July 30, 2010

First Day of School! First Day of School! (Do I Sound Like Nemo??)

My little classroom...Yes, those are Twilight posters
on my closet doors. Don't judge.
Well, its here.  The first day of school is Monday and I am as ready as I'm going to be.  My classroom is ready, I am (basically) ready for students, and the things that need to be done can wait until Monday afternoon or later.  So, here we go again.  This year I am teaching (yet again) a new subject with a new co-teacher.  I am beginning my 7th year of teaching special education classes, but this is my 4th school year teaching at this particular school.  Every year at this school I have taught something new.  My first year, I taught a remedial reading class.  I was blessed to be able to work part-time and carry benefits for the family.  I was able to be home with Andrew (he was 17 months old when I went back to work) every other day.  This was good, because I ended up pregnant by the end of October and was very, very ill.  Being able to be home was great.  My second year, I taught a remedial math class.  Again, I taught part-time (every other day)...I was just off maternity leave (only missed the first two weeks of school since Hannah was born in late June) and being able to be home with her and Andrew was awesome.

Jessica is beautiful, inside & out!
As the kids grew, mommyhood became a little more interesting and...demanding.  Yeah, that's a good way to say it.  Demanding.  With budget cuts and new school opening, teachers were being displaced and all part-time jobs were gone.  No one with a part-time contract (me!) would get a new contract.  Well, once again, God took care of us.  My principal worked his magic and managed to get me a full-time contract. (I'm told my dual certification in special education and regular education mathematics didn't hurt!)  I was able to teach last school year with a fabulous lady in a 7th grade math classroom.  Jessica is amazingly talented and I learned so much from her.  I want to be like her when I grow up.  I was very blessed to work on that 7th grade team, and though we had lots of drama (teachers leaving mid-year, being moved to different grade levels, etc) we worked through it and managed to end up with the highest 7th grade math standardized test scores in our entire county!  Believe me, it was not because of me.  I will miss them.

Yep, Kelly is gorgeous.  I am not.
But she seems to like me anyway!
This school year I was asked to co-teach in 6th grade math.  I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated because I was only acquainted with one of the teachers on that team, and she was the science teacher, so not the teacher I would be paired with.  I am a bit like the middle schoolers I teach:  I want everyone to like me!  I was hoping I would be accepted and make friends with them as easily as I did with the 7th grade teachers.  I feel like I have.  We have only had three days of pre-planning to prepare for the beginning of the year (stupid furlough days!) but in the past three days I feel like I've been completely accepted and welcomed to my new team.  I am excited about this year and just know I will learn as much or more from Kelly as I did from Jessica.  Kelly is hilarious and loud and her students respect her tremendously.  I know I am going to grow and develop even more and I am so excited about that.  I am extremely lucky, in this day and time, to have a job period, but I am even luckier to have a job I love at a school I love, surrounded by people I love.

So, here we go...Ready or not, the students are coming on Monday.  I am excited about the new year, new beginning, and new possibilities.  Give me a month and I might not have this same attitude.  When I start to grips, remind me to come back and read this post so I keep myself in check, k?

July 28, 2010

The Infant Overlord

Hannah as a baby.
I guess Hannah is not as much of an infant overlord as a toddler overlord, being that she is two years old now, but wow.  Just...wow.  When I saw this picture I just couldn't help but think of my sweet baby girl.  As Lydia from Rants from Mommyland says about her mini-mini-me, this little girl is "a cupcake baked by the devil."  Sweet as all get out, but man, oh man, can she rage. 

Last night, for example, this was the conversation between Chris and I:
Chris (walking into the bathroom and spotting a bowl of carrots): "Umm, why are there carrots in the bathroom?"
Me:  "Because Hannah wanted them."
Chris: "Oh, I see."
Me:  "I know, I know...I'm just too weak.  If Hannah wants it, she gets it.  I'm just too weak to fight."
Chris:  "Oh, I know.  Believe me, I know."

You see, this little precious is what some might call opinionated, strong-willed...stubborn.  We were so spoiled by having Andrew come along first.  He was (and still is, for the most part) so mellow, easygoing...We were fooled into thinking we were awesome parents and could totally handle another kid. After all, we were expert parents.  BWAHAHAHAHA... 

