Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I'm OK with who I'm not.

I am a firm believer in allowing yourself to not be something...

I would love to be a dancer, and while I enjoy dancing around my living room (with or without my kid), I know that I am not a naturally gifted dancer. I can't follow choreography (and trust me, I secretly try), the moves get messed up, and I always go the wrong direction, but you know what, I'm okay with that. I love watching musicals and pretending that I'm in them, but I know deep down that's not who I was made to be.

I love singing. I sing my heart out in the car, and pretend like the people in the car next to me aren't looking. I know all the words to a ridiculous amount of songs, and while it's fun to daydream about getting discovered and getting a record deal, I know that's not going to happen. My husband keeps bugging me about singing on his next album (check him out on YouTube here), and while I might do it one day (knowing how he can completely change my voice if it sounds horrible), I'm not waiting with baited breath for my chance to become a music star.

There are plenty of things that I enjoy doing that I'm not particularly talented at, and then there are the things that I am just not that good at and don't enjoy doing.

I am not a gardener. I inherited my mom's ability to kill plants (she once killed an aloe plant...and a cactus), and while I like the thought of growing and harvesting my own food, in actuality - no thanks. I don't enjoy dirt and bugs, and honestly - vegetables. I'll leave that one to James who has a small but thriving garden growing on the side of our house. My real-life friend, Ang, from The Coupon Project, has been gardening for a few years, and she loves it. I follow her progress and cheer her on...but I'm okay with not being a gardener (or a deal-finding, amazing blog writing, food-canning woman - Go Ang, you rock!).

I'm not a great cook. Sure, I can follow a recipe, and I can turn out a decent dinner, but I'm no where near my friend, Jen, the chef, and her husband, the other chef. Going to their house for a simple dinner is an event - fancy china, amazing food, fully coordinated linens - it's awesome! I love hanging out with them, watching their love for food, and being their guinea pig for new recipes, but I'm okay with not being a world-famous chef, or even a real great home cook.

I hate exercising. I hate sweating. I try to get some in because I know it's good for me - a walk around the block, dancing around the living room, jumping a little rope. I've watched many friends train for and run everything from 5ks to full marathons, and I cheer them on, but you won't catch me paying money to run way too long and get sweaty and gross. I'm perfectly happy being on the sidelines (as long as it's not too hot out).

I would make a horrible stay-home mom. I watch my friends who find such great joy from staying home with their kids - teaching them, playing with them, and being awesome moms. During my longer breaks from work, I become an antsy, bored, impatient, slightly resentful stay-at-home mom who just wants to do what she wants to do when she wants to do it - is that too much to ask?
 But, you know what - I'm okay with that, too.

I know my skills, interests, and talents , and I know my weaknesses, dislikes and inabilities. Now, if I really put my mind, will and effort in to it, I'm sure I could do any of the above things, and do it well. But here's the thing - I don't want to, and I'm okay with that. I love watching my friends do them, but I refuse to compare myself to anyone, or to do something simply because someone else is doing it. I am allowing myself to be who I was made to be, and I'm also allowing myself to not be something that I wasn't made to be.

As Elijah grows, my hope is to nurture what comes naturally to him and what he loves. Sure, there will be areas that I'm sure he will struggle in, and we will work together in those areas to help him succeed - to a point. If he struggles with math, we will work to get him a passing grade, but I will not force an A out of him. That wouldn't be fair. I want him to know that I value him for who he is and who he was made to be, not for what I think he should be. And if my son isn't a doctor, or lawyer, or mathematician, that's okay with me. If he's not a singer, actor, or athlete, that's okay with me, too. As long as he is following the path God designed for him, whatever that may be, I will be one proud, proud mama.

I firmly believe that God has created all of us to be unique and to have special gifts and callings, and if we compare ourselves to others and try to follow in their gifts and callings, we are likely to miss out on getting to know the real us.

I know myself, and while there are things I wish I was better at, or things I wish I could change about myself, I try to be thankful and grateful everyday that I am who God made me to be. I focus on the positives, and try to let go of the negatives. It's not always easy, but it's so more much joyful to spend your time being you, rather than trying to be someone else.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Well, we've just finished week 5. We have 3 more weeks left in the quarter, and we're all dragging. I mean barely keeping eyes open, can't pick feet up off the floor kind of dragging. The students are tired, I'm tired. The last thing I want to do in the morning is get up and go play performing monkey for three hours. For anyone who is not a teacher (or public speaker of some kind), keeping people engaged is difficult, and you often feel like you're on stage performing. Most times, students pick up some of the slack, helping you keep everyone entertained, but at this point in the game, that's the last thing they want to do as well. The last few weeks of any quarter are a tough road, but Summer is even more so.

