Friday, July 26, 2013

The Word No

No is a strong word. I don't like to use it often if I don't have to but sometimes Monkey brings it on himself. Say when he decides climbing the stairs is a really great idea despite the fact that he doesn't know how to go back down unless he goes head first. Or when Monkey decides the trash can is a great new toy. Or pulling my skirt down is a fun new game. Or trying to walk out the front door. Yep we have some fun times in our house right now!

The problem with Monkey and the word no? He thinks it's a game and proceeds to laugh at us or stick his tongue out or run away as fast as possible. He has become quite the little rascal lately. I love him dearly and even when I'm saying no and he's doing something for the thousandth time that we've told him not to do, I can't help but smile. That might be part of the problem :) The boy has such a sweet smile or impish grin depending on what he's doing. 

We've almost hit the one year mark. Well, Monkey has. We had our two year anniversary a few weeks ago and neither of us actually remembered it! DH left for work, I dropped Monkey off at my mom's so I could teach my Spanish class, I get home to prepare and check my phone. Sure enough Facebook reminds me we have an anniversary. Pretty sad when I only remember because of that. Luckily I have a really great parent from my school who brought me cupcakes from New York when she dropped her daughter off for class. Gift taken care of :) 

Back to Monkey. A year has gone by so fast. This time last year I was wondering how in the world I was going to set up a classroom almost 9 months pregnant. Well, thanks to an amazing IA that was taken care of, and I got to concentrate on Monkey two days after school started. He has come so far. I will say he's a little fighter. Finally hit over 20 pounds this last week. That sounds great but then you realize he's about 32 inches tall so he's a stick! He can now reach all the doorknobs and is intent on trying to turn them. So far no luck thank goodness. We are busy planning his party for the end of August. Yay! I will have been back at school almost 3 weeks at that point. The person who decided August 13th was a great day for teachers to start up at school this year stinks. That's all I'm saying. Not fun for me at all. 

And speaking of no. I dislike change. I mean it's a good thing and it's inevitable. It will happen. But we found out last week our principal took a job at another school. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I love the person who is filling in until they find someone but I can't help but wonder what was going through his mind when he accepted the job this close to the school year starting. And only the second year of our school being open. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision, but it's a very hard one for all of us as well. There are a lot of unanswered questions at this point because of it. And worry on my part as I am taking maternity leave two years in a row. So I'm busy planning a birthday party, doing school work, prepping for school, playing with Monkey, and being nauseous almost every day. What a summer this has been! And for your viewing pleasure may I present: My trouble maker:
Look I still fit in a bag! Actually he loves being carried like this as long as you keep moving.

I had to sit on the stairs to stop him from going up. All the sudden he hears the theme music to Star Trek and this is what happens! I fear we gave birth to a Trekkie and we don't even watch the show!

Playing in the diaper box is fun. He drags all his toys in with him and then waits for us to push him around.

Trash cans are great. Until today when he discovered that he can throw anything in the trash can! He normally throws out his dirty diapers but today he also threw out magnets, toys and anything else he could find!
Hard to believe he started out like this!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Hardest Part

This title is fitting because right now there are a lot of hard parts in my life. I was originally thinking of one in particular but now find myself with quite a few.

The hardest part of watching Monkey grow up is knowing he's becoming more and more independent and determined to do everything himself. At 9 months he has quite the fire in him which I love to see but it makes it hard when he wants to open a closed door but he can't quite reach so he tries to do everything in his power to reach the doorknob. It's the stuff that gives any mom nightmares. "Hmmm I can almost reach the knob so let me put dad's shoes by the door and try to climb on those." Crash! I want to stand up without holding on so I'm going to do it even if I have to face plant many times. Of course with Monkey it took maybe 5 times and he became an expert. I kinda wish he had that same approach to things like listening to me read a book. He is so kind and loving though even as he slowly destroys the house.

