Sunday, November 27, 2011

Traveled Out

We both said that this traveling has got to slow down.  We even made it a New Years resolution last year.  But I guess making it a resolution made it sure to fail, right?  Having both families living a good distance away means that we are destined to travel for every holiday.  There has to be an easier way. 

Having my family a few hours closer than his allowed us to make it their way for a Thanksgiving Saturday celebration.  We are doing a double celebration next weekend at his hometown:  Thanksgiving and Kinley's birthday.  And then the following weekend we are back at my mom's house for Kinley's birthday--round 2 as well as my family holiday celebration.

We then have a weekend off and at home before gearing up for windshield time again for Christmas. 

I am exhausted just thinking about it.  And poor Kinley---she gets so frustrated with all of the traveling.  And I can't blame her.  I couldn't imagine being stuck in a 5 point harness for six hours.  Ugh.  We do make a stop for her to stretch about half way.

When we buy our home (hopefully soon!), we will be staying home and hosting.  Not every year, maybe.  But most years.  It's not fair for Kinley to be on the road so much.  There is just no room for anyone in our apartment now, so traveling is really our only option.  Our home will have plenty of room for both sides of the family.  I. can. not. wait.  I am so tired of traveling.  So very tired.

I am ready for January to come so that we can have a few weeks at home.  I really don't *love* this apartment, but I miss being home.  Cooking at home.  Grocery shopping.  Cleaning.  Living.  I just want to relax on my couch.  And sleep in my bed.

Tonight, Kinley was so very excited to be back at home and able to play with her toys.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Be Thankful

I am Thankful.

My husband.
My perfect daughter.
An amazing family.
A rewarding career.
My education.
Endless opportunity.
Dreams for big things.
Freedom and those that have fought for it.
Memories that warm my heart.
A warm place to call home.
A welcoming table.
A plentiful meal.
A blog for my thoughts.
Friends for my soul.
A life to live.
Above all, and for all things, My God.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Go Away!

My daughter is a snob.

We had a girl come over tonight to interview for babysitting.  She was phenomenal.  Loved her so much.  Kinley?  Not so much.

The minute she came in and sat down, Kinley dove into my crotch and starting screaming, "I'm shy!  I'm shy!" and if Audrey tried talking to her, she would scream louder.  "I'm shy!  I'm shy!"

I was so embarrassed.

She was on her worst behavior.

She eventually began to warm up to her.  Showed her a few of her books and I got our her Uno Moo game for her to practice her colors.  Audrey (the sitter) is a graduate student studying speech pathology so I was trying to get a free speech analysis from her while we were at it.  Kinley would rip the Uno Moo pieces out of her hand if she tried to play with her.

I made her apologize and tell her that she was sorry.  "Sowwy," she would say.  I would then scold her and tell her that we use nice words with our friends.  She sassed me and said, "I said I was sowwy!" 

My child is a snob.

She then proceeded to whisper "go away" to her. 

That has been her phrase for some time and she gets a time out when she says it.  Now, she thinks that whispering makes it okay.  So she kept whispering, "go away" to her. 

I think that she's on to the fact that when someone comes over, mommy and daddy leave. 

Surprisingly, the girl agreed to give it a try.  We absolutely loved her.  Our little snob didn't, I guess.  So we'll have to see how this goes on the 9th when she watches her for my work Christmas party.  Fingers crossed.
Is it bad that I already dread her teen years?

They say it's your birthday, na na na, na, na, na!

Yes, it's that day.  That rolls around each year.  Ugh.  I am 33.  That sounds so old!  But I really don't feel old.  Well, aside from the snap, crackle and pop sound that my knees make when I get on the floor with Kage.  But I blame that on an old skipping school incident back in my high school days.  :) 

My husband got me a beautiful necklace and my mom got me a bag of fun things including super soft jammies, a variety of Little Miss Matched socks and my perfume:  DKNY Pure.  It's been a wonderful day!  To top it off, it's field trip day at school.  Yikes!  Third graders taking on the aquarium in Chicago.  Hold me!

Want to give me a super fine gift too?  Easy!  Just click on the Google Friend Connect there on the right.  Done!  It would make me so happy to have you on my list of readers!  Then comment and tell me that you are here with me! 

