Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving (Nov. 24)

There was nothing especially memorable or noteworthy about Thanksgiving, but it's a major holiday so I still wanted to share photos. We had our traditional meal at my sister's house, just like every other year. We've perfected the table spread and meal prepping.

Everyone was in attendance (ten adults and twenty children).

I could eat this meal every single day!

My older nieces have practically adopted Amelia and Maddie. The girls are always together at every family gathering.

Jackson can always be found with his cousin, Jude.

After stuffing our faces and lounging around, we drove home. Thankfully we no longer celebrate with Jesse's side of the family on the same day. Their feast this year will be held on Sunday.

Jesse had his vasectomy scheduled for the next day, so we decorated Thanksgiving night. Jesse went out to WalMart to purchase a new tree before it got crazy with early shoppers. 

Despite being a prelit tree, there were still some technical difficulties with lighting! Bah humbug.

The kids and I immersed ourselves in unpacking the ornaments while Jesse finished assembling the tree.

They did a surprisingly decent job at hanging ornaments. I only had to change a dozen or so.

We finished the evening with the classic Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

I've had an ungrateful attitude with going back to work. I am still resentful and have little job satisfaction, but I know I have countless blessings and things to be thankful for. I am surrounded by family, friends, and church. I am gifted with a healthy family, wealth, education,strong marriage, job security, and comfortable living. Maybe I'm more of a bratty millennial than I want to admit. I pray that I can force myself to appreciate the little and big things, and teach my children to do the same.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Another Long Week

The past several weeks have been filled with increasingly longer to do lists. There is truly not enough time in the day to accomplish everything needed. We're all running on empty and feeling exhausted.

Here's a run down of this past week.


Since no one had school last Friday (Veteran's Day), we enjoyed a long weekend at the beach. The plan was to spend our final morning on the beach before our 11 a.m. checkout. Unfortunately, it was 42 degrees and raining. We left somewhat disappointed, then spent the next four hours in the van. 

Jesse shattered his phone the day before. As soon as we were back in town, Jesse drove to the Sprint store in hopes of replacing his phone. He learned that insurance would cover a replacement, but it would be 2 days before it would arrive in the mail. 

We were promised that our car would be ready from the mechanic by Sunday, but the mechanic would not return any of our calls over the weekend. This meant we were left scrambling, yet again, trying to figure out our transportation for the week. The rest of our Sunday was spent grocery shopping, meal planning, cleaning, catching up on a mountain of laundry, and finishing lesson plans. 


Since we had no car, Jesse dropped Jackson and I off at school early Monday morning, took the trio to their school, then drove to his school. I did not communicate with him during the day since he didn't have a phone. We had made plans to meet at the front of my school at 5 pm so Jesse and the trio could pick us up.

During the day Jesse was finally able to receive confirmation that our car was ready from the mechanic. After 11 weeks of rental cars and uber rides, we could pick it up at last. The problem was the mechanic's on the other side of town and it was just after 5 pm. It took us over 45 minutes to get there. By that point, the trio had been in the car for an hour and a half and it was past dinner time for all of us. We stopped at Chick Fil A, ate, then drove back across town and went to bed.


Tuesday was a stressful day at school because we had our "Learning Celebration" at school. Most awards ceremony consist of an entire grade level meeting in the gym with parents. Students walk up when their name is called to receive certificates, parents leave, and we go back to class. This year, the administration decided to do a "Learning Celebration" in individual classrooms. There was no direction; we were just told to showcase student learning. Each teacher interpreted it a bit differently. In my class, I had students select one meaningful piece of work and display it on their desk. Students had to remain at their desk the entire time. I asked parents to walk around and visit each student. 

This event took a lot of prep work! I made sure to approve the students' selected work first so I knew it was quality work they were displaying. We practiced shaking hands, greeting each other, and explaining work. We cleaned the room and cleaned out our desks. I invited parents and organized a sign up for snacks so we could have a reception. And of course, I still had to count certificates and write names on the various awards. Thankfully the event was a huge success. We had 27 students, 24 parents, and several staff in and out. Administrators and parents were very complimentary and the students were very proud. 

The days excitement didn't stop there. When Jesse went to pick up the triplets, Maddie ran to him and fell on the ground, hitting her head. The staff put a butterfly bandaid on it. Unfortunately, Maddie's head was still bleeding when they got home, and continued bleeding during dinner. I decided to take her to Urgent Care. Two and a half hours later, Maddie's forehead was glued shut. Maddie was a trooper for most of the wait. We sang, drew pictures, played I Spy, danced, and did hand motions. By the time we actually saw the doctor, it was past Maddie's bedtime and she was less cooperative. 

