Friday, August 29, 2014

I love organizing

Some days I think my life would be complete if I could be a real live professional organizer. If someone actually paid me to organize their house -that would be awesome. It makes my little heart happy when things are tucked away so nice and neat in their own little bin, basket, or box. I usually browse all of the bins and things that I could get any time I go to the store, because they are so pretty and happy. I never get them, but I dream about it. I dream about one day being in our permanent home and having all things nice and tidy in their pretty little box.

Not that our current home isn't nice and tidy [well, most days at least, we do have a toddler living with us, you know], but it isn't full of all of the nice little baskets I would love to have. That's mostly because even though I love organizing and I love all of baskets, they aren't always the cheapest. So I dream and look and go about my day.

However, I realized the other day that we will be living in this house for probably the next three years and that I should go ahead and make the most of what I have with, well, what I have. So I asked Landon if I could get a few little things to help make our house look a little neater and more put together, he said yes. So much excitement. There was a limit of course, but I figure by the time Christmas rolls around I'll be able to wish for and hopefully get some awesome new baskets and such. And that way by the time we actually move out in three years I'll have everything I need for this house done. ha.

For some reason when we lived in Louisville, even though we could have afforded it more easily, I never went out to get the nice bins and baskets and things. I think it's because I knew somewhere deep down, that we would only be in that house for a fe short years and didn't want to invest in something we couldn't enjoy for a long time. Maybe? I'm not sure. But it makes me sad I didn't really take advantage of what we had make our house even neater than it was.

Anyhow. All that to say, this weekend my plans include making ice cream for a little shindig we're going to at Bee's house, and organizing/tidying up some closet space. Pretty exciting if you ask me. And also, I love organizing. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to share when I'm finished, but usually I'm too excited to start that I never take a before picture. Eh. Maybe this time?

Do you like pretty little [or big] baskets and giving things a special place of their own? Are your weekend plans super exciting or are you going to mostly chill? Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy yourself!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

the best mama you can be

In today's world it is so easy to compare yourself to other people and imagine that they are better at such and such or have a nicer this or that. It doesn't matter the walk of life you are in, it is easy to do. Which can also lead to you feeling less confident about yourself. I think that as a mama it is especially easy to question what you are doing and if you are doing it right because there's no real job description laid out for it and because everyone is different. It's a way of living.

As I think back over the past few years I am amazed at how confident I am in my role as a mama as compared to my role as a teacher. As a mama I can make it up as I go [though to be honest, I did that a lot as a teacher too... whoops], my husband and I can discuss disciple and decide together what we think is best for Emerson. I can choose each day -each minute- what we're going to do, what our family is going to function like. I don't have to plan it out. I'm not worried about meeting deadlines, meetings, lesson plans, getting so many PD hours in, or making sure I'm teaching this or that by a certain date. Maybe that's one reason I love being a mama, because it's just life and there is no one looking over my shoulder telling me what I need to be doing or should do differently. 

The only one who can make me second guess myself is me. The only one who can make me feel like I'm doing a crap job as a wife and mommy is me. Emerson shows me how much he loves every minute he is awake. I know that he thinks I'm pretty great, otherwise he would be off playing in a corner by his lonesome or with an imaginary pal. I know that Landon thinks I'm doing a great job as being a wife and mama because he tells me. 

You are the only one who can make you feel less than. Don't let yourself buy into the pressures of society and all of the "the best mamas do this or that and you won't be a good mama unless you do that or this". 

Love on your little peanut[s] and your hubby too and open your eyes to see how much they love you too. 

  How do you feel confident as a mom?  Check out the other mama's blogs for even more on this!  And be sure to link up with us below if you also have a post on this.  

July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

it's the little things: lots of learning

Even though some days can be exhausting and by the time Emerson is in bed I want to follow shortly after, I love these days. I love seeing him learn and question the world around him. I love his curiosity and the excitement in his eyes and face when he sees something he likes or wants know more about. When he points to a picture in a book, looks at me, waits for me to say what it is/make the proper sound, smiles, then looks back at the picture, he is learning. He is learning so much. Even though some days it may not feel like it. He is. 

