Archive for December, 2012

December 19, 2012

I worked my last school day of the year on Friday, December 14th. I only worked the morning, as I had been doing half-days all week due to swelling and the discomforts of being 39 weeks pregnant. I was ready to be done. My body was done, my mind was done, and all I wanted was to spend a few relaxing days at home with Peyton until Aiden decided to make his appearance. So, I marched my class of first graders out to the playground for the last time, gave them all a hug before they ran to play, packed up, and headed home. I felt a sense of relief and closure as I walked out the doors of my school.

I got home, put my feet up, and turned on the TV. I was immediately taken aback by coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. At that point, not much was known about how many dead, the ages, etc. Yet as more details became known, the more my heart ached. Twenty first graders and six elementary school teachers/staff members were taken in such a senseless way. While any kind of event like this is upsetting, this one really got to me. Being a mother and a first grade teacher myself, this one just hit way too close to home. I have always been one to process things best through writing, and so I thought I would try to put my feelings into words.

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, ever since I was a little girl. When it came time to choose a major in college, I knew without a doubt what to pick. People that become teachers choose the profession because they love children. They want to help others, they want to inspire a love of learning, and they genuinely want to make a difference. No one goes into the education profession for the money, the summers off, or because it’s an “easy” job. In fact, teaching is a very difficult and draining profession. I started out my teaching career an energetic and enthusiastic twenty-two year old. I quickly found out how time consuming my chosen profession could be. I would stay late in the evenings, go in to school on the weekends, and spend many hours grading papers at home. Teaching was my life those first few years, and I wanted to be the best educator that I could be. My students became “my kids,” and I would often refer to them as such.

I was dating a guy during these first few years of teaching. We were already on the rocks and the relationship was hanging by a thread, but he came over to hang out one night. I was talking about school stuff and said something about “my kids,” and he got upset that I referred to them as such. He said that they were not in fact “my kids,” and went on to say that in a few years I would barely remember them. Well, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I told him to leave, and that was the last time I saw him. As I said, we were pretty much broken up at that point anyway, but those comments were enough to make me realize that I could never EVER marry someone that didn’t understand what it means to be a teacher. Luckily only a few weeks later, I met Jason. He lets me talk about “my kids” as much as I want. For all I know, his mind may be elsewhere and he’s just humoring me, but I appreciate it nonetheless!

For the record, I do remember all of my past students. I think about them often, especially the ones that, at the time, tried every last bit of patience I had in me. I want good things for them, and it makes my heart sing when a few come back and visit. (Since my building only goes up to first grade, now second grade, usually I don’t get to see my students as they grow up.) I still refer to them as “my kids,” and they always will be that to me. I love my students as if they are my own. I spend my days teaching them to be kind to each other, feeling foreheads when they feel sick, disciplining with love, giving and receiving hugs, stopping bickering, and keeping them safe. Oh yeah…and teaching them how to read, write, and build their foundation of number sense. So parents, while YOUR kids are in my care at school, in a way, they become MY kids. And if someone came in with a gun and tried to hurt my kids? Well, I’d do what the teachers of Sandy Hook did…anything in my power to protect them, even if it meant giving up my own life. I know all of my fellow colleagues would do the same. I know there wouldn’t even be a second thought.

I am so touched and inspired by the kindness and love I have seen from the teachers that worked at Sandy Hook. In those horrible moments on Friday, they were telling their students that they love them, praying with them, and being parental figures when the children’s mommies and daddies weren’t able to be there. THAT is what teaching is all about. I’m sure those teachers weren’t worried about if their lessons were perfect, the grades they needed to take, or the professional developments they should attend. They weren’t concerned about test scores or where their school ranked compared to others. They were able to focus on the one thing that truly matters in education: the kids.

I am still very excited to have the opportunity to stay home with Peyton and Aiden for the remainder of the school year. Being a teacher was my dream job…until I became a mom. Now, all I want to do is spend time with my own kiddos and make memories with them. When my hopes of going part-time this year didn’t pan out, having Baby #2 was our plan B for me to be able to stay home with the kids more. I know that Peyton (and now Aiden) will only be little once. It killed me to miss so much of Peyton’s life in order to teach other people’s children. I hated that I spent so much of my patience and energy on my kids at school that when I got home, I felt like I didn’t have enough for my own child. The better teacher I became, the worse mom I felt I became. And in turn, the better mom I became, the more I had to let slip while teaching. It was very hard for me to balance my two roles, both that I cared so much about. So I decided it was best to step away from my role as teacher for a while and focus on my role as mom. I don’t regret this decision for a second, and I know many others that assure me I will never look back and regret it. While financially it will be an adjustment, in the long run, I know I am doing the best thing for myself and my family.

