Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thoughts mainly on not missing teaching

I've been thinking a lot about where I am in life and how happy I am. Before Caroline was born I really struggled with letting go of my career--all the time, thought, effort, and energy I had put into teaching. Not that I wasn't excited to have my baby and stay at home--trust me--I was. But I just always wondered if I would sit down somedays and miss having a class. I worried that I would miss teaching and then feel guilty about missing it. I had never not been in school. My mom was a teacher, I was a student, and then I was a teacher. Weekends were always spent in my mom's classroom, I always had projects and assignments, and then I was the one spending late afternoons in my classroom and giving the assignments and projects. Here I am almost nine months into my endless summer (I still feel like because of the weather--I am on a prolonged blissful summer vacation--with dirty laundry and chores mixed in) and I don't miss my school life at all.

I do miss the kiddos that I taught. It was always so refreshing to have a group of helpful girls and silly boys. I miss the stories I got to bring home and the relationships I was able to build with my colleagues and families at the school. I miss projects--I love being busy like that but I do have a different busy-ness that keeps me very occupied and very happy. I miss recesses and fun days. I miss seeing progress in a group of students and the mini celebrations that we would have. I miss planning fun big things. I miss the sweet parents that would send the most thoughtful emails and chocolate pick me ups. I miss the friends I made.

Here I am with a sweet little girl of my own. I get to spend more time on my marriage and with my best friend. I get to show Caroline the world and teach and explore along side with her--oh how she teaches. I get to spend time with girlfriends and have my mom on speed dial--any time of the day. Instead of recess we go on walks every day and explore new parks. And everyday is a celebration because Caroline learns something new that makes me so so excited. Even more than when I was teaching.

If I could go back I don't even know if I would choose to major in teaching. Parts were hard. Harder than anyone can expect or prepare you for. I was so invested in my students that it hurt to see their families hurt or when their parents didn't really care about them.  Or when they didn't show for school events and performances. It hurt when they were on kindergarten reading levels and could't multiply or divide. Worry over what would become of this sweet person who clearly struggled trumped any frustration I ever had. It was hard when I did everything alone--lesson planning ain't a walk in the park folks. Sometimes I felt like I had to re-invent the wheel because of a lack of resources. It was hard when I had over thirty students and felt so defeated that I couldn't meet their needs. It hurt when parents would send mean emails--there were only 2 but oh, how they threw me for a loop. Luckily my parents were angels--I have the quilts, pictures, and chocolate (I have the pounds) to prove it. I don't miss the time and energy the job required. Or the toll it takes on your heart--because you literally love each students so much and want the best for them.

I miss those sweet students who showed me what it's like to be goofy and have fun. I miss buying school supplies and having an excuse to buy lots and lots of books. But ultimately I am so so happy to be at home. I would hate missing Caroline's moments and watching her little personality develop more and more each day. Being at home is so much fun and still lots of work. And right now I wouldn't trade any of that for the world.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Play. Play. Play.

This past week was super calm, which was really nice. Ben has been studying so hard for his next test...on May 5th! The test covers over 40 days of lectures and there is so much material this time around. Normally his tests or more frequent. While we've enjoyed a long break...if we can call it that...he has had to study so much. I guess it is good preparation for his other big doctor tests that he will have to take. 

The week that we have a fridge full of delicious fruit I get a ginormous ulcer! Seriously I was so sad I would just open the fridge and look at all of the luscious fruit that I wanted to eat. It was such bad ulcer...under my tongue and in the back that it still hasn't gone away. It's quit hurting (finally) and I've been off sugar all week. Luckily I rarely get them but it hurt to talk this week. One night during scripture reading I turned to Ben and told him we had to stop because I couldn't read anymore. Hopefully some of the fruit is still good because I am looking forward to feasting on it! 

Monday we got an Easter package from my mom!!! Ben had gotten a pair of Sperry's from her during her last trip and an amazon giftcard. My mom ordered some tom's wedges for me when they were half off on Zulily. I also got some new nail polish colors and a trip to get a pedicure. Can't wait to go! Caroline got the mother load. She got 6 new outfits, fancy washcloths, and a new hooded towel for bath time. Oh, and a pair of red sparkly toms that will probably fit her when she is six...oh well. They're adorable! I love packages from my mom! She puts together great surprises. 

Tuesday we went to the zoo with Brittany and Mia. Caroline loved going with a friend and it was nice to hang out with another mom. We went the opposite way as all of the field trip groups so we had the Africa side of the zoo all to ourself. On our way back we somehow missed path to leave. So we walked for a long time...I felt so bad because Brittany is 37 weeks pregnant but we just laughed and talked the while way back. By the time we got to the car Caroline was super hot and ready to go home. She took a nap and so did I. It was a fun day! 