For that reason I am reminded that I need to be intentional about what we spend our time doing. Do we just play and read books all day? He seems to be happy doing that. Do I let him decide the "routine"? He's pretty chill and easily entertained. Do I create some sort of 'plan/routine' for his day [apart from eating and naps]? He's a good boy and plays so well on his own. Do I write out when we will read/play/do some other activity he should be doing? Does he need that? 

If you have little ones, what do you do? Do you have a certain structure to your day? Play at this time, nap at that time, do art after that time, read before this? Do you let you little one do what they want and decide what activity they want to do? What things are within their reach to do: color? toys? books? something else? Do you do everything with them or give them some space to learn on their own? Do you introduce new things a lot? 

I know that it is the little things I might get board with so quickly that keep him excited. I'm so glad they excite him because reading a book for the 12th time in a row can get pretty old pretty fast... The wonder in his little hazel eyes keeps me going and I know that in time he will start talking and start understanding and knowing more about the world around him. Gosh, I'm so thankful for this little man. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I close my eyes and imagine . . .

This morning I looked out my window and the clouds were just so. Smooth puffs of clouds hanging in the sky. They were in the perfect spot -grazing low in the horizon, and for a moment I could imagine I was 'home' and looking out at the majestic snow capped mountain tops of Northwest Washington.

It's a good thing I have a vivid imagination and like to pretend.

In a few years we will be saying good-bye to Illinois and making our way to somewhere else, somewhere new. It could be anywhere. My not-so-secret hope is that we wind up back [for me] in the Northwest. Being near the mountains and so close to nature would make my heart oh so very happy. I. love. that part of the country. It feels like home. 

I'm just thankful that I have an imagination and that I can close my eyes and see the beauty and home I once knew [and for the internet full of pictures to help me see it even clearer].

Monday, August 25, 2014

things I never want to forget

Each and every day brings something new and sweet with it. There may be challenges and frustrations in the day. There may be lots of laughter and play. Regardless of what each day brings, it always brings joy. Especially when it comes to watching Emerson grow and learn.

There are a few things I never want to forget about these little days at home . . . these little days with Emerson . . .

- the way he helps pick up his books and toys before naps and bed time.

- how he pushes a laundry basket across the landing into the laundry room. And then pushes it back to the bedroom.

- what the feel of his soft, dimply, chubby, little toddler hand feels like on my face.

- the way he gives me pats on my back when I hold him.

- how he gives the biggest most generous kisses.

- the feel of his little cheeks: perfectly soft, smooth, and a little bit chubby.

- how he "helps" load and unload the dishwasher.

- the way he insists that he stand next to me on a chair while I fix dinner or lunch.

- how he stands in front of the printer and ooooohhsss and aaaahhhhhhhss and whooooaaas as something prints off, his little hands folded together, resting on top of his little belly.

- the way he points to an empty spot on his plate, looks at me, and says, "woerhogudshfldk" [translation: asking for more mango/cheese/crackers...], and then gives one big nod of his head when I ask him if he wants more mango/cheese/crackers.

- how he goes to get his shoes when I say it's time to go outside or ask him if he wants to go on a walk/to the park.

- the way he sits down on the floor and tries to take his shoes off when we come back home from an putting.

- how he finds the DVD with Elmo on it, holds it close to his chest, then out to me, and then nods his head while saying, "Mammao, Mammao..."

- the way he drops/stops doing anything he is currently up and runs to the tv when the kitty comes on tv screen. And how he "nnneeeeooas" over and over while reaching his arms up to touch and hold the tiny little kitty inside the tv.

- how he touches [grabs] my leg, arm, hand to pull me/shove me/move me to where he wants me to go.

- the way he climbs on my back while I'm laying on the floor looking at books with him. And how he sometimes lays on my back and gives me hugs.

- how he helps unload the groceries -taking them from the bag one thing at a time and walking it over to the pantry or fridge.

- the way he pulls the clothes out of the dryer and puts them in the basket.

- how he throws his hands in the air and dances to songs in the car and at home.

- the way he stands with his tiny hiny sticking out in the air, chest puffed forward, arm raised high above his head, and pudgy little hand waving back and forth in the air when he waves bye-bye.

- how he rests his head in the nook of my neck and wraps his chubby little toddler arms around my neck for a hug.

- the way he knows his bedtime routine so well -and doesn't let me forget to brush his teeth, get Oscar the humidifier, or turn his sound machine on.

