Not Exercising is Harder than I Thought!

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It may seem silly, and I actually thought I would enjoy these few days off from exercising but I miss it much more than I ever expected to!  I still can’t put full pressure on my foot because most of the stitches are across the bottom of it.  I knew it would be two weeks with stitches so I expected it, but thought I’d at least be walking around a lot better than I am!

It sure makes me appreciate my grandma and her need for a walker and how exhausted she gets just moving from room to room!  My calves are sore from all the walking on my tippy-toes.  I don’t know how women wear high heels all day.  Give me my flats or sneakers anytime!

At least I don’t feel guilty for not being out there exercising.  Normally, when I feel like taking a day off, the guilty feeling comes over me and I get out there and do it.  Since I can’t, I am not having those feelings.  Instead, I am finding myself missing it.  The classes, the running, the long walks…

Only six more days until the stitches come out and hopefully then I can resume normal activities again.  I am sure I will be looking for an excuse to not exercise as soon as that happens, but at least it is nice knowing that I will have the option!

Getting My Classroom Ready…Slowly

teacher nightmare

After just about two months of being out of my classroom, I headed into school in today to see what needed to be done to get ready for kindergarten to begin. I always know it is time when I begin have the “back to school nightmares.” They started over the weekend. Most of them involve dreams of my new class being lined up on the blacktop ready to begin but my classroom is nowhere near ready! Or I show up to school in my pajamas and my class arrives early and are waiting for me. That’s the one I had last night. I knew I needed to go in today and just “assess the situation.” Summer school was held in my room this summer so I wasn’t sure how it was left or if had been cleaned yet.

I am still not getting around on two feet without hobbling on my toes. That didn’t make it easy but I was at least able to move a few lighter things around and figure out what I needed to buy and stock up on for my room. I have to put up a few bulletin boards and fix up book shelves. I’ll organize tables and chairs over the next few days. Name tags and labels cannot be done until my class list is confirmed and that hasn’t happened yet.

I may have been able to convince Drew to come in and help me for a bit tomorrow. I guess I’ll see if he is still willing in the morning.  I bribed him with a trip to 5 Below, where I got a small rug for a reading nook. I had already dragged him to Michaels and Fabricland for some other supplies.  It was nice because both of those stores offered teacher discounts!  Turns out there are many stores that offer teacher discounts.  Lakeshore Learning, The Container Store, Barnes and Noble, Staples, Ann Taylor Loft, J JillApple Store are just a few of them! There are so many more!  Just google it and find them.  I need to take more advantage of it!  I didn’t realize how many there were!!  Glad I found them now – just in time for some back to school shopping for myself!

Jersey Girls Don’t Pump Gas

jersey girls gas

This morning, we knew we had a very busy day ahead of us and although we could have probably made it through the day and back home without filling up the gas tank, I was worried about hitting traffic on the way home and being a person who doesn’t like to let the gas tank get below a quarter tank, I figured we’d better do that before we began our tours.

I live in New Jersey, where it is illegal to pump your own gas, so sadly, I never have.  When we are out of state, Dave has always done it and even while I was at college myself, I can’t remember ever doing it.  Someone always did it for me.  So today was the day the I was going to learn how!  Nothing like being forty-four and learning something new!

There was a gas station right near the hotel.  A Citgo.  I pulled up to the pump ready to do it.  I got out of the car when an older gentleman who worked there walked up to my car.  I told him I would take care of it, (knowing fully well that it costs more to have full service.)  I did tell him that he this was my first time and he laughed and called me a “Jersey Girl.”  He did it for me, showing me what I needed to do and he didn’t even charge me more for doing it.  Instead, we chatted about college and how expensive it is.  His own son is at Clemson right now.  What a great start to our day – after another filing breakfast of waffles and whipped cream for Drew :)

Today’s tours were of University of New Haven and Quinnipiac.  Both were great schools.  Of the four schools we saw over these two days, he can only drop one from his list.  His lists of pros outweigh the cons for the other three and he came up with so many positives for all of them.  I am sure there are more schools that he will want to see and we will do that, but most of these schools are already beginning to accept applications!  Maybe DJ is ready…I just don’t know if I am!  I especially don’t know if Drew is ready to let him go.  DJ and I were laughing because Drew was at the front of every line during the tours as if it was he that was there looking at colleges instead of DJ.  I have to admit, I was a little nostalgic seeing dorm life and the quad.  It brought back so many great memories.

