5 for Friday (Catch-up Edition)

Whoa!  It’s a crazy day!  I’m actually writing a blog post!!!  The perpetual excuse is I’ve been WAY too busy.  It seems like every moment is scheduled or that I’m absolutely exhausted I do have a moment (and therefore immobilized by all the many other moments of the day).  I can only give credit to this post due to my day off yesterday.  So let’s jump into my 5 things on my mind this Friday….

{ONE}

Yesterday was surprisingly hectic since it was a day off.  I joined big H’s class at a holiday performance at a local theater.  It was a family theater group, so adorable (and very talented kids) little ones were actually a part of the action.  Unfortunately, chaperones had to drive themselves.  I like to ride the bus with kids!  It lets me get to know all the classmates that H mentions at home.  Although it was a lot of sitting for those little bodies (3 hours! by the time they were dismissed), they did a great job!  I think the fake snow machine, Elsa signing “Let It Go,” and a couple visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus helped.  ;)  No photography was allowed during the performance, but I snapped this pic prior to it.

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Our faces were all red from the reflection of the light off the curtains.  H was very inquisitive about this, so we had a little mini science lesson while we waited.  Anything to keep him occupied!

{TWO}

I’m so thankful soccer is over!  I know that may be terrible to say, but I’m actually thankful it gets dark earlier.  We start settling down sooner (aka I may have put my PJs on BEFORE 5 pm one night this week).  He had a great season that wrapped up in mid-November.  While we were waiting at the performance yesterday, I asked him what it was going to be for the spring, try T-ball or soccer again.  He said, “Soccer!”

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H’s fan club pictured below…

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{THREE}

I’m looking forward to a visit from my mom this weekend.  We are taking the Hs to see Santa at my school bright and early tomorrow morning AND trying a new restaurant for my birthday.  We’ll have the littles in tow since the Mr. is in hot pursuit of a deer.  We always have a good time!  My mom, sister, and I took a little day trip back in November to Lee Hall (family home of Robert E. Lee and former plantation home outside of Richmond, Virginia).  We also enjoyed lunch and a wine tasting at the nearby winery.  It was such a beautiful fall day and fun to be with them without little people in tow!

My mom and sister

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This side of the house faced the James River

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My mom and I

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{THREE}

Helen is 9 months tomorrow!  I’m so happy that she is growing (although I confess to wanting to weigh her CONSTANTLY!)  and developing!  Plus, I’m excited to be coming to the last leg of breastfeeding.  Here’s a few pictures of our baby girl!

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{FOUR}

We took the kids to the Garden of Lights at the Norfolk Botanical Garden this weekend.  It is always so beautiful and a tradition we have done since Holden was 1.  My lap and hands were full with Miss Helen while we were going through the lights, but I had the Mr. take a few while we were waiting…You can definitely tell Helen is growing!  Look at those high-water pants!

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{FIVE}

I’m so excited for Christmas vacation this year!  We are spending our very first Christmas at home in exactly 10 Christmas of living in our home aka two apartments and two houses total.  We are doing a Christmas Eve dinner that will follow our church’s Christmas pageant.  Holden will be a shepherd most likely.  All my motherly dreams are fulfilled!  I’ll see my number 1 baby in a Christmas performance!  I’ll also use fancy dishes that haven’t seen the light of day in my home!  My Christmas is fulfilled already!  The Mr. is going to be in charge of the meat, and I’m in charge of the sides.  I’m not sure he’s totally OK with this.  He’s rather partial to my mom’s cooking and a bit skeptical of the new dishes I want to try.  However, I’m standing my ground and new dishes we shall try.  Can’t wait to be off from work and spend time with these guys with no schedule (sort-of…if you know me personally, you know we’ll have some type of schedule going on!)!

Advent wreath making at church

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Decorating the trees!  We have two this year.  One has our sentimental ornaments on it plus some other pretty ones.  That’s our real one.  The fake on has the old ornaments of my grandmother and the Mr.’s grandmother.  These are all the glass/delicate ones.

