Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday

AugustRose sleeps with me every night. Anna did it til THE night before kindergarten, so for us, it's the way we grow up. When we are in the bed, AugustRose plays with my hair, rolls it in crayons, brushes it with doll brushes, which hurts like crazy, and uses any sort of toy as a kind of roller..Somehow it relaxes me. I say things like, "stop banging my head with the fingernail polish." "Ouuuuccch, don't draw on my head!" But most of the time she is gentle.
Both of my girlz have tickle my eyelashes. With their tiny little digits, they stroke the top of my eyes as I fall asleep. They fall asleep too.

AugustRose doesn't make a proper pucker face. When she kisses, she pokes her bottom lip out...And hummms as if asking for a kiss with no words.
Anna, loves her own bed. She doesn't want to sleep with her sister anymore. The baby wiggles too much.

My children fill my bucket like no one else ever could. Ever. We spend our Saturdays alone most of the time. Just us. Doing nothing really. They play in my room, their rooms, the bathroom. I listen. We nap and usually do take out to eat. They don't call it lazy Saturday for nothing.

I am realizing as time goes on, that I cannot stay at my job for 8 more years after this one. * 8 more years is the magic number of years required to be fully vested in our retirement program. It's time to make a change, or take a time out. I have two teammates, and one is preggars. The other one is trying. I hope one of them makes the decision to leave first. I love them so much and I can't be the first one to say goodbye, even if it was to a job just down the road. My assistant is leaving next year. I don't know how I will work without her. She takes care of all forms, money, and notes. I am terrible at that. To clarify, I am great with Parent communication, but peer to peer communication, especially when I resent it, is my weak spot. I am leaning towards using my surgery as the excuse for everything I do in error for the rest of the year. I dread next year already. Not a good sign. So I am going to live it up this summer. It always refreshes me.
This isn't about wanting to go to Russia. It's more about feeling the winds of change coming at my school. I have outlasted 2 other principals, and 1 other assistant principal. But, I don't have it in me to fight the good fight anymore. I just want to teach and go home. All the other bull that comes along with teaching, can really kill the joy.
I am in a great place though. I am so confident that good things are coming our way. I can feel it..
I should play the lottery. I did a few months ago, and I am still mad that I wasted that dollar.
Hmm. Maybe not.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Music from Dr. Kusic

Now let the party begin. Let's have cake. Blow up some balloons, hang a banner. My visit was my GYN was wonderful. The fact that he has followed a large part of my care over the past 7 years, eases the irritation of not having a primary care physician. My appointment today was very thorough. We talked at length about my "episodes" and he felt comfortable asking me to not address this with a psychiatrist until after.....Wait for it, my hysterectomy. Yes. We have spoken about this several times in the past, but each of his alternative plans has worked for a while. Now that we are out of options, he feels confidant that with appropriate monitoring after my surgery, we can get the episodes under control with hormone replacement therapy or an antidepressant that works on anxiety. I already take Effexor, but he can toodle around with the dosage and maybe add something so that I don't have to wonder when I will fall apart.

I will have a complete hysterectomy ( removal of uterus, tubes, and ovaries)that will be done laparoscopically. I have a tiny uterus which means the likelihood that they will encounter problems is very low. There will be an overnight stay, and 2 days complete bed rest at home after. I will also stay home from work for two weeks. When I had my laparoscopic surgery several years ago during my infertility treatments, I was fine in several days. So I am hoping and praying all goes well. My biggest is concern is for my girlz. As I have said a million times, Anna empathises like an old soul and seeing her momma in a hospital will be troubling for her. I may just not let her come. August is starting to worry if "momma" hurts herself, so she may not make it either. .They are only 6 and 4 and if I say momma needs to go get her tummy fixed and have my sister and mother stay with them to keep them busy, I think it will be fine.

I know some people may feel a sense of loss when facing this decision. Not this girl. The whole area is dysfunctional at best, a pain in my ass at its worst. So for me, this will make my whole self feel free from a life of focusing on that special time of the month. Funny, I never felt like I failed by not being able to have children. I equate keeping my innards to keeping a tumor. Really, what's the point of it if it only works to cause aggravation.
I am hoping that the surgery can be schedule for the last week in March, since the next week is my spring break. That would give me 3 long weeks to recover. I just can't believe this dream if finally going to happen. I know we will have to work out what I do for replacement hormones, but my doctor feels confident that due to my age, (41) we can get through it with mild medications if any. He wants me to consider quitting smoking while I do this so that I can exercise. He says many of his new moms, and post op patients find walking and yoga good for actually giving energy. We'll see about that!

