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Yo.

Hi, y’all!

I’m Christy.  I’m a 4th grade teacher from Wisconsin, where I live with my husband (also a teacher) and my 6 year old daughter, A, and my 4 y ear old son, E.  I have always loved to write and make people laugh, and lately it seems combining the two has brought some joy!

Before I had A and E, I got pregnant with twins after suffering from infertility. They were born too early and died when I was 24 weeks pregnant.  Since then, I have looked at life so differently-I try to be grateful for the little things.  When things get overwhelming, I also try to remember that I have lived through that, so I should just take a deep breath and keep going.

I love life, even though it’s messy, and I like laughing at the really silly parts of it.  Almost always when something is happening to me that feels really awful, I think to myself, “Well, at least this will make a good story later!”

So, that’s what I’m here to do: tell you those stories.  Hopefully you can relate to one, or something I say resonates with you and you think,”Oh, if this is happening to me, at least it’s happening to Christy, too.”  I think there is such a big power in just having that, “Oh, you too?” moment.  With everything going on in our lives, it’s nice to just have that connection.

I’m a busy mom and I work full time, but I care about you-so drop me a message or a comment whenever you can!

In the meantime, it’s nice to meet you!  Let’s get to know each other!

You’ve got this, yo.

BeanBag

I recently posted this photograph on my Facebook page, with a little story that went along with it.  Basically, I was refilling my bean bag chairs, when a student sat on one, not knowing it wasn’t zipped and this happened.  For a few minutes, it actually looked like it was snowing in my classroom.  There was so much laughter and everyone jumped in to help clean up.

I received lots of comments and laughs about this picture, and just so you know, beans are still floating around in my school.  In the library, in the hallway, even in kids’ backpacks.  But, a few of the comments stuck with me.  Things like:

“I’d want my kid in your class!  I’m so glad you let them have fun!”

and

“This is what’s missing from school today:  fun.”

And you know what?  They are SO RIGHT.  Fun is important, and it’s missing from our schools these days.  So much is.  But fun can’t happen unless you are a community first.  In my opinion, neither can much work.

My goal as an educator is two-fold, to build a community and to inspire to learn.

That’s it.  That’s what I’m trying to do.  And let me tell you, it’s SO HARD.  Teaching 22 9- year-olds how to be a family, when some of them don’t have a family of their own?  That’s hard.  Inspiring kids to learn who go home and play video games until they are actually sick to their stomach?  That’s tough, too.

But, the thing is, it’s what gets me up in the morning.  It is NOT test scores, or reading levels, or interventions, it’s the connection that I make with the kids in my class.  I take my job seriously, and I look at the data and I do everything I can to help kids get what they need.  My primary focus, though, is showing kids that when you work together, you can do anything.

Every other Friday afternoon, my class does acknowledgments.  So, we sit in a circle, and someone starts, and we say things like, “I acknowledge Joey for helping me with my math project,” and “I acknowledge Sam for playing 4 square with me when no one else wanted to.”  And then, at the end, I go around the circle and I acknowledge every single kid in my class.  I tell them how they inspired me this week. I tell them how proud I am of them.  I even tell them that though they messed up this week and got in trouble in music class, I’m proud of how they handled it, and I’m sure it won’t happen again.

And, you know what?

There is a clear dichotomy in my classroom.  The kids who are told this at home, told this by their parents and family members, and truly believe that they are good, they grin from ear to ear while I talk about them.  Their eyes dance and their cheeks turn pink with pleasure.

The other half, though.  The other half, they are the ones that never hear this.  They are the ones who have no idea what they are worth.  And they don’t smile when I talk about them.  They cry.  Tears spring to their eyes and they lock eye contact with me, and they don’t let go.

Those every-other-Friday acknowledgments (which I’m technically skipping social studies to do, so don’t tell anyone) are why I stay in this job, even though I am EXHAUSTED and so tired of the politics and people who don’t understand at all what it’s like to be responsible for these little lives making all the decisions.  I stay because I can make my class a family. We have inside jokes, and they know lots of stuff about me.

They know I’m writing a book about losing twins, and they think it’s awesome.  They checked in with me every day to see if I got my audition for Listen to your Mother.  They ask what silly things my kids have done lately. And in turn, I know that one boy’s mom just got a new boyfriend, and he’s kinda mean. And a girl who never sees her mom is getting to spend Easter with her and she’s excited.  I know who wants a hover-board for her birthday, and who likes to draw dragons.

This is what life is made of, folks.  Having fun, sure—but mostly, building relationships.  It’s more important than anything else.  Certainly more important than how they do on a math test, but we care about that, too, because we are in it together.

Our schools are missing this community building.  We’re stuck to teaching a certain amount of minutes of each subject, barely leaving time for recess, let alone a morning meeting to welcome your class.  We need to be responsive to our classrooms, because when we’re not…we’re not being responsive to kids.  We aren’t teaching them the skills they need to get along in this crazy world.