- how he occasionally lets me cover him up with his blanket when he lays down in his bed.

- the way he smiles so big and bright when I get in in the morning.

- how he immediately goes and pulls a book off his bookshelf to read - and then gets one for me to look at too.

- the way he lays on the floor to read his books.

Gosh,  love that boy. He is a little burst of sunshine. He is the smallest biggest blessing.

Friday, August 22, 2014

in the morning when I wake

For a while now I have been setting my alarm [and actually getting up when it goes off] for 5:31. I try and give myself at least 30 minutes until I think Emerson might wake up in the morning [this is where you offer tips and tricks on how to get your kid to sleep in. ok? thanks]. While getting out of bed can sometimes be a battle -the covers are cozy, the sheets are inviting, the pillow so soft- most days I roll out from under the covers and shuffle my way into my happy place. I turn on the lamp, pull out my Bible and journal, open the blinds to see the sun start peaking above the houses and strokes of pink, purple, orange, or gold in the sky, and get comfy -but not too comfy because that would result in me promptly falling back asleep. 

I have come to cherish this time and if for some reason I don't wake up/hear my alarm/"sleep in" I miss the quiet of the morning. I miss enjoying the start of the day in prayer and the Word -and alone. When I wake up I need time to wake up. I'm not the type that is happy to see others in the morning [regardless of the hour], I need space, I need time. 

Though I didn't realize until this morning I had come to enjoy the early of the morning. This morning Landon woke up early to go into school [beat those college 'kids' moving in and all, you know?]. And  as he was getting ready, turning on lights, walking around, I found myself getting slightly irritated that he was 'disrupting' me. Even though he wasn't. Even though he was doing his own thing. It was just him starting his morning earlier than usual and I'm not used to that [though, he isn't either. ha]. 

In the quiet of the morning, give me Jesus. In the buzz of the day, give me Jesus. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

eating out with a munchkin

We don't eat out very often, I make most of our meals and we enjoy our meals at home. While it's nice to go out, we've just never been the type of people to go out to eat very often at all. Occasionally we'll go out to celebrate something exciting, for a birthday, when Landon's parents come to visit, or when we travel. After having a baby and moving to Illinois we go out even less [mostly because it's cheaper to eat at home and we need to save all we can]. But, when we do go out I know what helps make our meal out more enjoyable for everyone. 

- pack food for the munchkin, unless of course your little one eats 'real' food and you are able to order something off of the menu for them. In our case, Emerson really only eats fruit, cheese, and crackers, so I just pack a little lunch bag for him with food I know he likes to eat. 

- bring special yummy treats. I started bringing yummy treats out with us to buy us time. Emerson is a pretty good baby toddler but sometimes when he's done eating, he's done eating and he wants out of his seat. And sometimes the restaurant will take longer with an order for some reason, the treats help Emerson sit still a little bit longer and allow us to scarf down our food. Our treats are usually things like yogurt melts, Mum Mums, gram cracker cookies, or animal crackers. 

- bring a bib, spoon/fork, sippy cup, and placemat. The bib and spoon are fairly obvious -to help keep a tidy toddler. One thing I especially like having is a placemat for Emerson. I don't want to tote along a little plate for him and I don't want him eating right off of the table, thus the placemat. We love them. I love them for the cleanliness and disposability [if that's a word] factor and Emerson loves them for the fun picture factor, he especially likes the ones with Mickey. Win win. 

- have a few toys/books with you ... just in case your munchkin finishes eating before you, it's always good to have something for them to do/look at. One time we went out to eat and it took forever for our order to get to us. Typically we can order our food and be nearly done eating it by the time Emerson is finished -not this time. He was very finished eating lunch before our meal came out -and he wasn't being a speedy eater that day, the food just took that long. In the end he sat on the floor and unpacked and repacked his diaper bag a thousand times, read a few books, and played with a few toys packed away -and thankfully we were sitting in a corner so he was able to do that. and thankfully we got a discount on our meal for the long wait. But still, I'd rather pay full price for my food than have to entertain a toddler and make him stay in one little spot of the restaurant while trying to eat my food.