So today is a good day. Missi, I want you to make me a cake just like the one above! And I want flowers. And a back rub.
Lee, I hate to say it..It's your turn to get to the doctor!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Because I often write these entries without labels, or even titles, I can't be sure if I have written about this before. If you are a friend on Face Book, then you already know about this. If not, this will be something new.
For the past year and a half I have been having these episodes. I call them that because at this point no doctor has told me what they are. In actually, no doctor is really following this situation, since the language of my primary care physician is not English, so who knows what she understands..And honestly, I usually say, "excuse me?" several times a visit, and usually just end up nodding my head. She does the same so I think we are missing the basic component of understanding. Not my fault. I know I have a southern/country accent, but it's MY Country...
Anyway, these episodes are completely random. I haven't noticed a pattern, except that they are all during the day. No particular time. It starts with me noticing a numb tingly feeling in my top and bottom lip and the surrounding facial area. God I love tv. Then I start to get a little woozy. In a way that makes me want to cry. And it makes me want to sit down and stare straight ahead. And there is a fluttery feeling inside my chest, yet when I put my hand on my heart, it is beating along at a normal rhythm. There is a fuzzy feeling in my eyes. As if I have makeup in them, and it makes me want to scratch them, and blink them to clear them. But the worst is the feeling that I want to faint. But not really.
I have on many occasions, found a soft spot, put my entire body on the floor or put my head on my table at school, and just waited. Sort of take deep breaths so that it will just come. And nothing. Haven't lost consciousness yet.
I usually find some peanut butter, and it makes it better sort of..The fluttery feeling eases, but the rest is still there. There is definitely a start to these events, but there is never a clear ending to them. It sort of just fades.
Saturday it happened again. There was one additional thing that happened that hasn't happened before. I had this little patch on the top of my head, above my temple and on the right side. This little patch had 2or 3separate pulses of pain. The kind of pain that makes you grab the spot and hold it..That was alarming. But not so much since I had a CT scan of my brain last year. I did get that referral from my English poor primary care physician.
After the episode I drove to the corner store, (not a mile away) and when I was at the red light, I felt like we were rolling. I smashed my foot onto the brakes thinking I had let up on it. But realized after blinking and trying to focus and blinking again, that we were at a stand still..
My sister is convinced it is anxiety. I am not. I can't say for sure, but I would think a panic/anxiety attack is mostly "all in your head." Not the "Munchhausen " kind of all in your head, but more triggered by stress causing you to lose it..My experiences are very physical. These things are happening in my body. I feel them. Not just thoughts or emotions or fears, but physical things that are happening.
My sister is bipolar and therefore knows everything about anxiety, stress, and meds. She is giving me the number to some doctors this week, and I am going to go!!
I also have a GYN appointment this week and we will discuss all of this further!

I just don't get how it could just be stress. I have eaten my way through 2 adoptions, one miscarriage, 2 years of infertility treatments, and one epic divorce,
so why would eating not work anymore? I prefer it. I have delighted in the delicious 3P's for years and they have gotten me through just fine! (pizza, pasta, and pastries)

The one thing I am really frustrated with is that I have to manage this. I don't know the words to express this my doctor. And if I did have the words, would my PCP even get it? And my GYN who manages the majority of my needs, cannot order tests and labs for things that aren't directly related to my girlie stuff. And then there are the referrals. Call get an appointment two months later, time off of work, and no one is really combining and summarizing the information...Not even me. I am happy that I have good health care, it just seems like the system is so convoluted. ONE doctor should be able to manage everything. PCP are kind of a joke. And don't get me started on dentists!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My one little word to work on is P.R.A.Y...
and I have been. I heard through Missi, that the Friend family finally completed their adoption. This is a family that most would think is an urban legend. But they are real. They met their now adopted daughter when she was 2 or so..And it has taken them over 5 years to complete this adoption. I had been praying for this family.

I prayed for the Beet. She moved away from Moscow and for some odd reason, I am sad about it.