Wednesday we went on a walk and I wanted to catch some pictures of Caroline in her new spring outfit. Yeah. naive mom move. She crawled all of the wet grass. So even though the pictures weren't what I thought I was going to get I still got some cute shots of her. Seriously she was so happy in the wet grass and amongst the leaves. I shouldn't have even bothered to put down a blanket because she was so eager to explore and get messy! 

Caroline has really been so so much fun recently. She is obsessed with water bottles and insists on getting a drink anytime she sees me taking a sip. She sometimes gets frustrated because I help her but she loves it. She also drinks out of Caroline cups at dinner time...too much backwash to share. Also she has started to play so well by herself. It's so funny to watch. She goes through her basket of toys and shelf of book and will pick things out and play. I've been able to get more accomplished at home but it is still way more fun to watch her. She really gravitates towards books, an orange um lanyard, and her glow worm doll that sings. And trash. She really gravitates towards trash. 

Friday Caroline decided it would be fun to start climbing stairs! She isn't super climbing but she has learned how to go up one step. It kind of freaks her out and she doesn't know what to do after that. But...it's crazy that my baby is climbing stairs. We also went to trader joes to get some veggies for the weekend...we were wiped out since that's all I was eating...and eggs. Ben came home and we got dinner together. 
Then we got an invite to go out with 2 other med school couples. So we just put up dinner that we made and went to shorty's and met up with the Clark's and the Estes. Mia was there so Caroline was entertained. Derek is a second year and was telling us his study schedule for step 1. Basically for six weeks I am going to be husband less. Ben will be studying 12+ hours every day. Crazy!!! So basically my mom is going to visit and I am going on trips to get me through and I will be soliciting friends to visit!!! It was fun to talk about church, Miami complaints and things we love about it, and our wards. Ben and I watched MUD after Caroline went to sleep and I basically slept through the entire thing. I've become a lame date, I guess. 

Saturday Ben studied all day and we just hung out around the house. We got gas at Costco and walked around tj max and home goods. 

Sunday was a treat! Ben woke up and made pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Nothing is better than a man in the kitchen or Sunday morning breakfast. We realized after we ate that it was fast Sunday. But since neither of us can fast we decided it was okay. We will get better at doing simpler things on fast Sundays. Our Sunday school class was really good. Because they practiced for the cultural celebration we just talked about elder holland hanging out with them and watched a movie about the restoration...they were all so exhausted from the day before. We enjoyed the rest of church, took naps, ate dinner, and went on a walk. 

Relief society was seriously the best today! Laura said a lot of things I needed to hear about being a mom and not comparing. I've really been struggling with that. This week I'm totally limiting my time on social media. I think that people are so eager to post about what goes right in their lives and not what's real. Not that I want to see piles of laundry and dirty dishes on Instagram but it's easy to lose perspective that real life isn't picture perfect. My child is super cute and adorable but she also has blow outs and some sad faces...especially when she's hungry! My house is usually put together but laundry is always piled up because of our teeny tiny washer and dryer and weekends we don't really clean because we would rather spend time together. Anyways, I don't know if that makes sense but I think it's good to take a break from social media and enjoy a good book, play with my adorable baby girl even more, and snuggle up with my husband. 


Morning stretches and smiles
Swimming can be tiring
Friday dinner at Shorty's
Hey Dad! Look at me!
Zoo Trip!
Worn out!
Cheesing it

A tasty read
Rearranging

Getting some beauty sleep
Stair climbing
Someone is having too much fun at church!
Messy. Messy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Power Goes Out!

A little late this week...Easter was good to us!

Monday was such a good day. Ben came home early and we went to Trader Joe's. We love that store. This time we picked up a few things to try or experiment with...chicken tiki marsala...I'm so intrigued. And a few indulgences...I never knew cookie butter could be so delicious! Caroline was a doll the entire day. 

Tuesday Caroline was just having a rough day. She cried so much and Ben has a temple shift but cancelled to stay home that evening to help with Caroline. I felt so bad that he wasn't going to help but so grateful because Caroline had a rough day. 

Wednesday was such a busy day. C and I finished up Ben's Easter basket and got a cute outfit for her. Then we came home and dashed to look at an apartment for Lindsay and sterling. They are moving here this summer and instead of flying out they are trusting us to pick out a place for them. The apartment was big and spacious and a minute walk from our place. It needed to be cleaned and repainted but all in all it looked nice. After that we went and watched Liam! Caroline and Liam loved each other. They would literally make each other giggle and Liam would come up and kiss Caroline. We enjoyed the Irvin's patio and Caroline loved their swing. We ran a few more errands and enjoyed a walk in the park. 

Thursday we had another girl's night to watch Grey's and Scandal. I also made banana nut muffins for Ben to take to school. It was a pretty calm day and C and I got lots done around our house.

