Saturday, November 19, 2011

We're Moving!

We bought a house!!

Well, we're under contract for a house. We close on December 16, just in time for Christmas! I feel like things are moving fast in my life and I'm excited! School is going great! I absolutely love my job, my school, the teachers I'm working with, all the people working with me on my KTIP intern year, everything! I just feel like things are finally getting into a good flow. So, we decided it was time to buy another house! Since it'll be time for baby #2 in the near future, we knew we needed more room and with the market being what it is and mortgage rates being what they are, we just decided to go for it! 

We found a beautiful house that is perfect for us and for our ultimately complete family! 4 bedrooms, a 5th bonus room with a big closet! 2.5 bathrooms, beautiful kitchen, dining room so we can entertain or host holidays at our house, LOTS of closet space! It has a backyard that even comes with a wooden play set with a slide!! Imagine the excitement on Isis' face when she saw that slide in our backyard! We're through the inspections, so everything is good to go! We also have a wonderful renter for our townhouse!

But suddenly I find myself more emotional than I ever thought I would be about leaving our current house. Our cute little townhouse has been perfect for us the last 4 years! It was the first house we ever purchased. It was where we put up our first Christmas tree. It was where we brought Isis home from the hospital. It is where Isis learned to crawl and walk and dance and jump! Isis had her first Christmas here. I've laughed here and cried here. I've loved it and I've hated it at times. But it's been mine, it's been ours. I keep finding myself going back to Stay Forever Sunday and thinking of her tagline..."We loved here." I wish I could somehow leave my mark forever on this house to just say "I was here. We were here. There are so many memories here."

I also think about this new house. It has everything we need to raise our family there. The bedrooms are huge! Big enough for teenagers. We will raise three children in that house (hopefully). We will have Christmases and birthdays and anniversaries there. Our kids can play in the backyard! (We don't have a backyard in our townhouse.) I will laugh there and love there, too. It made me emotional when I first walked into the house. We knew immediately it was ours. I could picture where the Christmas tree would go and where I would set up the birthday cake for parties. I could see the cribs in the rooms as we add more babies to the family. I could see Isis playing with her siblings and I could see us taking walks down the street, going to the park around the corner! I'm excited about possibility, about growth.

I guess, just like any new chapter in our lives, it's tough to say goodbye to where I've been, but I'm excited about where we are about to go!

Expect more pictures when we move in!!


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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tantrum Time!

(In a non-tantrum moment)
We've reached that stage. Tantrum stage. What a hot mess.

She's wonderful at the babysitter. The babysitter always comments on how laid-back and calm Isis is.
She's wonderful around other people. If she's entertained or playing, she's just a perfect angel.
But get her at home, with mom & dad, when something happens that she doesn't like or doesn't want, this crazy little monster erupts from my child. She'll scream & cry & throw herself back on the floor! She hits things or one of us. She pitches an absolute fit! 

I've been talking to people & reading about ways to handle this. We have chosen the "no" and ignore route. I say "no fussing" really firm and ask her to "use her words." Sometimes she just needs help and she knows how to say "help." Sometimes she wants something, so I tell her the word and try to get her to do the sign language for "please" or try to get her to point. But if she continues the fit, I ignore and walk away. What's really funny is sometimes she follows me around crying and I just go about my business, pretending she's not there. As soon as she stops crying, I turn around, really happy and smiley and go "well there's my sweet girl!" and we figure out what she needs by pointing or with words. 

It seems to be working pretty well so far. Her fits are very short if I do that. I'm trying not to give any attention if she continues a fit. The thing that gets frustrating is when she'll have several short ones in a row, like last night. I ended up walking away or ignoring her half the night. I know we can factor in being tired and keep in mind the fact that Lewis and I don't cater to her every desire when she's home and wants something. We play with her & laugh & play games & all kinds of things, but we also need to clean up the kitchen after dinner and I need to do laundry and she needs to know how to play by herself sometimes.

I guess I just needed to share. As well as ask for tips or advice or just hear any great stories you have of your children throwing tantrums! Last night I texted my friend Diana because I just needed someone to say "oh you're not alone in that." Anybody else have trouble with a tantrum stage right before or around 2 years old? I'm assuming someone has because they don't call it the Terrible Two's for nothing. I just feel like it's hit my house a couple months early. I look forward to when she can articulate more. Right now I feel like her limited vocabulary (which is getting larger every day - we're at about 40 words consistently right now) is making it frustrating for all of us. She has stuff to say but she can't use the words that we understand to say it to us. Fun.


