Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Blogging Hiatus

Christmas is almost here, and we all have so much to do.  I truly believe that Christmas is a time to spend with loved ones.  That's why I'm taking a brief blogging holiday hiatus.  I want to focus my full attention on my family.  No blogging, no Facebook, no Blog Frog, no email.  I'm going dark.  (So if you comment or email and I don't respond, please don't be offended, I'm just giving my computer a rest.)
 
To all you mil spouse bloggers out there, make sure you link up with The Young Retiree for Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup on Friday.  I won't be participating in the blog hop this week or next but I promise to be back in the loop the following week.
 
I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!  I'll see you in 2011!
 
 


Wife on the Roller Coaster Out.
 

All I Want for Christmas is the Puke to Stop

There's this weird stomach bug going around.  It started in my house last week with Big C.  He threw up twice in one day, and then was completely fine for 2 whole days before throwing up again in the middle of the night.  The next day Little C started hugging the toilet.  Again, she threw up a couple of times and then was completely fine.
 
Flash forward to 30 minutes ago.  I was thrilled to be able to attend Big C's 1st grade Christmas party today.  One thing about working again is that I typically miss these fun events.  But the school where I teach already started winter break so my schedule was wide open.  Little C hadn't thrown up since Sunday so I didn't think twice about bringing her.
 
But I guess I didn't learn my lesson from Big C's second round of vomit because Little C just crashed her brother's school party with puke.  I was mortified!  I've only met Big C's teacher twice: once at the parent-teacher conference, where I went over my appointment time and Little C ran around the classroom making a mess, and now this.  I don't think that teacher wants to see me ever again!
 
This is 1 of those occasions that I'll probably laugh at years from now.  I mean, seriously, the stomach bug couldn't have waited an hour to come back?  And what kind of virus takes 2 days off and then comes back for a grand finale?  Yes, I'm sure one day I'll get a good chuckle out of this.  But for now, I'm washing my hands until they bleed, disinfecting every nook and cranny of my house, and praying this crazy virus skips the rest of the Roller Coaster family!
 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 10 Roller Coaster Highlights of 2010

As the end of 2010 approaches, I've been thinking about all of the things that made this year unforgettable.


Here are my...

Top 10 Roller Coaster Highlights of 2010

10)  I finally found a physical therapist who magically cured my bum leg.  You might think it's weird that out of all the things that happened this year, I'm talking about a healed injury, but running has always been a huge part of my life, whether it was running for fun or training for and competing in races.  I pulled my hamstring 3 weeks prior to a half marathon last year, and the idiot that I am, I ran the race anyway.  I was so disappointed that I wasn't able to run it this year because of that injury.  Now I'm back on the treadmill and ready to train for that half marathon in 2011!


9)  Big C hit so many milestones this year.  He learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, lost his 1st 2 teeth, graduated from t-ball to baseball, played in his 1st soccer league, finished kindergarten, and started 1st grade reading at a 2nd grade level.    He now reads books to me!


8)  Little C hit milestones as well.  She ditched her binkies and potty trained herself (in the same day!), started tearing up the pavement on her Big Wheels trike, and started attending preschool where she learned how to recite her alphabet, color inside the lines, and recognize most of the letters of her name.  In 1 year, she went from my baby girl in diapers to my big girl in school.


7) I loved visiting my parents for a week over the summer.  My brother and his wife made the trip too, and I finally met my niece!  My family is spread out all over the country so getting together is never easy.


6)  I attended the Milblogging Conference and placed in the top 3 of the mil spouse award category.  Back then, my blog was a mere 4 months old, and as soon as I got there, I felt I was unworthy to be in the company I was in.  But I met some amazing people and learned A LOT.  Milblogging Conference 2011 here I come!!!


5)  I cashed my 1st paycheck for something I wrote!  After years of talking about being a writer, I finally made the effort this year to BE a writer.  I'm thrilled with the writing opportunities I've been given, and I can only hope they'll continue. 

4)  When Mr. Roller Coaster returned from deployment, we ditched the kids and spent almost a week in Jamaica.  It was the perfect way for us to reconnect and spend some much-needed time alone in a beautiful, relaxing setting. 


