Monday, January 31, 2011

It's the little things that make a difference

I absolutely love teaching!

I honestly can't think of anything I would rather be doing.  Well... outside of the house, anyway. 

When I was in school, I always adored my teachers, and I was fortunate to have some truly great ones.  I have remained in contact with many of my teachers years later, and it was even my 5th grade teachers - and one of my all time heros - who officiated our wedding.

So recently, I was taken quite aback when I received this:

We've been working on improving students' paragraph writing, so for extra credit last semester, I asked students to write on a specific topic and diagram their paragraphs by highlighting topic sentences, circling transition words and so forth.

One of the topics was about a hero in their life whom they admire, and I came back as the subject of that particular paragraph. 


And, I know it comes off looking like a brown-nosing ploy; but this was me as a student.  If I liked a teacher, I wasn't shy about letting them know it.  Not to mention, (as was also true of me in school) she didn't need the extra credit to begin with - she already had an A in my class. 

It's an honor, not because I think she truly views me as a hero (nor, let's be honest, am I worthy of that kind of praise).  I think that this was just her way of telling me that she really, really likes me.  And that is worth a lot, in my book!

I may never cure cancer; I may not be a great humanitarian or mean anything significant to the world.  Mostly, I think that raising my children will be my biggest contribution to this world, and I'm quite okay with that.  But it humbles and delights me to think that I might actually make a difference to a few people along the way. 

Let's face it: that's why I became a teacher to begin with.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Political Activism

In some ways, having a husband is a little like having a child.

As soon as you're paying attention to something else, a husband wants all your attention.

Case and point?

Evidently I was neglecting my wifely duty and wasn't quick enough about getting dinner on the table.  Fortunately, Casey took up the issue, political-activist style.

That's right, they're trying to send me a message.  What do you think their demands are?

Leah liked it so much, we had to find something else to protest. 

I see Washington, D.C. in her future. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Double Digits

This post is officially a week late.  And what a week it's been at our house!  Full of fevers and mystery illnesses and lots of cuddling and grumpiness.  But that's a story for another post.

For now...

I have to celebrate Leah at 10 months (and 1 week)!

Ten Things I Love About Leah at 10 Months:

1. Her funny personality (see above!)
2. High chair time
3. That she flirts with everybody when we're out and about - so long as Mommy is still holding her.
4.  Her curious, adventuresome spirit
5. Her laugh, which could chase away even the darkest stormclouds
6. Her awesome mohawk
7. Gummy, open-mouthed smiles and kisses
8. The fact that she loves to look at everything she can.  (Not to mention, touch and put in her mouth if she can get that far!)
9. Singing and dancing, both of which she loves to do. 
10. The big, healthy, growing, nearly-toddler girl who wakes up sunny and ready to take on the day each morning and delights us all day long!

We had a hard time getting this 12-18 month hat on her gigantic noggin... I don't think we'll put her through that again, no matter how cute she looked!

I mentioned she's adventurous, right?

She is learning so much!  Waving and clapping, oh my!
Leah loves to go out, and she always puts on her best hammy face.

Of all we've been through with our sweet baby, this phase is unquestionably my favorite.  She absolutely amazes me a little more and in new ways each day!

As we inch toward the big -1- year mark, Mommy has mixed emotions about leaving her babyhood behind.  I do know, though, just how big we're blessed, and I wouldn't trade a single day we've had with that beautiful, big girl!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I fit into... well, still not the skinny jeans

Those pants there?  The ones that look like they were just regurgitated from the deepest, darkest, depths of the closet (probably because they were)?

I fit into them!

No, they're not exactly the beloved "skinny jeans."

But, they are the pants that skinny Melissa used to wear when she wanted to rock the lazy, grunge look. 

They're not my size 4s, but 10 months after Baby, size 6 is looking okay from where I'm standing!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Things I love: 2011 Edition

1. Our awesome car, which gets us safely through the snow and weather of Colorado. (Just because we haven't actually had any snow and typical Colorado weather doesn't mean I'm any less grateful for the car!)

2. Happy Puffs - organic, yummy (for babies and daddies), and pure Big Girl food.  And they're organic.  I mentioned that, right? 

3. Veggie Tales.  Who can resist signing, dancing, lesson-teaching vegetables?  Plus, it's a nice break from The Wiggles (seriously - I've listened to "Fruit Salad, Yummy, Yummy" more times than I can possibly count).

