4th Grade Field Trip…a Microcosm of Life?

A tad bit of culture shock as I plunked down smack in the middle of a bus full of over sixty fourth-graders laughing, shouting, giggling and excitable as merrily we rolled along the freeway last week. My first field trip since Little Bee’s arrival. I had kind of written them off since she came along and missed the interaction with my two older kids at school, albeit loud and overwhelming.

IMG_20140421_150930

We visited the art museum on an uncharacteristically beautiful (and windy!) Spring morning around these parts.  After all was said and done I couldn’t help but notice what a microcosm of life our little adventure was.

There was the drama of the boys pulling the girls’ hair. Kicking the seats and ducking down when the evil eye of a parent spotted their antics.

“Who me?” their expressions said.

When we got situated and the docent had been assigned to our lot, the groups started to form. Boys separated from girls. Much like many a party I have been at with friends where the men and women cordon off into ESPN vs. kid talk. Work vs. home life. Harmless flirting and jokes.

I was the chaperone for nine kids along with our docent. She was doing an amazing job at holding the interest of the group. Then out of the blue Twinkle Toes informed me she was feeling sick to her stomach.

“This is not the plan. What happens if I have to leave nine rambunctious kids with a highly cultured and very LOW-KEY tour guide??” I thought.

So we veered “off the trail” to attend to the unexpected detour.

Thankfully she was feeling better pretty quickly, we were back on schedule and I was back running interference. Much like many a situation in life where there is worry and unease only to find out it all comes out in the wash and for the best.

Going into it, I am sure the kids were looking forward to a good time, freedom from the classroom and to test the limits to see what they could get away with. Yet there was so much interesting information thrown at us by our guide and so much to see and experience that there wasn’t much time for getting into trouble.

It occurred to me that without a worthy purpose or interest don’t many adults find themselves in all kinds of trouble? Be it financial, moral or vocational?

And this proved to be true in the forty-five minutes that ensued where we were on a self-guided tour.

“Really? Who thought this was a good idea to put me in charge of nine kids at the museum?” I thought at first.

I can barely make it through some days with my three kids let alone someone else’s nine!

I was amazed at the thirst for knowledge that these children had in this setting.  Since I had learned so much and listened along the tour, we circled back to some of those themes and had some great conversations.

Georgia_O_Keeffe_Poppy_1927

At one point our group needed a note taker to fulfill an activity our teacher had assigned to us.  Two students were vying for the spot.  I was inclined to let the first one who raised her hand be the appointed helper.  The other student was a little bummed and made it known. At which point the first student tried to stick up for herself.  Then she kind of wilted and relented, clearly not wanting to make waves.  However, I could see she was really disappointed and had wanted the job.

In the end, I let the first girl take the lead. She had asked first, tried to stick up for herself and had been very generous in offering to let the duty go to someone else. I appreciated that.  And in adult life, taking the high road hopefully more often than not brings good things back to you.

The children had so many great comments and questions and were really excited about the material they were learning.  Despite feeling like I was dropped in the lion’s den and might struggle to fill that forty-five minute block, I was very proud of how they represented our school and the time just FLEW!

In fact, we were one of the last groups to board the bus.  A couple of kids were asking what time it was and concerned we were going to miss it. How responsible were they?

A reminder that under estimating someone can come back to surprise you.

And then we got back on the bus again.  Cue the noise.  The hair pulling.  The seat kicking. Yeah, that’s more like it.

 

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Liebster Award…I Guess you Like Me!?

Thank you Nadege Nicoll from (so creatively named!) www.nadegenicoll.com for nominating me for a Liebster Award! Image So from what I can gather a Liebster Award is a “newbie” blogger’s “Welcome to the Club” chain letter.  Like the email you get for sharing recipes with others or the request to pass along your favorite inspirational quote.  If you are excited about the topic, it is just peachy-keen to be tapped on the shoulder to participate and give your two-cents.  If you are not, it is possibly an audible *sigh* or a minor inconvenience.

