Wednesday, April 29, 2015

March & April 2015 Book Review

At the beginning of April, I decided I was going to challenge myself to read for 30 minutes each day something that was for pleasure.  As a teacher, I often am reading young adult literature or things for school, but I wanted this to be unrelated to work for the most part.  One of the expectations I have for my fifth graders is that they read 150 minutes/week outside of school, so I figured I should give it a try!  It is definitely a habit I need to work on.  Many days, I did 30+ minutes...many other days, I was just too tired, distracted, or busy to get this accomplished.  Needless to say, this will continue to appear on my monthly goal list!  :)  Here are some of the books I finished in the past two months.

I'm warning you: it's a very random assortment :)

You all, this is my first experience with Liane Moriarty, and let me assure you - it will not be my last.  I loved her.  The Husband's Secret was SO good.  Written from the perspectives of multiple main characters who collide together in various ways in their small town.  I couldn't put it down.

Ok, I know I'm going to get slack for this - but I didn't love The Fault in Our Stars.  My 14-year-old stepdaughter has been urging me to read it for more than a year.  I read other bloggers raving about it.  I finally sat down to read it, and it was just ok.  I don't love sad books, so maybe that's why I didn't love it... I really don't know.  Anyway, I'm glad I read it and am looking forward to watching the movie this weekend when Kaitlyn comes down.  :)

I love me some Elin Hilderbrand.  Beautiful Day is a beachy summer read... or a rainy, Iowa, spring day read.  :)  It's about a woman planning her wedding with the help of her large, crazy family and a journal her deceased mother left for her.  It takes place on Nantucket Island - which just makes me feel warm and cozy inside.  I loved it.

For some reason, I always stayed away from Grisham because I assumed he wrote scary books.  Turns out, they're not scary at all.  This was my first Grisham book and I can't wait to pick up another one.  The Racketeer is an intriguing story of a convicted felon serving time in prison who happens to have some information the FBI would love to have.  I couldn't stop turning pages - it was really good!

Another party I'm quite late to - Gone Girl has been a novel everyone and their mom is raving about.  One of my best friends insisted I read this, so I did - and when I finished the book, I texted her to tell her I'd like to punch her in the face for making me read that.  :)  It was like a terrible train accident I couldn't stop watching.  The main female character is C.R.A.Z.Y. - and the ending of this book left me infuriated because there was no closure.  Aside from the last 10 pages, I loved it.

This little book is a quick read about a quaint little bookstore owner named A.J. Fikry.  It just made me want to walk down Main Street and stop in little shops to observe the lives of the people who own them.

And a return to my new homegirl, Elin Hilderbrand for The Matchmaker.  All of her novels take place on Nantucket Island, which is where she actually lives.  Her characters are incredible and I just fall in love with all of them.  This particular novel is about a life-long Nantucket resident who {as you may have guessed from the title} is responsible for tons of couples who have fallen in love, gotten married, divorced and everything in between.  Another fun summer read.  :)

I'm really quite certain I've forgotten at least one book I've read this spring - but I'll just have to be better about writing them down next month.  I have a crazy pile of books waiting to be read - can't wait to share them with you next month, friends!

Happy Reading -

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Happy First Birthday, Kamdyn!

Dear Kamdyn,

Even though I tried to stop time, it didn't work and today you are turning one year old.  I have no idea how possibly this happened, but it did.  

You are the sweetest girl, Kamdyn.  You grin from ear-to-ear and squeal when daddy or I walk into the room.  When you're really excited, you pat our shoulder repeatedly.  It melts my heart.  

You love to play.  As long as you can see one of us, you are content.  You entertain yourself for sometimes up to an hour, babbling to your phone, smooching your baby dolls, bouncing your ball, or playing on your music table.  You like to make a huge mess and empty every container of toys - and I don't argue with you because seeing you play makes me so happy.

You love to eat.  You will eat pretty much anything - especially if it's something Daddy or I are eating.  You only have 3 teeth (two in the front on the bottom and one molar on top), but you gum most any food we give you.  You're a problem solver.  I like that.

