The Write Timing

My voyage toward publication

Mommy, sit. January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!!!  2016 was a year of blessings and sadness (as most every year is), but the birth of our sweet and adorable son, Nathan, topped the list of 2016 events.  Baby Nate is a perfect addition to our family and has allowed me to shake my head when I hear others talk about what a horrible year 2016 was.  Not for me – I got sweet baby Nate!

 

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As most of the rest of the world settles on a resolution or two, I have made some of my own.  Do I want to be healthier?  Sure.  Exercise more often?  Yep.  Stay more organized?  Uh huh.  All of these are lofty (though they shouldn’t be) goals, but they are not my tip top resolution for 2017.  That one came about with a little inspiration from my daughter, Olivia.  The day after Christmas, I was flitting from room to room, unpacking gift bags (and folding the tissue paper so as to save it for next year), opening new toys, and attempting to bring a semblance of order back to our house.  Olivia was playing with her new Beauty and the Beast tea cart and had brought Mrs. Potts, Chip, and the other tea cup to our front staircase.  She was seated about two steps up, tea service spread in front of her.  She looked up as I walked into the laundry room to drop off some new baby clothes I wanted to launder before Nate wore them (yep, I’m that mom), and smiled.  “Mommy, sit.”  She pointed to the step next to her.

 

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I looked at my sweet 2 year-old and responded, mid-step.  “I will in a little bit, sweetie.  I’m just trying to get some of these things put away.”  I continued into the kitchen and grabbed something off the island.

 

Then I stopped.  What am I doing?

 

My daughter didn’t ask much.  She wasn’t for the world.  Nothing extraordinary or expensive.  She just wanted mommy to sit with her and play with her new toy from Santa.

 

So what did I do?

 

I sat.  We drank pretend tea and talked about how delicious it was.  She made me banana pie and I raved about its flavor.  We toasted and giggled and cuddled.  It was the best.  And it took absolutely nothing from me but time.

 

So the gift bags stayed packed, the tissue unfolded, the new clothes unwashed for one more day.  And it was totally worth it.

 

My most important, Olivia-inspired, New Year’s resolution: be more present.  The mess will be there (try as I may to clean it up).  The Facebook updates will still be scrolling.  But the time I spend with my children and my husband won’t always be there.  So I will commit to being more present in the moment in 2017.  Cheers!

 

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Always August 18, 2016

Filed under: Classroom,Family,Parenthood,School,Uncategorized — michellephillips @ 9:48 pm
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Today was the first day of school.  As a teacher, I have always loved this time of year.  The excitement of finding out who is going to be in your class, the sun streaming in the classroom windows, and the school supply shopping – oh the school supplies!  And as much as I love teaching and love this time of year, today was difficult for me.  Because back-to-school doesn’t just mean I get to start a new school year with my students anymore.  It means I have to end a summer spent cuddling, reading to, laughing with, and loving up my babies.

 

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Last night, I figured I should probably rid my purse of its “mom” contents.  I removed a tiny tube of Aquifor, two pacifiers, and a couple of crunched up Goldfish.  But this morning, as I was searching for my lanyard that Olivia surely took out and hid somewhere, my fingers brushed a  mini Minnie Mouse.  And that’s the beauty of being a mommy, especially a working mommy.

 

Even though you aren’t always with them, your children are always with you.  They are in the stories you tell – how Olivia had the time of her life at the splash pad and how Nate’s new favorite game is patty cake.  The lunches you pack that now include food in an assortment of Disney Princess containers.  The coffee you grab because someone woke up more times than normal last night.  The frames on your desk and the videos on your phone.  They are there.  They are always there.

 

But what makes it easier is working with a beautiful group of students.  Students whose parents are thinking about them all day.  In their stories, while eating their lunches, drinking their coffee.  They leave their child and entrust them to me.  And I promise to take care of that child and help him or her to grow.  Because I know that when each parent leaves their child at school, they aren’t just leaving a 7 year-old.  They’re leaving their heart.  Because that’s what I did.

