my surrogate spouse is now spent with my real spouse. Instead of those afternoon playdates that ended with dinner at McDonald’s, I want to be home in time to prepare a family meal. Instead of those late night phone calls, I want to turn my ringer off and cuddle in front of the television. Instead of those girls-only getaways, I want to have a second honeymoon. Am I abandoning my best friend? Will she resent me for choosing my husband over her?

Many acquaintances have come and gone in my life. I’ve had situational friends with whom I shared little in common other than our addresses, our college transcripts, or our husband’s careers. I’ve had fair-weather friends, who had no problem sharing their burdens with me but disappeared the second I attempted to share mine. I’ve had one-upsmanship friends, who wanted me around as long as they were more popular and successful than me. And I’ve had true friends, people who stayed by my side through thick and thin, who valued me as much as I valued them, whose loyalty was equal to mine. My surrogate spouse is one of those true friends. And I have to remind myself that our breakup as spouses could never change our friendship. In fact, the time we spent together during the deployment will only make that friendship stronger.

I’m sure that once the novelty of my husband’s presence wears off, I’ll crave those estrogen-filled outings and phone calls. Just as my husband and I will readjust to our post-deployment roles, my ex-surrogate spouse and I will adjust as well. Soon we’ll be scheduling girls’ nights out and leaving our husbands at home to watch the kids. We’ll be interrupting each other’s family dinners to call with exciting news or favors to ask. We may not be surrogate spouses anymore, but we’ll always be true friends.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Top 10 Things Parents Should Teach Their Children Before the 1st Day of Kindergarten

As a parent of young children, I'm well aware that there are certain things kids need to know before they start school.  As a teacher, I'm also well aware that children develop at different paces and that not all children will possess the same abilities upon entering kindergarten.  But after surviving my first week as a kindergarten teacher, I've learned that there are definite skills and behaviors that all rising kindergarten students should possess in order to help both themselves and their teachers.
Here are my...
Top 10 Things Parents Should Teach Their Children Before the 1st Day of Kindergarten
10)  Jamming a finger up your nose is not socially acceptable behavior.  And eating the evidence makes the act more, not less, unacceptable. 
9)  Bring home your lunch leftovers so Mom knows you're coming home hungry because you really don't care for ham and cheese sandwiches, not because your teacher didn't give you enough time to eat. 
8)  There are times when you can talk. And there are times when you can't.
7)  Flush the toilet!
6)  Silly Bands are a teacher's nightmare.  Leave them at home.
5)  There are good tattles and bad tattles.  Good tattle: Teacher, Johnny sliced my arm with a pair of scissors.  Bad tattle: Teacher, Johnny is sitting 2 inches closer to you than I am.
4)  The teacher is the boss.  I actually have a student whose constant response to direction is, "No, I don't feel like it." 
3)  Cough and sneeze into your elbow!  Or at the very least, not directly in someone else's face.
2)  Put on your listening ears.  Teachers will lose their voices if they have to repeat themselves 20 times.
1)  This one is actually a lesson for the parents themselves: Don't say or do anything in front of your child at home that you wouldn't want repeated to your child's teacher and a room full of little ears.
What else do you think children need to know before they head off to school?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 1 As a Working Mom


I'm proud to say I survived my 1st week as a kindergarten teacher!  The week may have ended with laryngitis, stained shirts, snooze buttons, and neglected household chores, but overall I'm thrilled with my job, the kids in my class, my co-workers, and the opportunity I've been given.
This working mom thing is a whole new experience for me.  I've never had a job as a mother.  Well, that's not entirely true.  Big C was 6 months old when I started my student teaching so I did have to deal with the hustle and bustle of packing him up and getting him to daycare before I reported to work.  But it's a different story with older children.
Every evening I'm packing 4 lunches, 1 tote bag, and 2 backpacks.  I'm laying out 3 outfits and completing 1st grade homework and kindergarten lesson plans.  And I'm still trying to keep up with everything I did in my previous life: laundry, groceries, cooking, cleaning, and of course, blogging.
It's a juggling act.  But after only 1 week, I'm finding I'm already getting the hang of it.  Big C is thriving in 1st grade.  Little C doesn't even say bye to me when I drop her off at preschool.  Even Mr. Roller Coaster is stepping up and helping out with chores he never did before.
As I gear up for Week 2, I try to remind myself that as hard as it is to pack all those lunches and wake up to that annoying alarm clock, one day it will all be commonplace.  By Christmas I'm sure I'll be laughing at myself for feeling so flustered and wondering what life was like before the craziness.
So let the craziness continue!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup Recap

I want to thank everyone who participated in the first Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup!  I'm thrilled by the turnout, and I promise I'm getting around to reading everyone's links.  It may take me all week, but I'll get there!
A couple of people were disappointed that they missed it, but please be reassured that this will be a weekly meme.  Make sure you visit Amber at Goodnight Moon next week for Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #2.
I've also had some people express interest in hosting the roundup.  Honestly, I haven't thought that far ahead because we already have hosts lined up for the next 2 weeks.  I was planning to leave it up to the current host to find the next host.  But if you're interested in hosting it, leave me a comment or send me an email (ontherollercoaster@gmail.com).  I'll make a list that we can refer to if a host is having trouble passing the torch along.
Can't wait to read everyone's entries for this week and to see who joins us next week!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup

We all love blogging.  We all love reading other blogs.  But we all lead busy lives.  And until we find a way to make blogging a full-time salaried occupation, most of us don't have enough hours in the day to read all the blogs we'd like to as frequently as we'd like to. 

