Sunday, December 15, 2013

He's our baby

This week I thought about why people call their animals their babies.  Some people find it totally repulsive to refer to a furry critter as  one of their children or "baby."  But... I totally get it.  Harry is our "baby."  He is tiny like a baby.  You can cuddle him like a baby.  He is curious like a baby. He can be hilarious like a baby.  He has an innocence like a baby.  He can be ornery like a baby, or should I say toddler.  He can be moody like a baby.  He adoring like a baby. He needs us like a baby.  He sleeps a lot like a baby.  AND the best part is, he won't ever grow out of these things and he's not as much work as a real human baby.

I know if I still had children in infancy or toddler ages, Harry would just be my cat.  But since my girls have grown out of those stages and stepped into new roles in our family dynamic, the position of baby was open and he has gladly filled that spot in our lives.  The best part is, the girls are totally getting to enjoy the experience of having that "baby" in their lives as well.  They are very helpful with Harry and love on him and enjoy him every single day.  He makes us laugh a lot. I have had two other cats in my life, but Harry definitely tops the cake.  He is Mr. personality. He is definitely one of the Bilberry clan and we can't imagine life without him.

Watching a movie with the gang.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  That little ornery look of his. I think he wished I would have packed him up and taken him with us.  

Caught in the act of yawning.

The Bilberry penthouse, aka the top of of the kichen cabinets.  I would have to climb the counters to get him down, so I just let this one slide.

Curious cat.  Took a water bottle to finally convince him it wasn't a good idea after 3 tries.
This cat lets the girls carry him around everywhere like a baby.

Doesn't this pic just give you warm fuzzies all over?

This is a common sight around our house.  He just lets it all hang out.

A sleeping cat is almost as cute as a sleeping baby.

Everyone needs a Harry baby in their lives.  Highly recommend it!

Happy 5th Birthday Brennan!

I'm late on this one, but better late than never.  B had her birthday on December 4th.  She took her healthy birthday treats to school the day of and opened one gift that evening.  We didn't do much on the actual day as Jeff couldn't even make it home to celebrate because of work.  I did decorate her door for her to find when she woke up the day of as I do every birthday for my girls.  We had a small party with cake and gifts later that weekend and braved the snowy slick roads Saturday to make a trip to the Fun Spot happen by request.  The fun spot is basically like a Chucky Cheese.

Brennan is pretty much meeting all my expectations for a 5 year old.  I'm trying hard to cherish her at this age because it seems like the last age of being little and innocent.  I love my kids getting older because it makes life much easier when they can take care of themselves and help out around the house.   However, I will miss being able to snuggle comfortably because of her size.  I will miss the funny innocent things she says.   I will miss having her pass out on my lap when we go to a show, and she just can't make it  through because it is too late. I will miss her wanting little kid things like stuffed animals, dolls, and dress up clothes.  I will miss little Bren.

Made this box look like a birthday cake...kind of.  To hold the birthday healthy treat eats.
Harry is always an active participant in all family activities.  Even watching B open her presents.
He never jumps up there, but his curiosity about B's new puppy game got the better of him.
Like I said, Harry and family activities go hand in hand.
I lost count how many blows it took her, it took awhile.

Healthy birthday butterfly eats!

Snow days

Thursday December 5th school was canceled for our first snow day.  It was a doozy.  Frozen rain and 10 inches of snow kept us out the next day.  Then we had the weekend and school was called off again on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  Thursday we lucked out and got to go back.  It was short lived, because some more icy rain came in Friday and we missed Friday as well. Snow and ice on our hills is just too risky.  

My 1st grade concert has been rescheduled for the 4th time now.  I think this Monday it will finally be a go.  I'm so ready to get that puppy over with.  The kids are ready, we just need a decent day of weather to do it.  I'm not sure how many times I have it in me to sing Rudolph.  Then we have another 4 days of school and we are off for a 2 week Christmas vacation.  

I know all of our snow days built into the calendar are going to be used up at this point.  I'm a little worried they will start taking our Spring break if we have any more days off.  It's not even officially winter yet.  Gulp!  I've had this weird feeling since the beginning that this school year was going to see lots of snow.  So far I'm right.

BUT I'm not complaining really. I love, love, love snow days.  I'm still getting paid so money isn't an issue.  I will be making it up, so it's not like the school will suffer a loss in the end.  Even though I don't want to admit it, towards the end of all those days off, I knew I needed some sort of routine back again.  I have trouble getting motivated to do much of anything when I'm given freedom like that.  I only cleaned or cooked when I had too and I watched WAAAAYYYY too much TV.  Aw, but is was glorious.  Maybe it's pay back for all those days I had to run a daycare and didn't get much of a break.  There were never Christmas vacations, spring breaks, president days, summers off, snow days, etc. when you run a daycare.  So, I don't feel to bad about being a lazy bum on my snow days. I  deserve it. It's nice to have my life back ;)

So Monday is coming and we will be returning, finally.  I'm ready.  I'm relaxed, rested, and recharged.  Just what I need to be to pull off a rehearsal, assembly performance, and evening performance.  It'll be a long day, but I'm ready.  

