Friday, August 28, 2020

Flying Southwest Airlines During COVID

 A few weeks ago, my family made it out to Colorado for a nice little socially distanced getaway in the mountains. Aaron and Eli drove, so that we could have our car and all of the belongings packed into it. But we had some Southwest credit to use, and I was also not super excited about the idea of riding in the back seat of our Toyota Camry for 10 hours with a three year old and a seven month old. So Addie and I flew! I took a few photos and videos, and wanted to share a bit about my experience. Of course not everyone is ready to fly just yet, but some people have been waiting to see their family for months and months, some may be ready to get (safely) out of the house, and others may have to travel for work or other business. So here is a bit about my experience flying Southwest during COVID-19.

First of all, since Aaron was driving and had our larger items, I decided to just wear Addie and carry only her diaper bag and my small carry-on purse. I didn't check any bags. Because Addie is a lap child, I still had to check in at the Southwest Counter in order to show them her birth certificate. At KCI, it was completely dead, as you can see in this video. Everyone is doing online boarding passes on your phone, and even checking bags in at the self-service counters. They are also practicing spacing and social distancing.

I was met with another largely non-existent line at the security area. They had one side shut down, and then Xs marked on the ground for you to stand and distance. I was wearing Addie, so they had me go through the separate Xray scanner. Easy peasey. 

The gate area was the first time I actually saw any other people. Everyone was masked (as required), and then most people were able to leave seats in between each other in the gate area if they weren't traveling together. Southwest has also revamped their boarding process, so they only call ten people up at a time and have them socially distance when boarding. (So A 1-10, then 11-20, etc). I got on with the family boarding after the A group was done. 

All middle seats are open on Southwest right now, unless you are traveling with someone and would like to sit right next to them. Basically, you won't have more than two people in a row. This is set to continue through 10/31 as of now. Masks are required unless you are taking a drink or grabbing a quick bite to eat. I always saw everyone masked. I grabbed an aisle seat and had a nice masked convo with a very sweet lady who was going to visit her grandkids.

They did not do their typical service, but instead offered lidded water cups and a snack bag if you wanted it. People who were uncomfortable with that just declined the offer. I should also mention that Southwest is using an air recirculation system that "introduces fresh air into the cabin every second while inflight, resulting in a complete exchange of cabin air every two to three minutes. We use HEPA filters onboard that remove 99.97% of airborne particles*—similar to the technology found in hospitals." ( They are also taking extraordinary measures in their cleaning, which you can read more about here on their website. 

There has been more and more research lately on how air travel (when done well like Southwest is doing) is actually safer than ever. I have read a few articles about how COVID-19 did not pass from an infected passengers to others while on board, even during the sustained time together, because everyone was masked and because of the air filtration being provided. I certainly felt like they were taking great care of us all, and I was pleasantly surprised that most of the experience felt fairly normal, other than the extra pre-cautions of course.

Again, I completely understand that not everyone may be ready to fly right now, but I wanted to provide some details and information for those of you who are considering it or wondering what it was like! Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you with anything travel-related! 


Tuesday, July 28, 2020


30 has come and gone. I may only be changing digits and not decades this year, but it has been one of growth and being stretched in ways I never anticipated. 30 brought our sweet baby girl. It brought bump pics and potty training and cheesin after church. It brought the launch of The Brim, and learning how to be business partners with your spouse (and somehow still like each other). It brought questions and dreams, risks and leaps. Being stretched in more ways than I knew possible, and yet somehow feeling invigorated by the change I typically hate. It brought learning how to be a mom of two, working online from home, and never “going back” in person from my maternity leave. It brought a global pandemic, anxiety, and a season of waiting and longing while also holding on to hope and trust. It brought the decision to step away from teaching for a season, to follow my heart and my current calling, even through it’s risky and unknown. 

I may not be reflecting on an entire decade today, but somehow I feel like this year has grown me in similar ways to that of all my twenties combined. Just when you think you’ve figured out a good chunk of your life, things seems to be shaken up and rearranged with more questions than answers. And yet, there is beauty in the journey and joy in the unveiling of the next step ahead- with just enough light to find footing on a path that is largely dark. 

