Shannon Falls, August 2012

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Potty Training

I'm sure everyone of you has PT advice, and I'd appreciate it. Hayden is only 20 months, but he has been showing definite signs of being ready. He's showing even more signs now that we've brought the potty chair into the equation. Tuesday, I decided I was going to go full force with potty training. I realize Hayden is still a little young, but there are a ton of reasons David and I felt he might be ready. (*I only did this on Tuesday---for a variety of reasons; I'm letting him fully dictate his readiness now.)

To make a long story short, Hayden might still be ready or not ready. I haven't come to a conclusive decision yet. But after very little prodding, Hayden is demonstrating more and more signs of ridding our lives of diapers. That would be an AMAZING way to start the New Year--no more diapers! I don't know if we'll make it by then, and I'm not going to force him to train. He initiates wanting to sit on the "big" potty and we do know the sign for "potty," which we're using.

My ultimate goal is to have him PT'ed by 2, if not before. I really think it'll be sooner rather than later, but if I know my son, pushing him to do anything means nothing is getting accomplished!

So, New Year's resolution #1? Being sensitive to Hayden's need and want to get out of that diaper! (Plus, diapers don't go up any further sizes for him if he outgrows 6's, and we can't afford to go strictly pull-ups!)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Candids

Christmas 2010
(These are in reverse order from Christmas Day night through Christmas Eve; sorry, but I'm too lazy to fix them right now!)
Playing Wii!
Santa requested puppy chow at our home this year!
We started in our Christmas Elmo pj's, but being sick and running a temp made us look for something cooler!
Throwing out reindeer food.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

EL-BO!

Okay, so that really says ELMO! After Christmas yesterday, I am beginning to believe we could open an Elmo souvenir store in our home! I don't have pictures ready to put up since I have one sick little mister and I'm running on very little sleep, but yesterday was great.


Our son now has enough Elmo shirts to wear to school for an entire week without me washing! We own 3 pair of Elmo pjs, 6 new Elmo movies, another "lovie" Elmo, an Elmo medical kit, 2 Elmo puzzles (and a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse one!), an Elmo mailbox shape sorter, who knows how many more Elmo books, 2 Elmo guitars, an Elmo cellphone, 2 Elmo activity books, an Elmo stocking, and who knows what else I'm fogetting! But you can definitely get the idea. This is in addition to everyting Elmo we already own!

As Hayden opened each gift (wrapped in Elmo wrapping paper, mind you), he yelled, "Elbo!" and then put the box aside and reached for another gift. Santa left a Jeep for us to ride outside and a tent with a tube to climb through. Nana and Papa got him a perfect Hayden-sized blue chair (in which he's watching MMClubhouse right now) and a school bus climbing toy with a slide. Talk about in love with that thing! And he got tons of clothes and more Elmo toys from Aunt Christy, Uncle Joseph, Devin, and NaNa. The only downside to this entire weekend has been a sick baby and missing the Christmas Eve service. Oh well; gotta get the boy well!

Pretty soon we'll be upgrading his room and transforming the front bathroom into "his" bathroom. And in just 4 months, we'll have a 2 year old on our hands! Time to start planning the Elmo party now!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An OCD Person + a German?

Okay, so let's just say that a self-proclaimed OCD person does not do well with a procrastinating German teenager! We had been telling Pia to pack for about two weeks, and I believe she sincerely thought she was, but suffice it to say, we were still stuffing clothes and souvenirs into suitcases at the airport!

The good news is she's home. And only about an hour 10 min. later than her scheduled landing time. Sunday night was a mess. She's already emtional, David gets online to go ahead and check her in, and he sees "travel advisory." Yep, if you've been keeping up at all with the weather in Europe, they're having some of the worst snowstorms in history! So then Pia is blubbering like crazy that she might not be able to get home for Christmas, and surprisingly, we all stay calm. So while we work on that situation, Pia and I finish packing her duffle bag...that starts coming apart at the seams. So at 10:30 I'm calling my folks up the street asking if they having a suitcase that if they never see again it's not the end of the world (my dad had just gotten in from Japan Saturday as well). Thankfully, they do! So we RE-PACK one bag and shove as much more in as we can! I didn't realize, though, that her bed and bathroom are still covered. Talk about one stressed host mom!

But she had an amazing time and made about a million memories and she's home safely. Now, I have to clean my house from top to bottom, finish nearly all my Christmas shopping, and spend as much time with Hayden as possible!

Ps. I still have Thanksgiving-now pictures to post! Sorry for the delay. Oh, and Pia's surprise party went well!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One Week

Pia leaves a week from tomorrow, and it's amazing how much we have to do in that one week! She's already filled her largest suitcase and still has an entire room to sort through! Not to mention, we're doing something for her this weekend and she'll have even more stuff to pack. It's the final week before Christmas break, and it's going to be an emotionally, physically, and mentally draining 5 days at work and at home. There are too many places to be and too much to do before she leaves! I have to get off campus as soon as we're free Friday in order to prepare for Saturday.

I'm also learning much about myself here in the past few days. Some of these thoughts I can share and some are meant for David and myself. I realized something today, though, that we're going to have to do if our marriage is going to work. Suffice it to say that there is much going on in the family arena. (Sidenote: We are not in trouble or anything, but I've come to a realization. Sorry; can't share it, either.) I think we're in for some huge life changes soon, and it really does frighten me not to know what those are. I know He knows and I'm trying to rest in that fact, but this is immensely difficult for me. Who knows where we'll be a year from now?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sentences

Hayden has begun stringing sentences together. That definitely makes for interesting, and alarming, conversations.

For example, the other day he sat at the kitchen table messing with my centerpiece (he also likes to test the waters by climbing on the table, but I digress). I told him to stop, and he replied, "But I just wanna...". I stopped him cold and said, "I don't care what you want to do; you will stop right now." I looked at Pia to make sure that's what he had said.

He also likes to push the hamper into the bathroom next to the vanity, climb on top, and check himself out in the "big" mirror. Sometimes he tries to stand on the hamper (it's not very sturdy), so David told him repeatedly to get down, to which he said, "I'm trying to tell you...".

We have a long road ahead. And I forsee many, many visits to the ER in years to come with our fearless child.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More

Via text tonight, David and I both discussed how we feel called to more. We've let ourselves become too comfortable and we've let ourselves like money and stuff too much. Children's ministry is weighing heavy on my heart; I don't like the person I'm becoming as a teacher. That's very difficult to explain and express, but just know I feel that way.

That said, I'm not sure what to do about getting back into children's ministry. Start sending out resumes?? Where? I'm going to meet and talk with the children's minister I worked under for a few years; maybe she'll have some wise advice for me. I'm not called to stay on the Gulf Coast; I know that much. But I have no idea where God will lead us.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Children's Ministry

Children's ministry has been heavy on my heart and mind lately. I love the school environment; I love interacting with my students; I love that I feel "important" at school. But I can't shake the feeling that maybe I should go back to children's ministry. I am not even sure how to put all of the thoughts about this that I have down. So I'm not really sure where to go from here. I think I'm going to begin shooting out some resumes just to see the feedback I get. I still have half a year+ of school so I know I'm locked in until the end of May. There's just this tug on my heart. So any prayer warriors that want to join in as I seek a direction, feel free!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Little" Big Al

Halloween 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

18

18 month stats:

35.4 lbs
35.5 " tall

No horse jockeying in my son's future!

Friday, October 22, 2010

"I Will Always Love You"

It has been a rough week with Hayden. He is either cutting his final teeth, hitting a major growth spurt, or both. Either way, he has been very whiny and sleeping more than normal. His appetite has been somewhat off.

Tonight, David and I were trying to keep him until bedtime, so maybe, just maybe, we can sleep past 6 on a Saturday morning! We didn't make it to his normal bedtime, but we did have some sweet moments before we put him down. Hayden loves to dance, so Dave put on one of the tv music stations. Hayden started really boogying! He was beginning to wear down when Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" came across the screen. I took one of Hayden's hands in each of my own and tried to sort of dance that way with him; he only held his arms up. I hoisted him up (he's gotten VERY heavy) and he gave me the biggest hug and left his head on my shoulder. We swayed back and forth, with him occasionally looking me in the eyes, while I softly sang to him. That lasted for about half the song. I'm telling you, my heart was swelling with love.