The hardest part of having Monkey be sick is that he can't get out the words to explain what's going on with his body. Friday he had a high fever, Saturday runny nose and cough, Sunday ear infection, today hives from a reaction to the antibiotic. And the whole time he can't tell me anything except to cry and snuggle and pull his ear. Watching the hives appear was downright creepy and the poor guy wanted to be happy all day and play.

The hardest part of the end of the school year is saying good-bye to students. Luckily in a Montessori school, I still get to keep my amazing first and second graders! It's only the third graders I need to say good-bye to. The end of the school year is never ever easy for anyone though. I worry about some of my students for the summer and others I know will be fine. But I had an amazing group of third graders whom I will miss dearly this coming August. Our class went through a lot this year but they stayed together and stayed strong. They also stayed positive for a sweet classmate who is finally starting to get back into the swing of school (although I know it will never ever be the same for her) and welcome her with open arms each day. I have enjoyed seeing her face the last few days at school. Her smile lights up our classroom, and she isn't afraid to joke with the teachers. She has a very developed sense of humor for a second grader, and I quite enjoy our conversations as we have lessons together.

The hardest part of being pregnant while having a 9 month old who doesn't sleep is that I don't sleep. Still. I don't think I'll ever sleep. Ever. Another hard part is he wants to go, go, go while I want to sit and rest for a minute. I will say the running certainly helps me out with the energy.

And now what led to my post in the first place. The hardest part about getting pregnant right now is that I won't be running the half marathon in Disney in February for Sophie and Madigan. I feel so sad that I won't be there although I will certainly be there in spirit. I am trying to keep up with the running although some days I'm so nauseous I can barely move. When I feel good, I go run. It helps me feel like I'm still doing something for the girls. I would be there in an instant if I could. I know I'm needed here to be with my little ones but I will do something on that day for their memory. Even if I'm not up to running at that point, I will do something. I am blessed to know the Lillards. I am honored to help and do whatever I can for the memory of their girls. It is a joy to help!

So, there are lots of hard parts to life, but we will get through the storm and trials and tribulations and come out the other side. We certainly won't come out the same but isn't that the point? I was singing church hymns to Monkey last night (we make our way through the hymnbook in about a week) and I was singing "How Firm a Foundation." Two of the verses it me hard last night:
"When through the deep waters I call thee to go.
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee overflow.
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless.
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie.
My grace all sufficient shall  be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine."

It isn't easy and we all have different trials and sorrows at any given point in our lives, however, the Savior can help us through them.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

7 Acts of Kindness

I didn't realize it's been so long since my last post. Monkey has been doing better with sleep up until the past few nights. Someone tell him to stop growing up so fast. Poor kid is cutting a tooth every time I turn around and the only thing to help him sleep at night is Motrin. I don't want him in pain but he's going to grow up addicted to the taste of infant Motrin. Or else cut all his teeth before he hits 1 and then become and well-behaved perfect child. Hahaha yeah right. He's a walker now and has been for almost a month. He would much rather walk than crawl even if it means falling down along the way. He has no fear of picking himself back up and continuing on his merry way. I wish I had that kind of stamina and motivation. I think it's a lesson to all of us that life comes with bumps and bruises, some more serious than others but somehow, we can find a way to pick ourselves up and keep going. We may not be happy about it as Monkey often cries and screams getting up again but we continue.

Running has been a huge stress relief for me. And running for Sophie and Madigan has been amazing. Did my first 5k ever and I actually can't wait to do another one! I can honestly see myself doing a half marathon. Running the whole thing yea right but I will finish it! And not for me. I will finish it for Sophie, Madigan, Morgan, Sadie, Chrissi and Jack. And their family. I know this is a difficult time for them and whatever I or we can do to help bring a smile will be done.

