Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer is ALMOST Here!

I'm taking a little bit of time to just hang out right now while I wait for the boys to be home, so I thought I'd blog for a few minutes :). 

We are coming up on the last 3 weeks of school.  In some ways, I am more relaxed... and in some ways, I feel like I'm walking uphill. 
Getting through the last few weeks of school feels like the last few weeks of pregnancy... It feels like it'll never end!  I love my students, I enjoy teaching, but I'm so ready to be off for a while. 
We had a meeting yesterday with a list of things to do, and I'm ready to get started (though I'll have to wait until at least this weekend!).  We are moving buildings next year (and I am moving grades), so EVERYTHING has to be packed and we have to take all of our personal things with us.  Luckily I don't have many personal things yet :).  Being a somewhat new teacher, I haven't had the years to accumulate things. 
This weekend I plan to go up there to organize and pack up most of my things.  I'm hoping that the last few weeks I can teach in a room with less clutter :).  Next year I'll only be teaching English/Language Arts and Social Studies, so I won't have near the amount of crap that I have this year.  Math and science bring a lot of manipulatives that aren't used to teach ELA/SS... and I'm glad.  I'm looking forward to a new year and to be able to start looking at things for next year (though we've been told to not work much this summer!). 
Most of all, I'm looking forward to being able to focus on my family, cooking/baking, and training for my childbirth educator certificate. 

I have so many plans!!  The Dallas Zoo is across the highway from here, so I plan to take the kids at least 1-2 times a week, we'll go to the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science some, I'll be doing some "school" time with the older two and teaching Karis how to read (I ordered a "guided reading" set of books for Karis), I'll be reading lots of books and doing my childbirth ed training, we're going to Rockport mid-June to see my grandparents, going to Colorado in July (with the junior high at the church where Robert works) where we'll be camping, rock climbing, and white water rafting!  It's going to be a busy and great summer.  We'll take plenty of time to just hang out, sleep, eat ice cream on the porch, and play on the playground as well! 

Robert plans to get some things done on the house... replace the black and white linoleum tile floor (that is coming up in many places) in the kitchen with ceramic tile, replace the cracking pink and blue tile in the kids' bathroom, redo some things in our closed in garage (because it was closed in years ago but it wasn't made very usable), and continue working on our yard (it's looking better, but we have a ways to go!). 

One other thing that I hope to do is wean myself off of foods/drinks that I have been eating/drinking too much of and become dependent on that I KNOW aren't good for me!  The biggest is anything with caffeine... coffee (which I'll never completely rid myself of) and Coke Zero.  Yes... I have been drinking diet soda.  Too much.  I KNOW HOW BAD IT IS, but I'm addicted!  So, I plan to not drink it at all by next fall.  I know that seems simple, but it's not a simple task to stop a major addiction like that!  I really want to go back to eating healthy and to cook/bake extras to freeze so that when school starts I can just pull stuff out of the freezer. 
I might not get all of this done... but they are just goals :). 
I'm mostly excited about being with my family!!!!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to My Mama!

I'm so thankful for such an amazing mama.  She has taught me so much over the years about life, and I know that I turned into the person I am today because of her (well, through God's sovereignty).  She cares so much about others and would truly do anything that she needs to in order to help someone else.  She is non-judgmental and loves others right where they are.  She took me to church as a child and taught me about Jesus.  She supports me in any decision that I make, but is honest when I need to hear truth.  She loves my children so much and truly wants to be with them as much as she possibly can, allowing me some much-needed rest at times.  We have always been close... through the good and the bad.  And I know we will stay that way! 

I know today is a tough day for my mom because of the loss of my brother, but I'm hoping and praying that she'll remember the good times and be thankful that she has so many great memories. 
One thing that she has taught me that means more than anything is that we need to enjoy every moment in life... the hard and easy... the good and bad... the sleepless nights and the refreshing moments... the fits that the kids throw and the "I love yous" from them as well.  Every moment is a blessing and we should enjoy it because we never know when it will be our last. 

I love you mom!!! 

Learning to Just be Me

One amazing thing that has been coming out of all of the difficulty of the past year and a half is that more and more, I am figuring out who it is that God created me to be, and I am learning to just be me.  I have always been a people pleaser, conforming to the way that I assumed people wanted me to be. 
The things that I always have on my mind that I try to control around people are that I'm emotional, I worry about how I look in an outfit, I worry about what people will think if they see me with something unhealthy since I talk a lot about being healthy, I feel that if a lesson doesn't go perfectly that it makes me a bad teacher, if my kids are throwing a fit it makes me a bad mommy, if my house is a mess that means I'm lazy, if I work a lot that means I don't spend enough time with my family, if I spend a lot of time with my family that means I don't care about my job, etc.  These are thoughts and worries that I have had constantly... and I'm learning to slowly let go. 

The little things that make me happy:
An amazing hair cut; some cute necklaces and earrings (that I got myself for mother's day hehe); notebooks, sticky notes, pens, and cute owl stickers; hanging out, being lazy, and drinking coffee all morning; music (especially JJ Heller and Shane & Shane); foil packet dinners on a small fire in our backyard; research and learning; flip flops; natural living; reading; getting lots of clothes at a garage sale (and they are fun and different!); being outside... I could probably go on and on. 