I got my feelings hurt at work. After an unprecedented snow storm, teachers returned to work without students on Monday. There was no heat. It was so cold that I couldn't take my coat off. It was so cold that I couldn't concentrate. I decided to leave. My assistant principal had said to my coworker that if we were too cold we could work in the library. But my work is in my room. I needed to refill paint cups. I needed to change the bulletin boards. I needed to print completion certificates from my Waterford computers. (they are not networked) I couldn't drag my work to another room in the building. It wasn't logical. If I was going to drag it anywhere, I was dragging it to my car. and going home.
Then the three of us who had NO heat got an email that said,
"I came back from lunch and the heat was on. So if you left, you need to submit a leave slip."
I was irritated. As a teacher of 19 years, I know when to submit a time sheet and when to go home without doing so. I put in hour after hour at my job and no one pays me overtime, but if I walk out due to a deep freeze occurring in my room, I don't think I should... Luckily I didn't read the email until the morning. I was just mad enough to march down and speak my mind. But I prayed about it. I don't know yet if I will submit that leave slip, I will keep praying about it..
Funny, the first thing I did was pull up my resume. I sat and looked at it, and kept thinking I was going to drop an email to the director of the school where I would like to teach.But I didn't. I have to put on my big girl panties and deal with what is happening. But I need to remember the plan I have set in place. And stick to it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A couple of weeks ago at my small group we were chatting about going the second mile..You know, the mile God wants you to take after you have gone the first one. We all shared where we think we are being asked by God to push ourselves. Mine was pretty easy. Mine is teaching Sunday School.
For a while now I have dreaded it. I have wanted to quick since just before AugustRose came home from Russia. I used to dislike the curriculum. Then I started to dislike the set up of the program. At times, I didn't care for the children. As a teacher, I expect the children to behave as if they are in the school classrooms, but when there are many children who come from homeschooling backgrounds, it's a different situation. Now I don't want to start a debate about whether or not homeschooling is a good or bad thing. Really, I don't. What I am sharing is that the particular kids in my class a couple of years ago, were clearly not as used to sitting with a group of kindergartners while a teacher takes the lead. So those children tended to be very disruptive. Very. My rotation of teaching each time was sort of a let down. And because we teach two weeks in a row, then take two weeks off, it's hard to have continuity with the routines. I never say anything since I love the director and she is doing everything she can to make the program better. The curriculum is much better, and the flow of the day is much better. Songs and a story/lesson at the beginning, then small group time, then whole group time ending with more songs and a final wrap up. I like this, and since we have more than doubled in size, there are more teachers in each grade level. And the group I have is pretty awesome. (Anna is in my class)
I haven't ever said much about how much I dread teaching. Only to a couple of friends. But I never share it with the director since it is really all me. She can't make a change that would make me say, "OK, now everything is better!" I just want to come and listen to my preacher, sing worship songs, and receive the message. I have viewed teaching as "assisting in delivering the message" and therefore I really don't get anything from it..
But today the Youth and Children's Director was leading the whole group and as our message today was Continually Pray, Everyday, Without Delay, he asked the small group leaders to be available to listen to the children if they wanted to share a prayer. The music played softly and slowly a few children stood up from the safety of their chairs and bravely walked to the front and met up with a leader to pray. A little girl came to me, and with her most serious voice prayed for her dog. He is old and her prayer is that he gets healthier and lives a while longer. And yes, I began to cry. Can you imagine? A child. A precious child who is loved by and loves her doggie so much that she gathers her courage to come up and pray for him? Her parents are doing something very right. I can only pray that my girlz turn to Christ when they are worried.
After this, the kids went to their small groups, and the Y&C Director came into our room. We have about 20-25 kiddos and he came in and just watched. The kids were engaged and participating in the lesson.
We finished up and went back to whole group worship time and then dismissed the children to their families..
The Y&C Director came up to me and said, "I love to watch you with the kids. You have them all engaged. You are really good at this." After 19 years of teaching, that compliment felt just as good as any Principal's write up. I respect him so much and to know that he just wanted to watch me, filled me with joy! And with that, my attitude has turned around. They say when you can't change a situation, you have to change your attitude. So I am gonna. I know there will be some days when I don't w bant to drag my lazy behind out of bed, but I will. And I won't stop teaching to make my burden lighter, since that only makes other's load even heavier.