DJ has a lot to think about and decisions to make.  I still wish he’d do a year local, but after seeing all of these schools, I am almost sure I have lost that battle.  It took us only two hours to get home tonight so he will still be close by if he chooses one of these three.  At least he has a few more months to decide.

College Visits

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Our trip to Connecticut started off with me breaking the arm off my sunglasses before we even left Maplewood. My only pair. Not a great start for a sunny morning ride. I do not mind driving but I am not fond of driving in places where I have never been. Especially through New York City, where we needed to drive through in order to get to Connecticut. DJ was a great navigator and sat alongside me keeping me sane through traffic on The GW Bridge. I am almost embarrassed to say that I have really never driven in the city before. There’s been no reason for it. With the train in town I never have to take my car if I go in.

With only two places where we hit traffic, we actually made pretty good time. We are staying at a Residence Inn Marriott which allows us to have a mini suite so we aren’t all on top of each other. There is a pool so the boys swam last night even those it was pretty chilly out!! They didn’t care and had a blast since they were the only two in the water.

We spent most of yesterday visiting with my college roommate’s mom. She was an awesome host and took us all over New Haven and Hamden showing DJ around the colleges. He fell in love with Quinnipiac and we haven’t even had the formal tour yet. It helps that they have a nice hockey arena which sold both boys on the school! She also made us a delicious pasta dinner and she and I were able to catch up, as we hadn’t seen each other in close to twenty years.

Since our hotel offers a pretty nice complimentary breakfast, this morning, Drew filled up on waffles with chocolate chips and whipped cream. Not the healthiest, but it sure made him happy! My bowl of oatmeal paled in comparison.

We headed out early to Fairfield University. Both DJ and I loved the school. There was a lot of walking though and my foot was not quite ready for the challenge yet so I hobbled along behind the group. We walked so much I wore holes in the bottom of the slipper/shoe I wore since it is the only shoe that fits over the bandage on my foot. I guess it is flip flops for the rest of the trip. The adults in our tour were amused with Drew who was right behind our tour guide the entire time. I think he thought we were here for him! One man even jokingly asked which of my sons was here for the tour!

We weren’t able to arrange for a tour at Sacred Heart University, another interest of DJ’s, but since it was so close to Fairfield we went there anyway and got some literature on the school, walked a bit and drove around the campus. He wasn’t quite as impressed as he was with Fairfield. Tomorrow, we see The University of New Haven and have our official Quinnipiac tour.

Tonight I am going to take the boys to a minor league baseball game. There is a team in Bridgeport – The Bridgeport Bluefish. This hotel we are staying at has been a perfect central location. Right in the middle of everything we have wanted to do. We are mellowing out there now, playing Uno and watching The Little League World Series. I am enjoying this time with my boys. It has been a fun couple of days.

 

The Future…

future

Today, we are headed out for our first college tour for DJ.  Just the kids and I are going.  Dave is staying home with Emmy Lou.  It was almost as expensive to board her somewhere as it was to get an extra night in a hotel so Dave decided to stay at home, while the three of us head to Connecticut.  We did visit two schools already when we visited the two schools over Spring Break, but we didn’t get a tour.  We just went around the campus to check it out.  If those schools turn into ones that DJ really wants to pursue more seriously, we will head to them again.

The original plan was to head out very early tomorrow morning since our first visit is at Fairfield University at 9am. Of course traffic was worrying me because I “have a thing” about being on time.  I hate being late for anything and this is so important for DJ.  We started to look into going a night earlier and then got a special invite that made the decision even easier.

One of my roommates in college, Mary Lynn, (Mar), grew up right around the area that we are headed to.  Last month I sent her a message telling her that we were headed to her town to visit.  Mar is living and working in Africa right now so I knew she wouldn’t be there, but I was hoping that she’d remind me of some of the fun places that she always talked about and let us know where we should go while we were there.

Mar’s mom saw my message to her and extended and invitation for us to come for dinner one of the nights while we were there.  I haven’t seen her mom in twenty years and I was so touched by her kindheartedness.  That made the decision to come today rather than tomorrow even easier.  I am looking forward to seeing her tonight and having her meet my boys.