As I thought it about half an hour later, all I could envision was a Mother/Son dance years from now at a wedding, and I nearly boo-hooed! I love that kid.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Guilty

I'll never understand why some people can bear children when others whose hearts long and bodies ache to have children, can not. But that's an entirely other discussion. My reason for this post is quick and simple: sometimes I feel guilty. I feel guilty that David and I can have children easily. And we have a healthy son, a happy boy. But we have scores of friends who have had years of trouble or who have yet to get pregnant. I know there are tons of answers for not feeling guilty and all that, but regardless, sometimes I still do. But again, I'm not here to argue that point.

A couple we know was finally able to get pregnant...with twin girls. Through a lot of heartache this past week, they lost both babies...at separate times. I've cried for them, held Hayden extra long, and had a stomach full of knots. David went yesterday to spend time with the husband while they are still at the hospital in P'cola. (I'm telling you...it's a VERY long story.) But what really made me pause last night is when David said he and the husband went in to see our friend and they began talking about what to wear home when they're released. They live here in Ocean Springs, she went into labor unexpectedly while visiting her at Eglin AFB, and through complications, lost both girls and nearly her own life. It's like her body rejected the babies. Ohhhh...it hurts to type that. So...the husband is talking about clothes and he says, "You can just wear what you wore here Monday." And she apparently looked at him and simply replied, "_____, those are maternity clothes." I wanted to cry all over again. What a thought I never considered.

How blessed I am.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ready for 2?

Not a day goes by that I don't get asked if we're ready for number 2. Sometimes this question sincerely annoys me. That is strictly David's and my business. Don't get me wrong; we will have another child, but we don't feel the timing is right...right now. Although, every time I get onto Facebook or talk to an "old" friend, we discover someone new is pregnant! So that does get one thinking! And while I absolutely adore being pregnant, we aren't ready to grow our family just yet. Of course, I have to remember that my second pregnancy could be the exact opposite of my first (I had no sickness...at all, ever; no cravings; etc. If my belly hadn't grown, we might not have known anything!)!

Hayden's at such a great age. He's really into "dancing" (which is more like a "stanky leg" with a few spins and head shakes thrown in and rapid arm movements!). He's actually listening very well. He's sleeping through the night and typically wakes in a ready-to-go mood. He's communicating well and knows his body parts...still focused on his belly button, though! He loves school. And he's just so darn cute! I think David and I are just so enjoying being able to lavish everything on Hayden for right now. Maybe that's selfish, but whatever. For our child's size, he has a very tender heart and one day he'll be a fantastic big brother.

So...for any wonderers, yes, there will be a baby #2. When? I have no idea! For now, we're just soaking up every bit of Hayden's sweet kisses and tight hugs!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Drama

For all the stress and aggravation the students have been causing, I am amazingly thankful that my team of teachers cooperates, works well together, and genuinely likes one another! I witnessed an exchange in the hallway today that left me reeling...between 2 teachers...over a study guide. Yep, you read that right. Seems wrong, doesn't it? Especially since these two teachers are on the same team!

Due to the kids' attitudes this week (and last), we checked the moon schedule. Nope, no full moon. I'm still perplexed at the audacity of children today. Well, that is only until we meet some of their parents! And then so much makes sense. It's been a very interesting nine weeks, and overall, I'm very proud of my self-control.

There have been a few breakthroughs in the past weeks, but many days, we feel like we're spinning our wheels. I feel as though I'm pretty much on track, but I know others who can barely get lesson plans done. And these are some of the senior teachers in my building!

On a lighter note, the weather has been gorgeous and I've started running again. I have much ground to gain, but I already feel better about myself, which is a HUGE step. Hayden has been in the best mood and (*jinx*) is listening pretty well! His vocabularly is amazing and he definitely knows what he likes and doesn't. I've seen more Elmo than I ever thought I would! Pia is making her first cupcakes for parties tomorrow and she did a great job. Next week is Spirit Week and I have my mullet ready!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Standing Up For Myself

For the first time ever, I have learned how to stand up for myself. I don't know what caused the switch, but I sure like it. I have always been a people-pleaser; I hate when people don't like me--for whatever reason. Maybe this change has to do with teaching middle schoolers. One young man said recently, "No offense, Mrs. Ainsworth, but I really don't like you." And you know what? I didn't care; my feelings weren't hurt in the least. And that's a huge step for me!

I've been placed in many situations lately where I've had to speak up and defend myself. I've taken too much stuff from too many people for too long and tried to smooth over the situation later. Why? Because I can't stand conflict or drama. But at the risk of sounding arrogant, I'm very proud of myself and this recent maturity!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Don't you hate...

Don't you hate when you've had an incredibly long week and want nothing more than to crawl into bed or onto the couch, and yet someone is coming over and you have to entertain? Yep, that's my evening ahead.

Don't you hate when you think you've had all you can stomach of something (ie. Elmo) and yet, it's the only thing that will comfort your child?

But don't you love when you've tried all week to get students to follow instructions and set the example for the rest of the school and you fight and fight and fight every day until one day it finally clicks?

I can't even relate the complete events of my week I'm so exhausted.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life as a Musical

I'm watching GLEE right now; a show David completely hates and a show that's completely irrelevant to actual public school (at least to any I know of!). But for some reason, it draws me in. I think it's due to the fact that I've always wanted life to be a musical. You know, where at any given moment everyone around you will burst into random song and dance that's entirely choreographed and on pitch? Soemtimes a song just says it so much better! Plus, I would l.o.v.e to have the pipes some of the GLEE cast members have!

Soldier writing update: administration was not nearly as excited as I was about the idea as I, but my principal offered another idea: pen pals. So I'm on the hunt for another middle school teacher who'd like to connect with about 145 7th graders and their horrible penmanship and grammar. But, hey, it could be fun, right? Right?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Escape!

All I can say is this: I walked into Hayden's room to find him playing with toys. The problem with this picture is that when I left him originally, he was in his crib to take a nap! Oh boy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The "Write" Direction

I am so excited about an idea I have; I can only hope it takes off with my students!!


A few weeks ago I thought about having my students write letters to our troops. Tonight I took the first step in emailing "Soldier's Angels" about getting my students started. It will be great if soldiers respond and the kids really get into writing to them. I'm hoping my excitement will carry through to them!

If things go well, I'd love to get care packages together around Thanksgiving/Christmas and mail to some units. Even if we don't get much, we can at least send some things with our thoughts and prayers. I know I'll have to be careful how I handle jumpstarting this idea, as I have some parents who think nearly everything we do is "rubbish," but my kids need to write and I want them to feel like they're writing for a purpose, not just to please Mrs. Ainsworth!

I've been bouncing things off Pia all afternoon about this idea. One of my thoughts was that if someone from our area returns home before school is out, we can have him/her come speak to my classes. Maybe something one of my students says will touch one or more of our troops. How great would it be to get 147 letters from some random middle schoolers?! Oh, I really hope this comes together!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mrs. Aniston

Yep, that's right...apparently I'm no longer Mrs. Ainsworth. I've become Jennifer. The afternoon worker at Hayden's school calls me Mrs. Aniston every day. I've yet to correct her hoping she'd notice. I've also been Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Armstrong, too. Whatever.

On a funnier note, here are some Hayden stories from school:

1. Yesterday he hugged me good-bye then promptly pushed me away so he could play when I dropped him off. I'm glad he's settled in well.

2. A few weeks back a kid bit my son's shoulder and left perfect teeth marks. Hayden was taken care of and the other child was isolated from everyone else. However...the next day I went to pick Hayden up and couldn't see him in the room. Finally, I spotted him at the table with a toy. He was happy as a clam. I just looked at the worker and said, "What'd he do?" She smiled and said, "Well, Mrs. Aniston, we had a bit of a problem. He took a toy from another child and then hit the child, so we had to isolate him." Aah. Gotcha. So we had a "talk" on the way home with Pia as a witness, then I made Hayden tell Daddy what he'd done. When he paused for a breath, I said, "Go on, tell him everything!" We laughed after he went to bed, but I want him to know he will be held accountable for his actions.

3. Then this most recent Friday I picked him up a little earlier than normal. Everyone was having snack, but while all of the other children were at the table, Hayden was in the high chair. Now I know my son is a beast so I figured he had gotten too big for the table. But no. He was in the high chair because he apparently likes to steal others' snacks! Yep, that's my son. And he's usually so good about sharing too. The joys of toddlerhood.