 

 

#momlife July 12, 2016

There’s a funny little hashtag out there that I’m currently enjoying with every ounce of my stretch-marked, hip-widened, pony-tailed mom being.  #momlife  is the go-to when a mom experiences one of those moments that only a fellow mom can fully appreciate.  The moments where you look around and think, Where is another adult with whom I can share an eye roll?  After yesterday’s heartstring pulling story about the birth of my sweet baby boy, the “beauty” part of my story, I thought it would be a perfect day to talk about the “beast” part.  The part that makes me sigh.  The part that sometimes makes me huff (in an exasperated, but not too loud voice so as to keep the children relatively calm), “Come on, life!”  They are the #momlife moments.  And this one’s a doozy.

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#momlife moment #1:

 

I’m trying to get back in shape after the birth of Baby Phillips #2 (Nathan, who we fondly refer to as “Nate Dogg,” because: Class of ’99).  I’m training for a 5K, which to many of you, may sound like a silly thing for which to feel the need to train.  But those of you who know me personally, know that I am no runner.  I have never been a runner.  My non-running days go all the way back to elementary school when I would feign illness to skip out on running the mile in PE (sorry Mr. Lebeda).  But even though I have a long relationship with hating running, I always think it seems fun when I see families post about doing 5Ks and fun runs together.  I want to be able to do that for Olivia and Nathan, not just wait at the end with a sign.  So I’m training.  (Which, by the way, I’m using the Couch to 5K app and absolutely love it!)

 

When I’m in workout mode, I prefer to do my exercising in the morning.  I have always been a morning person, plus, I like starting my day with a workout.  It immediately makes me feel like I accomplished something that day, and then I can’t spend the entire day coming up with excuses for why I can’t work out later.  One of the joys of being a nursing mother is that you wake up with a very heavy chest.  Especially if (knock on wood), your child is doing a good job of sleeping.  So I can’t exactly workout before feeding Nate.  I have to feed him, sometimes pump, get dressed, and then finally head out the door to work out.  I have to try to time it so I can be showered and ready around the time my husband leaves for work in case our daughter decides to wake up early.  He leaves for work at 6:30, which gives me a fairly small window of exercising opportunity.  Do I use this as a excuse not to work out?  No.  Well, mostly no.  Okay, it may be half and half.

 

One day, about a month ago, I didn’t get up to work out.  However, I knew it was going to be a lovely day and I needed a loaf of bread for dinner.  We happen to live about a mile from Great Harvest, so I thought, what a perfect idea!  I’ll put my darling dears in the stroller and we’ll walk to get some bread.  The walk was as lovely as I thought it would be (with the exception of GH opening about 8 minutes late, which totally messed up my timing, but I digress).  We got a loaf of dakota and a loaf of apricot almond (both were a-mazing), I threw them in the bottom of the stroller, looked online to figure out how to recline a sleeping Olivia’s seat, and we headed for home.

 

While it was a lovely day, it was still a summer day, which in Nebraska meant humidity.  By the time we got home, we were all a bit sweaty, particularly me.  And it was time for Nate to eat.  I used to love to nurse Olivia in the bathtub, so I thought, okay, we can all just take a bath!  That night was bath night anyway.  I was sure I could save us some time by bathing them with me in the afternoon and my husband would be so impressed with my time management skills!  So I ran the water, got everyone undressed, and we all hopped in the tub.

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Image courtesy of Pexels. My bathroom is far less luxurious.

It was marvelous.  Olivia played and “helped” wash her brother’s hair.  Nate ate like a champ.  When everyone’s fingers and toes had adequately pruned, I thought it was about time for us to get out.  This was the part I hadn’t quite planned.  I thought, maybe if I just wait an extra five minutes, my husband would get home and could take the baby while I dried off and got Olivia ready.

 

As always, my children had other plans.

 

Olivia stood up from the bubbles she was blowing.  She looked at me with her beautiful blue eyes and proceeded to pee in the water.

 

“Livvy!”  I exclaimed, “Did you just go potty?”

 

“Uh huh.”

 

Since we want to potty train in the near future, I was careful about my response.  “It’s okay to go potty.  But next time, tell mommy and we can sit on the potty chair.”

 

She gave me an olibgatory “uh huh” and then sat back down to play.  Ew.  Probably time to get out.

