Uncategorized

Rescue: FMF

Today I am joining the positive writing community over at Five Minute Friday for their weekly link-up. Each week we gather to write on a common theme. This week our theme is Rescue.

Right now I am a couple of weeks in to my final semester of graduate school. In December, I will be graduating with a Masters of English degree and I am really proud of the work and effort I have put in to accomplish this life goal. At times, during this journey I have been treading water. My enrollment in the program coincided with the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and so I taught hybrid and remotely all while trying to keep on top of my studies and assignments. This semester is also my heaviest load. I am taking three courses right now, one of which is my Capstone/Thesis project. I have been busy and will only continue to be until the semester ends in December.

So how am I coping? What is my plan for this semester? What is my plan for my degree?

First of all, I am coping with large amounts of coffee, planning chunks of work time weekly during the semester, making routines and sticking to them, and prioritizing my time better for my family. Having a plan has rescued me from going crazy, but nothing has rescued my energy like a couple of cups of coffee each day.

After December, I plan to use my degree to better my craft, increase my teaching opportunities within my district, become a qualified cooperating teacher for pre-service educators (aka–have student teachers in my room), increase my salary, and I look forward to the other options that I am still unaware of.

Writing on here may become sparse at times throughout this semester, but don’t worry I am still writing just in a different capacity. And this is all temporary. And I am incredibly thankful for the way coffee and friends provide a rescue line when I start to feel buried by the load of graduate courses.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

City: Five Minute Friday

Today I am joining the positive writing community over at Five Minute Friday for their weekly link-up. Each week we gather to write on a common theme. This week our theme is City.

Thanks to Covid the city has lost its appeal.

I miss the days of hopping in the car and seeing what we could get up to in town. With all the restrictions and all of the “hotspots” it makes a trip into the city one of the greatest opportunities to be at-risk.

I miss shopping in-person instead of through online portals and digital exchanges.

I miss strolling down busy streets, sipping coffee, and looking for good deals in storefronts.

I miss concerts and events in the parks and arenas downtown.

I miss dodging cyclists on the city’s walking paths.

Columbus is my city and I miss it so much. Crime rates are up and the city misses the people who came with a sense of wonder and enjoyment to its streets. I look forward to the day when we all return to life as it was before. I cannot wait to stroll through downtown with a cup of Stauff’s coffee (highlander grogg of course) while my hubby eats his Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream from a freshly made waffle cone.

One day this will all be over and we can return to our cities as we did before and enjoy the spontaneous.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Teach: Five Minute [Friday]

Today I am joining the positive writing community over at Five Minute Friday  (a day late) for their weekly link-up. Each week we gather to write on a common theme. This week our theme is Teach.

Eight days in to the 2021-2022 school year and I have already been through so much: adapting to numerous administration changes, learning my role as a Student Council advisor, a 24 hour stomach bug, learning 150+ students’ names, and kicking off my courses in fun, interactive ways. In many ways it has felt like things are back to the way they were pre-Covid, but this week the pandemic kept rearing its ugly head in the background. A few students quarantined here and there, social distancing protocols, and the latest talk of reinstating mask mandates in the schools.

I’m not here to be political or to insert myself into the dialogue about our rights to not wear masks as American citizens. All I want to accomplish is a smooth, productive, and positive school year.

If we could leave Covid protocols to the previous school years and move forward with a clean, healthy slate that would be ideal. No one would argue that. But as my sudden illness this week proved, being healthy comes before anything else.

So those are my scattered ruminations after my first eight days. Things are going well and I’m trying really hard to ignore the fact that Covid is still trying to impact my school year. I’m ready for a normal year of learning and growing as a teacher and individual.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Accountability: Five Minute Friday

Today I am joining the positive writing community over at Five Minute Friday for their weekly link-up. Each week we gather to write on a common theme. This week our theme is Accountability.

Can be real for a few minutes today? I’ll take the silence as a yes and proceed with the raw thoughts and emotions as they are triggered.

It’s been a while since I stopped to consider my own accountability.

As a mother, I am accountable to my children, husband, and God.

As a teacher, I am held accountable to my students, administrative team, and curriculum by a set of standards and a state-mandated evaluation system.

As a friend, I am accountable to weekly check-ins and occasional get-togethers.

As a grad student, I am accountable to deadlines, rubrics, and course grades.

In so many ways I find accountability in others. Their communication reminds me that I am not alone in this journey. Accountability assures fail-safes or checkpoints throughout the journey of life and those become moments of deep consideration and change. When we are accountable to others we find ourselves reflecting and redirecting and we often see growth.

So now to me being real…

This season of life has been unbalanced.