4. His favorite body part is the belly button. He doesn't give a hoot about his nose, eyes, ears, fingers or toes! And watch out! He just may try to find your belly button by raising your shirt!

I love my son. I get so excited when I get to pick up up at the end of each day. And Elmo is his latest obsession. Thanks to a co-worker of David we have a ton of new videos to watch!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Busy Bee

I'm not even sure where to start with the past few days/weeks. I don't have any exciting revelation to post or any awesome news, but I felt like I needed to update with what's been going on.

There was a mix-up with soccer at school, so I don't know if Pia will play and I'll be a true "soccer mom" or not. Long story.
Hayden is BUSY! He's loving school and this morning, even pushed me away after he gave me a hug. That was my cue to leave!

David is coaching PeeWee football and is practicing 3 nights/wk right now.

School is, well, school. I don't have my Promethean (it's on backorder), and the kids don't give a flying hoot about actually trying. Makes days very interesting. We're also having parent conferences pretty much every day, then I stay after my final bell until Pia gets out of school and we grab Hayden and head home to fix supper, do laundry, etc.

We've kept Pia pretty busy, especially on the weekends. This past weekend for Labor Day we decided to take her to Lambert's. She l.o.v.e.s bread, so we thought it would be perfect! It was (and it was a beautiful Sunday...we went post-church) perfect. Her only complaint was the amount of food we saw as we passed tables when we left. A few pictures below...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Greatest Faults

I sincerely hate that one of my greatest faults is my jealousy (and David, when you read this and want to know what I am referring to, I'm not telling you...because you will only roll your eyes and shake your head at me and tell me I'm crazy). I swear my eyes glow neon green the majority of the time.

I know the issue(s) I'm struggling with right now are ones I just have to get over. I also know that while I have the most important job in the world as a mother, sometimes, I feel like I'm just a mother. Nothing special, no special gifts or talents, I'm just an afterthought. I work my tail off and for what? To be two steps behind everyone else because I must put more attention on my child right now (which I wouldn't trade for anything). And no one seems to understand that. So I'll just continue working on my issues.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ever...?

Ever just look down or in a mirror one day and realize you're fat? I have many of those days, but yesterday I realized something. With my crazy schedule and now helping Pia, going to the gym hasn't been very possible. (I'm sorry, but I'm exhausted by the time Hayden goes to bed and after being up since 5!). Well, I stay an hour to an hour and a half once my school day ends to wait for Pia. I've been doing lesson plans and working on my room every day. After a bit, I get tired of my 4 cinderblock walls! While waiting yesterday in the truck, I saw a kid running and I thought, "Hmmm...I could bring workout clothes and walk/jog for a bit while I wait. Maybe even just a few days a week?"

I don't expect any drastic change, and it's still sweltering hot, but it ought to help! I haven't been to the gym in over a month, and I don't foresee that working out soon, but now maybe I won't be just sitting on my behind waiting on Pia every day!

At least maybe I'll feel better about myself some again!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Language Barrier

Having a person from another country under your roof 24/7 makes for some interesting conversations. We have introduced many new words to Pia (ie., supper, tweezers, necklace), and when she honestly doesn't know the English word for something, she simply uses the German one! Then we have a lengthy discussion to translate that German term into an English one. It's been fun, but it also takes a good deal of energy (you must get creative in explaining some American--and especially Southern!--terms and expressions) and time (you need to slow everything down and use lots of patience). It has also been a trying week at school, so I'm not sleeping soundly, and I have 6 classes who love to tell me how tired I look. Today one young lady told me I had bags under my eyes! Why, thank you, miss.
Pia, however, is absolutely wonderful. She's having a bit of a difficult time at school, and that makes her miss her mother. I can completely relate; I called my mom after my bad day today! And I'm 26!! Pia's always willing to help, and she's teaching us a good deal about German culture. Oh, we went to Bop's Friday night and she loved it. I wish I could express her reaction to her first bite of frozen custard here. There's no way to illustrate that sound! Saturday night we ran to Sonic; I didn't think she'd want to go with me because her jet lag had caught up with her, but the other German exchange student at school had told her about the servers delivering food on skates. When she realized that was the place I was headed, she literally jumped off the bed and slid on shoes! She forgot her camera, so I assured her we'd return for pictures of the servers. Pia wants to experience everything, so even when she's utterly exhausted she'll join in. I applaud her enthusiasm! We try to keep her busy on the weekends because the weeknights are pretty low-key. She's stepping up her studying, though, so she seems okay hanging out at home.
Back to German culture: they typically eat one hot meal and two cold/cool per day. Lunch is the usual hot meal, so it's taken a bit of adjusting to eat a hot supper every night. She's tried everything and has even started having seconds and getting her own drinks out of the refrigerator. We want her to feel as at home here as she would in Dortmund, so this is a HUGE step for all of us! She could certainly teach my students a thing or two about politeness!

I know she's told us other things about how home differs from south MS, but my day is catching up with me. I'll keep posting about our adventures! I still can't believe we have a German female teenager in our home!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Anger Boileth Over

I am livid. Beyond angry. Furious.

I quite possibly ended a family relationship tonight by standing up for myself on Facebook to a comment made by a relative.

To all you teacher friends, do you post statuses about your day? I NEVER mention student names or ANY personal information. If you saw my status about making a student cry, it boiled down to my being slandered later by a family member. She decided that apparently I don't give respect so I don't get any, and because I'm a Christian I should show God's love every day and never cause hurt feelings. Have you BEEN in a middle school classroom? I don't have to do anything and I can have a student cuss me out or flat-out ignore me. Etc., etc., etc. I'm expected to be educator, teacher, counselor, disciplinarian, mediator, nurturer, and much more. Teachers don't make enough!

For ONCE I stood up to myself. I'm proud of myself. I'm a 26 year old ADULT, not a child. Address me directly, please, but do not smear my name publicly across Facebook.

Monday, August 9, 2010

PIA

Pia is here, and I believe she's overwhelmed! It's late so this will be short, but we're so glad she's here. I love her accent, and I think she'll fit in well. Her English is great, even though she doesn't feel like it is. Welcome to the family, Pia!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Unfinished

Suffice it to say that starting the school year with unfinished buildings was not a good idea. Completely stressful. I still have no Promethean or technology to use for notes. Fine, I can lecture, but it's making things difficult. Computers all around are still not connected or running. I finially made copies late yesterday, but still not everything I needed. The copy machines don't staple so I'm going to make the kids do it because I was not staying any later yesterday! We've already had to redo rosters becuase one class had 31 students! Talk about outnumbered!

Our exchange student arrives at 9 PM Monday night. It'll be interesting working out our schedules since I start school at basically 6:45 and finish at 2:25, and Pia's schedule is from 8:15-3:35. Life's an adventure, right!? Maybe she'll be a good workout partner for me and we can go once the baby's in bed. I had wanted to go immediately after school before picking up Hayden, but I can't get everything planned, copied, and ready in my planning period just yet. Dropping to 7th grade from 8th may be more difficult than I thought!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

An Addition to the Family

Quick post since I have to get Hayden up and out the door: school starts tomorrow and we are nowhere near ready!! Some folks just got their boxes and furniture yesterday! Building a new high school and renovating 2 complete buildings in one summer was a big undertaking, and did I mention, school starts tomorrow?!

On another note, starting approximately Sunday night, I will be "mom" to a sixteen year old from Germany! We are participating in the International Student Exchange Program, and Pia Louisa Steimann will be joining our family for 5-6 months. She called yesterday and is absolutely thrilled. She heard MS is a beautiful state (hmmm....?) and bless her heart, I tried to explain how hot it is, but I don't think she quit gets it. She also asked of me while we talked (very shyly), "Please don't be too angry if I mess up my English while we are speaking." I was, like, "Honey, I teach middleschoolers. Your English is better than theirs!"

Let the adventure begin!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"R is for racetrack"

Today Hayden went to his first day of school! It was only for 2 hours (same thing tomorrow) to help him get ready for next week when he'll be there all 5 days, all day. I don't know if I'm ready for that! Hayden seems to be though; he walked right in today and started playing. His teacher said he fussed for just a bit once he realized I was truly gone, but then he was fine. I knew he would be.