You adore your sister.  Because she isn't with us all the time, sometimes we go lots of days without seeing her, but it doesn't matter to you - you just pick up right where you left off with her.  I hope that never changes.  Having a sister is a pretty incredible thing.  Never forget that.

Your dad is head over heels in love with you, Kamdyn.  At least once per day, he looks at you and says to me "My god, I love her so much".  And the feeling is mutual.  You love him SO much.  You'll sit on his lap and let him read you stories, you mimic every sound he makes, you clap when you hear his voice on the radio, your eyes light up the moment you see him.

There are so many people in your life who love you with their whole hearts.  I'm not sure there has ever been a child who is loved by more people than you are.  You are so blessed, baby girl.

The bond you have with your Aunt JuJu, Uncle Danny, and their 4 precious kiddos warms my heart SO much.  Watching your eyes light up when you hear their voices is a pretty incredible sight.  I know you recognize those voices.  Gives me goosebumps every single time.

And as for me, Little One, you have completely stolen my heart.  I adore you.  There has not been one single day of your life that I haven't been totally in awe of the miracle that you are.  I have loved the big moments of being your mommy - the first day you sat up, the first time you crawled, your first giggle - but most of all, I have loved the little day-to-day memories of being your mom.

I am so, so, SO thankful to be your mom, Kamdyn.  The bond we have is something people comment about almost every single day.  You love daddy, but you are for sure a Mama's girl.  You love to snuggle me before bedtime, you wave to me every morning when I come get you out of bed, you and I play and sing every night after dinner - I am so excited for all the fun things we are going to do together as you grow up.  

I have lots of jobs in this life.  I'm Daddy's wife, Oma & Opa's daughter, Tante's sister, I'm a friend to people, I'm a teacher to my students, I'm a coach to my dancers - I have lots of jobs.  But of all of those jobs, Kamdyn - being your mommy is far and away my most favorite.

Happy 1st Birthday, sweet girl - I love you to the moon and back.

xoxo -
Mommy :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

I remember.

One year ago tonight, I wrote THIS blog post.  I remember being so, so anxious and wishing the clock would move a little faster.  We were being admitted to the hospital at midnight to begin induction and that day crawled by.  I remember sitting on my couch after I posted to the blog, posting my #keveryday - where I posted this photo:

I remember being so nervous.  I'm a details person, and the details of parenting are absent.  There is no schedule.  There are no real rules.  There's no instruction manual.  I remember asking other mommy friends about their day-to-day schedules, things I should know, products I needed to have, advice I couldn't live without.

I remember walking into the hospital and seeing all the sweet newborn things - the bassinet, the warmer, the footprint stuff

And then I remember thinking, "Holy hell.  In a few hours, a baby will be laying in there.  Not just A baby...MY baby"

I remember taking this one last photo of Julie pregnant - and being oddly emotional because I knew it was the end of something really, really incredible that she and I shared.  Every single week she sent me a picture.  Every week.  Never missed one.  And this was the last one I would take.  It was so surreal.

I remember Dan, Julie and I trying our hardest to get some sleep that night - even though I'm not sure any of us really slept.  I remember us entertaining ourselves for most of the day that day.  I remember sweet Julie and her incredible husband, Dan taking lap after lap after lap around the labor and delivery floor trying to get that baby out.  I remember the sweet sound of the lullaby that plays at the hospital every time a baby is born.

I remember making bets on when she would be born and how big she would be {Kaitlyn won.}

I remember the nurses telling us it was finally time.  I remember numbly walking into the bathroom to change into my gown so I could do skin-to-skin with her immediately.  I remember things moving in super-speed.  I remember squeezing Julie's hand as she pushed.  I remember the doctor saying, "are we expecting a baby with lots and lots of dark hair?" and thinking in that second, that was the first physical feature I knew for sure about my child...she had lots of dark hair.

Then I remember time freezing in this moment

7:28 pm on April 14, 2014.  I remember being so, unbelievably thankful that she was here.  That she was healthy.  And that she was our's.  I remember wondering how possibly I lived 30 years of my life without her.

