Sunday, September 29, 2013

Safe and Sound

I spent Saturday morning holding my godson, watching my daughter play with his older sister while I chatted with their mother, Kate.  

In a moment of freedom, Kate ran downstairs to grab milk and oranges for the girls while I snuggled Sam on the couch.  

While she was gone, I realized what had just happened and I teared up.

I had taken care of a little boy who wasn't mine by blood, or even by marriage.  Just the very special baby of a very special friend.  

He was offered to me to hold by his momma who needed a physical break to sit on the floor and play with her daughter and goddaughter.  While Kate engaged the girls with blocks and kitchen toys...and then broke up disagreements regarding ownership of said blocks and kitchen toys, Sam and I cuddled up and got comfortable.  

Quickly he realized that I was NOT Momma.  That newborn little face started to wrinkle up and his pink lips began to quiver.  

Oh no.

Please, no.

Don't cry little guy.  Don't wail.  I can't calm you down.  I can't do it.  I can't take care of a baby.  It will be embarrassing.  I will have to hand you over while I suffer through my anxiety attack.  People will wonder why I ever had a child to begin with.

But then something clicked.  He cried and I shushed.  He wailed and I bounced.  He calmed and I soothed.

And then he snuggled and slept.

And I cried.

Thank you, my dear godson.  Thank you for being you and trusting that I am capable of comforting and safe enough to snuggle.  

And thank you, my dear Kate for allowing me the honor of calling this precious child my godson.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Girl and the Chair

Dear Natalie,

This morning you balled up your fists tightly next to your skinny waist and yelled "NO" at me through a scrunched red face. As soon as your voice left your mouth, you got quiet and your eyes grew round. Stunned by the power of your own voice, the strength of your desires and the effect your words have on other people. 

I stood very still as I contemplated my next move. Discipline....yes. That needed to occur. But I had to steady my reeling emotions before I grasped you too hard or spoke too harshly. 

But within the anger and frustration that swelled in my throat, also resided a sense of accomplishment and pride. Because, you see, you were annoyed that I had foiled your plans by asking you to drag your chair back to the table in your playroom, when you were about to enact your clever scheme. 

I had placed the iPad just out of your reach on the bedroom bookshelf, in what surely must have appeared as an exciting challenge to you, instead of an impossible obstacle.  But you didn't just throw yourself on the ground in another toddler tantrum. No. You, my dear, saw the bigger picture and hatched a plan. You gathered your materials quietly and set your eyes on the prize. For this fact, I am deeply proud. 

I see a little girl emerging that has confidence in herself combined with cunning intelligence and little to no fear. This combination is wildly unpredictable, completely impossible to stop and sometimes even dangerous. 

I am more than okay with this. 

Because someday, honey, there will be a time when someone tells you, "you can't do that."  They will challenge your intelligence, doubt your capabilities and mistrust your intuition.  They will discourage you from grabbing that chair, they will insist that you will get hurt, or that they have a far superior plan.  

This is when I am begging you to ball up your fists and shout, "No!"  Give them that same determined glare you gave me this morning. The one that is frighteningly fierce and warns of impending doom if anyone were to get in your way. 

Then climb on the damn chair and leave them standing in your shadow. 

With love from your fellow chair climber, 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Teacher Style Week Three

Here we are at the end of the third week of school....which, if you're curious, has been the hardest one to date. Perhaps it was the end of the honeymoon period for the kids, or maybe it was the two tests I gave, but I am WIPED OUT. Our Friday night consisted of dinner at Chilis and taking in the varsity volleyball game. Craig is currently fighting the bedtime battle with Natalie and I'm not far behind. My DVR and cozy pillows are calling my name. 

But first, here is what I wore this week.  

Gray pants found on sale (buy one, get one free) at New York and Company outlet store. 
Purple ruffled tank bought a few years ago from Ann Taylor Loft outlet. 
Black sweater from Old Navy? Maybe? Not really sure...I've had it a LONG time. 
The shoes are chunky heeled, round toe patent leather with a fun stitched pattern - and actually fairly comfortable!
Necklace is from Charming Charlie's. 
Hair was down and straight. 

Ugh. Tuesday was rough. Natalie had been up and down all Monday night so this outfit was thrown together in a rush because I was dragging to get out of bed. 
White sweater from Ann Taylor outlet. 
Black pants bought full price (but totally worth it) from The Limited. 
The turquoise flats were actually my wedding shoes that I wore under my dress!
My necklace is from Charming Charlie's and my bangs were proofed and then pinned back. 

Skinny jeans from Old Navy. 
A Rangers Napoli shirt (shout out to my Grandma) from Dick's Sporting Goods. 
Black leather sandals from Old Navy. 
Hair is in an easy wet bun. 

Fun, fun fun! I loved this outfit because it was a little out of my comfort zone, but at the same made me feel pretty fabulous. 
Necklace from Charming Charlie's.
Pink shirt bought on sale at Ann Taylor Loft outlet. 
Skirt was $30 on clearance at White House,Black Market! And has pockets!
Spes bought two years ago at DSW. 
Hair was normal. 

I got three compliments on this shirt before the school day even officially got started!  Craig bought it for me for my birthday....from Anthropologie. I know. It was a splurge,but I absolutely adore it. It's a breezy material but with lots of fun designs and details. He did a great job picking it out. 

White camisole from Target, skinny jeans from Target and earrings from New York and Company. Instead of a boring old ponytail, I stole a look from my students and braided my bangs back and gathered them into my ponytail holder. It was easy but still something a little different from my normal look. 

So....I've realized that I have a minor addiction to Ann Taylor. And is it weird that I know exactly where I bout EVERY single item of my clothes?!

