Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting the Magic Back

It's that time of year, folks. Not Christmastime, not holidays in general. It's the time of year where my students start to drive me a little crazy.

Now, don't get me wrong. My kiddos are just as cute and hard-working as ever. Easily distracted by mentions of the upcoming holidays, sure, but mostly fine. It's me that's the problem. I'm frustrated that our winter benchmark scores aren't higher, worried about the ongoing evaluations I have to submit to as part of being a non-tenured teacher, and antsy for the two week long break that begins next week but still seems so very far away. Last week, I found myself getting downright snippy over stupid things. I even uttered the phrase "shame on you" to two of my students who were food fighting at snack time. Seriously, I said "shame on you" to two students who are still learning English and are clearly a few generations behind any person that would actually be shamed by that phrase. Except for me, of course. I shamed myself by using it. But I digress.

The good news is, I got my mojo back with my kids at the unlikeliest of places: a field trip. Today, we spent the whole kindergarten morning at the Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland Express, and it was, quite frankly awesome. I had lots of parents show up to help supervise, the kids were fairly well behaved, and we were all in awe over the tons of model trains, hothouse plants, and Christmas trees that we saw. The museum even had a scavenger hunt bingo sheet for the kids to mark with stickers to help them focus on specific things throughout the museum. It was awesome.

Like married life, I sometimes find myself looking for ways to keep the magic alive with my kids. Spending 8 hours a day with tiny, pesky, humans is a lot. Sometimes it's easy to see their flaws instead of what they are: developing humans who are learning one day at a time to make their worlds better. Days like today remind me that when I find myself in a rut with them, that it's time to start something new, so that I can see the best sides of them. One of my naughtiest kids even begged me to sit by him on the bus today, and asked me to hold his hand throughout the exhibits. Say it with me: awwww.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed and bored with the routine. It's easy to take the people in your life, both under and over five feet tall, for granted. It's harder to do something unexpected, to break out of the norm and shrug off the responsibilities for a day to get out there and remind yourself why, exactly, you continue to fight so hard for the people that you have in your life. But it's so, so, worth it.

I think I might even survive these next three days :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Really Here!

Well, folks, I'm writing to you today from the comfort of my couch, where I have been laid up with some sort of heinous stomach virus for the last 24 hours. I would have posted sooner, since I have lots of time on my hands between trips to the bathroom, however I thought that the N key was broken on my computer. Luckily, I whacked it really hard, and it seems to be working. nnnnnn. Yep, we're good to go.

Christmas season has arrived and arrived hard at the Gas house this year. We're stoked. Gifts have been purchased and requested. As usual, my gifts to Kev are probably going to be my favorites that I buy for anyone in my family. He doesn't like to give me a lot of hints as to what he wants, which I take as a personal challenge, however I think I usually guess well. I'll catch you up on what I got him after Christmas, of course.

I'm not going to lie, the first few Christmases Kev and I spent together were kind of tricky. There were a lot of negotiations about scheduling (as in: we can miss Christmas morning at my house to go to your house, but then I will NOT miss Christmas Eve at my Grandmas, etc.) There were also a lot of awkward figuring out of roles. Should I bring a beverage or dish the way real adults do? Do I claim a seat at the kid table even though I married into this family? Why are Kev's cousins making fun of me because I volunteered to help with the clean-up? Tricky business. However, I feel like we've settled in a bit. This is the third Christmas I'll be celebrating with both sets of parents, and we've fallen into a rhythm.

What this means is, I've decided that this is the Christmas that we're going to extend to our home. Now that we have a home that we'll be in for the next 5+ years, we're decorating. Stockings are up. We have a teensy tree that the cats miraculously haven't ruined yet, and I demanded that we celebrate St. Nicholas night on December 6th and fill each other's stockings. Every year since we've been dating, we go downtown to see the Daily Center Christmas tree. Slowly, very slowly, we're inching into building traditions of our own. While Kev thought I was kind of strange at first for demanding a tree and St. Nick's night, he agreed Sunday night after opening stockings that he loved it, and it's something we need to keep. Starting little traditions between the two of us has so far been one of the best things about being married. It confirms once again that I have a partner in crime. It's weird, and adult-ish, but also super fun.

Did anyone else need to take some time to get into a Christmas rhythm with their other half? Do any of you have a holiday tradition or event that you would demand a significant other to participate in? Or are we crazy? Let us know.