His teacher, Ms. Kara, is fantastic! They even did a project today. I have to start a memory box to keep all his goodies in. I know it will overflow amazingly quickly! The project was "R is for racetrack." It's a handdrawn racetrack and the kiddos put beans on the paper to symbolize cars, trucks, etc. It's adorable! *sniffle*

I didn't get very much done in my classroom while he was there, but I was able to scrounge up a long, low bookshelf. It's drying outside in the sun right now.

Can it really be back-to-school time already? (Though I must admit, buying school supplies excites me!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Too Much on the Mind

Ever have so much on your mind that you're not sure where to even begin? The bad part is, as much as I want to share some of it, I can't. So now that I have your curiosity up, I'll just post vague references to what I'm thinking:


-attitude
-unhappy with my weight
-feeling left out (this is too broad to explain)
-anxiety over the new school year
-anxiety over having Hayden dropped at daycare by 6:30 AM
-jealousy (again, too broad)
-parenting is wonderful...and amazingly difficult
-frustration with stupidity and double standards
-lack of professionalism

There are others, but you get the idea. I'm not perfect, I struggle, and I hold on to things w.a.y too long. I stress, get overanxious, and worry constantly. These are issues I know get the better of me way too often. I have a great deal to work on, but that's where I stand.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ATL










This weekend David and I took our first couples' trip with our good friends Dustin and Rachel Williams. We stayed near the airport and took in a Braves game, visited the Georgia Aquarium, and toured the World of Coke. We also visited Northpoint Community Church on Sunday morning, ate way too much, and shopped. I finally learned to play Spades, and we just had a great time!
The only awkward moment came in the mall at Payless, when a group of 4 teenage girls approached us and asked if they could lay hands on and pray for us. It's a long story, but apparently by God telling them to look for purple flip-flops it led them to us. They said some pretty crazy and inaccurate things, but we humored them. It was odd, so odd.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Women

This post is pretty rhetorical, but I needed to let fly some thoughts anyway.

Why are women so emotional? (Again, pretty rhetorical.)

Why do we nitpick e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g people say? Or the manner in which they say it?

Why do women, most of us, wear our emotions on our faces? This gets me into a lot of trouble!

Why does everything have a double meaning with us?

Why do we, especially as mothers, do more work than anyone, and it's overlooked because it's expected? (David, you're not allowed to read more into this statement than what is written.)

I'm not upset, I'm not unhappy, I just wanted to get these thoughts out of my mind. Even with not working right now, there are many days I am simply tired. Exhausted. And that's hard for some people to fathom because I'm not in school at the moment. I'm emotionally drained.

Thankfully, we have a short vacation this next weekend. Here's to much needed rest and a break from the Gulf Coast!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trucks & Trains

Hayden and I just returned from the grocery store. We put away groceries, had a snack, and started a load of laundry. Throughout it all, he was underfoot...nothing new. My little shadow followed me from room to room. As he sat down to play in his room, I ventured back through the house, avoiding trucks, trains, and books. Somedays I merely pick up toys all.day.long. He's learning to keep things in specific locations but if you have children, you know how easily things disappear.

Anyway, my point is this: I grow so easily frustrated some days (especially those nights when I go in to check on him and step on an ambulance that starts wailing and nearly wakes him) about toys being everywhere. But I stopped for a moment in the midst of my bedroom, looked at two trucks I had just sidestepped, and nearly wept. Why? Because tonight we're having a friend for supper who would love nothing more than to fill a house with children. Due to complications, she and her husband have not been able to do so. It's not my place to divulge her personal history, but I have seen how she longs to hold a baby--her baby. She's fantastic with Hayden, and I'm sure she'd adore having trucks, trains, books, and all sorts of toys strewn across her home. So while I'm complaining, a dear friend would love to be in my place. Just the thought was enough to give me pause.

We had a family reunion this weekend, and multiple relatives asked me, after hearing Hayden say nonstop, "Momma, Momma, Momma...", if I ever tired of that. My reply was simple--"I once did, but then I realized one day I won't be cool enough for him, so I don't let myself tire of hearing my name now." Plain and simple.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Toddler Talk 3

#14 Your child will only take the lengthy naps you dream about on the days you need and/or want to go somewhere.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Toddler Talk 2

#13 Your child will not wake from a nap until you are right in the middle of completing a task you cannot do easily while he is awake. ie., dishes

Toddler Talk

I've learned a great deal as a first-time mommy to a now toddler. Here is a (definitely non-comprehensive) list of a few of my "finds":

*Note: these pertain to my child, but I'm sure you'll find truth in many of them for yourself!

#1 The more you clean, the bigger the mess your child will make...and usually in another room where you have no idea it's taking place.

#2 Your toddler will love any kind of water: the bathtub, the toilet, and especially the dog's water bowl.

#3 Getting ready to go anywhere will no longer be a simple process. For example, you, as the put-together mother that you are, may merely want to apply a little mascara before facing the world. However, what typically may have taken 5 minutes to apply pre-baby now takes 20, simply because you have to stop your toddler from unrolling all of the toilet paper, flushing the toilet, emptying the cabinets underneath the sinks, chasing the dog, hitting the dog, pulling all of your shoes out of your closet, opening your dresser drawers, playing in the dog's water bowl, crying for no apparent reason, throwing his cup and any toys he can get his hands on into the bathtub, and trying to eat the Swiffer. And that's while you ONLY want to apply mascara. We haven't even discussed showering, doing hair, applying the rest of your make-up, and getting dressed. Oh, yes, and you still have to dress your toddler who refuses to sit still for anything! Tired, yet?!

#4 Your toddler will help put items away; unfortunately, his idea of "helping" may be pulling the dirty clothes out of the hamper and placing them, oh so gently, in a bathroom drawer. He'll be so proud, all you can do is laugh and thank him!

#5 There will be days you desire to change your name. Hearing "momma" 21,754 times a day will be difficult at times, but one day you know you'll miss being called that precious title all day long. Remind yourself he'll never be this young again nor under your roof forever.

#6 You will find yourself listening and watching in amazement as your toddler has entire conversations with anything and everything. He will "read" the same page of his favorite book for 10 minutes, even it only contains 4 words!

#7 Your toddler will know sooner than you wish which items he had better grab and run; for example, the television remote!

#8 A mother's heart can't imagine loving any little person more than her child, but you will crave adult conversation at the end of a long day.

#9 Some days you can't win no matter you what you do: pick up, put down, pick up, put down, throw temper tantrum on the floor, pick up, put down, pick up, put down, throw juice cup at dog, scream, pick up, put down...continue as long as necessary until your toddler finally decides what he wants (and only that will last for a few precious seconds!).

#10 You will tell your child you love him all day every day even when he has pushed you to the extreme.

#11 You will dance and sing and look like the biggest idiot to get your child to stop crying or to get a giggle out of your little person.

#12 Even on your "I hate me" days, your child will love everything about you, even the mushy and gushy parts!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Silly & Small/Large & Life-changing

Many days here lately I feel I am just floating along, when suddenly wham! a million new changes begin taking place. Some of them aren't major: we let our cat venture outside, she disappeared (really, not a heartache), then she showed up at the back door yesterday. By the time I had food for her she was gone again. We are just thankful to know she's still alive, but I certainly don't miss the smell of cat in our house!

Other changes are taking more getting used to. Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University has me thinking so differently about money, even from when I was more disciplined a few years ago. I look at purchases differently and even at things friends share with me about their purchases. Please take this as kindly as you can, but we are typically very stupid with our money. David and I don't have it all figured out, but we're on our way to being in an entirely new league. I'm so proud of my husband. If we don't have it in our account, we don't spend it. If it's designated, we don't spend it. If it's not in the budget, we don't spend it. I know many times before we've said this money was for thisorthat, but we'd borrow against thisorthat in our heads and then just get all messed up. No more. And as silly as it sounds, it was very difficult not to swing through somewhere and pick up something to eat after VBS last week. Going out to eat is a treat, not the norm anymore. Knowing what we spent eating out was a complete eye-opener for us.

Have you ever both loved and hated where you live? I love being near family and back at the church David and I met. But if you've never been to the MS Gulf Coast, it's hot and humid 3/4 of the year! Not good for good hair days!! We're still rebuilding in many senses post-Katrina and now with this oil spill, life is going to change drastically again. We have an incredibly large Asian/Vietnamese population that makes their living fishing/shrimping. That option is probably about to be eliminated which means these families will be forced to move on. Family places, restaurants, and shopping are growing, but communities are not very family-oriented here. I love teaching, but middle school is a difficult age. However, many places are either firing or not even hiring, so I'm super thankful and blessed to have a job. I know, I know, there are pros and cons to living anywhere, but you know how it seems: the grass is always greener on the other side. I just needed to put these thoughts down, that's all.

