Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Hits and Misses of our Christmas Break

Here are some of the highlights (and low-lights) of Christmas 2012!

Hit:  Jackie meeting Santa Claus!  What a good little baby we have.  Of course Ethan and I already know this :).  She has always been really good around new people, but lately been hitting the "stranger danger" phase.  As long as mommy or daddy is close by, Jackie warms up to the new faces pretty quickly.  Lucky for Santa, daddy and I weren't far away (or out of sight). 

Miss:  Due to some recent misfortune we were without a camera for the Christmas Season.  Thankfully we have some great friends who came in to capture many "firsts" for Jackie.  Thank you to Kim and Peggy for helping us out!

Hit:  Christmas decorations and lights!  Technically this is our second Christmas in this house, but since we closed on the sale of the house on Christmas Eve last year, this is the first year we get to decorate for the season.  Ethan braved the heights and put some very pretty lights on our house.  It didn't scare him off though, he's talking about doing more next year :).  I had fun placing the festivities around the inside of the house, with some trial and error.  I predict next year I'll have all the placement figured out and everything will be fabulous!

Miss:  Our tree was too wide for the place we wanted it to go.  Not putting it up for two years, I forgot just how big it was.  The location we wanted was a neat little corner of the family room.  However, the entire tree would have blocked the walk-way and stuck out WAY too far.  So I only put up the front half of the branches. did look dorky.  I didn't even end up putting any ornaments on it.  Just lights.  Next year we will purchase a pre-lit tall skinny tree and put the big one downstairs. 

Hit:  As much as I whined and moaned about having to have an in-service day the Friday before Christmas break, it ended up being a blessing in disguise.  I left my desk and classroom all straightened up and ready to go for the new semester.  Now, on our workday before kids come back I can focus on finalizing grades and planning for January.  It feels so good to know I get to go back to work to a clean classroom.

Miss:  I did not apply that same effort to my house.  I got home from our in-service on Friday (knowing full well that we were leaving for B-town before 8AM Saturday morning) and wrestled with a battle within.  The "what I don't want to do" vs. the "what I REALLY don't want to do."  I didn't want to come home from my parents to a messy house, but I REALLY didn't feel like doing any cleaning up.  Guess which side won??  If you said the "REALLY" you would be correct.  Of course if I would have even THOUGHT ahead for a MOMENT I would have remembered that we would be getting back to the house with a few hours to spare before heading to Christmas Eve Dinner at Ethan's parents' house, and I needed to make TWO breakfast casseroles that night after dinner, and a dessert before Christmas dinner on Sunday.  Needless to say my kitchen was a DISASTER area for a couple of days.  Lesson learned.  Next time power through and clean up BEFORE leaving!

Hit:  We were able to take a family Christmas photo in front of our half-tree with white lights.

Miss:  The picture is in need of some cropping because "someone" didn't have her fly zipped up.  Jackie was in a dress...  (I believe that would be what my students would call, a picture fail!)

Hit:  Jackie had SO MUCH FUN these last few days playing with grandparents, reading (or turning the pages) of her new books, and wearing her stylish new clothes. 

Miss:  Naps were is short supply for a couple of days.  There was just too much going on to sleep.  I think she is making up for it today.  Slept for 12 hours last night, took a 3 1/2 hour morning nap, and is currently working on nap #2. 

Hit: We will be meeting up with my side of the family in a couple of days to celebrate my grandparents' 60th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!  Ethan and I are so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful examples of marriage and a lifetime of love.

Miss:  The break is going way too fast...can we get another week??? 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Good vs. Great

What is the difference?

What makes something GREAT as opposed to just good, and when you compare something, just how much better is great than good?

I recently came across my portfolio that I created to take along to interviews for teaching jobs.  My resume, my teaching philosophy, and my goals.

I stopped at my goals and just looked at it.

"To be Kansas Teacher of the Year."

I was serious.  I remember as if it was yesterday writing that down.  I remember that feeling of wanting to be like so many of the great teachers I had while in school.  Inspiring learning and motivating students to be their best.  Pouring my heart and soul into something that was so worthwhile.

So where am I today on the road to achieving my goal?

I believe I took a different turn.  Not a bad turn, not a less passionate turn, just a different one.

You see.  When I go back and think about all the teachers who I would classify as "great" and in the category of "Teacher of the Year" they all had one of two things in common.

They were either single, or sacrificed time with family to become great.