- Go out early [if it's dinner time]. If we're in a busy place [like at the beach in the middle of the summer] or it's a busy time of year, we call to make a reservation. It helps so much -you don't have to wait and if there is a crowd you can avoid it. 

- Include the toddler in your number of people. For example, when you go in the restaurant [or call in advance] and the hostess asks you how many people, say the number of people including your little one. Don't just say, four and a toddler if there are four adults and a toddler. Say five. The toddler is a person too and takes up just as much space at the table as a grown up does [sometimes more]. We learned this one the hard way. We made the mistake of saying sixteen and a toddler for a reservation one time. We were given a table with sixteen places and then the high chair was put off to the side. Not gonna work. The next time we just included Emerson in the people count and didn't say we had a toddler. ...though when we were out once after that and I said we have five, they looked at me as if I were crazy and said, "You mean four and a toddler?" "No. Five. And we'll need a high chair." Gotta get that right, ya know? 

- Order quickly. When the waiter comes around and asks for your drink order, try and have your food order ready then too. If not then, be ready by the time he comes back with your drinks. The quicker you get your order in, the quicker you can eat and leave, and the more everyone will enjoy their meal. This is not a long romantical dinner -you're eating out with a toddler. Even me, an incredibly indecisive person, has learned to choice very quickly! 

- Wait to give dinner to the munchkin. We like to try and wait until after we have placed our order and feel like our food will be coming out within ten minutes or so. Emerson does take his time eating so we can usually start him a little bit before us and he'll finish the same time we are. It's all in the timing. You have an idea of how long it takes your little one to eat, so just keep that in mind. 

Anyhow, those are my little tips for eating out with your little toddler. What are some things that you do to help you all have a enjoyable time out? 

What is your secret trick to eating out with your little one?  Check out the other mama's blogs for even more tips!  And be sure to link up with us below if you also have a post on this.  

July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

being brave and saying hello.

As you may know, we like to go on walks as a family any change we get, and if we can't go as a family Emerson and I will go out on our own. It's pretty much a daily thing around here. Sometimes it happens a few times each day. We love walks and being outside.

Anyhow. Yesterday after dinner we went out for a little walk. We stopped at the park and played for a while and then headed back. Our neighborhood is full of families and most evenings the streets will be full of kids riding their bikes, yelling at each other from the other side of the street, running in their yards, and shooting basketball. It really is a neighborly subdivision we live in. We know our immediate neighbors [sadly, for us, they are older and single, although very nice] but not many of the others.

Well, as we were walking we happened to be walking down one of the streets full of kids playing outside. Passing one of the houses we saw and said a nice little hello to one of the moms that was outside watching her kids. She said 'hey' to us and a 'ho' to Emerson. She seemed nice. And we kept walking.

Only two steps after our short greeting, I thought about how I should have just stopped and introduced myself to her. I mean, what's she going to do, tell me to leave? say she doesn't care? ignore me? She seemed nice from the 47 seconds we had talked to her. But I hadn't said anything to her and we kept walking. And I didn't turn around because that would have been a little awkward. right? The rest of the walk home [all of two minutes] I kept thinking about how I should have talked to her.

Once the garage door was open and we were walking inside, Landon said something or other about how she seemed nice and we -meaning me- should have stopped to talk to her, and that's just what we're going to have to do to make friends around here. I agreed but that was that. We were home, it was time for Emerson's bath and bedtime to follow. Plus, we had already passed her house. Not to mention, we were home.

But, one thing lead to another and essentially Landon shoved me out of the door, strapped Emerson back into the stroller, pushed us out of the garage, and said he would say a prayer for me. I walked back towards her house, trying to think of how I could start talking to her. What would I say? "Um, hi. So I know I just passed your house and all, but um, I decided to come back so I could try and be your friend? I'm Hannah by the way." I was determined to make an effort and knew I had to do it. That's when I saw her laying on the grass, facing her house, reading a book with one of her boys. How do I interupt that? I don't. So I walked slowly by.


When suddenly another one of her boys chirped out a loud, "Hi!" from the back of his daddy's truck bed. After I returned his greeting I debated in my head of whether I should just keep walking, I was already passed where she was, or to stay, back track a little, and talk to her. She heard her son talking to some stranger so she stood up and said hi, again.

