Summer School

Lately I’ve been having all kinds of crazy dreams about back-to-school.  This typically happens, but much closer to the actual start of school, not the middle of summer break!  Most of these dreams have me walking into my classroom on the first day of school, ready to welcome new students and parents, only to find that my room is still in it’s summer state.  Everthing is stacked in a big pile, nothing on the walls, etc.   It’s probably because I’ve been kicking around ideas for next year’s classroom theme.   I usually don’t start thinking about this stuff yet, but seeing as how this summer is very low-key compared to most (no traveling) I don’t have much else to think about.  So yesterday I went to the teacher supply store to scout out some ideas.  Owls are big right now (did that 2 years ago), as well as a camping theme (did that 3 years ago), and colorful chameleons (not excting to me.)

In our garage I have totes full of all the themes I’ve used in my classroom in orevious years.  At some point I know I should just start cycling through them again.  Monkeys was a fun theme!  Winnie the Pooh makes me happy, but I’m just not feeling it for this year.  No, my idea for this year is “the sunny side of the the street”.  I know, one would thing I could come up with something entirely new, but I’ve got nothing.  At least nothing that sounds like fun.  Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to make it work.  There were some cute sun cut-outs and one sun hanging decoration, but that was it.  Which means if I do sunshine as a theme I would have to make a lot of the stuff by hand.  I could go with a beach theme which also makes me very happy and still has the sun involved.  I just don’t know what I want to do, but once I figure it out, I can spend the summer working on stuff.

I need all my teacher/creative friends to chime in here.  Thoughts? Suggestions?  Cute themes you’ve seen?

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The Sunny Side of Things

Today I need a reminder why this blog is called the Sunny Side of the Street.  First because that song makes me happy.  Second because I need to constantly be reminded that there is a sunny side to life.  I don’t talk about it much, but I struggle with depression.  The kind you need meds for.  I’ve been pretty steady for well over a year, but about two months ago, it was getting harder and harder to function through my days.  The doctor put me on an additional medication that kind of boosts what I’m currently on.  It helps, but it has a really crappy side effect.  Weight gain.  Now for someone like me, that almost voids the good effects of the meds.  I struggle with body image and my weight already.  To add to that is just something I can’t deal with.  So, I made an appointment with the doctor for next week, and quit taking that medication.

Which brings me to why I’m so out of it this week.  My family keeps asking what’s wrong.  Nothing really.  There is absolutely nothing wrong.  That’s the tricky thing about depression.  Nothing can be wrong and everything can be right and you still feel down.  I’ve come to realize that only someone who has fought this battle can really understand what you’re going through.  And even then, it can be different for each person.

My goal this summer was to run every other day, and I’ve been pretty consistent with that,  but then I pulled a muscle the other day and I’m still limping.  Now I have to decide…push ahead and keep running, or let it rest.  Which in my brain translates…burn some calories or get even fatter.  From this couch where I sit, I don’t want to do anything today. Nothing.  Just sit here till the girls’ schedules demand I drive them to their various activities.  The reality is my sink is full of dishes, the house needs cleaned, and there are about a hundred things I could/should be doing.  Since I’m airing all my dirty laundry I might as well tell you since school let out for summer break I’ve read 17 novels.  When asked what I’ve done this summer, I say read and run.  That’s it.

I’m not looking for encouragement or people to tell me things will get better, even though I’m sure they will.  I know they will.  I just needed to get some words down about how I was feeling today.  Some friends might ask where God is in all this, and to that I say, He is here in a big way.  If He and His word were not involved, I have no doubt I’d be curled up in a corner in a fetal position in much worse shape than I am.  And there it is…the sunny side of this thing.

Sunday Morning Coffee

I should be out running instead of sitting here with my laptop and a cup of coffee.  True to form for myself, I overdid it the other day.  Since it’s been so hot I’ve been running on the treadmill in the garage with two fans blowing on me instead of running outside.  I decided to try to run while I watched something on my laptop.  You’d think with hulu+ and netflix I could find something new worth watching, but alas I could not.   I went with rewatching Alias, which was an awesome series.  However, I wasn’t thinking that the pilot episode is usually longer than a normal episode.  My goal was to run 4 miles or run the whole time of the episode.  Shoot, I didn’t even make that.  I was extra tired that day and only managed to run 3 miles.  The show was not even close to being over so I figured the least I could do was walk the rest of the time.  That turned out to be 2 more miles.  Got that…5 miles total.  By that evening I could barely walk.  I’m not sure why it was such a rough run and why I hurt so bad later, but I did.  That was 2 days ago, and I’m still a little stiff.  I might try a short run later tonight, but for now…I sit with coffee.

