Lil Lemon Drop

Lil Lemon Drop
Happy Clothes for Happy Kids
posts in category coffee

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Thoughts this Week

;Whew! I had fun last night. First of all, I totally overindulged in a really tasty cabernet sauvignon (which don't those words just feel amazing on your tongue?), laid in bed and read, and snuggled with Alec, who is just the best thing ever. I understand increasing numbers of people are choosing not to have kids, but as for me and my body, we make little humans. Well, I mean not anymore. I don't want more little humans, but I am glad I have them! There is just something so incredible about getting together with a person and suddenly (9.5-10 nauseating,  exhausting months later) finding a whole new human emerging forth, with its own little looks and hodgepodge of shared physical traits-I love it!

I woke around 4 and played on Facebook-Oh. I just realized I went to bed after midnight. Hmm. I did not get enough sleep! It's going to be a long day, I guess. 

Being super hungry, I decided to go surprise everyone with some McDonald's breakfast. Karl had hinted at St. George's donuts last night, but they don't have a drive-thru and that requires a whole different level of grooming. So I was thinking about some Mickey D's breakfast burritos and then stopped myself. I had a lot of wine last night. A few quick punches into an online calculator and realized what I sort of felt in my cells already-I should not be driving until around 6 a.m. I can be quite cautious, like ISXJ cautious. I briefly think of the  times out drinking with friends and how I was always watching people and purses, wanting everything and everyone to get home intact. This is a pride thing-it embarrasses me. It is embarrassing to be careful and cautious and worried when I want to be carefree, and fun, and original. But that's my broken record.

So last night, riding the happy wave of red, red, wine (a good deal of it is reading--why do people DRINK so much in novels--do real life people drink so much or are the publishers trying to push alcoholism on us as a society--or maybe it is just that drunk and uninhibited characters are more fun and unpredictable for the author to work with), but craving people. I enjoyed hanging out with Alec of course, but when I drink, I generally want people around me laughing and having fun. I rarely meet people I'd consider peers though. Either they are one or two decades younger, or they are overly religious and well-behaved and wouldn't put up with my shocking words. I mean shocking not in a vulgar way--that's boring--but just maybe, overtly honest? It's a problem. 


I am so happy I am reading fiction again. It is just so exciting to get totally wrapped up in other worlds and other people. The main problem is 1) they are fictional and when I want to get totally wrapped up, I want to be there living out the stories, and 2) I like some not always high quality stuff. I struggle with embarrassment over not reading top-notch quality literature and wanting to just have a good time and be happy. I think the key is to adopt a key phrase and when I start to feel like maybe someone is judging me, repeat my phrase and fuggedaboutit! I am tough. I am strong. I can read smutty romance all I want, dang it! 

I cried a bit too much yesterday. It was awkward because I was at work, and by afternoon I was completely drained, eyes dry and tired. Letting loose a while felt really nice. But today I wake up, optimistic and excited. It's Saturday. The house always, always needs cleaned, and Liam needs a haircut desperately. The little boys can get away with longer hair because theirs lays nicely on their head, but Liam's is thick and coarse and sticks out strangely when it is getting longer. Fascinating stuff, right? Can you believe I am not a more popular blogger? Shocking.


I thought I would wake up sad, but I am not. I feel relieved and refreshed. Relaxing completely last night was needed perhaps. I had planned a good gut-wrenching post because readers like that. That gets shared and looked at. That brings out dozens and sometimes triple digit readers. But, I don't feel that now. I am not going to prostitute my feelings unless they are authentic and genuine. 

I am nearing the end of A Court of Frost and Starlight.



This is an affiliate link for Amazon.
 
This main story has been told in the first three books--this is like the Holiday special, as someone in a Facebook fan group stated. I am enjoying it though. Letting my mind be back in Velaris, dreaming of dreamy Rhys, and Cassian, and Azriel. These fictional characters are living the life, man. The next book is supposed to focus on Cassian and Nesta's "relationship," of which there doesn't seem to be much of one yet. Nesta is a hardcare, withdrawn bitch, but I get it. There is a fountain of mushy feelings she is hiding in there. I think her core is rather tender, so she protects it well. And Cassian. He's like the outgoing dumb jock, the ESXP, the cheerful and hot Emmett of the group, for you Twilight fans. Rhysand is the main man, but Azriel-- I want more of him. Strong, shadowed, and quiet. I want to hear his thoughts.  Anyway. Y'all see why I get embarrassed? I am a mess.