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Well, there you have it!  A quick catch-up from the past month + some!  I hope you have the best Friday!  Only 16 days until Christmas!  :)

Natalie

Dropping Off the Planet + Life Lately

Hi there!  Wow, fall is super busy for me!  I know some people just love this season, but it is always just too much of EVERYTHING for me after the relaxed pace of summer.  Hence…no posts since late September!  It’s like I just fall off the planet until about holiday time.  I bet other teachers would agree with me.  Things don’t seem to smooth out until Halloween.  Well, what is all this busy-ness we’ve been up to you may ask???

Helen’s been chilling at daycare…

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Holden’s been playing soccer…1 practice and 1 game a week except for our rainy spells.  I get to hang out with Miss Lovely on the sidelines.  Thankfully, we’ve had mostly warm weather which is good considering the 5 o’clock practice time.

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He built a fire truck and saw lots of firemen with their fire truck at the Home Depot Kids’ Workshop on one rainy Saturday.  We were glad to have C-Pa and Meme join us for this Saturday fun which also included PIZZA!IMG_4197.jpg

We all went to the Neptune Festival at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  Although no purchases were made (lots of art and artisans there), Holden score lots of free loot.

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He only tortured his sister slightly with it…

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I got a bang trim to prepare for my sis-in-law’s wedding which is THIS WEEKEND!  Can’t believe it’s almost here!

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I’ve still been doing running/working out when I can.   I signed up for a 5K the Saturday after Thanksgiving to keep me motivated.  I’m looking forward to a fast, short race.

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I got to do a trail run recently, and it was wonderful.  I just ran for enjoyment – not time or distance.  Saw lots of pretty scenery and just basically soothed my soul!

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until this happened…

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I tried to jump up on a fallen tree blocking the trail.  I was coming from downhill and didn’t have enough forward momentum.  Took a tumble!  Don’t worry…I eventually made it over after a couple of similar attempts.  It is still a quite lovely scabby mess.

We experienced some of Hurricane Matthew and lost power for a little over 24 hours.

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Lots of dog cuddling…

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I baked the above “chocolate cake” in the toaster oven on our one cord coming from the generator.

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Hunting season has started for the Mr., so we are doing our best to tough it out without him.  I think we did pretty OK.  I had my right-hand-boy with me while grocery shopping last Saturday.

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Aren’t those kid-sized carts adorable?!?!  He is such a big helper!

 

What’s Up Wednesday

Happy hump day!  This week is absolutely flying by!  I feel like October will have come and gone before I can turn around!  I’m linking up with Shay, Mel, and Sheafer.  Here’s “What’s Up” with us…

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What We’re Eating…

Lots of wraps!  I have had a almond butter, raisin, agave syrup and banana whole wheat wrap three mornings in a row!  I bought a big pack of wraps from Trader Joe’s to make veggie wraps for lunch last weekend.

What I’m Reminiscing About…

Previous falls!  I love these pictures of Holden taken at the annual CHKD Make-a-Scarecrow.  <3

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Here’s this year’s!

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What I’m Loving…

Catching up with my mom twice this week.  This is a big deal since I don’t live around the corner.  She came and stayed with us on Saturday, and she stopped by with my dad this evening on their way back from an appointment.  So nice to have a little talking time that does not involve a cell phone!

What We’ve Been Up To…(and Sort-of What I’m Dreading…)

For me, it’s been work, home life, sleep, repeat.  I have started going to the gym in the mornings two days a week.  It’s a little challenging find that time to workout for myself with two little ones in the afternoon.  Thankfully, the Mr. is super helpful, and he gets both kids up and going in the morning.  Love him!  Holden has been up to some soccer, lots of “creations” aka making things out of stuff in the recycling bin, and all sorts of fall-themed activities at his preschool.  Helen is eating solid food(!).  She’s had rice cereal, bananas, and avocados.  Bananas are her favorite.  Shocking, right?  The Mr. is heavily anticipating hunting season.  I’m happy for him, BUT I do really miss him when he’s off on those adventures.  Check out these funny e-cards (all from Pinterest) below…

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What I’m Working On…

Feeding Helen solid foods!  I take my food prep, children’s food, etc. very seriously.  I’ve been making all sorts of food (sweet potato, pear, banana, avocado).  I hope to do some winter squash this weekend.