Happy 33 to me!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Playing Santa

My husband spoiled me for my birthday this year.  We drove to my mom’s house to let her watch Kinley for our night out.  We planned to do dinner at a hibachi restaurant and then went to a comedy club.  It was the first time for both of us.  We really didn’t know what to expect.  It sure didn’t disappoint!  We had so much fun and laughed so hard.  It is something that we will most definitely do again.  He surprised me by asking my parents to keep Kinley overnight so that we could get a hotel room.  I was panicked at first.  I haven’t ever left her overnight.  Well, aside from my gall bladder surgery when she was a month old—but that doesn’t count.  Turns out though, it was awesome.  We slept until 8!
Between dinner and the show, we stopped at Toys R Us (how convenient that it was close!) to look at some birthday and Christmas gifts for Kinley.  I really wish that her birthday wasn’t so close to the holiday.  I so don’t want her to lose her special day to the holiday festivities.  But because they are so close, we decided we would just buy gifts and then later decide what would go in birthday wrapping paper or Christmas paper from Santa.

I always said that she would learn to appreciate her gifts and not expect more than her share.  I still stand by that idea.  I try to remind myself of that as I cruise the toy aisles and find so many things that I want her to have.  It’s hard to stop myself.  So far, we have purchased ten gifts to distribute between birthday and Christmas.  I honestly think that we are done.  Aside from some small things, I think she’s complete.

My goal is to teach her that Santa only has room for three presents for each child in his sleigh.  The others will come from us.  But then I know that other children will blow that for us when they come bragging that Santa got them twenty things.  You know?  I just don’t want her to be a greedy and unappreciative child that screams, “is that all?!”

This year we’ll also be starting our tradition of giving.  We’ll have Kinley choose an angel from the Salvation Army tree to buy a gift for a less fortunate child.  Most of all, I want her to have a big heart and want to give rather than receive.  As sensitive as she is toward other children already, I can tell that this won’t be a big feat for us.  She’s so tenderhearted.  When she sees another child crying, she runs to them asking if they are sad and gives them a big hug.  I am so proud of her!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How do you know if it's too much?

I have these goals floating through my mind.  Goals for my daughter.  I want her to have endless options.  I want her to have endless opportunities.  I want her to try everything and choose her passion.  I want to give her everything and tell her that the sky is the limit.  Living near Chicago means that we have limitless opportunities to offer her. 

But I have to also remind myself that she's only two.

That being said, she is enrolled in a gymnastics academy for a parent/tot program on Saturdays and starting in January, her class at a local ballet company begins (without mommy--gasp!). 

The day care that she is enrolled at offers Spanish lessons and music class.

I have looked in to horseback riding, violin lessons and ice skating too.  They don't start till age 4.

I know, I know.  I'm going over-kill.  And these are just the enrichments that I have in mind for her.  Her dad has a whole other list:  racing (go-karts) and hunting.  Oy vey.

This girl is going to be busy.

But you know, my philosophy is that if we keep her busy with good things, that she'll be too busy to partake in the bad things.  It may turn around to bite me in the butt later.

I keep telling myself that all of the greats (gymnasts, dancers, musicians) say that they began practicing at the age of 2 or 3.  If I want her to have that opportunity to become a great, I have to expose her now.

And no, I will never be a pageant mom.  Ever.  I don't really see the good in that.  How is that enriching her talents?  If she ever expresses that she isn't happy or isn't enjoying a lesson or class, I will pull her out immediately.  But so far, she is loving the gymnastics!

The blur that you see run by at about 12 seconds in, is Kinley Grace.  Haha  Not a very quality video but we forgot our good camera and daddy only had use of his iPhone.

If she so chooses to pageant later, and use her talents in her presentation, then that is her choice.  I won't push that far.

Am I crazy? 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Itch, Itch, Scratch, Scratch

I want to buy a house.

There.  I said it. 

I know how much I have ranted and raved about wanting to rent this apartment for two years to save money, pay off debt, pay off student loans, etc., etc. 

But that was beeeeefffffffffoooooorrrrrreeee (in my whiney voice) I got a j.o.b.

Now I have a salary. I can afford a house.

Kind of.

So, why not just go and do it?!  Well, because my teaching contract ends {gulp} in June.  Will it get renewed?  No way to know.  But I have to bank on no, just because of the outlook for teachers in IL.  I fell into this position and the teacher that I am filling in for IS coming back. 

I can't see buying a house until I KNOW that I have a long term job.

Because it's not just about the money, but the location.  I want to know where I will be working before I know where I want to live.  Right?

That's what my brain says.

My heart, says to buy a house.

