Thursday, November 22, 2012

17 Months! Whattttttt?

At 17 Months Bean Loves...
1. ...crawling through her tunnel and playing "peekers".
2. ...milk. Seriously. Can't get enough.
3. ...drinking in a big girl cup (meaning through a straw or from a glass).
4. This means her baby doll. She carries her everywhere.
5. ...eating whatever you have. Pushing away whatever she has.
6. ...pumpkin spice bagels with cream cheese.
7. ...Averi. Following her around. Dancing like her. Sitting next to her.
8. ...finding mommy's belly so she can hug and kiss baby "Ack".
9. ...dancing to the Wiggles. Running in place (she's a maniac!). Jumping.
10. ...and, of course, mama and dada!

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16

So, I know, I missed two of my thankful days, so I will make those up later. I wanted to write today's thankful blog because it comes from something that I found out today.

A little back story...I coached volleyball at OM for 3 years. When I became a coach I met Jane* (name changed because I am not sure she would want her name used). From the minute I met her, I know this student was special. She was outgoing, funny, and bright. I had the pleasure of teaching her when she took English 10 and she was also my student aide. I developed a really good relationship with Jane over the 4 years that I knew her. She had a lot going on her life, but she was always smiling. When she graduated, she was one of the those who I knew I would miss.

Today, I got a message from her that she is home from college because she has a kidney problem that doctors cannot identify. She has been in and out of a hospital for 22 days, but the problem is recurring and she ends up back in the hospital. She said she is trying to stay upbeat, and her friends have been great with visiting her. My breaks for her because she is young and healthy, and is just starting the best years of her life (well, in my opinion). Now, she is sidetracked because of her silly kidneys (we called them this in an email).

The point of conveying this story is sort of two-fold I guess...first, is because everyday I am thankful for my health and the health of those I love.

Second, is because her note came at a perfect time. Despite it's sad message, it reminded me why I love my job. In the midst of a weird year (I say weird because we are in such limbo with common core, new curriculum, and other major changes), Jane wrote me a note that I needed to read. She said she missed me, and wanted to know how Lily is doing. I know that I am not making a difference in every student who walks through the door, but I know for certain I made a difference in Jane's life. I am thankful for the Janes in the world. Those students who remind me why I teach, and that even on my hardest days, I may be making a difference for one student and not even realize it.

Lately, it has been so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of the job. To be frustrated by the 5 problem kids, rather than teach to the 100 good ones. To keep your cool when a kid gives attitude, questions your authority, or curses at you (or someone else). This year has been a challenge in many ways, and we (BCPS teachers) have many changes coming. I am thankful, though, for the students who remind me that what I do is valuable. That there are ears that do hear me. I will continue to have good days and bad ones, good classes and bad ones, but as long as I can remind myself of what is important and get back to center, I know I will be ok.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 12 and 13

On November 12 I am thankful for other moms. I have learned so much from the other moms in my life. I have shared my worries, my joy, and my tears with moms who I work with, who are part of my family, who I went to high school with...the list goes on. These relationships are so valuable to me because they help me stay sane when things get crazy, especially in the act of trying to balance work and home. In a time when there seems to be such dissonance in the parenting community- organic or not? cloth or not? attachment or not?- I am happy that I have moms in my life who are about building each other up and not judging each other. Thanks, moms!

November 13- I am truly and utterly thanksful that I have a filter. If not, I would have probably lost my job by now. Thanks filter! (and I am oh-so-serious about this!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 11

Today, I am thankful for our veterans. I am especially thankful for those in my family who served. My pop pop fought in WWII in Germany, and I am so proud to say that he served our country. I also have friends who are currently enlisted, and I am in awe of their bravery and courage. Thank-you, sincerely, for everything do you.