Pray for an old dog tonight if you get a chance. And if you notice someone doing a fine job, let them know about it. Your compliment just might be the thing that turns their attitude around.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sour, Helpful, and Desperate

I was reading some blogs and have been getting a sense of what it is like to be in Russia. Not just be there, but live there. Because visiting is much different. So here is a little walk down memory lane. Come with me won't you?
I think of a time when I was on a my way to Novosibirsk. I was in Moscow, scheduled to walk through the ginormous line at immigration and then out to the arrival area where my contact from my agency would give me a 'package' and then take me to the domestic terminal. But after flying 9 hours to Moscow with my mother and 4 year old daughter, I was a bit jet-laggedy. As we exited the plane, we were met by a sour women who walked up to us, and grabbed our ticket and in a short quick gesture that I took to mean "follow me" she was walking away with our tickets. We followed her, and she took us through through secret doorways, endless passages, up stairs and down them ending at an immigration check point with what appeared to be only foreigners. I wasn't sure if this was right, but we seemed to be the only English speaking foreigners so we just sort of waited around. There was no one at the little gate, then magically, sour women appeared behind the gate, and began to check and stamp our documents and give us the head nod which meant, "go that way." We went that way. My mom at this point had literally stripped down to her tank top. She was so hot and sweaty and already hating Russia. We had been in the country for an hour. And it was mid November, not tank top weather.

"That way" was a corridor that led us to a sort of bus stop. When a bus approached, we got on. Me, all the while knowing I have to pick up a 'package' for my agency. Trying to figure out how to handle this I racked my brain for who to call, hell, how to call the Moscow office and find my contact and let them know I am not in the international arrival gate, but in the domestic terminal. We arrived at the domestic terminal and found our way to the gate and settled in for the wait. We had about a 4 hour layover at that point and Anna had a really good sleep on the plane so she was ready to explore. I found a phone and did my best to call the Moscow office. No luck. Then I tried to email my location, but couldn't get a signal. Moscow didn't provide free WIFI at the gate, what? So, I decided to eat. I waited in line and managed to point to what we wanted and we all ate a nice lunch of yogurt, bacon flavored potato chips, and bananas. I had decided that I would walk around asking, "Do you speak English?" until I found someone in my area that could help me. But then, I heard my name. It wasn't very clear, but I was sure amongst the gibberish and constant feedback noise, I heard my name. I ran around to try and find the "white courtesy phone" to no avail. I ran downstairs to the empty security gates and tried to figure out whether to break security, or to go back , get my passport, and then come back. While standing there, I noticed a frantic woman looking through the other part of the gate. I called out "Helloooooo. I am Julianne Green." Where at that point the young woman almost dropped to her knees. She looked as if she were about to burst into tears. When she and I met, across the security gate, she said she was so glad to see me and held her chest breathing deeply and now in tears. Turns out the packet I was taking to Novosibirsk with me, were the last of the required documents for court. No documents, no adoption. She knew if I didn't get those documents, she would more than likely be in a whole mess of trouble. Even though it was actually ME who didn't go through the ginormous immigration line that opens up to the main arrivals hall. We spoke briefly and she went on her way. But not before grabbing her chest again.
I would meet that young woman again on my return trip.
I share this story, because that is my impression of Moscow. On one hand, completely helpful but sour. On the other hand completely lovely and desperate. Since we only have two hands, I can't then mention the unhelpful and sour. I choose now, to forget when our luggage was lost and I spent that entire trip in the same black pants and black sweater. I choose to forget those who weren't helpful because that is how I am. Even at the time I was being treated like shit, I was laughing inside. When I got yelled at on that shuttle bus between airports for not having a hat on Anna's head, I just smiled and nodded and said in my clearest loud English, "Please don't pretend to care about my child. Had you really cared, you would have adopted her weeks after her birth.." She didn't understand, but I felt much better. When I got my ten days waived in the midst of everyone else having to stay in the Novosibirsk for the entire time, I chalked it up to the lovely and helpful. When my mother, sister, daughter, and newly adopted baby boarded the plane to NYC, we were told by the Russian stewardess to move half of our party to the seat in front of ours, we didn't understand. But after realizing that row of four would remain empty, therefore giving us 8 seats to stretch out in and relax, I chalked it up to the lovely. Especially since there were several other adoptive families on the flight.
The lovely frantic young lady who found me at the airport ended up working with me upon our arrival back in Moscow. She and her mother, aka "the two Anna's" made our time there smooth as silk and either hid the sour from us, or made sure there was no sour.
But as I reading on the blogs, most who live in Russia have to face the sour everyday. They have no set of Anna's who will buffer the winds of disdain. I have to wonder how after all these years, Russians wouldn't be open to foreigners in the country. I used to think it was intense nationalism. But somehow I know it's not. My own experience doesn't give me the answers, but the attitudes and actions of many I have read about, or heard about, makes me think there is a bit of shame buried within the souls of many Russians. I could be wrong, just a theory.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