Hayden's toys have all been moved into his room and the changing table is gone. *sigh* He needs new clothes; it's as if he suddenly sprouted overnight! He's so close to talking in sentences and his vocabulary is increasing daily. My mom and sister swear he said, "Daddy at work," the other day. I was outside so I missed it. He brings me each of his books at least twice a day and crawls up into my lap to read. I've done some rearranging around the house to shake things up until we can buy new furniture and update our furnishings (thanks, Dave Ramsey).

And lastly, I guess I'll close with this: we need prayer partners. David and I are considering becoming foster parents. He repeatedly brings this up. Neither of us can handle that so many children are unwanted or can't be cared for. Maybe this is our mission field right here. David is stepping up at church and taking more leadership roles, but we feel called to do more. If this is what God would have us do, please pray that everything would fall into place and we would get the child perfect for our family. We're not ruling out having another baby by any means, but the timing isn't right for us now. That may not make sense to anyone but us, but we're praying this through.

So there you go--changes. Some silly and small, some large and life-changing.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dog+Baby=NEVER Alone

Yep, that's what I've learned. I can't do anything in peace anymore. NOTHING. Not the laundry, not tv, not dishes, not eat not even use the bathroom! Hayden has always followed me, but the dog has become increasingly worse. Today I was pushing Hayden inside the house and out in his birthday present: a 3-in-1 trike. Belle followed at my heels; we must have looked like a conga line. It was hilarious and a pain all at the same time. Both want my undivided attention 24/7. Maybe when people ask me when we're trying for number two I'll just tell them, "I don't need another baby right now; I have one child and a dog!"

I'm trying to remember that one day I'll miss these moments, but there are some times you just need a minute. It's too blasted hot to spend too much time outdoors. It's supposed to feel like 110 degrees today and it was already so stuffy this morning as we pushed in the trike. It seems like Hayden learns something new everyday. He's very good at helping me rearrange my drawers and cabinets. He has certain ones he can play in, and boy, does he!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Top to Bottom

I was just about to blog that I have cleaned my house top to bottom (literally), when I realized I forgot to dust the ceiling fans! But you know what? The furniture is dusted and the floors are clean, so the fans can wait. They were done not too long ago anyway. Some mopping and dishes to finish, and of course, another load of laundry always awaits, but overall, my house smells and feels so clean! I had been putting off things like organizing closets until I was finished with school, and I decided that first week out of the gate was it. It's taken me 3 days because a certain 13 month old makes another mess while I clean a previous one. And he thinks he needs to inspect e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. You mommys can relate! I've had to do most of my work while Hayden naps, and since morning naps are disappearing, I'm working very quickly in a short amount of time!

We've also rearranged the bedroom and the living room. Maybe I'll put pictures of those up later. Right now, "Hurricane" is stirring and he slept through lunch so I better go feed the beast!

Monday, May 31, 2010

5 Best Statements of the Year...A Look Back

So I heard A LOT as a teacher. Much of what I heard consisted of back-handed compliments. (Don't you just love those?!) I've been thinking through this past year and wanted to share some of these statements/conversations with you. I think I have them ranked pretty well from 5 to 1. Enjoy, and be glad you didn't have some of my jewels!

5. "Your shirt is really busy." (Said by a female as she made a disgusted face. My response? "Why, thank you! My son really likes it!" This was when Hayden was about 3 months old and really liked the contrasting shapes and colors.)

4. "Ohhhhh, you straightened your hair today." (Said by same female after I had worn my hair curly for a few days. She obviously didn't like the change!)

3. I put together a slideshow at the beginning of the year to introduce me and my family to my students. There's one picture back from our dating days. At least one male in every class remarked, "Wow, Mrs. Ainsworth, you were really hot back then!" Sigh.

2. Another female checking out a picture of me and David on my desk. Again, from dating days at Bellingrath Gardens in AL. Again, when I had a ton of time to work out. Her reaction? "Oh, Mrs. Ainsworth! You were so...." "Skinny?" I asked. "Well, I was going to say 'pretty'...but you still are! No, really, Mrs. Ainsworth!!" She was grasping and trying to get the taste of shoe leather out of her mouth.

And FINALLY...
1. Said just last week by a male student. He was commenting on how big another teacher is (who isn't at all!) and then he looked at me and remarked, "It's okay you're fat, Mrs. Ainsworth, you've had a kid. It happens." Sheesh.

So that's why I'll be getting up at 5 AM to go to the gym! Night, everyone!
May 7th graders be better!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Security Gland

We are making great strides with our steps toward financial peace. We are about halfway to Baby Step 1, and that's only in 2 weeks. It has to be God! No way could we be paying all of our bills and still living and still putting money into the bank. It's tight, and yet we have money left in the bank! I'm so proud of my husband: he's taking his lunch and we're eating at home even more than we were. We've scaled back in other areas and we're visiting banks and making changes to things we never should have done in the first place!

But through just the 2 weeks we've had of FPU thus far, one thing has really stuck out to me. It comes from Dave Ramsey's book, pg. 144, of The Total Money Makeover: "God wired ladies better on this subject that He did us [men]. Their nature causes them to gravitate toward the emergency fund. Somewhere down inside the typical lady is a 'security gland,' and when financial stress enters the system, that gland will spasm." AMEN!!!

C'mon, ladies, think about it. You know we have a security gland. I know I do! It really affects my relationship with David, even when I don't mean for it too. But I can't believe how far we've come in two weeks. We still have some tough roads and choices ahead, but we're tackling them head on. If we keep this up, maybe we'll rebound and be so much better off faster than I could have dreamed. It's only because God is blessing, I know!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FPU

My husband and I are embarking on the adventure of Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University." I'm overwhelmed and anxious and way excited about it. We're learning things we knew years ago; doing them was another matter entirely, which is why we find ourselves where we are currently. That all sounds pretty depressing, I know. But it's not! I'm so thankful to have a game plan and to have stick to it and to be held accountable by a group. Money is a completely sensitive issue, but we're not in this boat alone! (Nor are we as bad as we could be, so I know we can get out of this mess.)


I foresee us in the coming months not living paycheck to paycheck, not merely trying to survive like so many people right now. That gives me such hope! It's not fair to Hayden and our future children for us to squander so much money. If I can make it through the next 3-6 months of getting on the right track, I think I'll find my attitude completely different and ready for the next year and the year after that and so on. We can be debt free soon! It's going to take a significant amount of prayer, willpower, discipline, and maybe even some heartache. Gosh, I LOVE stuff! It's amazing what I've talked myself out of since we found out we were pregnant and since (you know, you start going, "Oh, we need a changing table, so I don't really need new shoes or that purse or that 'whatever'."), but I think I'm about to talk myself out of even more! Would I love a new this or that? Absolutely! Is it vital to surviving today? NO!

Granted, I know this is all easier said than done, which is why I'm laying this out here. I can't tell you how thankful I am that we're doing this NOW, so that Hayden can see us model excellent money habits, and so that he starts off on the right foot as well. I'm also amazingly blessed to have a husband who's in this with me and who is ready to commit to the steps. I want to be completely different in so many respects when I go back to school in the fall. I must be a different person or I'll never make it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Internet Down & Recents

Our internet down and until we're back up and running I'm not able to post consistently. Here are just a few recent happenings:

Hayden's one year check-up went well. He's 28 lbs. and 33 in. long.

He knows how to shake his head NO very well.

He'll take about 2-3 steps on his own.

He is officially one and way too independent.

Transitioning to only sippy cups is not going well. Juice is fine, but milk in a cup is apparently not.

I'm so sick of 8th graders and every day is a struggle.

I'm going to be an aunt again in December!

There's more, but I'm tired and need to go cook supper. Take care, everyone!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Parts of Speech Poems/Raps

I couldn't resist not sharing, so here goes! I took some creative liberty, but for the most part, these should be accurate!

NOUN
A noun is a person, place, or thing,
Like the President, Mississippi, or a ring.

Very few people know there are 9 types of nouns,
Like singular, plural, possessive, and compound.

