Saturday, June 29, 2013

Beach Babe

I am too tired to write a whole post tonight, but I had to post this little gem of my beach babe...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dear Jack...

...time to get some sleep. Some night sleep. I love you little buddy, I really do, but mama needs her sleep. You were sleeping through the night until about a week ago. Now, you have decided every two hours is a good time to get up and play.

The truth?

It is not.

I know the world is really freaking amazing right now. I totally get it. You can finally see things without going cross eyed. You can roll over, so that is a game changer. You can hold your head up without worrying about it going all wet noodle. I know your world expanded 100 fold in just a few short weeks with all of these milestones. I am so excited for you and happy for you. But, little boy, mama needs more than 2 hours of sleep at a time. So, please, start getting back to your night sleeping ways. I would really appreciate it.

I was reading about a 4 month wakeful. I think there might be a little truth to that. It basically says your world gets so exciting that you don't eat very well during the day for fear you might miss you need to make up for that at night. Time to start giving your eating more attention during the day my little man. Night is for sleeping.

Ok, enough about the lack of sleep in my life.

Things have really been really great around here. Lily isn't throwing nearly as many tantrums. Thank goodness. She still has her diva moments, but they are slowly going away. My girl is acting more and more like a kid (and less like a toddler) every single day (maybe every single minute!). She really knows how to make people smile. She is so smart and funny. If you ask her to make a sad face, she will. She even knows happy face and surprised face (surprised face is my favorite).

Summer has been wonderful. We had a lot of fun birthday celebrations. Having time with the kids has been wonderful. I love being able to spend time at home with them. I think having such a relaxing summer will really rejuvenate me and have me ready for the school year (one to be full of changes!).

Anyway, less about school, more about the babes. Here is a sequence of Jack rolling over (which I couldn't manage to film as a video...oops).

Monday, June 24, 2013

Old School Blogging

I've been tagged by Time with A &N in this old school blogging alphabet blogging game. The hosts are Miss Eaine ous life and Jennifer P Williams.

Alphabet Meme
A. Attached or Single? Attached. Will be married 4 years in December.

B. Best Friend? Yes, Ashley. We have been friends since high school. We don't always keep in touch very well, but I know she always, always has my back.

C. Cake or pie?  Cake. Chocolate.

D. Day of choice?  Hmm...Friday! It means the weekend is beginning!

E. Essential Item?  Different things are essential for different tasks. Water, I suppose. I drink water all the time!
F. Favorite color?  Yellow. It's so sunny and happy.

G. Gummy bears or worms?  Worms. Especially ones in the dessert dirt.

H. Hometown?  Music City Maryland

I. Favorite Indulgence?  Anything chocolate. I LOVE CHOCOLATE.

J. January or July? July...we can go to the shore house.

K. Kids?  Yes, a son and a daughter.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Love. Absolute, beautiful love.

M. Marriage date?  December 18, 2009.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 1 brother

O. Oranges or Apples?  Apples

P. Phobias? Super large crowds, elevators, enclosed (smaller) spaces

Q. Quotes? "Just keeping swimming."

R. Reasons to smile?  My two children. They are constantly amazing me. My family. Having a good, rich life (not money rich, I am a teacher...).

S. Season of choice? Not sure. Summer, I suppose because I can be with my kids all the time. I also really love the fall....

T. Tag 5 People. Grover's Corner, My Attempt at Motherhood, The Official MLB, The Pollock Potluck, Southern Mess Mom

U. Unknown fact about me? I had my belly button pierced, but removed it when I was pregnant with Lily (I am not sure if that is unknown or not...).

V. Vegetable? I like a lot of veggies-- carrots, in particular.

W. Worst habit? Not cleaning my house enough...

X. Xray or Ultrasound?  Ultrasound! It always meant I got to see my babies!

Y. Your favorite food? A really good burger.

Z. Zodiac sign?  Aries.

And if you feel like it you can ask me more questions by leaving a comment.  I promise I will respond.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jack is 4 Months!

2 Years Old!

At 2 Years Old Bean Loves...
1. ...being under the "cobers" and watching "t.b." before bed.
2. ...playing in the tub, in the pool, in the water table...
3. ...watermelon and cantaloupe.
4. ...bouncing (she loved playing in a bounce house)!
5. Well, sitting with the people who are fishing.
6. ...taking walks, especially with Pop.
7. ...doing puzzles. She is getting really good with puzzles.
8. ...reading. She sits in her room and reads.
9. ...talking! She is becoming quite the little chatterbox!
10. ...and, of course, mama and dada!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bean is Two!

