Tuesday, July 29, 2014

a letter to my former kindergarten teaching self….

dear newly-graduated, freshly-hired, first-time-kindergarten-teacher Amy, 

congrats on your new job! oh - and welcome to the real world aka "you gots bills to pay, girl!" :) 

when you graduated from college (go dawgs!) and accepted your first job as a kindergarten teacher you were pretty sure you had it all figured out. in fact, you were almost positive that being a good teacher meant having a cute classroom with coordinating bulletin boards, perfectly written name tags, and completely organized, brand spankin' new school supplies. little did you know,  this thing called "pinterest" would happen in a few years (after you quit teaching, of course) and it would totally blow your mind. but until then, you'll spend hours upon hours crafting, cutting, and creating. some might even say you were dangerous with a hot glue gun. 

you are not married and don't have any children, so in other words, you'll have plenty of time to devote to your classroom preparation….and plenty of money to spend on it, too. in fact, you'll spend most of your waking hours preparing your classroom and your self for the 20+ little five year olds that will be "yours" for the next 10 months. the closer you get to the first day of school, the more anxious you'll become. you'll fret about things like parent/teacher conferences and meetings with the principal. you'll stress over paperwork and the logistics of teaching. but mostly? mostly you'll just worry about what in the world you're going to do with 20 five-year-olds for an eight hour span each day. because as prepared as you felt during your college and student teaching days, you start to wonder, "do i really know HOW to teach?!?!" and "am i qualified to be 'in charge?!'" 

but rest assured, the first day of your first year of teaching will roll around and guess what? you'll survive and so will all of your students. (although, *spoiler alert* - one of them will break her arm falling off the monkey bars the very first day. but that's a different story for a different day).

you'll finish out your first year of teaching and deem it successful. so successful that you'll decide to come back for a second year. and a third. and a fourth. and a fifth! and with each new year, your confidence will grow and so will your teaching abilities. while you're positive you've "got this whole teaching thing down" i'm here to tell you that there is still so much for you to learn. things that you didn't learn while in college, during student teaching, or even through the first part of your teaching career. you love all of those babies you teach and your focus is on each and every little eager mind in your classroom, but what if there's more? what if you've forgotten about another aspect of teaching? - in the midst of the chaos and the craziness of the beginning of the year, it's easy to put your blinders on and have a sort of tunnel vision. but if you look outside of your class list, you might see that there's another group of important individuals to notice this coming school year. if you will; put down your school supplies, take a break from your bulletin boards and class lists, and allow me tell you a bit about those forgotten moments that i hope you'll remember this year….

when that tired five-year-old face greets you in the morning, i hope you'll remember that it's the face of a baby loved by her momma, long before she ever saw her. 

when you sing songs during circle time, i hope you'll remember that the first songs she learned to sing were the songs her momma sang to her each night as she rocked her to sleep. 

when you're guiding her little hands, teaching her to form letters, i hope you'll remember that it seems like yesterday she was being guided by her momma, learning to walk. she wasn't holding pencils and crayons, she was holding tightly to her momma's hands. 

when you teach her to read and write, i hope you'll remember that she used to write love letters to her momma each and every day. and that as much as her momma will love to see her excel, a small part of her will miss the days of finding, "i lv u" phonetically written on pieces of paper around the house. 

when you take that sweet baby to lunch each day and she walks through the large cafeteria, i hope you'll remember that she's only had lunch with her momma and sisters almost every day of her entire life. she's never had to find a place to sit, because she's always known her place. 

when you see her getting sleepy in the afternoons after a long day of learning and playing, i hope you'll remember that she's still just five years old. and that she still likes to rest in her momma's bed when she's tired.

when you see her shy and timid face on that first day (and quite possibly the crying face of her momma!) i hope that you'll remember that she's trying to be brave. they both are. ;) 

when you see that precious little angel hug her momma for the last time before she walks out of the classroom, i hope you'll remember that even though they both know she's going to love school, goodbyes are never easy. especially when that momma is saying goodbye to her baby knowing that she'll be spending more waking hours during the day with you than she will with her. 

and finally, when you see that momma wipe away her tears and linger just a bit too long, i hope you'll remember to smile and reassure her. because as hard as it is to believe right now, one day soon - you'll blink and that momma will be you. 

so when you see those babies on their first day and your first day, i hope you remember to pray. pray for their little minds to be expanded, their hearts to be protected, and their opportunities to be unlimited. pray for your love to be shown through actions, your teaching to be filled with wisdom and grace, and your heart to be filled with compassion. 

i'm not an expert by any means, but i am a momma...so i think that makes me pretty qualified.  and if you ask me, there is SO much more to teaching than just….teaching
teach, love, and always remember. best of luck on your first day!

love, 
(not so) newly graduated, no-longer-teaching, first-time-kindergarten-momma Amy




Thursday, July 24, 2014

one….

i didn't know you'd enter our world too early and stay in the NICU too long. 

i didn't know you'd have blonde hair and some of the bluest eyes i've ever seen. 

i didn't know you'd love to be swaddled for your first five months of life. 

i didn't know your sisters would be the first ones to make you smile and laugh. 

i didn't know you'd have RSV (twice!), a hospitalization at 9 months, and a tiny little hole in your heart.

i didn't know you'd be my cuddliest baby yet. burrowing your head on my shoulder anytime i pick you up. 

i didn't know you'd love to eat everything. ev-er-y-thing. (food and non-food items) ;-)

i didn't know you'd start crawling at 9 months and cruising at 11. 

i didn't know you'd love minnie mouse and reading books. 

i didn't know you'd love your sisters more than any toy we could ever find. 

i didn't know you'd nurse for 12 months with still no end in sight. 

i didn't know you'd sleep like a champ, nap like a pro, and adapt so easily.

i didn't know your sisters would still fight over you a full year after you joined our family.

i didn't know you'd love the itsy-bitsy-spider and pat-a-cake.

i didn't know you'd  have eight teeth and two molars by the time you had your first birthday.

i didn't know how much my heart would expand to love another baby. 

but you know what? 