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember 9/11

I was 17 on September 11, 2001. I was a Senior in high school and we were in this multi-purpose kind of room getting our pictures taken so that they could have visual class seating charts. The woman taking our picture got a phone call from her husband and she said they thought there was an explosion at the World Trade Center in New York. When I got back to my World Civics class right after that, they already had the news on the TV. I watched with lots of questions. I didn't fully understand what this meant and none of us were sure yet what had happened. 

As I walked between my World Civ class and my English class for the next period, the second plane struck the second tower. I missed it because I was in the hallway. I heard a lot of commotion and ran in to see the second tower billowing smoke. I still had lots of questions, a tiny bit more understanding and suddenly lots of fear. This was intentional. Was America under attack? When we heard the Pentagon had been hit as well, everyone started asking if the White House was next. I was still just confused and scared.

It wasn't until later that it hit me what this meant on a personal and individual level for the people who were in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the airplanes. My thoughts went to the grand scale first and then trickled down to the personal, intimate scale. The complete devastation of losing that many people in one day, the idea of losing firemen and police officers who ran in as others were running out, the moms who lost children, the children who lost parents, the friends who lost friends. It's unbelievable.

It's something that has taken on new meaning as I became a mom and have gone through these last almost 2 years as a mom. 9/11 was scary. What's going on with our economy is scary. The future for my children seems to be so scary. We all want to bring our children into a safe world where they can live and grow and flourish. 9/11 at first could make you think that we are bringing children into an unsafe world, but for me, looking back on it, I feel the opposite.

I feel that we live in a country where, when things get really hard, we band together. We fight. We don't accept our circumstances. We push our way out. We have firemen, police officers, military, all who will run in as others are running out. We have people who will stand up and fight for safety, for freedom, for stability and prosperity. Today I remember those people who we lost on 9/11. I pray for their families, because I know that while some have forgotten their loss or at least forgotten the sting of it, those loved ones still live with it everyday. I also say thank you again, year after year, to those who chose to enter the destruction to save those they could.

I believe in America. I hope that this anniversary of 9/11 reminds us how blessed we are to be here. And that even in the midst of difficulty, we will rise up.


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Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Needed These Words

Sometimes people share something & it just fits in whatever place you are in your life right now. My friend Queeny at The Planet Pink shared this post by Jen Hatmaker called After the Airport. On the surface, it's about adoption, but beneath the surface, it's about struggling or being broken. It's a long post, but it really is worth it. I've shared the last paragraph below, because it's the part that I haven't been able to get out of my head since I read it. I've reread the post at least 3 times now. If you're interested at all, read the whole post, not just this last paragraph.



"Oh let us be a community who loves each other well. Because someone is always struggling through the "after the airport" phase, when the chords of human kindness become a lifeline of salvation. Let us watch for the struggling members of our tribe, faking it through sarcasm or self-deprecation or a cheerfully false report. May we refuse to let someone get swallowed up in isolation, drowning in grief or difficulties that seem too heavy to let anyone else carry. Let's live this big, beautiful Life together, rescuing each other from the brink and exposing the unending compassion of our Jesus who called us to this high level of community; past the romantic beginnings, through the messy and mundane middles, and all the way to the depths."


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Monday, August 8, 2011

New Baby!!

I have mentioned my best friend Diana several times now on this blog. She's a big deal in my life. I don't know what I would do without her. So it was a really big deal when she finally had her THIRD baby girl early Sunday morning! I was so blessed to be a part of that experience for her! She texted me right before 2am to tell me that she thought she was in labor & that I needed to come to their house. We all immediately left for the hospital right after I got there & she had the baby at 4am!

She wanted to have a natural birth like I did with Isis and she did it!! I'm telling you, she is a warrior and it was absolutely amazing because it was the first time I've ever been in the room for a birth that wasn't my own. I must say, women are amazing. I don't care how you give birth or by what means the baby ends up here, women are still just flat out amazing and to say any different would be crazy.