That brings me to acts of kindness. Chrissi has asked that we do 7 Acts of Kindness for Sophie's 7th Birthday which would be tomorrow. Even though Sophie isn't with us, we can do 7 kind things for her memory. I told our class that we are doing these acts of kindness because Sophie was such a kind person. Several of them nodded and shared kind things Sophie had done. As a class we brainstormed things they could do. I loved listening to their ideas: not fight for a whole day with my little sister, listen to my mom and dad for once, pick up my toys, clean my room, do someone else's chores tonight, read to a sibling, hold a door, give flowers to people, write letters to family and friends far away, bake cookies, play with someone who's lonely, give someone a hug, be nice to someone that doesn't have a lot of friends. The list goes on. What acts of kindness will you be doing to honor Sophie's memory?

I have already started mine. Two boys were arguing on the playground last week as I passed by running. I stopped to ask what was going on. Their mom just looked beat. The boys were about 5 or 6 and told me they were fighting over their toys. They then heard the app on my phone tell me to keep moving. So they wanted to know why I was running. I told them about Sophie and they asked to do some of my run with me so they could run for Sophie. I passed by the boys again today and they shouted out "Keep running for Sophie!" Monkey and I went to the grocery store tonight and I was looking for another act of kindness for us to do together (not much an 8 month old can do except give someone a smile). I was in the self checkout and a man got in line behind me with a pepper and a bottle of water. He was fumbling for cash so I told him I would pay for it. He was shocked and said he should pay for what I got because I had a baby. I gave him a card explaining about Sophie and he waited for another person to come to the self checkout so he could pay for them. I have no idea if it kept going after that but we got to share Sophie's memory with some people tonight. Monkey even played his part. Leaving the store we saw a woman who had obviously had a long day at work and she looked a little stressed. Monkey looked at her and started laughing and smiling. She looked at us and smiled back. He tried to get her to pick him up and she took him and continued to smile. She thanked us for the smile and I passed along another card for Sophie. Tomorrow will be a sad day yes but it will also be filled with happiness as we try to spread kindness to one another and make someone's day a little brighter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Deciding to Run

So now I've decided to take up a new adventure. Running. I didn't just wake up the other day and suddenly decide that running would be a good idea. Honestly, me waking up and deciding that would  mean the world is coming to an end cause that would never happen. Not in this life anyway. I'm not that kind of person. I'm more of an exercise is chasing after the baby person. But then someone invited me to a group to run in the Disney Princess half marathon in February of 2014. And that's all it took for me to make up my mind. We're running to honor Sophie and Madigan. To keep their memory alive. This is the motivation it took for me to decide to lose the baby weight and get back in shape. Well, I hope the baby weight will come off while I do this training. If it doesn't oh well. I'm doing this for these girls. And for Morgan and Sadie. And Chrissi and Jack. And I'm running for anyone else who knew Sophie and Madigan or who is touched by this event. Every day at school, I still expect to see Sophie walking down the hall to her class. I read Morgan's name on the attendance list and my heart aches for them. Morgan is an amazing girl. She is truly wonderful and so were her sisters. Today was the first day I started running, and I was honored to join Chrissi and some other wonderful women. I felt pretty good about myself especially because I was with people that ran like I do. And that gave me the confidence I need to run this week until we meet up again next Saturday. All I need now is a jogging stroller so Monkey can join me on my weekday runs after school. Hopefully I can borrow one. Or find one cheap. My goal is to finish the half marathon in February. This is for them. Chrissi, thank you for letting me join you today, it was truly an honor and pleasure!

If anyone else is interested in doing this with us in February, get training! Or if you want to find out information about the memorial park, go to this link: Memorial Park

No Monkey updates other than he's a growing boy. 18 pounds, 2 ozs when we went to the doctor on Friday morning. And he's busy getting into everything including climbing the stairs!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Too fast