And I went for it. I just opened my mouth and said, "I'm Hannah, by the way..." and from there her oldest son took over the conversation. Or at least tried to. It was cute. And I thanked the Lord for that chattily little boy.

As it turned out, she was very nice and we stood and talked for a while. She didn't shun me away for stopping. She didn't run off after I introduced myself. She even asked if we lived in the town houses just around the corner ---which could only mean she saw us walking away. Which might also mean that she saw me walk back as soon as I got home, but eh... I talked to her and decided not to care about that.

Anyhow, that's my story about how I did something entirely out of my comfort zone. My story about the one time I went back to say 'hi' to someone after building up my courage. Hopefully it won't be the last time I see her. And hopefully our kids can play together some time. And hopefully we can maybe be friends. Though if nothing else, at least now we know some more of our neighbors.

The moral of the story? Just say hello - and then your name. It couldn't hurt. [now to remember that for another day...]

Is that how you meet people? Are you just a really chatty, friendly, outgoing person to being with? Have you ever done anything like that?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

printables, how I love you.

So, I mentioned the other day that I'm working on a little project. I have a little ways to go before the project is finished and just how I want it to be, but I just have to say -I love all of the free printable things I have been finding on Pinterest. And also, I love Pinterest. I have a tiny budget for this project so I am using things I already have at home -for the most part- and welcoming anything that is free. Thank goodness for Pinterest. I've been on Pinterest for a few years now, mostly just to look at pretty pictures and such. But now that I'm trying to beautify something for little to nothing, I am loving all of the options on there. If you ever share awesome printables, I thank you. People like me who aren't talented to make those type of things or have enough money to go buy things, are really thankful for sharing your creativeness. I especially like this little gem.

Anyhow. I just had to share that with someone. So thanks for listening. :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

a weekend and a reminder

Like most of our weekends this one was pretty laid back. Since Bee has started coming to play each day, Emerson and I are having to go grocery shopping on Saturday instead of during the week- which I much preferred [have I mentioned how much I hate grocery shopping and how the grocery stores here are always so busy on the weekends?]. So Saturday morning right after breakfast [so about 8] we went off to get some groceries. The rest of the day we just hung out and did a little of this and that, including going for walks and playing at the park.   

On Sunday afternoon Emerson and I decided it would be fun to go out and find some stuff for a project I'm working on. We went to a few stores to see what our options were and ended up at Target [because it's just the best]. Anyhow, I forgot all about the semester starting soon and students moving back in. Needless to say, Target was a mad house. The only two places that were "safe" were the baby  and the food section. sheesh. But I braved the mothers and daughters looking for cute dorm room furnishings. I dodged the dads pushing carts piled high with chairs and comforters, towels and lamps. I squeezed past friends looking for coordinating goods for their apartment. 

I about had a melt down. I about left the store. 

*Bonus note about me: I don't do well with crowds of people. If there are loads of people around me I start clam up and can't think straight. I get anxious and start breathing really hard. I look for a paper bag. My brain forgets everything. I only look for the nearest escape. I can't function. Really and truly. [thus the reason I hate grocery shopping here ... ] 

But I didn't. I stayed because I was there and had been out for two hours looking for what I wanted and I knew they had it, and gosh darn it if I went home empty handed. Plus I knew what I was looking for was on sale. So, I found what I needed, stood to the side, and breathed deep breaths. I also talked about our options to Emerson, which I think helped me as I tried to drown out the millions of people playing bumper carts in the store. When I turned the corner to go check out the line was backed up to the card section, past where the cleaning stuff is and into the pet supply spot [I know each store is laid out differently, but you get what I'm saying, right?]. holy. smokes. Every single register was open. Every single register had a line. People were stopped. Waiting. Standing for their turn to check out. 

Not me. I wasn't about to wait in some crazy long line. So I said a few excuse me's and squished my way between the mothers and daughters, the fathers and sons, the friends, and the carts piled high with colorful goods. And I found no line on one of the very first registers and walked right up to it. Apparently when most people see a long line they stop at the very end and don't look towards the front registers to see if there is a shorter line. Eh, fine by me, it opened a spot up for me nice and quick. 

a little gem from the crazy shopping trip and a sneak peak at my project :) 

So that's my story about the one time I forgot it was almost move in day [Landon had told me he thought it was the following weekend... we both need to remember to look into that more next August]. 