As soon as Maddie and I got home, Jesse left. His replacement phone arrived but wouldn't activate so he was off to the Sprint store before they closed.


An assistant covered my class while I ran down to the kindergarten hall to attend Jackson's Learning Celebration. Their celebration was more of a lecture on nonsense words. Parents were then supposed to partner up with their child and listen to their child read. There weren't as many parents in attendance, so I listened to every child at Jackson's table read. Jackson was neither the best nor worst reader at the table, so I was content with his average abilities! He received an award for "All 3's" (equivalent to A/B honor roll in the upper grades). 

My students were a bit hyper because we haven't been allowed to have outdoor recess. Surrounding wildfires have created Code Red air quality days, making it hazardous for our many asthmatic children. No schools have been allowed to play outside.

One of the greatest frustrations at my school is lack of communication. I experience this as a teacher and a parent. Apparently there was a K/1 concert Wednesday evening. I found out about it Tuesday. Students were supposed to be there between 5:30-5:45 and the performance started at 6. It was a maddening rush to drive home, cook and serve dinner for everyone, and get Jackson back to school on time. The staff was all concerned that there wouldn't be a good turnout because of the poor communication. Teachers told parents at the Learning Celebration that morning. When I arrived, the parking lot was full and there weren't any seats left! I stood on the aisles with all the other late parents and attempted to film Jackson signing (yes, signing) to What A Wonderful World, then singing another song. 


Once a month our school has "Club Day". I had the bright idea to start a cake decorating club. It was the number one requested club and I had to turn down 50 students and place them in second or third choice clubs. Club Day is stressful for everyone because the whole schedule is modified and kids are always hyper. Over a thousand students move throughout the building at the same time. The biggest stress for me is bringing all the necessary materials. I had to haul my stand mixer, piping bags and tips, ingredients for buttercream icing, spatulas, etc. I taught the students how to make buttercream icing and how to use different techniques with the piping tips. The kids were so well behaved and engrossed in the lesson. I lost track of time and we had to quickly clean powdered sugar and icing as the bell was ringing.

I had to attend a meeting after school. Our school ability-groups and each grade level has two "top tier" classes with above grade level and gifted students. On Tuesday, the principal requested a meeting for Thursday with all the top tier teachers. The meeting lasted an hour and was mentally draining. The principal is rolling out a new "marketing strategy" to attract parents of gifted children. The highest class will follow pacing and schedule of the grade level above, starting with top kindergarten students. The new fourth grade team will now consist of the highest third grade class and we'll lose the highest fourth grade class. The new fifth grade team will consist of the highest fourth grade class and will lose the highest fifth grade class. In a mere two weeks, we'll have a new team, new schedule, new pacing guide, and additional assessments. Because I am the second tier class, I will not be affected as much as the top tier class. Regardless, these transitions are hard to process mid-year. I'm also not sure I can support tracking 5 year olds and pushing them through accelerated programs, all in hopes that they can finish middle school with several high school credits. I understand that gifted students need to have enrichment, but I think there are better ways to do that.

Jesse had a long day as well because James, Amelia, and Maddie had their Fall Festival. I had planned to take Jackson and attend the festival before I found out about the mandatory meeting. Jesse sent pictures. The festival was originally supposed to be outside, but was kept indoors because of the smoke. Jesse said it was very crowded but the kids had fun. They had face paint, games, and snacks.

Jesse picked up pizza on the way home since I was coming home from the late meeting. We ate dinner at six (late for us), then I left for a two hour long Session meeting at church. It was yet another mentally draining meeting.


Today was a relatively normal day. Our kids, students, and staff were all dragging from such a long week. Of course there's the added excitement of Thanksgiving and a 2-day week ahead. My plan is to crash as soon as possible and hopefully sleep in tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Presidential Election

I have refrained from writing about politics, despite being in a house of strong liberal Democrats. However, this presidential election had a direct impact on my teaching, classroom environment, and general mood. When I tried to show clips from the presidential debate, I had to stop because they were discussing sexual assault and Trump's lewd comments.

Jesse and I were both Bernie supporters from the beginning. When Clinton won the primary, Jesse was quick to jump on board. I took much longer to become a true Clinton supporter, but when it came down to Clinton vs Trump, it was a no-brainer. Jesse and I went to early vote together one Saturday in October. The girls were spending the night with their MiMi and PaPa so we took the boys to help us cast our ballot.