The most frustrating thing is that despite going gluten free, watching what I’ve been eating, and running fairly consistently I’ve gained inches and weight.  I’m blaming it on one of the meds I’m on which could have weight gain as a side effect.  The doctor will be getting a call this week!  I’m not doing all this work to go up a size!  So that could open up a whole can of worms trying to find a med that works as well (minus the weight gain part.)  I think it’s very hard no matter who you are, to be happy with what you look like.  I’ve come a long, long way and for the most part don’t care what other people think.  The problem is when I care what I think.  And I think I’m not in a good place despite doing everything “right”.  Which is kind of depressing and makes me want to give up.  I will not give up though because if nothing else I can get OCD about things and I set every other day as a running goal and as long as I’m able, I will run.  But later.  Not now.  Because now I’m still sitting with a cup of coffee.

 

Big Whiner

That’s me today.  I’m feeling incredibly sorry for myself.  This week is Ichthus Festival in Kentucky and I’m not there.  The past two years we’ve gone and this year it just didn’t work out.  Marissa is taking drivers ed this week and next, and Bekah is in the thick of rehearsals for the summer musical, The Music Man, she’s in.  You can read about our past adventures here and here, and then grieve with me over us not being there.  In an effort to make myself feel better about not being able to go to Ichthus, I should make a list of the things I don’t miss about the festival.  Like the unbearable heat, inevitable storms, porta-potties, no showering, and camp cooking.  Well, that didn’t help.  For all those things I can think of good times and memories made for each one.  Ok, except the porta-potties.  There is nothing good about those.  Except that when we would run to the closest Walmart for something we forgot, the bathrooms would seem amazing.  Silver lining people. I can always find it.  It’s a gift and a curse.

Unfortunately I’m having a hard time finding the silver lining in us not doing our normal traveling this summer.   The sadness is compounded since Phil is on vacation this week and the most exciting thing we’ve done is go to the movies.  He’s spent his time working on those annoying house projects that tend to get put off.  I’m pumped that after two years of having fun colored lights hanging on my deck, for the first time there is electricity out there to plug them in!  See, silver lining.  But then I see a tweet about Ichthus and get sad again.

I’m trying to remember that this is a season.  We’re just busy with other stuff this summer. It just doesn’t feel right though.  Everything feels off.  I hppe my Ichthus friends are having fun…without me 😦

Happy Medium

I’d tell you I have writer’s block, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth.  It’s a bit of that, but mostly it’s just that nothing worth writing about has been going on.  It’s been hot.  Thanks to our super-duper new furnace and ac unit, we can sit in our house and do nothing in comfort.  The kids have been swimming in the pool some, but honestly, they just watch a lot of Netflix.  Marissa is taking driver’s ed this week and next week.  To add insult to injury, this is Phil’s vacation week.  The week we would have normally been in Kentucky for Ichthus festival.  This year we opted not to go due to finances, and the fact that when it was time to purchase tickets the thought of tent camping in 100 degree heat for days with no showers and only porta-potties was something I just couldn’t do.  Now I’m sad.  I wish we had gone.  It would have been hard, but fun.

So we sit hear and do nothing.  I can’t say I’ve done absolutely nothing.  I’ve read 13 novels since school ended, and I’m pretty sure I’ll finish another one today.  In the grand scheme of things, this accounts for nothing.  I’ve been doing pretty good with my goal to run 3 miles every other day. Up until Sunday night when we took Phil out for Father’s Day to one of his favorite restaurants, Ponderosa…which we call Pondergrosa.   Having gone gluten free makes eating out tough, but I thought the thing I chose to eat were fairly safe.  Not so.  I spent Monday and Tuesday with a horrible IBS flare up and vicodin.  Those days are a hazy memory.  At least I had my books.   Today I woke feeling pretty much back to normal, which means I need to make myself run today.  But it’s hot.  Like really hot.

To sum up this rather rambling post…I feel aimless.  We have no plans this summer other than the kids scheduled activities.  I feel like we’re just wasting this time.  It’s not a nice feeling.  On the flip side of things, during the school year things are so regimented and scheduled there’s no room for being aimless.  I just can’t seem to find a happy medium.

Expensive Mistakes

For about a year now our youngest has been asking for her room to be redone.  It currently has girlly white furniture and is decorated in a safari theme.  Not babyish, but still, she’s definitely outgrown it.  Each summer break I try to work on one project around the house and this summer it’s supposed to be her room.  I’ve had a hard time getting excited about this project because their are so many steps involved to seeing it through.  I want to sell her current furniture on Craigslist to fund her new furniture which she chose from IKEA.  That would be step one.  Last time we were at IKEA we did buy the dresser she wanted since her current dresser is much too small for her clothes and they were taking over her room.  That dresser has been sitting in our garage for two months.  Yesterday we finally got some pictures of her furniture to post on Craigslist and I decided to put her dresser together.