Teachers out there, you keep doing what you are doing.  We will get through this, somehow.  And don’t forget to have fun, although I do not recommend refilling bean bags to achieve this.  🙂

You’ve got this, yo!  

 

Listen to Your Mother

You guys!!!!

Remember the thing I auditioned for?

Well…my story was chosen!  I am full of mixed emotions about this.  Grateful, of course, and like I told you before, it’s something I really, really wanted to happen.

But I’m also extremely nervous.  The story I wrote is about losing my twin babies, and as much as I want other moms to hear this story, the fact that I have to tell it is seriously scary.

I guess it’s like they say, if it doesn’t make you totally freaked out, it’s probably not worth it!  Right???

Does it make me brave?  I’m not sure.  I’m told pretty often by people who know me that I’m brave for sharing my story, which has always kind of confused me.  I don’t feel brave.  I certainly don’t feel strong.  The only thing I feel is this strong urge to help other people remember that they are not alone.  That their story is unique, but their grief can be shared.

So much of what happens in this world we keep for ourselves.  We own it and we think we are being brave by “handling” it ourselves.  There’s a sort of pride in doing it by yourself, alone, and not “bothering” anyone.  I wish this would change.  I wish it were the strong thing to do to reach out and tell someone what you’re going through, instead of trying to go it alone.

We need each other.  We can’t forget the power of “Me, too!”  We are all searching for that feeling of belonging, whether it has to do with the things we love, or the things that scare us, or the feelings we have.

I teach 9 and 10 year olds, but I’ve taught high schoolers, and middle schoolers, too, and at every age level it’s so easy to see that the things we struggle with as kids never really do go away.  No matter what kind of life we lead, there is pain, and longing, and there is an ease and comfort in knowing that we are not alone.

We are never alone.  That’s what I am hoping to share with my story about my twins.  I need your luck, ok?  April 28th will be here before I know it!

Xo

A +

As in, Type A +.

You guys.  I have issues.  The stupidest little things drive me crazy all day long, and I think most people don’t even sweat them.

Here we go (and I could have kept going.  Like, forever.  And ever.  I told you…I have issues):

  1.  My phone notifications.  I hate them.  I want to hurt them.  I cannot handle the little number 1 that tells me I have an unread text or email.  I cannot stand the little number 3 that tells me 3 apps need to be updated.  Why?  Oh, because I JUST NEED THEM TO BE OFF THERE, OK?  I just do.  I can’t ignore them.  I know what you’re thinking, but I can’t. Can. Not.
  2. My kitchen counter. Keep your shit off of it.  All the way off.  Not even temporarily on.  As I write this, I am so surprised my husband stays married to me.  But, stuff on the kitchen counter makes me LOSE MY MIND.
  3. The coat closet.  It takes exactly one second for the coats and shoes to look like someone went in and cased the place.  One second.  I can never find shoes, coats, hats, mittens, but I can totally find the random scarf someone’s aunt knitted for us 10 years ago that I don’t even know why I have.
  4. My daughter’s crafts, specifically perler beads, aqua beads, or anything that rolls.  Those offers roll EVERYWHERE.  I find them under the couch, under the rug, behind the toilet, in my bed, in my clothes.  I swear.  OMG.
  5. E-mail chains.  I just want the one that I need.  I deleted all those other ones and then they keep coming back.  So, like a psycho, I sit and individually re-delete the ones I don’t want anymore.
  6. These don’t really fit in with the theme, but I also hate morning radio, pregnancy test commercials on Hulu, and people who say, “You must have a LOT of time on your hands” in a super condescending way.

What do you hate?  Does any of these bother my non-type-A friends?

It’s not you, it’s me…

You guys.  Sometimes adulting is so. hard.  We know this.  We have sick parents, and marriage struggles, and money problems, and career changes and natural disasters and stress and hello, KIDS.

What’s been on my mind lately, though, is friendship.

Yes, friendship.

You, see, I teach 4th grade, otherwise known as “The year all girls realize it’s possible to fight or cry about every single thing every other person says.”  I mean, I’m sort of kidding, but really, there is a LOT of drama.

And I don’t think it ever ends.

The drama, you guys!  I know that I am a “sensitive” person.  I’ve been told this countless times throughout my life.  I need to toughen up, be more assertive.  I need to not take everything so seriously and just move on.

I swear I try, but I can’t.  I cannot.  I live every situation deep down to my bones and no matter what I do, I just feel it all.

When I was growing up, I remember my parents having friends.  They played cards together on Saturday nights, and sometimes went out for dinner and I had a baby-sitter.  I assumed that once you were an adult, your friends were just people that you hang out with that share your hobbies.