But wait, we're still not quite complete, for
There's collective, common, proper, abstract, and concrete.

When we think parts of speech we first think noun.
A word that replaces one is called a pronoun.

Nouns are found everywhere and in everything
From the mountains of Chile to the crowded streets of Beijing.

There's one last thing before I go
That I really believe you should know.

Don't forget that nouns can be an idea,
Like the hope for democracy in North Korea.

PRONOUN
Sentences can become so monotonous
When certain nouns are repetitious.

You need a replacement for a tiresome word,
One that won't change the meaning when it's heard.

Fur types of pronouns will be introduced
To help keeps nouns from being overused.

Personal pronouns are I, me, my, he, she, and it,
While each, any, and other are indefinite.

This, that, these, and those make up the demonstrative,
But what, which, who, whom, and whose round out the interrogative.

Pronouns keep sentences from being boring,
So when they're read you won't find yourself snoring!

VERB
A verb is more than just what you do;
They work like linkers and helpers, too.

An action verb tells what action a subject is performing.
He sleeps soundly and rises early in the morning.

Action verbs can show ownership or possession;
These fall under mental action.

Linking verbs are not just the form of "be"
Because you have to connect discriptors to words like "he."

Grow, seem, stay, feel, taste, and turn...
How can I determine what type of verb?

Action or linking, how do I tell?
There's a little trick I knwo quite well.

Replace the word in question with another form of "be";
If your statement makes sense, a linking verb it was meant to be.

ADJECTIVE
To describe a noun or pronoun
You need a modifier like tall or brown.

This modifier has a special name,
And no two ever need be the same.

I find absolutely no reason to fib,
When I tell you these words are called adjectives.

What kind? Which one? How many? How much?
Adjectives answer these questions and such.

Adjectives are quite the fun words
If you'll allow yourself some creativity,
For there's more than one way to describe stupidity!

ADVERB
How? When? Where? or To what extent?
How do I describe how I vent?

I must use another modifier
Like often, right now, sometimes, or never.

An adverb is a word that describes a verb,
But it also modifies an adjective or fellow adverb.

Many adverbs end in -ly,
Though that's not the only ending, so don't even try.

Some common adverbs are almost, seldom, quite, and very,
Again, away, down and already.

One word that's also this part of speech
Is the word "not" and that's no exception.
Don't let there be any misconception.

Adverbs can be quite the pill,
But don't you worry,
You'll get it still!

PREPOSITION
What do you do in a sticky situation?
Why, my dear, you use a preposition!

Where is my old, reliable car?
In the garage, on the road, or beneath the stars?

How do I show the subject's and verb's relation?
By using a cleverly placed preposition.

About, above, across, around,
Between, beyond, but, by, and down.

Over, past, since, through, throughout,
Up, upon, with, within, without.

These are just common prepositions
To help you along your mission.

Show the relationship between your subject and other sentence words,
Like where in placement to the tree are the birds?

INTERJECTION
Sometimes life leaves you reeling,
So you need a word to express strong feeling.

An interjection is what you need,
Like "Ow!" "Wow!" "Gee-whiz!" and "Please!"

Usually found at the beginning,
But not excluded from the ending.

So when life is in a happy state,
And you really want to celebrate,

Let out a loud "Yippee--ki--yi--yay!"
And maybe follow it with a little "Hurray!"

CONJUNCTION
Oh, conjunction, conjunction,
What is your function?

To connect words
Like sparrows with birds.

You have three kinds,
So I do not mind,

Putting together words or groups
Like luau and hula hoops.

Correlative and coordinating,
Not forgetting subordinating.

Each serves a unique function
That's why they are called
A conjunction.

And, but, or, and yet
Are always used to connect.

Both/and, and either/or,
Don't forget neither/nor.

To start an adverb clause
Might just for a minute
Give you pause.

Until you use a little mate,
Like after, since, or when
To help subordinate.

Copyright 2010 Jamie Ainsworth

Friday, April 16, 2010

Nerdy English Teacher

I am a self-proclaimed nerd. For example, my students presented on the parts of speech this past week. Each group had one part of speech, and one of the requirements was to compose an original song, poem, rap, or skit. I thought they'd really get into it. A few groups did, but not many. Anyway, to prove it could be done, I wrote my own poems/raps on each of the parts of the speech. If you're incredibly bored, give them a read.

*Disclaimer: A few I nudged a little to make them rhyme, but I doubt many people would really know that!

Well, nevermind, I can't figure out how to copy and paste them here without retyping all 8! Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Conflicted

When I titled this post earlier today, I had a different topic in mind: the E'Women's Conference I attended this weekend in Pensacola. Maybe I'll take time to further explain the thoughts that bombarded my already overflowing mind later (ie. emotion-based speakers and songs to tug at your heartstrings and make you cry every time you turn around, adoption, homelessness, anger, etc.--and probably not thoughts you would expect), but for now, this post will bear the same title though for a very different reason.

My parents finally got their Wii this past week. My mom and I are going to try to do Wii Fit as much as possible each week. I know I haven't lost the baby weight. In fact, I've even gained. I hate what I see in the mirror, and I know I'm not taking care of my temple...I'm destroying it. So anyway, today I had to weigh myself as I created my Mii. I've purposefully avoided doing this. Every time I open my closet and see racks of clothes I cannot wear, I cry. Ask my dear sweet husband who still tells me I'm beautiful how many times in the last year he's seen me cry over my weight. But I have a hard time believing it because I don't feel beautiful, not because I believe he's doing it to pacify me or to get something for himself.

I have been through weeks during the past year where I did work out, and my mom and I try to walk, but it's been difficult. I have excuses, and I shouldn't, but it's been a tough year on so many levels. But enough about that. I'm conflicted because I have this picture on my desk at school of David and me in college my senior year. I was hot. That has been the only time in my life I have felt that pretty. I don't even daresay beautiful, just pretty. Sad, huh? I have ALWAYS struggled with my weight. And when you're a big girl and have a short haircut, well, assume what you will. BEEN THERE. But I realized today how much weight I need to lose to get back to my college weight. I don't want to even share that. I'm so disgusted with myself. So disgusted.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Pics












Just a few snapshots from our first Easter at a family of 3! It was a blessed day, but tiring! (They're backward from the day's events, but enjoy anyway!)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Baby's First Easter...

Baby boy's first Easter was in a word...tiring. We wanted to get pictures of him this morning by the fountain at church and I wanted family pictures, but the day was quite dreary and humid. Plus, somehow we managed to run behind, so it left little time for anything!

The services at church were good. I hate the way this will sound, but they were the normal Easter service. We had people make their yearly or bi-yearly visit; there was floral in abundance; white shoes squeaked on the floors; and even a few hats bobbed their way through the doors.

Afterward, we hurried to Wal-Mart to pick up a cake to take to my grandmother's. Some of my family from Memphis was in and since they won't be here for his first birthday, we did a little (and I mean, little) party for Hayden. My grandfather's birthday was the 1st, so it was a joint celebration. We had lunch, then the traditional Holloway Easter egg hunt. The little kids take one side of the yard first, then the older grandkids take the other half when they're finished. In the past each egg had a slip of paper with a dollar amount in it. Some of us have racked up close to $100 before. This year each egg was worth a buck. It adds up quickly when over 600 eggs have been hidden! Plus, Hayden got to go with the "little kids" and Mommy got to go with the "big kids"! Unfortunately, he missed his main nap, so by 3:00 he was getting to be a pill, and we were having trouble speeding things along.

All in all, it was a very good day. My boys looked so handsome and matched in their light blue; I stuck out with my teal, but it was still a new top, which was nice! I will put a few pictures up when I can. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are on their way and I need to get ready for a busy week!

Happy Easter, all!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What NOT to Do

It's very early and I must finish preparing for work, but I just wanted to share a though that came to mind late last night. Through the scores of parent conferences I've been a part of this year, there is one overwhelming thing I've learned: what not to do with my children. I'm serious. I'm amazed at how many parents do not know how to deal with their children. "Well, we've tried this and we've tried that, but nothing works." Well, you know what, parents? I only have an almost 11 month old, but I know that parenting is HARD!! And sometimes, no, 2 or 3 discipline methods will not work. Keep going!