Today was the day! Bean turned 2! I took a ton of pictures throughout the day, so here is Lily's 2nd birthday...

We woke up and saw daddy off to work. Then, pop-pop Jack came over and we went to Duesenberg's for breakfast. They have huge portions at Duesenberg's, so Lily and I shared French toast. The girl loved it! She got so many compliments on her behavior and made all the ladies in the room smile.

The breakfast-- on a real plate!
A big birthday smile!
After breakfast, pop-pop stayed and played for a little while. Then, we headed to Owings Mills for a lunch date with daddy. We went to Chick-Fil-A, one of Lily's favorite places to eat. She did a great job at lunch, minus spilling a vase of water on the table (note to CFA: real flowers are nice, but the water in the vases is a hazard to people with small, want to grab everything, children).
After we enjoyed lunch, we came home and Lily took her normal nap. I wrapped Lily's presents (nothing like a little last minute wrapping), while Jack played on the floor. Tom's parents came over to celebrate, so when she got up (and Tom got home) we let Lily open her gifts. We got her a bubble leaf blower, a medical kit (same one I had when I was little), a ball and bat, a swim vest thing, and a mini bounce house. Luckily, we got the bounce house out last night, because this afternoon it was deflated. I found a hole, and we decided we need to return it. She did love it while it was inflated, but we don't want another one to deflate, so maybe we will get her a trampoline (the small ones with a handle bar). She LOVES the medical kit, though. She listens to our hearts, gives us shots, and puts the fake band-aid on her ankle.
A little static in the bouncer.

My beauty.


Jack needed to see what this whole thing was about...

A medical kit!

A bubble blower!

For dinner, we ordered pizza. She was so excited when the delivery man arrived! She laughed, rubbed her belly and went mmmmmm! She screamed pizza! pizza! pizza! and sprinted to her booster seat. The girl loved dinner.
After dinner, we played a bit more and then she went to bed. She has been quiet ever since. Right now, Jack and I are hanging out; we are finally relaxing after a fun, but busy, day.
I can't believe I am the mom of a 2 year old. I am sure I will say that every year, but it's true. Time certainly flies. It seems like Lily was a teeny little baby only yesterday (well, I guess that isn't far from the truth) and now she is a walking, talking little girl. Happy Birthday, Lily Bean! Mommy loves you!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On the eve of 2...

Dear Lily,

It is hard to believe, but 2 years ago I was in labor with you. I was anxiously waiting for your arrival (and for an epidural...). I was wondering what you would look like, what your personality would be like, and how big you would be. At 6am the next morning I would know: you were 8 pounds, 10 ounces, you looked like a mixture of mommy and daddy, and you were very laid back. You were such a little smush; you curled up on my chest and would drift to sleep. From day one, you filled our home with love.

It is hard to believe how much growing up you have done over the past 2 years. You walk, you jump, you run, you dance, you whoaaaa (I am not sure how to explain the looks like you are in the Matrix...). You talk, oh man do you talk. You say "luh you!" (love you), "brober" (brother), "I fahted" (I are such a lady), and countless other words. You are talking in sentences, or at least, you try to speak in sentences.

You love your brother. It is the purest, most joy-filled love I have ever witnessed. You kiss him. You hug him. You comfort him (It's ok, Jack!). You just know how to be a sister. I was so nervous to bring a new baby home, but from the moment you laid eyes on him, it was like you loved him forever. Every time you pat him on the head, or put his paci back in his mouth, or say "night-night, luh you Jack" my heart absolutely melts.

It is so much fun to watch you grow. I will admit, it makes me sad that you are growing so fast, but it is a fun ride. You are in love with swimming this summer. You joined the Sneaks summer reading program. You know how to make your juice (you even know how to get it out of the fridge...). You have mastered climbing the swing set in the backyard, and you will slide down every slide at the playground no matter how big. You love to take baths. You have very clear opinions about things, especially bows being in your hair (please, oh please let momma put a bow in your hair!).

Lily, you are joy personified. You truly are. I love you more than I could ever imagine loving someone. You are beautiful, and smart, and funny. You amaze me every single day. I hope you have a wonderful second birthday. I will be sure to document every moment of it!

I love you. I love being your mom.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hey parents...put those helicopter blades away...

I am a high school English teacher. I am sure I have mentioned that here before, but this piece of knowledge is critical to this post. Every year, beginning in April, we (us English teachers) sit down and decide how to construct summer reading. We consider a few things when deciding what the reading will be: 1. the curriculum, 2. what we need students to know, 3. what might interest the students, and 4. skills needed for the class.