The girls enjoyed their snow days only after the first two or three days of them passed.  It was as if they forgot how to get along and use their imaginations to play.  I think they got used to every minute of their day being planned out for them that they forgot how to be kids.  It took awhile for them to appreciate having no schedule and figure out how to pass the time with each other.  We watched a lot of movies together, made Christmas cookies, and played in the snow.  

Snow angel making

Snow wasn't slippery enough to sled.  Boo!

She got thirsty so she decided to eat it.

Tried snowballs and snowman making but it was just too dry of a snow

B's hat wouldn't stay on.

10 inches I'd say

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

We got a snow day!  I think I may be one of many this year.  I have had a feeling that this is going to be a snowy school year.  So what better thing to do than catch up on blogging.

This year it was our turn to host Thanksgiving.  Last year  my sister did it.  Now that she is closer we may actually be able to make Thanksgiving a Koehn tradition again.  I'm not entirely sure, but I'm thinking Christmas may turn into the Bilberry side. So far, Jeff's little brother is committed to coming our way for Christmas.  Not sure about the inlaws yet.  They made it up last year.

Thanksgiving break for us started the Wednesday before.  My parents drove in Tuesday night after spending a couple nights in KC.  We were able to put up the tree with my mom.  Jeff went to a chamber of commerce lunch with my Dad, and we ended out day together hitting a great show called SIX here in Branson.  SIX is an amazing family of 6 men who do their entire show acapella. If you come down, you really ought to see them.  It is not the hill billy Branson shows you always think of when you think of Branson, which is why we are willing to go see them.

Thursday my sister drove in after lunch.  My mother, Jeff, and I took turns in the kitchen making traditional dishes for the big feast.  I was worried about having such a small kitchen and dining area and hosting, but I always worry about that.  Since we spread all the cooking out a little at a time throughout the day, it turned out to be perfect.  It's the way to go when you have limited space.

We spent the rest of the day visiting, playing a little wii, board games, and then watching a movie with the kids.  The kids were all low maintenance because they were off doing their own thing all thorughout the day. The cousins get along fabulously!

It was a blessed holiday!  Only wish I had been smart enough to take more pictures.

Friday, November 15, 2013

It shouldn't bother me, but it does

B's birthday is coming up.  If you are going to have a party, school policy is that you must invite the entire class.  I don't care to do that. You never know who will show or RSVP or not.  Plus, we don't live in our district area.  We would have to commute to our own party.  I'd much rather just provide a special treat for the entire class on her birthday and then do our own private party thing.

I asked the teacher what we could bring, thinking there may be allergies in her class. The response, only healthy snacks like fruit or cheese sticks and nothing homemade only store bought.  OK.  I can respect the fact that they are trying to keep things healthy. I'm the lady that invented sweet Saturday after all.  What bothers me, I mean really bothers me, is that on the same day I was told only healthy snacks, my daughter was fed a brownie by the school.  How is it OK for the school to feed my kid junk, but I can't bring a sweet treat for one special day of the year?

I wish this didn't bother me so.  Seriously, if they had never fed her that brownie, I'd be OK with it.  That stinking brownie thing has just got me going.  As much as I want to, I can't complain because I have to work with the lady in charge of making these decisions.  She is a wonderful lady that really cares about my kid and does a great job with her; just having trouble understanding her rational here.  It's best to keep my mouth shut and just follow suit.  So I guess this is going to be a weird birthday.  B and I will go shopping for fruit to help her class celebrate her birthday.  Fruit that they may eat on any given day in class so really it won't be that special.  I can see it now.  "Happy birthday to you.  Now to celebrate we have oranges! Enjoy everyone!"  Geese!  Thankful B doesn't care about it as much as I do.  The beauty of turning 5.  Even if it's oranges, it's fine with her.  Mama needs to learn from little B.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Halloween 2013

A little late, but better late than never.  3 of the 4 of us decided to do a Little Red Riding Hood theme although B kind of regretted not joining in on the family theme when it was too late to change.  It was fun.  I'd like to do another themed thing next year only getting the ENTIRE crew on board.  So glad the inlaws are making it a tradition to do this with us every year.  What a great memory for our children.  I love, love, love how my husband really gets into character.  When people would open their doors he would yell, "Happy hoooooooooooooowloween!"  What a goof!  Of course, no one understood who I was until they saw us together.  And just for your information, I was trying to act like a tired old lady in this picture, it was all in character.  Hope you all had a great halloween too!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Things that have been swirling in my head lately:

-I think, I think....I finally got this working full time Mama thing down.  Seems like I posted this before?  There seems to be a nice balance of work, family, play, and even a little me time on occasion.  My house is often a disaster during certain times of the week (which I'm starting to accept), but it always gets a good cleaning on the weekends, and I am even making headway on keeping it picked up during the week.  The key is staying on top of things and getting your kiddos doing their fair share.  I also have come to accept that when school starts again next year after a long summer, I will be a mad mess in this department again.

