How Do I do this again? The Scheduling Nightmare that is Sped Life!

I did this last year, right?

I made a schedule for myself, the students, paras, it had inclusion time, academic service minutes, and everything else you could ever need. .. like you know lunch breaks. On it right?

How did I do it again? How did I make a schedule that fit all the grades schedules, so I am not pulling from any non-negotiable times so that students still feel like a part of their class? But are also getting the academic and speech, and behavior, and OT times they need in order to be successful? Did I give my para’s meaningful work to do not just busy work right?

How? How did I do this? Did it really get done or did a magical scheduling fairy appear and do it for me and then wiped my memory clean so I felt like I did it myself?

I would take a magical scheduling fairy right about now because I am on draft four of my schedule for the year and I just feel like crying! How in the world is it all going to get done in the time allotted? How?

Other people in the sped world, do your in-service days get destroyed by the beast that is scheduling as well?

How do you do it? What makes your schedule run well? Or do we all wipe our memories clean after this every Spring so that we are crazy enough to do it again every Fall?

If you have a formula that works and doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out or your eyes go crossed from staring at your spreadsheet all day. .. PLEASE let me know!!!

-Rae

Live Like It’s Spring!

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Live like it’s Spring. . . Spring. . .what does it mean to live like it is Spring? What does Spring represent? New life, growth, change, the warming of the seasons and the growth of the flowers. The way that everything seems to have possibilities as the world emerges from the snow and glum of winter? If you live somewhere that doesn’t have seasons, none of this Spring talk probably hits you in the feels, but for me a Colorado turned California mountain girl, it gets me.

 

Last summer was the first summer since I was 15 that I wasn’t working. I didn’t work summer school, or camp, I wasn’t working part-time at a pizza place or movie theatre. I was a teacher, on full on teacher summer. I had June, July, and part of August to just relax, do some DIY projects and hang out with my husband. Older teacher friends applauded me for taking the summer and talked about how I needed it to recharge after the crazy year in Special Education that I had. I was excited to sleep in, forget what day of the week it was, and maybe drink wine during the week without a reason.

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That lasted about a week. . .

After about a week I was BORED, I needed something to keep me occupied that wasn’t burning through 2 books on the “Hot Summer Reading List”  a week! I watched as other teacher friends my age went on hikes and to the pool and on road trips. .. all without inviting me. My best friends all moved across the country one by on to the Pacific Northwest  and I was feeling alone. Making friends as an adult. . .. SUCKS! I watched people I thought were my friends live a Teacher Summer like I thought I was supposed to live. But that teacher summer was only leaving me feeling like a 16-year-old girl who didn’t get invited to the prom.

 

Fast Forward to this summer, I am again taking the summer off. I have spent the summer hosting guests, going on one of those road trips that would have made me cry last summer. And spent many days paddle boarding on the lake 5 minutes from my house.

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SO what has changed? And what does it say about “Living like it’s Spring”

Well in my life, a lot has changed and a lot as stayed the same; we moved from CO to a tiny town in CA, I have a new job at a much different school. But I am still married, my best friends still live 1000 miles away from me, I live in a place with fewer options of activities throughout the day, but this summer I spend my days peacefully not full of anxiety about what I “should” be doing.

 

So I ask again, What has changed?

Me!

I have figured out how to live like it’s spring! Live like something new is always growing, something could change right around the corner. No matter how gray the sky is now, no matter how many feet of snow the winter dumps on you. Remember to live like tomorrow the sun is going to come out and you can jump into the lake! I still don’t love Summer, I still need a project to keep myself active, I still would make a horrible trophy wife. But I am content with here I am in life now, I am not comparing myself to the people around me and wondering “why they don’t like me” or why I wasn’t invited to this or that (Okay I still do both of those things sometimes) But somehow my life ended up somewhere I never pictured, In a tiny town 60 miles from the closest grocery store. Where I could name almost every full-time resident of the town and during the winter there is literally NO restaurants open during the week. But I also can’t remember a time since college that I have been this content in how all the pieces of my life fit together. I love waving to people as I walk through town, I love having dinner by the lake and knowing at least 10 people sit around me. I love having the sense of community that comes with living in a place where we all are forced to do life together without our cell phones.