Having Hannah in our lives has taught us many things, among which are the following:
  • Its not about me.
  • Dear Lord, I love this child!
  • Its not about Chris.
  • Its not about Andrew.
  • Clothing is always optional.
  • When you think you're planning a fun family activity, go ahead and plan on not having fun.
  • There are worse sounds than nails on a chalkboard.
  • You can live through a year and a half of little to no sleep.
  • Resistance is futile. If its not illegal, let her do it.
Hannah is not all bad, though.  She knows what she wants and goes after it.  I love that determination and will to succeed.  She will practice something over and over and over and...well, you get it.  She will master the skill she is focused on at that moment.  She is a go-getter and most definitely a people person (she can charm the pants off anyone!) and, as long as we guide her and help her focus these amazing traits towards benefiting herself and others, she will go far in life. 

My infant toddler overlord is demanding, yes, but she is so worth it.  I love this little cupcake (baked by the devil) to pieces and wouldn't take anything for her.  She has blessed my life even more than she has domineered it.  She has taught me so much more than I can ever teach her.  I can't imagine my life without her...and I'm not sure I want to try.

July 27, 2010

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

So today was my last day of summer vacation.  Tomorrow begins teacher pre-planning and the first day of school for students is on Monday.  I am actually looking forward to the beginning of a new year.  I love seeing the school supplies on display in the stores...I love the thought of a fresh start, new beginnings, new students...Its all very exciting to me and a lot of the reason I became a teacher.  Also, I love that I have summers off, along with a week-long break at the end of every six-week grading period at school.  Most days I can be home between 4:30 and 5 pm, so I get a few hours of quality  with the kiddos every day before they go to bed.  I love it.
Anyway, so tomorrow I head back to school.  Being that today was my last day of summer vacation, we decided to go to the zoo.  We have season passes and actually haven't gone at all this summer because we've either been out of town or its been too stinkin' hot.  We headed out the door @ 9 am and were looking forward to an awesome day.  Kids were in a good mood, we were in good moods, we were armed with sunscreen and bug spray (and plenty of snacks!)...all was well. 
We had a lot of fun at the zoo until we got to the World of Reptiles.  This is when Hannah decided she was tired of riding (she had walked a bit at first, then got in the stroller to ride awhile).  Well, when she saw things that interested her, she wanted to go check them out, of course.  One item on interest was a large statue of a komodo dragon that was in front of the World Of Reptiles.  Her interest in the komodo dragon statue wasn't a big deal, but the fact that she had to climb a few steps (with no railing) was a bigger deal.  She is quite stubborn, and decided she was going to master these stairs with no help from mommy.  Chris and Andrew were ready to go see the orangutans, but Hannah was more interested in these steps.  Instead of letting her practice for awhile, I decided we needed to move on.  MY BAD. 
She threw a hissy fit that would rival any I'd ever heard before. 
Anyone who knows us knows that when Hannah throws a hissy fit, Chris throws a hissy fit.  Andrew gets upset and starts crying because she is so upset and getting all the attention, Having this happen in the middle of the zoo was just.freakin.awesome, let me tell you.  Chris tried to get her to calm down but after several minutes was getting more and more frustrated, so I grabbed her and she immediately settled down.  We managed to get through the rest of the zoo without further tantrums from anyone.
We got in the car and headed home.  Hannah promptly fell asleep and Andrew was playing happily in the backseat asking his 4,286 "why" questions.  We stopped at Burger King because Andrew was saying he was so hungry.  All was well, we were almost home...Hannah was napping, Andrew was going to nap when we got home.  It was not over.  Not at all, my friends.
We pulled into the driveway at home, got all our things out of the car, and I had to ask..."Where are the babies?"  You see, the "babies" are Andrew's stuffed giraffe (I think it came from Kohl's once upon a time) and a little blue blankie with a bear's head attached.  Their names are Bobo (the blankie) and Burr (the giraffe).  And no, I do not know why those are their names.  Ask him.  Anyway, they are his prized possessions, his loveys that he has had since he was born...the items that MUST go everywhere with us no.matter.what. because they are his "precious" (as Gollum would say). 
Chris gives me this look that says, "OH.SCHMIDT.  You mean we don't have the babies???"  (No, he didn't say it, but the look said it all.)  Andrew looks between us and just knows.  The babies are not in the car.  They got left behind.  He starts bawling...his poor little heart is broken and I am hurting for him because he is so very upset.  I can't believe he didn't notice their absence during the entire.car.ride.home. and Chris is fuming because life is going to SUCK if the babies are not found.  We are just traumatized but Chris has the good sense to call the zoo just to see if, by chance, anyone found them and turned them in.  Well, God must really love us, because they.had.the.babies.  I immediately grabbed my keys, buckled Andrew in the car (because there was NO WAY he was gonna take a nap when his babies were out there all alone in the world) and headed back to the zoo.  It was so worth it.  All the way there he was so concerned.  His little face was so worried, and he kept telling me how much he missed them and was so glad they were found.
When he saw them again, his face lit up like the sun and he started running in circles out of pure joy.  I tried to get a picture, but he wouldn't sit still.  He kept telling me how scared he'd been and how very happy he was that Bobo and Burr were safe in his arms again.  Oh, that boy...I love him so much.  No matter how much he begs, though, those babies will NEVER leave the car. 
And now, because I know you must know what these precious babies look like...here is a picture that Andrew himself took of them (and a couple of other beloved "babies") long ago when they were much newer and not as "loved."  Bobo is the blue blankie thing in the middle and Burr is the larger giraffe on the left.

