Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I came her to write and process.

It's over.

I answered all eight questions as completely as I could without straying too far or jabbering too much.  I'm a nervous jabberer.  It didn't matter that I knew everyone on the panel (principal, AP, grade level lead and reading specialist), I was still a wreck.

So much of interviews is, "Oh, please please please please please like me enough to hire me!" When you're as big a people pleaser as I am, it's tough.  I have to remember this isn't about me, it's about what's best for the school and who is going to be the best fit.

I left feeling like I'd answered most of the questions well.  I felt like I was thorough and I didn't fall down on my knees and beg them to hire me, so that's good.  :oP

Because my previous fifth-grade experience was departmentalized--I taught social studies and language arts--I was a bit weaker on math instruction for fifth-graders.  I felt that keenly as I was interviewing.  At one point, I was asked to talk about the planning I did with the fifth grade during my tenure long term subbing.  I had to say that while initially I was simply following the teacher's plans, that further down the road we were working more collaboratively and that I planned with the fifth-grade team.

It was weird.  I was sitting in there with two of the people with whom I had planned collaboratively and we were all acting like I didn't do it at that school.  I wasn't sure how to play it, and I didn't want to act like I was trying to get them to play favorites.  "You know, J, when we planned that science lesson together?" I just felt that would have been awkward and weird.

I feel like I'm a great fit in that building.  I really really like all the people in it.  I'm intimately familiar with it.

Yesterday was the first day since October 1 I hadn't been in that building in a professional capacity and I felt lost.  For someone who was uncertain if she ever wanted to get back into teaching, the joke is on me.  I MISS being there.  And it's only been two days! Crazy!

I've done my best.  I've answered all the questions, crossed the Ts, dotted the Is.  There's not much more I can do.  But wait...


1.  It's OVER!  Lordy interviews are freaking stressful!!
2.  Only one sick person left in the house, and if she hadn't had SOL tests today, I would have sent her to try to stay the day.  But, I knew if she was a warm body in the building they'd make her test, and she's not testing if she's not 100%.
3.  So so many of you wishing me good luck and sending positive vibes and prayers my way.  Thank you!
4.  The SUN!  Holy smokes!  The sun is glorious!  After four weeks of rain (almost continuous, I swear it was!) this is a beautiful thing!
5.  Did I mention I'm relieved the interview is over? :oP

No milestones.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Another Update

Thursday evening Brien returned from his three-week adventures in Florida.  He spent the first two weeks in the panhandle, working with the military there.  Then, he drove seven hours across the state to Orlando where he attended a conference.

It was, without a doubt, the longest three-week trip he's ever had.


We were all beyond relieved when he made it home Thursday.

Friday Bean decided she'd like to skip her last swim practice of the season so we could spend time together as a family.  (No worries, summer swim picks up next Tuesday, she gets a one-week breather and then back to the pool.)

We had a lovely dinner together, an even lovelier walk, and then as we wended our way home I felt so fatigued I could hardly walk.  I felt as if I were draaaaaging myself home.

I could barely stay awake and went to bed before anyone, only to awaken in the middle of the night to be violently ill. Waaaaah!!  Bean had been sick Monday and Tuesday and apparently I picked it up.  Great.

I spent all day Saturday in bed.  I wanted to spend all day yesterday but knew if we didn't get in groceries, it'd be a loooooong and off week.

Then last night I had to write up a cover letter for my application for employment with the school system.  Let me back up a bit.

Yes, it's my goal to be in a building (preferably the one I've been in, the girls') full-time next year.  I had begun an application (it's all online) but been distracted and hadn't yet completed it.  Friday afternoon, the principal tracked me down and told me she and the AP were pulling apps, but they couldn't get mine because it was incomplete, and could I please have it completed by the end of the weekend?

Well, this was a good sign, right?

To that end, I took my unhappy and fatigued body and sat at the computer trying to write up a cover letter--something I've never done before.

I was hired at my first position because the principal of the school at which I was student teaching called the principal at another school and basically said, "I have this student teacher you HAVE to hire," knowing she was in need of a new teacher--the other two in the room having quit. My interview as really a formality more than anything else so that was that.

