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!


Thursday, March 5, 2020

THREE Rex Birthday Party

We've been blessed with another whole year of Eli! Although we considered skipping a birthday party this year with the birth of our sweet Addie in January, we decided we really wanted to give our sweet boy a chance to be celebrated, especially since he has been navigating his new role as big brother so well. We had such a great time with his ONEsie First Birthday Party and Taco TWOsday Party that I wanted to find another fun theme. And since he's obsessed with dinosaurs right now (and was one for Halloween), a THREE Rex party was the perfect fit! Here are all of the details in case you'd like to throw your own!

Decor and Theme Apparel 

I love to find fun decor that is not only cute but also cost efficient. Eli loves dinosaurs so much that he has dinosaur bedding, so I switched out his sheets and hung up his dino sheet as a backdrop. His were from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and are discontinued now, but you can find a bunch of ideas here.

With his sheets as inspiration, I went with green, blue, and silver as his main colors, with a gold accent. I purchased his THREE Rex balloon set on Amazon: it came with the big number three, the rex balloons, and a dino balloon. The three and the dino balloon can be filled with helium, but considering that the helium shortage meant spending $26 on helium to fill them, we just inflated them and hung them or set them on the floor. I spent less than $10 on all of them. I also picked up balloons, streamers, and dino plates from our local Dollar Tree.

I made a simple twine banner for downstairs, designed and printed off some fun things on Canva, and did a birthday party online evite for invitations. I also printed off these dinosaur footprints, had E color them, and then cut them out and put them around the house! I love these fun, free ways to accent the theme.

I was going to put Eli in his Halloween dino costume, but it was actually quite warm on the day of his birthday and the costume was fleece, so instead he wore a little dino t-shirt I found on clearance at Carter's a long time ago. You can find a bunch of similar options here for your little dino. We didn't ask people to dress in theme, but some did if they had dinosaur options!

Food and Drinks 

After some research getting ideas online, I decided to play up the dino theme and have some fun with our food and drinks. We had Dino Nuggets of course, along with Pepperoni and Three Meat Pizza Rolls for our "carnivores". For our "herbivores", we had a large veggie tray. We also had "Dinosaur Bone" pretzels. I made "Lava Juice", which was really just Crystal Light Fruit Punch (which was quite delicious). Here's my document if you're interested in printing the little place card labels.

The real show stealer for the "sweetivores" were the amazing desserts from Hailey the Cake Lady. She not only made delicious Oreo cupcakes and the cutest dinosaur cookies, but she made the most incredible dinosaur cake! That dinosaur on top was actually edible and made out of fondant. Such talent! The top layer of the cake was the most delicious strawberry cake ever, and the lower layer was vanilla. If you're local to Kansas City, definitely use her for a delicious, affordable option for all of your dessert needs! Here's her Facebook page!


Although we didn't attempt many crazy activities this time around (I mean, we did have a six week old), we had a few fun things for people to do. We had some printed dinosaur coloring sheets and crayons for the kiddos, along with a "what's your dinosaur name" sheet. We also had some dino hats out (from Dollar Tree) for people to wear and take photos with our backdrop. Of course, blowing out the candles on his cake was a highlight. It was probably my favorite part of the night- he was all smiley and so adorable!

Although I missed some days, I did manage to keep up with most of Eli's third year, so I put together another One Second Everyday video, and then Airplayed it and looped it downstairs on the TV along with his first and second year videos. Pretty crazy to see a second of nearly every day since he was born!

I also printed off and filled out another time capsule sheet, and made lists of Eli's stats and favorite things to toss in as well. All in all, it was an amazing time celebrating our not-so-little guy with friends and family who love him (and us) so well. We're excited to see what year four brings.

Happy Party Planning!