Monkey is almost 7 months, and I'm in shock still. The fact that he's decided to try and walk makes it that much harder. I'm afraid I'm going to get him one day from his room and hear him talking instead of babbling. It makes me sad that he's growing up so fast. We got to enjoy a surprise snow day today. If someone would have explained to Keith that snow day means sleeping in, it would have been that much more enjoyable. Silly boy. Up at 5:30 and did not want to go back to sleep at all. He's having such a hard time right now with sleeping that I'm wondering what I can do to help that I haven't already done. I think his brain is just on the go all the time that he doesn't know how to stop.
Speaking of time going fast, it's almost Spring Break. Last year we went to Chincoteague and had a blast. This year I'll be hanging out at home with Monkey and hoping to figure out how to help him sleep better so I can sleep. I will say that lack of sleep causes me to do some strange things. Hubby is always asking me why I forget things and I don't think he's realized yet it's because Monkey is up constantly at night. He must think I'm losing my memory at 30 :)
The school year will be over soon and I'm sad. I'm always sad to end a school year but this year has been amazingly wonderful and difficult all at the same time. I love the new school and everything I'm learning. I love the rest of the staff as well. And the parents are incredible. This is just such a different experience. I know this is where Heavenly Father wants me. He truly does let "all things work together for good" when we place our trust in Him. Every day I find another reason for why I'm in the place I am. I have had the pleasure of getting to know so many wonderful people. Knowing that Monkey is only a few minutes away truly helps as well. Yesterday at church we sang "Somos los soldados," and we truly are in this battle until the very end. It's our job as the song say to be soldiers who "combaten error." As a teacher, I'm here to help my students see the good in everything and stand for good and right when they make their own choices. I can only hope I'm providing them with that example.

And now picture updates for those of you who aren't on facebook.
Chowing down on some apple!

He moved too fast to get a good pic, but he loves green beans.

Time for church!

This is his new favorite thing to do.

The carpet inspector. Don't know why but he feels the need to lift up every single rug he finds. All of them.

Enjoying some peas!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

So Quickly

Time goes so fast. I can't believe Monkey will be 6 months this week and he's already crawling and has 2 teeth and 2 more coming in. I feel like he's growing too fast for me. I just want to hold on to him a little bit longer before he really starts growing up. He's such a big boy now and has such a personality. I'm amazed that such a little boy has so many likes and dislikes already. He loves to snuggle which is a good thing. I hope he doesn't outgrow that for awhile still because I love baby snuggles. I'm starting to work on his birthday party which is amazing because I never plan anything that far in advance. There are just too many ideas! Daddy loves to do Monkey's hair.

Reading books is fun but so is eating them!
All ready for church!

While I watch him grow I can't help but think of the two little girls who will stay 6 and 3 forever. It makes me sad because he will grow up, their baby sister will grow up, their big sister will grow up but those two will always be little girls in our memories. Brave Morgan is making her way back to school but I see the struggle she has and while I can't understand completely, my heart aches for her. I keep trying to type about this but it's so hard. I just can't find the right words to express what I feel, and I feel like no words will be adequate enough. So I leave this post asking for continued prayers for this family as they continue in their struggle to move forward,

Friday, February 1, 2013

Something unexpected

This post will be quite different from the last ones that were all about Keith. Today when I got to school, I experienced something that I have hoped I would never have to go through as a teacher. I've prayed for ten years this would never happen. I walked in the same time as my principal who proceeded to tell me there would be a meeting at 8:30 and to spread the word. Well, no one was there yet cause of the roads and he had me come into his office. I was told there was a fire at a house last night. I couldn't understand why he was telling me about this house fire in Myersville. Then he told me the name of the family and my heart broke. One of my dear sweet students was in that fire along with her 3 younger sisters and parents. She is going to be ok but has burns. Her sister in the class next to ours along with her 3 year old sister weren't so lucky. They are no longer here. I never imagined having to talk to my students about the death of someone in our school. Let alone the siblings of one of my students. All I've thought about is their faces yesterday before they left school. Today passed in a complete blur. I honestly can't tell you which students were at school today except for the ones who hugged me and had tears running down their faces. I can't tell you what I ate today but I know I did eat. All I can tell you is I hugged every student today before they left. Several times in fact. My IA and I have an amazing class. Their hearts broke just as ours did. Once they processed the news, they wanted to help. Every student was worried about their house, clothes, food, etc. It warmed my heart to see them care so much. And to see them cry and tell me that they felt so bad for our Morgan because they couldn't imagine how she felt to lose two sisters at once. Such understanding from children so young. I was amazed at the counselors who came to support us. Who stayed with our students when we needed to leave the room. I amazed that a school so small of only 5 classes was able to come together so quickly to help support this family. And how quickly the rest of the community pulled together as well. While we were holding it together with the students, parents and friends were busy putting together fundraisers and gathering supplies. I know we aren't going to forget this anytime soon and it's going to get a lot harder before it gets easier. I may some students come in Monday morning and be perfectly fine but I know they won't all be like that. Many of them will need a few more hugs. And many will need mom and dad to stay for just a bit longer in the morning before dropping them off.