I remember handing my phone to Kevin and asking him to snap this picture of me and worrying that I would look hideous :)

I usually hate pictures of myself.  But this one is probably my favorite of all time.  I'm not sure I have ever been more overjoyed.  Just absolute, pure, unbridled happiness.

I remember she was screaming like it was her job.  Mad as a hornet.  She wasn't having it.  At all.  And I remember thinking, "oh boy - this is gonna be fun in the middle of the night" {for the record, she still has this same temper when she's really mad}

I remember them wrapping her up and handing her to Kevin and when I turned around, I saw this

And I remember thinking, "I've never been more in love with this man in all my life."

I remember introducing Kamdyn to her sister and feeling so grateful that Kaitlyn's mom agreed to bring her back to the hospital so late on a school night

And I remember Kaitlyn stopping what she was doing, running over to Julie laying in bed and saying "thank you for my sister" {insert ugly cry}

I remember thinking "ohmygosh - this is our first picture as a family of 4"

I remember handing Kamdyn to Julie for the first time and watching with tears in my eyes as I realized that everything I ever worried about before she was born about her relationship with Julie or whether she would know I was her mama, or whether I would immediately love her since I didn't give birth to her - all of those fears were for nothing.  In this moment...

In that moment, as I watched my daughter laying in the arms of the woman who brought her into this world, the ONLY thing I felt was love.  I knew in that moment that Julie's family and our's were going to be forever-family.  And that Kamdyn would know and celebrate the way she was brought into this world because we would encourage and facilitate a close relationship and bond between Kamdyn and them - all 6 of them.

I remember her looking up at me when I was taking this picture and locking eyes with her.  And in that single instant, I knew she stole my heart.

I remember her first bath that night.  I remember all of her hair.  And then I remember putting a bow on that little head - two hours old and wearing her first bow :)

I remember being so worried I would forget the details.  I remember making Dan promise that he would take lots of pictures so I wouldn't forget in the craziness of the day.  I remember thinking "I really should blog tonight" but being so exhausted and smitten with her that I just couldn't.

I remember so many details from that day.

And tonight, as I laid my baby down for her last sleep before she turns one tomorrow, I held her with tears streaming down my face, silently thanking God for the past 364 days with her.  Thanking God that he has been faithful in His gentle reminders to slow down and enjoy these sweet days with her.  Thanking Him that I still have so much to look forward to in her life.  Thanking God for the countless times that he has lovingly nudged me to be thankful, even when it's hard - even when she's crabby, even when I'm sick, even when I'm out of patience - He has patiently laid on my heart time and time again that she is the answer to every prayer I prayed and I will never get this day with her again.

Tomorrow, my sweet baby turns ONE.  I'll be back tomorrow with a birthday post - but tonight, I'm just reflecting on the single greatest year of our lives.  Thanks for praying with and for us, friends - and thanks for continuing to follow our little family.  We are blessed by you.

xoxo -

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Favorites

Trying to get myself back in the habit of regular blogging.  :)

Figured I would try to round up 5 things each week that I'm loving.  Baby stuff, mom stuff, teacher stuff, just girl stuff - whatever I'm feeling at the moment. 

The flip side?  If I'm missing some awesome stuff - let me know!  Always in the market for new must-have items! 

Anyway, here we go.  :)

I've really been making an effort to do more reading.  Not fifth-grade reading for my students...but reading for my own enjoyment.  It's an expectation that my 5th graders read for 150 minutes/week; which is approximately 30 minutes/day, so I've been trying to follow the same expectation.  To be honest, most days - I'm horrible at it.  But on the weekends, I try to make up for it!  I've read lots of really great books in the past couple months since taking on this personal challenge.  I plan on doing a book review soon, but wanted to share my recent favorite.
I love everything Emily Giffin writes.  Seriously.  I just loved this book.  An easy, quick read.

I watch alot of reality TV - in fact, it's most of what I watch.  Last year, I was introduced to the Real Houswives and I'm thankful that Beverly Hills and Orange County are on opposite seasons because it just keeps me going...just a never ending dose of shenanigans.  The reunions are always ridiculous.  But this season?  And these two?
Just wow.  They need to just pump the brakes on the crazy.  It's alot.