Sometimes I feel like I write the same things over and over again :).  There's just so much peace to being content with who I am and where I am in life.  When we made the decision to follow God's prompting to move to Dallas, we had no clue where we would be headed... and we had no idea that we would be where we are today :).  It all happened so fast!  I understand now why we are where we are!  God's plans are so much better than our own!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blessed and Excited about What's to Come

It Will Be Summer Soon!
As of next week, we only have three actual weeks of school + one week of things like field day and fun activities... then we are done for the summer.  That means reading benchmarking, TPRI, and math benchmarking for the end of the year.  We also have to start packing up our personal items (not during instructional time) and getting things that belong to the school organized/packed up.  On one hand I feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, and on the other hand, I'm so excited that summer is almost here that I can push my way through these next few weeks.  The biggest things that I'm looking forward to are: 1) Time with family, 2) being able to keep up with cleaning my house and doing laundry, but most of all 3) being able to spend more time with Jesus and think clearly.  With being incredibly busy comes not being able to truly think clearly (because I can only process so much at a time!).  And since I started this past year with less than a day's notice (the training started the day that they hired me...), I haven't had a chance to truly think clearly since school started.  I started out 20 steps behind and I have been there ever since.  

Hard Year... Ready for Some Refreshment
This past year and a half has been the most challenging of my life... and even though it was very difficult, there's SO much that I've learned... and the biggest is that I've learned to let things go that just don't matter.  I have moments/days when my incredibly messy house drives me crazy, but for the most part, it doesn't bother me near as much as it used to.  I've learned to grade papers/plan lessons even when it's a disaster (which I would have never been able to do a year ago), and I've learned to enjoy my family even when I know that I have so much that needs to be done around the house.  I prioritize and just do what's absolutely necessary at the time (like having clothes to wear, dishes to eat/cook with, and sweeping all of the crushed up food off of the floor hehe). 

I'm hoping that by next year I'll have a better system, but until then, I just make it day to day. 

My Wonderful Family and Things that I Enjoy
I've been enjoying my family so much lately... and I've been enjoying doing some things that I love to do... like having a garden, reading/researching, and writing.  I don't spend a lot of time doing those things, but I've made some time for them lately... and I honestly think it makes me a better mommy/teacher because I'm not allowing myself to be completely stressed out by my job. 

Here are some pictures of my garden:
Here are the kids:

I just absolutely LOVE my family and cannot imagine life without them.  I'm at a place now in which I appreciate them... even in their very stressful moments.  I know that I'm blessed and I desire to just thank God daily for them instead of complain about the frustrating times. 

I'm also very thankful for our wonderful home, our neighborhood, our church, and even my job (even though right now I'm ready for the summer ;).  I love that I am home with-in five minutes of leaving Karis' school.  We actually have evenings now.  It's a new concept.  It has definitely helped our stress level to decrease, though, I'm still exhausted by about 9:00 every night. 

Update About Things on Last Blog
I talked on my last blog about beginning childbirth education and doula training.  I started the training and really enjoyed it from the beginning.  BUT, Robert and I made some decisions, and I ended up canceling the training while I could still get a complete refund. 
I have had a passion for natural pregnancy, natural childbirth, homebirth, and nutrition for several years now.  I have done so much research over the years out of my passion for it, but have kind of just dropped that in the past year.  It just couldn't be a priority because other things have had to come first.
As I was reading some things on my training modules, my extreme excitement and passion for it began coming back to me quickly, and I came to the realization that maybe it would make more sense to just skip childbirth education/doula training, and just go straight to midwife training/licensing.  I've been talking about how that is an eventual goal, but why not go ahead and begin preparing for that now?  I've been talking to my midwife and a friend that is training to be a midwife, so I know how much it would cost and what the training would entail... and I'm up for the challenge. 
I don't think it'll happen with-in the next year (mainly because I know that God is calling me to teach at my school again next year and we couldn't afford it right now!), but I am almost positive that it is something that I will pursue wholeheartedly in the (near) future. 
And the best part... Robert has been telling me to do this for a few years!  He is totally behind this goal.  He wants it as much as I do! 
Besides just being able to do something that I am totally passionate about, I would be able to take 2 clients a month and make more than I am right now (of course, I would be happy with just enough to buy the things that we need).  So, it would be great for my family (in the long run!).  I would need to save up a lot over the next year because I wouldn't be able to work once I'm into the apprenticeship (or really much during the training at all), so I would need to save up enough to be able to be out of work for a while.  I don't know if that'll happen next year, or if it'll be a few years, but Robert and I are both pretty certain that this is a calling for my future. 
For now, I am called to focus on my family and the job that God has provided for me, and I can just slowly prepare for midwifery training (like saving, reading, and talking to midwives!). 

In the meantime, I'm excited about teaching 4th grade English/Language Arts and Social Studies next year!  I can't wait to get started on some brainstorming/planning :). 

This summer is going to be amazing in so many ways... going to the zoo a lot (it's across the highway!), going to museums and things (there is so much to do in Dallas!), spending mornings just hanging out with the kids, and just having the opportunity to enjoy my life.  I'm blessed in so many ways!