On a completely unrelated note, Tom and I decided to try cloth diapers for Jack. Let me clarify early, I am not really an environmental person, so I am making no claim that this effort is to the save the world. If you know me, you know I drink water out of disposable plastic water bottles (every single day), I just started recycling when my brother (he is an environmentalist) bought us a huge blue recycling bin, and I am definitely not the outdoor type (I like beaches). I talked it over with Tom and decided this would save money in the long run. I am going with the cheapest cloth diapers (covers and pre-folds, which are the diapers your mom may have used on you from a diaper service) because they fit our budget the best. I also looked into it and found that Tide Regular Powder is great for washing, so we are going with that. Yes, it means more laundry, but the cost of the water is negligible compared to disposable diapers. My mom is on board (which is important for when she starts watching Jack after I go back to work). I got a few different covers and diapers to try, and once we test we will see what works best. I am excited to try something new. It will definitely be trial and error, but I think it will be worth it. I will be sure to update on how the whole process works!

Another update: Lily's big girl room is painted! Woo! After the room is dry and touches up are finished, I am putting her bed together (and by this, I mean washing the linens and making the bed). Then, we need curtains, shades, a rug, and end table and the room should be ready to go. We are looking to get her moved in over winter break, so if the transition is a bit rocky we will have time off to nap when we miss sleep. Wish us luck!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One Thankful November...

So, on Facebook people have been doing 30 days of thanks. I thought about doing it on FB, but decided to do it here, instead. I am, obviously, behind the curve, so I need to catch up. These are in random are days 1-10:

11/1: I am thankful for my daughter, Lily. She is the absolute light of my life. The day she was born I was completely changed. I love her more than I ever imagined I could love. She is funny, smart, and kind (and sometimes a little grumpy). Being a mommy is the greatest gift I have been given. I love my little Bean.

11/2: I am thankful for my little Jack. He isn't here yet, but he is growing and growing everyday. I am so looking forward to his arrival! He is a little mover and shaker, so I am sure Tom and I are in for it. I can't wait for Lily to be a big sister; she is so nurturing to her dolls (and to Kenzi) that I know she will do an amazing job!

11/3: I am thankful for my husband, Tom. He is really my rock. He always makes me feel safe and loved. He talks more than I do, which makes me look not so crazy (hehe). He can make me laugh when I am sad and tolerates my food mood swings. He is a wonderful daddy to Lily (and to Fred, I am honestly surprised he hasn't tried to sell the poor dog yet). I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!

11/4: I am thankful for my parents. First of all, they didn't decide to sell me to the zoo when I cried for the first nine months of my life. Or when I peed in, and ruined, an armchair. Phew! They set a wonderful example of what a marriage should be. They also showed me how to be wonderful parents. I love watching them with Lily, and Lily truly loves them. I love them infinity!

11/5: I am thankful for Pop. He has taught me a love of sports, especially baseball and football. He has shown me that you should always work hard for your family. Watching him read to Lily, and watching Lily light up when she sees her "double pop" is truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

11/6: I am thankful for my brother. I am not really sure why...just kidding! Tim is always there for me, even when we have been separated by 18 hour car rides. He was the first person to know that Lily would be joining our family because my parents can't answer a phone. He is funny, if not downright sarcastic. He is a wonderful uncle to Lily, and to Fred, as well (well, he likes to torture Fred...). I am so proud if him and all of the work he has accomplished. He truly amazes me.

11/7: I am thankful for my doggie Fred. Fred has been with me since I started living on my own. He is fairly annoying and a super nudge, but he is so lovey and snuggly. He can be crazy and rambunctious, or comatose and lazy, but he is always loyal. Lily loves him to pieces, and I think he loves her when she isn't trying to pull his tail off of his body. He is a great little dog.

11/8: I am thankful for my godmother, Sandy. My aunt has always been there for me. She has shown me the importance of family and of keeping traditions. She is there when I need her and is always on my side. I am so thankful that my parents made the decision to have her as my godmother. I love her very much.

11/9: I am thankful for all of my cousins: Theresa, Gregory, Erin, Connor, Meghan, Katelyn, Sean, Meredith, Josh, Allyson, John, Campbell, Keller, Blake, and Pierce. They say cousins are your first friends and I do believe that. I have such amazing memories of summers at the shore or grandma's, Christmas dinners, Thanksgiving celebrations, and birthdays. I feel so lucky that I have grown up in such a wonderful family.