-I have GOT to remember to start my days with prayer.  It makes such a huge difference in how my day goes, especially with the 5th and 6th graders.  I swear I hear God's voice speaking to me while I'm teaching those kiddos softly coaching me through how to deal with the challenging behaviors they throw my way, teaching me how to prevent them in the first place, or showing me when to get firm or when to just shower them with love. It's like when I speak to him it reminds me to listen to his spirit within me talking to me softly.  I love it!  It gives me confidence and assures me I've got this!

-My husband are the best team.  Really!  I can't imagine parenting without him.

-Willing yourself to not care what other people think is much harder than it sounds.  Trying to remember that my perception of what people think of me is way harsher than what other people probably really think and that same perception can quite often just be lies Satan tells me to bust my self confidence and self worth. Satan knows my parenting is a hot spot because it means so much to me to be a good mother.   Trying to remember that everyone else struggles with the same things I do.  The verses about not judging others when you have plank in your own eye and let him who is without sin cast the first stone keep coming to mind.  

-I love, love, love driving to work in the fall.  Breath taking.  I would miss the drive to work, if we moved closer.  I would also miss the privacy of living in a different town than I work.  Every time I stop at the Walmart where I work I see a student....every time.  I suppose it's inevitable when you teach 422 students in a tiny town.  I actually love it because they light up when they see me.  However, I can't help but think how I wouldn't love it if it were on the weekend when I'm no longer in teacher mode but sweat pants, Mama mode.

-I love, love, love the smell of fall air.  Sigh!

-I think starting our sweet Saturday tradition has been one of the best family traditions ever invented.  It has also been a useful tool to motivate my kids to make better choices and obey.  Heaven forbid they miss out on sweet Saturday because of some bad choices.  I'm telling you folks, it works!

-We are no longer attending church.  Yes, I said it.  There you have it.  I am doing bible stories, worship, and prayer times at home with my children on Sundays instead.  I have my reasons, but I don't need to get into here.  This is not how I intend to keep it, but for now this is working for us.  When God calls me to make a change, I will listen. I haven't gotten that prompting yet. 

-My cat makes coming home fun!

-My love for animals is being instilled in my children.  I love to have that same connection with them.  We love looking at funny animal pictures together or making our "Harry" voices.

-I am so glad I switched Brennan to her new preschool.  The staff loves her and seem to really appreciate her and her personality.  There's nothing like dropping your kid off and seeing the staff hug and kiss her and tell me funny stories from the day when I pick her up.  She also talks about the things she learns with excitement. 

-I don't think I'm going to have to worry about my kids falling into the wrong crowd.  I know it's still very early to know, but based on what I've seen so far, they seem to be more like I was in school. 

-I hate the new grading system schools are using these days.  Can we please go back to percentages were kids actually earn what they get? (had a big ol' rant on this, but I'll keep it to myself) 

-I am a lot better at waking up at 5:30 a.m. than I thought I would be.  I dreaded it all summer.  Earliest I ever had to consistently wake up for anything.  The key is, get 8 hours of sleep before you have to wake.  As long as I do that, it doesn't matter how early.  Imagine that!  Not rocket science.

-Waking up a full 1/2 and hour before the girls is CRUCIAL

-Giving the girls an entire hour before we have to head out is CRUCIAL and saves a TON of stress because it gives my dilly dallier plenty of time to get her morning routines done

-Finally decided to give myself permission to be OK with not having a ton of friends.  I have a handful of friends, just not the kind you want to call up and spill your guts too or run on a girls weekend with.  I used to let this bother me for years.  Pretty much my entire life.  Like not having a big group of girlfriends or even one best friend for that matter meant something was wrong with me.  You know folks, it's just who I am. My best friend is Jeff.  I am very fulfilled by him.  I'm not saying I depend on him for my social existence, but what little socialness I crave is met by him in just our normal day to day lives; my mother is also a great social element of my life even hundreds of miles away; love our saturday morning chats.  Also, as my kids get older, I get more and more joy hanging out with them.  I can see the beginning stages of our relationship changing into what it will become one day when they move out of the house.  And let's not forget the cat.  Call me the crazy cat lady, but I totally dig hanging out just him and I on occasion.  We actually have conversations, him and I.  He's a very vocal boy.  I cherish our morning snuggle, purring sessions.  He is always at the door the minute my alarm goes off to greet me and get his lovings.  If I procrastinate opening the door, I'm going to hear about it.

