Friday, December 14, 2012

Tragedy in CT

As I read the articles, watch the news and think about the tragedy that occurred today, my own children immediately come to mind. My daughter is in Kindergarten. She is still a baby--a bright little light in my life. Tonight, she experienced another first: losing her first tooth. The excitement in her eyes cannot be recorded in a book, but is forever imprinted on my heart. The innocence of a child is something we should covet and hold onto for as long as we can. I will never understand why someone would want to take that away from a child and rob them of all of their firsts yet to come. I just don't understand why these kinds of things have to happen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's almost November

Where have I been? In the trenches. Literally. I knew it would be busy once Brynn hit Kindergarten; I had no idea it would be like THIS. Our life consists of the following:

-Homework (Brynn's)

-School paperwork

-Soccer practices

-Soccer games

-Birthday parties GALORE (for BOTH daycare friends and new school friends + Baylen's friends' parties)

-Dance 1x a week

-Grading 115+ assignments every time something is due...which is ALL of the time in my world/classroom

-School events

-Parent meetings

-MY school events

-Dj traveling

-Time to breathe

Wash.Rinse.Repeat.

WOW...that is all I have to say. I can't imagine what it will be like when B2 are older and have more activities/homework than they do now. I am barely treading water here. Anxiety has kicked in moreso this year and I think it's because we are all still adjusting to all of the changes school and new schedules bring.

Brynn has been more of a grump this year esp. after school when I pick her up. She is just simply exhausted. I cannot blame her. I am trying to be patient but sometimes it is very difficult when she says certain things or cries constantly. It is obvious that is adjusting too...new school, new people, new friends vs. old friends who are still together at a different school--she is all by herself. B loves school...she is just so tired and needs time to decompress. Crying, being grumpy, refusing to talk; that is how she is coping. I know it just takes time.

The ironic thing? Time feels so limited these days. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Transitions are hard

Brynn was ready to go to Kindergarten. I knew this. I have accepted this...slowly. However, I did not realize how much of a transition it would be for all of us. It's emotional; physically difficult, and mentally challenging...and I'm not just talking about Brynn's adjustments...I'm referring to my own. Wrapping my mind around Kindergarten didn't seem this hard two months ago. But, at this point, we're knee deep into Kinder and it hasn't slowed down since. Between organizing outfits/uniforms for the week, making and packing lunches, shopping for food and planning out meals in between parent meetings and trainings and open houses and sports practices, dance, school/ASB errands, and finding time to have energy to work out/run, grade papers, plus keeping up with everything else has been quite difficult. One other small detail I didn't think enough about was having two kids in two different places...I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, but, it's turning out to be a more challenging. As soon as 9 p.m. approaches, all I want to do is climb into bed and slip away into a sweet slumber. Brynn loves school and is doing very well. I think things are quite easy for her; Mrs. H. already knows that she's a pretty strong reader and B. is quite excited about this. She is so tired by the time 7:30 rolls around and is ready for bed. Sometimes she comes home from school grumpy...long day. Then there's the homework and the challenge homework and the reading every night; the paperwork we need to fill out, and all of the little details we must keep track of or remember. My calendar has never been so full. Will it ever get any easier? It has to, right?!

Friday, August 10, 2012

It's been a long time since I last blogged. It might be several months before I post again because it feels like life is starting to close in on me. After viewing our calendar for the next 3 months (Aug., Sept., Oct.), I noticed we are busy pretty much every weekend already with something going on...either for soccer, Brynn's school activities, my school activities, or birthday parties. EEK!

This summer has been really awesome. We spent about a month in Iowa and helped celebrate Mary's wedding, which is so much fun. We came back to WA only to find rain and grey clouds. Luckily, they only stuck around for about a week, and now, we are enjoying sunny, hot weather. The kids have enjoyed going outside, riding their bikes, playing whiffle ball, kicking the soccer ball, and shooting hoops. We've spent a lot of time working on reviewing our letters, reading, math skills, and writing so they don't forget too much by the time they start school. B2 just finished a week-long soccer camp w/ the Sounders, which they loved. I spent most days there working on curriculum planning while they played...just wasn't ready to leave them on their own quite yet. We went to Chuck E Cheese's last week, spent time at a fun beach birthday party, watched lots of Olympics & Big Brother, and just enjoyed the last few days before it's really time to get to work.