 

My life looks nothing like I thought it would a year ago, but Hey maybe it is Spring.

I am just over here watching myself Bloom!

 

The Elimination of FOMO!

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The Fear of Missing Out, something I think this generation is cursed with. We are constantly assaulted with all of the wonderful things that everyone  around us is doing. At any given minute any of our friends could be on a cruise, drinking margarita’s in the sun. But the worse cases of FOMO for me happen with things that are right down the road, they are things you easily could have attended if you had only known about it before it popped up on your instagram feed. This was the source of the most anxiety for me living in a city, what could I be doing instead of sitting on my couch curled up with my husband. Which is something I greatly enjoy doing, but someone just posted about a flea market in Cap Hill, and that new movie I wanted to see (or like semi wanted to see, or everyone says I should see) just came out. Or I know that the jazz group is putting on swing dancing lessons tonight, and I have always wanted to learn to swing dance. Or something as simple as I haven’t posted a good beer drinking picture on the instagram lately I should probably go check out a new brewery.

I always wanted to keep up with the pace of everyone around me, I wanted to be doing something just as cool, just to prove that I could. I didn’t even notice this was the source of my anxiety until it was eliminated from my life. Like most of the people in my generation the constant assault of instagram, Facebook, snapchat posts had simply become my normal.

And since I didn’t have very many friends I was constantly forcing my husband to do all of these things with me and even though I didn’t think this was causing me anxiety but here Except for the fact that the first weekend my friends in the PNW all did something together without me, I panicked to the point of literally making Mr. get in the car with me and just drive. . literally just drive so I wouldn’t be at the house. But I wasn’t stressed at all right? Here, I am not even a month later just realizing that that is exactly what it was doing, I wasn’t happy or excited for my friends, I would hit like on all of their posts and comment how cute they looked doing XYZ, but secretly I was wishing they would have invited me, or that I would have been somewhere even cooler.

Last month when we moved to the mountains I feared the fear of missing out for the first time cognitively  I worried about the concerts I would miss being in the middle of nowhere the nights of eating out at my favorite restaurants I wouldn’t get to do anymore. But here I am feeling the most content in my adult life

Here in our mountain town there are now raging parties happening on Friday night, there are no spur of the moment pop ups happening  in downtown. You don’t have to worry about that new movie because no one else has seen it either. But you can count on being invited to the all town broom hockey on Monday night, and you can probably count on watching the Bachelor with the ladies. You may not know everyone in the town very well but you can ensure that they all have a fairly similar life that you do.  And that when there is something going on you will know. I cannot be attached to my phone at all times, because it only works in the wifi, at my house! so I don’t need to look at what everyone else is posting during my lunch break or worry about making sure I post something every time I do something cool. I can focus on God, and life and the people around me. I can engage in conversations without any worry of phone interruptions I can meet new people because I am not too concerned with what the old people are doing. I can actually connect to the world around me.

It has been the most scary and freeing part of living here so far, the ability to immerse myself in the beauty around me the people, the mountains, the living where I can count the stars. I can enjoy life without any FOMO, and that has made all the difference.

-Rae

Out Here!

My new backyard– kind of!hume1

I was born for the city, I grew up dreaming of the smell of the subways and the cigarette smoke of New York. I longed to be lost in a city with millions of people moving around me where none of them knew my name.

See I grew up in a town where EVERYONE knew your name. . .and if they didn’t know my name they sure knew the color of my skin, I was the only black girl in within the town limits. There was one black guy and that was it. There was no such thing as anominity where I grew up. One grocery store, a post office and two bars sure, but wherever you spent your evenings everyone was sure to know about it, and that was before the days of Facebook check-ins and live instagram updates of your whereabouts.

So how in the world at 25 did I end up in a town where there isn’t even 1 bar. Well really it probably has more to do with WHO I did it with rather than How I ended up here, but there are a few hows’ to go in there too. So let’s go through a few of the how’s, the big who and then there where is out here even.