I am tired of being in this apartment.  We have outgrown it.  Big time.

Kinley wants room to run.  Room to play.  Room to explore.

She needs a fenced in backyard to run and play.

We need a garage.

We need our own places to park (and not share).

We need a home.

We really need a home.

Apartment living is too temporary.  My roots are getting cramped and just want to stretch out.

I find myself searching daily.  And so is my husband.  I think that we are both ready to move on to our real home.  I never want to rush life or wish days away....but at this point...I just can not wait to have our home.

I want to host holidays.  I want to decorate for Christmas.  I want a home.

Daddy Bully

We had such a great night!  I got done working today and got to have a nice conversation with one of my students' mothers.  She was such a delight!  I really am starting to feel like a teacher.  And that's a great feeling.

I left school before four o'clock today to try and get back early enough for R and I to both pick up Kage from day care.  It's a special treat for her if we can both make it to pick her up.  She just squeals with delight when she sees mommy and daddy walk into her classroom.  And hearing her "mommy" "daddy" makes our hearts swell with pride. 

City Christmas lights are already on!
It's no secret that I'm a certified psycho mommy.  I jump down any one's throat if I even think that my daughter isn't getting top notch care.  And so, we recently changed her provider.  Again.  I know, I know.  This is like her fourth provider in her short one year of day care life.  But I had my reasons.  Drop-offs were TERRIBLE.  She cried, I cried.  It was just not good.  And then the teachers were not following my directions when I would request her having juice with snacks and milk with lunch.  They gave her milk at lunch and snacks.  Well....she has poop issues.  The girl needs apple juice once a day.  And.  She isn't too keen on milk.  Since giving up the momma milk at 15 months, she's just not taken to cow's milk all that well.  So, she wasn't drinking enough of the milk to satisfy her daily liquid intake.  And, in turn, wasn't having enough wet diapers.

I took the daily sheets to her pediatrician and she agreed.  It wasn't sufficient, nor was it healthy.  So, we got the handy dandy doctor's note stating that she must have juice or water offered all throughout the day.  The whole week following that note being brought in.....she had milk with snack and lunch.

I gave up.

So we did decide to stay with the same school, just switched to a different campus.  I mean, I am thrilled, beyond thrilled with their curriculum and program.  I can't say enough about how much Kinley has learned already.  But the campus just wasn't a good fit. 

Don't get me wrong, it was so nice being able to walk her there and walk to pick her up.  But let's face it, I'm so lazy.  I walked one time.  So now the new campus is about 10 minutes away, but it's on the way to work for both of us.  And.  She loves it.  Like, really, really loves it.

And I love it.  The girl counts to ten and knows most of her ABCs.  She sings the words to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."  She sings the words to "The Wheels On the Bus" and she identifies colors.  Every day we are learning new things that she has learned through their program.   I am beyond happy with that.  My baby is so smart.  So smart.  And so pretty.  And I love her. 

So back to today....we both went to pick her up and it sure was a blessed treat, for sure.  We took her to eat at McDonald's.  Yes, I am a bad mom.  Whatever.

We went to a fancy McDonald's in a nice, ritzy area.  Does that improve my bad mom status?  The Play land was posh.  I loved it.  She was in heaven.  Played her little heart out. Ate a little. 

You see, we can't do restaurants anymore.  The child doesn't eat (for day care, she eats 2 and 3 helpings of lunch).  So taking her to a restaurant means that she'll just fight us to get down and run.  She no longer does a high chair or booster.  She's big girl chair all the way.  Lord help us. 

So a kid friendly restaurant is all that we are allowed.  Mac and Don's it is.

She ate (some) and we let her play for a bit.  And then we headed to family night at the local play place.  This place rocks.  It has so many climbing things and slides and bounce houses and an art room and a coffee bar and pizza.  And on Friday nights, it's only $5 per child.  Score!  Cheap and fun! 

We had a blast.  The last time that we went, she was so tiny and could barely slide on her own.  Tonight, she was running us ragged.  She was climbing and sliding and running and playing.  Blew us away. 

She climbed to the top of the twisty slide, and she always sits and waits at the top for us to count, 1-2-3.  Well, some rambunctious boys that looked to be about 3 or 4, came up behind her and were just about to give her a push.  I jumped over and yelled, "Don't you push her!" and before I could get that last word out.....Daddy ran right up to the boy and got in his face and growled, "You wait your turn!" 