Did they argue?  Did they talk behind each other’s backs?  Did they judge each other and blame each other and just stop being friends?

Lately, I’ve just been feeling bad.  I know there are people who believe that a new person comes into your life to serve a purpose and then they leave again when they’re done.  But, I’m good at keeping friends, usually, and I want them to stay.

However, I’ve gotten friend “dumped” a couple of different ways in the last few years.  It’s a very strange phenomenon, especially when you figure in social media.  Sure, there are friendships that just grow apart, but then there are friends with whom you are super close and then just like that…you’re not.  There’s never a finale, an end scene, like there is in a romantic relationship.  You don’t get an explanation, “Yeah, hi, so you are emotionally distant, so I’d like to break up.”

How do you not take it personally when someone just decides you’re not worth their time anymore?  And, to be honest, I really used to think that I could be the person that everybody liked.  HA.  HA.  HA.  Lately I have felt SO judged, and so misunderstood, and I swear it’s like being back in the 8th grade when Sarah B made fun of how big my nose is (it IS big, by the way, but whatever!).

So then, you know how you see your ex-boyfriend at Target and you run and hide behind a clothes rack so he doesn’t see that you’ve put on 10 pounds or that you still aren’t wearing a wedding ring?  What happens when you see your ex-friend out at Target?  Do you exchange surface level pleasantries (I’m good thanks, how are you?)?  Do you acknowledge the fact that you used to spend holidays together and now you didn’t even know they switched jobs and moved houses?

My husband is always telling me to be thankful for the friends I have (and I have some seriously freaking awesome ones) and not to dwell on the ones that have ditched me.  Easier said than done, right?

What do you all think?  Has this happened to you?  What do we do?

 

It’s a Fine Line

A little over a year ago, I started writing a book.  It’s still untitled, but it’s basically about my experience with losing infant twins and how my life was totally different before it all happened.  It also talks about the amazing community of women I found online that helped me through my grief.

I started writing this book because I teach writing to 4th graders, and I was teaching them this lesson on how to come up with book ideas and I said the sentence aloud, “If there is a book that you want to read that doesn’t yet exist, you should write it!”  As soon as I said it, I thought, “Uh, Christy?  You need to take your own advice, yo!”

I remember one of the first things I did after my twins died was to look up books about grief from the library.  My husband came home with a stack of books and as I started digging into them, I immediately felt dismayed.  None of these books said anything about what I was feeling.  They were so clinical, so full of cliches and so not….honest.  There was nothing in any book I found about the rage and darkness I felt.

I think if there is one thing I am good at in life, it’s that I’m honest.  Probably too honest sometimes, I’d even say.  But there is SO much power in just knowing that what you are feeling is not just you.

So, anyway.  I started writing this book. And I had this idea that I would start out each chapter with a real-life artifact (an e-mail, a text message, a photograph) that explored the topic of that chapter.  And after I started writing, I really began to feel like I had something.  I took chapters to critique groups, and shared some with acquaintances, and I was getting excellent feedback.

The more I wrote, the more excited I got.  But, the thing is, you’re not really allowed to be excited.  What I mean is that, although I feel like this book is one that I think should be read by others, I’m “supposed” to say that I know that the chances are slim, and I know I’m not even really a writer, and that I know that the market is saturated, and all the rest.

There is such a fine line when it comes to dreaming big.  Have I had a moment where I pictured my name on a book in Barnes and Noble?  Yep.  Absolutely.  Some people would tell me, “Go get it girl!” and others would say, “Be careful…it sounds like you’re getting your hopes up.”

People half-expect me to be self-depricating, saying, “Oh, it’s just for a hobby; I know it won’t result in anything.  I’m not even really a writer.”  And I fall into that trap, I do, but I’m trying really hard not to.

So, what is the different between hopes and dreams?  And is getting your hopes up a bad thing?  I, personally, think it’s so fun to dream.  And think about all the exciting things that could happen.  I absolutely also think it’s good to stay grounded in reality-it’s not like I’m quitting my job and banking on making millions of dollars as an author.  I know the statistics.

Can you be confident and not cocky?  Can you really want something and be persistent without being “out of touch”?

I recently auditioned for something, a kind of writing show in my area, and it has been a LONG time since I have wanted something so badly.  I cannot stop thinking about it, it’s what my brain automatically settles on if ever left a moment to wander.  I try to make it sound like, “Oh, I know my chances are so slim,” and that I’ll be totally ok if I’m not chosen, but the truth is…I WANT THIS.

Saying it like that makes me feel so vulnerable.  It’s almost as if admitting that you care just makes you seem so fragile.  What I know is that I have worked hard, I continue to work hard, and so wanting it can’t really hurt me.  Even if I don’t say it aloud, I can’t deny how much I want this.  To make it in the show, sure, but to have this book published and read by mamas living through that grief and pain-it means so much to me.  I’m going to go for it.