Election Day was a teacher workday for both of us because schools are used for voting places. Thankfully all four kids can still attend school programs on teacher workdays. (The trio are tuition students and we pay for Jackson to attend before school/workday childcare.) Jesse dressed James, Amelia, and Maddie in their "Future President" shirts.

Jesse actually took the day off to run some errands, conference with preschool teachers (regular 1st quarter parent-teacher conferences), and go to the doctor. We snuck in a lunch date using a gift card Jesse won on the radio. It was such a carefree day!

We were all happy and feeling optimistic about the election of our first female president. We put the kids to bed after our typical evening routine, then watched the election results come in. As each state lit up red, I felt increasingly sicker. I was so restless, watching the results up until wee hours. Jesse had long been asleep when I told him Trump was about to become president. By morning, the results were official.

Despite living in a red state, we are in a very urban, liberal area. My students and staff took the news very hard. People came in crying, snapping at each other, and asking lots of questions. One of my Hispanic students asked, "When will he build the wall? Will he send my parents back?" One of my Muslim students declared, "I was born here. I'm not going anywhere!" The mood was so somber in the building, our principal suggested we lead restorative circles (class meetings in a circle) to help students share and process their feelings and concerns. When I distributed our weekly magazine and discussed current events, attitudes continued to sour the following week.

Part of me is still in denial that Donald Trump will serve as our next president. Like it or not, it's time to embrace whatever our future might hold and continue to spread love and equality as best we can.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Stevie Nicks Date Night (Nov. 10)

Jesse and I had our second date in a week, both of which were free thanks to Jesse's dedication and good luck with radio contests. Our first date was lunch together on Election Day using a Firehouse gift card. Our date this evening was one I had been looking forward to since I found out about it: a Stevie Nicks concert. As usual, Jesse's mom came over to watch the kids. It was a Thursday night, but we didn't have school the next day because of Veteran's Day. (In fact, we were headed to the beach for the long weekend.)

I am obsessed with the skyline at night. I love city lights so much! I talked Jesse into walking a few blocks to Fahrenheit rooftop bar. It was a gorgeous, clear night with mild temperatures.

We sat down at the bar, only to realize I had left my purse in the car in the parking deck several blocks away. They wouldn't even let me sit at the bar without an ID! We ended up leaving without either one of us getting drinks, so it turned out to be just a silly photo op.

The concert was held at the arena, which is a huge venue. Fleetwood Mac is my favorite band. They came to Charlotte when I was 34 weeks pregnant with the triplets. We didn't buy tickets because we didn't know if I would be on bedrest or have babies in the NICU. The following year they came to Atlanta. Jesse surprised me with tickets for my birthday. When I found out how much they cost (over $500) I made him sell them on StubHub. So I love Fleetwood Mac, but not for $500 when we were on one income and a dwindling savings.

I hope I can still see Fleetwood Mac one day, but seeing Stevie Nicks was pretty exciting. She only performed a few Fleetwood Mac songs, but I knew most all of her solo songs as well. I even knew most of the opening act, The Pretenders. It was a great concert because Stevie shared a lot of storytelling in between songs.

As an awkward and inappropriate aside, I was consistently distracted by the man sitting in front of us. He was wearing a fur jacket and on his phone the entire time either taking videos or texting sexual pictures. I tried not to pay attention but the light from his phone was so bright!

I would have been content to go to a dessert bar or linger around uptown, but we didn't want to keep Jesse's mom any longer. Plus, we still had to pack for our beach trip. It was a fantastic, free evening with my favorite man in my favorite city!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bronchitis and Pneumonia

In late October, Amelia developed a cold with a persistent cough. The cough was intermittent throughout the day and much worse at night. We tried natural honey cough medicine, Vick's vapor rub, steamy baths, etc. The cough worsened to the point of her vomiting. One Friday night she woke up wheezing and we had to rock with her downstairs. Thankfully our children's clinic has Saturday sick hours. I scheduled the first available appointment.

Despite being up most of the night, Amelia was excited about our mommy-daughter date. She sat in my lap and we read most of the books in the waiting area. We played games in the doctor's office while waiting for the pediatrician. It was all fun until she had another coughing episode. She was barking and gasping for breath. 

I was naive to assume Amelia had a bad cold and the doctor wouldn't be able to do anything. The pediatrician came in and said, "I've been opening every door, trying to find the source of the coughing. She needs a breathing treatment!"