3)  I went back to work.  Despite the huge adjustment for our entire family, I'm so happy I made the decision to get back out into the working world.  As much as I loved being a Domestic Engineer, I needed something else.
 

2)  The Roller Coaster family successfully completed Deployment #2.  The deployment itself wasn't exactly a highlight, but you know me, I like to see the positive in everything.  The deployment was a great reminder of what a strong, supportive military spouse I am (and it gave me lots of writing material!).  And of course my husband's homecoming was the best part.


1)  2010 saw the birth of Wife on the Roller Coaster.  One of my New Year's Resolutions in 2009 was to start a blog, and I had no idea how it would transform my life.  That may sound silly, that a blog changed my life, but it has in so many ways. 


What are some highlights of your 2010?



 



Monday, December 20, 2010

Best Presents

 My husband has given me countless presents over the years, some more memorable than others.  For 1 of our 1st Valentines Days, he spent an afternoon at an Asian grocery store learning how to make sushi and then came home and prepared a sushi feast.  One Christmas he booked us a few days at the Grove Park Inn, a luxurious resort and spa.  And for 1 of my birthdays during our tour in Japan, he bought me a strand of exquisite Japanese pearls that will eventually be passed down to our daughter (which is extra special because she was born in Japan).  As much as I loved these gifts, I have to say that 1 of my all-time favorite presents from my husband is something much simpler than these.  It's a 10-year journal he found in a Japanese stationary shop.


 
Since I was a kid, I've loved writing in journals.  I still have my 1st diary with its lock and key that I used to write about the boys I liked as I dotted my i's with hearts.  I kept journals sporadically in high school, but it wasn't until midway through college that I wrote regularly.  When I ran out of fancy journals given to me as gifts, I started using composition notebooks.  I now have a tub filled with dozens of journals, all numbered chronologically.  They are such a treasured collection that when I had to evacuate my home years ago because of a hurricane, that tub was 1 of the few possessions I took with me.  So when my husband gave me this 10-year journal, I was ecstatic.
 
Each page in the journal marks a day with 10 divisions, 1 for each year.  There's only enough room to write 3 or 4 sentences, but it's perfect because I no longer have the time to write the long passages I once did in my composition notebooks.  I've been writing in the journal for 3 years now, and each day I look back at what I wrote last year and the year before.  It's so much fun seeing how much my life has changed (or not changed!) over the years.  And when I finally reach the end of the journal, I'll have a decade of my life documented in 1 neat little book.  I can't wait to see where this journal will take me.
 
My journal wasn't an extravagent gift.  But it meant so much because my husband knew how much I would love and appreciate it.  And it's a gift that will keep on giving for 7 more years!
 
What was the best gift you've ever received?
 
 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My 5th and Final Post for PBS's POV blog Regarding War

I've been a contributing writer for PBS's POV blog Regarding War since August.  The blog is closing at the end of this month, and I'm thrilled to have been invited to be a part of it. 
 
My 5th and final post, "Post-Deployment Reintegration, From a Spouse's Perspective," is up, and I'd love it if you left me a comment over there! 
 
Thanks! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mil Spouse Friday Fill-In #25 and Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #15

It's Friday so you know the drill!  Go visit Wife of a Sailor for Mil Spouse Friday Fill-In #25.  Post the answers on your blog, and then link up with her. 


Here are this week's questions...

1.  What is the best gift you have ever received or given? (from Jessica Lynn Writes)
My husband has given me countless gifts, but I think my favorite was a 10 year journal.  He bought it in Japan, and each day has its own page with separate spaces for 10 years.  There's only room for 3 or 4 sentences per year, but some days that's all I have time for.  I've been writing in it for 3 years, and it's so fun looking back and seeing what I was doing last year and the year before on that very day.  (It's funny this question came up because I was planning to write a blog post about that journal next week!)

2.  Do you celebrate holidays differently when your loved one is deployed/gone or do you keep tradition? (from The Albrecht Squad)
My husband has only been deployed during 1 Christmas, and my son was just an infant, so I basically just visited my parents and celebrated some traditions I had growing up.  As far as other holidays throughout the year, I definitely try to keep with tradition. 