-I am soooooo close to having both my kids completely independant of needing me for basic physical care.  Just need to get Bren buttoning her own pants, tying shoes, zipping up her jacket, and washing her hair.  Seems like a lot now that I typed it all up.  Geese!

-I am my mother in some ways that drives me nuts.  I will never be the woman who enjoys buying birthday cards and mailing them to everyone.  I really hate it.  It is such a chore for me.  I do it, but it is out of obligation.  I am also a horrible host.  No one ever taught me, and I don't enjoy it all that much.  I totally forget to offer people drinks when they come in or offer to take their coats for them.  Jeff has had to teach  me a lot and thankfully he likes hosting and is pretty good at it. 

-I really like my laundry system.  It doesn' t seem like that much work anymore and I don't mind doing it.  Still wish they would find a cure for the missing sock syndrome.  That part of doing laundry drives me bananas.  I literally bought a miniature laundry basket for he sole purpose of putting socks in without mates in hopes one day they will magically appear.  I stew every time I do laundry about whether I should finally just throw out  the socks that have been in there forever but think just as soon as I do that, they will finally show.  Oh bugger!

-My girls are growing up and those funny things they say (that comes with age) aren't as frequent.  BUT I got two of them this week.  B said (on the toilet) "I got one to slide right out and I didn't even need gasoline."  She meant vaseline.  K asked me, "What do you have to do to be on the The Biggest Loser?"  I will miss the funny things a lot when they are gone.   Love it!

-I could go on and on.  If you made it this far, bravo.  Was in a rambling mood today.  Have a good week ya'll!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Something Cool

Want to hear something cool?  Jeff got to go be part of the crew last weekend that helped at the Chief's stadium to set the world record for the world's loudest stadium.  In case you didn't know, they did break the record by almost an entire decibel.  He's not entirely sure, but they might even include his name in Guinness book of world records along with a little of his sound experience.

How did he get this opportunity you may ask?  It just so happens the person in charge was someone he knew.  The man told him to come help out if he wanted to.  Jeff was all game, no pun intended.  What a way to kick off your first live NFL experience, eh? Lucky guy!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Give credit where credit is due

This has been a great week! I set out to be better at what I do, especially at it pertains to my intermediate students.  There are some boys who like to be stinkers in my class; adolescent boys are tough. After talking to my boss (who used to have my job), she basically told me I need to do more relationship building exercises in my class.  I did a little research, came up with a new plan and went to work.   I think I  made a little headway.  A score for Mrs. Bilberry.  I may not win them all over, but I'm certainly going to try. 

Friday rolled around and I was back to my primary school working with the little guys, my forte.  For some reason working with the littles is a cakewalk for me.  Maybe it's because I have littles of my own.  Maybe it's all those years doing daycare.  Whatever it is, it just comes so natural.  As my morning started another seasoned teacher popped into my room and told me how she has never seen the kids so excited to come to music.  She expressed how glad she was that I was here teaching in this district.  I just wanted to blush and cock my head and say, "Aw, gee, golly, shucks, thanks!"  No really, it just made me feel good to be appreciated by other staff members, especially after some of the challenges I faced with some other teachers at the other school a few weeks ago.  It also made me feel good to know what I do is really impacting the kids, especially after being challenged by the older ones the week before.  It's almost as if God knew I need a little pick me up this week.  A few words of encouragement to help me keep on trucking. 

Later that day, another teacher stopped me in the hallway to compliment me on how much her children (Kindergartener twins) knew.  This came to her attention when her mother in law (also a music teacher)heard her grandchildren sing "The Grand Old Flag" word for word, a task that has been hard for her own 4th grade students to master.  Again, it was nice to hear all this. 

However, I don't want to take all the credit.  About a month into my new job, I began to reflect on that "natural" ability that I was speaking of a moment ago.  I began to marvel at how things just come to me when I am in the midst of teaching that I just know are the right things, at the right time.    Sometimes they aren't even part of my lesson plan, but somehow I know it's exactly what I need do to impact the kids and make their experience more fun.  The ideas come to me just in the nic of time, almost by magic, and often when suddenly have 10 extra minutes to fill because my lesson ran faster than I expected.  I know it's effective because they leave wanting more, to do it at recess, or to do it all over again when they come back.  I am so blessed to teach something that by nature is stimulating and fun to children.  The point is this, I feel God's presence when I'm in that classroom.  It is so apparent to me and amazes me.  He gently whispers to me ideas.   He tells me how to handle situations that pop up as it pertains to teaching or behavioral management.  I owe more of my success to him than anything.  I am eternally grateful for his help in those classrooms, on my own I'd be so insufficient.  I even notice on days I remember to pray for his help go better than days I don't.  I know he's there with me .  I can feel it.  It's a wonderful feeling.