Seeing as how half our home is filled with IKEA furniture this was not something that I didn’t think I could do.  I felt confident in working on it by myself.  I got the main part of the dresser put together and things were going fairly well.  When it came time to put the top on I picked it up and tried to line it up with the screws just as the directions pictured.  This is where things went all wrong.  The screws were not lining up and from my estimation, there was NO WAY they would!  Something was off.  Just as I was moving the top off the frame, it slipped just enough that I lost my grip.  It fell through the frame snapping the two back pieces in half.  I did not curse.  I did not cry. I just sat amidst the carnage for about 5 minutes before calling Marissa to bring me the duck tape.  I tried to fix it, but it’s done.  There is no hope.  The screws that were already in place pulled out of the wood on the three main pieces of the frame.  It’s done for.  I hadn’t even gotten to box number 2 with the drawers!  What now?

That’s the question I’ve been berating myself with since last night.  I know it was an accident, but it was an expensive accident.  If you know me, you know I love IKEA furniture, but sometimes it just doesn’t go together easily.  In my frustration last night I thought, “IKEA, you are dead to me.”  I’ve since regretted that thought, but what do I do?  I’m going to call IKEA today and see if there are any options on that end.  Their return policy is good, but I don’t think it’s that good.

I left everything sitting in Alisha’s room as it was yesterday.  Today I’ll have to face the mess and decide what’s to be done.  I’m still really mad about the whole thing.  Looking at the sunny side of things, I guess I should just go back to step one and figure out Craigslist and get her furniture listed, then go from there.

Have you ever made an expensive mistake??

**update- Thanks to duck tape and some ugly screws sticking out the top of the dresser, the thing is together.  We’ll see how long it holds up missing one whole part, and a few little hardware pieces left over at the end.

HVAC Guilt

The air conditioning guy just left.  The news was pretty much what we thought it would be.  Our air condioning unit and furnace need to be replaced.  The funny thing is the guy we ended up calling was the guy who put the original a/c unit in this house before it was even our home .  We got his name from one of the pastors at church, and it turns out he’s a deacon at our church.  He was really nice, and I’m actually super excited about getting a new furnace.  Weird I know, but the one that’s in there now is a beast!  It was put in this house the year I was born (and I’m getting up there!)

We’ve lived in this house for over 13 years and have never had to replace any of the major things.  I think that’s pretty good.  For the furnace to last that long is amazing!  Tomorrow they’re coming to remove the old stuff, then Wednesday they’ll put the new unit and furnace in.  Right now there’s a beautiful breeze coming in the windows and it’s not horribly hot…yet.  As long as I do all my housework in the morning, it’s not so bad.  By the evening when the house is in the upper 80’s, I do nothing but sit and read.  We are definitely wimps around here.

Every time I went to post an update on facebook or tweet something about our lack of air conditioning I stopped myself.  I realized I was feeling guilty thinking of all the people who don’t have air conditioning at all.  Or the people who don’t even have homes to live in.  It’s a slippery road I go down sometimes.  I end up depressed and feeling guilty because I am blessed to be where I’m at. How crazy is that?  We give and do what we can to help people in need, and we shouldn’t feel guilty for what we have.  But sometimes I do.  It’s something the devil likes to beat me over the head with from time to time.  I think the root of it is that I know I don’t deserve the good and comfortable things of life anymore than someone else does or doesn’t.  Truth be told none of deserve anything.  All we have is a gift.  It’s in knowing that I don’t deserve it, and being thankful that God has blessed me with those things anyway that I find freedom from the guilt.

I needed to write these words to remind myself of that truth today.

Sun, Sweat, and Tears

Yesterday was one of those days that makes me feel like I’m not a complete train wreck.  It wasn’t so much that I accomplished anything great, I just go to see something amazing.  The girls got along…all day.  That may seem a small matter, but with 3 teenage girls, believe me, emotions rule the day and can change on a dime.  Add to that the fact that they chose to spend their time together outside instead of attached to Netflix and Hulu and their laptops, and we’re talking miracle moments.

It was a flashback for me as well.  I took some time to lay on the deck in the sun and read a book.  Thanks to my 50+ sunblock I only got burnt on the part of my back I couldn’t reach.  When I was in highschool I would lay out by my grandparent’s pool and work on the perfect summer tan while listening to a Tears For Fears  cassette tape on my boombox.  These days I prefer the quiet.  The girls decided to swim and brought out the ipod and speaker…quite a step up from cassettes and boomboxes.  I think my favorite part was when the Chicken Dance came up in the random playlist and they went ahead and had a party in the pool.  We are nothing if not fun people.

I forgot to mention why we were spending so much time out of doors.  Our air conditioner seems to be broken.  We’re hoping our Dave Ramsey emergency fund covers whatever needs done.  Keeping all the windows open helps some, but with the rising temps, our house quickly gets up into the upper 80’s.  Being outside in the shade is much better.  We ended our evening with a fire in the fire pit, making s’mores and playing 20 questions.  It was a good time.  One of those things I think “real” families do on a regular basis.  You know, making memories not involving a screened device.