That's also my reminder to never go shopping at Target [even though I love them so] the week before the semester starts. And I will need this reminder because the rest of my days I will most likely [that's the goal anyhow] live in a college town.  

How was your weekend? Did you have any fun trips? Are you the type of person who loves crowds -or who can at least properly function in them? Or do you start hyperventilating at the very thought of a crowd? Anyhow... 

Friday, August 15, 2014

school, new pens, fall, and seniors

Today I feel like sharing a few things of no real depth, so here I go... 

first. Wednesday was my last day of freedom before the school year starts --- so to speak. Bee, the baby girl I watch, came to play with Emerson every day this week -except for Wednesday. So on Wednesday afternoon Emerson and I went to the store, just because we could. Starting on Monday [the day school starts here] Bee will come every day to play, so we will spend lots of time around the house playing and doing projects and such. 

second. While we were at the store I got some new pens. I kind of have an obsession with pens [is this an English major thing? a teacher thing? or a 'special' person thing?]; new pens have a way of making my heart really happy. I really love having a cup full or colorful pens -it helps with color coding things in my calendar you know? Plus they are just pretty to write with. Usually I get a small pack of pens ... not this time. I needed them, you know? 

a bouquet of new colorful pens make my heart even happier than a bouquet of flowers. true story. 

third. I am trying to create a little schedule for the babies. You know, like a real live preschool like schedule. I have ideas, but I need to write them down and actually do them. I'm also trying to think about some themes we could do this year. Since they are both bigger and can do so much more that last year [roll around on the carpet] I thought it might be a good time to try doing more 'school' like activities with them. So, any ideas or suggestions for learning activities for little ones under two would be most welcome! 

fourth. I love Fall. You will probably hear me say this a hundred times before the end of the year, but it's true and I just can't help myself. I love everything about it: the colors, the weather, the smells, the activities/traditions, the clothes [namely: jeans and t-shirts], the food. I love it all. I know it's just August, but with the back to school stuff coming out, so is all of the Fall stuff, and I LOVE it. love. it. 

fifth. The other day I shared some thoughts on school and what it would be like if I were teaching this year  and really, it's something I've been thinking about for the greater part of this week. Last night I was thinking about teaching some more and my kids. You all, my first class of kids are seniors this year. Seniors! Holy crap, that is crazy! And it's crazy that my second class of kids are juniors [which for some reason seems older than seniors. Weird, I know, but true for me]. Anyhow... 

So there you have it, a few random things that I have been thinking about lately. I hope you all have a lovely weekend and get to enjoy some good days with family and friends and have time to refresh. 

linking up here today. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

thoughts on having another baby

For the majority of our marriage Landon and I have somehow evaded the question "when are you going to have a baby?" by nearly every one. One of my sisters was the only one who would ever ask me directly [or not so subtly hint at it] and my parents would make a remark about grandchildren this or that every now and again. I would just laugh and change the subject. I remember one time Landon's mom commented on how we looked like we would make great parents when I was holding one of my nephews -but it seemed so unnatural, even as she said it, I think she felt like she was just saying it because that's what parents say. She even told us one time that the "proper" response to that question is, "We practice every day," or something like that, to which Landon was especially mortified. Anyhow, my point: we didn't get asked much at all. 

Even now that we have Emerson we aren't asked too often. My sister is [again] the only person who really asks me or hints at it. She has even started asking Emerson if he wants a baby brother or a baby sister. I don't really mind her asking, she's my sister, it's all in love, and just I roll my eyes and change the subject. My parents have commented on it once or so and my mom-in-law said when they were visiting us last time that they would take another just like Emerson any day. But that's it. All to which I immediately change the subject [and maybe sometimes roll my eyes]. So mature of me, I know. 

Maybe it's because we don't know a lot of people here or because we waited to share the news of our first pregnancy until I was further along than the "normal" sharing time that people don't ask. Or maybe it's because we just have the best friends and family and they know that it is a really personal question. But we really don't get asked when we think we'll have another. 