Well, you won’t hear a *sigh* here!  There is no real award or plaque to hang on the wall and there is no official voting committee or recognition ceremony held.  No monetary gain or advancement in my blogging career is forthcoming.  But on a small scale it means someone thought of me (heck, they could actually FIND me!) and offered up my website to help other bloggers find me too! Maybe even (gasp!) follow me or engage in a post and leave a comment to join the conversation (what we bloggers all strive for, no crickets out there…)

So here’s the deal.

If you’re nominated for the award you must:

  • Make a post about the award, thanking the blogger that nominated you.
  • State 11 interesting facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger that nominated you
  • Nominate 11 new bloggers with 500 or less followers
  • Write 11 new questions for your nominees

So here is my story…

11 facts about myself

1. I love to dance and sing and used to fantasize about being an actress when I was younger. See About. My first official role was “Louisa” in the Sound of Music.

2. I have been in four car accidents. In three of the four car accidents the cars have been totaled. (I swear only one was my fault when I was 16!)

3. I completed a marathon with my aunt in 2009 and every year in October I do the same half marathon with her.

Marathon Map

4. I love my engagement story and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.  My husband proposed to me on a bench overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge after we saw Phantom of the Opera - always a favorite.

5. I am obsessed with my nails. When they are trimmed, filed, polished and looking pretty (which is almost never!) I look at my hands more than is normal I think.

6. I went to nine different schools growing up. My father traveled a lot because of his pilot’s job (helicopters and airplanes).  Always being the new kid, I really felt sorry for myself when I was younger.  But now I do not envy someone who has lived in one place their entire life. I think moving made me a little more resilient and interesting. In fact, the house I live in that my husband and I built is the longest I have lived anywhere. Truth be told, I am starting to get the itch to move.

7. Somehow I never took typing class in high school. I perfected my own hunt and peck method writing papers in college. But so much of my time is spent at a computer that I wish I knew how to do it right and much faster.

8. I cannot stand to lose things. Car keys, CD’s, books, my baby’s puzzle pieces or alphabet letters. You name it, I go ape s#*t if I can’t find it.

9. I adore red wine.

10. My favorite time of day is the mid-morning. It is the time when I am most hopeful and I look forward to the possibilities that the day could bring.

11. I have learned so much about myself, my faith and what is important since I became the mother to my third child at age 39-1/2 that my life will forever be viewed as “Before” and “After”.

And the Nominees are…(I hope you won’t boo-hiss me if you’ve already been nominated! I don’t expect you to do this again if you don’t feel the desire.  And if you have more than 500 followers, please don’t be offended. I would love to know more about the woman behind the blog!)

http://adventuresofsweetmonday.blogspot.com/

http://aperfectextrachromosome.blogspot.ca/

http://driftwood-gardens.com/

http://www.kraftsandkiddos.com/

http://livingmommywood.blogspot.com/

http://mommaroars.com/

http://mytwolittleladies.wordpress.com/

http://www.readbakerunrepeat.com/

http://startingoverasms.wordpress.com/

http://www.tantrumstotattoos.com/

11 questions from Celeste…

1. If you were an animal, what would it be and why? A dolphin. They are beautiful creatures and seem to have a perma-grin. I dig that. Also I am a Pisces who loves the ocean but is more than moderately afraid of drowning. So to actually live in the sea would be particularly satisfying.

2. What do you find is the hardest at being a parent? Trying to keep my frustration under wraps when things don’t go the way I want them to. AKA not losing it twenty times a day!

3. When is the last time you laughed so much your belly ached? On the way home from a night out with great friends recently. I don’t know what we were laughing about exactly but I just remember it felt good and I just couldn’t stop.

4. If you were given to choose a super power, what would you wish for? The ability to cure diseases. Two people very dear to me live with one and several good friends are being very negatively impacted by disease right now.

