Friday, December 23, 2011

Expanding Tradition

This video highlights what will  become our newest tradition. 

Kinley loves Christmas lights and refers to them as "pretties."  When we drive through town, she ooohs and aaahs over the lights in our downtown. 

Last night, we booked a babysitter from 9-12 with plans of hitting the local pub and having a relaxing time.  Well, one beer and an hour into it and we were bored.  I had the bright idea to just go riding around (one of my favorite things to do) aimlessly and look at Christmas lights. 

We happened upon this house, out in the "country" not too far from where we live.  Their lights are synchronized to a private radio station.  Not only is this house absolutely breath-taking, but the light show is just tremendous.  Last night, we arrived so late that we were able to drive right up and sit and watch for about a half hour.

Tonight, we knew that we had to take Kage.  Unfortunately, the line wasn't so easy this time.  We were stuck in a line about a mile long.  Yikes.  It took some time to get close enough to enjoy it fully but it was a great time, regardless.

I think that we may have our new tradition for Christmas Eve Eve.  Christmas lights to music!

The Magic...

Despite how un-Christmas-y I am feeling, it's upon us.  I can't run nor hide, because it's coming.  I hate not feeling the Christmas spirit...I really do.  I used to be the one bouncing off the walls with the holiday cheer and filling my home with wonderful Christmas sights and scents.  I had a wonderful collection of Christmas decorations that filled me with tremendous "joy" to set up each year.

I gave them away.  Or most of them.

I didn't even really want a tree this year.

But we decided that for Kinley's sake, we'd buy a small one.

I know that it has a lot to do with being so cramped in an apartment.  I really need to get out of this place.  It's sucking the life right outta me.

So we have a tree, a small tree.  And luckily, Kinley hasn't tried to touch it more than once.  Luckily.

I have heard so many on facebook saying how un-Christmas-y they are feeling as well and it just makes me wonder....why?

Is it because it's become the norm to just observe it like any other day?  Is it because Christmas has become so materialistic and commercial?  Is it because of the recession?  Is it because families just don't come together anymore?

I remember a Christmas time when you had to do all shopping before noon on Christmas Eve, because if you didn't, you wouldn't find a store open.  I remember a Christmas when I had a special dress that was for that special day.  I remember a Christmas when I saw both sets of grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and the same day.  I remember the excitement of seeing Santa on the "radar" on the news on Christmas Eve.  I remember feeling so anxious that he was almost to Illinois.  I remember the pure happiness I felt as I went to sleep on Christmas Eve, just knowing that he would bring me exactly what I had wished for. 

I had hope.  I had magic.  I believed.

Today's world doesn't allow for much hope, magic or belief.  How sad is that?

I know that I am trying my hardest to do what I can to allow Kinley to foster that hope, magic and definitely belief for as long as I can.  It's part of the innocence of childhood.  I wish I could still believe.

My husband and I always said that we didn't want her to be one of the kids that received so many gifts that she forgot to be thankful for each one.  We don't want her to get lost in the piles of gifts and forget what Christmas is truly about.  I too often hear about how many things so and so purchased for their child for Christmas.  They are going to be so excited and so happy on Christmas morning!  Woo-hoo.  But does your child know why we celebrate?  Does your child know that there are children out there suffering and receiving nothing under their tree?  Does your child know the beauty of giving; as well as receiving?  I ask myself those very questions this year.

As we sat down during her nap time today with the ten presents between us, we were trying to decide what was from us and what would be from Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Santa is giving her four gifts and we'll give her six.  Ten presents for one child is too many.  I'm almost ashamed.  Granted, some of the gifts are small and simple...but how blessed are we?  We agreed that we would raise her to know that Santa can only bring a few gifts for each child.  Because his sleigh is only so big, you know.  The other gifts that we want her to receive will be from us.  I hope that this works...

This year, she is only two, and the small details that I am worrying over mean nothing to her.  Like the gift tag from Santa and Mrs. Claus having to be so different from ours.  The wrapping from the North Pole has to be different from ours.  The way that the gift tag is attached to the package, needs to different.  Will she notice?  No.  But will she next year?  Yes.  I want her to believe.  I want her to feel the magic.  I want her to have the innocence and excitement that each child deserves.  I use this year as my practice for the next eight when she will notice--and possibly hunt for the differences.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I think that we'll practice the gift of giving with her by taking her to the Lazarus House to donate goods on their wish list.  And then she will take some of her piggy bank money to a Salvation Army kettle.  I want these things to warm her heart as they do mine. 