It is such a personal decision, I think most everyone can agree with that. And there are so many things to consider: how far apart in age you want your children to be? are you ready for more sleepless nights? can you "afford" it? where will the baby sleep? do you want to change the 'routine' that you have finally figured out with one? will you be able to love your second baby just as much as the first one? will you have enough energy to get through the day? are you ready to be pregnant again after just getting your body back to a place you are [mostly] happy with it? -and lots more, obviously. 

Maybe some silly or selfish questions in there, but they are one's I've thought about. Let's face it: I love my sleep and not having to share my body with someone at the sound of their little wail every two hours. I digress... 

But that's why it is such a personal decision and that's why it is different for everyone. And that's why I am so thankful God has a plan for us and for our family and when it is going to grow in number. We definitely don't feel like our family is full or finished; we just don't know when the time will be when we're going add to our family. We just continue to seek Him and trust in His perfect timing for our family. 

  Hopefully you can relate to all of these Baby #2 talks this week!  Check out the other mama's blogs for even more!  And be sure to link up with us below if you also have a post on this.  

July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

the first day of school

If we still lived in Louisville and if I were still teaching, today would be the day on which I would welcome 150 or so new students into my classroom -into my life. Today I would be greeting the freshman as they make their big entrance into high school. Today I would be introducing them to me and my room, telling them what to expect as we journey through their freshman year together. I would be giving them hints at some of the greatest works of literature and ones that we would get to read together. I would be sharing bits on how we would write and write until we thought our brains were blank and void of anything to write -yet, there would still be something deep in there, hiding, waiting to come out, waiting to be written.

If I were teaching this year I would see my first class of kids walking around the halls as seniors, I would see my kids filling out college applications, working on their Senior Project, planning for their senior prom, planning for their future -college? technical school? a job in town? And at the end of the year I would see my kids donning caps and gowns and accepting their high school diploma, a certificate indicating the end of one journey and the beginning of a new one. A new journey that would lead them into adulthood. 

If I were teaching this year fresh new faces would quietly bob into my room, find a seat, and look at me in anticipation. Their eyes would try and read me, try and figure out who I am, what I am like, what I would demand of them, and let's be honest -what they could get away with. These new faces would hold hopes and dreams, fears and apathy. These faces would become my kids. And I would grow to love and appreciate them for who they are. And I would pray for them, each and every one. Some more than others. Some for behavior issues, some for their education, some for their home life. But I would pray for all of them. And I would pray that I could be the teacher they needed. And I would pray that they would look forward to coming into my room, at least a little bit, but that they would always feel safe in my room regardless of how much they liked English or how strong their distaste for English and school in general was. 

If I were teaching this year I would stop at the grocery store on the way home one afternoon and stock up on notebooks, pencils, paper, and notecards for my kids to use throughout the year. I would buy bags of candy at the end of each holiday to add to my stock pile. I would find new books to add to my little classroom library collection. 

If I were teaching this year I would be prepared [unlike my first year]. I would have two years behind me and I would have plans revised and finished. I would have new activities ready. I would have experience to use in my plans and in my room. I would know what was to come and what I was doing. 

If I were teaching this year the bells would ring and I would welcome students into my room. I would say goodbye to them when the bell rang 55 some minutes later. I would mark my days by the bells. I would plan what I was going to do and when. I would plan how much water I could drink based on when my planning period and lunch were. I would enjoy being in my classroom. 

As this school year is starting and I am not at school where bells and hormonal teenagers rule, I can't help but get a little nostalgic and teary-eyed. I know my days as a teacher were hard and the days were long. I know that each day I worked from an hour before that first bell rang when the students begrudgingly filled the halls to several hours after the last bell rang and the halls were emptied. I poured my heart and soul into my kids and my classroom. I cried. I laughed. I read. I worked. I graded paper after paper. 

I never expected to feel so sad on the first day of school, when I wasn't  there -missing out on the party. I never thought I would think back on my days in the classroom and truly miss everything about it [yes, everything -except for KTIP that is]. But I guess that means I truly LOVE teaching [even though there were rough patches]. I am thankful to be able to spend my days at home with Emerson, he is a joy and I know these first few years are fleeting and few. But oh, how I miss my school, my room, my kids, and meeting my new kids on this first day of school. 

Are any of you teachers? Do you enjoy the first day of school and all of the fun that is had? Have you had a baby [or a few] and chosen to stay home or go back to school? What lead you to make the decision you did? 