I know I'm not the only mil spouse blogger struggling to keep up with my Google reader.  And I wanted to find a way to help us all stay up to date with our friends' posts, a way to make our blogging lives a bit simpler.

  So after some contemplation and the consultation of other bloggy friends, I came up with an idea: The Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup.

What is the Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup?  It's a Friday meme for mil spouses.  But it's not your typical meme.  You aren't required to write anything today.  And it won't interfere with any other memes you already participate in on Fridays.  All you have to do is look back at the posts you wrote this week and pick your favorite.  Come back here and link up that post.  That's it! 
Well, maybe that's not it.  Hopefully you'll read the other posts on the list.  The goal of Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup is to relieve some of the pressure we all put on ourselves to be the faithful readers we implicitly promised to be when we chose to follow other bloggers.  Between our time constraints and the vast number of fabulous mil spouse bloggers out there, we just can't read every post of every blogger.  Hopefully the weekly roundup will simplify our blogging lives a little.  One post per blogger per week.  Of course you'll still regularly read your favorites, but this will allow us to reconnect with people we haven't visited in awhile.  
The greatest part of the Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup is that it's a group effort.  I may be starting it, but this will likely be my 1st and last time hosting it.  Each week, a different mil spouse blogger will host the meme.  This will give different bloggers a chance to showcase their blog and maybe introduce you to someone you've never "met" before. 
Are you up for it?  Pick your favorite post of the week and link it up below!  And if you feel like spreading the word, please grab the button above.  (A HUGE thanks to Mrs. Muffins for designing the button for us!!!)  The MckLinky will be open until midnight tonight, but I will post a master list so you can continue hopping throughout the next week.
Make sure you visit Amber over at Goodnight Moon next week.  She'll be hosting Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #2.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why Being a Teacher is the Perfect Profession for Me

When I started college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.  With my extensive first-hand knowledge of athletics, my plan was to be a Sports Psychologist.  But when a chronic injury forced my athletic career into premature retirement, my bitterness left me wondering if I was capable of reliving my personal disappointment through other athletes I would potentially counsel.  I have always loved children, so my college advisor suggested pursuing a career as a child psychologist.  He thought I needed to confirm my ease with children so he contacted a teacher friend of his, and I started volunteering in a 4th grade classroom.  By the end of the semester, I had fallen in love.  Not with counseling.  With teaching.

It was too late to change my major, and it took some time to go back to school and get my teaching degree. But I have no doubt that I chose the right career path for me.  Here are my...

Top 10 Reasons Why Being A Teacher is the Perfect Profession for Me

10)  I can be as silly as I want to be.  In fact, sometimes silliness is a job requirement.

9)  I don't have to buy business suits.

8)  My experiences as a parent have enhanced my abilities to get into the mindset of a young child.

7)  As a mil spouse, teaching is the perfect portable career.

6)  I've always had a debilitating fear of public speaking in front of my peers.  But I'm in my element speaking to young children.

5)  I thrive on finding creative ways to teach children, methods that don't include boring lectures.

4)  I have regular hours, and I have afternoons and summers off to spend with my own children.

3)  I can't get enough of children's picture books!  Once my kids outgrow their extensive library, my classroom is going to be overflowing with books.

2)  Witnessing the triumph on a child's face as he or she conquers a new skill is more far more rewarding to me than a paycheck.

1)  I remember many of my elementary school teachers, some fondly, some with fright.  I remember 1 who threw chalk at misbehaving students and 1 who took so little time to assess my skills that she carelessly placed me in the lowest reading group.  But I also remember 1 teacher who encouraged my crazy imagination and 1 who recognized that I was misbehaving because I was bored in that lowest reading group.  I want to be that teacher my students remember fondly.

Like I said, I'm a huge fan of children's books.  What is your favorite children's book? 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wife on the Roller Coaster Meets Flip Flops and Combat Boots

It's going to be a great day!  You know why?  Because I'm guest blogging over at Flip Flops and Combat Boots!  Go check me out and stay awhile visiting with Nicole and her awesome blog.

Have a great labor-free Labor Day weekend!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Taking a Day of Rest After a Week of Stress

 "Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
 ~Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Living in the Moment


Today I went to a museum with my kids and my in-laws.  And about halfway through the drive there, I realized I forgot my camera.  Thankfully, my in-laws remembered theirs, but without my own camera, I felt like I was walking into the museum naked.

I take a lot of pictures.  My memory is terrible, and I need the tangible memories provided by a photograph.  Thanks to the invention of the digital camera, I've been known to take 50 pictures just to capture a single moment.  I figure I can always go through them later and edit and crop and pick the best one.  I have neatly organized folders of photos on my computer and clearly labeled photo boxes and albums.  I am one of Snapfish's best customers, and if you asked me to find a picture that was taken on a specific date of a specific year within the past 20 years, I could locate it within minutes. 

I love that I have these pictures, but sometimes I wonder if I'm missing out on living in the moment.  I'm so busy snapping pictures that I see the world through the eyes of a camera instead of through my own.  And sometimes I wonder if my obsession with capturing the moment for posterity is actually a hindrance to the enjoyment of whatever we're doing.  How many times have I asked the kids to wait before opening a Christmas present so I could position myself in the perfect angle for a picture?  How many times have I posed the kids for the "perfect" picture instead of just letting them create their own perfect picture?

So I'm thankful that I forgot to bring my camera to the museum today.  I know that if I had had it, I would have been taking pictures of my kids petting an owl instead of really watching their faces.  I would have been juggling my huge Nikon on my shoulder instead of lifting my daughter up to see the animals.  I would have been capturing the fun instead of living it. 

And I love that I lived that fun today.

What do you think?  Would you rather live in the moment or capture that moment to relive it later?

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