I wish I had thought of this when those women were giving me those compliments.  I wish I would have been bold and spoke of this in front of them.  Because if there's something I don't want, it's to be prideful and take all the credit.  I am within God's will doing what I do, no doubt.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have found my calling and be able to do it day in and day out; I have my bad days, but my good ones far outweigh the bad ones.  I know people who are still searching for what it is they are meant to do.  I really pray they find it.  God will bless them if they do what it is that he calls them to do.  It is truly the biggest blessing to do what you love, and love what you do. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Auxiliary frustrations

I had a post all ready to go about some issues I have had recently at work.  However, the smart side of me knows I need to be careful when I put things out there for the whole wide world to read.  It seems the only people who even read this don't even live anywhere close to me, but it's best to be safe.  So...I'm going to just say this.  I have had frustrations that come with teaching an auxiliary course.  It saddens me.  It angers me.  I know it comes with the turf, and so I will choose to take the high road and just pray about it and keep my yapper shut.

To sum it up, I just want to close and say music matters.  It is important in education.  It does more than just provide a creative outlet for students, it literally improves their scores in core areas. Being in a musical ensemble also teaches life skills like teamwork and leadership that are crucial to being in a workforce in today's world.  I pray that all educators everywhere would embrace this and show music and those who choose to give this gift to children respect!  Because whether they can see it directly or not, what I do really will enhance what they teach in the classroom everyday.  You teach science, so do I.  You teach history, so do I.  You teach math, so do I.  You teach language arts, so do I. I could go on. You get my point.


Friday, August 23, 2013

One week in

I have completed teaching one week of school.  I am tired.  I admit, it was overwhelming at first.  And when I say overwhelming, I'm not even talking about the teaching part.  Praise God I had enough sense to plan 2 months  worth of lessons this summer and took a week before I started to get my rooms ready.  We were not given nearly enough time in our classrooms to do all that.  All the new teacher meetings, then building meetings the next week before school just overloaded me with TONS of housekeeping stuff.  I am still trying to get caught up in paperwork and trying to memorize what seems like tons of different schedules and duties.

All together I am teaching 25 classes between my two schools.  My class sizes at the primary are around 20 students.  My classes at my intermediate school are much larger, with as many as 29.  They are big classes folks.  Thankfully, many of my 6th graders switched to band this week, since they were just given the opportunity to do so.  This has helped a lot!  Unfortunately, the kiddos who are left are a mixed bunch. I have some kids who honestly don't think of music as their cup of tea and others, who like music and want to be in choir.  Convincing the kiddos who don't care for music to like music is tough. I have several joksters in those classes, so I have to be on top of my game to keep things in check. I'm up for the challenge though.  It's just very different than what I've done before.

I was spoiled when I taught orchestra in KS.  I had small classes and the kids who took my class all wanted to be there.  I also got to keep my kiddos for 4 years so memorizing names wasn't hard at all.  Honeslty speaking, I'm really fearful I'll never get all my current students' names down by the end of the first semester.  There's so many!  Classroom management is so hard when you don't know their names.  I'm trying.  Seeing them only once a week too makes that even more difficult!  Thankfully, I am commanding enough in front of a class, that I can still keep things in check even without knowing every single name, but the sooner I learn them, the better.

I feel like I'm a better teacher than I was years ago simply because now I come to the table as a parent.  Being a parent and a daycare/preschool teacher for the last 7 years has taught me SO SO much!  Most of it transpires to teaching just about any grade and anything.  It's almost as if God used everything I've done to prepare for this time and these kids.

I wasn't the slightest bit nervous on my first day of actual teaching.  Felt like putting on an old glove.  Thankful for my time at the private school last year.  I got all my "back to work" jitters out then.  I have recieved nothing but very positive feedback from so many folks: parents, students, teachers, and even my boss. My highlight moment was hearing my boss say, "You've got the goods sisters.  Watching those kids watch you was like watching magic!"  Sigh.  It's good to hear those kind of things.  It keeps me going and wanting to get better and better.

I posted something about this on facebook, but I'll put it on my blog too because it meant so much to me. We had a district devotion before school started. It was optional, of course, it is a public school after all.  The speaker mentioned how God has picked us for these particular kids RIGHT NOW.  That statement hit me so hard.  It was hard not to let the tears start flowing.  At the time I had just found out that I had 559 students.  It blew my mind.  God picked me, to impact 559 lives this year.  Holy Moly!  I felt pretty special that he would entrust me to me so many little lives to touch!  What a responsibility!  What an honor to be chosen.  Sigh!

I pray I will always stay passionate. I pray I will continue to grow as a teacher.  I pray I will continue to always do what is in the best interest of my students.  This is going to be a little bit stressful year simply because it's my first time in this district and working with this particular curriculum.  But honestly, I'm very happy about it all.  I enjoy teaching general music.  I wonder if I will, in fact, prefer to teach this over orchestra in time simply because of the variety of things I can teach in this class.  Orchestra is very focused.  I will always miss smaller class sizes and the type of students orchestra attracts, but this is going to be fun too!