These thoughts came after a particularly difficult and frustrating conference yesterday in which one of my8th grade boys is dating a senior. Yes, you heard me. No, he's not just bragging about it. It's true. HEADLINE: Senior girl dates middle school boy. UGH. (Shudder.) Anyway, mom was just like, "Well, what's a parent to do?" She shrugged her shoulders. I nearly came across the desk. I can't share too many examples, but just know I've learned some things to avoid when it comes to Hayden and future kiddos!

PS. He'll be 11 months old TOMORROW!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

1st Park Visit

This past Sunday, March 14, the weather was just absolutely too beautiful to spend inside. We don't get many beautiful, non-humid days often, so David leaned over during church and whispered that we should take Hayden to the park. I readily agreed. I'm just now taking time to put the pictures on the computer and I wanted to put some from his first visit to the Little Children's Park in downtown Ocean Springs.


Hayden loved the bouncy bridge, and he seemed okay with the slide. Forget the swing, however! As long as it was sitting still, he was fine. Once we pushed it, he was no longer cool! This really surprised us. We didn't stay too long, as there is only so much you can do with a 10 mo. old who's just learning to really walk.



On our way out, we stopped to take a few pictures on the wooden bridge that leads from the parking lot to the playground. Once Hayden decided to start licking every rail, we decided it was definitely time to go. Please don't think I'm a bad mother; we did try to stop him, but he thought it was a game! I'm very much looking forward to more park visits later this spring and summer, when it's hopefully not too unbearably hot!




3 YEARS

Today David and I celebrate 3 years of marriage. We have learned a great deal about one another, about marriage, and about life. I couldn't imagine my life without my soul mate. Happy 3 year anniversary, David, and Happy St. Patrick's Day, all!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Break & Growth Spurt

Spring Break is finally here! An entire week with Hayden and time to clean my house top to bottom! Yes, I'm actually excited about that!

We also have a 1st birthday party to plan. Any tips, suggestions, and cost-cutting ideas? Please share! I have some in mind, but I have to do some looking this week at some things. I took his clothes that do not fit anymore out of the nursery; yes, so, he doesn't have nearly has much clothing as I thought! So church clothes, short/shirt sets, t-shirts/polos, and books are on the birthday wish list! He received these amazingly cute 18 mo. smocked overalls at a shower, and we decided to try them on him today just because. Thank goodness it's warm enough because he MUST wear them to church tomorrow since there may not be another time to wear them. I also bought a Carter's 24 mo. pair of dressy overalls that he'll be wearing next week for the same reason!

And finally (and quickly, since Hayden's waking up), baby boy must have hit a growth spurt because all he wants to do is eat and sleep. He slept from 7:30 last night with no wake ups until 6:30 this morning, then took a nap from 9-10 (which he's been skipping lately), and he's been down now since noon and it's 2:10. He could walk if he'd let himself and cruising around the furniture and using one of his riding-to-walking toys gets him pretty much anywhere. Oh, and he loves the baby that lives in the full-length mirror in the master bath and the baby that appears every night when daddy gets home in the mirror above daddy's chair! Hayden has this infectious laugh that I want to capture forever!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Enough of 8th Graders

That's all this post is really to say... that I've had ENOUGH of 8th graders (and some of their teachers!). My patience is gone, I'm tired, and nothing I do is ever cool enough. That's fine; I'm okay with not being cool, but no matter what I do they still can't speak or write correct English!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Knees

Well, world, I've finally done it! I've finally realized that I can get my belly up off the floor and crawl on my knees. Man, was I ever proud of myself! You should have seen the look of shock on Mommy's face. I still drop at times and do my old reliable army man crawl, but being up isn't too bad! I finally accomplished this feet at about 5:30 PM, Friday, February 26. I've gotten up on my knees for some time now, but I had yet to propel myself forward...until tonight. I have loved sleeping up on my knees, but crawling had to be mastered and I took my sweet time doing it.

However, I've been pulling myself up in my crib, at the edge of the couch, by the end table, on mommy and daddy's pant legs, whatever I can get my little busy hands on for well over a month now, maybe two. As long as I have something for security and balance I can take off! But again, tonight I almost accomplished another major feat immediately after I learned what it was like to be up on my knees: walking! I took one very tentative step before I hit the floor. I want to walk so badly, and I get my arms going, but I just haven't quite grasped balancing and moving. I can lunge well, and I certainly know how to shift my upper body forward, but putting it all together is taking all of my concentration. So look out! I think mommy and daddy are going to have a walker on their hands very, very soon! Crawling is great, but slow. Walking gets me where I want to be and into what I want to be into MUCH faster! Mommy thinks she has stuff put up where it's safe, but somehow I just manage to find it for her. I just want to show her that she hasn't lost anything!

And finally, I have added two more words to my list: cracker and cup. So, world, watch out...one very loud, vocal, busy little boy is off and running!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sick

I'm so sick of thinking things are finally coming together, only to have them fall apart. Now, I realize I'm being a little overdramatic, and my life is not ending. I'm merely inconvenienced. But it's simply more stress on top of what I'm already feeling.

Work has me quite frustrated. I've been spending every spare moment working on this specific set of paperwork. Today all of my team's paperwork was taken to a meeting to be evaluated and to be steered in the right direction. WELL...what did we get told? That the paperwork that we had been GIVEN in August was out of date (okay, this was given by the "official" person who directs this paperwork). We had never been given the updated papers! When was that going to happen? So all this time spent working on 15 sets of paperwork is irrelevant, and we must all start over. I wanted to scream. It's basically March.

I have to find some way to rid myself of this stress.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ROCKSTAR

Our baby boy is so proud of himself! He can quickly and easily pull himself to a standing position, and he loves his microphone rock station. The mic responds to his voice, and he has a blast rocking out for Mommy and Daddy. I don't think Daddy wants a musician, though; just an Alabama linebacker!

Check out other 9 month action shots at Facebook. I can't believe Hayden will be 10 months old tomorrow! First birthday plans are underway!

Monday, February 15, 2010

So Proud

This will be a quick post as Hayden has awoken from his nap. He has learned what he thinks is a great new trick---standing in his crib! The whole side of his crib does not drop or rise, just a foot-long piece across the top latches to hold him in. Well, the pieces for it got lost years ago (it's a family crib that has been shared but still looks amazing!), so we've just been putting off fixing it because the pieces are expensive to replace. Well, the time has DEFINITELY come to find a quick fix (I know, shame on us for waiting!). Yesterday morning Hayden and I stayed home from church because he's stuffy and croupy. I put him down for a nap. Twenty minutes later he was still fussy and I suddenly heard the mobile music come through the monitor. Okay, I thought, he just reached up and yanked on it. NOPE! After another 10 min. or so, he was still fussy and unsettled, so I ventured in, only to find him standing at the edge of the crib playing with the mobile! I scooped him up and just thanked God that he hadn't fallen; we've had 2 incidents where he has slid off the bed. Sigh. Oh, but here's the ghetto-ist part of all! In order to hold the bar up at all last night, I grabbed the first "cord" I could find and wound it through the wooden bars and secured it at each end. What type of cord, you might ask? Oh, that would be a white extension cord! Leave me alone! I was on my own and needed a quick fix!

Hayden's so proud that he can easily pull himself up now. He still isn't overly interested in crawling, except for the army man crawl and he's realized he can get around the entire house now that way. Nothing is safe!

We skipped the usual Holloway get-together at the d'Iberville family Mardi Gras parade yesterday. First of all, David and I care nothing for Mardi Gras--I just love the 3 day break from school! Secondly, Hayden with a cold did not need to be exposed to more wind and cool temps. Thirdly, I despise crowds and we would have had to hold baby boy the entire time. So we took a family nap instead! Then we ventured to Grandma's to hang out with the family.

Even though Hayden is almost 10 months old, we have his 9 month check-up today. I'm curious to see if he's gained any weight since his heart dr. appt. 2 1/2 weeks ago when he was 26.8 lbs. He's not fat, but he sure is solid and long!

And finally, here's our current list of vocabulary (as far as I can remember): Momma, Dada, ball, Belle, back, huh, do, Nana, Papa, more (sometimes), hey, dog, bye-bye, hello (sometimes), and a few other random sounds that haven't quite become words just yet! Oh, it's fun! And he quickly learned how to respond with an entire body "yes" when we tell him "no"!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blank

I'm beginning to think this is the mind of an 8th grader --->


















See that? It's a big, EMPTY space. Don't get me wrong, I totally realize I'm stereotyping. But I have also realized that most are incapable of reading (and goodness knows, following) directions, turning a paper over to see if anything is on the back, letting me or any other teacher finish speaking before raising a hand with at least 3 questions (all of which were most likely previously answered, but someone wasn't listening!), getting to class on time, going an entire day with cursing or letting a "That's what she said." fly, and completing an assignment without complaining about it. Because I'm tired, I know I'm leaving something out, but you get my drift.