11/10: I am thankful for my aunts and uncles. They are funny. They are loving. They have given me such a special gift- memories that I know I will always carry with me. Their stories of their own childhoods and the family from which I come will always be close to my heart. I said it before, but I am so fortunate to come from a family that is filled with such love.

So those are my first 10 days. Here's to 20 more! (Now, I need to think of 20 more things I am thankful for...hmmm...text bed...)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dear Facebook Users...

Please save your political opinions for a better forum, especially your ignorant, rude opinions. This election season has really brought out the true colors of people on Facebook. Hiding behind a computer it is very easy, I think, to voice your opinions about things and, A. be totally uninformed, but think you sound super smart, and B. not have the fear of someone calling you out to your face. I don't generally air my political leanings on any public forum because, well, they are personal. If you know me well, you probably know my party alignment and what I believe, but that information is just not for everyone to know. When I was little, I can remember my parents talking about elections and voting and I don't think I even knew their political viewpoints. This may be because, as a 5 year old, I didn't really "get" politics, but I also think it's because politics are private. Maybe to be debated and discussed with close friends (or an AP English class...), but not to share with every acquaintance (and, let's face it, stranger) you have.

That being said, I am particularly disgusted with the narrow-mindedness of some people. I will probably focus, here, on more conservative comments I have read because I haven't seen many disparaging comments from a liberal base (the liberal base seems to be more rah! rah! Obama). This is my favorite recent comment from multiple FB sources:

"Obama will take the early lead on Tuesday. Then the Republicans will catch up when they get off of work."

How close minded. I have many friends and family members who are democrats. Every single one of them has a job. They are teachers, businessmen, nurses, etc...Each one of them pays their own way and works hard for their families. Republicans aren't the only people who work. This comment seems totally off base and completely, and utterly ignorant (not to mention rude). (And, many will, but please don't read into this as my own political inclination, I think anyone who read this would see how awful the comment is...)

I have also read numerous lies about the referendums passed in Maryland. There were three referendums passed in Maryland that made local, and national, headlines. They are:

1. The Dream Act
2. Marriage Equality
3. Expanding casinos and table games (I am not going to talk about this one...)

First, the Dream Act. I have been doing a lot of reading lately about the candidates and the various referendums because my AP class has been doing research of policies and current issues facing our nation. Many people believe the Dream Act just gives illegals the right to pay in state rates at state universities and take legal citizens spots. This, however, is not completely true. In all, I believe 12 states have adapted some form of the Dream Act. The way it will be enacted in MD is actually the strictest interpretation of this law, thus far. The MD law has the following provisions:

1. The parents of the student have to have paid taxes in Maryland for 3 years.
2. The student must attend 2 years of community college prior to transferring to a 4 year university.
3. The student must graduate from a MD high school.
4. There must be intent to apply for permanent residency.
5. The student must register with the selective service.
6. The referendum provides that students qualifying for in-state tuition rates by this method will not be counted as in-state students for purposes of counting undergraduate enrollment.

So, you must meet these standards to even qualify. This means, ultimately, that very few students will likely qualify. Meaning...spots will not be taken away from MD citizens at universities, and students will not be wasting time or money. It is actually quite a process. Additionally, the goal of this it to not only get more undocumented citizens to become citizens, but to also, eventually, have more tax paying citizens. Students who attend a 4 year college are more likely to get a better job...and will then pay taxes. I teach Puritanism, I can't help but think that my own ancestors were the ultimate illegal immigrants...came to America, took land, scared the Native Americans away (but first took their food and used them for help), and eventually pushed the Native Americans onto reservations.

Finally, the Marriage Equality Act. I will say, I am all for this. Enthusiastically. I have many gay friends who deserve the same right to marry that I am afforded. They are good people, they are in loving relationships, and they have every single right to be married to the person they love. This has nothing to do with church. Or God. Or any of that. It has to do with two people loving one another. It has to do with equality. Bottom line.