So many wishes and dreams for this little girl.  I hope that reliving it all with her will restore some of mine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

So What Wednesday

I think that it has been about ten years since I have done one of these...
Let's see if I remember how.
So what if...
  •  I seriously feel like I need chocolate.  Like, right now.  Need it.
  • The thought of sleeping in tomorrow is pure bliss.  And I secretly hope that Kage wakes up early so that I can throw her in bed with me to cuddle.
  • Having no real agenda tomorrow feels good.  We are taking Kin's full piggy bank in for a money order and then taking her deposit to her financial consultant.  Yes, she has a financial consultant.  :)
  • I have got to figure out this whole budget thing.  Seriously.
  • I spent over an hour driving around looking at homes today.  I fell in love.  Found out that it was sale pending.  Wanted to cry.
  • It had everything that we are looking for...and was in our price range.  :(
  • I have gained so much weight during my student teaching.  Ugh.  Must work that off.  Maybe I can afford my gym membership again now that I'm getting a paycheck.
  • Maybe I need to just focus on that whole budget thing.
  • It totally doesn't feel like Christmas to me.  At all.

What this doesn't show you...

My certificate came in the mail today.
I am certified in the state of Illinois to teach students K-9 in a self contained general education classroom.
I am endorsed to teach Middle School Language Arts.
I am endorsed to teach Middle School Social Sciences.

What the certificate will not say:
That this teacher walked onto that campus in 2004 with zero confidence--
but knew that there was something more for her in this world.
This teacher suffered through a broken marriage, but trudged on.
This teacher shed tears for her own loss when her father passed away.
This teacher pushed through during the times when she felt the most alone and her
best friend was named, Corona.
This teacher walked away a year from graduation, because she felt defeated.
This teacher moved away, got married and had a baby.  Trying to convince herself
that a life as a teacher wasn't for her.
This teacher knew the road she had to take and found her way back.
This teacher worked diligently, with a baby on her hip, to get the work done.
This teacher spent many sleepless nights working to prove her ability and desire to do right for her students.
Seven years in the making, she finally earned the certificate that healed all of the
wounds and scars on her heart that made her wonder if her dream would ever come true.
Today, I am a teacher.
I cry because I made it.
I finished what I set out to do even though life tried to tell me no.
I did it.  For me and for my daughter.
Education is something that no one can take away.
This platform is the first that I had to climb, but definitely not my last.

Masters Degree, ready or not, here I come!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just wanted to say...

It's my last day of school for a full 14 days off!  Love winter break!

And, I love this chair.
I'm so emailing my mom to beg, plead, cry recommend a graduation gift idea.  Is it not the perfect teacher reading chair?!  It will go so perfectly in my classroom library.'s orange.  Need I say more?

And, that's all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pity Party, table for one. With a booster.

Every time I start looking at Pinterest....I get lost.  And then an hour goes by and I'm like, whaaaaa?  Really?  That "just one minute of browsing" took over half of my nap time break?  Shoot.

So much for that lesson planning that I had to do.

I just bid my husband farewell. 

For his hunting trip.

Begrudgingly.  That is a word, right?
I just pulled up and he agrees that it is, in fact, a word.  And the definition fits perfectly.

I'm not mad that he left.  As a matter of fact, I'm more than thrilled that he's gone.  It's been a rough couple of days around here.  Mostly, probably, because of the aforementioned word:  begrudgingly.  I looked upon his decision with disapproval.


Well, yes, because I'm being a big baby.

I'm jealous.

It's not fair and I'm pissed.

He has made it clear for the last two years and one week that he "deserves" to go hunting.  I have "robbed" him of his one love in life (that would be hunting, not me or the daughter---or dog for that matter).  I "owe" him time off to hunt.  Poor poor me.


Do I feel that he deserves to hunt?  Sure.  We all deserve to do things that we love and enjoy.  Has he been robbed of his one love in life?  I don't think so.  I actually feel that his one love in life should be his family.  And we're right here.  Do I owe him this trip?  Maybe. 

I will agree that I do owe (and I am using that term so loosely) him a lot.  I mean, he worked so that I could stay home with our daughter for her first year.  He worked so that I could finish college.  He's one hell of a hard worker, no doubt.  Never once complains about it either.  But the attitude could go to the wayside.