5. What’s your happy place? 82 degrees, sunny, near the ocean with books, drinks, loved ones and music nearby.

6. What is your most embarrassing moment? I can’t think of any real doozies right now but a few weeks ago I went to Target with my yoga pants on inside out. I hope that qualifies.

7. You can marry a famous person tomorrow: who will you choose? No way. I can’t imagine being married to anyone else.

8. What is your favorite quote? Be true to your word, your work and your friend. ~Henry David Thoreau

9. What is the last thing that made you really, really angry? I can’t think of any one thing off the top of my head. But the culmination of little things throughout the day that exhaust me and make my fuse short is the biggest challenge. Last week my 21-month old pooped on the carpet (don’t ask), spilled my entire coffee cup in the middle of the living room carpet (so thankful it was only lukewarm by that time) and hurled her entire bowl of peas over the side of the high chair at dinner. You know, that kind of exhausting and fuse-blowing stuff.

10. If you win 10 million dollars tomorrow, what would you do with it? Give to charity, charity, charity, shower my husband’s Father and my parents with whatever they would need or want, travel to Europe, invest and trick out my house to the nines!

11. What is your biggest fear? The death of one of my children or my husband (drowning and centipedes rank up there too.)

11 Questions I want to ask the nominees…

1. What is your favorite childhood memory?

2. What movie or book can you most identify with?

3. What is one of the best lessons you have learned?

4. Where was your most favorite vacation?

5. Why do you like to write?

6. If you could have three items on a deserted island what would they be?

7. What is a quirk you have that makes you YOU?

8. What is one of your best moments?

9. If you could re-do a moment over again in your life, what would it be?

10. What is your favorite quote?

11. What is something that puts you in a good mood?

Aside

7 Steps to a Resolution with our Daughter’s Bully

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Sippakorn

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Sippakorn

A visit to the gym to workout today proved to be full of some pretty big lessons for my nine-year-old daughter (and me). While on the treadmill next to my husband (Ice) I looked over to see my daughter in tears and very distraught.  She approached him very upset and looking for his help. He left with her.  I assumed she was fighting with her brother on the basketball court and continued running. After a couple of minutes I decided to shut off my machine and go see what was up.

Turns out my son was not the culprit today, it was another boy she was guarding (or trying to) in what was supposed to be a friendly game of basketball among children.

According to her account, the boy was aggressive and rude the entire game towards her, he slapped her at one point, pushed her down and told her “You’re a girl, you can’t guard me!”

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Prawny

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Prawny

Step One: Find the Boy.

We set off to find this young man. Calmly and purposefully. When he saw Ice he started to bolt in the other direction with his little sister. Ice asked him to stop and follow him to the front of the gym.

Step Two: Ask for assistance from the staff.

Ice asked for the help of the man behind the front desk in resolving the issue.

Step Three: Give our daughter a chance to tell her side of the story and look this child in the eye.

We let her speak and then asked the other child if what she re-told was what he thought happened. Was it easy for her? Not at all.  But it was so important for her to stand up for herself with our support and encouragement. She had been really shaken up until this point and rather than be the victim I felt it was so important for her to gain back her composure and some of her control of the situation.

Step Four: Arrive at the truth.

When the boy denied the events happening or his involvement in them my husband told him the best thing to do was to tell the truth otherwise we would be waiting for the staff to find his parents and get them involved.  He re-considered his position and agreed that he had been physical with her and abusive with his words. We asked if there was anything else he wanted to say and he apologized.

Step Five:  Accept the apology.

Our daughter looked him in the eye and hard as it was I could tell she really meant what she said when she accepted his apology.

Step Six: Try and re-cap the lesson.

Ice told him not to pick on others. “Girls can do anything boys can do”, he said. “And if you were my son, I would want to tell you it’s never a good idea to run from your problems because they only double in size.”

Step Seven: Close the loop with the staff.