I am so proud of her and so excited for this new stage in her life and the life of her family! Three girls!! What fun!!

Diana & Penelope Iris!
We'll call her Penny!



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My Classroom

Ah, friends. It's time. School starts on Wednesday. I have worked all summer preparing my room, going to trainings to prepare my mind, studying up again on classroom procedures, assessments, engagement activities, morning meeting, reading workshop, the new common core standards, etc. It's been quite a ride! As many of you following along know, I went back to school to be a teacher and am now about to start my very first year in my own 4th grade classroom! What a fun time! I am nervous and anxious, but I also feel very prepared and just ready for this journey! We had open house tonight and I met most of my students and their parents and I just believe it is going to be a wonderful year! Here are some pics of my classroom!

Empty classroom, ready to be given that special touch!


Phase one of the setup - arrange the desks, do the bulletin board & bring in the book boxes!

Reading & Computer areas at the beginning of the summer.

Teacher desk & small group table. Notice my fabulous curtains my mom made!

Reading area - a little more set up! Love the tree!!

Ready for Open House!!

Open House View from the door!

Don't you wish you were in 4th grade again??





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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer Reading Update

I have been reading a lot this summer! Everything from books for entertainment to books for school! I thought I'd share some of the good (and not so good) so far!

I posted earlier this summer about my summer reading plans. I've only completed one of them. It's Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. After reading that one, I read Linger and Forever, the second and third in the trilogy. I loved these books!! I enjoyed them a lot more than I thought I would! I was just checking these out, not really looking for something in the werewolf genre. But I loved them! I actually really liked the characters & the fact that they weren't weak or annoying. There were some strong girl characters, which can sometimes be harder to find in young adult books. I definitely recommend them! The second one is my favorite of the bunch, but I liked them all!

I also started reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare from my earlier Summer Reading List. I haven't actually finished it yet. I'm about halfway through it and I haven't connected to it like I have a lot of other books, so I decided to set it aside for a little while & I'm going to pick it up again later.

Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch was just an average read for me. It's about a suburban housewife who wakes up one day and it's years earlier. She's still dating her ex-boyfriend, hasn't met her future husband yet and doesn't have her daughter. It's all about her discovering the "what could have been" kind of thing. I actually didn't really end up relating to the main character a whole lot. It was interesting to see how they come through the journey from "what could have been" to where she is now. I liked the way they ended it. But there were several things about the main character (I can't even remember her name right now) that just kept me from really connecting to her, so I can't say I would totally recommend this one.

Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella was good and really cute! I have actually really started to enjoy the Sophie Kinsella books! It's not much different than any of the other ones, but I liked it!!

I also read The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. Another really cute book that I liked!

A friend of mine who works in a bookstore recommended I read My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares. Ann wrote The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and has since written two adult novels as well. My Name is Memory is one of these. It's the first of a trilogy, so as soon as I found that out, I was totally okay with the ending & I got really excited about the next two installments! This was one of my favorites that I've read this summer!

Two that I have attempted & not finished were The Truth About Diamonds by Nicole Richie and Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes. I had heard from someone a couple of years ago that they thought The Truth About Diamonds was pretty cute, but before I was even through the first chapter, I was just annoyed by everyone in the book and I wasn't even remotely interested in what happened to them from that point. Sushi for Beginners started out okay, but I think it was hard for me that it followed three different people and I just didn't connect with all of them. I stopped reading it after about 6 chapters.

Now, on my list for the rest of the summer is Matched by Ally Condie, French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano and Juliet by Anne Fortier! I'm hoping I'll be able to finish them before school starts on August 10!!

What have you been reading this summer?



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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Are you a Teacher??

(My empty classroom, ready for me to set up!!)

Hello, readers. I have been diligently (read: obsessively) researching and planning things for my classroom! If you don't know already, I was recently hired to my first teaching position in 4th grade! School starts August 10 and I'm going in on Tuesdays and Fridays right now to set up my classroom! It is a little overwhelming to come in and set up for the first year! But at the same time, it's exciting because it's like a blank slate! I can start fresh!

So here's where you come in. I know that many of the people I follow are teachers, but I'm wondering if anyone who follows me is a teacher. I have questions and am looking for ideas and what I've loved so much about this blog so far is the community and the people I've met! I feel comfortable asking questions to you all! (Feel special.)