My second position came about because a former principal was the principal at a new school and needed a K and a fifth-grade teacher.  She called me, asked if I'd like to shorten my commute and then basically asked which position I'd like. I didn't even have an interview.

I'm a rank novice when it comes to writing a resume and cover letter.  And, I'm a nervous wreck about interviewing.  I had two interviews with principals in this division (before I was asked to come to the other school) and neither came to anything.  So, I'm feeling a bit anxious. :oS

But, back to today...

I was finishing up my last day as a reading tutor today and the principal once again came in search of me.  She asked if I'd taken care of my application--"the internet is down"--I answered in the affirmative and she proceeded to hand me a sticky note with a date and time on it and asked if that would work for me.

YES!!!  YES, that will definitely work for me!!

And yet, I'm still a nervous wreck. I'm going to know all the folks on the interview panel.  I've worked with them practically all year.

And still I sweat it.  :oS

Anxious ball of nerves thy name is Rachael.

I'll have my interview at 2:30 Wednesday for those interested--and could you maybe send some positive vibes and prayers this way, please?  :o)

I've been subbing in any room I can (picking up all the jobs I can--the admin assistant looooooves me because I'll work anything) and the past few times I've had folks greet me with variations of, "Oh! I was SOOOOO happy when I saw it was you!" That's always a lovely feeling. :o)

As I was leaving today (I worked the reading position this morning and half-day sub this afternoon), I had two different folks track me down and say, "I NEED you!" This is a relief because it means even though my steady income is no longer there, I'll still be working.  Whew!

Looking ahead, I'm hoping Nana and Pop will keep the girls Friday and Saturday night so B and I can do our (somewhat) annual Memorial Day weekend away. I'm also hoping both he and I are fully recovered (yes, he picked it up), and that Bitty doesn't get it.  She has her last two days of SOL testing Wednesday and Thursday and I'd love for her to be able to just take them and be done.

Aaaaaaaand, looks like that might not be the case as she's just come to me to announce she's thrown up just a little bit.  CRAP.  :sigh:

And that's what's been happening here.

I'm really going to try to be better about journaling more than once every three weeks, I swear it... (promises promises...)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Long Long LOOOOOONG Catch Up

Hello to those of you who still pop in to see how things are going even though I've been the worst blogger EVER.

Things, life, has been so hectic this year.  Sitting back and reflecting (as you know I do) I realized that my life started feeling chaotic and out of control around this time a year ago.  Summer swim was just getting ready to amp up and school was on the verge of being out and I knew I was keeping four additional kiddos all summer and OMG.

Then, summer hit and I had all six kiddos and we were continually in motion.  I don't mind helping out my friends and neighbors, truly, but having extra kids is seriously exhausting.

Then, I had thought I might have a breather once school started.  September felt hectic and then before I knew it, I was in a long term sub position, struggling to tread water, let alone swim.

And, all during this time, B was still in school, so I was holding down everything. Throw in swimming practice twice a week and OMG I was truly losing my mind. Once I started working, B started picking up the slack, while trying to finish is master's thesis, and I was still trying not to sink.

December came and suddenly, all was well.  B finished his degree (so help me, if the man mentions a PhD I'll shoot him!), I had winter break to recover from the stress of being back in the classroom full-time (who knew??) and life settled down.

And, just like that, it all went to hell in a handbasket once again as I took a college class.  It was nothing but homework nightly while still trying to work as much as possible (tutoring every afternoon, picking up morning sub jobs where I can).  My first day of classes began when B was in Florida for work.  My last day of class was completed the day B left for Florida for work.

Yes, I'm finished.  Oh thank the good lord.  It's over and I've taken this past week to simply enjoy my free evenings (and train the bad muggins pups).  I've been wanting to get back her to post, but just didn't.  I wanted to be away from a screen in the evenings for a bit.

And B? Yes, he's in Florida.  Again.  Until late next week.  Three weeks... On top of Miss Bean moving up a level in swim so we're now there three nights a week from 6:00-6:45 instead of the old two nights a week from 6:00-6:30.