How #1) Growing up I never dreamed I would stay in Colorado my whole life, in all honesty I thought I would move to New York right out of high school go to College there and that would be that. But that was before I understood money and how MUCH money it would take to go to out of state college. That was also before I realized that my Mom was a badass and who would want to move that far away from her. She was the reason I changed my mind about college a month before it started so that I wouldn’t even be 5 hours away I would be closer to 45 minutes away, but that decision shaped the rest of my life so once again, Thank you Mom.

How #2) I never really went to church growing up, not that people didn’t try bringing me, I can remember friends inviting me countless times and I would almost always go with them but I always just felt like the outsider. I felt like these people were just trying to “Save” me to do some good deed but I never felt like I could truly be myself. That’s not to say I didn’t believe in God, I just didn’t believe I needed the church in order to have a relationship with him. (This is something I have found out is much more common than I knew) However my senior year of college I ended up at a church that just felt like home, I was finally able to open my ears and probably my heart to see that there was good in having a community to share this with. Why church is important will come into play once we get to the WHERE I am.

How #3) All of my friends moved away.

That one is pretty self explanatory, no one ever explains to you how truly difficult it is to make true friends after College. I don’t think it helped any that during college I met my soulmates (because our friends are our soul mates of course, Thanks Sex and the City) It was like my ability to make friends was broken in Denver, I couldn’t get past the friends that were supposed to be there but weren’t. And when I did feel like I truly tried to make friends to join a community centered around church I just ended up getting hurt over and over again by realizing I was not someone they actually wanted to hang out with outside of our designated times, right up until the week we moved away. And everyone needs friends right?

Who) Of course it is for a boy, isn’t that why all (straight, cis gender) women do anything truly. I have done countless stupid things for boys, driving my car through a snowstorm and subsequently crashing it into a ditch, quitting my job, skipping school you name it. However this boy or should I say man I guess once you get married he is probably a man right? Has only ever led me to things that will better myself things that will make me grow as an individual and as the wife half to our marriage. He has supported me through grad school, my first years as a teacher in an urban school teaching children with significant special needs. And now, now it was my time to support him in a career move we couldn’t pass up, it didn’t hurt that it would also led me to leaving Colorado, reference How #1.

Where) So where in the world did this city girl end up, right smack dab inside the Sequoia National Forest, in the smallest town I have been in where every one waves hello and stops to check in on you. And where we unloaded a 16 foot moving truck in under and hour because people just wanted to help. This is a place that is so full of Church and Full of Jesus that the How #2 is really important and a place I truly believe I will grow as a wife, person, teacher and in my spiritual understanding of community and hopefully make a few friends.

I am going into 2017 in a completely new place where I don’t know anyone so I figured what  a better place or time to have a few commitments– 1. Be more truly open dive into whatever is around me. 2. Strive to be a “Shannon” – to share my heart and be so loving to people that it is contagious. 3. Put effort into my relationships.

So here I hope to share my life with you while I am out here. Here are My Years Out Here

– Rae

The Legacy of the Wolves

Once in college someone said that hanging out with me and one of my best friends was like hanging out with a pack of wolves. IE we chewed you up cause we were so mean. We laughed it off and made a joke about it then, that was probably 5 years ago now, but lately as I am trying to make new friends in the adult world I am thinking about that statement a lot and how it has actually impacted the way I look at myself and my interactions with the world.

I was that girl that when people introduced you to me they would say, She’s is kind of feisty, sassy, loud, bitchy. . . insert sort of offensive word but made to sound nice here. And when I was with my close group of friends I could laugh that off, and kind of play it up. Like yes I am pretty honest, and sometimes sassy but I think I am love able and you will appreciate me for it, and if you don’t well I have this tight group of friends that will. But as we grow up and that group of friends moves away or moves on . . . I am left being that “bitchy” girl that believes she doesn’t deserve friends.

Why would anyone want to be my friend if I am like a pack of wolves, essentially a wolf without her wolf pack. . it is just me and that doesn’t make me a wolf pack that makes me a bitch. And so I find myself making myself small, quiet, reserved so that I don’t offend people and make them not want to be my friend. Gone is the girl that was honest almost to a fault and here is a girl who hides herself and true feelings from almost everyone in her life.

