Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Turning 30.

Today is officially 11 days until my 30th birthday.

However, I am not bothered by this at all.

I know many people, my husband included, who struggled with turning 30. Something about that number seems so much bigger than it is.

But I? I have spent most of my life being the youngest in class. I always loved "catching up." I am finally as old as everyone else! I am finally a part of the group! That is until the next month when everyone was once again a year older.

When I reflect on turning 30, I feel nothing but joy.

First of all, I have had 30 years of this here fabulous life. That's pretty incredible.

I have been beyond blessed to end up where I am, doing what I am doing, with the people I do it with. Somehow, education found me, and it has given me a purpose.

I have the most amazing, loving, dedicated husband. He is not perfect. WE are not perfect. But for over 10 years now, we have decided that wherever we are going, whatever we are doing, it's much much better when we are together. I can only imagine what our next 30 years will be like, right by each other's side.

My children are the most incredible humans I have ever encountered. Evelyn teaches me so much, and fills our days and nights with laughter and joy. Clayton has a piece of my heart in a way I never dreamed possible. His happy little smile is all I need to put my heart at ease.

My family and friends are incredible. We have enough money for frivolous Old Navy purchases, while still paying off my student loan debt. We own a home that is far from perfect, but the perfect amount of cozy.

I used to think, at age 15, of all the things I would do or be by 30. I didn't want to have a baby until then, and now, odds are I am done having them.

I know this much: I never could have envisioned this incredibly amazing, absolutely flawed, overwhelmingly beautiful life that I have. I couldn't have dreamed it up if I tried. It's so much better than I ever imagined.

So when I turn 30, I will only continue to revel in that awe. Nothing about me changes with a 3 in front of my age, save for some newer aches and baby weight I can't get rid of. Everything else is just as incredible as 29.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Common Core: Cite Your Source.

That's it.

I'm done.

I am over, over, OVER playing nice in the realm of Common Core.

I don't care if you're a teacher, parent, policy maker--it doesn't matter to me. I am done.playing.nice.

There is so much misinformation out there. Of course, there's misinformation on every topic ever because, well, internet. And that's fine.

The problem is when we start believing the inaccurate sources.

And you know what that makes me laugh?

Common Core would have taught you to critically analyze and question sources before blindly believing them.


My new response to every single comment on Common Core will be the following:


We are working really hard, with Common Core, to get students to answer questions with text-dependent responses. That means, if you tell me that the character in the story was angry, you must include evidence in your response: "On page 7, the character throws his book in someone's face, which shows he is unhappy with that person."


If you want to criticize Common Core, by all means, go ahead. A healthy debate is just that: healthy. Helpful. Part of the process.

But what won't happen? On my watch? Using the general words of vague sources based on no evidence whatsoever to bash a system that WE created to FIX where we have gone WRONG in the past 15 years.

Here's a quick sample.

Common Core involves more testing!

Cite your source.
Because they don't.
Here's my source: Click

Teachers weren't involved in creating Common Core!

Cite your source.
Because they were.
Here's my source: Click

I could go on. But I won't. Because I am about to teach 150 amazing teenagers all day, and they deserve me in the happy mood I woke up in.

Do not hear me wrong. Some states, districts, schools and administrators are doing this wrong. There is no two ways about it. Just wrong. That makes me sad, but that is something we can fix, if we all pay enough attention. But just like any situation ever in the history of the world, do not let the exception define the rule.

Ask questions. Do research. Critique the sources you are looking at.

And always, always, cite your source.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

5 months!

This little guy is growing so fast! I can barely keep up. 

Clayton is 5 months old! He can roll over like a champ, and does so all the time.

He currently LOVES to spit. Anyone holding him does not enjoy it as much. 

He has recently discovered his feet, which is hilarious. 

Clay loves to give kisses, and does so accurately 9 times out of 10.

He absolutely adores his big sister. She makes him laugh without fail. 

He flirts with, and loves, his teachers at school.

He is allergic to the entire world.

