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Mass & Mochas

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetA while ago an old friend of mine contacted me to see if I’d be interested in joining a small faith-sharing group she wanted to start up. We would meet once a month for mass and then have coffee afterwards and chat about the readings, our lives, and anything else that we might want to bring to the table. I am someone that has to be intentional about stepping out of her comfort zone, so while this was something I was interested in, I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go or if I’d even feel comfortable meeting up with strangers and talking about…stuff. I put my anxieties aside and said yes, hoping that I could recruit a friend to go with me so that I wouldn’t have to be alone.

There were 5 of us present at this first meeting. We attended mass at the Santa Clara Mission. The church and campus are so beautiful that for a second I felt like going back to school, just so I could enjoy the scenery on a daily basis. During mass there was a point where I thought it was really amazing that I was attending mass with people who I don’t really know, yet are connected to through the Spirit.

Community. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Reaching across the aisles and breaking bread and embracing community.

After mass we went to Starbucks and chatted about the readings of the day. Our conversation focused on thinking about the ways the Spirit is tapping on our shoulder at this point in our lives. What are we being called to do? We shared some stories, had a few laughs, and made connections. I found myself feeling grateful to be able to share a small snippet of my journey with people who were open to listening.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a new adventure that I want to embark on and have had so many doubts and fears about starting. But in chatting with these women I realized fear is what has been preventing me from doing something I know that I am being called to do. And I was reminded, once again, how important building community is. When we build community, we are making much of God.

 



Summertime Struggles

Being that it is summertime, I’ve been on the search for toddler classes to keep Dylann occupied. I’m thankful to have summers off so that I can do this with her. I go back to work in August, and there are very few toddler programs that take place in the late afternoon/evening. (Why is that, by the way? I know there are working parents out there that want to enrich their children’s learning experiences, too.)

The Main Library in our area has a toddler story time that takes place once a week, and it’s FREE! We tried it out last week, and it went pretty well. There were lots of little ones around Dylann’s age group, which was great as she needs to be around people her age more. We sang songs with funny actions, read books, had play time, and even made a simple art project. I really only had 2 BIG issues with the program:

A part of the play area smelled like urine.

The toys looked like they hadn’t been cleaned. Like ever.

Maybe it was the carpet, or perhaps a little one was running around with soiled underpants, but the smell was very present and almost overwhelming. I tried very hard to keep Dylann away from the area, which was hard because it was near the play kitchen which is her favorite thing in the world.

I found some of the toys to be sticky, and the clothes on the dolls were stained. It just means that the toys are well-loved, right? Ew.

When I spoke to David about it later that evening, he said he was surprised I even stayed for the whole class. I’m not a neat freak or anything, nor am I OCD about germs, but I do have a tendency to get grossed out easily. And, of course I wouldn’t want my daughter to contract anything from playing with dirty toys. But the truth is I loved seeing her in a new environment – using her imagination somewhere other than in the comfort of our living room. She had so much fun watching the other kids and exploring. (Not to mention it was very refreshing for me to get out of the house.)

I don’t think we will be going back, sadly. I think what did it for me was when my husband said, “If it was you who had to work in a place that smelled like urine and that had dirty object that you had to handle, you wouldn’t do it. So why would you subject our daughter to it?” He has a point.

Am I being too OCD? Are my standards set too high? Should I just let it go and focus on the fact that she enjoys going to the class?

I guess for now I am continuing to search for other venues. Let’s hope she didn’t contract anything from being in that room for an hour. I’ve heard hand-foot-mouth is so not fun.



The Golden Hour

Dylann wanted to take a picture of Devynn sleeping.  srcset=

Dylann wanted to take a picture of Devynn sleeping.

There is an eerie sort of calm that has just come over my house at this moment. Both my girls just happen to be napping. At the same time. Finally, some time to myself! My first instinct is to pick up my purse and head over to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Oh, wait. The girls would have to come with me, huh? Forgive me, I’m still somewhat new to this whole mom-of-two thing. Today was the first time I took both girls out by myself. We took a short trip to the library for a Learn and Play class we signed up for this summer. It was our first time, and I was excited for Dylann to get the chance to be around other kids for once. (Is it normal that 2 of her dolls are named after her 20-something year old cousins? That’s her crew nowadays.) The whole “getting ready” process took a total of 2 hours. That included changing and feeding both of them, packing our things, taking a shower (people without kids take this for granted), making coffee, and getting everything and everyone loaded into the car. We arrived at the library 30 minutes early, which was good because just getting them out of the car and into the sling and stroller took a while. But we got to the door with 10 minutes to spare! The class was great and my one-month-old slept the whole time, which made our time there much easier. We sang songs and played and danced. We even made a paper turtle. When we got home, both girls were just as exhausted as I was from our little field trip. It’s no wonder they both knocked out. I thought about the things I could do during this golden hour – fold the laundry, watch TV, sleep, do the dishes that have been sitting in the sink for 2 days. But instead, I choose to write. I write because it gives me a chance to collect my thoughts. I write because nowadays, more than ever, I feel the need to be creative. I write because I want to remember. And as I write I wonder if my house will ever be clean again (it’ll just get dirty again tomorrow), if I should just give up on folding laundry altogether and start a “clean clothes” pile on the floor of our guest room (our laundry piles are endless), and whether or not I should clean up the toys strewn about the dining room turned play area (she’s going to throw a fit when she realizes her Doc McStuffins doctor bag is put away). I also start to wonder if it is normal to miss my kids when they are sleeping. While I type the conclusion of this post, Dylann is already up and calling for her baby sister. Devynn answers back with a loud cry. And just like that the golden hour is over.