So if you don't hear from me much for awhile, it's because I'm still treading water at work.  Eventually things will calm down.  I'll try to post more when that time comes.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just keep swimming......

When I think of exercise that little tune pops into my head from Finding Nemo.  Anyhoo....this summer I told myself that when our first vacation high wore off and we slipped into our summer routine, I needed to include exercise into that routine as I would be sitting a lot more during the summer days than usual.  Teaching has me on my feet constantly.  I do take the kids to the pool, but I don't desire to try to make a real effort to swim for exercise while I'm there as there are just too many splashing kids to work around and I have to keep an eye on my own kiddos, not focus on myself. 

So....I began an exercise routine. I always do this.  I get motivated to start exercising and stick with it for a month or two and then it just gets hard.  This is the first time I have felt like it wasn't hard to stick with it.  This is also the first time I have not had to do work or daycare.  Suddenly fitting it into my schedule just seemed easy and dare I say, desireable.  What a nice change.  Although I desire to loose a size or two in my clothing, mostly I just want to be healthy for me and my family.  I want to grow old gracefully  All the rest is icing on the cake. 

So all this is to say I'm starting to get nervous about my new routine with school starting.   Can I keep this up when it is just another thing to squeeze into my busy schedule rather than a easy time filler for my not so busy schedule?  I've realized what makes exercise hard isn't the exercise part, it's the time management and mental component.  Thankfully, my experience with it this summer has been enjoyable.  Enough so that maybe, just maybe, I will look forward to squeezing it into my day at the end of work and look at it as "me time" instead of just something I have to do. 
We shall see.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Winding down

Summer is about to end for our family.  The grand finale....a trip to Annapolis, Maryland to visit our good friends Jon and Kerri Chase.  We have been promising them for years we would come visit.  They are looking to move (where is unknown yet) sometime next year.  Therefore, it's now or never.

Jeff is very excited to go visit the Rock and Roll Hall of fame on our way there.  I am excited to take the kids to the ocean for the first time.  It is going to be a long trip.  When we return it we will have one short weekend and then I have to get down to the business of decorating my rooms for a couple days before I have to officially report for work the that Thursday.  School officially starts halfway through the week after I start. 

I can't believe we are almost done. This has been the best summer.  It has been the summer of my dreams.  It has been the way I always imagined it would be when I grew up.  I feel very blessed. I am restored!  My patience is back.  My love for my children has grown and I enjoy and appreciate them even more.  I'm a little sad that we are about to be apart for a good chunk of our days.  Sigh!  But alas, all good things must come to an end.  There's learning and teaching to do and they are going to be in great hands while I go fulfill my calling in life!  I feel confident that they will be blessed by the teachers at their new schools.  I continue to hear GREAT things about my new district! 

 I have told myself that I am going to need to transition my body back to a school schedule soon.  Preferably before we leave on our trip so that I'm not struggling to get up early on our trip as Jeff prefers.  I have gotten WAY to used to sleeping in.  It has been glorious!!!!  I SO wish I could be a morning person.  How do those morning people do it?  I have even contemplated the idea of waking up, working out, and then getting ready, but I don't think that is logical considering without a work out I will have to get up at 5:30 am in order to get myself  and the girls ready in time.  Adding a 30 min commute to my new job makes mornings a little harder than they used to be.  I used to have a 45 minute commute to work before kids and it was a breeze.  It's a lot different when you have 2 littles to get fed, dressed, use the bathroom,  teeth brushed, coats and shoes on, and seat belts buckled.  Adds A LOT of time onto that process.  How do working moms of 2 plus do it?

Anyhoo....all this is to say there will be an adjustment period for sure.  However, I think it's doable and after a month or two it'll all feel normal.  Jeff and I are feeling fairly confident there is going to be a move in our future.  Exactly where and when is still up in the air.  We both agree we'd like to be closer to my job, providing I still think this is where I want to be long term after I have had a chance to get a good feel for the job.  Eventually, the girls will be driving their own vehicles.  It makes more sense to be closer to the place where bulk of us need to be and most of their friends will reside.  We don't necessarily have to live in district boundary lines since it is free for my kids to be there because of my work there, but even cutting the drive in half would help so much,  so we will see.  First and foremost, we are going to work on paying down some bills.  We have the luxury of time.  A 30 minute commute isn't ideal, but it is certainly doable for however long we need it to be.

I have gotten done with almost everything I had hoped to do this summer to prepare for my new job.  This year will be the toughest because I am having to create lessons from scratch.  Next year, I can reuse all my lessons, tweeking here or there or changing a few things that didn't work. Honestly, I'm kind of glad for all the extra work of starting from scratch.  I never had an excuse to be bored this summer because there was always something I could do for work in between sprinkler time, pool trips, playdates, and Silver Dollar City fun.  It kind of gave me a little bit of me time during the summer and forced the kids to entertain themselves on occasion, which I think is a important skill for them to develop. 