3.  If you celebrate Christmas, do you put an angel, star or something else on the top of your tree?
An angel has topped our Christmas tree ever since my husband and I got married.  But this year the kids wanted a star so they picked one out and that's now our new tree topper. 

4.  What are your three favorite websites?
I won't be boring and say my own blog, Facebook, and gmail (even though those top my favorites list).  I love getting recipes from Allrecipes.com.  When I'm writing, I always have Thesaurus.com open in another window.  And I couldn't have gotten through this holiday season without Amazon.com.  Wow, I guess those are pretty boring too.  I just don't play on the internet for purposes other than writing, social networking, and shopping.

5.  On your man do you prefer... boxers, briefs or boxer briefs? Or commando?
What about thongs? No, seriously, I don't really have a preference. 
 
When you finish answering the fill-in questions, head on over to Empty Nest, PCS, and All the Rest for Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #15 to link up one of your posts!
 






Monday, December 13, 2010

Wife on the Roller Coaster Meets G.I. Joe's Wife

Sarah over at G.I. Joe's Wife is hosting some wonderful guest bloggers while she enjoys her husband's R&R.  And I'm so excited to be one of those guest bloggers today.  Check out my post, "Homeless Christmas," and while you're there, go visit with Sarah and the other guest bloggers.
 
Happy Monday!
 

Top 10 Things I Plan To Do During My Christmas Break

I am a kindergarten teacher.  It's not a glamorous job, my paycheck is practically pennies, and I spend many unpaid hours working at home and buying supplies out of my own pocket.  But I can't complain too much because I do get paid to enjoy 2 full weeks off for Christmas break.


As I've mentioned before, it's been quite an adjustment going back to work after 6 years of being a full-time Domestic Engineer.  The holidays have hit me hard because I've struggled to find the time (and energy!) to do all of the shopping, wrapping, baking, and Christmas card writing I've always done during the day.  My nights and weekends are spent playing catch-up, and quite frankly, I'M EXHAUSTED!  But I have less than one more week of work before I can truly relax and take the time to enjoy the holiday spirit.


 
There are so many things in my life that I've let slide since I went back to work, so many luxuries that I miss.  But by the end of this week, I have the opportunity to get a taste of my former life as a Domestic Engineer (I'm sorry, but I just can't stand the term "stay-at-home-mom" so I will forever use the term DE).  So here are my...


Top 10 List of Things I Plan To Do During My Christmas Break

 
10)  Make a word wall.  I know this is work-related, but I've been wanting to make a word wall for my classroom since the start of school.  I have very limited wall space in my classroom so I bought a trifold board to make a portable word wall.  I just haven't found the time to make it.


9)  Shop online.  I'll have some Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket with plenty of time to figure out what I'm going to spend it on.


8)  Watch movies. I love movies. But even when my husband and I sit down to watch the latest Netflix, I'm paying bills or writing lesson plans. I want to cuddle up on the couch and watch movies from start to finish without the lights on or a pen in hand.

7)  Pamper myself.  Something as minor as taking a long hot bath with a glass of wine or painting my toenails is enough to make me feel like a new woman.


6)  Read magazines.  I have 3 magazine subscriptions: Parents, Real Simple, and Military Spouse Magazine.  I'm up to date on MSM (because really, you can read that magazine in 20 minutes).  But I'm months behind on my beloved Parents and RS.  I can't wait to tear out craft ideas and recipes for next year's Halloween!


5)  Exercise.  Please don't hate me, but I'm 1 of those people who love working out.  I used to go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week.  Now I'm lucky if I squeeze in 2 work outs a week.  Hopefully I can get myself back into a routine that will carry over after the new year.


4)  Spend quality time with my kids.  Since I returned to work, I feel like my kids have been short-changed on their mommy attention.  It seems all I do with them lately are the necessities: homework, baths, meals.  My kids need to see the fun mommy again, instead of the stressed-out-I-need-to-get-work-done mommy.