Tomorrow, after a tour of Fairfield, we will head to Sacred Heart University.  We weren’t able to get a tour there, but since it is still one of his choices we will walk around the campus and see what he thinks.  If he wants, we can always schedule a tour for another time.  We will have two more tours on Tuesday, University of New Haven and Quinnipiac.  I like the idea that the schools are less than two hours away.  I am still trying to convince him to do one year locally and then transfer somewhere, but I am slowly losing that battle.

So many of DJ’s friends are doing the college tours right now.  I don’t remember doing it when I was a Senior.  I don’t even remember many of my friends doing it.  I applied to only four schools and had been numerous times to the one I wound up at, American University, because my dad was an alumni there so we had visited often.

I am excited for him.  Nervous too.  I think he is too, although, I doubt he’ll ever admit that to me!!

Facetime

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If there’s one thing I find myself writing about often, it is family, namely, cousins. My cousins and I are extremely close and although not all of them live near me in New Jersey, we still stay in touch as much as possible. The ones who live in New Jersey we see very often – several times a month I would say. But then there are the ones who live out west, in Nevada and Alaska. Those are the ones we miss the most when we aren’t together. Fortunately with Facebook, I am able to keep in touch with most of them a lot more often than I was ever able to do as a child.

It makes me so happy to see my own children as close to their cousins as I am to mine. Not only tight-knit with their first cousins but to their second cousins and those cousins that are once removed – twice removed – ugh, I never understand how all of that works. I can’t keep it straight. My cousins children! That’s easier!

They have it so much easier than we did as kids though. They use iChat, FaceTime and messaging, Instagram and all sorts of social media to keep in touch. I find it so sweet when I hear one of my boys’ phone ring and it is one of their cousins face timing with them.

This last week has been like a party everyday. One set of cousins, (a different set than was here earlier this summer) is here visiting. The girls are closer to Drew’s age so he, along with my sister’s kids and the cousins who live here in New Jersey have gotten together nearly every night for a week. Today, they spent all day together at the pool. Last night was the same. We are off to dinner together again tonight. All twenty-five of us. Drew wishes it could be a constant sleep over that never ends. I know exactly how he feels because when I was a kid, I wanted that never ending sleep over myself.

The girls are here for another week so there will be plenty more time to get together. We are trying to figure out how we can get out to Nevada to see them before they come out again next summer when we celebrate our grandma’s 100th birthday. Maybe we will get lucky and our Spring Breaks will fall at the same time as theirs does. That would be perfect!!

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

make a difference JFK

I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d be asked to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It is all over social media and television right now so yesterday when I was “nominated” by a neighbor and family from the school where I work, I knew I had to do it.

The challenge involves dumping a bucket of ice water over your head within twenty-four hours of being told to do so and then challenging three more people to do the same. If you fail to do it, you are asked to donate $100 to the ALS Association. ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease is 100% fatal.

Obviously, dumping a bucket of ice water over your head isn’t going to help those with ALS, but it is raising awareness and that is what is important. Since July 29th, the challenge has helped raise over millions of dollars which will go towards helping to find a cure.

I have been reading pros and cons about the challenge and how it is really helping. I see both sides to the story. The pros and the cons, but the challenge was actually started by the family of Pete Frates, a former college baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago.

If anything, it is making people talk about it and that is important. Not just “regular” people are doing it either. In the past few days, I have seen Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Lauer, television news anchors, professional athletes, and the governor of New Jersey doused with ice water.

Recently I was told about a former student of mine from one of my very first kindergarten classes. Her sister, who is in her mid-twenties was just diagnosed with ALS. That made ALS just a little “more real” to me.

I completed the challenge and challenged two friends who I knew would continue to pass it along. I also challenged my twelve year old, who did it today and decided to challenge his favorite NY Met Travis d’Arnaud. We put it up on Twitter hoping that he’d see the challenge, take it and pass it on himself. More awareness equals more donations. I am posting my video and my son’s and we are now challenging you to try it and to pass it along. It is for such an important cause and if you can’t take the challenge, considering making a donation. Every bit helps.