I know I will be here until my purpose is fulfilled, and I am grateful that it seems God has more up His sleeves for my life than I could have dreamed. I’ve realized that it is a blessing to grow older, and so today I march forward with a little more gray in my hair, a little more pep in my step, and a little more confidence that 31 will be a year of growth, hope, and striving to make a difference with the days that I’m given. Here we go! 


Thursday, July 16, 2020


The school year ended May 22nd, and it didn’t even feel like it. I was at home with my kids, not on a sun-soaked football field signing yearbooks for the sweet students I spent the last year, or two, or three years with. There was a unique beauty in online teaching. Being home with Eli and Addie, not having to “go back” from maternity leave, having freedom in my days. But of course there were also struggles: balancing two kids and two teachers working from home, missing the in person interaction of students, co-workers, and friends. One of the weirdest things about it all is this: I walked out of school on January 8, 2020 not knowing that Addie would be born the next morning, that COVID-19 would force online learning, or that I would never get the chance to say goodbye to my students in person. Not knowing that I wouldn’t be back.

For the 2020-2021 school year, I will be taking a leave of absence, or "sabbatical" from teaching. I am both thrilled to be home with my babies, and also a little bit terrified. This is a decision that was not made lightly or easily. I knew that being away from Eli while teaching full-time had been more difficult for me than I anticipated, but I had done it. We had a great sitter, amazing grandmas, and a fairly good routine down. But with Addie joining us, I feel my heart calling me to my own kids for a season. Knowing that I would be teaching full time, adding another kid to the crazy morning mix, and managing a busier season with The Brim left me feeling like I would be doing everything and yet doing none of it well. I wrestled and wrestled with this decision, mainly because I recognize that I have it so good. My poor husband, family, and friends have listened to me talk about whether or not to do this a million times, and even after I finally made my decision, I second-guessed myself. I mourned all of the good things about teaching that I knew that I would be letting go of. It’s a blessing to have a job that you feel torn about stepping away from, even if it's just for a year, and a crazy year at that. 

In May of 2011, I graduated from the University of Missouri and walked the halls of Liberty High School for the first time as a teacher that August. For the last nine years, I have known nothing other than putting on LHS gear and heading across 152 to the school, home of the Blue Jays, to spend my days with pretty incredible kiddos and some really wonderful co-workers. I came in as a 22 year old, freshly out of college, and since then I've had two classrooms, got married, earned my Master's Degree, and had two babies- along with countless other big life moments. I have grown as an adult and have seen the journey of life take different roads than I would ever have anticipated. Teaching AP and Gifted ELA has meant teaching some of the most brilliant, capable, and creative students. And it is very difficult to give that up, knowing that I may never be back in the same place.  

For now, I am basically a "frozen" employee. During my leave, I can put my name in to be “reinstated” and I would be able to get the next open teaching job in my certification (9-12 ELA or Gifted K-12) within the school district. Obviously, this means I am not guaranteed to be back at LHS, which has made all of this much, much harder as I step out of a year where there was certainly no closure. I literally went into my room for one two-hour period and took nine years worth of things off the walls and out of the file cabinets. It felt strange, emotional, and anti-climactic. Surreal really. Normally I would've had weeks of packing things up, slowly navigating through files while still seeing my students and treasuring these last memories with them. My neighbor teacher would have come in with a mug of coffee and we would have laughed about a crazy kid story. I would have shared senior superlatives and read my annual Letter to My Students. Instead, I teared up, took off my mask to take one last selfie outside my room, and walked down an empty hallway by myself, carrying the weight of the fact that I may never be back as a teacher at LHS again. It was like ripping off a bandaid. I cried when I left my keys on a desk in the normally bustling, empty office. That being said, there is also a sense of freedom in knowing that I’m making the right decision for right now, even though there’s so much unknown. Even though it’s scary. 

When people ask, “What do you do?”, I normally say I'm a teacher. For this next year, I’m not really sure yet how I will respond to that question. Honestly, I know this school year will look different for all of the teachers. Not having a typical "first day of school" will feel extra strange for us all; we'll miss the normalcy of our days, the pre-COVID school climate that was better than we realized at the time. My heart goes out to all the teachers in the trenches this year (whether online or virtual), including my own husband. I’m realizing that teaching has been a really huge part of my identity, and the only job that I felt sure I would ever do: potentially at the only school I would ever teach at for 30+ years. But while I find out what the Lord has for the future, I know that I am going to cherish this year with my children, and trust that He will take me right where I should be (and it seems that this sabbatical proved to be pretty timely). He has never failed me yet. 