While I am confident in my decision, I just wish I would’ve taken the time on Friday to hug and love on my first graders just a *little* bit more, and make sure they knew that I loved them. It is so easy to get sucked into the politics at school, and focus on the things that, in the big scheme of things, really don’t matter. I won’t miss any of that “stuff,” but I WILL miss my kids. So my advice to all of my fellow teachers out there is this: remember WHY you became a teacher. For most of you, I’m sure it is because you wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives. Teach from there. The emails, the grades, the trainings, the meetings…those won’t matter in the end. So as hard as it is, don’t let yourself focus on all of that. Focus on your kids, and doing what you know in your heart is right for them. I just wish I would’ve realized this before I walked out of my classroom on Friday.

As hard as the shooting hit me as a teacher, it hit me even harder as a parent. As I said, being a mom is the single most valuable job I will ever have. My kids are my world. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine what the parents of those twenty first graders are feeling right now. If it were me, I think it would take everything in my being just to get out of bed in the morning. I think about all of the little things I take for granted as a mom – getting the kid out of bed in the morning, feeding meals, brushing teeth, reading books, bedtime routines, etc. All of those little things have a new meaning now. I am LUCKY that I get to make food for Peyton to eat. I am over-the-moon BLESSED that I get to tuck her into bed each night. I am THANKFUL that I have a child to discipline. I know that tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. So it is my job to make today count, and to focus on what is important.

Last week, I took Peyton to her 18 month check up at the pediatrician. My little peanut is still only 18-19 lbs., and at this point weighs so little that she isn’t even in a percentile for weight. The doctor said we needed to look into things at this point, and said blood work was needed to rule out some possibilities. I was forced to hold my sweet girl down while they drew blood from her arm (all while 9 months pregnant, mind you). She of course screamed in pain, looked into my eyes with tears streaming down her face, while seeming to ask the question, “Why are you doing this to me, mommy?!” It took everything in me not to cry myself. Then they told me that the vein popped, and they weren’t able to collect the blood they needed. They said I had to take her to Children’s so that they could do the blood work. Oh great…we got to do THAT all over again. I called Jason and asked him to meet us there. I physically had a hard time holding her down, and emotionally I just couldn’t watch it by myself again. I felt awful for her. I remember thinking, “I feel so bad for parents of children with Cancer or other medical issues where they have to be poked and prodded all the time.” Now, after Friday’s events, I know what is even worse – having to bury your child. My heart just aches for all of those families.

(Side note – Peyton’s blood work all came back fine. We will continue to monitor her growth with the doctor, but at least we know her body is functioning as it should! Praise God!!!)

I heard this version of You Are My Sunshine on Pandora awhile back, and instantly fell in love with it. I was planning on making a slide-show of pictures of Peyton to it, hoping to make something special for her before the baby came. (Of course that hasn’t happened yet…it’s the thought that counts, right?!) Peyton IS my sunshine. Even on my worst day, I can take one look at my little girl and know how incredibly blessed I am. She lights up my life, and I’m sure Mr. Aiden will do the same. I have sung that song to her over and over throughout her short little life. It wasn’t until Friday that the part of the song, “Please don’t take my sunshine away” really sank in for me. On Friday, those parents lost the sunshine in their lives. All I can do is pray that God will somehow see them through their sorrow, and let some rays of sunshine through the skies of grey.

I know this post has been lengthy, as most of my writing tends to be. But I want to challenge all of you that made it this far to do a few things. First, please continue to pray for the students, staff members, and families of Newtown. They need peace that only God can provide right now. Secondly, thank a teacher. I know many parents wonder what to get their kids’ teachers for gifts this time of the year. While Pinterest creations, candles, and gift cards are all appreciated, teachers just want to feel like what they do every day is noticed and appreciated. Write a card, and tell them WHY you appreciate them. Make it specific, make it lengthy, and write from the heart! This will mean so much more to them than anything you can buy in a store. And lastly, realize that tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. Take time to hug the ones you love, savor the memories you make with them, and thank God every day for all you’ve been blessed with.