It's funny how a book or movie can change little things about the way you live. Rhys and Velaris are always described as smelling of sea salt and citrus...so of course, I traded out my normal wax melts (usually warm, autumny scents) for the closest I could find. I have two mixed together. I like it.  Jasmine is a scent emitted when magic is used, and Taryn just so happened to get me a jasmine scented face oil for my birthday in August. So using that makes me happy. Usually. Sometimes jasmine reminds me of bathroom freshener.  They don't drink coffee in my book. They are tea drinkers. I don't know if the author is British or what, but it is a bit sad. I am trying to live this imaginary life as much as possible and coffee really needs to be a part of that life. 

I am going to read Crescent City next, and then read the Kingdom of Ash series. 

So that's my weekend plan. Finish A Court of  Frost and Starlight this morning and start reading Crescent City.  I have to work with my homebound student tomorrow. I  took on a homebound student because so much of our money tied up in paying off credit cards. THREE MORE YEARS before they are paid off, barring extra payments. It hurts. But it has to hurt, to feel it. The more it hurts now, the longer I will go before using credit again.  But extra income to continue living a pleasant life with trips and cute things is nice. 

Do you have great Saturday plans? I love it when people share back. Makes this big, cold world feel a bit cozier, you know?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A Day in the Life of an Online Summer School Teacher

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash



For the last quarter of the school year and for the month of June, I have been teaching online. I wanted to share a bit of what that looks like on a daily basis.

Rise and Shine!

5:05 a.m. My alarm goes off. I might get up. I might not. If I have K-cups or set up the coffee maker the night before, I am much more likely to get up. Let's assume I do get up.

I typically head downstairs and pour a cup of coffee, black please. Then I take my phone into the library (front "formal" livingroom). Depending on the day, I will either sit on the loveseat to listen to something inspirational on Simple Habit, or sit on the floor and begin stretching. It really depends on how tired I feel.
After listening and meditation/stretching for 10 minutes or so, I might decorate a room on Design Home or check up on Facebook to see if anything exciting happened overnight. 

Sometimes I am feeling the need to reach out to people, which I do by blogging about my feelings. Because what else draws people in like a big emotionally driven post about nothing, right? If I am under a lot of stress, I will pray or write in a private, handwritten prayer journal. It has more of the truth, but it is still censored-I mean, I am going to die someday and someone is going to read it.

If the weather is really nice I might sit out on the back deck and enjoy my second or third cup of coffee. 
Around seven, I put my contact (I only have one left) in, and do my makeup.

Work Begins

 As soon as my makeup is done and my hair is pulled back into a ponytail, I do my short daily video announcements for my students. I make conference meeting times and email those links out to my classes. My public school district uses Canvas and we supplement the learning with great educational games like Prodigy for Math. In addition, we are using Scratch and Tynker for my online coding class. 

Then I start getting the kids up and dressed. 
Usually I eat breakfast, I love a good fried egg, bread, and a cutie in the morning. 

Goodbye Kiddos!

 8:30 my oldest daughter comes and picks up the kids. During the spring, she had been watching them from about 8:00 to 11:30, but since the addition of my second class she is watches them from about 8:30 to 1:50. I hold my one oclock meeting then rush to get them and hurry back for the 2:00 meeting. 

Keep on working

I spend a lot of time going over the lessons the students have completed, calling and emailing parents whose child isn't attending or logging in, and grading lessons. I compile information from Prodigy and determine what my lesson will be like for the day. At 10 a.m. I hold a lesson for students who want extra time with a teacher.  
At 11:00, I have my regular class meeting. Often it is the same kids who showed up at the 10 a.m. meeting. We chat a little, go over the assignments, and everyone gets a chance to share if they want to talk. 