I find myself so desperate to have friendships but then when someone likes me I feel empty because I can never truly be myself or I will go right back to that sassy black friend that you have to explain away to your friends.

I went to visit my best friends recently and met their friends in their new city, and this is how they explained me once again before I even met these people as a feisty girl, but why? Were you preparing them that I may be rude and unpredicatble? That I may say something and to not take me to seriously because I am feisty.

I don’t want to always be the feisty girl the girl that “Is a bitch but you’ll get used to it” I just want to be someone that is worthy enough to be loved for who she is. . someone that is confident enough again to be open and honest and still expect people to want to be my friend at the end. . .

Lonely is such a delicate balance. . .

Today I woke up,

went on a run,

did the laundry

, went to see a movie

and went to the grocery store. .

I did this all by myself

Which is normally just fine with me, being alone is something I became good at early on in life, I was an only child and my mom worked nights so I spent many days while she was sleeping playing by myself. I famously, or in my moms opinion infamously, played orphan. In my mind I was playing orphan Annie which often involved singing and dancing. But it did hurt her heart that I would so often play a game where I did not have parents when she was right in the other room, but to a young girl who know she was loved playing alone was still playing alone.

As I grew older I prided myself on being able to do things on my own, to go out to eat, to the movies to not be like some of my friends who had to have someone with her, or had to have a boyfriend at all times.

And I succeeded I can do all of those things by myself I can spend days by myself and be just fine, rejuvenated even, so the activities that I did today don’t bother me. . it is something else.

I have been on the verge of tears for days out of loneliness, not for a relationship I have truly never been as happy as I am now with Mr. he is my soulmate, my one and only, my best friend.

So what is it, why is a happy newlywed so sad. . friends. . I have no friends. Ok that is a bit dramatic, I have friends, I have people I would even call best friends but they live 1,000 miles away and even they forgot my birthday for the past two years.

I have friends at work, and from grad school, but I don’t hang out with them . . I don’t tell them personal things about my life, about my feelings.

Last night, I got snapchats from all of these friends, the “best friends” kind they were all either out at a bar, with friends, or at a party. .. and I was getting into bed. And it is not that they are all single, all of them are in a relationship or married. . but they were all out and I Was in bed. . and they didn’t even think to invite me. . .

That is my loneliness. . that I am not even invited, even if I don’t always go if I would rather stay home with my wonderful wonderful husband, or my cats, playing video games or watching movies.

I wish someone at least thought that I might want to go out, somedays I just want to get terribly drunk and dance. .   I want to go out. . I want to be young. .. I want to be invited. . .

My 25th birthday is in 2 weeks, and for this I took it upon myself to see people I missed in the last month. But it did not change . ..

How to manage being so happy in my marriage and lonely in friendships. . this is a first year marriage balance I must find. .

❤ Kelsi Rae

I did not come to play with you hoes. . I cam to slay Bitch.

I am obsessed with this song. . .

I am obsessed with the beat

I am obsessed with the eery sound as the beat drops in the video

I am obsessed with the way Bey’s hair flows out of this car. . .

I am obsessed with the funeral procession standing outside of the house. .

I am obsessed with the way that this song has inspired such controversy in such a short time

I am obsessed with the way that it is so “Unapologetically Black”

I am obsessed with the way my Facebook Feed is so full of the Queen Bey. . .

I have seen everything from comparisons to the KKK to praise for the all reigning Queen Bey,

And all I have to say to them is YASSS QUEEN!

I wish someone was there to tell me that they like My baby hair with Baby hair and Afro’s, so then maybe I wouldn’t have been slicking my edges down just to hide my kinks

I am obsessed with how I feel so Proud to be Black when I listen to it, people say it is such a Black song, it puts Beyonce’s blackness in your face and guess what, there is nothing wrong with that, no one should be asked to apologize for that!

And let’s just look at Blue . .. that girl Slay’s!

Slay Bey, Slay girl!

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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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