For Me

I just had to post this. It seems there are a million mommy stories that I don't tell. But tonight I want to write this so the memory won't leave me.
My girlz have spent the snow blast roaming from bed to bed. Where they start, is for sure, not where they will wake up.
Tonight Anna went to sleep pretty early, and AugustRose was hanging out with me. She wanted to sleep in her bed, but kept coming in my room to snuggle. Then it got awfully still and I assumed she finally fell asleep. I went to check on her, and she wasn't in her bed. I looked in on Anna, and AugustRose was snuggled up beside her sister. Tonight is the first time she has done that. I love it when the tiny moments are so sweet.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We Are Made For This Weather

Our little family is dealing beautifully with our winter blast. We are sprinters, not long distance runners. We are great at short bursts of anything. We handle things.

To clarify, we aren't working, or required to do anything outside of the house. My dad went to Sam'sClub on his way here, so our pantry is stuffed with goodness. The girlz school's are cancelled for the remainder of the week. So this isn't a real Russian experience, but it gives us (me) a chance to see what it is like to bungle ourselves every time we walk out the door. We get to deal with a snowy car, and other cars who don't exactly know how to drive on a snowy road. The girlz love it. We wake up late, 8-ish, and then play around in the house. Anna gets herself bungled up and goes outside with my dad to shovel. (something I never do, I usually let it melt away)Then we play on the snow mountains created by the plow that comes through every so often. Then we go somewhere. Maybe to my moms to take her provisions. Maybe to Walmart, since we know its open. Then we come back and have a snack or lunch. Then we get in our jammies and take a big nappie! Mommy has needed this extra rest time for so long! Since painting AugustRose's room and the adding the Fairy decorations, she has chosen to take her day naps in her own room. It is daylight, but she shines her little flashlight on the fairies and tells little stories about each of them, then she drifts off to slumber in Fairy land..

Anna has been punky this whole break. She has the warmest room in the house, and it causes her to get very dry and when she blows her nose, she gets a little bit of a nose bleed..Causing her to wipe it, causing her to get chapped all around her nose and lip. and the cycle repeats itself.
Today at Walmart a father suggested this product called Ayre. Oh the miracle. We have put it on several times today and it really works well to soften up that inflamed area..I love it when I find a product that really works. It was less than 4 dollars for a small tube.
After naps, we play, and eat again and start it all over again the next day.
My dad says it everyday, "I don't know how you do it." referring to the cold and snow. He still thinks of me as a Florida girl. But I have lived here in DC for 19 years, so this is home for me.

We have missed 9 days of school so far. More than we have missed in many years. I think it's God's way of offering me a little bit of Russia. He's good to me that way.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I couldn't listen to the beginning of the Plain White Tee's sing that song, "123 I love you" one more time...As soon as I logged onto my own blog I would jump on the mute button like lighting..
I used to love that song.. So the song player is gone. Never to return again. That is twice I have tried to use one, and both times, they drove me nuts..

It is snowing again. Those crazies who hype global warming should spend a day in my neighborhood. So I haven't been to work since last Thursday. LOVE IT!!! It's okay, the school, my students, the busses, the playground, it will all be there when the snow melts. I am in no rush. Being around my own children makes me want to spend LESS time with other people's kids. Mine are awesome.