We start school on 8/30 and already I can feel my blood pressure rising. Seriously. I am teaching all LA this year, and this requires a revision of all of the curriculum so it not only meets the national Common Core Standards,(which most of it already did) but also, that it aligns with our new district scope & sequence, plus stays true to what we want our students to learn and walk away with by the time they finish 10th grade.

I am scheduled to meet with my partner teacher (who teaches 9th grade) on Monday and so far, I only have one unit finished. It is not easy to accomplish an entire year's worth of curriculum with children at home or when we're off running to soccer camp or working at school getting my room ready/working with ASB kids. *Sigh* In addition, somehow, I need to fit in time to meet with the new teacher who is taking my teacher partner's place (10th grade History) sometime before 8/30...when the hell is that going to happen???? I am feeling stressed already. Not cool. I guess that means this weekend, it's time to buckle down and figure this stuff out...

On the bright side, there's much to look forward to these next few months...I'll be going to Vegas with some of my girlfriends next weekend, which is going to be fabulous. We have been saving for a trip to Disney Land after Christmas, and the kids are so excited about it. We are planning another trip to Italy for Spring 2014 with students, and this time, Dj is hopefully going to join us. Dj's birthday is next week and I have planned for him to go on a personal (airplane) flight around Seattle. It's going to be amazing. The kids will be starting soccer soon and they are really looking forward to playing again. Brynn is starting Kinder soon. She's totally stoked. We have had a great summer...just can't believe how fast it's gone.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Europa

How did six years pass by so quickly? I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to France and Spain after a six-year hiatus. How did I forget how much I love Europe? Paris? And, even better, during this trip, I was introduced to my new favorite European city....Barcelona! Many might think that traveling with students is something they would never do, but I disagree completely. They are easy to work with, responsible, and eager to learn. They have endless energy and are willing to travel/tour/go anywhere. They never get grumpy and they can keep going unto the wee hours of the day. Indeed, they are the perfect travel companions. What I love about our tour company is that we get a tour guide who accompanies the entire time. He takes us all over the place and suggests new places to try out. Highlights of my trip included: going to Montmarte, visiting Barcelona and enjoying all of the art this city has to offer, experiencing the night life in Barcelona, riding on public transportation, passing as a 17-year-old to see Napoleon's tomb, and revisiting all of my favorite landmarks in Paris. Gosh...how could I forget everything I love about this city? It was definitely a tranquil trip in so many ways.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, Mister!



Today is a special day...we helped Mister Mister celebrate his FOURTH birthday. I have so much to write about you and who you are. I promise this will happen soon.

Until then, you are such a funny, silly, energetic, kind hearted little guy. You love to pretend that you are a superhero...you THINK you are a superhero, you love sports, and you love to go outside.

You are a night owl who refuses (at least 2-3 nights a week) to go to bed on time. Then there are those numerous nights or early mornings when I wake up and you are sleeping next to me, just snuggled in as if it's no big deal.

You love to help. You love to clean up. You love the torture the cats.

You are not a big fan of pre-school and tell me that it's boring and that it's too much work. I keep reminding you that you have at least 18+ years of school left, so you better get used to it.

You are definitely "all boy" as people say, and often times, I wonder if your listening ears even work anymore.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Did it. Love it.