3)  WRITE!  I have so many ideas on my Brainstorming Bulletin Board (yes, I actually have a corkboard in my family room covered with ideas scribbled on Post-It notes), and I want to turn those ideas into blog posts. 


2)  Read at least 3 of the novels in the stack of books that have been piling up on my nightstand for the past 4 months.


1)  Sleep.  Vegetate.  Sleep.  Vegetate.  Sleep.  Vegetate.  Sleep.  Vegetate.


 
Do you have any big plans for your Christmas vacation?


Friday, December 10, 2010

Mil Spouse Friday Fill-In & Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup

Time for another Mil Spouse Friday Fill-In hosted by Wife of a Sailor!  Post your answers and link up at her blog.
 
 




 
1.What do you see your life like in 10 years?
I don't see it as much different than it is now, except with older children.  I'm sure I'll still be a military spouse, still a teacher, still a blogger.  Although I could be completely wrong.  Maybe my husband will be a civilian, I'll be a best-selling author, and we'll be living in a mansion in California where I'm overseeing the Hollywood production of my 1st of 5 novels.  Hmm, who knows?
 
 
2.What do you like most about your job?
Getting to act silly.  I spend my days with 5-year-olds, and silliness is practically a job requirement. 
 
 
3.What are three things you do every day, no matter what day it is?
Smile
 Eat chocolate
Tell my kids I love them
 
 
4.What would you do with an extra five hours in your day today?
Get a massage (big surprise there, right?) and go to the movies by myself
 
 
5.What is your favorite Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate) cookie recipe (please share!)?
I don't typically bake, but I do dust off my cookie sheets for the holidays.  I have a lot of favorite cookies, but the big favorite in my family is Brickle.  I make it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any event during the year that I need to bring a dessert.  It's super simple and freezes well.  In fact, we like to eat it still frozen. 
 
BRICKLE
 
40 Saltine crackers
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 12 oz package chocolate chips
Chopped nuts (I like pecans)
 
Preheat over to 400.  Cover rimmed cookie sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Place saltines in a single layer on foil.  On stove, melt butter and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove.  Pour over crackers.  Bake 5 minutes.  Sprinkle chips on top.  Leave until melted and spread chocolate over baked mixture.  Sprinkle with nuts and push into chocolate a little.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and then break into pieces.
 
 
Don't forget it's also Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup!  This week's host is Ines over at The Few, The Proud, The Wife.  Make sure you visit her and link up one of your posts from this week.
 
 





 
 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Is It All in My Head?

 
 
I'm home from work today, cozying up on the couch being lazy.  Strep throat is circulating through my classroom, and every other person I know has a sinus infection.  Am I next to fill my script for antibiotics?
 
I barely got through the work day yesterday.  I was exhausted.  My head was pounding, and my students' excited Christmas spirit only made it worse.  By noon I had already lined up a substitute teacher and a doctor's appointment for today.  I couldn't wait for a day on the couch to recuperate.
 
But then a weird thing happened.  As I taught my class after lunch, I miraculously felt better.  Was it all in my head?  Were my symptoms psychosomatic?  I spent my morning ticking off my symptoms to co-workers and listening to them tell me I looked terrible.  The sinus pressure increased.  A student came back after missing 2 days of school explaining that she had strep.  Suddenly I had a sore throat.  But by the time I had arranged for my sick day, I was already feeling better.
 
Now today I don't have a headache anymore, and my sore throat disappeared after I ate breakfast.  I was even contemplating going to the gym and canceling my doctor's appointment.   I almost feel guilty for calling in sick.
 
Am I really sick? 
 
Or did I simply need a personal day to recover from all the holiday craziness? 
 
Maybe it's just the holiday preparations that's making me so tired. 
 
Maybe talking about being sick made me actually feel sick.
 
Maybe just thinking about a day off made me feel better.
 
Maybe I needed an excuse to take a mental health day and enjoy some quiet time alone.
 
Maybe the only prescription I need is some simple R & R.
 
Regardless of the reason, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy my day off with my fanny parked on the couch while the kids are at school.  And I'm not going to feel guilty about it.
 