Friday we counted down the hours until Ben came home!!! We had a nice dinner and went and grabbed ice cream and waffles comes for dessert. After Caroline went to bed we watched The Book Thief. Since I had finished the book I was itching to see the movie. It was well done and we really liked the actors. It was nice to not worry about school and I had Ben all to myself. 

Saturday started with excitement. At about 5 in the morning the power went out after a strike of lightening and a roar of thunder. The grocery store around the block had a super noisy alarm that we could hear. At first it wasn't so bad until it continued for over 20 minutes! Caroline was awake and her wildest dreams were coming true...she didn't have to sleep! Then a beeping noise in our house started to go off. We could not figure out what it was! It was so annoying. Then we discovered it was the inactive alarm system in our apartment. So we called ADT and the only was to disarm it was to find this 4x3 inch box somewhere in our house....with the lights off...and disconnect it. Talk about a wild goose chase. We found the box and Ben disarmed it. We won't be hitching the wires back up...too much noise for us!Luckily for Ben, I was wide awake so I cooked a full spread breakfast before he went to study. It was fun. I love love love breakfast food but not so much the early breakfast hours. But since I was wide awake it was fun to make a real breakfast for my little family It was a treat for Caroline too. 

After our exciting and early morning, Ben went and studied at the UM undergrad campus and Caroline and I got ready for Easter. After her afternoon nap we went and got Ben and we went to our favorite store...Target. We came home and I talked to my mom who went to my aunts house and my grandparents to get the scoop on family. I started to have a super bad headache and Ben was studying...so I went to bed early. 

Sunday Caroline had a rough night and my head still hurt. I was pretty much the lamest person ever. Ben was in the choir at stake conference that was in a building half an hour away. I just wasn't in the mood to travel with a cranky child and run around with her in a place where there want a chance she would eat or sleep. So we worshipped from home and read Book of Mormon stories. It was nice to rest and hear about the talks from Ben. 

Our Easter celebrations were so fun though. Ben and I set out Easter baskets Saturday night (I had put his and c's together Friday). Caroline got her zoo passes, flamingo pjs, and a flamingo outfit. Lucky girl. Ben got fancy socks, a tie, new flip flops, a Marlin's shirt, The Jungle Book, and a huge bag of pirate's booty. The easter bunny just knew that he would move that more than candy. Ben surprised me with an enameled dutch oven...I've really been wanting one, a book, some nonslip cutting boards, and a BYU alumni tshirt. After Ben came home from Stake Conference we dyed easter eggs! We later went to the Clark's for Easter dinner! It was delicious and we really like spending time with them. It was really entertaining to watch Mia and Caroline play together or tackling each other. Caroline was worn out afterwards and fell asleep in the car on our way home. Not wanting to end her nap we decided to go on a Sunday drive! It was so nice to drive through neighborhoods and discover new roads. 

 
We love the pool!

C has mastered sticking her tongue out!
Our chicken eater--she stuffs as much of it as she can in her mouth!

Power goes out breakfast!

Playing with Liam!

Found her toes!

I forgot! We also went to play group on Thursday and Caroline was fascinated by the toy...it made lots of noise and lit up!

Sitting on boxes

She just wants to get into the kitchen--and everything we don't want her to get into!

Sweet Sleep!

Easter basket fun!

Chasing Mia!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Orlando Week!

Ben has seriously been the best husband ever this week. He had school and on top of that we went on an over night trip and he took care of me when I had a super bad headache this week. I could not have made it through this week without him.

Monday Ben went back to school but came home early--he was done around noon. It was finally warm enough so we went swimming! Caroline was in heaven and all she wanted was to splash, kick, and sit in her float. Days like that are my favorite. I tried a new recipe for dinner--teriyaki meatballs and they were delish.

Tuesday was a weird day. Caroline had a really hard time sleeping and I woke up at 3 am with a super bad headache. Ben let me sleep all day and took care of Caroline on his one day off of school. I felt awful--one that I had a headache--and two that Ben had to use his day off to hang around the house. Ben loved having some one on one time with Caroline and my headache went away and only cost me one day instead of two this week. I was so so grateful.

Wednesday morning Caroline and I went to the zoo! We started walking toward the entrance and something wasn't right--it was all barricaded off. They are redoing the entrance of the zoo so the entrance is on the opposite side. We walked around and we saw the lions and found a really cool waterfall. My friend Kenzi and her two boys met us there and we walked around for about thirty minutes until all of the babes had had enough. We came home and Caroline took a nice long nap. We also started planning and packing for our trip to Orlando.

Thursday we started packing! I also made a mini craft play thing for Caroline. Nothing impressive at all but I just cut fat quarters into 1/4 pieces so she can pull them out of a wipes container. At first she wasn't entertained but once Ben came home she found them fascinating.