Saturday, February 06, 2010








Today I took a drive in the blizzard of 2010..I had to. I had to get my SUV on the crunchy crispy pavement. Again, the snow brings me back. I have a pretty rugged SUV so I was able to creep back and forth and back and forth until I made my way out of my parking spot. I was one of a handful of brave folks on the road.
As I inched my out of my development, I was back in Novosibirsk. In Novo, There had already been many many inches (feet) of snow, and then on the day I took custody of AugustRose, there was a blizzard. I had to go and get a couple of things from the grocery store, and took Anna with me. We trudged down the sidewalk, or what used to be the sidewalk, and it took us almost an hour to get there. Only 6 weeks before that, I made it to that same store in about 10 minutes. Anna was so short and kept getting stuck every time she took a step. We were completely bundled up, so warm, and it was one of our last little adventures before we became a threesome. After getting scolded at the market for offering a bill that was too large, we came out to snow falling so hard that we could barely see. I had sunglasses, but poor Anna pretty much covered her eyes the whole way back to the hotel.
Later that day, all of us bundled up and went outside for a play. Only the day before AugustRose was happy to play in the snow at her orphanage, but that day..Nooo way. She clung to be like a koala bear to its Mommy. If I even leaned over to place her in the snow she wailed. So I held her, and her 3 empty water bottles.
So today, I feel like I am conquering the Russian streets by taking my little drive through my city. The crunch and slide of my truck on the road was as powerful as any love song.

So being snowed in, we tackled a project that is long overdue..Painting the girlz rooms. They each picked out their own colors..Anna went with Pink Taffy. She helped with every wall and with every spill or drip on the floor. I think it turned out lovely. She adores it. She said it makes her feel like a princess with all that pink.



So after tons of spills and drips, we finally fished AugustRose's room. She picked Tanerine Cream. It is very cheerful and sunny. The girlz don't have a theme for their rooms, they just have a "color story." That way we can add all sorts of different nic-nax to the room and it will blend.
Since my dad is here, I have had tons of time to work. Of course the girlz want to be there with me, but they get bored and can go downstairs and play with him. Work and Play, work and play...Now to tackle MY bedroom. It is the worst. CLothes everywhere, shoes, purses, schoolwork. Eckkk.
I am just so happy to have gotten these extra days to make my house a home...


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Tonight was my small group. I go every other Thursday night. It is sort of like Sunday school for grownups, except a lot more. I started to going to my group when I was married. Many of these ladies were with me during my fertility treatments, my horrible divorce, and then when my life began to take an upswing as I began my first adoption. These women are the people who make my life better. They make me better. They remind me to focus on Christ in my everyday life.
I wish we met every week. It fills my love bucket. Because let's face it, I am a Sunday Service away from robbing a bank and spending all the money of purses, botox and restalyne..So I need to spend as much free time at Church or with women of Christ.
I was in charge of prayer tonight and I decided we would partner pray. We were matched with one lady and we got to spend a few minutes sharing and praying with each other. I would love it if you would pray for my partner. She is my age, 41, single and gainfully employed. She has no real drama in her life, but for some reason, she is just feeling Blue..She doesn't know why, or the underlying reason, but she is in tears a lot. She cried tonight when talking about the death of her mother a few years ago. And of course, I welled up too. If bothers her because she is usually in control of her life and even though things seem fine enough, she doesn't like feeling on the edge of a tearful breakdown... I am praying for you "pArTnEr."

We are expecting a big snow storm this weekend. On my way home from school my BFF Martha, called to say my district had already cancelled for tomorrow...RARE! But as the 11th largest district in the US, it is easier to cancel before we ever start, than to cancel school early. Talk about a nightmare. We have done it a couple of times since I have been there, and there are always about 40 or so kids whose parents simply don't come to get them. As I am saying so much lately, "what can we do?" This means the teachers call the parents, the secretaries call the parents, we wait and watch the snow build up on the road, and eventually when traffic has all but come to a stand still, the parents call to say we are stuck in traffic or I just heard the message and cannot get there before 4...Nice. So I am very thankful that the suits who run my district decided to call it early rather than in the middle of the day!

My dad is here again and I think its funny that both of our big storms this year came the day after he arrived. Florida man shows up and brings the snow! So tomorrow there will be a lot of photos of my snowbabies and their Dadushka!!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

It's hovering around 20 degrees, and it's snowing again. Pouring little flakes from the sky like rain..The sky has been gray for almost a week now. We have been in snow boots for days. We have been in layers for almost a week. And. I. Love. It.
I finished my report cards and need to review the paper drafts and if we have a snow day, then I get to spend it lazily looking them over.

