Happiness Is A Snow Day!

Happiness is a Snow Day!

A day when you woke up planning to, give that test and finish those literacy lessons and fix my CLO’s before my unscheduled observation

A day when you suddenly have no plans at all

A day when you wake up without an alarm at 5am to check if Snow Santa has dropped enough white beauty onto the streets to cause the Superintendents of the world to allow us and the children to stay off the street.

A day when you get to turn off your alarm and sleep until your hearts desire. . .but normally you are so excited for the free day that you can’t even go back to sleep and now you are up an hour before your normal school alarm would go off.

A day when you get to trick your pedometer into thinking you have completely changed professions by walking 1000 instead of your usual 8,000 by dinnertime.

A day for you. . completely off the books, a day of Netflix binges and bad food,

A day that I hate to break it to your children, we, the teachers need it so much more than you do.

From Denver with Love, Enjoy Your Snow Day!

 

<3Kelsi Rae 

The Business of Feminism

I normally don’t consider myself much of a feminist, at least the the 2015 version. I am all for the feminists of 1919 and past decades, and it is not that I don’t believe in women’s rights but if I am going to put my voice out there about something I normally stick with poverty or race politics. But you know today something really got to me, that made me stop and think. .

How does your simple presence as a man negate my entire interaction as a woman?

Today Mr. and I bought a couch off of an app called NextDoor it basically connects you to your neighbors and is a great connection to things going on in the neighborhood. (It is also a hilarious outlet to watch overly sensitive people rant,within your neighborhood) But in this case we bought a couch, it is a wonderful couch and I am pleased with the experience, but at the end as we walked away the guy selling it to us turned and shook Mr.’s hand and said, “Pleasure doing business with you, see you around the neighborhood.” Then smiled and nodded at me as they walked by.

Pleasure doing business with YOU! Just YOU!

Ok so lets break this down,

I set up the meeting time

, I provided the OK to buy the couch,

I handed over the money

And it was MY car that we drove to pick it up.

So really what business did you do with my husband?

So maybe you helped him carry the couch to our house, while I carried the cushions but does that really constitute business?

I noticed the same sort of interactions when we were buying my new car, one salesmen we met with, knew it was my car, knew it would be my name on the title, and yet he would talk to Mr. as if he were buying a car for his 16 year old daughter. Who wasn’t in the room!

I felt like waving my hands in his face. . . um over here, I am making the decisions here!

Ok maybe these are little things, maybe I should let them go and not get so worked up about them but really when I used to do business when I was single and did not bring a man with me they could see me, they shook my hand and said pleasure doing business with you, with little ole me.

But now it is like I am just the “little Missus” well this little Missus, balances our budget, has a full time career and is fully capable of doing business on my own, just so all the Mr.’s in the world know!

❤ Kelsi Rae

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30 Minutes!

Today I ran for 30 minutes straight for a total of 2.7 miles!

So not the fastest runner ever. . . ok I may be the slowest runner ever, the amount of people that passed me were unreal. And one guy wearing a marathon t-shirt and I swear his feet weren’t touching the ground passed me 3 times going around the 2.5 mile loop. So he ran the park 2.5 times to my one time!

I passed some walkers, a few moms pushing babies and that was it. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I did it! I have never passed a point where I could run more than 10 minutes at a time!

Even when I was a competitive athlete I couldn’t run distances,  I could sprint, shuffle, run, and jump. I  could run drills at volleyball practice for 3 hours twice a day but the day that our coach decided that we needed to start running 2 miles before practice it was like I was dying.

But today I did it I ran 30 minutes straight, and tomorrow I am going to run 35 and then I will be offically running a full 5k without walking I hope!

Keep going,

put one foot in front of the other

Forget all the people that are passing you

Because that cheesy line

You are lapping everyone on the couch

Well it is true

And that guy that flying marathon runner had to start somewhere

 And here I am starting somewhere too.

My Husband’s Hands

I work hard. . . I understand that, I work more hours than I want to admit, I think about my students more hours of the day then they will ever know.However my type of hard work is different than my husbands. . I get up every morning I go to a place where I do my work, I work for *normally a set amount of time and I am able to come home, where I am again *normally able to then focus on being a wife and a cat mother.

Yes yes I am a teacher so I spend more than the amount of weekends than I want planning my lessons, and more of my paycheck then I would want on school supplies and clothes and anything else I think my children need. I have adopted 23 wonderfully challenging children into my heart. . but this is different than what my husband does.