Amelia took her breathing treatment like a champ. She was initially frightened by the mask, but I told her Jackson would be jealous that she got to be Darth Vader. That made her smile.

Amelia perked up even more when the doctor told her she could take her new panda bear backpack (aka the kid's nebulizer) home. I was relieved insurance covered it.

We left the doctor with a diagnosis of walking pneumonia and bronchitis. We were instructed to do the breathing treatment a minimum of 3 times a day for several days.

Unfortunately, our morning excitement did not end with the doctor's office. We had taken a friend's van that we borrowed for the week. The van would not crank. I ended up having to call Jesse to pick us up and the friend had to get his van towed and get a new ignition switch.

Amelia and I ate brunch at Waffle House (because the office was already closed, it was cold outside, and we could walk to the Waffle House). The waitress made her a special Minnie Mouse waffle.

Amelia continued to have a rough weekend, but the breathing treatments provided immediate relief. She was happy to give herself treatments because they made her feel better. (The antibiotics proved to be more challenging to administer!)

The masks were too small to fit her without her having to hold them in place. We quickly switched to the apparatus that goes directly in the mouth. (I asked Jesse if he knew what it was called. He immediately said, "a bong?")

It didn't take long to kick the bronchitis and pneumonia out of her little system. I'm so thankful it wasn't worse and we didn't have any scary emergency room episodes. I know to pay more attention to persistent coughs now!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Assumptions vs Reality

My anxiety levels increased in the months and weeks leading up to August. I knew life would change drastically, transitioning from life as a stay at home mom with four young children to life as a working mom with four children in school. I had a lot of expectations and made a lot of assumptions. Here's a glimpse into the reality of our current affairs.

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Assumption: I would blog at least once a week. We would do fun things every weekend and I would share photos and stories from the week.

Reality: We make sure to have family fun each weekend. In recent months, we've gone to the mountains to pick apples and swim under waterfalls. We've picked pumpkins at the farm, attended an Indian Festival, and been to a fall festival. We've gone to the circus, my brother's wedding, numerous birthday parties, the park, and more. I have plenty of photos from weekend excursions, but they never seem to make it beyond Facebook. I can't remember the last time I've edited a photo. Obviously I haven't blogged and I can't promise I will return to regular blogging. I do miss blogging, though. Writing helps me sort through life events and photos remind me that I'm still parenting, even if it's less time with the kids.

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Assumption: I would naturally lose weight when school started. I would drink green smoothies for breakfast and pack healthy lunches. It would be easy since I would no longer have access to a pantry and refrigerator 24/7. Plus, I would be on my feet all day and walking around.

Reality: I have gained even more weight since going back to work! Though I am constantly walking around the school, it's nothing compared to the regular Zumba and Y classes I gave up. I haven't had a good sweat or strenuous workout in months. Stress eating is a nightmare and I'm back to binge eating whatever sugary food of choice when I get home or after the kids go to bed. Mornings are a rush. Some mornings we go through Bojangles drive thru. Many mornings I skip breakfast altogether.

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Assumption: Teaching would be a difficult transition, but I would find my groove and love it.

Reality: I used to find such joy, pride, and fulfillment from my days in the classroom. It was always demanding and there were always challenges, but it was my passion. I didn't want to leave the classroom and was initially resentful about becoming a stay at home mom. Now, I find myself resenting the fact that I can't remain a stay at home mom. We're already a quarter through the year and I feel no more prepared or excited about teaching. I still don't have my groove. The concerning part is that I'm not sure I will. I love certain elements of teaching, but it feels like a job right now, not a calling.

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Assumption: Jackson would thrive academically.

Reality: Jackson has been assessed so many damn times, I can't even keep up with the reports. He's literally below grade level, on grade level, and above grade level according to three different assessments. He doesn't do well with timed tests (i.e. x number of initial consonant sounds in a minute) and he is behind on sight word recognition With that said, I'm not worried at this point. I genuinely think the expectations are not developmentally appropriate and Jackson will get it on his own time.
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Assumption: Jackson would make lots of friends and be well liked. Seriously, he's the sweetest, most genuine kid. Who wouldn't like him?

Reality: Bullying starts early, my friends. Jackson has been the victim of bullying on multiple occasions. Children have knocked him down on the playground, causing him to bleed from getting scratched up. One boy stole his jacket and hid it from him for days until I confronted his teacher. Jackson does have friends, but it's not the happy little land of play dates and exchanging numbers with parents that I was accustomed to from preschool years.