Does anyone else see a problem with that time?  In our house, that's our traditional dinner time.  Oy.  With me at swimming with the Bean, there's no one here to cook dinner and have it ready for when we get home.  :oS

We agreed we had to move her up when the emailed me and said they wanted us to register for the next group up this last session.  We knew it would be a tough schedule, but we also knew she needed the challenge of the next group. This swim thing is not for the feint of heart!  This is serious business!  The fact I no longer notice the smell of the chlorine tells me I'm becoming a swim mama.  :oP

I've decided that really, things are never going to slow down and I need to learn to be comfortable and roll with the punches.  I need to accept that my kitchen will never be pristine now that I'm working out of the house.  And, I don't know if I'll ever catch up on the laundry.  UGH. Not to mention the bathrooms and bedrooms and foyer and just general clutter.  I've got to let that go and not worry about what other people think of my house.

Two, I think we'll probably be moving at what feels like warp-speed from now on.  Ellie has no interest in giving up swimming--believe me, I keep asking--and that's our biggest time suck at the moment.  Then, throw in a Lil activity (she wants to do art classes, and she'll play the cello in orchestra next year) and I'm in a position I never wanted to be in--out of the house most school nights.  UUUUUUGH!! How did it come to this?

I realize now we make choices based on what we believe to be best for our kiddos, and swimming is that for Ellie Bean.


Summer swim is about to start, and I'm chuckling to myself.  Last year it was the beginning of my chaos.  This year I found myself thinking, "Oh, hooray!  Summer swim is starting which will be soooo much easier than CGBD swim!" Ellie will continue to swim for the Flyers this summer while Lil has decided she has no desire to compete and instead would like to take advantage of the Red Cross swimming lessons our pool is offering.  I'm good with that.

I'll have the same four kiddos this summer I had last summer, with the caveat I'll be off on Fridays.  I told both mamas I don't mind helping out this one last summer, but that this is it.  I'm searching for a full-time teaching position come fall and I'll want my summers off if that comes to pass.

To that end, I have one more class I need to take so I'm heading to Wise County the week after we get out of school so I can participate in a four-day institute.  That is considered a class so I'll be ready to reapply for my license by July 1st (with any luck!).

My stress has shifted.  What was once worry over too much employment is now "Oh please please please please please let someone hire me!" I had forgotten how much I love being in schools. I belong in a school building.  I'm there subbing in the morning at least two days a week--and they know I'll take whatever I can get.  I've been a TA for K, 1 and SpecialEd. I've been a classroom teacher.  I've been a computer teacher.  I've been the gifted teacher.  I even sat in for the secretary last Friday.  I'm not afraid to work, and I actually really enjoy it!

I would enjoy having a permanent position even more, though.  ;o)

I do believe I've rambled on long enough here.  I'm back on my no-blue-light-past-9:30 regime and it's now 9:34.  And, yes, it DOES help me sleep better!

It's nice to be back here.  I've missed it.  I've miss you all.  Big hugs to one and all!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Happy Birthday Beanie, Baby

She's six.  SIX!

There's so very much to say about that. And, per the norm, I simply don't have the time to sit and do a post about it justice.

I want to.  I NEED to. Just not tonight.  My final project calls...:sigh:

I'll leave you with photos of the big six year old.  Or, the not-so-big six year old since she's still a teeny Beanie. ;o)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"Things Like This Don't Happen Here"

This is the reason I had to have this conversation with my children today.

"If you hear shooting and you're in a store, run for an exit.  Run to the back of the store.  Run out.  Don't wait for me.  Someone will find you and take care of you until I can get to you. If the shooting is in the front of the store run to the back.  If the shooting is at the back of the store, run to the front.  Don't hide, RUN."

Why? Why is this a conversation I should be having with my six (in two days!) and 10 year old??

We were turning onto the little side street that leads to our church driveway and I noticed a bazillion emergency vehicles and police cars (local and state) at the shopping center across the street from our driveway. I noticed police tape around EVERYTHING.  A police officer with an automatic assault rifle was directing everyone to turn into the church drive.

Just as I arrived in the parking lot, my friend Robyn sent me a text informing me of the situation.  Holy Hell.

Lil's still freaked out about it.  This is a grocery we frequent after Mass.  You go in and are doing your shopping, minding your own business and then you're shot and killed.



I still can't believe it.  It's the same way I felt April 16, 2007, when Blacksburg was the scene of even worse violence.  Folks always say, "Things like this don't happen HERE."  And, they don't.  So when they do, it feels even scarier.