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It’s hard to believe that over a thousand students have filled the desks in my classroom over the last eight years. 👩🏽‍🏫 A thousand futures, a thousand smiles, a thousand precious lives that have crossed paths with my own. They are my absolute favorite part of teaching: the students. If you were one of my previous students OR YL friends (who'll forever be some of "my kids"), comment below with what you’re up to these days! In honor of all the incredible kiddos I've seen over the years (some who aren’t “kiddos” at all anymore), click @currentlykelsie and the #linkinbio to see my "letter to my students”- my most popular blog post EVER. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all the amazing educators I had, taught with, and still learn from! You make a difference! 💕#teachersofinstagram #teacherappreciationweek #teach
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Whatever the next chapter looks like, I am forever grateful for what this one has been. There have been thousands of amazing kids that I've had the pleasure of teaching and have connected with through years of Liberty YoungLife, and I would not have traded a single second of that. I've worked football games and proms, coached softball, attended Senior girls lock ins and amazing musicals, judged Mr. Liberty and taken kids to national NHD competitions and even overseas to Greece. I have been a part of winning faculty basketball teams and choreographed Staffires dances, dressed crazy for spirit weeks, and made a fool of myself on numerous occasions in front of my class of chuckling kids. These high school students have made my job fun and given it purpose, and I am so grateful for all of the relationships made in the hours, days, and years we've shared. My students are forever "my kids", and I'm so excited to see all the amazing things they'll go on to do. If you're one of them reading this, know that I care about you and am so proud of you.

I may be back at LHS. I may not. Time will tell. But one thing is for sure, I am so grateful to be a Bluejay, and I will miss it this school year, COVID and all. Now it's time to go make some memories with my babies. 


Monday, June 29, 2020

A Quick Trip to Columbia, MO (with Kids)

After trying to figure out how to spend our 7th wedding anniversary, we ended up jumping in the car and going on a short trip to a place that's special to us both: Columbia, MO. With everything going on right now, and with the age of our kids, going somewhere far away or overnight alone wasn't really an option. Even though we didn't technically attend Mizzou at the same time, we both went to and graduated from MU, so a trip to Columbia means visits to our favorite restaurants and sentimental memories of our college days. If you're going to make a little road trip to Columbia, here are a few places you can't miss, as well as some tips for navigating the trip with little kids. 

A Quick Trip to Columbia, MO with Kids

The Food

This place is amazing, and if you go to Columbia and you don't stop here to try the Nachos Bianco, you're missing out! They recently added another location, but we love the downtown one. We stopped in here for a delicious dinner on our second night. 

This is THE pizza place you hear about when you're in Columbia. They actually just opened their "dine in" options again (with precautions of course) on the night of our anniversary, so this was our fancy anniversary dinner ha! I personally love the Darwin, and Aaron is a big fan of their meat pizza. We actually prefer the South location just because it has so much space and isn't usually quite as crowded as the recently remodeled downtown option.

Say what you will, but when it comes to late night, Gumby's Pokey Stix take the prize! We ordered them one night before heading back to our hotel to get the kids to bed. Their pepperoni rolls are also delicious. 

This place is normally so so busy (we're talking a 90 min wait that you stood around and waited for on special weekend), but with COVID we were able to walk right in! I personally love the Hobgobbler with their delicious mashed potatoes, and they also have their own brewery if you're interested in a flight. 

This is a kind of a hidden gem downtown, but it is delicious! I had the Pulled Chicken Club and Aaron enjoyed the Buffalo Chicken Wrap. My side of Mac and Cheese was amazing- and Eli gave a big thumbs up! They also have their own brewery and lots of special theme nights. 

We have recently gained (and are gaining) Andy's in the KC area, but during our college days it held special memories of late night concretes and sweet YoungLife friends. 

Shockingly, Columbia isn't just about food, although I could go on with other options. But these are the ones that we were most excited to have again, especially in light of COVID and what all was open for either dine in or carry-out. Also, a small shout out to Trops, which sadly closed earlier than we expected. Until next time!