**Please ignore the picture I chose for this post (below). My site requires some sort of a photo to go with each post, and I don’t have many pictures of me at school. This one is from the engagement shower my class threw for Jason and I. My awesome room mom at the time arranged for Jason to come to the party, too! It was also the Polar Express PJ day, hence my lovely hoodie! 🙂 **

December 17, 2012

Happy Due Date to me! 🙂

Week 40 Belly Pictures…

Here are the latest stats:

Pregnancy Length: 40 Weeks Exactly (12/17)

Countdown to Due Date: Any time he decides to come!

Weight Gain: Probably 20-25ish lbs. (not 100% sure)

Baby is the size of a: watermelon (19 to 22 in., 6-9 lbs)

New baby developments: He is gearing up for delivery and life outside the womb. His endocrine system is getting hormones ready for delivery. He will send those hormones to the placenta to trigger labor (which he needs to get working on ASAP!). He is also getting ready to take his first breath of air. The first breath at birth requires more effort than any other breath he will ever take again due to the tiny air sacs in the lungs that need to be inflated for the first time.

Gender: Boy

Names: Aiden Michael

Sleep: I get up at least twice a night, mainly to use the restroom or because I am uncomfortable. I also find that my mind is racing, so it’s hard for me to fall back asleep.

Feeling: The swelling and pregnancy rash have actually gotten a little better this past week. I am still itchy, but it’s manageable. I have caught yet ANOTHER cold, so that was not fun this past week. Thankfully, it hasn’t gotten as full-blown as the first one I had a few weeks ago. I just hope I can breathe normally when it comes time to deliver!

Health: Pretty much the same progress as my last appointment. No news is good news, right?!

Movement: He’s still not moving as much, but when he does…my whole belly moves!

Cravings: Chocolate still. But I always crave chocolate! Really, I haven’t had any weird cravings with this pregnancy. Now when I was pregnant with PEYTON, I had weird cravings – especially breakfast food!

Nursery: Everything is finished and ready to go. We got the baseball glove chair from Jason’s mom early (it’s Aiden’s Christmas present), and it looks so cute in his room! I am going to add the pictures to the nursery post, but I’ll also add them here. I can’t wait to see him in it! Peyton is all about sitting in the chair until her brother can.

All of his little outfits have been washed and put away. We have been lucky when it comes to hand-me-downs…Mandi has given us lots of Braxton’s things (and we are giving her Peyton’s things for Brylee), and one of Jason’s former co-workers has given us stuff from her little boy. So I really haven’t had to buy too much yet!

Belly: Still big…to the point that when out in public, people always ask when I’m due. It’s been fun seeing the look on people’s faces when I answered, “Today!” People say that I look like I’ve dropped, but I can’t really tell. All I can see are the crazy stretch marks….yuck. 🙁 I debated even posting the bare-belly shots on here this week because they’re just so unflattering, but I know it’s all part of the process. My babies are well worth what they’ve done to my body!

Next Appointment: Here’s the big news of this final Bumpdate…there will be no more doctor’s appointments! We actually scheduled an induction date of Friday, Dec. 21st if Aiden hasn’t decided to come on his own by then. They said we’ll get things started at 7:30, but to be there by 7 am. Thankfully, they said I am progressed enough that I don’t have to go in the night before and do the whole Cervidil thing. If you remember Peyton’s first induction, this is what wasn’t working and the reason we got sent home after three days of being in the hospital. So as nervous as I am to be induced again, at least I know I don’t have to do that step this time around!

I really wanted to be induced on Wednesday, because the doctor that delivered Peyton is delivering that day. However, the only day they have available this week is Friday, as Christ Hospital is BOOKED for inductions. I asked them about trying to wait until after Christmas, but they said I’d be too far along and they won’t let me wait it out. Soooo…Friday it is. The Mayan calendar says it’s going to be the end of the world, so hopefully THAT doesn’t happen. I don’t believe in all that, but it’s kind of funny to think about his birthday being the day the world ends! A fun thing about Friday is that my Godparents’ daughter, Ali, is having her baby boy via C-section that day, too! So our parents can keep each other company in the waiting room. If you’ve ever seen my Godfather and my dad together, you know that they’ll probably get themselves kicked out of the waiting room for bad behavior! Haha.