Not sure about the schedule just yet

After this meeting, I had been taking a break to get the kids, however, since my second class was added, I need to be ready for a class meeting at 1:00. So I eat lunch, prepare for the meeting, and then at one open the room. This class was late getting assigned to me and just started two days ago. Attendance is quite low, so I spend a lot of time, messaging and emailing parents to try and get them on board.
We talk about the lessons and I give them a chance to share. After that I close down the meeting room and rush to get my kids. At two I come back to prepare for the afternoon extra help meeting, which hasn't been attended yet. I think I may push that back to 2:30 and take my break from 2:00-2:30 from now on.

Step away from the computer. I repeat...

Around 3 or 4, I step away from the computer. If I don't have a headache, I call it a good day. 
Honestly, I love it. I wish the class meetings were attended more, but I love getting to know the kids and often the parents are there, too, and just the general feeling of pride in being entrusted with youngsters by the community. 

That Family Thing

Dinner for me is around 4. I am counting calories after a big slide over the spring, and usually starving. I generally chomp down some salmon or chicken breast and a bag of cooked broccoli. Yeah. I don't love it, but it does work, if I can avoid snacking.

I try to have dinner for the family ready around five. At this time, the boys are usually playing with neighbors, and Alec is going from my phone to out back, to sneaking out the front and running away if I let myself get preoccupied. 

Of course, I work again


Sometime later in the evening, I check my email and classes for messages and make sure I know how to do the work for the next day.

And I relax

 If my husband is in a good mood I might go out for a short drive to listen to music, center a little, and maybe let myself think about the things I need to think  about. Or I might take a long, hot bath, if I am really feeling extravagant. I climb into bed around nine, or as soon as Alec is in bed. Alec doesn't believe in going to bed when it is light out-and I get it. We are also training him to sleep with his door open now. Usually by 10:30, I have played my last Words with Friends games and I am tired. I will put the phone away, make sure my contact is out, teeth are brushed, face is washed, and small fan is on. Then it's sleepy time!

When do I shower? If my hair is dirty I will shower either in the evening or first thing in the morning. Otherwise I usually take baths. 

I realize there is little husband time in there. It usually depends on if we are into any TV shows. If we have an ongoing show, we spend a lot of time doing that. Right now we don't, so our interests are very different (he likes music and I like quietly reading). We sort of manage the kids and do our own thing. Sometimes, we do sit out on the deck or build a fire in the firepit in the yard, too. 

Obviously, I am doing laundry, handwashing dishes 2 or 3x a day, and spending time with the boys throughout the day, as well. I just don't have a set time for that.

Online Education Learning Opportunities

Personally, I love doing distance education. As a parent, I find it difficult to get my kids to do their own work, so I understand what some parents may face. However, for some of our kids learning online through educational portals and educational games with the support of a teachers is fantastic option. I would have loved the ability to do middle school at home. 

Welp. There you go. I think this may be the most boring thing I have ever written. But now you know!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

8 things I Do To Make Myself Happier

Listen! We are living in some crazy times. If you are anything like me, or say, the other 7. whatever billion people on this planet, your whole life has been turned upside down in just a few weeks. Although most of us are holding on the hope that things will eventually (and hopefully soon) get back to to normal, we are still going through a huge amount of uncertainty, upheaval, and resulting stress.

To get through these times without losing my mind, I find it helpful to keep a stash of little things in my back pocket to lift my spirits, so I can continue to be the strong and mighty queen the world needs!

This post contains affiliate links.

1. Rehydrate every morning
I find it hard to drink water, especially upon waking, EVEN IF my throat is dry. One thing that helps is having a quick 8 ounces before I start my coffee brewing (seriously it almost makes me gag, I don't know where this aversion comes from),  and then sip another warm cup with fresh squeezed lemon. Somehow when I warm up the mug of water, and splash a little zesty lemon it becomes a palatable treat!

I've got to get this happy cup!