And for any of you teachers out there: Happy First Day of School! [or soon to be or belated!]

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

a one year anniversary

Saturday marked one year of living in Illinois for us. One year ago on Saturday we looked around our house for the very last time, we said good-bye to our friends, family, church, and small group -to our life, and drove 235 some miles to a new place. A place where we didn't know a soul or what would be in store for us -I mean, we knew Landon would be in school and I would be babysitting ... but apart from that? And it's like I hadn't moved before, but this move was different... 

This past year has gone by quickly and slowly at the same time. Emerson was a little rolling and kicking six month old when we got here, now he's a running and climbing eighteen month old. It is crazy to think we have only been here for a year, it feels like so much longer. The days are long and lonely, quiet but busy. 

We hoped and prayed to find a good small group and to make friends when we moved here. The truth is, we still haven't gotten into a group or found friends. We hang out with just the three [or two if Landon is working] of us. While it is a blessing for me to be able to stay home and babysit, it limits a lot of what I can do -namely going out and being involved in 'mommy groups'. And obviously, since I'm working in the home, I'm not meeting other people I would if I were teaching somewhere. Not that I feel like I could go back to teaching right now.

Over this past year I feel like I've been on a roller coster of emotions. I'm glad Landon is here pursuing his dream and calling, I try to support him and be encouraging, and I have tried to not complain as much around him. We are where we are and life is what it is. But sometimes, I just want to go back to our old life, even though I know that would be different too. I feel like most days I have come to terms with living here, though I have my days... I have started to be more accepting of the fact that we live here for now, that I have no friends, that we don't have a small group to fellowship with, that I spend my days alone [with a baby or two],  that there is no one I can call up and see if they would go get a coffee with me, that this is my life. That this is what it is. 

I guess God is growing me [I'm sure he is...], I just sometimes wish that he would share his plans with me. But, I guess that's what makes him God and me ... me. I'm learning to be content whatever the circumstances, to have faith, to trust. Oh, such hard lessons. Lessons that will take a life time to learn. But for now, that's all I have. That's all I can do. Trust. And hope for what is to come. ...and try not to question too much the why are we here, God? ... 

Monday, August 11, 2014

a visit from grammy and poppy

Last week was full of visitors and fun. My parents left on Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon Landon's parents and one of his sisters arrived to stay for a few days. One nice thing about them coming so close together was that the house was already cleaned, I just had to change the sheets on the air mattress. Our guests have it good I tell ya... 

Anyhow, they got in before dinner on Tuesday so we hung out for a little bit and then ordered a pizza for dinner that night and went on a little walk before it was time for Emerson to go to bed. 

The next day we went on a walk to the park and played for a while. After Emerson's nap we went to the petting park and had a little picnic before visiting the animals. Emerson loves walking around and looking at all of the animals, it is so cute to watch him watch the pigs or goats or miniature horses. We love that park and are so sad it's not going to be open any more this year. I'm sure by next summer when it opens up again he'll be able to say all of the animals names and sounds! Crazy to think about.

Emerson's feet are growing and when we told Landon's mom she thought we should go shopping. So after saying good-bye to the animals we went shopping to find some shoes for Emerson this fall and winter. While we didn't find any shoes we liked that fit E's feet, somehow Emerson came away with a stack of new clothes to wear over the coming months. He is set for church some play time. I'm not sure how he got the clothes and not the shoes? but I guess the boy will need clothes to wear this fall too. I even got to pick some of them out, so it was a fun little outing.

Landon't parents left the following morning right before Emerson's nap time. It was a short little visit, but we are glad they were able to come. After they left the house felt really empty, especially knowing that we won't be having any one over for a while. If only their visits had been spaced out a little further we could be looking forward to visitors for a little while longer. Or not.

< He LOVES this bunny. I'm pretty sure he could pet him all. day. long. And I'm pretty sure the bunny would like to be pet all day long. It's a shame we couldn't bring him home with us [and also a shame our dog doesn't love to be pet as much as this bunny does...] >

And after my in-laws left I got a box of shoes from one of my sisters -all the right size for Emerson right now, and perfect for playing and for church. Hopefully he won't outgrow them anytime soon, they are so cute!

And that's all I've got for today :)