The closer Aiden’s birthday gets to Christmas, the more Jason and I have accepted that we will be having a very low-key holiday this season. While we’d love to spend it with our extended families, Aiden is just going to be way too little to be exposing him to a lot of people. It’s winter, and the germs are already in full-swing! Plus, I know it took me a good week to start feeling like myself again after Peyton. Hopefully I’ll bounce back quicker this time around, but who knows! We still plan to exchange gifts with our immediate families sometime on Christmas or a day or two after. I know everyone is bummed that we can’t fully participate in family gatherings this year, but we have to look out for Aiden and his itty bitty immune system. So our focus now is to create our own lil’ Christmas for Peyton, complete with resting and enjoying our new family of four. Of course we’ll throw in lots of presents from Santa, Christmas movies, and staying in our PJ’s for as long as we want!

Speaking of Santa…we took Peyton to see him at Great Wolf Lodge this weekend! It was a great indoor place to see him, and the line wasn’t bad at all. They let you take your own pictures (one of the reasons we didn’t want to attempt the mall), and they had a lot of other wintery activities for the kids to do. Peyton has been obsessed with Santa in books and on TV, and usually says, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” when you ask her what Santa says. However, when she saw him in person, she wasn’t the biggest fan. In fact, I felt like we were abusing her by making her sit on his lap. Someday she’ll appreciate these photos and think they’re funny, right?!?

Thanks again for following along with all my Aiden Bumpdates! Please keep our family in your prayers as we prepare to meet our little guy. I would REALLY like to go into labor on my own prior to Friday. As I said, Wednesday would be ideal because then we could have the doctor we really want! As always, we appreciate the love, prayer, and support we receive from our families and friends. We can’t wait to add Aiden to the mix!

December 08, 2012

I am happy to report that Aiden’s baseball nursery is FINISHED and awaiting his arrival! I have to admit, I was a little nervous doing a “boy room.” And when Jason saw the idea for the baseball wall, there was no going back…I was committed to the theme. But I quickly realized that most boys’ nursery sets include all the sports – baseball, basketball, football, and SOCCER. My husband must have something against soccer, as I was banned from buying ANYTHING with a soccer ball on it. I searched high and low for a baseball only nursery set, but found nothing (unless I was willing to shell out the big bucks). Then my good friend, Mandi, randomly found some sheets and a blanket at Target that just had baseballs and stars on them. SOLD! Once I had those, I was able to pick the colors (navy and red), and go to town!

The crib bumper, bed skirt, curtain, baseball curtain rod, and diaper stacker all came from Amazon. His furniture is the Delta series (we bought some at Target, and some on Amazon), and the small bookshelf is from IKEA. The blue toy bins and the baseball piggy bank are from Target (along with the crib sheet, and the blanket on the glider, of course!). The light switch, baseball dresser knobs, table lamp, most of the picture frames, etc. came from Hobby Lobby. The Barry Larkin autographed baseball was the gift I gave Jason for our first year wedding anniversary, and the big picture over the changing table is the scorecard and a picture of the stadium when the Reds clinched the division (one of Jason’s past birthday presents). Since we have no basement at the moment, both items are on loan to Aiden’s room. Eventually they will be put in the “man cave” at our next house! I have another glass ball case that we will put a baseball with Aiden’s footprints on from the hospital in.

The “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” canvas above his closet is from Kohl’s. It has special meaning, because when my Grandpa was quickly losing his memory due to Alzheimer’s, he would still sing that song and remember all the words. I didn’t know that until after I had already bought it for the room, and my mom got teary-eyed when she saw it and told me. So every time we sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” we will think of Aiden’s Great Grandpa Bob!

I am so grateful to Jason for painting all the walls, and putting up with my decision to change the paint color at the last minute. And bless my mom’s heart for painting the baseball stitching on the wall! I literally gave her the link I found on Pinterest with the idea, and she took it and ran with it. She even came up with a template to make it easier. I am lucky to be related to someone so artistic – I did not inherit those genes!

Aiden’s Grandma Colleen found a baseball glove chair that he will be getting for Christmas. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m sure it is super cute and will make a great addition to the room! I can’t wait to take his monthly pictures in it. This kid better like baseball!!!

Aiden’s room is MUCH smaller than Peyton’s, so we had to get creative with how everything was going to fit. It’s a little crowded for my liking, but in order to fit all the necessities in, I guess I am going to have to deal.