HE knew. 

God knew you before you were born. He knew every little detail of your precious life. He knew that in the midst of a very trying year with lots of hard times, you would be a bright spot in our our days. I'm so thankful that He knows us and loves us and that He knew we needed you

we love you liza june and are blessed by you each and every day. it has been my joy and honor to learn and grow with you this past year. you are our sweet liza girl and we couldn't love you more if we tried! 

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…"
Jeremiah 1:5

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

weekend wrap-up….

here i am doing a weekend wrap up at 11 am on a wednesday morning, but better late than never, right? ;-)
we had a busy, busy weekend with lots of highlights and a few obvious reminders of my age (ha!)….

1. if all else fails, get a milkshake. ;-)
liza stayed with my mom and dad on friday night while jeffrey and i went to a rehearsal dinner for my bff's wedding. liza is still nursing and isn't really keen on drinking milk from a sippy cup or bottle. i knew she'd be fine, but i believe my exact words were "if all else fails, get a milkshake." because honestly? sister loves her a chickfila milkshake. ha! 

2. my friend makes a beautiful bride. gorgeous bride. 
isn't she stunning?!  and the wedding was absolutely perfect. one of the most fabulous things i've ever been a part of. (and i totally stole these pics off of FB….sorry!) 



3. i'm pretty sure i was the only attendee who brought her own breast pump. 
oh, the joys of motherhood. ;) 

4. the weekend was a blast, but i am definitely not cut out for late nights. i am a total grandma. i was up wayyyyyyyy past my bedtime no one, but two nights in a row. whew! 

5. libbi and i went with my parents to see The Little Mermaid on sunday afternoon at The Fox. 
libbi was certain there would be a fox at the fox theater, but alas that was not the case. thank goodness.
we thoroughly enjoyed the show and it was fun for all of us! it's so neat that one of my childhood favorites is now one of libbi's, too! i get to enjoy it all over again and it's twice the fun, because i get to enjoy it through her eyes, too. 

6. i feel like i could use a honeymoon after last weekend - ha! but we're back to our 6:15/30am wakeup calls and nonstop fun all day. and i wouldn't trade it for the world. 

7. i'm pretty sure i've posted more pictures of myself in this one post than i have in the past year. it feels a bit awkward, but i guess since i wasn't with my girls for most of the weekend because of the wedding, all i have is pics of me! sorry y'all! i'll be back with cute pics of the girlies soon-
happy wednesday :) 


Friday, July 11, 2014

five on friday….

it's been a while since i've posted a "five on friday" … or really just posted in general. le blog has been a bit neglected as of late. oops. so here's a quick catchup with a random "Five on Friday"….

one. 
one week from today my BABY will turn one. 
ONE!!!!
O-N-E. 
onnnnnneeeeee. 
how can that be?! 
it's been the fastest year of my life. 
of.my.life. 
we're going to have a sweet little family party to celebrate our precious liza girl! 

those.rolls. 
thighs. 'nuff said ;) 

two. 
we have a crazy busy weekend coming up, because one of my dearest friends is getting married! i am one of her matrons of honor and i seriously could not be more thrilled for her. it's going to be epic. :)
and libbi is 100% bummed that she won't get to witness the wedding. she's convinced that everyone will be wearing fancy dresses, dancing, and eating cake. oh… wait. that's EXACTLY what's going to be happening! sorry, libs! 

three.
i took the girls to the movies this week and it was a success, if i do say so myself. my girls love Madagascar 3 (or "apple circus" as they call it - ha! they are positive that marty sings "apple circus" not "afro circus" during the movie, so they've just always referred to the movie as, "apple circus" and who am i to correct them?). anyway, apple circus was showing at the $1 movie, so i figured we'd give it a shot. if it didn't work out, we'd just be out a few dollars and the movie theater is IN the mall, so we could always just walk out and shop. win: win! :) 
but the girls did great! liza slept through most of it, laney only had to potty twice, and libbi belted out all the songs like it was her job. success! 
please excuse our dark movie theater selfie. :) 

four. 
speaking of laney's potty breaks, i have to mention that she has done AMAZINGLY well with potty training. she literally had three accidents the first morning, but once she had her first successful attempt, she hasn't looked back. not a single accident since that first morning over a week ago. we are so, SO proud of her! and she is even prouder of herself - ha! she was using the little potty (which is the grossest thing to me in the world) but decided she'd rather just use the big potty. she told me she didn't like the little potty because it "didn't have a flusher or toilet paper." well okay, then. 
(showing off their muscles) 

five. 
a few funny things that have happened lately: 
the girls got art kits from my mom. laney was thrilled with the princess lipstick. only it wasn't lipstick. it was a glue stick. oops. ;) 

jeffrey had on a pair of plaid shorts last sunday and when libbi saw him she gasped and said, "DADDY! you can't wear your underwear to church!" i guess she thought his shorts looked similar to plaid boxers. ha! she was quite alarmed. ;) 

happy friday, friends! have a great weekend!! :)