July 25, 2010

Because I Said So!

Its been a day full of questions...Andrew (4 yrs old) is what you might call a motormouth.  From the time he wakes up to the moment he falls asleep at night, there's nothing but NONSTOP talking, questioning, commentating coming from him...exhausting!  I mean, yes, it is very cute sometimes but sometimes, after hearing the question, "WHY?" about 50 times, I am ready to just say "because I said so!"

For example, tonight he was playing a video game with his daddy (Chronicles of Narnia) and was excited about it.  As we were rocking and singing, getting him ready for bed, he asks me why the White Witch is a "bad girl."  The conversation goes a little like this:

Andrew:  Why is the bad witch so bad?
Me:  I don't know baby.
A:  Why is she bad, mommy?
Me:  I guess she just likes doing bad things.
A:  Why does she like doing bad things?
Me:  I guess she hung out with the wrong crowd when she was younger.
A:  Huh?  Why did she do that?
Me:  Well, I guess she doesn't know Jesus because if she knew Him and how much He loves her she would want to do good things and be nice to people because it makes Him so happy!
A:  Yep, I think she just needs Jesus.

It took everything I had not to cry from the sweet innocence of it all.  Obviously not all of our "why, mommy, why?" conversations go like this, but instead of saying, "because I said so!"  and wishing it away, I want to make more of an effort to help him satisfy his curiousity, sit down and figure something out with him, maybe go look it up on the computer or in a book...I want to enjoy every minute of this stage, not just blow it off for something less important like dishes, laundry, or Facebook.  He is way too important, and one of these days he won't care what mom thinks and he'll just KNOW that he knows more/better than me, so for now, I'm just going to enjoy my little man who still loves me and thinks I'm "the best girl in the world."

July 23, 2010

Food Fight

Let me preface this whole entry by saying this:  Andrew is a sweet, tenderhearted boy who is such a pleasure to be around.  He is so funny, so smart, and amazes me daily with the things he thinks about and talks about with me.  I love being his mommy.

The ONE area in which Andrew is not such a pleasure to parent is the issue of eating.  He is the pickiest eater I've ever personally known.  I was a picky eater as a kid, so I sympathize, but I eat WAY more than he does.  The kid would live on peanut butter crackers if we'd let him.  He refuses to eat many "kid foods" like pizza, PB&J sandwiches, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese...It is so bizarre to me.

Foods he will eat willingly are grapes, blueberries, bananas, apples, baby carrots, crackers, chicken nuggets, french fries, and any kind of sweet treat (ice cream, cookies, cake, brownies, etc).  We limit the more unhealthy items to special treats once in awhile, but let him eat unlimited amounts of the fruits and carrots. 