And there's the difference between good and great.  Great involves many sacrifices in order to get there.  No matter what you're doing.  Sports, work or family.  To be "great" at something means sacrificing other things.

I still have a passion for teaching.  I love it.  I sill believe in inspiring students and making a classroom that promotes motivation, but I'm not great.  I'm not willing to sacrifice time with my family to be a great teacher.

It goes the other way too.  Everywhere I look, I see "great" moms out there.  Making cute little crafts with their kids, sewing buttons back on, playing new games, teaching their babies sign language, basically creating all those pins on pinterest that make me feel like I'm not cutting it as a mommy.  All while never having a dirty dish in the sink, load of laundry unfolded, or surface dusty.

Most of those moms are stay at home moms.  They can devote their entire lives to being the best mom there is.

Again, that's not me.  While yes, someday, I do hope to have to opportunity to stay home with my kids at least part of the time, I'm not there yet.  I enjoy going to work.  Jackie loves going to daycare and playing with the other kids.  We're good.

I can be a good teacher and a good mom.

And I feel great about that!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baby Update

I keep putting off blogging.  Not because I don't want to, and not because I don't have something to say.  It's just that everything I have to say has to do with our little 8 month old. 

I don't want people to get tired of reading about our little one.

But that's our life right now.

And it's just the beginning.  She is number one (out of some unknown number...).  This talking-about-my-kids thing isn't going away anytime soon. 

So if you don't like reading about it.  Don't.

And if you do...

~  Little Jackie just figured out that those little syllables "ma-ma" and "da-da" she's been babbling over and over for the last 4 months actually refer to us.  Melts my heart every time she looks at me and says mama!

~  Jackie has learned to crawl.  Actually, that's old news.  She figured that one out about a week before she turned 7 months, and ever since then she's been OFF to the races.  Moving anywhere that she can fit.  She has gotten stuck under the bar chairs twice now.  The first time she actually stood up.  Silly girl!

~  In her 8 month life span, Jackie has fallen out of the baby swing, off of the bed, been pinched by a zipper, and most recently, taken a tumble down 6 (thankfully carpeted) stairs.  I promise we really do watch her.  I'm not exaggerating when I say this girl is on the move with some serious SPEED.  (Not sure who she got that from...)  At least no one will be able to say we babied her and protected her from every-little-thing.

~  I now fully understand the phrase "sleep like a baby."  The first 4 months or so I was not so sure how people thought that made sense.  Have they never tiptoed to the bathroom across the house hoping that the teeny tiny vibrations in the floor didn't wake up the baby?  (Not that Jackie was a bad sleeper as a newborn, just woke up easily).  Now she sleeps for 11+ hours every night and takes good solid naps at home. 

~  I can thank the above mentioned sleeping routine to her "awake" schedule.  It's like this.  Crawl into the living room, pull up on the couch, fall down, crawl to kitchen, pull up on the dishwasher, fall down, crawl into the bedroom, play with the door stopper that makes AWESOME noises, crawl to the bathroom, pull up on the tub to see if it's bath time, fall down, crawl into living room pull up on toys, play with toys, fall down, bump head, cry, crawl into dining room, pull up on chair, fall down, crawl into kitchen...repeat 5 times then eat.

~  The first place Jackie goes to look for me is the kitchen.  I guess I spend a lot of time there.

~  Jackie had a little bite of brownie at daycare last week.  I guess one tiny bite wasn't enough for her.  It didn't take her long to scope out the brownie of the little girl sitting next to her.  One quick swipe and that little tasty treat was Jackie's!

~  Everyday Daddy takes Jackie out to the garage to play with the doggies.   She just giggles and giggles as she watches them run around.  Her favorite game is when daddy holds her on their backs like a pony.  The smiles are priceless!

~  There are few constants with an 8 month old.   No guarantees.  However, there is one sure fire way to calm our cranky baby down.  All she has to do is hear the bathwater running and she makes a bee-line for the tub.  It's probably a good thing she isn't tall enough to get herself in yet!

~  Poor baby has been working on her teeth for MONTHS!  She got her two bottom ones early, at three months she started teething and by 4 she had them in.  Now these top teeth are taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  I keep thinking we'll see something soon.  Until then poor little one is drooling, gnawing, and putting anything in her mouth to help.

~  The Christmas tree is up, and so are our defenses as she discovers lights, prickly green things, and shiny balls.  My main fear is her trying to grab the branches and pull herself to a standing position (her favorite activity).  That will bring the tree down on top of her.  Maybe she would leave it alone after that...