I'm fairly positive my blood pressure shoots through the roof with my 4th period. I'm so tired of the whining, the blank or missing assignments, and repeating myself at least 8 times per class. Biding my time, that's all I can say.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Worry Lines

I'm sick of worrying. Tired of it. Over it. Yet...it's ALL I do. I know Who controls everything, yet right now life just has me down. I feel like I'm at a crossroads in many senses. Seriously thinking about talking to someone besides my poor husband who catches the onslaught of my worry, grief, and tears. Poor guy.

I'm breaking out, gaining weight, turning gray, and getting worry lines...all from stress. That's ridiculous. My life is good; maybe some things could be in better shape, but overall, it's quite good. I know people whose life just stinks; I'm so thankful I don't have those worries. Yet the troubles I do have, I obsess over.

I'm battling jealousy, dissatisfaction, job stress, and financial worries (always, not matter what's in the bank!). But I do need to be positive about one thing especially-- my fantastic husband. He blesses me in small ways every day, but last night he stepped out of his comfort zone, stripped the puke-ridden crib and Hayden (he can't stand throw-up) and slept in the guest room, since Hayden desperately needed one of us. David put him with me in our bed and journeyed down the hall. We could have fit in our bed, but it would have been tight and a very long night. Hayden doesn't normally (or ever, really) sleep in our bed, but poor guy, he needed the proximity last night. So thank you, David, for standing firm and secure when I can't.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bug

So my sister may be off the hook (see previous post). Hayden may have caught a stomach bug. Let's just suffice it to say that I believe I earned my mom's card tonight and that I've bathed the kiddo again, changed us both, put another load of laundry on, and the high chair has received a shower. Fabulous Sunday evening. But better 5:30 PM than 5:30 AM!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

No Chocolate for YOU!

I love my sister, but last night she decided to give my 9 month old a chocolate covered creme puff. It was adorable watching him get completely messy, especially since she had to clean him up! So fast forward to 6 AM Saturday morning:

-Hayden is awake, moving and making noises in the nursery,

-I go retrieve him, cuddle with him in our bed hoping for another hour or two of sleep,

-He starts making these gurgling noises in his throat and chest,

-We both pop up in bed and sit Hayden up,

-Checking him out, the noises somewhat pass but his tummy steadily rumbles,

-Daddy gets up, but Hayden and I stay in bed, talking and playing,

-He rolls over and suddenly white just begins pouring from him,

-He's covered, I'm covered, the clean sheets on our bed are covered (and I discovered later, his bed is covered; my bad),

-I scoop him up, traipse to the nursery for clean clothes, and decide a bath is in order,

-Hayden only wants to be held, so we take the fastest bath on the planet where in his fit at being in the tub at 6:30, he bumps his head leading to further "upset-ness,"

-We're out, dressed (definitely smelling better!), I change, and we try a bottle,

-By 7:30 he's in the crib asleep---until 10:30!

Needless to say, it was quite the adventurous Saturday morning! Daddy went to Senior Bowl in Mobile for the day, so after bedtime tonight, I spent the evening grading tests and watching Miss America. I'm a wild woman!

But I have definitely decided that my son gets NO MORE CHOCOLATE! Oh, and it only happened because I chanced to leave the room! Thank you, Aunt Erin!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dear Life,

Dear Life,

I am tired, overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. You have made it difficult to enjoy anything except my family right now. I don't know which way to turn at the moment, and I do not like this feeling. I do not care if that is the way you operate; you have made everything seem worse, and I do not know what decisions to make. Thankfully, I have Someone who does know, but even then, I am feeling so dry. So this is just a little note to say with all sarcasm, "thanks."

Sincerely,
Jamie

ps. I do not like this attitude I have, either, so a quick turnaround in the events of late would be nice.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

9 Months

Happy 9 months old birthday, little man! 3 months from today we'll be celebrating the big 1. Goodness! You still have NO interest in crawling, but you'll be walking on your own any day. We had always somewhat guessed you might, but now it's here. You giggle and cheese as soon as you see a camera, and you're learning new skills every day. I love talking to and with you and playing the mocking game. You've learned how to fake cough very well, and you don't stop until someone fake coughs back. Bouncing is your favorite acitivity right now, as well as being thrown in the air. Daddy refuses to let you not be a tough man! We'll be going for your 9 month check-up in the next few weeks, and I can't wait to see how much I'm carrying around every day and how long you've gotten! You are quite the little flirt (which Daddy thinks is great, but if you were a girl, it would be a different story!). You, my precious baby boy, have the most adorable and infectious smile. I'm so glad you are Daddy's and mine! We love you, Hayden!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Relaxation Vacation

Okay, so we'll definitely be going back to Sandestin. David and I had a fantastic time, and Hayden did great with my mom and dad. He giggled and lunged for us when we arrived home.

We stayed in the Lasata condos on the Grand Sandestin property. It was rather like a glorified hotel room with a small sink, refrigerator, microwave, and a few other small amenities. We were able to hit a Publix and stock up on some drinks and snacks. But we also did plenty of eating out: Jim 'N Nick's BBQ, Fudpuckers, Hartells, Another Broken Egg Cafe, and Dewey Destins (seafood). Technically, we could have not even have left the property and had all the entertainment, food, and relaxation we needed, but we sure did enjoy hitting the outlets and other malls, too! We also saw "Leap Year" Sunday night. Overall, it was a great weekend, even with the rain and overcast skies. We can't wait to go back and take Hayden. The entire place is very family friendly and safe. We highly recommend a vacation to Destin/Sandestin!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend Getaway

My sweet, sweet husband has surprised me with a weekend away! He spilled the beans earlier this week on where we're going: Sandestin. This will be our first trip without Hayden, and it will be the first time I've been away from him overnight. It's going to be great, though. My parents are watching him, and bless their hearts, they're staying at our house, so Hayden's routine won't be too interrupted. But back to the details of our trip. Oh, wait, I have almost none! I know the location and that we're staying in a condo.

I definitely need a vacation; even my students noticed that I need a break (and that's saying a lot!). I told one class yesterday that my patience level was at a zero and they had better cut it out. Surprisingly, that worked! Yesterday was my Friday since all my regular and backup babysitters are either working or sick today. I took the day off, and Hayden and I are spending it together while I pack and do laundry and get things ready to go. I think it'll be good to have all day with him since I'll be gone 3 days. I think we'll meet my mom for lunch and just enjoy the day together.

Hayden seems to have no interest in crawling, and I find myself continually comparing him to other babies, which I know I can't do. He loves to stand up, and when he doesn't realize it, he balances himself and will lunge forward. I'm afraid we're about to have a walker! He could do it, but he freaks himself out when he realizes he's on his own!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

26

Well, world, I am officially 26. And I'm pooped.

But this weekend is the first time David and I will have gotten away just the two of us since Hayden was born. My mom and dad are going to babysit. I know everything will be fine, but Hayden and I have not been apart since April 24. We have such a great routine, so I'm interested in seeing how he does. He's my little trooper and he's very comfortable with my parents, but it still makes me nervous. Remember...I'm a first time mommy, so this is quite the challenge for me! I still don't think I'm going to be able to sleep solidly because baby boy will be on the brain. But oh how I'm looking forward to being taken to a surprise location for a reconnection weekend with the hubby!

Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm only a...

Sometimes I feel so proud when I say that I'm an English teacher.

Other times, it's as if I've simply left out a word: "I'm only an English teacher."

Does that make sense to anyone else but my overworked, anxiety-driven brain?

I've pondered teaching at a higher level, but I really enjoy where I'm at currently. Well, not necessarily the middle school level, but I enjoy the grade-school atmosphere. But that's not a decision that has to be made today; first, the Master's has to be gotten! I realize I have a very important job, and I take it seriously. In my recent lesson planning, I have uncovered some great assignments I'm excited about; let's just hope the students are as well!

I don't know why, but tonight I find myself saying, "I'm only..." One day I'll convince myself I'm enough!