Do you ever take a mental health day off from work?  Do you ever feel guilty for doing it?
 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top 10 Christmas Movies

Now that I've shaken the bah humbug funk, I'm ready to get into the holiday spirit with Christmas movies!  I love them all: the classics, the cheesy, and the ones that bring me back to my childhood.  There's nothing like cuddling up by the fireplace with a bowl of popcorn and a Christmas movie.

Here are my...

Top 10 Christmas Movies
10)  A Christmas Story
9)  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
8)  Polar Express
7)  Love Actually
6)  Scrooged
5)  The Muppet Christmas Carol
4)  It's a Wonderful Life
3)  A Charlie Brown Christmas
2)  Elf
1)  The original Dr. Seuss cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas


What are your favorite Christmas movies?





Monday, December 6, 2010

School Bullies: Does It Really Start This Early?

The other day I was packing Big C's school lunch, and I asked him what he wanted in it.  I was shocked when he asked me not to pack his favorite fruit snacks.
 
"Why not buddy?" I asked.  "You love them." 
 
"Because this boy always tries to take them from me."
 
At first I was surprised.  Then I was sad for my son who would rather give up his special lunch treat than confront this classmate.  And then I was ANGRY.  How is it possible that bullying starts as early as 1st grade?!
 
Big C told me more about this boy and their interactions.  I learned that this boy regularly makes fun of Big C and rounds up his buddies to join in on the jokes.  I told Big C to laugh it off and try not to let the jokes bother him.  I told him not to sit near the boy at lunch.  I told him not to stoop to this boy's level by making fun of him in return.  And I told him that he needs to continue keeping me informed and to go to the teacher if the boy ever gets physical.
 
I didn't know what else to say.  I've read articles about bullying, but honestly, I never paid close attention because I figured I'd have years before I'd have to worry about it.  To think of my boy struggling with a bully at 6-years-old absolutely blows my mind. 
 
I wanted to tell him to retort with a snide comment of his own.  I wanted to tell him him to gather up his own friends to make fun of this kid.  I wanted to tell him to be tough and stand up for himself.  I wanted to tell him not to be vulnerable so he won't be prey for bullies that will only get meaner as he gets older.  And I wanted to tell him to get this kid's phone number so I could call his parents and tell them to shake some manners into their child!
 
But as much as I wanted to say these things, I didn't.
 
I want to teach my children to have the confidence to solve their own problems while at the same time maintain communication with me.  But that's much harder than it sounds.  I don't know if I said the right things.  I don't know if Big C is following any of my advice.  I don't know when I should write a note to the teacher.  I don't know how far this bully will go.  I don't know how Big C will handle it.  I just don't know. 
 
What do you think?  Has your child ever been bullied?  What advice should I give to my son?  At what point do I need to get involved?
 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas!

It truly is beginning to feel like Christmas!  I attended my staff Christmas party last night.   I finally put my Christmas tree up today.  And as I write this on a cold Saturday night, it's snowing!  I'm finally getting into the Christmas spirit!
 
I'm also feeling the Hanukkah spirit. I have a student who is Jewish, and I love being able to learn about another holiday through her and her family.  Her mother is coming to my class next week to read stories about Hanukkah and share some traditional foods and customs.  It's times like these that I truly believe that being a teacher is so much more than teaching my students because they educate me as well.
 
What a wonderful time of year!
 
Do you have your Christmas tree up yet?  If you're Jewish, what are your favorite Hanukkah traditions?
 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #13

It's Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup again!  Make sure you go over and link up one of your posts with Taryn over at Maine-ly Taryn for Roundup #13!


 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blog Frog!

Attention Military Spouses!
 
I joined Blog Frog several months ago, but I haven't been very active.  In all honestly, I didn't really get it.  However, because I'm trying to get more involved, I decided to start my own Blog Frog community: Riding the Roller Coaster. 
 
So if you're already a member of Blog Frog, I'd LOVE it if you joined my community!  And if you aren't already a Blog Frogger, I hope you'll sign up and join my group.  We can help each other figure it out along the way.
 
Just click on the icon in my right sidebar and meet me there.  Start a discussion, add to one, whatever.  Hope to see you there!
 
 
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