I’ve been accountable to various entities, but neglected to remain accountable to myself. There have been days where I feel more self aware and present than others, but in this moment I feel like I’ve been pouring from a cup with a slow leak. When I am tired I am often the last person I think about–the last person on a long list of accountability. So while I may be fulfilling the roles I listed above I haven’t been taking the time to be accountable to myself (primarily, my faith).

Back-to-school season is INSANE. I’m already in survival mode and it is only week 1. But, I am looking for resources and ideas on how to continue to cultivate my faith and invest in myself in a way that fits with the busy life of a mom, teacher, friend, and grad student. Please share if you have any tools!!!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Order: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday morning!

This morning I am joining writers from all over the globe in the Five Minute Friday link-up. Every week bloggers and social media writers gather to share a post on a common theme. This week our prompt is: Order.

If you have been following my family and I you know that we spent a month in England. Last Friday we made it home and we have spent the week resettling into our American lives. Jet lag hit us pretty hard. Those first few days we woke up with the sun at 4:45am, but then crashed by 5pm or 6pm. Each day we tried to sleep a little later and stay up a little longer to help get us regulated.

The one thing we did on Monday that helped bring order to our lives was a deep clean of our home. We needed to reconnect with our house and so we lifted the month’s worth of dust, cat hair, mess from the surfaces of the home and worked on bringing the house back to life.

Things that we take for granted while here are things we missed while away. I missed sitting in my writing spot looking out into the morning and the sunshine. I missed the way my cat rubs up against me as I write just to let me know that he’s there. I missed my slow cup of coffee in the morning.

Life in England was amazing. We always do so much and pack a year worth of memories into one month and it is such a blessing. Check out my recent posts about the trip and see that while we were gone we didn’t long for home–we were too busy and surrounded by loved ones for that. But once we arrived home I noticed how much I missed my routines.

Life is starting to fall back in place. There is an order to the home and our schedule is beginning to feel like normal. We are sleeping a normal 8 hour stretch and eating at times acceptable to society. Jet lag shook up the order in our lives a bit, but it seems that it has finally worn off.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Deserve: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday!

Today, I am joining writers from all over the world for a Five Minute Friday link-up. For today’s link-up we are all writing on the common theme: Deserve.

We are still in England today and finally out of our required quarantine!

Since we were locked down on Father’s Day, we decided to treat my husband to a day out today because he deserves more than a day locked indoors to celebrate his paternal skills and dedication.

I took the girls into town early this morning and we purchased my husband a nice Parker pen (the quintessential writing utensil for all posh Englishmen). Next, we caught a train all together to Southampton. While in the city, we treated my husband to a cream tea lunch at a very nice tea room.

Lastly, we walked around West Quay, the city center and shopping area for Southampton. Overall, it was a fun day out as a family celebrating a man who deserves the world for all of the love and sacrifices he makes for us!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Conclude: Five Minute Friday

I’m jumping on this week’s prompt from the Five Minute Friday community. This is a weekly link up where writers share thoughts on a common word.

As we conclude another semester at school I have a few thoughts:

1.Teachers are some of the most adaptable humans. Scratch that, students are the most adaptable humans. Whether students were learning from home, in a hybrid model, or fully in the classroom, Fall Semester 2020 was a challenging time to be a student. So many have proven adaptability and resilience while others have developed those skills for the first time.

2. Grades cannot be anyone’s top priority. With life looking so different I’ve had to shift my mindset from being grade and growth oriented to focusing more on the mental health and social well being of the students in my care. This has meant redesigning lessons and scrapping some lessons altogether. Building relationships has become a pillar to my classroom instruction this semester.

3. There’s no such thing as too much coffee. If I’m being honest, I’ve spent way too much money on coffee this semester. My students even joke that they have never seen me without a cup of coffee in my hands. Is this true? Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it. Do I have regrets? Nope–I survived the semester so there must be something to this teacher hack.

4. Teachers need to invest in themselves. It is so easy to devote all of our creativity and mind space to the craft of classroom instruction–especially during a pandemic when things need to adjust to fit the learning models. But so many teachers experienced massive burnout [myself included] a couple of months into the semester. Learn from my mistakes and make sure that you are taking time to be creative in other ways.

5. Comedy and music are good for the soul. This semester, whenever I could sense the weight of stress on my students I would course correct and give opportunities for students to tell jokes or give them time to work while I played uplifting music in the background. I can remember one day in particular, I was very sad about the health of someone I admired and when I shared this my students cheered me up with their own flavors of comedy.

At times this semester I have felt like I was drowning. I flailed around gasping for air. But now that I am wrapping things up on this final day of the semester I can look back and see the mistakes and victories. I am proud of the way I let the students and the pandemic shift my focus in the classroom. Community has been paramount this year and will continue to be next semester.

