Friday, August 30, 2013

Teacher Style

School started this week and's been pretty good.  Of course, I've been a little stressed getting all my ducks in a row and making sure that I've covered all my bases for six different classes.  BUT.  I get to work at 7:45 and leave by 4:45.  Every single day.  This fact alone makes up for the fact that I now have to worry about Special Ed accommodations, preparing students for a state standardized test and having to manage the grades for over 150 students.  

Not once this week (even with volleyball try-outs going on) did I ever regret or second-guess my decision.  Nope.  There is no doubt in my mind or heart that I made the right decision, not just for my family but for ME.  

I love being in the classroom.  I love having my own space.  I love being a teacher.

But I also love wearing "real" clothes to work....and that's the most important thing, obviously.  So without further ado, let the teacher fashion show commence.

My teaser Instagram picture of my accessories for the first day of school.
Shoes: $40 at DSW
Bracelet: birthday gift
Earrings: birthday gift (from Francesca's boutique)
Necklace: surprise vacation gift from Craig

Here is my super professional outfit for the first day of school.
Deep royal blue dress from New York & Company for $15!  
(It was such a great deal that I bought it in black, naturally.)

Wednesday's outfit
Black dress capris from New York & Company - another great sale, they were two for one so I also have them in gray!
Shirt from The Limited
Necklace from Charming Charlie's
Heels....rescued from the depths of my closet and brought out of retirement.

Full disclaimer: No.  The heels did not last all day at school.  Here is the trick - heels in the hallway and slippers in the classroom.

All week long I got comments from students and teachers alike, all exclaiming how strange (but nice) it was to see me in "real" clothes and not athletic shorts and t-shirts.  And let's be honest - I still totally love my comfy clothes, but it's nice to pull out all my fabulous dresses, heels and jewelry from my closet and show them off.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I Do.

To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

These are the words that Craig and I spoke to each other three and a half years ago in front of family and friends, prompted by the husband of my best friend.  I have no problem admitting that at the time, these vows were just words - the things I had to say in order to sign my marriage license.  It wasn't that I didn't take them seriously, it's that I had the naivete and general blind confidence of a blushing bride and almost newlywed.  I walked down that aisle and said those vows with an air of "no big deal...we GOT this."  

I'm not sure what I thought marriage was going to extension of the fairytale we lived in the months of dating that led up to our wedding?

But here I am.

It's three and a half years later and I'm trying to wrap my brain around that one little sentence we recited to each other on the day of our gorgeous outdoor wedding on a sunny day in March of 2010.

We've done the sickness and health bit.  I had an appendectomy, a c-section and a debilitating bout with Postpartum Depression.  Craig has had multiple knee scopes, a shoulder surgery and his gall bladder removed.  We have figured out how to nurse each other back to health pretty easy.

Then there is the better, worse, richer and poorer part.

That's where we are at right now.

I don't generally write about our marriage very much because, quite frankly...there's not a whole bunch to talk about.  We are generally agreeable with each other.  There aren't any major disagreements or outbursts.  We approach life as a team and rarely do we bicker or fight.

And we're definitely not bickering or fighting right now even though by all accounts, we certainly should be.

But we do have our backs against the wall.  We are the epitome of the old cliche, "between a rock and a hard place."  Tough decisions have been made and although it was the right was a difficult one.

One that affected my husband far more than it did me.

And that's where I'm learning about "for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer" part of marriage.  This is where I'm learning about my realm of control - I can't fight his battles for him, nor is it my job to do so.  But I can be supportive and appreciative.  I can listen when he needs to vent and I can give advice when asked.  I can remind him of the reasons I love him - his loyalty, generosity, sense of humor and dedication.

And of course, those sparkly blue eyes and gorgeous blond curls.