We have tried bribing him with action figures (have I mentioned how the boy is OBSESSED with Star Wars?) and/or candy.  We have tried begging.  We have tried being patient...We are at our wit's end.  I am thinking its time to just let the boy starve.  I am so tired of standing in front of the fridge listing everything in it, hoping he will say he'll eat ONE thing in there.  I don't want to be a short order cook.  I'd like to be able to make one meal and everyone eat some of it.  (Hannah will eat anything that's not nailed down and then some!) 

I can't help but feel this is somehow all my fault.  We started Andrew on solid foods early (@ 4 months) because his reflux was HORRIBLE and solid/thicker pureed baby foods stayed down so much better and he did so well with the spoon.  However, when we tried to transition to real solids (i.e. an actual pea instead of pureed peas), he stopped eating his veggies.  At that point, I should have laid down the law and given him no options.  I was too paranoid about him not eating to let myself do that.  Now, I know better.

I am only 4'10" and Andrew is short, like me.  He is in the 5th percentile for his height, but he comes by it honestly.  Chris thinks he will grow if he eats more, but I think he will eat more as he hits growth spurts.  Not sure which one it is, but our pediatrician seems to agree with me.  He is not concerned and says Andrew is as healthy as can be, and that when children are not growing at as quick of a rate (but still moving at the speed of light), they crave quick energy (carbs - like crackers!) to help them keep going, but they don't necessarily require the fat and protein we might think they need.  I certainly don't want him to be obese, and I remember the trauma of being FORCED to eat certain foods, so I certainly don't want to do that to him...but I am worried and in need of advice.  Any words of wisdom for me?

July 22, 2010

Random Mutterings

I'm feeling rather random today...can I do a random post?  Sure, why not?  There's only like two people reading this stuff anyway, and you guys don't care.

Today Chris and I had a few hours together ALONE.  Know what we did?  Went to his doctor appt (follow up w/the GI specialist regarding Chris' colonoscopy), had an early dinner at Chili's, then went to the grocery.  We were home by 6 pm.  Party animals, I tell you!


I hate bedtime.  Seriously, I look forward to it and I am so glad once the kids are down, but man...the whole process is SO exhausting.  I lose my temper (or come really close) almost every day.  Andrew seems to wait until bathtime to go completely crazy.  He jumps on the bed, wants to fight anyone and anything, and is so goofy its unbelievable.  I know he is just trying to make himself hyper so he won't/can't sleep, but it.is.getting.on.my.last.nerve.


I wonder if I need to get my doc to adjust my Zoloft dosage.  Thinking back on my recent blog posts, I have been super-stressed and tired and short-tempered with my kiddos.  Maybe I need to try a different happy pill?  I started taking Zoloft when Hannah was 6 weeks old (for PPD) and have been on it ever since.  I tried to wean myself off once, but then I wanted to kill myself so yeah...that was a massive FAIL.  I probably need to go talk to someone.  I actually got a referral to a couple of counseling agencies when I went through that whole withdrawal-suicidal thing, but haven't been to see anyone.  I feel so guilty asking Chris for more time away from him and the kids.  He stays with them full-time while I teach school and he often keeps them while I escape for "Girls' Night Out" at least once a month, so I feel terrible saying, "Oh, hey, by the way...I wanna go get counseling.  Can you be here w/the kids so I can go?"  I mean, of course he would be there.  He would totally support this.  I just feel like a giant TOOL asking him about it.  But, yeah, it would be better than, you know, snapping at my kids every night.  Sheesh.


I am so excited about getting back to work next week.  Six more days!  We have three days of pre-planning and then school starts on Monday, the 2nd.  I will be co-teaching 6th grade math this year and I am looking forward to it.  The girl I will be teaching with is a fantastic teacher but has never co-taught before.  I hope working with me doesn't make her hate the entire idea of co-teaching.  I know someone that happened to.  They had a really sucky co-teacher and have sworn off the entire concept.  Its a shame, because she is a fabulous teacher and could be really effective in that kind of classroom setting...she just got paired with a slacker who didn't do his job. 


Okay, I think that's enough rambling for tonight.  I need to go take my happy pill now.