Obviously, we had a 3 year old and 5 month old with us, so we weren't going too crazy with activities. But we did find a few fun things to do together. 

First of all, we had to go on a nostalgic couple of walks around the Mizzou Campus. This may not mean as much to you if you didn't actually attend the University of Missouri, but it is still a gorgeous campus and worth a visit. Since there are not currently any in-person classes occurring, the campus was pretty much dead, which was weird but also kind of nice. We of course had to make some special visits to both the Quad/Columns, and also to Greek Town to see the Theta house where I lived for three years! 

The view across the street from Theta is crazy these days, as the dorm I lived in during my freshmen year no longer exists! Just trees there now, and you can see the football stadium. 

I remember coming to Stephen's Lake to go on runs or to study outside with friends in college. I was excited to come here with our kids, as they have a great playground, a couple of different options for walking paths, and a spray park! We were excited to have an option at the spray park, as the pool in our hotel was currently closed, and many spray parks in Kansas City are also closed right now. 

Located in the Columbia Mall, Level Up was our answer to finding something fun that Eli could enjoy for an hour or two. Aaron paid for the two hour pass, and then he and E could play as many games (almost like a Chuck E. Cheese) as they wanted during that time. Poor Addie was a little over-stimulated by the bright lights and loud sounds, but E had the time of his life. Level Up also had a bowling alley and a ropes course inside. 

Tips for Traveling with Kids

One of our little life hacks for traveling with kids is making sure we anticipate their need for naps, and then ensure that our room will provide for that option while also giving us a place to hang out without having to be completely silent for hours. Enter, the suite. 

Stay in a Suite 
This time around, we stayed at Staybridge Suites, a recently remodeled hotel located where 63 meets 70. They had individually packed breakfast we got for free each morning. It was quiet and comfy, and we had a huge room. The bedroom was separate and had two queen beds, and then a door shut to separate from our full kitchen, desk, barstools, couch, TV, and chairs. It was a perfect space to hang out and watch TV or get some work done while the kids napped.

Call Ahead
I called our hotel ahead and they had a crib on site, so we didn't have to bring our pack and play along for Addie. They also were able to confirm early check in for us so we didn't miss nap time.

Be Flexible
Eli sleeps in a full at home with a bumper under his bed. Since we had two queens in our hotel, I put one of his big pillows under the fitted sheet of his queen, and it created a similar bumper type feel so that he wouldn't roll out of bed. I also realized that our room didn't have a bathtub for bathing the kids, so E took a shower with Aaron and I gave Addie her bath in our room's kitchen sink! 

Have Low Expectations
Set the bar of your expectations low...and then lower it some more. I had a hard time initially transitioning from our old travel experiences to those with kids. But once I reminded myself that we would have to be back in the room for nap time, and earlier for bedtime, it got easier. This time around, I brought books and work, or went to work out during nap time so that I wouldn't feel "locked in the room". I also planned things for us in the morning and in the evening, and then saw what all we could fit in. 

At the end of the day, it's about having fun and making sweet memories together- even if that has to look a little slower or less exciting than you're used to. We were initially planing to have a kid free date day on our anniversary, but I had multiple moments where I watched our kids laugh on this trip and I felt like I couldn't have come up with a better way to celebrate seven years together. Cheers to a fun family getaway! 


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Our Wildflower Family Photos

As Aaron and I have started to share more of our story and hearts behind The Brim, we've been absolutely blown away by the amazing support of those who don't even know us. From videographers jumping into make a short video at no cost, to people following along and sharing things on social media, we have truly felt so loved and blessed by those who choose to be a part of this journey with us. One such person is the amazing Kristen of Kristen Cline Photography. After seeing that we were offering free wedding ceremonies for brides affected by COVID-19, Kristen reached out with her own little thank you. She was doing photo sessions in a gorgeous wildflower field in Weston, and she offered us a complimentary session as a way of supporting us and saying thanks. For this mama, it was the perfect gift, and just in time for Mother's Day! 

Holy smokes, did Kristen ever deliver!! She was so fun and sweet to work with, and we just love her heart for brides and grooms. She was so kind, and was able to wrangle our little family of four with ease, while capturing these precious memories. And that field! All the heart eyes. 