I about died laughing!  Daddy to the rescue!  The boy just looked at him and his partner in crime behind him just said, "Yeah, wait your turn!"  Talk about throwing your buddy under the bus!  Kage was oblivious to anything happening. 

It kind of makes me smile to see my husband become such a protective daddy.  No one will ever hurt his little girl.  And if they out!

1 - 2 - 3!

Blurred because we were on the move!
But I guess I feel the same way....that little girl is our whole world. 

Happy me?

I have thrown myself completely into the birthday planning for Kinley's second birthday.  I am full throttle into this barnyard theme.  Oooooh, I am having so much fun!  Knowing that I'm soon going to be bringing in a nice paycheck has allowed us to relax and loosen up on the budget for her party. 

Yeah, full throttle into planning, I tell ya.

I ordered her birthday dress from the same girl that made her tutus for her 9 month pictures and one year pictures.  Remember?

This birthday, we're doing a dress instead of the tutu.  I just feel that it's more appropriate.  Now that she's two, and all.

The designer is also making some of the decorations for us.  If you are in the market for anything custom, I highly recommend her. Highly.  Comment if you want her info.  She is on Etsy (I think).  And when I get pictures of the completed dress,  you know I will share.

We ordered her tableware from because they customize.  Yippee!  Love custom!

Her invites came from Etsy as well as the cupcake toppers.  I am a freak about colored icing so we are doing white cupcakes with a fancy topper.  Non-staining that way! 

I am really trying to fine tune the details now...working on favor boxes and the menu.  So much to do.

In all of the mess of planning a memorable second birthday, I totally forgot....

My birthday is on Monday.  Ooops.  Good thing my hubby is on the ball and reminded me! 

So, I guess happy birthday to me!

My life as an expanded file

We have friends that have yet to marry or have children.  It makes us laugh a little when they tell us how busy their lives are...or how they just are so exhausted from responsibility.  We get a kick out of it and think to ourselves:  "just wait....wait until you're married with a child." 

I just sit and wonder how they can possibly feel so overwhelmed with life when it's just them....just their job or school and nothing else? 

And then I remember that there was a time when I was unmarried--without a child--and dropping out of college because life was just too much to handle. 

How easily we forget.

And then I found myself comparing my life to an expanded file.  Follow me on this one....

I'm a visual person, I visualize things to make sense of situations.  And so, I visualized my life as an expanded file in that before marriage, child, school, I thought my life was full.  Over full, most days.  My folder was full.  I didn't know the capacity of life.  I didn't realize that life could expand and grow beyond what we think is our limit.

And then it does.  Then you have a baby to raise.  A husband to work with.  School to finish.  Degrees to earn.  Life to live.  Family to visit.  Family to keep happy.  Rent to pay.  Daycare to interview. 

The folder of life that I once felt was extremely full, expanded.

Where I once thought I couldn't take one more thing....I somehow did.  And I somehow do.

Life is like an expanded file.  It grows and expands more than you ever dreamed it could.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

So, I've been away...

The end is here.  The end of my student teaching, that is.  Not the end, end.  Cause that would be so sad.  I made it, folks.  I made it.

In 2004, I started out this dream of mine to become a teacher.  Not a day care teacher, like I had already accomplished....but a real, state-certified teacher.  In 2004, the light at the end of the tunnel was basically non-existent.  Today, I am wearing my shades.

Today, I walked onto campus with tears running down my cheeks.  I knew that this last meeting would be my last time on campus before I go to get my cap and gown.  And we celebrated the end of the student teaching semester with a wonderful dinner and ceremony.  I am so proud of myself.

It doesn't happen often that I can honestly feel such pride in myself.  But I felt it tonight. 

I felt it even more because I was the only student teacher in that room with a job.

Despite the terrible outlook on teaching jobs in today's market, I have a job.

My cooperating teacher is leaving on December 16 for her maternity leave and I have been hired as a contracted teacher--not just a sub--to take on her classroom until the end of the year.  This means a salary.  And full benefits.  And a real job.  And a good salary.  A very good salary.  About 13K more than I ever dreamed of starting at. 

Yes, I am so very proud.

So I come to this blog as a third grade teacher. 

Dang, that feels good.  It feels good to know that I was interviewed and selected for a job that 250 other teaching candidates applied for.  They chose me.  They love what I do.  All of my hard work, my dedication, my heart and soul that has been poured into this career paid off.

And the best part?  I get to come back to my blogging!

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