Let's face it.  Having a child and family requires something that he's unfamiliar with.  Sacrifice.  Look it up.  Heck, I'll even do it for ya...
So my friend, Webster, even listed my case in point on 3B.  Okay, it's something given up or lost.  Should I even begin listing the things I have given up or lost since becoming a mom?  Or a wife and a mom?  No.  Why?  Because I knew that things that I loved <in my former life> were gone.  Or, more limited.  At least during her young years.  When she's 16 or 18, I am sure that I can plan on having some of those things back.  Like, showers alone.  Pooping without a toddler on my lap.  Dinner out with my friends.  Shopping and trying things on without corralling a toddler from climbing out underneath the door.

OMG, did she just say "pooping!?"
Yes.  I did.  And if you're a mom, you know how true that is.

I would love to drive to work without the worry.  Even if she's doing absolutely amazing..... I still worry.  I would love to have a girls night out without the guilt of knowing that I should be spending that time with her.  With my family.

And I think that it all lies there.  The guilt of knowing that any time that I'm spending doing selfish time that I could be spending with her.

I know that there is a healthy balance.  You have to do things for yourself to keep sane.  I get that. 

But that jealousy gets me every.single.time.

He tells me that I can take "time off" or "for myself" any time I want.  He says that I take zero initiative for myself.

But how do moms take that initiative when the work at home never ceases?  He walks out with dishes in the sink, five loads of laundry to be washed, the living room knee deep in toys, me having to work two days this week...and just leaves.  Yes.  I am jealous.  I am left with a million things to take care of, and he's off for three days of his heaven.

And this "only love in his life" trip comes just a few weeks AFTER he returns from a two week work trip on the east coast.  Granted he was there working...but it was a two week hiatus from the stress of daily life.  That is what I want the vacation from.  The daily life where there is a sink full of dishes, we're cramped in a tiny apartment, eating mac-n-cheese--again, ran out of milk and it's raining and the screaming toddler has to go with you because no one else is here to help...

I am working up the courage to just take off for my own little hiatus.  Three days away from everything.  But knowing me, I would take Kinley with me.  I never feel a desire to have time away from her.  I desire a leave of absence from life.  Is that terrible?

I'm really happy that he's taking this time.  I truly am.  Like I said, we needed a break.  I want my bed to myself.  I want to only clean up my messes.  I want to have time to drink a beer in silence.  Dinner consisting of what I want to eat.  I really enjoyed the couple of weeks when he was gone for work, so I'm not worried at all about "making it" while he's gone....  I know that I will be just fine.

I just hope and pray that when he returns, he will drop the whole "you owe me" and "I deserve this" and "I'm so deprived because I haven't hunted more than xx amount of times in the past two years" stuff.  I have had it up to here. 

A friend of mine told me that her husband complained that he feels "trapped" and she so kindly informed him that being married with three children under three, does in fact make him "trapped."

Playing in the snow outside church

Very curious

Going to her classroom at church

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm like popcorn...

I have been sitting here reading my favorite blogs for over an hour and decided to just hit that old "Post" button and write one of my own.  Blogging has totally taken a back seat here lately and I don't know why.  It truly is a love in my life and something that I so dearly need.  This is such an outlet for me....but somehow there is just never a spare moment to splurge.

My job is going very well.  Great pay and great benefits?  What's not to love? Oh, and winter break starts after school on Tuesday.  I am off for about two weeks.  Yes, that is splendid.

Kinley is fantastic.  Perfect.  Crazy!  TWO!  We took her to see Santa today and I must say that it was so much better than last year.  So. much. better.  Remember last year?
Yeah...she wasn't liking the jolly ole' fat guy too much then.

This year...

A little more tolerant. She just really wanted the candy.

Her party was a great success and she really enjoyed herself.  I wish I could have taken more pictures but the time just flew by and my camera never really found me during the party. 

How sad is it that I can't wait for Christmas to get over with?  It's true.  I want it to come and go.  Quick-like.  Mostly because this weekend, we had a taste of not traveling.  And no joke, it is the first weekend in months that we've been home.  Well, home with no major plans.  We commented earlier that this is the first nap that Kin has taken in her bed since....well, we can't remember the last time.  It's been that crazy in our lives lately.

After Christmas, no more traveling.  Did you hear that?

I just put my foot down.  Hard. 