I am so thankful for Fall 2020. Now, it’s time to celebrate and relax for a couple of weeks.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Beyond: Five Minute Friday

Hello, Muse, and welcome to Friday [we made it!] I have so much to update you on, but first I must explain today’s post.

I am joining the weekly link-up on Five Minute Friday. This is a community of writers who respond once a week to a common prompt. With the theme in mind we craft an original post over the course of five minutes [which means no pre-planning, no editing, no PERFECTION.] We give ourselves permission to be honest and imperfect. I started doing Five Minute Friday [FMF] posts years ago and I have gotten so much joy from being a part of this collective that I am once again jumping back in.

So here is my five minutes of uninterrupted word crafting…

It’s been a few days since I ventured beyond these four walls. On Tuesday, I was sent home to quarantine after a student in one of my classes was Covid positive. So far, I am feeling fine and I believe my chances of contracting the virus from that student are very low. I did complete a self-administered Covid test yesterday at CVS. I was so nervous, but it really was not too bad.

A few things from my self-administered test:

  1. It was extremely hard to find a test site.
  2. Because I was not deemed “critical” I did not qualify for a rapid test.
  3. I was sent text confirmations for my testing appointment as well as safety guidelines to follow upon arrival.
  4. The entire test was conducted by ME inside my vehicle. [With my screaming two year old in the backseat]
  5. I pulled into the CVS drive thru and an employee walked me through the process from her window. My instruments were sent via a drop box, much like a drive-thru bank.
  6. I had to watch a video about how to swab myself. I was proud of being able to do it well–I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stick the swab far enough on my own. I did though!
  7. All this to say–it was a rather easy, contact-free, and un-intimidating process.

If you find yourself having to quarantine or test, please know that testing does not have to be scary. If I can do it–so can you!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Dear Daughter, Uncategorized

Just: Five Minute Friday

Dear Daughter,

It feels like just yesterday I was cradling you in my arms for the first time. All those years of waiting were finally over. You were perfect in every way. The moment I heard your voice and saw your wrinkled nose I knew that you had filled a hole that we didn’t know existed. I felt peace and knew that God had just given us the missing piece. Our family was whole.

It’s been a year of being blessed by your presence.

Your smile is contagious. Your words are brilliant. Your personality is the perfect mix of Daddy and I.

It was a year of firsts for you. How exciting it was to watch you knock over those milestones like you owned this world. You’re growing so quickly and while I celebrate every first for you I also remember that this is the last time I will see my own child complete these tasks.

God has been so good to us.

He has faithfully delivered our family from illness and death. This year he has restored and fulfilled promises. And you, my big one-year-old, were our gift. God knew when he made you that we would need that infectious smile to get us through some of the scariest times we faced. He knew that your strong hugs would chase away fears and quiet anxiety.

You are truly a blessing and I can’t imagine our family without you.

Happy First Birthday!

The Ameri Brit Mom

**This post was written in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt of the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other encouraging writers and their posts about the prompt.

FMF-Square-Images-Round-5-1

Family, Uncategorized

Build: Five Minute Friday

FMF-Square-Images-Round-5-3.jpg

I’m getting my butt kicked by my February schedule.

Can you relate?

For some reason I keep double-booking myself even with my efforts to keep a bullet journal. There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. That’s why it is even more important than ever to build into that schedule some time for me.

A few months ago my husband and I agreed on an arrangement that allowed both of us ample time to focus on our hobbies. On an ideal day, we would each get ONE HOUR to ourselves. For him, it would look like a run to the gym or a drill session with five basketballs. For me, that time would be sitting in front of the computer like I am right now and allowing myself some time to write.

Now, it doesn’t happen this way every day.

There are days when my kiddos interrupt that time and days when my husband never makes it out the door. But, our goal is to make this time a priority every day.

As parents it can be so easy to lose ourselves. I could spend over half a day cleaning messes or changing diapers. But one thing I’ve learned after six years of this gig is that I am a much better mom when I’ve taken some time to focus on  me.

I am thankful for a husband who is supportive and encourages me to take that time.

I am grateful for a daughter that understands when Mom is writing she really needs to be left alone.

This ONE HOUR trade-off with my husband has helped to curb my anxiety and given me a renewed sense of purpose in writing. I’ve taken time to dream again. I’ve taken steps toward reaching that dream. And I’ve begun feeling more accomplished than ever.

How do you build time for yourself during the day?

*This post is part of the Five Minute Friday prompt for the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other positive writer’s explore the same word prompt.

The Ameri Brit Mom