When people here what I do I get “oo you have such a special heart. . . I could never do what you do. . . oh the patience. ” I am told over and over that I am making a difference in people’s lives. When people here what Mr. does it is normally Ohh that is soo cool, I have no idea how to do that. But no one tells him that he is patient or special and no one thinks about how he is changing himself, our family or the lives of people in what he does.

 Mr. makes videos, commercials and corporate videos for retreats and Church’s and all sorts of videos that most people don’t see that are made for companies and bride’s and any one else that can afford them.

These videos are made for demanding clients who completely disregard something called a work week or that Mr. has a wife and a life outside of their :30 second video. They expect him to work until 1am on a Saturday and get up on Monday and do it all again.

And he does.

He listens to their complaints, changes, he does what they want even when creatively he completely disagrees. He works 5-7 days a week anywhere from 8 to 10 to 12 to 15 hours a day. Sometimes he eats dinner with me and heads back to work, sometimes he lays down and waits for me to fall asleep and sneaks away his computer to see what the client has decided now.

So who is more patient? Me who deals with adorable children, who yes have significant special needs and sometimes bite, hit, kick me or spit in their backpack for fun, or in my face. But they are still 8 years old and adorable and when they are done they turn to me and say, “I am sorry Ms. Kelsi.” and when I come back in the room they light up and say ” I am so glad you are back.” and they mean it they love me just as much as I love them.

Mr. he pours his whole heart into his work he finds something beautiful in every painfully corporate project, and when the client yells and changes something they approved for the 15th time he sighs and does it. He doesn’t get the hug and the I am sorry. His clients don’t love him, they are thankful for his return. So to me . .. he wins the patience award.

And even if his clients aren’t happy for his return even if they don’t see his dedication as the most diligent patient work they could get. . I do. I am inspired by his commitment his love and his beautiful work everyday. He makes videos come to life in a way I never could, and he sees something beautiful in every video even when it is painfully dull.

And he deals with adults. .. which come on we all know can be so much worse than children.

So just remember that I may have “such a special heart” so does everyone else, it just comes out a little differently.

❤ Kelsi Rae

Beautiful in Every Shade!

For years my hair has consumed me. Even before I started my natural hair journey, 2 years ago.. . 2 years has it really been that long?!

I would think about how I could make my hair straighter, more like my friends, why didn’t my hair curl like theirs , why didn’t it grow like theirs? Then I would cut it every month or so, getting shorter and shorter, going red, pink, purple then black, a light brown and then back to red, my hair was my obsession, or my hobby as some might say.

Finally I cut it all off, shaved my head and decided to start fresh, now that wasn’t the beginning of my natural hair journey because over the course of the next year I only lasted with a TWA for about 3 months before I relaxed my hair and had an ultra cute pixie. . no the start of my natural hair journey started about a year later. I simply decided I wasn’t going to relax or cut my hair for 2 months that seemed reasonable at the time.

Then 2 months came and went and I decided to go for 6 months, and then in that 6 months I got engaged and decided I wasn’t going to relax or cut my hair till the wedding. (I did trim off the relaxed ends from time to time after about 10 months)

All in all I transitioned for 17 months before cutting almost all of my relaxed ends off. In this time I learned one of the most valuable lessons I have yet to learn in my 24 years. . . BLACK HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL, JUST THE WAY IT IS!

I grew up in an all white town, in an all white family, with all white friends . I loved their hair, to me it screamed versatile, where my hair screamed messy. My mom wouldn’t let me relax my hair until I was 18 but she had no idea what to do with my hair so it was most often in a poof on top of my head. ( A poof I now wish I could pull off again) and that is what I thought natural hair meant, that you were constrained to having an afro (which my younger self was not confident enough to pull off) or wearing your hair up. In a now infamous school picture I took my hair down without telling m mom right before the picture and ended up with a kind of sticking out straight from my head not down and not cute look. All I wanted was to wear my hair down and not up.. my hair loved to reach for the sky!

But over these past two years I discovered more styles for my hair than I ever I wore it in twists, braids, wash and gos, twist outs, I wore it up, down, in a protective style, I changed my hair style and color about every 2 months without damaging a thing and I LOVED IT!. I finally found a way to express myself through my hair . . .all by wearing “Black” styles.