Ice approached the front desk to let them know the entire turn of events and provide our name and number for the child’s parents to get in touch with us if they wanted to discuss anything.

So far we have not heard anything. But I do hope that this child really stopped, whether then or later in the day, to let it sink in that what he did was wrong.

There are so many other ways that this turn of events could have been handled.  But I feel so much more at peace with how it was handled. Calm, firm, up-front, transparent.

Not every situation can be so cut and dry. Circumstances can be so much more serious, less controlled, lacking any adult supervision in the vicinity and on and on…  But when I asked my daughter to recount for me what happened today, she had a better handle on it than I did.  I actually consulted her before sitting down to put this to words.  She truly was impacted by what happened and walked away stronger for it.

I am so proud of her and my husband.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

Not Applying for my AARP Card Just Yet

I hope I have a long way to go until I am hunched over, walking with a cane and talking about “those young whipper snappers.” But I got more than a glimpse of what it means to be an “older generation” this week.

While walking through the mall with Little Bee I had to approach the information desk to get my bearings.

“Is there a Hallmark store in the mall?” I asked the woman behind the desk. (There wasn’t.) But the mall cop who was shooting the bull with her offered me some suggestions. When I looked into his eyes momentarily I was struck right away.

He looked like he had escaped from the middle school lunch table.

Last night, inspired by a new recipe from one of the many recipes I’m guilty of collecting (and never making) the iPod was blasting and me and Little Bee were putting on a groove shoe… minding our own business.  I glanced over at Twinkle Toes and her eyes bugged out like Macauley Culkin in Home Alone. (Does anybody remember that movie or is it just me?)

home alone

Apparently I had stepped into shaky territory feeling it was safe to dance in my own kitchen. Because I have now become the mom with jazz hands whose kids run in the other direction when Kool and the Gang comes on.  Well, not really Kool and the Gang, but you get the idea.

And I know every generation has their lingo.

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’, Groovy! and Don’t have a cow! come to mind.

greaser

But now there are text abbreviations, the ever-popular LOL, lmk and btw.

I remember the first time I heard “B.T. dubs.”

Huh?  

Took me a senior moment and then I got it.  Stands for the phrase “by the way”. It’s abbreviated in texting form to “btw” and now the young ones actually say “B.T.dubs.”

I told Techno, “Uh, yeah, please do yourself a favor and don’t talk like that.”

But then what will he have to look back and laugh about when he’s my age?  And isn’t that part of the fun of getting older? Laughing at your younger, stupider self? I can’t bear to deny him THAT joy.

 

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

How’s that Forty and Fearless Thing Working Out?

Today marks not only the celebration of St. Patrick and a culturally accepted excuse to take off work and slam beers at 9 a.m. but also one remarkable year since I committed to taking baby steps towards conquering the scary: blogging. (For those that started following my blog later in the year, Forty and Fearless was the first entry.)

I met my fourth decade with excitement of new adventures, new discoveries and a desire to shed a slowly less adventurous Jen. Writing through this past year has been an eye-opening experience and one that I wish I had started sooner, like exercising regularly and drinking strong black coffee.

It occurred to me recently while watching Twinkle Toes bend her body back like a pretzel while flinging her legs over her head, what happened to swinging backwards off the monkey bars with no hands? Where did the mogul jumps and back handspring attempts go?  I used to have the nickname “Conan” in my circle of junior high friends for my beach volleyball serve. Yet if you had seen me this summer, you would have wondered if I even knew how to identify a volleyball.

My kids have watched a video of their Mom willingly jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 14,000 feet. Would that happen now?  Too much at stake. I wasn’t a mother then.

The last eleven years have been supporting my children’s efforts to be the best they can be. Yet too few times taking a step back and wondering, would they be proud of me and my efforts?

For example, watching Techno play basketball this season.  Getting thrown to the ground, diving for the ball with the thud to prove it, being wacked in the face and injured in other ways countless times, all the while in front of crowds of people and all the while being scrutinized for his every move. Did he hustle enough? Did he defend the basket as he should? Did he pour every ounce he had in to the game?

