Welcome to a new season

Welcome to a new season

(Photo Credit “Dreamer”)

I know that we are actually mostly through September, but I do love the change of seasons.  Especially Fall.  Which I’m sure is EVERYONE’S favorite… but I still love it.

The other day when we were walking to the bus (and it was quite chilly.  Cold enough that we dug out some coats…) Maddie happily sniffed the air and exclaimed, “It smells like snow!”  I had never stopped to think what snow smells like, but she was really on to something.  It definitely had a crisp smell to the air.

In other news, I have decided to a weight loss challenge again for myself.  Tim and I have talked and we have agreed that if I lose 50 pounds we will go away for the weekend.  We’ve never had a weekend away with no kids–so I’m super excited.  I completely understand that it will take a good amount of time to accomplish 50 pounds, but I needed something pretty significant to get me motivated.  I’ve been back on track now for a week and a half and am amazed (as always!) at how much better I’m starting to feel already.  And in full disclosure, I am documenting that I started this journey at 204 pounds.  The other day I went searching my website to find out how much weight I lost after each pregnancy–because it was a lot every time–and I never posted any actual weights on here.  I’m sure it was purely out of embarrassment at the number.  But it’s just a number.  And I’m sad that I can’t figure out how much I actually weighed when I felt really good about myself… so I’m writing it down this time.  And I’ll keep you posted on Mondays as to how much I’ve lost each week.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Rough start to the year

Rough start to the year

With the hybrid model of school, the kids are on a rotating schedule of in-person and online classes.  So one day they are in-person and the next day they are online.  EXCEPT Madison, who is in Kindergarten and gets to attend every day in-person (thank goodness!).  It’s going pretty well.

The teachers have learned a lot from the mistakes of last Spring’s transition to all online (traumatically all thrown into it at once) and the online portion is going a bit better.  The in-person is a little strange because they have limited so much of the student access to other people (only 2 people per lunch table, no group projects, no field trips, Maddie eats in her classroom and masks all day).  But don’t get me wrong.  We are THRILLED to be in person even if it’s not normal.

The hardest part is that we can’t quite get on a routine with the schedule the way it is.  Chloe is really struggling with anxiety.  She thrives on routine and she’s just not getting it.  Our numbers are steadily going down, so there is a possibility that we will move to more in-person as the weeks/months progress, so we are optimistic that we will eventually get on some semblance of normal again!

 

 

Testing, Testing, 1… 2… 3…

Testing, Testing, 1… 2… 3…

Heyo!

If you’ve found me here, you’ll notice I’ve moved from my previous webspot (that’s not a technical term) and now have a new web address.

I am hoping to get back into writing again. There has been a lot of crazy stuff over the past 6 months and part of me is sad I didn’t document any of it, and another part of me just wants to forget it… 😉

But here we are. It’s September. The kids are pseudo-back in school (hybrid style) and I am back to teaching (mostly in-person with masks on). Tim is finishing up his work season in the next month to month and a half. Cheers to a new season and a fresh school year!

Life for the past month…

Life for the past month…

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

So, this past month has been crazy.  No need to tell any of you.  Every time I’ve thought to myself, “I should go blog” I get overwhelmed and stressed out and crabby and then don’t.  But then I think about how I’ll want to have this time in my life documented for the future… so here I am.

I’m going to try and break this down into a few separate posts.  For today, I thought  general recap of the past 4 weeks would be good to start things off.

WEEK 1 (March 16-20): Denial

I like to call this Virus Week.  This was the first week that we really took action here in Minnesota.  Schools were closed down, and my piano contest that was supposed to happen that weekend leading into that week, was also cancelled.  Very last minute.  As in, my van was packed and I was ready to leave to deliver everything to the U of M and then they called it off.  Very stressful for me.  At that point I gave the option to my students that if they wanted to move to online lessons they could–but I had never actually tried doing an online lesson ever so that was a big learning curve for me.  About 1/4 of my students moved to online.  I couldn’t wrap my head around the way things were going or the possibility that they would close down schools for WEEKS.  I honestly thought it might blow over.

It did not.

WEEK 2 (March 23-27): Overwhelmed

This was the week where everything started to fall apart for me.  At this point I had more students starting to switch over to online lessons and a good handful that were still coming in person.  Those that were still coming to my house were so appreciative to get out of the house and go somewhere and just do something normal.  I really feel for these kids.  But midway through the week the Governor of MN announced that we would be put on “stay-at-home” protocol starting that coming weekend for the next 2 weeks.  And that meant that I would need to officially shift all of my lessons to online.  Oh, and my computer decided to die.  That’s fun, right?  This was a really bad week for me emotionally.

WEEK 3 (March 30-April 3)Recuperation

This week was actually our Spring Break week, so I only taught on Monday (just a few online lessons) and then I had the rest of the week off.  The kids were already pretty much on an extended Spring Break since they had not had any school work for the past 2 weeks leading up to this… so it really just felt the same for them.  By this time they were getting a bit antsy to actually start online school since they were getting bored.  We had implemented a schedule that included some writing and school work, but it’s just not the same.  This was a good week for me to not have to stress about online lessons.  It also gave me time to recover from the massive headaches I had been getting from the stress and having to listen/look at my computer screen for so many hours a day.  However, even though I was not teaching, I did have to spend a few days of my break working on completing the grading process for the piano contest.  It had officially been cancelled from happening in person, but we moved it to an online submission.  So the previous weekend I spent pretty much that whole Saturday helping the judges trouble shoot all of their judging videos and critiques.  The majority of my spring break week was taken up tabulating all the results into a series of spreadsheets.  We normally work on this process together (with like a group of 15 of us) so it took significantly longer with only 4 of us working in our own homes.  But we got it done!  By the end of the week I was feeling much less stressed.