So are you a teacher??
I'd love to chat!

In the meantime, if you are not already on Pinterest (or if you are), come check it out! I'll send you an invite if you need one! But I've got a Kids board, a classroom board, a home board, and several others! I am absolutely LOVING finding great ideas on there!!

Follow Me on Pinterest




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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lake!!

My friends have a beautiful lake house & we've visited before, but yesterday was our first time where Isis was old enough to appreciate where she was & get excited about a ride on the lake! It was so fun!!

She loved playing on the big porch & looking out at the water!

We found her a little life vest to wear when she went down on the dock! 

She wasn't crazy about the life vest, but she loved putting her feet in the water off the back of the boat!

But then we found a better life vest swimsuit that she borrowed from her friend Reese! Now she was ready to go for a ride on the water!

She LOVED being out on the water! I think we'll have to make it a more regular thing to go visit the lake! 

Hope everyone is having a fun-filled 4th of July weekend!!!



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Monday, June 20, 2011

Burnt out

I'm going to be honest. I've been nervous about posting this because I know a lot of times people post something like this & just lose a bunch of followers because people aren't interested. But I'm at a place in my life right now where I'm just burnt out on blogging & I have been for a while. I think it all began when I started my student teaching last fall and basically went back to work. Then this summer I thought I'd get all back into blogging like I did last year when I was staying home with Isis, but the opposite has happened. I'm even less interested. 

I think part of the problem is that I'm hugely intimidated by people like Melissa from Dear Baby, Kelle from Enjoying the Small Things and even Adriel from The Mommyhood Memos (although this will be the first she's heard of it). I just don't have the time to put into my blog to create wonderful posts with great pictures and thoughtful commentary on my life or things I notice in Isis' life like they all do. Every time I read their blogs, I just think "mine completely pales in comparison this, so why do I even bother?" It's not that I'm not on the internet anymore. I'm still keeping up with my Google Reader & the 121 blogs I regularly follow on there. I've also recently gotten into Pinterest, which is just such a fun way for me to organize all these things I'm finding online. But when it comes to sitting down and crafting a post like I used to, the motivation just isn't there.

I'm hoping that one day it comes back, and there are definitely days when I feel like I have something to say - and on those days, I will post. So I guess this is just my way of saying I'm still here, I'm still reading all of your stuff - although not commenting as much as I used to - and I will post when I really have something to say. But in the meantime, I'm hanging out with Isis, Lewis and planning out all my future classroom fabulousness!

That is one thing I have a post planned for in the near future: my classroom. I did get a job in 4th grade at the elementary school where I did my student teaching and long-term sub. I am so excited about it! It's a school I basically spent most of the last year in, so I am comfortable with the building, their procedures and their staff. I made some great friends there and I actually feel really honored to be a part of their team. I have high expectations for myself next year and high hopes for my class! I've posted before about how I feel about teaching and the kind of teacher I want to be, so I'm spending all my time trying to make sure I'm planning a classroom environment where my students are set up for success! So that's taking a lot of my time lately, too.

I really do appreciate all of you who are still reading. I've heard from several of you! Hopefully I'll see you around the blogosphere! :) I'm hoping I'll be motivated enough to post at least once a week if I really have something to say. At least through the summer I'm trying to post about my CSA stuff.

In the meantime, here are a few blogs that are posting regularly & I just can't stop reading!



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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pinterest: My Internet Time-Waster

I read about Pinterest on Queenie's blog the other day and I was so intrigued! I've slowly been checking it out & getting more involved. I must say, I am all about it now!!!! It's such a fun and easy way to save all your favorite internet finds! If you're on Pinterest already, let me know!!! And come follow along! If you're interested in getting started on Pinterest, let me know & I'll send you an invite!!