Are you making resolutions, or goals, as I like to call them, for 2012?  What are they?  I have a few.  I'll share soon.  Maybe. I sometimes don't like to gives me too much accountability.  And I don't do too well with that.  Too much pressure to do what I say I'm going to do!  :)

It's my goal during my winter break to catch you all up on the happenings in my head.  Or if nothing else, to just get them out of my head and into this old blog of mine.  It's time that it does what it was intended to do.....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm a third grade teacher!

I know, I know.  I already told you that I got hired and am now a teacher.  Like, a real  that will earn a real paycheck.  I know, I know.  But today I officially completed my student teaching requirements.  I am technically done with student teaching.  My supervisor came in to do my last observation and brought all of the university paperwork for me to sign off on.... and it truly was like buying a home:  read and sign, read and sign, read and sign, initial here, here and here.....  Shake my hand and congratulations!

I wanted to celebrate.  I wanted to shout and dance and enjoy my moment.  But the twenty-two students staring back at me would have thought I was nuts.

Because to them, I am a teacher already. 

The letter went home to their parents yesterday to announce that I will be the teacher for the remainder of the school year.  And today, the district welcomed me by issuing me a page full of log-in and password information complete with my own "third grade teacher" email address. 

It's finally real.

I just wish that graduation was now.  The university made a very stupid decision for the December and May graduates to have a combined ceremony and will be compacting all graduates into one ceremony come May.  I know.  I am not happy.  Someone obviously forgot to ask for my opinion on this one.  It's totally not fair for the December graduates to have to WAIT till May to walk.  And it's not fair to all of the graduates to have that many people crammed into ONE ceremony.  We're going to be there all the ding-dong day!  Not a good choice, Mr. University Decision Maker!

On another note, I am single-handedly trying to polish off a bag of Dove Promise chocolates.  Have you tried these things?  Whoa.  They are so freakin' good.  And yes, I have read each promise as if it were written for me.  I nod and say "thank you" as I shove the chocolate into my mouth to savor the amazing chocolaty-ness.  Because truly, "Shut the world out for just one moment." is just what I needed to hear.  I mean, don't we all need to hear that?! 

The big party is this weekend.  As in, like, three days.  Oh my gosh.  Such anxiety.  My baby is two, people.  She is TWO.  Hold me.

I think that I have most everything ready to go....aside from a Sam's trip for finger foods on Sunday morning.  And the helium balloon run.  I may just buy one of those little tanks.  Not too sure.  I know that I'm making myself crazy with the details....but, well....have you met me?  I tend to over-analyze and over-think things on the daily.  So yeah, nothing new.

We took Kage to Party City to pick up some last minute items for her party.  She was loving the independence that the basket gave her.  She was able to shop around and choose what she wanted to put into her favor boxes.

I still have to finish the cupcake toppers--but I'm thinking that those will be the perfect job to keep me busy for the six hour car ride.  And I just know that she's going to cry the w.h.o.l.e. way.  And we're going to get into town at midnight.  ugh.  And she'll be on an excitement high when we get there and will surely but up till 2 or 3 a.m.  Sooooo, I'm looking at a 24 hour day tomorrow.  So excited.  Can you tell?  ugh.

Her birthday outfit *with boots* arrived this week and can I just take a minute to swoon.  This outfit is *to die for*!  I can not wait to share it.  Ya'll are going to love, love, love it.  I took it to work today and the ladies went crazy for it.  I can't wait to show you pictures.  The girl that made it is a friend of mine and as a gift to Kage, she made her this shirt. Can you even imagine how much I love this?!  I mean, it's more like a gift to me.  Seeing her nickname on a shirt is like, so super cool.  Ahhhh, my girl.  My Kage.

My little Miss Independence has to do everything herself.  And if you question her, she'll tell you.  "No, Kinley do it.  Myself."  Everything has to be herself.  Or "self."  Her breakfast, her bath, her clothes, her diaper.  That's a fun one.  Tonight at dinner, she was refusing her food because she wanted a plate like mommy and daddy.  Not her plate.  So, I did what any mom in control would do. 

I switched her. 

I mean, who wouldn't want to eat on a plate like this:
Jealous.  Aren't you?

She then ate her dinner.

She's a spit-fire.  That is for-sure.  But God love her...she's my heart and soul.  I love her so much.  So, so much.  She's my life.  She's more than that.  You really can't even describe it, can you?

We're just working through these wonderful 2s.  She's learning and growing so fast...and we're rolling with the punches. 

My baby is two. 

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