Along the way there was a boy, my now husband who has repeatedly told me how beautiful my black is, he has loved every style every change every kink. He has reminded me over and over again that I am beautiful just the way I am. I tell him all the time that . . .”He loves my hair, , and for that I love him.”

Now I am off to a new journey I have decided to loc my hair in 2016, I started my baby locks on my collar bone length hair and trimmed the ends to start healthy. Time to remind the world again that no matter what natural or relaxed hairstyle I or anyone else chooses, we are professional, we are intelligent, we are beautiful and no standard of professionalism can stop that, it is time to change the standard.

Because no matter what, you are Beautiful in every shade.

 

Welcome to 2016.

❤ Kelsi Rae

 

 

 

To Be Seen.

Today I met a man named Gus, Gus had a light in his eyes and blue coat and ratty white hat, he was standing beside the Conoco barely making eye contact with anyone but expectantly watching every car that drove into the parking lot.

He was the guy that people see walking up to them and instantly get defensive, hide that last bit of cash they have in their pockets, avoid eye contact, make a quick shuffle back into their car. They guy in the parking lot that no one truly treats like a guy at all.

And there he was walking up to me as I started to pump my gas, and I was no exception I ducked my head in my car hoping he would pass by. Then I heard,

“Excuse me miss, sorry to bother you.”

So I spun around and met him with full eye contact, finding a man with the tiniest shimmer in his sad eyes, his eyes that said he would rather be doing anything than standing in that parking lot asking me for a few dollars.

He told me that he was staying in a motel, (which are strung every few feet around this part of East Colfax, a motel every block full of strung out junkies, children, dogs, people trying to get on their feet, and even a few hookers. He stated he was staying at one of these motels, with his 8 year old twin daughter, daughters that don’t but could have easily gone to my school.

He told me about his ex wife, and how they are all crammed in the one hotel room, he told me about the hotel with cheaper rooms down the street but that he didnt want to move his daughters again, and through all of this yes.. he asked me for money.

I didn’t give him any, mostly because I didn’t have any. But I did spend more time than the other people around talking to him, I did look him in the eye and learn his name. I did ask about his daughters and talk about the difficulty of getting to school everyday. I did take the time to see him.

And as he walked away I told him, “I am sorry Gus I hope you get the money for the room.” He simply looked over his shoulder and said, “We will.” I laughed and said, “Hopeful.” He simply replied, “Always.”

This man who has so much more to deal with and so much less to deal with it with than I do, this man that walks his daughter to school from the motel and then goes to his part time job that doesn’t pay them enough money to eat and sleep in the motel every night so they have to choose one or the other. This man was Alway’s hopeful.

This reminded me that even if I can’t give everyone money, and I wouldn’t want and can grant them the simple act of being seen. Just to make eye contact and remind them that they are truly human and worthy of my time, we so often seem to step on and over these people, assuming that they are lower than we are for the circumstances in their life.

Gus helped me commit myself to seeing more people not just looking at them but truly seeing them.

❤ Kelsi Rae

Natural Journey, 2 years!

I haven’t relaxed, majorly cut, or colored my hair in 2 years! That is a major accomplishment for someone who regularly did all of those things before that! I set out to transition and did so for 18 months

I went through a lot of hair styles throughout this journey, I rocked Marley twists, crochet braids, clip in extensions, wash and go’s, flat twists, two strand twists, twist outs, braids and about every other natural hair style I could think of. Most recently I decided to instal faux locs, I have been trying to decide if I wanted locs for a long time, pretty much since the beginning of my journey, I wanted to wait until after I got married,

I got married in August and installed my faux locs in October, three months later and I am more than ever convinced that I want to lock my hair. So here it goes, starting a new journey, true to my self I have scoured the internet, youtube and the locked nation of ladies in order to make my start and I am prepared for the stages of growth I hope. I have investigated palm rolling, interlocking, the pros and cons of product, should I have a loctition, should I start with extensions and I think I am ready to go. . . so let’s see 2016 here we come. . .

Here are a few of my styles over the past two years. . . updates on the locks as they come!

❤ Kelsi Rae

Run Girl Run

This morning I woke up alone… Mr. had to work, and I laid in bed telling my cat Daryl how much I didn’t want to go on a run, I looked at the weather.. 34 degrees and snow at 11 am, I thought about all the house work I had to do, I need to write an IEP. . I told Daryl all of these things, I explained to him that I just should wait until Monday, that I had already missed my Thursday run why start now. . .