What I’m Excited About…

I’m actually excited about decorating for Halloween this weekend AND our costumes this year.  Holden decided on “Indian!” and we’re all following along.  The Mr. is still saying that’s a big N-O to him dressing up.  However, I hold out hope.  We are making Holden’s, but I did buy him a little bow and arrow and a brown shirt.  We’re going to make him an Indian vest out of a paper grocery bag.  I so loved doing this as a kid!  Have no clue why we did it, but I vividly remember it.  I also got elastic headbands (and a brown onesie for Helen) for both kids that I plan to hot glue feathers to.  Here’s Crayola’s advice on how to do it.  

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What I’m Watching/Reading…

I did watch the presidential debate and instantly felt like an informed citizen (If you know me, you know this is a lie.  I’m usually clueless about current events).  I just finished Beautiful Day.  I would recommend it if you like an easy read with lots of family drama that isn’t your own!  I love the setting, Nantucket!

What I’m Listening To…

I jammed out to Mariah Carey’s “Hero” this morning.  So good!  I typically listen to Christian music mostly all the time.  I like this new song, Thy Will.

What I’m Wearing…

I’m still sporting all my summer clothes.  It really doesn’t feel like fall here yet with temps mostly in the 80s.  I feel like I need to be wearing rain boots all the time.  We had so much rain last week that school was closed on Wednesday and 2 hours late on Thursday due to flooding.  I kind of want this trucker hat…why does a hat cost 20 bucks?!?!

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What I’m Doing this Weekend…

Cleaning, Soccer Game, Visiting with the Hs’ C-Pa and Meme, finishing up Sunday School online training, teaching Sunday School, enjoying being with my fave people, and lots of other things!  Weekends are busy!

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month…

  • my sister-in-law’s wedding
  • Halloween and Granny’s visit
  • some teacher work days plus Veteran’s Day off with my babes
  • cool breezes
  • some runs before it gets chilly out there (I’m such a baby when it comes to running outside in cold weather!)

What Else is New…

Not much!  I will say my attitude is new this week.  I’ve been really trying to focus on gratitude, finding as much joy in the day as I can, and just being super thankful for all that God has given me.  I want to treasure all these blessings and use/tend them the best I can.

Hope your day has been a good one!  Only two days until the weekend.  Hip-hip-hooray!

Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

Weekending

Got to hang with my girl for some extra hours on Wednesday and also a bit on Thursday morning!  Holden went to school on Wednesday.  We are way too slow moving for him.  He did get to have extra time at home with Mommy and sister on Thursday thanks to a 2 hour delay for me.

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Gosh, why do I hate Sundays?  They overwhelm me from the moment my feet hit the floor.  I absolutely hate it!  I saw this funny e-card somewhere that said “Sunday…when we try to get our whole life together in twelve hours.”  So true and so unrealistically crazy!

I think the concept of Sunday as a day of rest is a wonderful idea.  However, Mommy and Daddy have to go to real jobs on Monday morning.  All the home jobs have to get done some time.  I can tell you that Monday afternoon at about 4:45 is probably not going to work for us (or 5:45ish in the case of the Mr.’s arrival at home).  So anwayyyy!  I obviously got a bit bogged down in the Sunday workday blues, but I/we had a wonderful weekend.  Nothing but great times!

Friday – Got off early, got my teeth cleaned (no cavities!), got my blood tested (so not fun but so worth it to be able to donate milk to the local children’s hospital milk bank), took a walk with some of my favorites and went to bed early

Saturday – ran ran ran in the morning after giving Hellie Bellie her first taste of bananas.  This went better than rice cereal.  Plus, her spit-up is now delightful!  A sweet, banana smell!  My mom aka Moochie visited us for the CHKD Make-a-Scarecrow event.  We’ve done this every year since Holden was born.  All proceeds go to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters!  We ate an early lunch at Commune…highly recommend!  Glad we got to go!  When I say it was a fast lunch, I mean it!  Holden changed into his soccer duds in the parking lot.  We picked the Mr. up on the way to the game.  Holden did great even though it was super hot at the game. P.S.  All this was done prior to 2PM.  Whew!  My mom and I left the kids with the Mr. for nap time and enjoyed fro-yo and coffee plus some grocery shopping/craft store shopping.  Love having her visit!

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Sunday – Baby food making!  So far, we’ve got bananas, avocado, pears, and sweet potato.  Helen has only had rice cereal and bananas.  Lots of freezer food!  We also took a nice walk at First Landing State Park.  It was such a great temperature and a perfect day to check out a new trail that we don’t usually take.  We came up on a nice little beach and let Holden and Roscoe (and maybe the Mr.) run wild.