I went this weekend and acquired a new piece of body art. I found it online a week ago when searching through a bunch of tattoo ideas. I thought for sure I was going to get the tree of life (Celtic symbol) on my wrist and then saw this and decided this was the one. It means infinite love. It's for my kids. and my husband. and my family. :) The best part? It didn't hurt at all. I kept comparing it to childbirth and there was no contest! LOL

I am one of those people who really has to think things through before I do it. Carefully weighing each option thinking about what would "stand the test of time" and age, if you will, and this one, although it can be easily hidden with a watch or a long sleeve was the perfect choice.

Next...I'll be going back to get the tree of life on my lower back. Sooner than later. And, saving one more design for my foot (a Latin phrase w/ birds) when I can go w/ my sister. Then I'll be done.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

1+1=2

As your child approaches that "school age," it's hard not to think about where you'll want to send him/her. It's hard to choose which path will be the best one for him/her to follow...public or private? Will it be your neighborhood school or will you opt in and transfer to a district where you teach? It's difficult to judge whether starting young or waiting until age 6 is the right thing to do. But at the end of the day, Kindergarten sure does sneak up you even when you know it's coming and you know it's time and you know your child is more than ready. It still doesn't make it any easier to wrap your head around. Frankly, it makes me feel a bit sad and often wondering how my little girl is growing up so fast.

As a teacher, I often have found myself weighing the pros and cons of half day vs. full day, age 4 1/2 or age 6, public or private, go with friends or start somewhere fresh, curriculum, state test scores, demographics, philosophies, mission statements, parent involvement, and so much more. In a sense, we have been lucky that this has snuck up on us. Thankfully, we were able to choose the path we felt would be best for Brynn and our family fairly quickly. After an Open House visit, discussions with our daycare director and Vice Principal, and some e-mail exchanges, we decided that private school was the right choice. Teaching in a couple of different public schools and peer tutoring w/ my Leadership students at a local elementary school within my school district helped me reach that decision without feeling too guilty about it.

Yes, I am a public school teacher. Yes, I believe that public school education can be and is valuable. Yes, I believe that it's important to expose our children to a variety of experiences and a diverse student body. I believe that there are times when the Catholic Church's view is a bit skewed. I believe in my heart that in the end, no matter what school she attends, she will earn a good education...a big piece of a child's educational experience is directly connected to their home life and parent involvement (in my opinion). I know there are plenty of great public schools and public school teachers. In fact, I think many public school teachers are amazing and have the ability to adapt and teach in a variety of situations. They're tough and realistic. But at the same time, I am willing to give private education a shot. It's a small school, small class sizes, and the cost is significantly lower than daycare. They have before and after school care, so I don't have to figure out babysitters or a new kind of daycare arrangement. It feels like a little community, and in a sense, like a small town. Everyone is helpful, friendly, and genuinely nice. It didn't feel like it was all about the money or who had this or didn't have that. It just felt very friendly and welcoming. It felt right. I knew that they would take care of Brynn in a way that would make her feel special and loved. I felt connected before we even became a part of the school. And most importantly, we love the values that are instilled in the children early on. It just makes a lot of sense at this point early on in her education.

She is ready. This girl is reading. She exhibits and uses many different kinds of math skills...she can add, subtract, identify and create patterns. She socializes well with others and loves her teachers. She is studious and listens well. She remembers what she has learned and can apply it to other situations. This girl can write all of her letters upper and lower case. She can write her numbers 1-100. She can recognize numbers higher than 100 and can count for days. She is ready for full day Kindergarten. She says she is ready for "church school" as she refers to it.

What are we a little apprehensive about....um...
--Uniforms.
A. They're not too flattering.
B. They are not very fashion forward.
C. There aren't many options.
D. They're actually kinda pricey.
E. They don't allow boots. Seriously? Not even Uggs? :(

--Fund Raising and Parental Volunteer Expectations
A. I'm a teacher too.
B. Dj travels.
C. There never seems to be enough hours in the day.
D. I advise ASB. It takes a lot of my time.
E. No family close by and hoping I don't have to rely on sitters when there are parent meetings.


She'll attend testing next week, so it will be interesting to see how she does. I know she'll do great, but of course, it's hard to be a child when your mom is a teacher. I wonder how she'll compare to other students. I know she's MORE than ready, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing/hearing the results.

