The Bright Side

I had the kind of day at school today that makes me fantasize about looking for job postings for a forest ranger...a deep woods type of job where I don't see people--especially children--for weeks at a time.  It was the kind of day that makes me want to go home and climb under the covers and stay there until Friday at 3:45.  It was the kind of day that sends me home feeling completely incompetent because there's this one kid who I just can't figure out the key to get her behavior in check.  It was the kind of day that makes me feel like an utter failure.

I could go on obsessing about it, but I'm already close to tears.  Instead, I'm going to focus on some things that make me smile.

Why I hate my brother
Why I hate my brother
1. This picture was taken at a mud volleyball tournament.  I'd been standing with J (far left) and my nephew B (second from left) when my brother (far right) came rushing out of nowhere and shoved me backwards into the mud.  Jeff dove for him and missed.  I love the immediacy of this picture, me still in the process of falling backwards, the little boys giggling, and the way joy can just barely see my brother laughing like a maniac as he ran away.  Incidentally, this picture is one of the most viewed in my Flickr photostream.

2.  My relentless Facebook posting about my running may be annoying, but it's apparently also inspiring.  I ran into a casual friend at Target a while back, and she told me that I had inspired her to start running more.  My cousin's wife sent me a message asking for suggestions on what to do to start training for a 5K.  Pretty cool. :)

To whom it may concern: I love you
3. One of my students colored me a Valentine's Day picture yesterday and wanted to put my name on it.  I was working with another student, so I gave him my name tag so he could copy my name.  The heart, in particular, touches me, along with the sweet innocence.  I <3 this kid!

4.  I was walking in to work today, and another of my friends told me that her husband asked this morning, "Well, how far did Kate run today?"...because she's always mentioning it to him.  That made me laugh.

Kate and Jeff
My valentine
5. This picture was taken on a float trip a few years ago.  I love it. Happy memories of a fun trip.

6.  One of my goals for 2011 was to join a running club.  So far, this non-joiner has joined two: Team Revolution (women's biking) and Team Godzilla (local tri club).  Hopefully I'll get to do my first Team Rev ride this weekend, since my first attempt was snowed out.  I was hoping to do my first Team Godzilla run as a club member tonight, but it turns out N. has a basketball game.

We won...we really won!

7. This weekend, up in Chicago, my son's club volleyball team won a match against the number one ranked U17 team in the nation.  You know those victories where the players are jumping up and down and ripping off their shirts a la Brandy Chastain?  It was that kind of win.  Huge.  So huge that the fact that we got beat by a lesser (though still very good) team in the next round didn't put a dent in our excitement.  My throat still hurt the next day from cheering so loud. :)

8.  One sad note: I've had to mark off the first item from my 2011 race schedule. Tracks n Treads (off road duathlon) is the same day as a big orientation day at Eastern Illinois University, so I'm demonstrating my good priorities and taking my son to that.  I'm disappointed, but there's always next year.  And since I won't be there, there's now an opening for last-place finisher...

Now, momentarily back to my original's been a while since I had a 2-3 year old.  What worked best for you in quelling tantrums? I'm at my wits end.  Suggestions are welcome!


  1. That is really awesome that you inspired friends/family to start running :) Love the mud pic!

  2. Ohhh and I'm only a sub right now, but I've pretty much given up on teaching because there are more than a few kids that I just don't know how to handle :(

  3. great pics as usual! I have no help in the kid area. I have no patience for children, specially the victims of today's system (everyone gets a ribbon) children we raise today (and I have 2 of my own, I'm trying to correct what I can).
    Ok, I do have some help, but you probably won't be allowed to teach it. People that excel, make more money than people that just participate (in general). This should be taught. People that don't excel, get layed off more than people that do excel (in general), this should be taught. The down side is the people that excel work harder and have to put up with people that just participate every day. IMHO our education system encourages the people that just want to participate (except for honors programs). Everyone gets a ribbon is not a good long term strategy for our society. We are raising a generation of victims that don't feel it is up to them to succeed.

  4. Hey Kate...what's going on? What happened at work today? Sorry you had a bad day. :( So, what exactly do you teach again? Forgive me if I've asked this a billion brain is fried. I love this of my favorite of yours yet. loved the pictures the short clips of memories and stories. So sweet...that picture that says Faculty. Made my heart smile. :) Hang in there. It takes the bad days to get the extraordinary ones.

  5. C'mon, you wrote about 8 things how can I even remember them all. Oh yeah, the mud. Awsome.

    Do you know Carantank Girl blog? She literally is a forrester in VT. A sweetheart and a stud.

    BTW, can't wait for my 19 hour flight to Singapore next week when I crack open The Help. I have put alot of faither into you Kate :-)
    I'm not worried based on your other suggetions.

  6. Amanda, I teach first grade special ed. I love my job, love my class. And this one little girl is the most obstinate, defiant little thing you've ever seen. She's completely disrupting my classroom...and kids with behavior problems are what I DO. Seriously, it's like she's a 2 yr old in a 6 yr old's body. And she's capable of so much more than she's doing right now. The really out there behavior is just since Christmas, and I think related in part to some changes in her home situation. I've been talking with her mom and the school social worker about it. On my way home today after finishing my nervous breakdown, I decided I need to not look at this like "oh, my gosh...we're dealing with this halfway to the end of school!!" and instead just from the same problem-solving I do with new kids and new behaviors at the beginning of the school year. Not so much different behavior on my part, but a different mindset.

  7. Hi Faculty...I mean Kate!! Sorry about the bad day, I have a few of those kids; once they enter high school, though, I figure that most are so screwed up they are beyond you do your job so I don't have to, ok?? :)
    I have this one with a mouth and attitude like you wouldn't believe, always needing to prove she's tougher than the rest, but deep down we all know she hurts like everyone else. So hard.

    I love your good day memories...I do the same, I go and have a little visit with the good times. Lately, it seems to be more than it should be and that's concerning as I don't want to live in the past...but geeeeeeez, it's tough some days. Glad you have those special places, too!!

  8. Love the picture of why you hate your brother!
    Good for you for finding things that you love when you aren't feeling great and thank you for caring enough to get frustrated. The world would be a better place if educators made an effort.

  9. Great blog post...way to turn around yourday by staying in the posistive...

    "When I get sad I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead. True story!"

  10. You joined Team Revolution?!?! My friends run that!! I know Carrie and Chris really well! I hope you get to do a race soon! :)

  11. I love this post!! I laughed then coughed for 20 minutes (still sick) over the Valentine! Tantrums - they feel like they have NO control. They are trying to control thier surroundings or situation because their feelings are out of control. See you are really laid back, so your kids never felt that probably, but maybe at school this child needs more simple small choices ?? I had a major temper tantrum thrower but I am a control freak so it' no wonder...

  12. Seriously.... that comment you just left on 'riding mikes' had me LAUGHING at my desk. People looked at me funny.... (and then I had to quick go back to the spreadsheet I was supposed to be working on because people noticed I wasn't working. HA!)

  13. Okay, I can't believe you did 14 miles on a friggen treadmill. I HATE those things. I can do maybe 3 and I'm ready to go outside.

    I'd love to do a little mud volleyball right now. Looks like summer.

    Sorry for your rough day. Next week will be better.


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