I’m enjoying being “the house” all the girls friends want to hang out at.  It’s fun!  On that note…I have a huge fruit salad to make as a few extra teenage girls will be here to swim in a few minutes.  It would be really cool if I could convince them to listen to some Tears For Fears 😉

Summer Like No Other

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that we’re on summer break.  The weather hasn’t been extremely hot, more like spring, so there’s that.  Besides, I think it’s just that we’re in a different season of life.  With three teenagers in the house, things are bound to be different!

We’ve never been the kind of parents who let our lives revolve around our kids.  When they were born, as soon as I felt up to it, I left the house and resumed my normal routine.  I didn’t keep them in for weeks or whatever the recommendation is now.  When they were toddlers, we went out to eat at sit-down restaurants.  If they acted up we dealt with it and finished dinner.  When they became school-age things changed a bit and our schedules revolved around the school calendar.  We didn’t take them out of school for vacations unless absolutely necessary.  I guess as far as the norm goes our kids were involved in very little activities. Once we learned about Awana and Upward they did those programs, but that was it.  No dance, no gymnastics, no other activities.  When they switched from private school to public school, everything changed.

Which brings us to this summer.  I feel like my whole schedule revolves around theirs.  For a minute I felt slighted and even angry about it.  Then I took a step back and feel like I saw things from a different perspective.  They won’t be living with us forever.  I have precious few years left to do the day-to-day of life with them.  When they were attending the private school I taught at, I knew their grades before they did!  I felt I had control of their lives.  When they went to public school, that all changed.  I don’t know their teachers from Adam.  They are around all sorts of people and things I’d rather them not be, but the beautiful thing in all of it is that’s it’s been so good for me and them.

This summer looks to be full of piano lessons, violin lessons, driver’s ed, musical rehearsals, driving to and from their friends houses, and summer jobs.  I guess I’m feeling like this summer is not going to be what I wanted it to be, but that has to be ok.  I need to be ok with it.  I’m getting there.

Normal summers involve camping trips, at least a 2 week trip to Philly to see friends and family, and maybe a “real” vacation in there somewhere.  By real I mean somewhere we’ve never been before and have always wanted to go.  At it stands now, it doesn’t look like any of that will happen.  I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me a little sad.  I keep trying my hardest to fit in a week to Philly, but it nearly scrambles my brain to figure it out.  It almost feels like work.  I’m not supposed to be working! It’s summer.

All that to say, this summer will be like no other.  I know fun will be had between the schedules.  I just feel like I have to be purposeful about it and make it happen.  I just hope I’m up to this challenge!

Catching Up

It’s been awhile, eh?  The last month of the school year is always crazy-busy for me, and this year was no exception.  With the end of the year program, wrapping up things in the classroom, and field day, the last days were really busy but good.  I wish I could say this was a great school year, but it was actually one of the hardest and longest I’ve ever had, and I was so glad to see it end.

Another reason I wasn’t writing was that one of the biggest changes in our family was one I really didn’t want floating around the internet.  My husband spent two months traveling to Pittsburgh every week and was only home on the weekends.  We all managed fine, but I’m glad it’s over and he’s back to his regular job.  He enjoyed his time in Pittsburgh for all the restaurants.  Phil’s become a sort of restaurant snob now.  And we all know my cooking skills are pretty sad.

The girls and I are on summer break now and I’m hoping to make the most of it.  We want to go camping, do lots of swimming (if it ever warms up), and take some day trips to local places.  Bekah is in the chorus of The Music Man this summer, so she’ll be busy with that (and I’ll be busy driving her to and from rehearsals.) Marissa has a couple babysitting jobs lined up and she’ll be taking driver’s ed. also (I’ll be driving her to her babysitting jobs too.)  She NEEDS to get her license sooner rather than later.  For my sake.

I make you one promise…this blog will never turn “crunchy granola”, but another big life change has been that I’ve been gluten free for about a month now.  A lot of the digestive problems I had, have been resolved simply by eating gluten free.  I was able to stop one prescrition completely, and cut down on another.  It hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I thought it would.  There are so many gluten free products available, and they taste pretty good compared to the regular stuff.  The only downside is the cost.  That stuff is expensive!!  I’m giving emeals.com another go only this time it’s for the gluten free menu.  It’s getting tough to make dinners that everyone will eat, that I can also eat.  I’m hoping with this meal plan it’s a little easier.  My mom and a number of friends are also eating gluten free so I have lots of help if I need it.  I still hate to cook which makes things hard.  I wish there was a fix for that.

What’s new with you my readers?  Do you have any great summer plans?