July 21, 2010


Hannah LOVED the sprinklers
along the sides of the mat!
Last night, around 6 pm (because that's when the heat starts to subside a bit), we decided to go outside and play on the Slip-n-Slide we got last week at Toys R Us.  (It was on clearance for $5!  Woohoo!)
Hannah had been clingy and was starting to get a little cranky, so I was considering taking her up for her bath and getting her ready for bed a little earier than normal, but I am so glad I didn't.  We had so much fun playing outside.  Hannah loved the water, Andrew loved running around...Chris tried to show them how to run and slide on the mat, but they just enjoyed splashing around and getting wet. 

Andrew was running so fast I almost
couldn't get a picture!
Its times like these that make me realize how blessed I am.  Even when I am so stressed out and burned out and the kids are driving me crazy, there are moments like these that always make me "check myself" & realize just how good we have it. 

So, no more "Mommie Dearest."  From now on I want to be the best mommy I can be.  When the stress of tantrums or clinginess starts to get to me, maybe I'll just pull up these pictures and remind myself that its all worth it, and these days will be gone far too soon. 

July 20, 2010

Mommy Guilt

I must confess, I've been a bad mommy...at least, in my opinion.  Last night was awful.  I was so D.O.N.E. with Hannah's clinginess.  Not only does she have to be completely naked to use the potty (see this post for more details on that issue), but she has to be on my lap, in my arms, or within 12 inches and in possession of my complete, 100% devoted attention or else she will rage like nothing you've ever seen.  This is why I am ready for the school year to begin
So, anyway, Hannah was in my lap (naked) at dinner.  We attempted to watch Marley and Me while we ate. (Don't judge; seriously, dogs are Hannah's favorite things and I thought MAYBE it would give me a minute to eat in peace.  No chance.)  She eats her food and at least half of mine, and is grabbing my face, my hair, everything.  I have had enough, and it is bedtime anyway, so I take her upstairs.  We do the whole routine:  brush teeth, read the Spot books, rock...then the screaming begins.  I can't understand what she's asking for, but she's pointing to her crib, so I put her in it so she can either lie down or find what she wants so badly.  This makes her scream LOUDER.  This is where I turn into Joan Crawford (remember Mommie Dearest?).  I feel awful.  I raised my voice to her ("What on earth do you WANT?"), I gave up and stormed out of her room, slamming the door...I was horrible. 
Chris came up to see what was going on and he ended up rocking her.  She kept asking for me, though, and that made me feel even worse!  I didn't hit her or anything (and I never would) but oh.my.gosh.  The frustration was ridiculous.  I guess I just reached my limit.  Thank God I have a wonderful husband who always steps in just when I need him most.  I can't imagine having NO support, no rescue...
So, yeah.  That's my confession.  In the light of a new day, I realize she was just as frustrated as I was.  She obviously wanted/needed something and when I couldn't understand what she was saying, she lost it.  Then I lost it because SHE was losing it.  Bad, bad, bad.
Has anyone been there?  Please share your "mommie dearest" moments...Am I the only one who loses my cool with their kids now and then?

July 18, 2010

Is it August yet?

Call me crazy, but I am ready to go back to school!  I love my kids, I've had a great summer with them, but between Hannah's separation anxiety and both of the kids' newfound level of sibling rivalry, mommy needs a break.  I'm sure Chris needs a break, too, and I know he is not looking forward to having them all day every day while I work, but honestly...they behave much better for him than for me.  For some reason, it seems they function better with one parent than with two.  A friend of mine, after listing to Chris and me vent about this very thing, suggested that maybe its because they know where the line is with Chris, and they know where the line is with me, but when we are together, they are just not sure about where the "line" is.  Maybe he is right.  There are definitely some things Chris lets them do that I do not, but most of the time, I am the one who is too lax, too permissive, and gives them maybe a little too much freedom. I always thought (before I had kids and had NO clue what parenting was actually like) I would be the disciplinarian parent and Chris would be the "good guy" - the playmate, the easygoing dad.  Turns out its the opposite.  Something we should talk about and work out, for sure.