2. Caffeinate
I like my coffee. Dark, rich, and hot, just holding that steaming cup in my hands in a fantastic morning pleasure. If coffee isn't your um, cup of tea, perhaps trying a cup of tea will give you a lift. There are so many varieties of coffee and teas, both caffeinated and decaf, you can easily find the right brew to lift your morning mood. Anything that becomes part of a quiet morning ritual will enhance your day and bring a feeling of wellness. When it comes to favorite brews, I swear I love the Walmart Great Value French Roast K-cups. To increase the value of that minute or so waiting for the Keurig to heat up and brew, I do between 20-30 various squats to tone my legs.

Go crazy and consider this coffee:




3. Morning Meditation
I am not going to lie. I am not a super-meditator who can sit for 45 minutes visualizing world peace (although if you are, you go!). But I like to sit and listen to a short meditative lecture on the Simple Habit app, while doing slow stretching exercises to warm my body up and loosen for the day. After that, I will listen to some white noise or meditative music and practice true meditation and visualization for oh, an average of around 6 minutes.
If the Simple Habit app isn't for you, here are links to several other similar sites you can try

4. Hiking

Photo by Toomas Tartes on Unsplash

While not my picture, and apparently that photo was taken in Chile, I love hiking. I don't do it nearly as often as I should, because the hump I have to get over to pack enough for the kids and get all the stuff ready seems to outweigh my perceived benefit of pushing through, but when I do push through I always am delighted I did. I love the outdoors, the scenery, the exercise, and even the confidence I feel when I manage rocky terrain surefootedly. Nothing as of yet has compared with our short family hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, however, I have explored Ozark hills, quiet wooded paths,  emerald green paths atop the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, and I plan to see how the Alps compare to the Rockies as soon as fate allows!

While not technically hiking boots, these were my go-to boots on rainy walks in Ireland:




I swear I love these things. I get so excited on work days when it is wet and rainy. A perfect excuse to wear my two-year-old boots!


5. Favorite Movies
A little media can be good for the soul. Watching a tear-wrenching film is often the carthartic release I need to look at the world through new eyes. Most of us are getting more than enough screen time. Let's just make sure it is something worth our time which enriches our lives. For you it might be a silly comedy, an action film, or a light-bright rom-com. You do you. You deserve it.

Or watch something fun, like the movie we got my youngest child, Alec's name from (I am totally the dorky blonde girl)





6. Reading
I will never have enough time to read. From fabulous fiction which takes me away to a better place, to informative and inspiring nonfiction which helps me discover who I was meant to be and encourages me to become that person, there are so many amazing books out there! Now that my life is so busy I read a lot more nonfiction than fiction. It is just so much easier to skim and drop off and pick up a nonfiction book. But every now and then a fiction book will grab ahold of me and won't let me go until we come to that shaky, sleep-deprived ending. Heaven!
I'll be posting on my current reading soon.

7. Brainstorm Fun Ideas
From bucket lists, to do now dream lists, to planning imaginary virtual vacations, I love to think about the all the options in the world, and think about what it would be like to make it happen.
I have recently been inspired by my reading of How to do Everything and Be Happy, by Peter Jones. It's a simple book to help you feel brave enough to take back some time and has practical hints on how to organize the things you want to do and get them done.

This is one of the books that is cheaper in paperback than kindle...




8. Practice Letting Go
Letting go of past hurts and disappointments is never easy. But it is the KEY to a happy outlook. Give yourself the time to really dig in and feel the feels and then when you are ready, look for the lesson, and move on. Learning not to hold grudges and not to drown in self-pity has given me the power to control my own happiness, and I recommend giving it a try. This is a lesson which requires practice, because once forgiven, doesn't mean always forgiven. The stubborn heart when challenged will bring back those unpleasant memories, so it helps to think of forgiveness as an ongoing process you can practice again and again and again.

I am sorry. My good-girl-ness doesn't usually like bad words, but is just so right on. A good short affirmation for yourself!



As you can see, these are simple ideas. Not a one of them is too crazy-hard to implement to increase your daily happiness. While you would obviously want to switch out the ones which don't work for you and put in things that make you, personally, happy, the key is to add a little joy to your life Every. Single. Day.

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