As with everything, this is simply a season in life and it too shall pass.  We will hold steadfastly to each other through this storm and then someday when the seas are calm, we will look back and understand that the storm was instrumental in creating a solid marriage.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Nights

This was the scene in my bed tonight as Natalie watched The Lion King with the requisite blankie and stuffed animals. 

At one point Craig was also on the bed, curled up with our little girl in between us. He looked over at me, smiled and wryly said, "did you ever imagine that this would be your Tuesday nights?"

I know what answer he expected me to give. Something about my younger (wilder) days. About happy hours and control of the remote. Times spent with fabulous dinners, delicious drinks and all my friends.  For me to wax poetic about coming home to a quiet, peaceful apartment where my only plans included a drink and a good book. 

But that wouldn't be the truth. 

I looked back at him, glancing past my two pups and the curly headed girl immersed in her "baby lion" movie and I said, "yes, this is actually exactly what I imagined."

It's certainly not glamorous or fancy....but it's home.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our Last Day...

We spent the last day of our summer vacation....

in pajamas.

watching multiple movies.

swimming in a chilly pool.

taking a nap on the couch with Angie.

getting Chili's To-Go.

sipping on a cocktail.

not making beds and not doing laundry.

And it was perfect.

We are ready for the school year.......I think.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On the Eve of Thirty

So here I am on the edge of thirty...less than twelve hours away, actually.

I'm sitting in bed with a beautiful little girl who is curled up with her favorite stuffed animals under a blanket watching The Jungle Book.  My husband of three years is sitting on the computer downstairs, presumably working on something related to the sale of baseball cards on eBay.  I live in a spacious three bedroom, two and one half bath home that has an awesome playroom for my girl upstairs.  In the upcoming month I will enter my ninth year of teaching in the same district who hired me straight out of college.  Although not large, I have a wonderful group of friends with whom I share a unique bond with each and every one.

Ten years ago...

I was a single Pi Phi girl living in an apartment near the University of North Texas with my very good friend, Elaine.  There were lots of men in town, but none that were really worth keeping around for longer than a few months.  Elaine an I lived in a modestly furnished two bedroom, two bathroom apartment that was close enough to campus so that we could both walk to our classes.  I was about to start my junior year of college and was entering the true "education" portion of my college degree while also working as an after-school day care worker.  I knew the life I eventually wanted to live but I had absolutely no idea as to how I would get there.

But yet, ten years I am.  With everything I ever envisioned I wanted...sitting in the palm of my hand.  It was my degree in education at North Texas that led me to student teaching in my current district which ended up in my hired position at my old school.  That's where I met Craig which turned into a marriage and a transfer to my current job as well as the beautiful girl that I have the pleasure to call my own.

Looking back it's amazing to me the amazing adventures (and misadventures) that took place in a mere ten years.

As I sit here tonight, I am far more emotional about my 30th birthday than I ever imagined I would be.  I'm not sad and I'm not depressed but instead I'm overwhelmed at the many different facets of love I have in my life.

There is the unconditional love I feel from my parents - a love I truly didn't understand until I gave birth to Natalie.

There is the day-to-day love I share with Craig as well as the I'm-with-you-until-your-dying-day passion that I have for him.

I have my close group of friends, with each of whom I share the most unique and intimate relationship - in a different way, they each fill my soul with so much laughter, support and joy.

And then even on top of the love I have for my friends, it's amazing to me how much I adore their children...I didn't give birth to any of them, but yet my heart swells with pride and love when I am with them just the same as with my Natalie.

Then there are the puppy dogs who show such love and devotion to me, but who have absolutely no idea how much peace and comfort they also provide.

And then with my students...I never knew that I could love and care for the children of strangers as much as I do.  If you are in my school then I care about your education and your overall well-being.

Which brings me to Natalie.  I look at her and I am absolutely amazed.  She is not only incredibly gorgeous and smart but funny and athletic as well.  And I helped to create her.  What in the hell did I do in my life that was so awesome as to deserve such an amazing creature for a daughter?!