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I cannot believe it has been more than 6 months since my last blog post. I was on a roll with the 31 day challenge and I guess I was all blogged out by then! Much has taken place in the past 6 months, not the least of which included the birth of my second child. Needless to say, there has been a lot going on.

Devynn Gianna was born on May 27th at 11:30pm. Eight pounds and 3 ounces of pure love. I was in labor for only a couple hours before she decided to make her appearance, and thank goodness she came quickly because laboring without any drugs is no joke. Props to all the mamas out there who have gone au naturale during the labor process. I never knew I was capable of tolerating that much pain. (Or that I could scream that loud, either.)

Since her arrival life has been…crazy. Most nights she sleeps pretty well for a newborn – 3-4 hours at a time. But during the day, that little baby can scream. She cries pretty much the whole time unless someone is holding her, and by “someone” I mean me. And even then sometimes I can’t calm her down. I’m breastfeeding, so that usually works, but it doesn’t pacify her for long. I am grateful she’s a good sleeper, though. It has given hubby and I a chance to catch up on Scandal. Oh, Scandal. SO. GOOD.

It has been quite the challenge living life with a 2 year old and a newborn. When one stops crying, the other one starts. Unless both are crying at the same time, which is when I start to cry, too. And the amount of laundry is insane with just one extra person baby around. Tomorrow my husband goes back to work and I’m left to fend for myself. Luckily my dad’s going to stop by for a bit to help out. Thank God for Grandpas!

Yes, life has been crazy. But it has also been crazy beautiful. Watching my first born hug and kiss the baby is priceless. I wasn’t sure if I could love any one else like I love my first daughter, but God has this way of expanding your heart’s capacity when you didn’t think it would be possible. I am amazed at how blessed I am.

The good life, indeed.



The Shortlist

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Every teacher that I know dreads looking at the calendar and realizing that it is almost the end of summer.  For me, the beginning of August marks the beginning of crunch time.  Classrooms need to be set up, lesson plans put in place, and beginning-of-the-year meetings scheduled.  I start having nightmares about the first day of school (yes, teachers get nervous, too!), and try very hard to put myself on a regular sleeping schedule.

This school year will mark the beginning of something new.  I’ll be at a different school this year, still teaching middle school but only to seventh graders.  I left my old school of six years in order to be closer to my daughter.  This new school is only five minutes from my house – three if all the lights are green.  I won’t have to cross the bridge (good-bye $5 toll) or sit in afternoon traffic.  That’s an hour extra every day that I get to spend with my babygirl, precious minutes with someone who is already growing up too fast.

2013-07-25 00.03.39[I asked her to smile for the camera. Then I told her we were leaving and that she had to get out of the chair. What a diva.]

I’ve naturally been doing lots of research in order to prepare for next school year, especially because I will be teaching two subjects I haven’t taught for a while now: Social Studies & Literature.  I feel like a brand new teacher.  Not in a good way…but in a I-want-to-do-it-all-but-don’t-know-where-to-start kind of way.  There’s so much information on the internet nowadays that it’s almost information overload!  I’ve been writing stuff down, printing tons of resources, and pinning like a madwoman.  Today I spent over an hour searching for “round robin reading alternatives” when I suddenly realized 2 things:

  1. The baby is going to wake up soon.
  2. How much of this am I actually going to use?

Hands up if you feel me on #2!  I’ve always been the type to be so gung-ho about something, gather everything I need to get started, and never start.  Or worse, start and never finish.  It’s actually something that I’ve been working on to change about myself.  I could sit and google for hours about the latest teaching techniques, behavior management tips, or the Common Core (dun dun dun), but it won’t make any difference if I don’t put any of it into play.  So, what I have decided to do is get a nice short list of ideas going of things I would like to do differently in my classroom this year and make it a goal to try them out.  Once I’ve exhausted the list, or if I’m in the need a little more inspiration, I’ll get back on the computer and google away.  In case you were curious, here’s my list for the 2013-2014 school year.

Photo Jul 29, 12 10 54 AM[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

We will see how just how many of these get implemented and sustained next year.  Realistically, we’re looking at 3 out of 5.  I’m working on the follow-through, remember?