I hear that once your child enters Kinder, that life just gets really REALLY busy. Is this true? I guess we shall see. Until then, here's to hoping that she'll love her new school and her brother will be able to function without her next year, as they will be separated for the first time in 4 1/2 years. That might be at the same caliber of heartache as walking her into her classroom for the first time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pinterest is addicting

We all love Pinterest, that's certain. I have found several "hits" on this lovely website, as well as a couple of disappointments. A recent hit includes this lovely dish below: Chicken Lo Mein. This recipe can be found on the Disney Family Fun Magazine/website. If you are a mom and love to do crafty things, this magazine is pretty awesome, and I highly recommend subscribing to it. I read it now on my iPad digitally--bonus! I have also pinned it on my recipe board if you're interested. The prep time takes quite awhile, but once it's all put together, it's a lovely dish, especially if you are a Chinese food fan, like me (and the rest of my family).



I love that I can save cool ideas all in one spot vs. bookmarking a shitload of them on Safari in my folders. Sometimes it takes me forever to look through the bookmarks to find what I am looking for and it's super irritating. One miss so far was a baked potato recipe that we tried....took all day to cook in the crock pot and it ended up being a flop. I deleted that one off of my pinboard to say the least.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Baylenisms #650, 651


I lost track of what number we are on. This his is seriously the funniest kid EVER. Love his sense of humor!

Mister Mister loves to wear sweat pants. In fact, if it were up to him, he'd wear them every singe day. all day. 24 hours a day. He loves him some "comfy pants."

When we get home from school/work, he immediately asks if he can change into comfy pants. This day was no different.

B: "Mom, can I go change into some comfy pants?"

M: "Sure, just put your jeans in the dirty clothes."

He comes downstairs in sweats.

M: "hahaha You're such an OLD man!" (me teasing him)

B: "No, I'm a GOOD man!"

LOL

The next one happened quite some time ago when we were traveling back to Iowa for the holidays. We had just pulled up to the airport in the shuttle and were piling out, gathering all of our suitcases, etc. B2 carry little suitcases w/ wheels and attached to each one is a neck pillow. Baylen's frog pill kept falling out/off of his suitcase and I picked it up before we left outside of our house and told Baylen that this thing was going to fall off everywhere we went and it would be a problem for him. I smiled about it and he just grinned.

Anyway, we're outside of the airport ticketing area when Baylen grabs his little suitcase and starts pulling it toward the airport. All of a sudden, the froggy neck pillow falls off.

M: "Baylen! Grab your frog pillow, he fell off again."

B: Smiles Big, picks it up "Ugh! I'll just carry this DAMN THING!"

LOL I know I shouldn't laugh or even be proud of the fact that my Mister said "damn," but it was too funny. And I know he heard it from me. I am not always good about using clean language around my kids and I tend to use damn now and again. Yep...that kid hears everything.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow and Cabin Fever all in a matter of 48 hours




Snow is a rare occurrence in our neck of the woods, but when it comes, the city usually shuts down and we have all-day news coverage. People freak out and we just sit back and smile...although, I must admit that all-day TV coverage is definitely annoying and over-the-top.

Two days of snow=two snow days in a row. I'm not necessarily complaining about them, except for the fact that I have a plethora of projects to grade before the end of the semester, which was supposed to be today. Oops. Oh well...all other high school teachers in my district are probably feeling the same pain.

We took the kids out yesterday to take advantage of all of the fluffy white goodness. They were thrilled and had the best time running, jumping, sledding, throwing snowballs, and building a snowman. Today, however, is a different story. Freezing rain split a tree in half outside in our backyard. Ice means no going outside b/c it's just too dangerous. :( When kids are prevented from going outside, cabin fever ensues. Thus, new kinds of pretending take place in the form of a police officer arresting a wiener dog accompanied by a Disney Princess. Cabin fever also takes shape in the form of Dj walking in on the kids playing yesterday witnessing Baylen literally licking the fur of his stuff cat. Um yeah...haha we need to break out of here fast, but at this point, it doesn't look promising. It's snowing buckets again on top of the ice and people are losing power all over the place. S-N-O-M-G.






Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas at our house




I never had a chance to post about Christmas at our house. The kids had a blast opening gifts and finding out what Santa brought them. This year, Santa tried really hard to avoid going overboard (did pretty well with that compared to last year or two years ago) and tried and save a few more dollars on certain items...he did REALLY well with this.

The favorite items?
-Pet Shop Rescue Center
-Batcave

Of course.

Thank you.




A life. A legacy.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cha Cha Cha Changes




We've spent this entire weekend re-organizing parts of our house, toys, and the kids' room. After much debate, the toy box is now going to Goodwill. We purchased some new organizers for all of the toys both in the living room and up in their bedroom. It has made a big difference. The toy box was cracking on the inside anyway and that's the last time I'll ever buy one from TRU...too expensive, yet cheaply made. Hmph. This is yet another reason why we need to look closely at the benefits of in-sourcing within the U.S. Maybe the products would actually last???

Again, after much discussion, it was decided that it was time for another major change. Today, we took down the toddler beds. Baylen is still a little young for a twin bed, but at the same time, Brynn is really outgrowing her toddler bed. It was time to upgrade. Their room is not really big enough to have to twin beds side by side or even across the room from each other, so we decided to look at bunk beds. Dj found a really nice one at Costco, and a few days later, he invested in a friend with a truck and a second pair of hands to lift the item in and out of the store and into our garage. Piece by piece, we carried it upstairs. Nearly 7 hours later, the entire thing was completely put together by Dj with my help. I even had to help him pick up the top bunk and place it on top of the bottom one with big metal rods sticking out. It was a challenge and I almost gave up. Luckily, I was able to boost it up on there. Wheww! not easy!

A part of me is a little sad to see that crib leave the room. It's been in there since 2006. Time just keeps ticking by. I hope the transition isn't too hard on them. I hope Brynn doesn't forget that she's on the top bunk and tries to get out of bed forgetting where she is. The more I think about it, the more I need to just stop thinking about it, because I freak out.

After both of us went on a bedspread search and about had a cow over how expensive bedding is, we settled on a couple of quilts from LON and PBK. I could not justify spending $60 each on bed sheets yet, so those came from Target for 1/3 of the price. Needless to say, we'll be tracking their longevity or lack thereof. We were sure spoiled spending less than $30 on one crib sheet, toddler bedding, etc. so the sticker shock about did me in. I want them to have cute stuff, but jeez...it's so overpriced!

B2 was pretty excited about their new beds and bedding, and hopefully, they'll adjust pretty easily. The twin beds seem so much bigger than the little toddler ones. It's hard to believe we are making the switch already. Let's just hope they work out.

Next up on the organizing trail: THE GARAGE....*cue DUH DUH DUHHHHH music* That place is a pit again! We need to have a garage sale!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Guess what birthday theme we're planning for Mister Mister?

I'll give you a couple of hints:





capes, super powers, masks, web slingers, and oh so much more...

Monday, January 9, 2012

The holidays are over

Top 10 2011 Holiday Memories (in no particular order)

10. It was so warm this winter, we played outside.More than once.

9. Mary found her BM and FG dresses!

8. The grandkids were able to spend some quality time together and had a lot of fun. Check out the cute ISU tutus I made for Calleigh and Brynn in one of the pictures below!

7. Everyone was spoiled this year!

6. I was able to catch up with some great friends!

5. We were able to see both sides of the family this year.

4. Dj and fit in time to exercise.

3. Kids were great on the flights to and from!

2. I read 3 books for pleasure.

1. We were able to cheer on ISU as a family even though they lost. Seriously...Steele Jantz? Ugh. I will never understand that decision.