I do not know if I would have the stuff he has to take those risks. Good for him.

I have a friend who is preparing to give cancer a one, two punch for the second time. Not a fair burden to dole out to anyone, yet she gets chosen to stand at the front of that line twice. I am so humbled. I met the surprise blessing of pregnancy at age 39 with nary a stitch of humor. And her attitude right out of the gates is one that inspires me beyond measure.

Ice just came through to the other side of a big life transition by starting a new job today. The first time in 10 years. He did it with faith, peace and an optimism of which I am in awe. His actions never made me feel anxiety about what the future would hold for our family. Only confidence that he believed something better was awaiting him and all of us.

After all, we have come to the end of our certification process for placement of our first foster (maybe forever!) child and THEN he loses his job??  This.Does.Not.Compute. There has to be a bigger plan.

So I was sitting in an office a little over a week ago reading an article while waiting for my mammogram.  A Life Less Cautious: Getting up the nerve with help from an unlikely mentor And a quote from this essay just blew me away.

“My bravery ebbs and flows, but ultimately I always get back out there…the world opens its arms just as wide for the fearful as it does for the fearless.” ~Ellen Welty

I feel like the simple act of putting fingers to the keyboard has given me a place to sort out, organize, catalog and lay bare for the world the things that amaze and inspire me, make me feel inept and inadequate or call me to action. And in some strange way it has held me accountable for what I write and what I do.

Let me write it now, I am surrounded by courageous, amazing people every day who inspire me. Getting a whiff of strength and fearlessness from others can translate into action, ebb and flow as it might. And in doing so I am hopeful that I will find more ways to make life easier and more comfortable for those around me, strangers and loved ones alike.  Because when I am fearful and edgy, I really am a pain in the ass. It’s okay, I know it.

Everyday Moment

Image

Inspired by the blog Daftly Domestic. A single moment captured from the last week. Reminds me of a wall hanging my aunt had in her home when her kids were younger. It caught my eye every time I passed it.  It read:

Quiet down cobwebs

Dust go to sleep

I’m rocking my baby

and babies don’t keep…

How I remembered that, I’ll never know. It’s been years since I’ve seen it.  It no longer graces the wall anymore.  Most likely stored away.  I thought I would have to call her to jar my memory for the words.  But when I really thought about it, it just came to me. Must have made an impression even I could not imagine. Kind of like my kiddos.

“Rapid Fire Like a Machine Gun of Awesomeness”

Olympics: Snowboarding-Ladies' Halfpipe Finals

Kaitlyn Harrington (center) Andrew P. Scott-USA TODAY Sports

My favorite quote out of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  What woman wouldn’t want THIS said about them? This quote was used to describe Kaitlyn Harrington’s second snowboard run in the women’s halfpipe event before she won the gold medal.  Outstanding.

The more back story given, the more complex the pre-run routine, the higher the air, the more I loved it.  Always hitching a breath if I thought someone was going to fall. And there were some pretty brutal falls.

Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

I am a huge fan of the Olympics, winter or summer. Always have been.  It was promoted four to six months ahead of time on my local network. I looked forward to it with anticipation. It seemed so far off.  It came. It went. I barely got to watch any of it.

Laundry, dishes, bath time, bedtime routines. Let’s be honest. A cursory glance at Facebook or my Pinterest page, texting, late night snacking, shoveling a foot of snow (see Nine Rounds post) catching up on some of the 27 shows I have recorded that I “need” to watch.  And why not another last load of laundry?

I wish I had made it more of a priority because it’s another two-year wait until I can get my next fix.

In thinking of ways in my daily life I can be a “rapidly firing machine gun of awesomeness” not too many opportunities come to mind.  I think my window has closed. But if I spot it in another amazing female I encounter I will be sure to tell her.