I am SOOOO looking forward to only having to pack lunches for myself  this year.  The kids will both be eating school lunches this year, so I can take more time to prepare fun stuff for me, stuff that the kids would never go for in a lunch but I always wanted but never had the time to make because of all the lunch packing I had to do for them!  Last year I HAD to pack lunches for B because lunch was not offered for her.  I decided to do it for K too since I already had to do it for B.  At first I enjoyed it but then it became such a chore and made nights long and rushed and left me exhausted and cranky; just another thing to add onto my long list of things to do each night.  I used to feel guilty for letting K eat school lunches occasionally.  I mean, how dare I let her eat unhealthy school lunches right?  People....I'm giving up the Mommy guilt trips.  I made it through years of school lunches and unhealthy eating.  My kids eat WAY healthier at home than I ever did.  I figure that more than makes up for whatever they may be lacking at school.  Five meals a week that may not be the healthiest is small price to pay for a happier, less stressed Mama who has more time for her kids because she's not packing all those lunches. ;)   

So anyhoo....goodbye summer.  You were fantastic.  I will milk every last minute.  Until we meet again!  I love my job!  Hello new school year!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things...

about this summer...

1.  wearing no makeup and not caring (first time in like forever.  Always wore makeup during daycare)
2.  letting the house be messy and being OK with it because there's always tomorrow
3.  Having plenty of time to plan for the next school year
4.  Watching the girls dote on their new kitty and seeing him enjoy every minute
5.  Sleeping in......the girls and I (this has been GLORIOUS!!!!!!)
6.  Watching a movie with the girls every morning as a routine
7.  The smell of sunblock just before hitting the pool
8.  Working out in the middle of the day
9.  Watering my plants and having the girls play while I do so
10.  Loosening up and letting the girls run through the sprinkler in their clothes
11.  Watching all the creations with sidewalk chalk
12.  Cooking up big meals and not feeling exhausted when done
13.  Falling off the plan for meals and not caring
14.  Ice pops
15.  Iced tea
16. cold soda cans
17. strawberry margheritas
18.  hours to search on pinterest and time to do some of the stuff I find
19.  playdates with friends up the street
20.  Kayaking with a friend
21.  Lunch with another
22.  Long road trips with my girls and a neighbor
23.  2 big vacations in 2 months
24.   Cheesy patriotic music blasting during the fourth
25.  Having the greenest lawn in the nieghborhood
26.  Silver Dollar City passes. 
27. Swimming at the city pool
28.  Helping my oldest start a new (hopefully lifetime) hobby with piano
29.  Staying in my PJs until noon
30.  Taking a shower in the middle of the day
31.  Watching the girls get all pumped to catch fireflies
32.  Date nights
33. Watching Kadyn play hide and go seek with Harry and the giggles that insue
34.  Watching Bren cator to Harry with play food  and cover him with baby blankets when he's all sacked out.
35.  Realizing one day that my littlest hasn't asked for my assistance in the bathroom for awhile
36.  Grocery runs on week days, in the middle of the day
37.  Training my kids to put their plates in the sink.
38.  Washing the van in my swimsuit with the girls
39.  Having a clean van inside and out.
40.  Staying up late with my man.
41.  Wearing scuzy clothes because I don't have to be anywhere and not caring
42.  Watching my girls play well together
43.  Listening to B make believe in her high pitched motherly voice
44.  Watching Kadyn read just because she wants to
45. Heart to heart talks with Kadyn
46.  Lemonade
47.  A future Jammy run to squeeze in before the summer ends
48. The Lone Ranger
49.  A visit from some good friends from Texas

And my all time favorite thing this summer....

50.  My cute kitty poking his nose in my face, a soft mew to see if I'm awake, and then purring like crazy and snuggling up with me every. single. morning around 9.  I LOVE THAT!!!!

This has been the best summer.  So blessed to not have to work and just enjoy my time with my family, planning for a new job, and enjoying our new kitty.  I can't believe I get to do this every year.  Do I have the best job or what?  So blessed.

Late night heart to hearts

I have had many heart to heart late night talks with my oldest throughout the years.  Tonight was one of them.  We  started out being upset with each other and ended the night snuggling and talking about decisions, what makes a good  friend, peer pressure, and much more.

This summer I have noticed Kadyn making decisions that have demonstrated to me that she has hid all those heart to heart talks in  her heart. It is exciting and reassuring to know that she is listening to all my pearls of wisdom.  It is also a reminder that I have to be careful to live up to own expectations.  A perfect example.  The other day we were listening to the radio in the van on the trip to somewhere.  Kadyn made the comment that she didn't like the particular song that was playing because it had curse words in it and wished I would change it.  I did change it of course, but I felt ashamed that I had let it play in the first place.  I should've changed it before she had the chance to notice it.  For the record, it infuriates me that radio has become lax about certain words.  These particular words were never allowed on public radio when I was a child.  What changed?  As far as I know, most parents would not want their own children to say these words.  The words are still not allowed to be said in public schools, so why are they OK to play on the public radio and on TV sets?