Today, we watched a movie. A cute, fun, summery movie that fit into our cause and effect theme of the week. I hope the students enjoyed it, but I always feel a bit exposed when I show a movie in class - what are they thinking about it? Do they like it? Are they having fun? Do they think I'm dumb for showing them this? Are they seeing the point in it? I'm much more nervous about showing a movie in class than I am about most anything else I do. I try to find movies that are enjoyable for a wide range of people - that are entertaining, but contain nothing too controversial (and with multiple cultures that can be difficult), and that can be worked into a lesson plan so students don't feel like I've wasted their time.

I do have to say, I am much more understanding of the movies we watched in class when I was in school now. Being a teacher is a tough job, but it's a job that we still try to do our best at...even when we're dragging.

11 more days...not that I'm counting or anything :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Baby Day!

Two of my friends, both named Sarah, had their babies today.

You may remember when I made their "It's a _____!" gifts (here and here). They were both due in August (one on the 8th and one on the 10th), but both of their babies came into the world today (one by C-section due to lack of fluids, and one on her own accord). I'm so happy for both Sarahs and their little bundles of joy!

Evan David and Elladie Christine - welcome to our world! We're so glad you're here!

P.s. Since Elladie was born in July and not August, her birth flower is no longer the poppy, which was the flower I originally designed and crocheted for her. Now, I have to figure out how to crochet a larkspur...but first, I have to figure out what exactly a larkspur looks like...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Daycare Freedom: Rice Warmer

I love Fridays! They are the first day of my weekend (love Summer Quarter for this reason), and Elijah still goes to daycare. Five whole hours to myself! Today, after I dropped Elijah off, I went to run some errands. I made the obligatory Target run and decided that I had to go home.

For the last two months or so, off and on (but mostly on), I have been suffering from a muscle spasm deep in my left shoulder. There are times it's just a little annoying, and there are times (like today) where it is pulling so tight that the muscles running underneath my collar bone feel like they're going to tear in half.

I wanted heat. I wanted to lay in bed with a heating pad wrapped around my shoulder. I wanted muscle relaxers (that has to wait for bedtime though). I got home, and went on a mad search for our heating pad - no luck! I briefly thought about using our heated blanket, but it's too big. Then I had a thought - I could make one of those rice heating pads. All I needed was a bag of rice (and what good, self-respecting half-Asian household doesn't have one of those? BTW, my husband is Korean.), a dish towel (which I had left over from Mike and Andrea's wedding gift), a funnel, and my sewing machine. I got to work and in 15 minutes (plus 2 for microwaving), here I am writing to you about it!

Here's what I did:

I cut the towel into a smaller piece - about 15" x 10" (I was not being exact at all with this project - I was in pain!)

I cut the hem off the side of the towel and cut it in half to use for handles.

I pinned the handles to one side of the towel.

I folded the towel over and pinned it.

I sewed around the towel, leaving a 3" turning space.
I turned the towel inside out.
I sewed the opening almost shut - leaving just enough room to put the funnel in.
I added 1 and 1/2 funnels of rice to the inside of the bag. I made a stitch to keep the rice in place in the first section. I added 2 more funnels of rice, and again, another row of stitches. Then I added the last 1 and 1/2 funnels of rice (this one takes the most time, and sewed up the small opening.
I heated the pad in the microwave on a plate (because I'm really not sure when the last time the microwave was cleaned was) for 2 minutes (which ended up being too hot - 1 1/2 minutes would probably have been perfect in my microwave) and tossed it over my shoulder.

Blessed heat! Hopefully, this will help relax that huge knot that keeps showing up in there. Once I'm feeling a little less pain, I'll make it a cute little cover!

Now, to reheat this thing and try to enjoy the rest of my five hours of freedom!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy Ramadan!

I've been back at work for a couple of weeks now. It's a great class, and I've had all but 2 of the students before. I only had to learn two new names, and since this is the next level from the class I taught last quarter, we were able to jump right in. No getting to know you, no trying to figure out where each student is. Awesome!

Ramadan starts tomorrow (or today for some of my students) - it's based on the sighting of the moon, so there is some variation around the world. This means I'm going to have 6 very tired, hungry and thirsty students for the next 30 days. I have learned some interesting things about Ramadan the past few class periods.

1. It is an enjoyable season. My students all said they were looking forward to it.
2. It is to remind people about the plight of the poor.
3. If for some reason you are unable to fast during Ramadan (if you're sick, pregnant, work outside, or are travelling more than 49 miles from home, to name a few) you can make up those days sometime before Ramadan starts again the next year, or you can give a donation of $10 per day.

I'm sure I will learn even more over the next month.

In other news, today, I was told that some Saudi airplanes have mini mosques inside. That's cool. I wonder why American planes don't have little chapels, or more likely, little multi-religious places of worship (gotta be P.C., right?) on them.