Hope your weekend was a great one!  I can’t wait for another.

On a sidenote…I got stuck in the room I pump in at school this past week.  I found it hilarious, and I kind of wanted to not call anyone to help me out.  What does that say about how my work weeks have been going?  Hmmmm….The picture that I texted the Mr. below.  I was doing some slightly hysterical laughing.

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P.S.  Holden got a new bike.  He’s officially getting so tall and so big.  How is this happening!?!?  I want Helen to grow, and Holden to hold steady for a little bit.

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Weekends v. Weekdays

We are in the thick of the “weekdays” right now on this Wednesday morning.  It feels like it has been raining for 100 years, but it has really been only a full day of rain.  I woke up once for Helen and once for Holden last night.   Both times it sounded just like someone had turned a faucet on over our house!  Don’t you just hate the rain?!?!  It’s kind of cozy if you can stay home when it’s going on.  Unfortunately, that’s not what we were up to yesterday.  I have about a 30 minute drive to work in typical traffic.  Yesterday’s rain extended that quite a bit.  I just hate being late to work!  I have a hard time keeping the day going in a positive way when that happens.  Which brings me to what’s on my mind…weekends v. weekdays!

This past weekend was Holden’s first soccer game.  He loved it, and we loved watching him!  It was pretty warm with temps in the mid 80s.  The team split into two small teams, so the kids could play the whole time with no subbing.

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P.S. Boys 6 and under soccer is when things start to get a little more serious and a little more competitive!

Besides soccer, we got to attend a baptism of our old friends’ baby boy.  The Mr. was the godfather.  Doesn’t he look handsome?!  Baby and Godfather!14355539_1462250590457984_1420083822664243896_n.jpg

It was a beautiful service with lots of delicious food afterwards.  We also had a visit from Holden and Helen’s Meme and C-Pa.  This delayed nap time, so Holden was quite pleased! It was such a nice (and busy!) weekend.  I confess that Monday was not my favorite, and Tuesday was really not my favorite.  I’ve been really not feeling the work scene lately, and it’s been very noticeable.  Not to mention I’ve been pretty vocal about it!  Don’t ask me how I feel unless you REALLY want to know.

I know when I have times like this the most important thing I can do is to pray more.  Well, (sadly) I feel like I tend to pray less.  This morning I finally got myself together and spent a little time reading.  I came across this verse in Hosea 7 (verse 14).

They lie there sleepless with anxiety, but won’t ask my help.  

Instead, they worship heathen gods asking them for crops and for prosperity.

So true in my case!  I have chosen to fret and worry and obsess and just WALLOW about in my despair over working outside the home (let’s be real…there’s work inside the home too!).  Right now it seems to be my portion.  Although people say you can always change your course, I don’t feel that’s anything I can do now.  I’ve got to figure out how to make this work AND somehow enjoy it aka not be super miserable everyday.  A key part that I’ve been missing is PRAYER.  I totally have been skipping this in my life right now for worry, crying, whining, anger, and just general despair.

 So…I’m going to try to do better.  Does this seem like it’s the theme of your days?  I feel like it happens to be mine.  I am thankful for new days and fresh starts.  Even if today I may float away on the way to work.  It’s STILL raining!

Have a great hump day.

Natalie

 

To Teach or Not to Teach

Hi there!  I confess it’s WAY too late for me to be up on a school night.  My mind is absolutely spinning with some situations that really strike at the heart of me.  For me, it seems to be helpful to rehash everything 25,678 times when I’m upset about something.  So…you, my dear reader, are subjected to rehash 25,677 (<-I’m hoping to be able to give it a rest tomorrow!).

This is my tenth year teaching.  I’ve been at the same school for all those years.  I started with a provisional license that became my professional license in 2009.  I’m licensed in Specific Learning Disabilities, K-12.  I’ve taught self-contained K-2 as well as a mixed class of K-1 self-contained/resource students.  Basically, this means that some students need more help/more service time than others in that same group.  I’ve taught inclusion in grades 3 and 4.  This year I’m teaching in 4th and Kindergarten.  It is nice to be able to work with the little kinders again.  However, I confess it makes me want my own classroom again (like I had when I was self-contained).  I confess that I enjoy the younger kids more.  I think this would probably surprise some people that know me, but it’s true!