My child will usually eat most anything we put in front of her.  These things though...
Like crack in a can.  She would eat this entire container in one sitting if I would let her.  Girlfriend loves her baby Cheetos.

My morning routine has changed significantly since my husband switched from being on the air in the afternoons to being on the air in the mornings.  Before, I could take my sweet time getting reading without a little someone fussing, into everything she shouldn't be, or climbing up my leg.  Now, time is critical.  Anything I can do to cut down time is my friend.  My hair is thick, naturally wavy, and sometimes hard to manage.  I've spent many years straightening and fighting with it to be something it's not - so recently, I've just been embracing it for what it is.  With the help of this miracle potion:
Smells delicious.  Keeps the frizz under control.  Doesn't leave my hair sticky or stiff.  Sold.

Lately my 5th graders have really been impressing me with their technology abilities - they are SO brilliant at ways to use technology to make their lives easier.  For instance, the other day, we weren't done taking notes on a poem but our time was up - so I was quickly jotting things down in my plan book so we could pick up where we left off the next day - meanwhile, my kids?  Well, they were using their devices to just simply snap a picture.  **insert teacher feeling SO dumb**  Anyway, I've been trying to find ways to use tech to my advantage in my classroom and have been playing around with Google Classroom
It's a great way for my kids to make, receive, and submit materials to me...but more importantly, it's a nice platform for them to be able to collaborate with each other outside of the classroom, school, or normal hours.  We are loving it so far. 

Alright, there's my 5 for today.  I could probably rattle off 5 more right now - but I'll stop.  Have a great weekend, friends!

xoxo -

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Life Lately

Life lately is filled with this pretty girl!  She has 3 teeth and is more and more fun every single day.  She is starting to interact with people and mimics everything we do - from loud noises to patting us on the shoulder when she's excited to see us.

She loves to play with her toys, listen to music, watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and read books.  She will eat most anything we put in front of her, unless it's baby food and we're eating "big people food" - she really wants what we're eating.

She's going to be one year old next week, and I frankly cannot figure out how that happened.  I feel like yesterday I was staring at this:

{1 week old}
I just cannot even believe this was her last week:

She has such a great temperament.  She loves to play alone, but doesn't really like to be in a room by herself - as long as she can see one of us, she's good to go.  She still puts herself to sleep at night - we just give her kisses and put her in her bed with her music on and she goes right to sleep

This is an awful picture of her, but I had to snap it quickly because when I went to get her out of her carseat, this is what I found.  Just so nasty.  And notice how before I corrected her, I snapped a pic?!  :)  Priorities, people.

She has figured out how to stand up with the help of certain surfaces - mostly her crib.  Frequently I come in to her room in the morning to find this.  You might also notice she's showing you another of her tricks...spitting.  Yep.  That's a real treat.

My daycare provider is, hands down, without a doubt, no questions asked - THE BEST.  Kamdyn loves going to daycare and her face lights up when she sees Miss Katie every single morning.  She has friends at daycare that she likes to play with - and even though she's the littlest there, she doesn't really take much nonsense from those big kids.  I'm told she holds her own just fine.  In addition to all these wonderful things about our daycare, almost daily I get adorable-ness like this in my text box...gets me thru many days.  Love that girl!  :)

Here she is in her Easter dress on Easter Sunday.  She just melts my heart.  And those sandals absolutely crack me up.

I'm really missing blogging.  A lot.  And I feel like God is nudging me to hop back on the blog-train...approximately 4 people in the past week have asked me about it!  I've blogged before about how overwhelming it is to me once I've gone months without posting, it feels like I need some sort of big post - but I don't.  The intention of this blog has been first of all, to preserve my memories and second of all, to keep family and friends far away in the loop of our lives - and these little day-to-day things are our life.  So, one little, nonsense post at a time - I'm gonna try to hop back on the wagon.  :)

We're on the downhill slide to the weekend, people!  We can do this!