What I love most about these photos and that they are real, and raw, and totally us. The way Addie stares up at her big brother and smiles. The clingy tendencies of E and the way in which he cheeses way too hard in many photos. The sweet, innocent, side-tilted head that is so his personality right now. A sweet kiss on the cheek for his mama, who he asks for just one more hug and one more kiss each night before bed.

If you're a mama, there is not doubt that you are aware of just how crazy fast your kiddos grow and change. Time is flying, and although we do have Addie's newborn photos of the four of us, she is already so much different. And so is Eli! Gosh, I just can't even handle these photos of them. And that fact that we got E to hold Addie for just long enough to capture that sweet photo? You go, Kristen! 

These babies are the sweetest blessing and most precious gift. I love them so so much. Can they just stay little forever?

Of course, I had to sneak in a couple of photos with my main man. Even though COVID-19 meant neither one of us had haircuts before these photos, I love that Kristen captured a little reminder of where this whole thing started. We hadn't taken photos together just the two of us since we were the "bride and groom" in the Tuscan Villa Styled Shoot back in fall of 2018. I think this may be the only time that my vineyard-tending hubby had a deeper tan than me (it was early May and I certainly had not seen much sun ha)! I love this guy and am thankful for this special Mother's Day adventure, which we followed with some delicious Tin Kitchen

I will cherish these sweet photos of our family forever. No I just have to decide which one to make my new profile picture (which I rarely change). It will be a hard choice since I love them all! 


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

"Do I Pay You to Book My Trip?"

Since the start of CK Travel and my journey into the travel agent world, I have been asked some questions about how payment works. Honestly, I had some of the same questions in the past when I was booking with an agency. No one likes feeling like they're paying more than they need to, or are being charged some hidden fee. In an effort to be transparent, and help clear up some common misconceptions, here are some answers!

1. Do I pay you to book my trip?

Nope! You don't. I book your trip at no additional cost to you.

2. Will I pay more to book with you than to book on my own?

No. You will not pay a dime more to book with me. If you've found a trip deal that is cheaper than a quote I've provided, send it my way and we can provide added value for the same price, or find a way to save you money! Often times, I can check a variety of vendors and carriers, and can even save you more than what you've found on your own. If there was ever a situation where we truly would be unable to save you money (for instance, if you were booking Southwest flights only with points), I would let you know that! I won't ever add hidden fees.

3. How does an agency (and you) make any money then?

Commission is a big part of the travel agency world. When you book your own travel using a large travel site like Expedia or Travelocity, they will make a commission from the hotel and airline after your trip (which happens, even though you don't see it listed as part of the price). In our situation, after you travel, the travel commission portion being paid out either way from the hotels/airlines/vendors goes to our agency for helping get the client booked, so you are supporting people you actually know, rather than an huge online booking engine! Plus you have a face and a name (and a great, award winning company) that actually knows you to personally help with things.

4. Why should I consider booking with you versus on my own?

Trip planning can be very overwhelming for a lot of people. When you book with me, you will be able to provide some basic information like desired destination, length of stay, budget, and hopes for the trip. Then I take it and run with it, doing the searching and the research to find the best possible fit for your vacation. I'll look into current specials, use my own travel experiences, and even provide you with some ideas of great itineraries and things to see and do while you're there. If you're someone who likes doing the basic research, that's great too. You can do that, then I'll step in for the details, and our agency will handle the customer experience, reminders, and last minute specifics for you! We work as a great team to help you and make your trip as easy and stress-free as possible, even when some unexpected challenges come up. We've got your back!

5. Is there anything else I should know? 

I'm here to clarify the confusion that can arise from doing an overwhelming amount of research on your own. I'll use my own wide-range of experience traveling (everything from European tours to all-inclusives, cruises, and more) to help provide you with amazing costumer service. I will be up front and transparent with you throughout the booking process. Sit back and let your vacation planning be they way it should: stress-free!

Ready to start planning?
Shoot me an email at or contact me here so we can get you packing!


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Introducing: CK Travel

If you've been around or have known me for a while, you know just how much I LOVE travel. It has been a passion of mine for years, and I've regularly shared about our amazing adventures on the blog. Whether it was figuring out the million details of our 17 day trip across Europe, or ironing out the small stops of our little getaway to Hermann, trip planning is something I love doing- both for myself, and for others. Which is why I'm excited to announce a new adventure: CK Travel!