But for some reason I looked at Daryl one last time and got up and put on my running clothes. I have been doing the program Fitness22 in order to try and be able to run a 10k by this Spring sometime, I have to say having a little lady in my head telling me to “Keep going you are worth it.” Has helped me in some weird way.

And today as I ran. . snow started falling and it reminded me to be thankful for my legs that are able to carry me around, for my cat that is still curled up in bed and for the life I have made 2 blocks away from this park.

I had been running on and off for almost 8 months when I downloaded this app and essentially start all over at the Run 1:00 minute Walk 1:00 minute mark, I did this because I wasn’t making any progress just going out and running the same 2:00 mile stretch of park 2-3 times a week. I have run 2 5k’s since I started and today my run was 36 minutes consisting o 18 minutes of actual running. And I have to say it is getting easier.

I am able to see the beauty around me now as I run, as opposed to just feeling like death. I am able to appreciate the people who run passed me, instead of being jealous, I am able to run the full 8 minutes and still think about how far I have come, instead of wanting to rip my heart and lungs out.

So now I just keep reminding myself to keep going, and to get out of bed. . the beauty is outside, and Daryl and all of my work will still be there when I get home.

 

Faux Loc’d and Loaded

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I am trying to pick new glasses from Warby Parker, I love that they let you take them home to try them on for free, I think I am going with the pair on the left. . . what do you guys think?

For about a year now I have been considering loc’ing my hair, I have mostly gone back and forth questioning if I could pull off the locced look and if I could keep my hair in one style for the permanence of the locs. Since school started this year I have consistently had my hair in a protective style, for the past two months it was marley twists, that I love but they we long and I started getting bored with them, so with my left over Marley hair I began looking into the faux loc style, I figured this would let me see if I could pull them off and a trial run to see how I could handle it. And let me just say I LOVE THEM! They are definitely the most natural looking protective style that I have had and I could see myself rocking them for a long time.

They took me about 12 hours to complete over three days, Luckily it was spirit week at school and I got to wear princess Lea buns to school when my hair was the most crazy, half and half style. I moisturized my hair before each twist and washed with Apple Cider Vinegar.

They are only about two inches longer than my natural hair and it is nice to have something so much closer to my natural hair length.

And the best part is that they made me look even more like my halloween costume.. . .

MICHONNE. . . sword and all (Ok the sword was an umbrella, pretty sweet right)

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That Ghetto School. . .

“I am not sending my baby back to that ghetto school.”

Says the black mom of the two black sons whose first names literally start with Mister and Sir, followed by regular old first names, no hyphens, no spaces, just Mister(Capitol Letter) name, all one word. Ravene Simone would say that she would not hire those boys simply based on their names. This Mom in her gorgeous red wig with her 3rd baby daddy sitting next to her, she tells me she “don’t want to send her babies back to the ghetto school 6 blocks up the road.

And when she says ghetto she means, Black

This whole conversation came up because her son will soon be exiting out of my intensive needs special education classroom which will result in a possible return to home or neighborhood school. This Mom would rather keep her son in a classroom that is academically holding him back and socially labeling him, ‘different’ then send him back to the other school, that is literally 5 minutes away.

Now lets be clear, I am NOT knocking this mom, she is looking out for those babies, when her son qualified for my class two years ago his siblings were grandfathered into our school so they could all stay together. Our school with the high performing test scores, the funding, the 30% free and reduced lunch, and the white students. Her sons get all of the privilege that comes along with that.

I am NOT knocking this Mom, I am knocking the system where the majority of the minority or low income students at my school are MY students, the ones who get placed there by the district for my programing, the students whose test scores don’t affect the school anyway. I am knocking the system that makes this mom tell her kids that school where all the kids go that look like them isn’t good enough. I am knocking the system that make this students brothers teacher want to push them back to their home school, because he is the problem child in her class.

In the 1960’s this school, in this neighborhood where I work was the center of a desegregation case in front of the Supreme Court. Bussing went in place, riots were had, an overwhelming number of the White students in the district were moved to suburban schools. In 1996 the bussing decree ended and students went back to attending their neighborhood schools, but the white students did not return. The majority race in my district is no longer Caucasian, but you wouldn’t know that in certain schools, the 30% are highly concentrated, in schools like mine.

So now over 40 years after the Supreme Court ordered that we all “get along” and at least go to school together, what has changed?

Well if you ask that Mom to tell you about that ghetto school down the road, you will learn. . . Not Much

Kelsi Rae