I wanted to share a bit about my school. Although it may seem like we are an inner city school, we are far from it. My school is in the suburbs. The area has changed drastically since I started teaching there. We are a very transient school. I don't have the data, but I have to imagine that only 10% percent of our kids will continue at our school until they finish 5th grade. We also have a huge population who spend less than a year at our school. They fly in and out in a matter of months. I am sure you all understand how frustrating it is to prepare materials, notebooks, journals, textbooks, and all of the extras, and then the child is gone with no notice.
Our area is known for gang activity. MS13 has had a stronghold for many years now. We had a former student get attacked in the night one year and his hands were literally hacked off with a machete. This teen had a little brother in our school who spent the remainder of the year being escorted home by the police. On a bizarre twist, I am now teaching the niece of the poor teen who was attacked. The mom is my room mother and volunteers at least twice a week. Just goes to show you how we never really know about a family until they have a 5 year old in your class. They are actually quite lovely people who got caught up in a mess all those years ago.
We have many, many languages spoken in our school. We all secretly believe that many, many of our families are not all together legal, but what can we do? Not a whole lot.
And we are a Title 1 school which means a large portion of our school is on free and reduced lunch. If you read the application to receive free lunch, a family of 4 must have a combined income of 19K or something near that, in order to qualify. You have to wonder how any family survives on that. Again, I know that many are not truthful on their application. It is a sad example to be setting, but what can we do?
As our county struggles to manage on an ever increasing budget gap between what the county needs and what we have, many teachers can see where we spend money that we shouldn't but what can we do?
If the hours were earlier at my school, I would be happier. The later start and end times put me on the major roads at rush hour therefore extended my commute. But I wouldn't ever considering transferring. I was told in confidence that I was the most requested teacher in my school. Considering our population, I imagine that we only have a handful of families who feel empowered enough to request a teacher, but it feels good to know that families want me to be the one who introduces their child to their school experience.
And then there is My boss. She is 4 years older than I am. She is a fierce African American girl who lives in DC. Since I used to live there, we have a lot of funny experiences in common. I taught at another FCPS school before my current school, and she was a teacher there with me. She took the administrative track and I steered my masters work towards curriculum. I respect her tremendously, as she adopted her great nephews. They have VERY similar traumas to Russian orphans. She struggles with her little guys the same way many parents of older adopted kids struggle. Trust is a big hurdle for them.
My boss, (and she hates it when we call her that) believes in family, so you know I love that! She is also a Christian, so when I talk about my Hippy Church, she laughs and can appreciate my stories.
In another post, or maybe in a comment I made, I said I only have 6 years left before I retire. But I was wrong. I am in my 19th year of teaching, but my first 3 years were in Florida. So they really don't count. So I actually have 9 years until full retirement. I will be 5o, with 25 years in the county.
In thinking about this I have come up with a new plan...I don't want my girlz to go to the middle or high school that they are slated to go to..So I can teach for 4 more years, that means I will have 2o years in the county, Anna would be finishing elementary school, AugustRose will be going into 4th grade and then I can take a leave of absence from my job to yes.........Get my family to Russia. Now Tina, I know you (along with my mom) are against this, but I want my girlz to have an adventure in life, and learn the Russian Language. I want this experience for them.
Long ago I dreamed of moving to NYC and I put up too many roadblocks for myself, and let outside forces kill that idea. I keep praying about this, and Russia has stayed in my heart for more than 6 years now. I realize that nothing is promised to us, so I will just hold onto this and continue praying about it. It's not like anyone is knocking on my door begging me to come to Russia to teach. It will be hard to get a job overseas. I will be competing with single teachers with much less family baggage. But I am always up for a challenge. I am confident that I am a plus to my school. I know that my strongest asset is my fun attitude. And I really do like teaching.
So, that is where my head is right now.
The snow. It always brings me back to Russia.
AugustRose sleeps with me everynight. It's three in the morning, and I just ripped myself out of a bad, awful, dream...AugustRose just turned over and told me she had a bad dream...She told me in her bad dream her thumb fell off. In her weary tired voice, she just looked up and said,
"I'm so happy momma, it growed back in my sleep."