Back in December, I decided to take my passion for travel to the next level, and in early March I signed on as an Independent Contractor with Cruise Holidays, a thirty year, award-winning travel agency in Kansas City!

Now I have all of the tools and tricks at my fingertips to help plan the most amazing vacations for all of you! From all-inclusive resorts to European adventures, ocean and river cruises, tours, and everything in between- I'm ready to help send you on the trip of your dreams! I specialize in leisure vacation travel: nothing is too big or too small. We do not charge any additional fees to book, and we will either help you save money, or provide additional value if the price of the trip is the same. I'll have your back if there is a problem, will help eliminate stress, and will provide options you may not have even thought of- personalizing your trip to be the absolute best fit for you. Families, groups, couples, solo trips- I can do it all!

Along the way, I'll keep sharing some helpful tips and fun recaps here on the blog, but I can plan for you even if you aren't local to Kansas City! When you're ready to get out and explore, click here to book a trip! You can also shoot me an email at I can't wait to get you planned and packing!


Thursday, April 9, 2020

March Recap

My how life can change in a month. Last month I was worried about how much time I had left at home on maternity leave. And then in a matter of a few weeks, life changed a whole bunch. We settled into quarantine and all things COVID-19, I went "back to work" three weeks early, and we figured out how to work full time from home with a three year old and a two month old. It has been a hard, weird, but also strangely joyful time for everyone. Here's what we were up to in March, complete with Addie's updates, blogging recaps, and some fun photos!

Addie's Three Month Update

Addie Jo is growing like a weed! We didn't have an official doctor's appointment this month, but she is a little over 13 pounds according to me, our scale, and some simple subtraction. She is in the weird stage where some sleep sacks are too big for her, but her others are too small. She has really been smiley and even a little giggly most days. Though she does have her occasional fussy moments, she sure is a sweetie.

Addie is in size two diapers and just venturing into 3-6 months clothes, although she can still wear some of her 3 month stuff. This month she settled into regularly sleeping 8+ hours at night (praise the Lord), went on a million quarantine walks, and let Mama play dress up with some of her old outfits (like the one pictured). Addie loves watching her big brother play toys, kicking her feet, and sucking on her hands.  🎀 We can't imagine life without our sweet girl! (And she did get a little tired of Mama's photo shoots after a while!)

Unexpected Silver Linings

In the midst of an incredibly trying time for our world, I have been trying to focus on the sweet silver linings that have unexpectedly come my way. One of these is the fact that I would have been on unpaid maternity leave for three more works, but instead I am able to work from home and be fully paid while still getting to love on my babies. Sure, this has its challenged on a daily basis, but mainly it has been such a gift. We also got to host our first wedding at The Brim, which was pretty amazing and just kind of fell into place with the Stay at Home order going into effect. Our first Brim Bride was absolutely incredible, and I am so excited for all that is to come there.

I also have been able to be outside all the time, which is a HUGE difference from my classroom where I don't even have a window. That has made this spring pretty amazing so far. Of course there have been a million other blessings, like Aaron cooking amazing meals all of the time, technology allowing for online church and friendship connections, and being able to sleep in a bit more without having to get up and dressed and off to work with two kids.

Choose Grace

The only real blog post I wrote this month was called Choose Grace. It was all about choosing alll the grace in every aspect of our lives right now, and for everyone around us. My students, their parents, my spouse, myself, my babies- there are so many ways that all of us are learning and adapting right now. No one's struggles are invalid. I'd encourage you (and myself) to continue to choose grace daily. Check out the post for more!

Otherwise, this month was all about this new normal and figuring out how to navigate things with both productive routine and joyful spontaneity. We are at home at least through April 27th, and we will see if we end up going "back to school" this school year or not. We are done for the year on May 22nd. Lots of other things are going on that I will be able to recap a bit more at the end of the month! Happy April!