 

I was just about to stand up with Nate when I looked down at my precious boy.  He looked back at me with adoring eyes and sent forth a giant poo from his adorable bottom.  All three of us were now immersed in poop and pee water.

 

This time I couldn’t help it.  I gasped.  I jumped up, careful to hold on tight to my poopy boy.  “Don’t move!” I said to Livvy.  “Stay on that side of the tub.”  I grabbed my own towel, wrapped Nate in it and put my non-rolling baby safely in the very center of our bed.  Knowing he’d be safe and warm, I went and grabbed Olivia out of the water and started the process of drying her off.

 

I wish I would’ve taken a picture of the aftermath.  The amount of poo in that tub was incredible.  Perhaps the water made it appear to be more than it was.  Or perhaps he had been holding onto it for a while, waiting for the right moment.  But either way, it called for additional bathing.  And a lot of Clorox.

 

When my husband (finally) did get home, I told him the whole ordeal.  His immediate response was, “You should blog about that.”

 

So here I am.  Blogging about this very #momlife moment.  Stay tuned for more.  After all – I still have two children under the age of two.  #momlife indeed.

 

Birth Day! July 11, 2016

Filed under: Blogs,Family,Parenthood,Starting Our Family,Uncategorized — michellephillips @ 4:30 pm
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This is a cheater blog post, because the actual post just appeared today on Pregnancy and Newborn’s Birth Day blog!  Please check it out and read about the day our sweet baby Nate entered the world. 🙂

 

Loving Them June 1, 2016

I’ve been meaning to get back to my writing.  Truly, I have.  Writing for Pregnancy and IMG_0219Newborn’s Knocked Up blog (find my posts here!) made me feel like a real live writer, and that’s a feeling I had been longing to have for a while.  You’d think I’d be more motivated to write every day.  But, you see, there is other important work I’ve been doing.

 

In fact, it’s much more important work.

 

It’s the work of being a mother.

 

And I don’t just mean the washing of bottles and the changing of diapers.  Sure, all of that is part of it (especially the diapers part – I have two kids under age 2 after all!), but it’s not the real substance of motherhood.

 

I’ve been busy loving them.

 

My two little dreams come true.  I’ve been busy holding my tiny baby so close that it feels like our hearts have one beat.  Kissing his cheeks over and over; willing him to feel the immensity of my love.  Staring at his perfect face and listening to the gentle snores that sound sweeter than music.  Letting his chubby hand grasp my finger and keeping it there just to be close to him.  Still holding him an hour after he’s finished eating, just so I can watch him sleep and take in his beautiful baby smell.  I’ve been savoring these precious baby moments because I realize they are so fleeting.

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And then there’s her.  The beautiful girl who made me a mother.  His big sister, who is really still a baby herself.  But who is also wanting to be such a big girl.  I’ve been talking to her, listening, even when I don’t understand a word of it.  Playing with her babies and giving them so many kisses when she asks.  Huddling into her play tent.  Reading the same book three times in a row just because she loves it.  Embracing the moments she’s sleepy and wants to be carried upstairs, so I can steal the cuddles she used to give so freely.  Loving her up as much and as often as I can.

 

So yes, I’ve been wanting to write.  But right now, I have much more important work to do.  I’m loving my babies.

 

 

International Literacy Day September 9, 2013

Today will quite possibly rank as one of the best in my teaching career.  A few weeks ago, I opened an email from one of my favorite professional organizations, the International Reading Association.  It heralded the upcoming International Literacy Day, a day to celebrate the gift of literacy and promote literacy throughout the world.  I knew immediately that I wanted my class to celebrate it, but the question was – how?

As I pondered and brainstormed, our celebration day grew from a single guest reader to a day completely filled with literacy activities!  Here’s how our day looked in Room 311:

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9:05 am – Students tumbled into the room, lugging pillows, stuffed animals, and bags full of books for our afternoon “Read In.”  One student brought me a wonderful sign to post in the room – Hooray for Literacy Day!

9:15 am – Dancing Classrooms and Music Class – Our physical activity and musical experience for the day!

11:00 am – Special guest reader, assistant principal, Mrs. Simmons came in and read The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns.  We talked as a class about literacy and how it relates to math.  The students came up with all kinds of ways we use mathematical literacy (in algebra, reading and writing story problems, interpreting graphs, etc.).