(I think the divorce rate, infidelity, celebrities who marry for 2 seconds and are revered as gods, etc...have much, much more to do with the loss of the sanctity of marriage than two people, of the same gender, who love each other desiring to marry...)

So, I saved my moderately political rant for my blog. I know, still public, but not out there like Facebook for everyone to see (I mean, you have to click this link to read this!). Again, I am not saying if I am a democrat or republican, I just think, when it comes down to it, we all need to have faith in humanity. We must treat each other in a civil, respectful way. By any other means, means nothing will ever be accomplished. I want my daughter to grow up in a society where she feels loved, and respected, and accepted no.matter.what. I want people to look within themselves and realize that we must band together and not let our bipartisanship blind us to the humanity that connects all of us. We do have a rough road ahead, and would have had one no matter who was elected president yesterday. So, please, the next time an election comes around think before you speak, or write, status update...whatever.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Fun!

Today is Election Day. This means two things: 1. I get to vote in my 3rd election, and 2. I got a day off with Lily! Today we got a lot accomplished, which is great. I got work done for my class, which is awesome. I was a wee bit behind, so I got eveything up to speed. Then, we went to vote (which is a bit more challenging when you have a 1 year old clinging to you). The line wasn't too long, so I felt very lucky about that. As we were leaving the line was MUCH longer; apparently we got there just in time! After voting we headed over to Lowes and got the paint for Lily's big girl room. I am so excited to get her into her new room with it's new stuff. After we get her into the new room, we will get Jack's room ready. We have been slowly buying things for his room, so we are ready to start putting it together!

After our fun morning of errands, we had a creative afternoon. On Pinterest there was a craft for little kids that was finger painting in ziplock bags, so the kids won't get messy. It was super easy to do, and Lily enjoyed it for maybe 3 minutes (of course!). We got some fun art to display, though. The pictures are totally saturated in paint, so I hope they dry...but we will see.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween! (...and 24 weeks!)

I have been meaning to update this, and as I think to start, I get distracted. Finally, tonight, I am sitting down to update about the goings on around here!

First of all, Sunday night-Tuesday we experienced the wrath of hurricane Sandy (though I can hardly say her wrath here in Maryland even compares to what NY and NJ experienced). We got a ton of rain here, probably between 7 and 10 inches worth, plus, some fairly intense winds. We were fortunate enough to not lose power and get away from the stormy start to the week with only a few minor (and fixable!) leaks. The shore was also fine after the storm. Minimal flooding, and no problems to the house. Maryland was very lucky given the situation in the North East. The coastline of NJ was rocked, as were many of the Boroughs of NY. The area is still largely in the dark, and major flooding caused a lot of damage to the coast and to the homes of the residents there. I have many friends and classmates from Loyola who live in that area and my heart aches for them. I know the area will rebuild, but these storms remind you just how lucky we are-- and how destructive nature can be.

Changing gears, Lily's second Halloween was yesterday! We had a really fun night with our friends, the Proys, and their son Ben. Kara works with me and Tom (she works in Tom's department), and Ben is just a few weeks older than Lily. We are both pregnant again and, again, due within two weeks of one another. We are such good planners! Last night, we took the kids to Grilled Cheese and Co., which is always delicious. Then, we headed to my parents neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. We decided to go to their neighborhood because it's a little easier to navigate with little kids. Lily was a bit cranky, but Pop carried her around and had a fun time. I think we may have a new tradition with the Proys!

Yesterday, I hit the 24 week mark in my pregnancy. Only 16 weeks to go, eep! To make it seem like the baby is coming even sooner, my doctor told me-- today was my appointment-- that I will go back in 4 weeks and then start going every two weeks! Ah! Crazy! I thought about it, though, and I will be 28 weeks at my next appointment, which will be quickly followed by 30 (and only 10 weeks to go!). This pregnancy has gone by SO quickly. I want to enjoy it and take it slow, but the slow thing just isn't happening. I am, however, very excited to meet Jackson when he arrives in February. I can't wait to have a teeny baby around the house again!

And now...Halloween!