Sunday, August 31, 2008

School Update

So, Ry has finished his first full week of school and I have finished my 3rd. We are both alive. Each day has been better than the last. Ry has decided that he wants to join the orchestra (we will find out what instrument this next week) and much to his chagrin, he made the 5th grade Honor Choir. He is not too sure that choir is cool enough for him, but he did perk up when he found out that the choir gets free tickets to the High School football games when they sing. So, he has decided to give it a try. Baseball practice also started this past weekend and his first game is Tues. Between choir, orchestra, scouts, & baseball I don't think that he will have much time to get into trouble.

For me- I really love my class. The kids are so good. And some of them have really hard lives. At least two are in the foster care system. But they are so much fun. We have been memorizing poems and listening to Mozart. We learned a cute song about the continents & where they go on a map. We practice skip counting to the mac arena. They have been learning how to use a dictionary, make & read maps, read clocks & thermometers, the history of the Olympics and I am currently reading a biography of Helen Keller to them. It has been so fun to see them learning & having so much fun. I am a bit sad that next week some of them will go to other classrooms for one hour a day. I am feeling a bit possessive of my kids.

Life still has its challenges. Public school red tape makes teaching almost impossible. It is very frustrating but I am learning the ropes and squeezing in as much as I can. I am still putting in around 60 - 70 hours a week, but I have been getting to bed earlier and I am working harder to balance everything. All in all, life is good.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Girl's Night Out

The other day I dropped Ry off at his friend's house for a play date. On the spur of the moment, I asked the friend's little sister, Miss Aubrey, if she wanted to go with me to Walmart. We had a great time shopping & running a couple of errands. We splurged on a 4-berry Sundae at Sam's Club. It was so fun! I truly love kids. I am so grateful to have lots of friends that let me borrow their kids.
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First Day of School

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Ryan's first day of school! Ever. As homeschoolers, this week was his first experience with public school on the first day of classes. It was a bittersweet day but overall, went well. Each day has been a bit better than the last for him and I feel peaceful that it will be a great year for him.
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Cinderill Elise

My sweet sister had her birthday this past week. We exchanged voice mail messages but I didn't have time to share my post on her birthday so here are a few things that I love about my sister.

I love your sense of humor. You always come up with the quick wit reply and have brought so much laughter to so many ordinary things. You balance my serious nature and challenge me to find fun in everything, even the hard things.

I don't know if we sisters would have been so close without you. It was you who started calling me after we were both married & started building the adult bonds that we have. I am so grateful for you. I don't know what I would do without my sisters.

You have always been so inspirational in "keeping up appearances". You have always been so creative in sewing your own clothes, staying up with cute styles and working so hard to stay fit. You are a constant example and wonderful cheerleader.

I love you! I am so glad that you are my sister. I hope you had a great birthday & have a great week!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chapter One

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way."
Charles Dickens

This opening paragraph to the classic "The Tale of Two Cities" is a great beginning to the first chapter in the next book of my life. I have never been under more stress yet I have never felt so blessed. I have never felt so alone, I have never felt so many angels. I absolutely believe that my Heavenly Father knows me. He knows my heart & my hurts. He knows my mistakes and my joys. He knows.

It I could, I would subtitle this chapter Strength. Last Monday, I drove to the Professional Development Center to make copies since the copier at the school was not working. When I went to return to the school to frantically finish my classroom, my car wouldn't start. I was calm and started walking the 12 blocks to the school. I called a friend but kept going instead of waiting for her. It began to rain lightly and I started to think, "OK, don't think about it or you are going to cry. You can do this, you can do this." And suddenly, I felt a wave of quiet determination, of steel-strong strength wash over me. My thoughts changed from "poor me" to "bring it on!" I am strong. I am powerful. I am not a quitter. I will not be a victim. I am not the first to be abandoned by a husband & I will not be the last. I will overcome. I reached the school and a few minutes later my friend showed up. She & her daughter stayed until 9:30p.m. and helped me get so much done. Since that walk home, I have felt peaceful and strong. I feel the Lord on his side of the yoke and I am walking with him instead of asking "Do I really have to do this?" "Can't we do it another way?" Nothing has really changed, except my attitude but it is amazing the difference it has made.

And lastly, quick update:
The first three days of school went well. I am exhausted! But I have a really great class (so far) and I really love being with these kids.

I hope to post some this week and I am hoping to post pics of my classroom next weekend, so stay tuned.

I went to see Mama Mia! last night with girlfriends. It was so much fun! I lived so far in the country I missed out on a lot of high school friends & fun nights. It was really fun to feel young again.

Love to all of you!!!!! Thank you so much for your prayers & help. You have all been so wonderful. I have seen angels and they look just like you. I can never repay you for all you have done.

Have a wonderful week! LIVE STRONG!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back

I started a long post with all the gory details of my nightmare right now and just writing it out was adding to my stress. Yesterday I lost it and yelled at Ryan for a fairly minor thing that was an accident but it was the straw that broke the camel's back. Last night he came and talk to me and said that he thought I needed more sleep to deal with my stress. I took his advice and after a long prayer pleading for help, I went to bed. This morning I am feeling more rested but still very stressed, panicked, overwhelmed and humbled. I basically feel like I can be a mother or I can be a teacher but I can't do both and I am feeling so frustrated that I have no choice.