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Choose Grace

Today I popped into my school to prepare for the extended flexible learning that’s starting. While other teachers had done some precautionary packing prior to the start of Spring Break, I had to run back into the eerily quiet, regularly bustling building. Most of my teaching materials are online anyways, but I’ve been on maternity leave since January 8th and wasn't planning to be back yet, so there were a few books and binders I needed to grab to make sure I can make it though. Potentially through the rest of the year. And when I got there, I was caught so off guard.

My room was completely empty. So were nearly all of the other rooms I saw. Desks and chairs littered the hallways. I had to search to find my bookshelves near some lockers. Books were in boxes, but pens and sticky notes still scattered the top of my desk like remnants that weren't intended to be left behind. It was weird. It left me in a bad head space. Emotions and worries started to bubble up. But then a sweet conversation with my janitor, who was there doing the deep cleaning, made my mind shift.

As we venture into this new "normal" for as long as we have to, I am realizing that I must again and again choose grace. Grace for myself as a teacher, and the expectations I have for my Gifted and AP kiddos (especially with a 3 yr old and 2 month old at home with me). Grace for my students, many of whom are now babysitting their siblings on top of their own high school studies- proms, graduations, so many things up in the air. Grace for the parents of these students, who are likely trying to help their kids navigate this new world while dealing with their own work, or lack of it. And I sure hope they'll give us teachers grace too.

Grace for my own babies, as they have absolutely no idea what's going on or why we're stressed or we can't do certain things we used to outside of our house. Grace for my husband, as we enter this season of both of us working from home, caring for two little ones, and not really seeing any other adults but one another. 

This is what so many of us, really all of us have to choose in this moment. Grace for our government leaders who are making choices they never dreamt they'd be making. Grace for bosses and administrators who are doing their best to keep things afloat while caring deeply about our health and safety. Grace for people who have breakdowns or need support with tough job situations. And honestly, grace for ourselves. Our world has changed A TON in about a week, and we're all having to let go of selfish desires, to do lists, and our plans- all for the greater good. It is challenging and yet, oddly purifying. We will make it through, and in the end, I certainly believe we will come out stronger and more appreciative of all we typically take for granted. There is little we can control right now, but we do get to control how we choose to deal with our current challenges.

Choose grace.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

February Recap

February has come and gone, and March is already moving right along! I've only got about a month left of maternity leave- it is certainly flying by and I'm nervous to see what working full time with two kiddos looks like. Here's what we were up to this February, complete with Addie's updates, blogging recaps, and some fun photos!

Addie's Two Month Update

Addie Jo is growing like a weed! Our official doctor's appointment was today, and she's already 12 pounds 3 ounces. She feels long to me at 22 inches, as she is already busting out of her Newborn Sleepsack with all of the kicking she loves to do. Although she's mean mugging in in most of these photos, she has been gracing us with some adorable smiles and the occasional sleepy giggle.

Addie is in size one diapers and wearing 0-3 months clothes. I think she'll be moving on to 3-6 month clothes before long. This month she celebrated her first Valentine’s Day, slept through the night, went on lots of walks, and celebrated her big brother’s birthday. She loves snoozing on Daddy’s chest, riding in her car seat, and playing with E! 🎀 We love our Addie so much!

There is Still Good

This month I wrote a blog post sharing about my crazy experience at Target and how it made me remember and be thankful that there are still good people in this world. Check it out here.

Free Mama Moments

Because when your kids both nap at the same time, and give you a minute to sit on your bed and soak up the silence, you document the moment. Gosh they're both so great. But, I've certainly been grateful for the breaks my amazing mama has given me so I can run, shower, and get things done!

I'm loving these new hipster hoop earrings from Giving Tree Gallery! They're lightweight, stylish, and they go with everything- whether my hair is up or down. Silver is my jam, and these are so fun!  Check out their website for beautiful handcrafted jewelry and home decor.

THREE Rex Birthday Party 

We had a great time celebrating Eli's Third Birthday with a fun THREE Rex Party. We weren't sure we were going to do a big birthday party for Eli this year (especially with a six week old, but we went for it and we are SO glad that we did!)  You can check out all of the fun details and photos here.

Otherwise, this month was all about getting into our groove with our little lady and soaking up sweet time with E. I'll be back to work on April 14th to finish out the school year, but I'm certainly in no hurry for that time to be here. I'm looking forward to a great rest of maternity leave, and of this month- which will include Spring Break time with Daddy. Happy March!