Here is a peek into Aiden’s room. Let me know what you think! 🙂

I had to include some pictures of Peyton’s room, too! It’s pretty much the same as it was when we did her nursery, but we had to give her changing table and glider to her baby brother. I found a hot pink “flip chair” for us to read bedtime stories in, and we bought a long IKEA bookshelf that also doubles as a changing table for now. Potty training is in the near future, though, I hope! It’s funny how taking just those two things out of her room makes it seem more like a “big girl” room than a nursery. My little girl is growing up! 🙁

December 06, 2012

I want to start this post by thanking everyone for their kind words about my hospital reflections post. I had so many people say that they could relate to my experience, and others that were thankful for my honesty. I am so glad I could help some future mama’s out by sharing my story! I have been very blessed by the kindness of others since I wrote it. I had a friend volunteer to set up meals for us using the online sign-up site, and many others that offered to come babysit while I nap. I’m sure I’ll take all of you up on your offers! Jason and I are so thankful to be surrounded by such a caring community of friends and family members. Aiden is a lucky boy to be born with so many adoring fans already!

I took my 37 week belly pics, but then didn’t have time to blog. So….the belly pics are from week 37, but the latest stats are current (week 38). You get the idea! 😉

Week 37 Belly Pictures…

Here are the latest stats: 

Pregnancy Length: 38 weeks, 3 days (as of 12/6)

Countdown to Due Date: 1 week, 4 days…AHHH!

Weight Gain: Finally asked the doctor…I have gained about 20 lbs. since the beginning of this pregnancy.

Baby is the size of a: watermelon (19 to 22 in., 7 lbs)

New baby developments: He is plumping up in there! His brain is continuing to develop rapidly, at a pace that will continue for his first 3 years of life. His skin has also turned from pink to white. He is ready for life outside the womb…we just need him to get moving!

Gender: Boy

Names: Aiden Michael

Sleep: Not too bad for this stage of the pregnancy. I usually wake up around 4ish, but can go back to sleep without getting out of bed.

Feeling: Swollen and itchy! The new developments are swollen ankles (I was wondering when they’d start!), and a pregnancy rash. It is on my belly, lower legs/ankles/feet, and upper arms. Doctor said it is harmless, but I am itching like crazy, especially at night! She said the only cure is to have the baby. She even brought up induction today, but I told her I wasn’t ready for that yet. After my first try with induction, I think I’ll wait it out a little more…uncomfortable or not!

Health: Other than the few minor uncomfortable things, I’m great! This may be TMI, but I know some people are curious…at my appointment today, I was 1-2 cm and 75% effaced. Not too much progress, but more than I ever had with Peyton!

Movement: He’s not moving as much now (no more room!), but still likes to give me a good jab every now and then.

Cravings: My new thing has been Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. I bought it for my picky eater of a daughter to try and entice her, but baby Aiden decided he liked it, too! Nothing too crazy though. I REALLY want some of those apple suckers dipped in caramel for the hospital (I think they let you suck on things during labor), but I can’t find them ANYWHERE! So I settled for the Jolly Rancher kind. If anyone finds any of the candy apple suckers, I will pay you big bucks for them!!! 😉

Nursery: It’s DONE!!! I have pictures taken, and will do a separate blog post on his baseball themed nursery. Sorry…you’ll just have to be patient for now!

Belly: Oh my how it has grown! I have also finally gotten stretch marks. I was hoping I’d escape them, but no such luck. 🙁 I have been putting on the stretch mark lotion, so let’s hope they go away once I deliver!

Next Appointment: Dec. 14th

 I have decided to work half days all next week, and then take the week of my due date off from school. Between the swelling, itching, and stressing about going into labor at school, I think it’s best for all involved! My long-term sub has already shadowed me for two days, and is ready to start taking over. As much as I love teaching, I am looking forward to my stay-at-home-mommy-gig. I know I am trading one stressful and draining job for another. Being a mom is a 24/7 job, and I know it will have its challenges! But my kids will only be little once, and I want to watch them grow up. I feel like I missed so much working during Peyton’s first year, and I am excited to be home to watch all of Aiden’s milestones. I am thankful for a husband that can look past the financial piece and see how important this is for me and our family. I will need to be a busy bee this Spring and Summer taking pictures to supplement my income, so PLEASE keep me in mind if you want family photos taken! Plus, I think I’ll need a break from the kids every now and then!

Depending on when I have this baby, I may or may not get around to writing another Bumpdate. Thanks for following along with me as I wait to meet the little boy growing inside my belly!

Oh, and one last thing…Brylee (AKA Aiden’s future wife) was born yesterday! Mandi and Brett are our wonderful friends and neighbors, and we are over the moon excited for them. She is a cutie pie, and we can’t wait to watch her grow alongside her big brother, Braxton!

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