So please hug your little ones just a little bit tighter tonight. I know I am right now. Keith will be snuggling with us a bit longer before he goes to bed at night. And if you pray, then pray for Morgan and her family. That's what will help us get through this.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

And a Happy New Year!

Now that Keith is actually sleeping a little earlier at night, I really should start updating the blog more often. However, by sleeping a little earlier I don't mean he's sleeping long stretches. Would be nice but he likes to cuddle with us at night. On the plus side, he goes down for bed pretty easily especially since he doesn't like to nap for my mom lately! I love watching him go to bed at night when he sings to himself and rubs his head. I guess all that singing while he was a newborn and in the womb paid off.

Christmas Break was far too short, and I'm counting the days to Spring Break. Keith enjoyed all the extra mom and dad time for sure! We enjoyed snuggling with him. I have to say that Christmas with a baby is a little different. Much as hubby and I like car rides, they just aren't the same with a baby in the car. We drove to West Virginia and amazingly our monkey did pretty good. We even got to sleep thanks to my sister driving. He was even great on the drive to Cumberland. I did discover that Monkey loves a schedule. Like really and truly loves his schedule. It was rough messing with it and he's just now getting back into the swing of things. The boy loves his early bedtime but he knows we don't sleep until several hours later because it seems like he's always waking up every so often for a snuggle until we settle in for the night.

The best part of the last month has been seeing Monkey roll over and his first tooth start to come in. He is a busy boy and as soon as he realized he could roll over, he decided he needs to do everything right now. He wants to roll, crawl, sit, walk and talk all at once and gets frustrated that it doesn't work. I can't believe how much he can do at this age! He has also become quite the giggle box. Everything makes him laugh and when we laugh at his laugh, it gets even louder.

As far as work, loving it like always. This school is so different from anything I've ever done, but it helps me to see how good this type of education can be for certain kids. I know children aren't one size fits all and our education system shouldn't be either. I wish some of the parents there would realize that though. I love seeing kids have a passion for learning and I would say after being at this school for a few months, all but a few of my students are there. I get excited when they get excited about learning something new. Seeing their faces light up when they tell me they've figured out something they struggled with is amazing. And the fact that they get to struggle with things and work through them is great as well. I have students who can name all the classes of invertebrates from memory and give examples. I have other students who can do an amazing job at explaining materials to other students.  I really believe that if we could give students more choice in their work in all school settings that we would see an increase in learning simply because they want to succeed for themselves not to get a grade. My third graders took a mini learning assessment for me and after meeting with them, each one decided they needed to learn about fractions because they knew it was a weakness. Rather than me telling them what to study next, they came to that realization on their own. What more could a teacher want?

Monkey and his new dinosaur from his tio! He loves to eat it and hear the music.

Ready for bed!

His new favorite pastime is eating his own feet followed by chewing on everyone's fingers.

He actually sat up in this picture and then tried to reach something and down he went!

Just chilling with mom.

In the Johnny Jump up happily moving around!
And now it's picture time!