Anyways I digress, my point is my girl knows right from wrong and she is beginning to exercise the right choices not just because I told her so, but because she wants to do the right thing.  I'm proud of her.  I'm relieved that God is working in her life mold her into a Godly child.

If there's one thing that I worry a little about for Kadyn, it's how her humble nature (when it comes to friendships) can often lead to others manipulate her.  Kadyn values friendships.  So much so, that she allows for herself to be manipulated by them.  She is the kid that gets told things like, "If you don't do x, y, and z  I won't be your friend anymore."  This strikes fear within her .  Rather than standing up for herself, she chooses to listen to her friends, so she doesn't have to risk loosing the friendship.  As a mother, this is a red flag.  I am trying to empower her to stand up to those type of friends and help her identify that true friendships are not conditional.  What starts out as normal childlike manipulation can turn into dangerous peer pressure someday.  Today it involves one child trying to get his or her way in play, 10 years from now it may involve friends trying to manipulate my child to try drugs.  OK so maybe I'm being a little melodramatic, but sometimes I feel God allows our children to go through these obstacles with friends early on so we parents can use it as a teachable moment regarding choices before they have more severe consequences.  The challenging part, is to recognize when God is handing us those moments, grab them and run with them.

So all this is to say, thank you Jesus for giving me all those heart to hearts with my daughter.  I realize they have been purposeful and orchestrated by you.  I know I am your vessel to help guide her and am so glad you are using me as such.  I pray that as she grows older and enters puberty, you help protect her heart so that it does not close it off from the truth.  I pray that she will still be open to our late night heart to heart conversations and you will use those opportunities to continue planting seeds of truth, wisdom and courage regarding life. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Have and Have Not

This summer I have:

-gone to the pool, not as much as we'd like though (sickness, vacation, ear infections interferred)
-let the kids play outside in the sprinkler
-gone on a long vacation and have one more planned
-taken K to gymnastics two times a week for 1.5 hours each time which she is fairly certain she wants to quit and I am actually kind of relieved about
-played a lot with Harry
-watched a lot of movies
-kept up with the house
-planned lessons for school next year
-planned out my classroom decor for school next year
-cleaned out the basement and purged
-gone to SDC once and have plans for more
-ran lots of errands in the middle of the day on a weekdays (yea for grocery shopping on weekdays!)

I have not:
-read to the kids much
-gone to the library with the kids
-did worksheets with the kids

You know what?  I don't care about the have nots.  My kids are bright.  I'm sure one summer off from learning isn't going to kill their education.  I have had to do those things for 6 years. It's nice to have a break and go with the flow. It actually feels like the way summer is supposed to be.  Finally.  It's hard to believe, but for us summer will be half way over in one week.  B goes back on the 5th of August, I on the 8th, and K on the 12th.  I plan on going in and starting on my room the 5th, so to me, that's when my summer is officially over.  I don't feel ready to go back yet, but I am excited, and think by the time it arrives I'll be ready. 

Yea to my first REAL summer vacation.  Love it!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Throwing them in there, almost forgot

I almost forgot, we did go trail riding in the mountains, my Dad, Teresa, and I.  It was Teresa's first time on a horse ever.  We dodged branches, crossed over big fallen trees and boulders, and went through rushing creeks.  I was so proud of her for taking it like a champ.  She loved it.  We even survived having a group of pit bulls come running at us full steam, shew! 

Totally random here, but we also stopped and saw the Sante Fe Trail on our way back home.

It blew my mind that it was still there. I kept thinking maybe they came and remade it in secret.  I mean, how can something last that long?  Amazing!
Trail to the tracks.  It. WINDY>>>>>>>>>
And there were lots of blooming cacti

The GC Part CO trip 2013

On our way to CO we stopped in GC and stayed with my inlaws. They took us to a rodeo.  On the way back they brought me my favorite food, El Zarape.  Love them!  It was fun.

Mutton Buston, AKA little kids get bucked off sheep
Rodeo queens, girls were most impressed by this part
All looking our cowgirl best
Toothless cowgirl....and me
The pink hats were bought by our friend Teresa and were perfect for the rodeo was sponsoring Breast Cancer Awareness

Colorado 2013 Part 2

More pics from our trip to CO
My Mom
Small museum at CO National Monument
He's kissing her head, sigh!
A deer taking a chill pill in my Mom's yard
Loving up on Papa
4 generational photo with Mom, Dad, Me, Girls, and My Grandma and Grandpa on my Dad's side