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Assumption: Teaching would be no different as a parent. I taught after having Jackson and it didn't change my teaching, so why should it now?

Reality: I view every aspect of life through the lens of a mother first. My kid falls asleep in class? I'm not mad. He needs to go get some water and stretch. He probably had a late night and it's not my place to judge.

My kids are antsy? It's probably because they are sick of testing or staying in their seat. Their attention span is not that long. I don't want Jackson to have to stay in his seat and do rigorous work for long periods of time. They're all just little kids.

Last week one of my students ran into the fence during a game of kickball at recess. He nicked his head on the fence and had a LOT of blood. Without hesitation, I picked him up and carried him to the office, just like I would have done for my own child. We only have a nurse half of the week, so I cleaned him up, called his mom, and waited with him until our recess time was over. (Of course my class was outside with another class so I didn't abandon them or leave them unsupervised.) When I later recounted the events to Jesse, he joked that I didn't follow procedure from the infamous "Blood borne Pathogens" training. That wasn't even a thought at the time. I don't think of the kids in my class as students. They are someones child. And I will always be a mother before a teacher.

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Assumption: James would quickly potty train once school started. Once he had access to a toddler sized potty and he saw his classmates using the bathroom, potty training would click.

Reality: We go back and forth between sending James in underwear and pull ups. His teacher is fantastic and encourages underwear, but he continuously goes through multiple wardrobe changes each day. The other day he came home in 4t, purple, bejeweled pants. At home, he's peeing and pooping in the middle of the floor. At nearly 3.5 years old, I though he would be potty trained long before now.
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Assumption: The trio would have a hard time adjusting to school.

Reality: If they miss Jesse or me, they hide it well. Jesse still has to carry them into school most mornings. Everyone is tired in the morning and grumpy in the evenings, but they seem to love school. All of the teachers use an app to post pictures and notifications. James' teacher does a better job at it than the girls. They all love seeing photos of themselves and their classmates, and they are becoming more talkative about their days. I am really pleased with their school experience thus far.

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Assumption: I would maintain a social life and keep up with my mom friends.

Reality: I have missed hundreds of texts from group messages. I just can't keep up with the discussions and I get lost trying to scroll back up. I've missed morning coffee, after school play dates, and more. The girls' night out events I do attend, I leave early. It's not that I don't value or miss their friendships. When given the choice between lesson planning and going to bed early vs staying up late for wine club and feeling less prepared, I'd rather stay home.

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Assumption: I would collaborate with my teammates.

Reality: I really enjoy my teammates and would like to collaborate with them more. Unfortunately it's discouraged by some of our administration. We are not allowed to departmentalize but we tried to split up planning where one teacher focuses on math lessons and resources, another teacher looks for reading materials, another teacher prepares science lessons, etc. We were told not to do this. Because we ability group and each class is a different level, administration does not want us to do the same thing. However, we still have the same common assessments every 1-2 weeks.  It feels isolating and and frustrating. We are incredibly over worked with minimal guidance or support. Keep in mind, none of us have ever worked at this school or taught 4th grade before!

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Assumption: Teaching at a STEM school would provide me a wealth of resources in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Reality: This is partly true. In some ways, we have everything at our fingertips. We are 1:1, meaning every single student has a chromebook. I have an interactive white board and document camera in my classroom. We have numerous online subscriptions for students to utilize. There is incredible potential and an abundance of resources.

  • However, my team has received ZERO training on any aspect of technology (or math, or science, or engineering). Everything I have learned has come from hours of trial and error or looking up online training modules. 
  • All of our assessments are done online, which is a blessing and a curse. It's convenient to be able to have assessments already graded. But it's a pain that we teach strategies such as underlining and annotating text, yet students can't apply those strategies. It's next to impossible to reteach or go over a problem or passage. 
  • Students have chromebooks, but not everyone has earbuds, which makes videos and games a headache.
  • Also, I've had to put in numerous tickets to fix technical issues. Our chromebook cart did not have working chargers for several weeks, which meant we had to rotate ten laptops at a time to charge. 
  • They removed all classroom printers. Teachers are supposed to be able to send documents to the main printer, but for two months I could not print from my computer. I had to go to a different classroom, request to print, then walk to the main printer to select the print job. I wanted to buy a printer to bring to the classroom, but was told I didn't have administrative permission to install and connect it to the computer.
  • The sensors on my interactive whiteboard stopped working so I had to control things from the desktop computer, not my printer.
  • We've been out of ink for almost two weeks in all three risos. 
  • The other day there was a schoolwide internet outage. No one knew what to do because everything we do is through Google Classroom or Canvas.