Wearing 9 month sleepers, 3 month shorts, 6 month onesies. 

I simply cannot believe next month will be half a year. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Parenting when Well.

When I start thinking about the similarities and differences in my postpartum experiences, there are many things I can list. We were in different houses, different cities, different places in our career, different places in our marriage. The similarities, of course, are baby needs and demands, constant changes in their development, daycare issues, etc.

However, I can identify a very large difference, a huge difference that completely stops me in my tracks.

That main difference is me.

In the weeks and months following Evelyn's birth, my world was on high alert. My PTSD had me in fear of everything, and had my physiological responses off the charts. My OCD tendencies had me regimenting my day in a strict order, and preventing any real joy. At the time, I thought I felt the joy of parenting Evelyn. I loved her. We had a strong bond.

I am convinced now how sick I was. And moreover, about how much true emotion I missed out on.

When I am perfectly honest, I am really lucky that my first baby was so easy, and it allowed me to be in that unhealthy place and still maintain a normal life. Clay is much more demanding than Evelyn. He has multiple issues we can't solve--gut issues, skin issues, reflux issues. He is very dependent and not interested on being on his own at home.

I am also taking on many new demands in my job, as is Chris. We are very, very busy, and there is a large amount of stress in our worlds.

Through it all though, I have stayed very calm and collected. I have an occasional freakout moment, sure, as I am human. But I haven't lost it. I am not breaking down or afraid. I am not nervous or having trouble sleeping. Ok I mean I AM having trouble sleeping because my baby is, but not because of my own insomnia.

Mentally, I am in a good place. The best example of this is my house. It's a mess. I mean an absolute sheer and utter mess. But for once in my life, that's kind of a good thing. It means I am prioritizing as I go, and not living my life by the strict schedule that used to dominate it. I am at ease with adjustments and comfortable with putting something aside until tomorrow.

I am parenting well. Therefore, I feel a new appreciation and love for every single blessed little aspect of Clayton.

It's not easy--I mean, is it ever? No. But I can tell how vastly different it is. And it inspires me to reach out as often as possible, because I don't want anyone to parent unwell. I don't want anyone to lose out on the emotion that I lost. I don't want anyone to suffer in silence.

Today is World Mental Health Day. So I am sharing my story, again, making my voice heard, in the hopes that someone will hear it, and take comfort in it, and reach out for the help they need. So I say to them:

You will find a place of wellness again. You will. Let's get there together.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Clayton, you are 4 months old!

Clayton turned 4 months old on Monday! I can't believe that time is going by so quickly!

As you can see, he's clearly the most difficult baby in the entire world :)

Clayton is darn near perfection. He is the happiest little guy, easy to please, simple yet deep. He remains a little observer--he wants to watch and see and hear and be a part of all things. But he's ok being in the background and just staring. 

He loves to babble and tell stories. Daycare goes on and on about his talking and they think it's just the most adorable thing ever. The expressions that accompany his story telling are fabulous.

He is almost rolling back to belly, and will have it any day. He can turn himself in circles, so I know mobility will occur very soon. 

Clay had his first real cold over the weekend, and it has destroyed his sleep. I am trying really hard to stay positive but he is making nighttime quite difficult. He has wound up in the rock n play in our bedroom for the last few nights. Which is fine, just a backtrack.

This happy little guy weighs in at 15lbs 10 oz and is 26.5 inches long. That puts him in 50% and 95% and right now, his weight for length is very low! It all explains why the 6 month jammies are barely fitting though! He's a tall guy! His reflux is getting better, but he is currently dealing with the weirdest rash ever (seen above). It comes and goes on his face and tummy with no explanation. 

Evelyn and Clay have a fabulous relationship. He really loves to watch her, and she loves to be near him at all times. They lay next to each other, her little arm around his, and you can tell that he loves his big sister. 

Being Clay's mama is an incredible gift. I am so thankful for him, and I cherish just getting to hold and cuddle him. I would prefer, however, less of that at midnight, 1, 2 and 3 am :)