The point of this post is to say…I think I’m reaching my max of special education.  I know there are some teachers who go all 30 years plus in special ed, but I don’t think that’s me.  The special education paperwork, the general education paperwork (yes, I have to do both or help the general education teacher with hers), the model of inclusion (great for kids!  hard on this teacher), constant grade level changes, constant change of cooperating teachers, and just general attitudes really are wearing me down.

I don’t know what the next move is.  The Mr. and I spent a good hour tonight discussing my job and future possibilities.  No clear path revealed itself.  Short-term or long-term solutions did not appear.  A few truths though are…

  1. I do like kids, and I don’t mind teaching them!  ;)
  2. I’m reasonably good at it.
  3. I may be on the verge of “going off the deep end” soon if the little car temper tantrum is any indication.  Yes, I had a temper tantrum that resulted in flying objects all because I couldn’t find my car charger this morning.  Projecting my issues much!?!?!?
  4. I’m not too ambitious.  This lack of ambition is directly related to the fact that I very much want to be home with Helen (and Holden although he is in preschool and loving it now).
  5. I like to be in charge (#firstbornissues) and feel like I have some control in my job.  That, my friend, is lacking in my current situation.  I feel like things are changing all the time, and inclusion necessitates me being like a traveling teacher piecing together my day flying between classrooms that are not mine – Don’t get me wrong…my co-teachers are great and gracious!  However, I have no space that is clearly mine.  So it goes!

There you have it! My angsty, slightly whiney post!

What’s a teacher to do?!?!  Career switch suggestions??

A Sweet Weekend

It seems like our weekends are just as busy as our weekdays!  Honestly, I think I kind of like it that way.  I do have a tendency to overuse the “b” work aka BUSY!

I was admittedly very tired and more than a little overwhelmed on Friday afternoon.  I received a text from Helen’s daycare that she was a little more fussy than normal.  :(  Also, I had a lot of work that sort of plopped in my lap towards the latter part of the day.  Unfortunately, it had to be done THAT DAY!  Hate when that happens!  Lots of flaking out for us on Friday evening.

The Mr. left early Saturday morning to work on his hunting property, so the Hs and I had a nice, quiet morning until we went out around 10:30.  Holden and I made pancakes.  Helen and I snuggled bunches.  IMG_4095.jpg

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Our errands included Dollar Tree, the library (duh!), a make-your-own-chocolate-bar event (at The Royal Chocolate), the car wash, and the drugstore.  Whew!  We were home by 12:30!

Holden picked gummies and marshmallows for the inside of his bar and sprinkles for the outside.  We got to mix it up and then pour it into a mold.  Next, we sprinkled on our super-cool sprinkles!

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The chocolate event was a last minute plan that I found on My Active Child.  This is a great website for local events if you’re in the Hampton Roads area.  It’s also got plenty of local stuff that just adults might be interested in!  Check it out!  We also walked over to the little pond across from Town Center that we used to frequent when we lived there.  We saw a little duck family!  Then, Holden asked to throw some change in the fountain.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon lunching and trying to nap.  It was wishful thinking, and both the kids were restless.  Once the Mr. got home, we loaded up (along with some pea salad – here’s my recipe!) and went to our church’s annual BBQ.  Holden had a blast in the bounce house.  We enjoyed not doing dishes!  Just keeping it real!  I’m a hot mess and more than a little tired, but I was so glad we went.  I love our church and am so thankful to have such a positive place and people in our lives.

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Sunday was a very busy day!  We got a phone call very early that my mom was not feeling well.  Thankfully, all is better now!  We wanted to rush over to our Moochie but decided to wait a bit and see if things improved.  I’m happy to report they did!  Our Sunday was lots of church (I had Sunday School training), grocery shopping, gym-going, baking (2 lactation snacks – aka all Mommy’s treats), and a little neighborhood walk.  Gosh!  I need a day to recover from my weekend!  ;)

How was your weekend?

What’s the summer food you’ll miss the most?  Mine is watermelon and the easy to grill veggies like zucchini and squash!

What are you most excited about this fall?  I think I’m most excited about the decorations and just being cozy at home.

Have a great week!

Natalie