As far as science and technology, they are two electives that students visit weekly. I haven't done a single lab in my class because the elective teachers do them. In the classroom, we only teach science half of the quarter and social studies the other half. I miss having science as a daily part of instruction.
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Assumption: Homework would be a non-issue. Jackson had a lot of homework as a preschooler, so we would be used to that. I rarely assign homework anyway and almost never grade it.

Reality: Jackson's homework is ridiculous. He started with ten spelling words a week and nightly sentences. Jesse emailed his teacher and I had a conference expressing our concern. He now has 8 sight words a week and 8 sentences, along with nightly reading and daily math homework. I'm relieved she modified his assignments, but I also know that he's not mastering 8 new words each week. At his first quarter conference, he had correctly identified 2 out of 32 words. We've started doing more with sight words at home and he's getting better. It's still a lot of work!

I am anti-worksheets and my students and parents know that. I strongly encourage 30+ minutes of reading each night and I've suggested students login to one of the many educational websites they can access. Still, many of my parents requested additional work, I started creating and uploading weekly "optional homework". That way I'm not having to waste copies or grade things, but parents have extra practice that aligns with everything we're studying. I think everyone is happy now.

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Assumption: After teaching at a high-poverty, low-performing school, I made a lot of assumptions about my new, non-Title I, high-performing school. I expected well behaved students who were quick to learn new things.

Reality: I wish I could start the school year over. I was too relaxed with classroom management and naive about their innocence. They're no different than any other group I've taught. I've had a fight where a student slammed another child into a whiteboard and turned a desk over. I've had students throw things, suck their teeth, and talk back. Though I do teach the high group, many of them still fail assessments and are in reteach groups. Some of my students soak up everything I teach; others require extensive guided instruction.                                                                                                            
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Assumption: The parents would be overbearing, helicopter parents who were difficult to work with. I've never worked in a setting with a lot of parent involvement, but I've heard horror stories of parents.

Reality: Part of this is true. There is one parent who brings her child fast food almost every single day. Several other parents walk their child to the classroom every morning. (This still boggles my mind that this is allowed.) I've had parents clean out their child's desk for them during class, text me in the middle of the day to see if their child brought their notebook, and scan and email their child's homework for them.

However, I've had very positive experiences with all of my parents and I feel like we are actual partners in their child's education. I met with all 27 parents for parent teacher conferences and they were all down to earth and kind. I email "Questions of the Day" in every subject every single day. I also upload photos, announcements, newsletters, and practice tests to our class website/app. Parents have responded so well to this. I even had a mom of a child in another class come in my room one day and tell me I was "all the rave in 4th grade" and that all the parents talk and boast about me. I've definitely received the best compliments of my career from parents this year.

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Assumption: Jesse would handle the trio's drop off and pick up in the van while Jackson and I would take the car every day.

Reality: We started school ten weeks ago. On the fourth day of school, the oil filter fell out of the car and left me stranded just as I was merging on the interstate. (Thankfully I had dropped Jackson off with a friend first because of staggered entry kindergarten.) Since that day, Jackson and I have ridden in friend's cars, Uber, tow trucks, and various rental cars. I plan to write a separate, detailed post explaining our transportation woes if and when we ever get the car back! Needless to say, I did not assume we would have such challenges with transportation.

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Assumption: Money would no longer be an issue or concern. We could finally build a savings.

Reality: After you deduct the kids' insurance and taxes, my paycheck is literally half of the gross income. We chose to pay for before school care for Jackson and we "splurged" on a biweekly housecleaning service. We've also been forced to pay for a series of unfortunate events related to the car.

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Assumption: Things would be very high stress and I would likely have another round of depression or anxiety attacks.

Reality: We keep getting hit with unforeseen challenges and there hasn't been a "normal day" in months. I've felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and irritable at times. However, I haven't cried or had any moments of panic. While this is a relief, I also worry that I'm borderline complacent or apathetic. Strangely enough, I contribute much of my relaxed state from watching ASMR videos every night before bed.

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Clearly, there has been quite a disconnect from what I thought would happen during this time in our lives versus how life has played out over the past few months. It's often felt like a game of dodgeball where I'm just trying to stay in the game without getting knocked out. Unfortunately the rules keep changing (hello, inconsistent admin team) and obstacles are continuously thrown our way. Our routines keep changing and we keep having to readjust our expectations.