Anyway, here I am...ready for school to start!  I love seeing the school supplies out when we visit Target or Wal-Mart.  I love the thought of a brand new year, a new start, new students, all the great possibilities.  Yes, I am a dork, but hey...that's me.  I love teaching.  Like parenting...some days are bad, but most days are good.  All in all, I love my job and wouldn't/couldn't do anything different, and I just don't see what is so wrong with that. :)  I love my kids, believe me, but by the end of the day I am all "touched out" from my velcro baby girl and all talked out by my motormouth son.  I feel like I am much better wife and mom when I am able to get out and do something different, be around adults, etc.  Granted, there's not a lot of time to talk to other adults when you are so focused on teaching the kids, but still...there's before school, lunchtime, and after school.  Its nice.  I love my principal, love the people I work with...couldn't imagine a better place to teach.  When I come home from school, I am engaged with my kiddos and feel like my time with them is more "quality" time, whereas by this point in the summer, its just "quantity"...Also, when I am working, I feel like I am a much better wife because I can talk to my husband and I'm more interested in his day because I've been away from him, whereas during the summer we are together all.day.every.day.

Maybe this tirade is just my way of easing my guilt over being a working mom, but whatever.  If you think I'm terrible for working outside the home, please don't let me know.  I am much too sensitive. :)  If you understand and can help me feel better/more normal for wanting (needing) some time away from the kids, then go for it!  Thanks for reading!

July 17, 2010

Potty Predicament

I admit it...I had it very easy with Andrew.  He didn't learn to use the potty until he was 3 yrs and 4 months old, but when he did, he learned within a couple of days.  We had accidents maybe once a day for 2-3 days, but the rest of the time, he's dry.  Love it. 
Hannah, however, is a totally different child.  (Duh.)  She has been interested in the potty for a very long time since she's been watching Andrew and observing his potty habits.  On her second birthday, she got a cute little pink potty which she adores (see pic).  For several days, she would go to the potty and use it successfully!  She knows what it is for, knows when she has to go, and will use it all through the day!  What's the problem, you ask?  Well, this only works if she is completely naked.  If she is wearing a diaper she will just use the diaper.  She refuses to put on big girl panties.  I guess I could force her to wear them, but I am too tired to fight her.  I let her go naked around the house but can't be confined all day every day until she figures out that wearing underwear is not painful or harmful.  I would love to have her trained before I go back to school.  We could definitely stand to save the money we waste on diapers...
Does anyone have any ideas for me?  Anything I can do?  Should I just FORCE her into the underwear?  Should I just let her be naked at home but wear diapers when we go out, travel, etc?  I don't want to confuse her, and I certainly want to encourage her efforts!  Please...I'm shamelessly begging for advice here.

Everybody needs a change every now and then.

So, a long, long time ago I began blogging.  The adventure began back in 2004 when Chris and I first began trying to conceive.  We thought, "This won't take long...We know what to do.  Surely this will be a piece of cake."  We were sadly mistaken.  I became pregnant and promptly miscarried.  It then took another year, including timed baby-dancing and Clomid, to conceive again.  I took Prometrium to help me stay pregnant, and in Feb. 2006, Andrew made us mommy and daddy.  During that whole process, I began my first blog, here.  After another miscarriage and finally another successful pregnancy (Hannah), I decided to move here.  After all, we were D.O.N.E. with pregnancy and chidbirth.  The whole thing was WAY too emotionally and physically stressful on me.  I moved my blog to represent the beginning of a "new chapter" -- one with no worries about getting/staying pregnant, enduring the emotional 9 months and traumatizing childbirths at the end.  One where I could think deeply and ponder the "big questions."  Well, it hasn't worked out that way.  I end up talking mostly about my kiddos (as any mom would). 
After much debate and deliberation, I have decided to compartmentalize.  I will open this blog here to talk about mommy-related topics (potty training, discipline, balancing working and being home with the fam) and I will stay at the other place to talk about the deeper issues that cross my mind.  So, I will be blogging in two places now.  Confused yet?  Yeah, so am I.  I'm betting this blog gets way more attention, but I will do my darndest not to abandon it completely! :)  If you're following me, I appreciate you.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.  I hope you continue to visit.
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