I’m all in, folks!

What about you?  What do you want?

You just gotta be desperate, yo

Let me tell you a little something about public school teachers.  We are hilarious.  I mean it.  We entertain people for a living, so a lot of us are really super funny.

Also, we spend days alone in a room with little people, so we are sorta desperate for adult interaction.  I go from 4th graders home to my own little people, so my day consists of a LOT of “Oh, wow, so cool!” and “Sure, you can tell me about that time your dad visited a place you can’t remember with a person you can’t remember at some point in his life but it obviously has a point that will come out sort of soon.”

So, then there is lunchtime.  The teacher’s lounge, yo.  It’s where it’s at.  My school is great because most of the teachers actually do come down to eat, and we have a really good time.  Sometime we talk about students we are worried about (but never by name, don’t worry) or hilarious things kids do or say (like the boys who ran out of the room after the puberty video yelling “Testicles!” and making a very inappropriate hand gesture), but most of the time, we like to take our minds completely off the kids, and just try to be silly adults.

We see a lot of sad stuff in our day, and our jobs are super stressful, so we do a lot of laughing.  There was one time that somehow we got on the topic of gross jobs and I found out that basically there’s a job out there where you are a “horse masturbater.”  Do you follow?  I don’t blame you if you don’t.  But they are the guy that gets a horse,uh, ready for breeding.

Anyway, I digress.  This week we were laughing pretty hard talking about ways we let our husbands know we are not in the mood (did I mention in my school there are only 2 men in the whole building?  Hey, guys, public elementary schools need you!).  Someone was cracking me up describing how she fakes sleep by breathing really slowly and heavily, and another lady was saying how she starts talking about her headache a good 45 minutes before bed.

As we were talking, I realized there was someone I’ve never seen before sitting at the lunch table, a substitute having her first day at our building.  She was a tiny little lady, probably about 65 years old, with bright red, spiky hair.  We were in the middle of laughing, when out of nowhere, she dead-panned, “Well, you should just be single and desperate like me! Then you wouldn’t need to worry about it,” and shrugged her shoulders.

I swear there was this moment of complete silence, like we all froze.  And then we ROARED with laughter.  This lady is so my idol.  I haven’t stopped laughing about it all week.  As soon as we left the lounge, I made a note in my phone “Sex lady sub” so I wouldn’t forget to write a post about it.  🙂

The grass is always greener, right?  🙂

 

Dude. I’m serious.

Since you can’t really see me, let me tell you that I have kinda skinny legs, and a kinda skinny face and arms, and my belly is fat.

I hate that it’s fat, just so we’re clear. And I’m not having the whole fat shaming/fat acceptance debate right now (although, how that’s really a debate, I’m not sure).

But, anyway, it is fat.  And I have tried a lot of different things to get it to be not fat.  They work sometimes.  But I’m not even here to talk about which diet you use to make YOUR belly not be fat.

The other day, I was at a bookstore, and someone overheard me talking and decided to join in the conversation.  Great.  Super.  She was asking us about a city we were on our way to visit, and giving us some advice on what to do there.

Then she said, “Oh, and there is GREAT coffee at this place. Well, wait.  You probably can’t have a lot of coffee right now, can you?”

Er….what, now?  Think, Christy.  Are you acting super hyper?  Do you look like you need sleep?  Why would she say that?  What the hell does that mean?  Why else can’t you have…..ohhhhhhhhhh.  She thinks I’m knocked up.  

The thing is, there is no great way to respond to it.  Ignore is my first tactic.  Pretend like you didn’t hear the person.  And she didn’t actually ask me the question, “So, when are you due?” when you have to actually say, “That is not a baby, that is a 35 year old compilation of fat cells, lady.”

My next tactic is to just talk loudly over whatever it is that they say.  If they keep going, man, it’s just gotta be the tactless, “I am not pregnant.  I am fat. Thankyouverymuch.”

Honestly, wherever I go, people smile at me.  I smile back, thinking, “Man, this world is so great.  We should really hold on to hope.  Look how nice everyone is!”  And then I realize….ohhhhhhhh, they think I’m knocked up.

If you are reading this, I need you to do something for me.

I need you to do this for me for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.  Assume the girl is NOT PREGNANT.  Think to yourself, “Is she?” and then answer yourself, “Probably not.  I’m going to assume she’s not.  And I’m not going to imply that she can’t have alcohol right now or that she can’t have caffeine or raw fish or whatever else you have on your mind.”

Repeat after me:  Assume she is not, and you will probably be right!  And if she is, she’ll mention it sooner or later, and then you can gush about how she has her hands full and must be tired and comment on the size of her belly.  Until then?  NOT PREGNANT.

Thanks in advance.  🙂