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Saturday, June 11, 2011

CSA 2011 #2

Veggies this week:
Collard Greens
Broccoli
Early Red Onions
Swiss Chard
Radishes
Loose Leaf Lettuce
Tarragon
Chives
Lemon Balm

My Meals This Week:
I'm more excited about this meal with Tarragon than I was about last week's meal!
CSA veggies used: tarragon, leftover garlic stem from last week

Salsa
Not exactly a meal, but I make fabulous salsa & I can use the red onion & some garlic from last week.
CSA veggies used: red onion, garlic stem from last week

Marinara Sauce with Collard Greens
I use the Jamie Oliver marinara sauce recipe from one of his cookbooks. I think it's Jamie's Dinners. Basically it's just a bunch of tomatoes chopped up with garlic & olive oil. This time I'm going to chop up some collard greens & add that in too!
CSA veggies used: collard greens, garlic stem from last week

Stuffed Potatoes
I'm creating my own stuffed potatoes this week! I'm going to make them the same as the recipe last week, except instead of the Mexican style ingredients, I'm going to do cheddar, broccoli, turkey bacon & chives.
CSA veggies used: broccoli, chives

Creamy Chard Potatoes with Steak and Salad
I made these potatoes last year with our CSA! They're really great & it's a great way to use swiss chard! 
CSA veggies used: swiss chard, loose leaf lettuce
Lemon Balm Pasta
I love pasta & I'm excited to try the lemon balm in this way!
CSA veggies used: lemon balm, garlic stem from last week



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CSA Week 1 Meals

Here's how my meals from Week 1 ended up!

Collard Greens Quiche
This was really yummy!! I added onions, garlic & cheese! 

Mexican Style Stuffed Potatoes with Buttercrunch Lettuce Salad
The potatoes were awesome!! But neither of us were super crazy about the salad. I need to find a different way to use the lettuce.

I ended up just baking the chicken. The caramelized endive ended up very similar to spinach & it was good, but the recipe called for WAY too much butter. If I made it again, I'd use less than half that much butter.

Baked Balsamic Chicken
This was great, but I make this meal all the time so I knew it would be! :)

I didn't end up making the mustard & tarragon chicken.



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Friday, June 3, 2011

CSA 2011 #1

Today Isis and I went and picked up our first CSA share box for the year! This year they are putting them in these cute canvas bags so it was actually much easier for me to get it and get it in my house while also getting Isis inside! 

Veggies this week:
Collard Greens
Green Onions
Buttercrunch Lettuce
Cilantro
Oregano
St. John's Wort
Endive
Garlic Stem
Radishes
1 dozen eggs

My meals this week:
Collard Greens Quiche
-I have a great crustless quiche recipe from a friend of mine where I basically just do 8 or 9 eggs, some sour cream, cheddar cheese and whatever veggies I want (this time Collard Greens) with some cheddar cheese on top. It's really easy and works great for any meal! I may add some garlic stems to this, too.
CSA veggies used: collard greens, garlic stem, eggs

Mexican-Style Stuffed Potatoes with a Buttercrunch Lettuce Salad
- This just seemed like a simple meal! With the salad, I'm just doing the lettuce, some onion, broccoli and ranch dressing.
CSA veggies used: buttercrunch lettuce, cilantro, green onions

-For this meal, I'm really just going to bake some chicken breasts with lemon, sage & butter. The endive in the share this week was more the green leafy part, so I'm hoping that words just as well when you caramelize it with some butter, garlic & shallots! I guess we'll find out!!
CSA veggies used: endive, garlic stem

-I have actually never eaten radishes in a way that wasn't just crunchy on a salad, so I'm really curious to see how I like this recipe! 
CSA veggies used: radishes

Baked Balsamic Chicken
-I make this recipe all the time. I just mix some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt & pepper & pour it over some chicken breasts & bake it in the oven. I usually serve it with garlic green beans. I normally use dried oregano, but I'm going to use the fresh oregano this time!
CSA veggies used: oregano, garlic stem




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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Splish Splash!!

  We went to the pool today!!! It was the first time Isis has ever been! I wasn't sure how she would feel about it, but it ended up being so much fun! I just held her and got in myself at first and she wasn't sure what to do with it, but slowly started kicking her feet in the water and wanting to splash with her hands. After about 10 minutes, she just wanted me to let her go so she could swim around by herself. She was kicking like crazy & getting so excited when she'd make a splash! 

She also liked playing by the steps because she could stand up and splash. She wasn't very happy when we had to get out to go home & she fell asleep in the car on the way home - which she hasn't done in MONTHS! I'd say she played really hard!! So I think it was a total success!! What fun!!!




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