4. Music, Together!  Leah began taking this class this week, and I can't wait to see where she goes with it.  We love to sing and dance at home, and she is has become such a little music lover.  I think it will be a perfect fit!

5. My job.  I love my job.  I have great co-workers, I can't say enough good things about my wonderful school, and the kiddos are absolutely awesome.  I adore teaching; it is without doubt the thing I was meant to do... after being a mommy, that is.  In some ways, it's almost a shame I work at this great school at this point in my life, because it would be the perfect job for me if I didn't have something that eclipses anything else waiting at home. 

6. Baby BOY Churnside!  Yes, Jessica and Andrew are having a boy, God bless them.  I can't wait for May to meet the Churnsides' newest addition!

7.  Planning, planning, planning for a little girl's first birthday, and a best friend's baby shower.  Blessed?  Yep.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

8 years and counting

Yes, in case you are keeping score, those are hoop earings.  So totally cool in 2003!
 On this day, 8 years ago, I began dating a boy I met during my freshman year of college. 

We met on a band trip - yes, we're totally that couple.  We dated a little; he asked me out to dinner in San Antonio and to celebrate New Year's eve with him.  The next day, he introduced me to his friends at an IHOP breakfast on the first day of 2003.  (I didn't know then that this would become a New Years day tradition - 9th breakfast in a row!) 

By that point, I certainly had a crush on him. 

He asked me out the very next day.  It wasn't particularly glamorous or monumental, and if you had told me then that this was the man I would one day marry and have a baby with, I simply wouldn't have believed you.  Let's be honest, I was only 18!  None of that was really on my mind. 

It's amazing to think about those two naiive people, who had no idea the journey they were about to take together. 

We've come a long way since then, and although neither of us is perfect, I wouldn't change a single thing about the path we've taken together.

I love you.  And may there be many more. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: A New Year of Adventures

A year ago, it seemed to me 2010 was the most anticipated year of my entire life.  I couldn't wait for it to actually get here - waiting for Miss Leah was the biggest thing I've ever done. 

When she was actually here, it seemed 2010 would go on forever.  My baby was just a baby, after all!  Now, here we are, welcoming 2011 and preparing for that baby girl to turn 1.

I can't believe it.  Time has simply gone too fast. 

So, in the interest of slowing things down a bit to drink in the moment, here are some noteworthy things about Leah at the beginning of 2011.  I totally dread cannot wait to look back and see how drastically this list has changed in another year!

On the first day of 2011, Leah...
*Is 9 months and 3 weeks old

*Has no teeth

*Pulls herself up on furniture pretty much everywhere she can

*Is practicing standing all by herself.  She wobbles for a few unassisted seconds and then plops on her bottom.

*Crawls her little heart out.  She has gotten quite proficient at it, and almost never does the army crawl she started out with at 6 or 7 months.

*Zips along in the basement on her walker.  Her stability is so much improved, I can't believe it.  She needs no assistance (other than the walker, of course!) as she walks along, and can even bend down and pick up objects as she goes. 

*I predict walking by/in February.

*Says only one word: "Daddy" (although I've caught a few "Hi"s as well)

*Gives five

*Claps when asked, and then grins maniacally

*Will find Mommy's nose when asked

*Climbs flights - yes, whole flights, unassisted no less - of stairs

*Beebops along to any music you put on and absolutely LOVES to dance!

*Favorite song: "If you're happy and you know it" (clap your hands!)

*Communicates effectively even though she can't speak.  She is very expressive and super verbal, even though it's not in word-form yet. 

*Wears size 2 diapers (let's not tell anyone that this will change as soon as we run out of this box of size 2's)

*Fits in most of her 6 month clothing, all of her 9 month clothing and wears 12 months, even though they're pretty big. 

* Has started on solid pieces of food, and eats organic puffs (fancy cheerios) like they're going out of style.

* Her favorite game is dumping out all of her toys and sorting through them.  Her favorites are "farmer John" and "moo cow," two "little people" toys she got for Christmas.  I though she's be too little to really play with them, and they turned out to be her favorites!

*She still nurses 4 times a day, and eats everything in sight when she's in her high chair.  She can often slam down 4 ice cubes-worth of food! 

*Has a sweet, inquisitive, funny personality.  She loves to give kisses, hugs, and she loves to make us laugh.  I am still in awe at what an overall easy baby she is, and I hope that will keep up into her toddler days!

Let me close this post with a little video that is so true to who Leah is.  We love that sweet baby, and can't wait to see what wonders 2011 has in store!

I changed my font at