And do you like my designs on the photos? Check out the photo editing app called Rhonna Designs. It does cost a small amount, but it is GOOD. Better than Instagram and My Beautiful Mess. I bought it for free a few days ago through the Apps Gone Free app which features apps that normally cost something but are currently free through iTunes. Kind of like Groupon for apps. 

Alright. That's enough for tonight. It's 9:15, which is fifteen minutes past my bedtime. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Three Weeks In

Looking through my recent posts....and even so at the endless list of unfinished drafts that have accumulated in my Blogger homepage, it's obvious to me that the school year is definitely upon us. 

I'm two days away from submitting my first progress reports as a full-time math and algebra teacher. Tomorrow marks the second volleyball game for my 8th graders. Open House has come and gone and today I finished up grading the first official math test of the new school year. 

Despite the warm temperatures, fall is in full swing and life is hitting the high gear. 

Here in our home, we are chugging along, all of us adjusting to the new schedule in our own way.  Here are just a few of the highlights.

We had to buy a new car seat (Graco Nautilus) for Natalie to use in my car so that her feet and knees wouldn't hit the back of my seat. Craig also needed a seat in his car for the days when I just can't leave work before five o'clock. 

Yes. I know that I quit coaching n order to be at home more and not spend so much time at school....but if I'm going to take on the responsibility of teaching 8th grade math and algebra, then I'm going to do it right. And sometimes, doing it right means staying late after school to plan lessons, grade papers or give tutorials. 

I started back up with Bible Study in my little town, which is led by the uber talented Jen Wilkin, who happens to be the sister-in-law of one of my dearest friends, Emily. It's two hours of fellowship and faith with similarly minded women every Tuesday night....and it is wonderful. My brain loves a good challenge and as challenging as planning curriculum and managing the education of 150+ students is....I need something that is both challenging AND spiritually fulfilling. 

Natalie has been having night terrors lately which basically consist of her waking us up around midnight with screaming sobs, only for us to find her out of bed and huddled on the floor behind her door, dripping in sweat and shaking. No wonder the little dear has such a fear of bedtime! We had a "come to Jesus" about her bedtime antics the other night (after we had battled her whack-a-mole routine for an hour) and all I can say is THANK GOODNESS for language skills! She was able to tell us that she gets scared at night because of dreams....and because Mommy and Daddy get mad at her for being out of bed. Ouch. Hearing that come out of the mouth of your precious, innocent child is a swift kick in the gut. Needless to say, our bedtime routine AND expectations have changed. No more frustration (at least visible to her), no more closed doors, no more raised voices. Just loving cuddles, lots of stories, a cracked door and the hall bathroom light left on. Hopefully this will help soothe her troubled sleeping pattern. 

All through the past three weeks of school, I've been asked by students, co-workers and parents.....DO I MISS COACHING?  And at the end of the first week, as I exited the building at 4:45 to go have a relaxing evening with my family while the volleyball team practiced until well past 5:30....the answer was and still is a resounding NO. The truth is, if I had to have coached this year, I would have done it to the best of my ability because that's the kind of team player that I am.  But as I sat in the stands last week watching the first game for my 8th graders, I felt relieved. I now have the fun job - I sit, I watch, I cheer and I congratulate. That's it. I can marvel in their talent and tell them how proud I am of their accomplishments. I don't have to worry about playing time or skill development, inter-team squabbles or outsmarting the opponent. I just get to be encouraging and supportive. THAT is a role that I can wholeheartedly sink my teeth into. 

So I guess life is pretty good right now. Sure there are the daily stresses of juggling laundry, meals, housework, child care and some semblance of a romantic marriage, but when I lay my head on my pillow at night....I'm content. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Teacher Style Week 2

This week was all about repurposing items in my closet that I already had and combining them to make fun new outfits. The weather here in north Texas is still pretty warm (okay, HOT) so I'm sticking with capris and light fabrics for the time being. 

Blue faux denim tunic - bought last summer from Old Navy
White Capri pants - bought on sale from Ann Taylor last summer
Black rope sandals - Target
Hair - just straightened and normal

Wednesday - this outfit was probably the one I got complimented on the most and the hilarious thing is that I've had all these things FOREVER!
Cream flower shirt - found on sale at Ann Taylor a LONG time ago
Brown belt - bought at Kohl's two years ago
Black cotton skirt (with pockets!) - I have no idea where I got it but I know that I wore it while I was pregnant with Natalie because its soft and stretchy. 
Brown sandals - purchased a few years ago from Old Navy
Gold and pearl necklace - birthday present
Hair - parted down the middle and then pulled back and put half up. 

This outfit was a risk for me I wasn't sure how my breaking the "no black and brown together" would go, but I think because I neutralized them with the gold and turned out pretty cute! And even better than was super comfortable!

Pink pants - again, I found them on sale at Ann Taylor last year (apparently Ann Taylor is my go-to sport for cheap(er) Capri pants!)
Black striped shirt - um.....again, Ann Taylor outlet store at Grapevine Mills
Charcoal cropped jacket - found a few years ago at Kohl's
Black flats - bought last year from DSW
Turquoise necklace - Charming Charlie's 
Hair - "bangs" pulled up and pinned back in a mini-Snooki poof

Ahhhh Friday!  Jeans day means cropped skinny jeans (really just skinny jeans that shrunk but still fit everywhere else), my favorite FMS shirt (because it lists all the running awards we earned during my time coaching) and the comfiest of shoes - my blue canvas Toms. 
Hair - put up in a wet bun, straight out of the shower

Next week brings with it the highly anticipated start of middle school football...because it means an extra day of wind pants (disguised as Spirit Day) and/or a fun dress up day to show our support for the school.