Working in a downtown inner-city school, I almost grew to anticipate the violence.  Somehow it lost its ability to shock me.  The day I heard gunshots outside my classroom (in the middle of a reading lesson, mind you), and calmly closed my windows and shades and put my babies in lockdown mode was the day I realized I had been downtown too long.  In what world is that even remotely normal??

Which brings me back to today and my scared girlies.  This sucks, y'all.  It just does.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Hi, everyone! I'm alive, I promise!  I've been busy with my literacy interventionist job (isn't that a fancy way to say "tutor"?) and school work.  I need to post a bunch of updated photos and write about our adventures but now's not a great time.

You see, we're starting a new regime around these parts.  It involves getting to bed at a reasonable hour and getting up early and getting out and getting fit. It involves taking time away from blue lights and getting good quality sleep.  It's about being good to me. I deserve it!

At this moment, I'm quickly closing in on time to do my bedtime routine.  The goal is to have time to get ready for bed and then five minutes to just sit and meditate and pray.  And then, finally, hop into bed and maybe read for a few minutes.  I need to remember my phone and the folks on it (such wonderful folks who I truly do love and adore) will still be there in the morning, and that they love me and want what's best for me too.

So, I'm off for this evening.  If I don't pick up a sub job tomorrow morning, I can hopefully sit and type and catch up and reflect.  :fingers crossed:

For now, know that all is well.  Spring Break was a beautiful thing and we had time as a family.  What more could I ask for?

Monday, March 07, 2016


The day began innocently enough.  I took a half-day morning sub job for my friend, Stacy.  I ran upstairs to get my cart and prepare to tutor my second graders and K group.

When I was in the middle of my second group of the afternoon, I saw Ellie's teaching assistant and Ellie standing right close by and the assistant waved me over.  

"Ellie has lice.  The nurse found nits and I saw the black bugs moving on the top of her head.  She has to go home."

ARGH!!!!! I've been doing everything in my power to combat the lice situation.  We use tea tree shampoo and conditioner.  I spray their hair with a prophylactic spray. I check for nits nearly every night.  If they scratch, I check it. 

How could she have lice??! I had just checked her Friday evening!! 

I cut my last two groups of the day, grabbed Bitty, and headed for the nurse. There I collected Beanie, dropped my cart off in the dungeon and headed off to the nearest Rite Aid.  

When we got home, I immediately went to Bean's head for a check.  I searched from bottom to top to bottom back up to the top.  I saw nothing.  Not a thing.  She has some short pieces of hair that look sort of nit-like.  She has some shiny spots on her hair shafts that initially looked like nits.  There was a bit of dandruff/dry skin that came right off.  Not nits.

I looked and looked for bugs.  Nary a louse in sight.  Nothing.  There were some black flakes of dirt, but no bugs.  

I then checked Lil just to be certain. 


I'm fairly confident I know what to look for with regards to lice.  I've had them, Hannah had them in Kindergarten, and Lil had them in Kindergarten.  I spent hours combing over their heads removing nits.  There were lice in the tub once we had applied the pesticide.  There were critters to be removed with the comb.  

I treated the girls--just to be on the safe side.  What if I missed something?

There was no evidence of lice anywhere.  

I blew hair dry (heat to kill any potential lingering lice and the nits (I didn't see)) and checked once more.


I'm either blind, or the nurse saw something that simply wasn't there in Beanie's hair.

I'm hoping it was a mistake on nurse's part and not on mine, as it would be so much easier to NOT have to deal with the delousing of my house.  

I'm hoping our regular nurse returns tomorrow so I can have her check the girls to make sure I'm not missing something.


****EDITED 3/8/16****

I was right, I missed NOTHING.  The girls were free and clear of any sort of buggy infestation.  Our regular nurse was back today.  I went in first thing this morning and had her check my babies to be sure I didn't miss something.  I missed nothing.  She confirmed what I already knew.  

Thank goodness!


1.  I do believe spring is on its way!
2.  Morning sub work is a happy thing.
3.  I'm learning quite a bit in my class.
4.  Red wine.  Need I say more?
5.  Brien has been doing so much of the cooking and cleaning lately and I'm SO thankful!