11:30 am – We discussed literacy facts and figures from around the world.  My students learned that 115 million children around the world cannot read and write.  My students wrote the figures in standard, expanded, and word forms.  We tried to imagine how many people that would be and discussed what those children would be doing instead of going to school.  We all agreed that receiving an education is a tremendous gift.

12:20 – Recess and Lunch (Literacy loves sustenance.)

1:00 – Reading class!!!
Read In – Students camped out around the classroom with pillows, blankets, and books galore!  They munched on read-and-feed snacks, played literary element charades, and read some more!

Passing It On – Students were paired and went into a primary classroom (K-3) to talk about literacy and then read a picture book aloud.  The students were SO excited to share what they knew about literacy with the youngest students in our school.  They came back to the classroom chattering with stories to tell and grins from ear to ear.

Writing Prompt – Students responded to one or both of the following prompts: Because I am literate, I can… AND Literacy allows me to invent my future by…

3:00 – Science Literacy and Experiments

Throughout the day and evening, I was able to tweet from my classroom account all of the wonderful activities we were doing to promote literacy throughout our building and our community.  The cherry on top was a retweet this evening by the International Reading Foundation.  It was a quote from a student who is not my most confident reader, but who fully embraced World Literacy Day.  I can hardly WAIT to tell him about it tomorrow!

“Because I am literate, I can be the smartest me I can be.”

 

If Disney Ran the World… July 23, 2013

Last week, my family and I were in beautiful Central California.  We started our trip in Santa Barbara, then traveled up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Luis Obispo (where my Grandma and Grandpa Mimick were married at the Mission in the 40s!), Monterey, Napa Valley, and ended in San Francisco.

The weather was beautiful; we traded in the heat and humidity of Omaha for the crisp high 60s to mid 70s of coastal California.  We had a marvelous time sipping wine, catching up with California friends and family, getting to know my sister’s fiancé (and his chocolate addiction) even better, and gazing out into the Pacific.

However.

As often happens when you’re in a new place (or at least when I am), there are a few things that make you stop and think.  Why, oh why, do they do that?  What would possess someone to organize something like this?  And, being the avid (AKA obsessive) Disney World fan that I am, while waiting in line for a public restroom that had 6 stalls for a very large portion of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Fran, I started thinking: What if Disney ran the world?

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(Cue foggy edges…)

1.) The world would be clean.  Even the restrooms.  Especially the restrooms.  Not a dirty napkin, discarded Starbucks cup, or empty pop can would be seen.  When a pizza crust or scrap of paper fell to the ground, a festively dressed man or woman would swoop in to whisk it out of the way.

2.) The world would be organized.  You would be able to grab a colorful map that could not only direct you how to get from place to place, but a times guide that would tell you when events were happening that couldn’t be missed.  When the need arose to wait in line for something, you would have fun activities to complete while you waited and themed decorations to keep you busy.

3.) The world would be colorful.  Decorated with poinsettias around Christmas, hoards of blooming colors in the spring, bright pinks and yellows in the summer, and deep reds and oranges in the fall.  And it wouldn’t only be decorated with flowers, but with buildings, street signs, and benches that are vivid.  Not a flake of paint or faded hue would exist.

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4.) The world would be welcoming.  Every face you’d see would be smiling, every attitude positive.  Hands would always wave in welcome and the childlike grins present on each face would be contagious.  Every person would belong and you would be able to sense that feeling of belonging all around you.

5.) The world would remember the importance of family.  Disney World is all about family togetherness.  A world run by Disney would see families having meals together, playing games, talking to one another, and planning what they would do next as a family.

6.) The world would be respectful.  Everyone would be treated like a prince or princess.  Each person, especially children, would know he or she is a one-of-a-kind, very important person.

7.) The world would be responsible.  And full of cast members.  We would not be only considered citizens, we would be active participants in the world!  We would be the ones responsible for keeping our world running in a Disney-esque fashion.  All of us would work together to make our world the place it should be.  No one would sit and expect to be catered to and wait on by the cast members; everyone would have a role to play and be a cast member themselves.

8.) The world would be magical.  With fireworks every night for good measure.

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