I woke up before my alarm and feel strongly that I need help. So, I am asking. If any or all of you could do one of the following I would be very grateful.
*Would you please include us in your prayers, specifically that I can get everything done & be ready for my students next Wed.? That I will feel prepared for them? That I can figure out ways to be a mom to Ryan through all this?
*Put our names in at the temple.
*If you live locally I could really use some help with the following things:
Taking Ryan for a day or afternoon
sewing curtains
sewing chair pockets
painting a banner
transporting, painting & installing shower board in my classroom
Making a sign with my name (Ms. Mills)

I am calling today to get a blessing. And a HUGE thank you to the family that mowed my yard. My grass was so high that we did not know a stray cat had given birth to her 4 kittens in the grass! And the kittens have their eyes open & are toddling around. My yard was their jungle. And another HUGE thank you to the man who is spending his Saturday fixing my car.

Thank you all for all your thoughts and prayers. I have tried to be strong through this all and I just feel like I can't do it anymore by myself. Your prayers made a huge difference when the news of the divorce first broke and so I am hopping the same will happen again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday Tell All

I have been reading blogs on the Tuesday Tell All site for at least 6 months. I have wanted to participate for a long time and finally got my act together tonight. And it is only 11:48 so technically it is still Tuesday. So, the question- Am I competitive? What Olympic event would choose to participate in?

Answer- I am not very competitive. I hate the feeling when I loose but then I feel guilty for not being happy for the winner(s). I love it when I win but then I feel guilty for the losers & how bad they feel. It is a no-win situation so I tend to not be competitive. When I am not playing, I like to root for the under-dogs. I love the Cinderella wins and I always cry happy tears. I do still feel a twinge or two for the losers, but I celebrate the guts & determination & the never-give-up-ness of the underdogs. I love movies like Rudy, Miracle, The Rookie, etc.

What Olympic event would my athletic alter-ego participate in? Gymnastics was my passion growing up & Nadia Comeneci was my hero. My favorite event was the uneven bars - I could watch them forever and I would do twirls around the monkey bars at school pretending that I was in the Olympics. My youthful, never-say-you-can't-do-it spirit would say gymnastics. However, my 5'9" mature reality could definitely get excited in the rowing competition. I love watching everyone in sync and the teamwork it takes. Speaking of in sync, I LOVE to watch synchronized swimming! It amazes me how they can do all of those routines. I love the dance part of it, the teamwork part of it and the athletic part of it.

I am so excited that they Olympics start next week! I love all the athletes' stories as well as the events. I love seeing all the countries come together. I could spend hours watching the diving, swimming, fencing, archery, canoing, biking, triathlon, and team sports. I love watching the final races/competitions. I love the Opening Ceremonies and watching the torch come in. I won't have time to watch most it this time, but just knowing that the world has come together & the games are going on makes the world a better place. Go USA!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mother's Day

Today is my mom's birthday. She would have been 60. The opening hymn today in church was "Because I Have Been Given Much", her favorite hymn and the closing hymn was "God Be With 'Till We Meet Again", the final hymn sung at her funeral. In a way, it felt like she was wrapping her arms around me giving me a hug.

When my dad turned 60 last year, we all got together and wrote reasons why we love him. My sister printed them up on business cards, laminated them and put them on a ring. It has been so much fun reading (& remembering) each person's memories. I thought I would share a few of my memories of my mom.

I love my mom because she was there. When I came home from school she was there. When I came home from activities I would wake her up and tell her all about it. Once my entire family drove 4 hours to see a college performance of mine. After the show, they got in the car and drove all the way home. I especially remember coming home as a teen and telling her all about my seminary lesson that day. We had some great discussions.

I love my mom because she was a homemaker. She taught me how to garden, can food, stretch a dollar and sew. She taught me how to care for & love children. She showed me a love of reading and how to have a sense of humor. She showed me how to share with others and see others' needs.

Mostly, I love my mom because she loved the Lord. She accepted the gospel and taught me a great example of service. Through various trials in life, she proved her devotion to the Lord. She never wavered. Her life is her testimony and I have been so blessed because of it.

I love you Mom! Happy Birthday!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My Morning

I have spent the morning labeling the food storage under Ry's bed. My ideas are all gleaned (plagiarized) from other very smart ladies.
First, I label each bucket with a strip of colored electric tape around the bucket & a 2" strip on the top. I use electrical tape because it comes off without much residue. Each type of food has a different color. Blue tape is for Oatmeal. Next, each bucket gets 5 colored stickers, one on the top & 4 around the bucket. I make sure I put a dot under each handle side so that we always know where to look for the sticker. Each color indicates a year. Florescent green means 2005.
Some categories have sub categories, such as beans so I write what kind of beans on the sticker. This one says Kidney.

Lastly, I have a 3x5 card on my fridge that has my master list. From this, I could ask Ry to get me a black bucket with an orange sticker and I would have a bucket of rice from 2006!

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Step by Step

Day 20 Stumbles - Temptations - For a while I've wondered about personal temptations. It has felt like Satan wasn't really worri...