Above all, there is a God that has given me the gift and grace of life here on Earth.  He alone has provided me the brains the the brawn to go after what I wanted, whether it was a husband or a job...and the sensibility to know when to stop looking and just be content with what I was given.

So I guess that's all I have to say about my 30th birthday.  Thanks for all the love I've been shown in my life - hopefully I can repay it in my next 30 years.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thirty for Thirty

On Wednesday I will turn here are thirty things you might not know about me!

1. I have only broken one bone in my life - my left forearm when I was five years old.  My middle brother shoved me head first into a trailer and I landed on my arm.

2. I hate mushrooms.  I think it has to do with the texture.

3. If I had to choose a last meal, I would have my mother cook me her full Thanksgiving feast complete with ham, cornbread dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.

4. At the end of my first full year in the classroom, I was one of three finalists for the district wide "New Teacher of the Year" award.

5. While I was in college (and even afterwards) I attended several midnight book releases and movie premieres of Harry Potter with my roomie at the time, Lauren.

6. My favorite sport to watch is football while baseball is so utterly boring to me.

7. When I was in 9th grade, my choir director called me an underachiever.  To my face.  In front of all my peers.

8. I only played volleyball in middle school because I hated being in off-season because all we did was run!

9. When I was very small, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always, "a boy."

10. I slept with my favorite Cabbage Patch doll all through high school.

11. I've had braces three separate times - once in elementary school, once in junior high and then again during my sophomore year of college.

12. When I was in college, I was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.  During my four years I served as Intramurals Chair (sophomore year) and Membership Chair (junior year) and then finally became a Rho Gamma (recruitment counselor) with my friend Chelsea, during rush my senior year.

13. When it comes to truly SERIOUS boyfriends...I've only had about three.  And I married the third one.

14. My favorite football player is Tim Tebow.  Don't hate.

15. I got stung on the cheek by a bee when I was in elementary school and my dad tried to "heal" it with bleach rubbed on the affected area.  I spent the entire summer with a big burn and scab on my cheek.

16. I have watched every single episode of every season of The Real Housewives of OC, Beverly Hills, New York and New Jersey.

17. When I graduated high school, I was six feet tall and 135 pounds.  One of those measurements is still true.

18. There are a lot of rules when I eat a meal - the most important being that my food does not touch.

19. In the past ten years, I have travelled to...Seattle, Antigua, the Bahamas, Florida, Maine, Las Vegas, Virginia, Oklahoma, London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Naples, Torino, Sorrento, Munich, Berlin and Amsterdam.

20. If given the choice, I would not wear pants.  Shorts, yes.  Pants, no.

21. My least favorite word is "moist."  It used to also be "panties" but now with Natalie running around in Ariel panties, that word has become more tolerable...almost to the point of cute.  Because a toddler's booty in panties is absolutely adorable.

22.  The family dachshund we had while I was growing up once bit me right above my left eye.  If you look closely, you can still see the scar.

23.  I am eight and eleven years younger than my brothers...but just as tall as they are - if not taller.

24. My dream concert would include performances from The Doors, Kings of Leon, the Beatles, U2, Madonna, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Mumford & Sons.

25. If I could choose five people to host at my house for dinner, I would invite my grandma, Barack Obama, Bono and Jon Stewart.

26. I hate being the center of attention and all my bridal and baby showers totally stressed me out.

27. When no one else is in the car with me, I turn on T.I., Kanye and Jay-Z.  At full blast.

28. My mother is half Italian, half Cajun and speaks Italian, French and English fluently.  My father grew up in rural west Texas and went to college on a football scholarship.  They have lived in the same house longer than I have been alive.

29. If I had been born a boy, my name would have been Timothy Earl.

30. All through middle school and most of high school my goal was to go to A&M and become an architect.  After a college visit to Aggieland and a year spent working after-school care at the YMCA, I changed my plan and went to North Texas to become a teacher.