For my AP classes I try to choose 2 non-fiction books, plus 2 chapters from a textbook on rhetoric, and a rhetoric handbook with terms they MUST know for the class. For honors, I try to pick books that deal with identity in a global society (10th grade is World Literature). These books have varied, but are always suitable for young adult reading. Along with the reading, we do different writing activities. For AP, the work is due on the first day of school. Honors and standard have until the end of September to complete their work. That is, count it, 4 read 2 books.

We expect kids to complain..."it's summer...why do I have to read?"...but the number of parents who complain has become increasingly alarming (yes, alarming, no hyperbole).

As far back as I can remember, I had to do summer reading. I didn't love every book, but reading every book felt like an accomplishment. I can say I read Jane Eyre, and Jazz, and Brave New World, and countless other novels that I was introduced to through my summer reading. I suppose I was a rare student; I would have read regardless of assignments. I participated in Sneaks. I did Book It! I read, and read, and read.

My parents didn't have to tell me to read. They didn't complain about work that the school sent home. In fact, they supported. They knew that summer reading, summer work was good. Educationally, it was vital to my learning and my retention of skills and concepts learned the year prior.

If you don't read, don't do any work over the summer, you lose what you have gained. Plain and simple.

In my six years as a teacher parents have become more and more involved. And not involved in a "I attend my kid's sporting event". This involvement goes beyond sports or PTA or boosters. It goes into the classroom. It is a daily email or phone call. It is a complaint when a grade drops below a B because "my child doesn't get Cs". It is questioning assignments. Or books. Or lessons. It is questioning summer reading.

I am not sure when teachers become the least knowledgeable people in their field because most parents think they know better. They know how to lesson plan. They know how to teach. They know the books that should be assigned. They know how to grade.

The truth?

They don't.

My advice: be an advocate for your child when it is warranted. Put the helicopter blades away. Don't ask for an A. Don't ask for the easy way out. You are doing a disservice to your child. Let them learn. Let it be hard. Let them work.

As teachers we aren't out to get your child. We don't have time for that. We want your child to be curious. To seek knowledge. To be challenged. Let us do that for them, with them.

You want to know why I became a teacher? Honestly? Because I wanted to light something within my students. Find what makes them spark, and light that on fire. I want to give them the gifts of intellect and knowledge and curiosity. I want to challenge them. I want to help them find the words to give them voice.

So land the helicopter. Come back to earth. And show your child that you support them in their education by your example. Pick up the book I assigned and read with them. Ask them questions. Journey together. Don't just yell at me. Or question me. Show your child that education is important. Not the grade. But the actual learning. Because once your child understands that, no one can take it from them. And that is what is important. That is what I want for my kids.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day and the First of Lily's 2nd Birthday Parties

I know, I am a day late on the Father's Day post. Things have been busy-- we ended the school year, hosted a end-of-year party, and then celebrated Lily's 2nd birthday. Busy. Anyway, I should mention a very happy (one day late) Father's Day to a few of the guys in my life...

For my daddio...the guy who every other guy has to measure up against (hard because he keeps growing...). You always, always showed me love, respect, and kindness. You supported me in all of my endeavors. You worked tirelessly to try to get me to throw a softball correctly. You are an awesome pop. It has been amazing watching you with Lily, and now with Jack. Thanks for being my biggest cheerleader. I love you!

For are an awesome daddy to Lily and Jack. Lily adores her daddy, as evidenced by her reactions when you come home from work. Including that time when she ran into the door. You give the best baths. You play outside with the best of them. You constantly show your kids love and support. Each day as a parent is a new adventure, and I am glad that I can share that ride with you. Love you!

For pop-pop...the guy who knows a little bit of everything. It is so amazing that Lily and Jack get to know their great-grandfather. Lily absolutely loves reading books with you and bossing kindly asking you to play. It brings me so much joy to see you with Lily and Jack. Jack is a pretty lucky guy to share a name with you. I love you!

And now...onto the party! Yesterday, we celebrated Lily's 2nd birthday with a family party. We celebrated at Tom's mom and dad's house in Jefferson. Lily got to swim, play with bubbles, open lots of gifts, and eat some cake. Both kids did a great job, even though they were up late for 2 nights in a row. I, of course, took far too many pictures. After her piece of cake, Lily said, "HAPPY TWO!" I think that sums up her party! Rather than going on and on about the details, I will let the pictures do the talking...