WEEK 4 (April 6-10): Hopeful

This week I started teaching ALL of my lessons online.  By now I had ordered a new computer, transferred all my files and got everything ready.  I was feeling more prepared and set up a new teaching station for all my supplies.  I had even decided to try teaching standing more to combat my desire to lean in toward the screen while listening–which was killing my back.  I had my highest load of students this week, which I just find amusing.  I taught 66 lessons.  And I’m happy to say that it actually went really well.  It’s a whole mental shift.

This was also the week that the big kids started their online school.  This went a lot better than I had anticipated.  Everyone was excited to have purpose back in their day.  And my kids really do love school and checklists, so that worked in their favor.  Now they get up, have breakfast, and then go to their workstations for a couple of hours to work on their assignments.  Everyone started to feel a bit more normal this week.  Oh, and Tim’s workers started their season this week too.  So he would get up and head right off to work as well.  See?  Starting to feel more normal.

WEEK 5 (April 13-now): Resolve

So here we are.  That brings us up to this week.  I’m really starting to get the hang of online lessons.  My students are all getting to be pros at it too.  There are just some things I have resigned myself to that won’t work for right now–like really working on pedaling techniques (I can’t see their feet!) or dynamics.  I understand now that it takes a lot longer to communicate to my students by video and I’m having them mark more in their music.

The big kids are working independently on their online school.  Tim is still heading off to do bids pretty much every day.  He takes care of picking up food when we need it on his way home from the bids.

We might be living life like this for longer than I had expected, but I feel like we can do this now.  Life has finally hit a new groove. Whew.  It only took 4.5 weeks……………

 

 

A new level of stress…

A new level of stress…

I’m in contest week. As I’ve mentioned before, that’s a really stressful week.  Countless emails and requests and time changes and details to get in order in a very short amount of time–working around having a full studio of over 70 students.  It’s a lot.

But this year is bringing me to a new level of stress with this Corona virus.   The U of M where we hold contest has actually cancelled classes (and is moving to online).  The school of music has cancelled the remaining concerts for the rest of the school year.  I was just told that WI has declared public health emergency, and has cancelled concerts and large events throughout the state.  I had a judge and 2 volunteers back out this morning because of concern.

So, I’m living in limbo right now.  Will the event be cancelled?  Will it go on?  Am I losing sleep and going through all the stress of getting things finished all for naught?

Time will tell.

For now, I’m just going to try not to stress eat.

And I’m going to pray that God would calm our hearts.  Quickly.  Fear is a powerful thing.

Josiah (2nd Grade Music Informance)

Josiah (2nd Grade Music Informance)

I love this picture.

Josiah is at this lovable in between stage of being a big little kid and loving hugs but also wanting to be more grown up.  I know the days of him waving wildly at me when he sees me across the music room are numbered.  I know the days when he runs to give me a big squishy hug after class will be gone.

So, I cherish this picture.

I love how he still loves to take selfies with me.  I love how we unintentionally matched.  I love his big smile that makes his cheeks dimple just a little bit.  I love that he just had a haircut and looks so dapper–but more importantly, that he still lets me cut his hair.  I love his sweet high singing voice and how much he enjoys playing the piano.  And I love his (loud) laugh that fills the room.

Food Friday: Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Food Friday: Crustless Pumpkin Pie

I know, you’re probably super disappointed that I’m not writing about those amazing cookie dough stuffed muffins. I’m actually planning to make them tomorrow because I have a ladies even that I can unload them at, so we don’t eat an entire batch ourselves. See? I’m thinking ahead! If they are as delicious as I’m hoping they will be, I wanted to make sure I had a plan to not eat them all.

For today I’m back to an old recipe I used years ago, when I was doing Weight Watchers Online. Weight Watchers has come a long way and has fantastic tools. It’s super easy to use now and has great support groups. I know this because my friend Stacy, has been doing it for a little while now with AMAZING results. (I feel like an advertisment right now). But seriously. She looks AH. MAZING. And better than that, she feels amazing. Which is really the point, right? We want to feel better in our own skin again. And she’s so much happier. It’s lovely.

I just got together with her this past weekend to catch up. It was so great to reconnect


Anyway, back to the food part.

I love this recipe because it gives me the delicious pumpkin pie without the extra calories of the crust.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love crust.  A. Lot.  But when I’m trying to eat healthier, it’s nice.  It does call for Splenda, but you could substitute a little less regular sugar and it would be fine.  Not quite as low in calories, but fine.  😉

And, finally, before I go, how about a food fail?  I made myself a banana egg pancake (which is exactly what it sounds like = you mix one mushy banana with 2 raw eggs and then cook it) and apparently I wasn’t watching it closely enough…

No, I did not cover it in chocolate.  Yes, it’s really that burnt.  And yes, I did eat it.  Amazingly it didn’t taste that burnt at all!  Ha!

PlayWorks!

PlayWorks!

The kiddos have been going stir crazy wanting to run off energy the past couple of weeks–and being stuck inside… too close together… not enough space to run… getting on everyone’s nerves.

Enter amazing Auntie Kylene to the rescue!

She suggested I look into a place called PlayWorks that is just down the street from here.  It’s basically a big play area (think, McDonalds play area, and triple it) where they can run and scream and play as much as they want.  It’s amazing.  It even has access to arcade games if we wanted to pay for those (which we do not, ha!) as well as tables to do puzzles, or card games and even sells snacks.

So, it’s a big hit.  We’ve only had a membership for one 6 days and we’ve been there 3 times already.  Tee hee!

Oh!  And, here’s the best part–Kylene even gifted us a membership!  Isn’t she just the best most awesome, amazing, lovely sister ever?  YES!!!