Friday our plan was that Caroline and I would pick Ben up at school around 3:00 and we would head up to Orlando from there. Once Ben got to school he found out his afternoon meeting was cancelled and came home and helped me finish load the car and turn off everything in the house. We were on the road by one! We got to our hotel, unloaded, and drove to Downtown Disney! I was so excited and so was Ben. We parked and walked around. They are totally revamping downtown and I think it is going to be awesome. The walkways were really narrow because of the construction. Caroline absolutely loved it! There was music--not too loud, just right--and lots of people and lights. Basically her dream come true! We grabbed sandwiches--mine was delish--Thanksgiving on a sandwich basically. Turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, dressing, and cheese. It was heaven. Ben really liked his sandwich too and the fact that it cost him/us less than twenty bucks. We walked around some of the stores--I just love Disney-- and grabbed some Ghirandelli shakes on our way out. The sundae line was super long be we decided that while our shakes were yummy (I got a chocolate banana salted caramel and Ben got a chocolate strawberry shake) we should have waited in the other line because they are basically the best dessert ever. We left and came home and got ready for bed. Caroline was sleeping in her pack n play but had a really hard time so Ben brought her into our king bed--she slept just fun--horizontally--between us. That girl! And Ben and I have decided that with his first real paycheck, or two or three, we are getting a king bed. We need the room!

Saturday, Ben woke up early to go to his conference with his friend Danyelle who came up for it. The conference wasn't as exciting as he hoped it would be (the one class about finances that he was looking forawrd to was cancelled), but he learned a lot. Basically he learned that there are jobs everywhere---doctors are needed. So anywhere we want to go--we can go there. He also learned about residencies and jobs as well. They were done by noon because of the cancelled class.

Caroline and I woke up and went to walk around some huge outlet malls by disneyworld. There were lots of fountains and garden areas and we browsed through a lot of the stores. I did get a $15 dollar Vera Bradley purse (was 70 before) that I've been wanting--I haven't gotten a new purse in so long. Around noon Ben called and said that he was going to meet us there at the outlets. Ben arrived and he was trying to find us and things just weren't working out. I told him to meet me by the nike store but he couldn't find me. Seriously? I was so bugged because how hard is it to find someone by a huge nike store. So we decided to meet by the huge adidas store. He still couldn't find me. Caroline was a cranky and I was feeling like I was in a twilight zone or something. I could not find my husband and he couldn't find me. I was so frustrated. Finally I told Ben--I don't think we are in the same place. I sent him my location on my phone and it ended up we were at two separate outlet malls. SERIOUSLY?!?!?! I was at the Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineyard and he was at the Orlando Premium Outlets on International Road. Same store, same layout, opposite sides of town. And the Vineyard outlets were off of international road--talk about confusion. Ah ha! We were never going to find each other. Both outlets were about 15 minutes from our hotel in opposite directions. So Caroline and I packed up and met Ben at the hotel. The whole thing really had me frustrated for a little bit (I couldn't find my husband) and Caroline was screaming so I told Ben to have food for me when I got to the hotel. Like a knight in shining armour he swooped Caroline out of the backseat and had food ready for us when we got back to the hotel.

Our hotel wasn't our favorite and we really missed our own bed (even though the king was nice and spacious) so we decided to pack up. Caroline was a champ in the car--seriously, she exceeded expectations. She did have a blow out--but I guess thats what happens when you don't poop for two days! We stopped and changed her and she rode home naked the rest of the way.

Ben and I were soo tired today as well as Caroline. We went to church, got our Temple Dedication recommends and came home and crashed. We had Trader Joe's Lasagna (so good) for dinner. The plan was we would have gotten home today and I wanted something easy. It worked out so well and we will be stocking up on it--I can't make it for that cheap! Ben went to Stake choir and Caroline and I enjoyed a walk. It was a much needed relaxing day for us all. Caroline was exhausted by 7:30!

Swim time!

This float is her favorite thing! Even at home she loves crawling on it and dreaming that she is swimming in the pool!

Caroline has really been obsessed with crawling in her car seat--she obviously thinks its the best place to read!


She's a big girl--pulling up on everything!

Toes!

One ball just wasn't enough!

See? Obsessed!

Best strawberry and and raspberry eater I know!

the zoo!

One of my favorite outfits!

Lately C keeps pulling her bows over her eyes and shaking her head around like "Guys, who turned off the lights?" it's hilarious. Don't worry, I always help a girl out.

Since she learned how to stand up in the card--she officially a buckled up baby! At first it made her really mad, but then she decided to roll with the punches and sit back and relax!

My mom had just texted me "you are a great mom" and I sent her this picture--like really? Caroline had crawled under the table and couldn't get out. Poor girl.

Helping me craft!

So many choices!

We made it!

Me and my girl!

Curious about everything!

Shakes!

More car seat time??? No!!!!!

The outlet malls put a smile on her face

Naked baby driver!

My favorite pj's!

I've been outsmarted! 

Blurry but goofy--like almost all of our pictures!