Monday, April 30, 2012

My Mockingjay

My son has reached the point in his young life, where repeating everything that he hears is the purpose of his day. For the past week or so, Liam has shocked me several times with what comes out of his mouth. A couple of weeks ago, I was joking with my husband and I said, "Boy, you have quite an attitude!" From behind my back I hear, "Daddy have att-i-tude!" This was just the beginning!
So far, we have dodged the swear-word-bullet, but I'm sure it's headed our way. Instead, Liam is speaking in mostly-complete sentences and repeating words that seem far to complex for such a little mouth. I've noticed that when I say something to him, he intently watches my mouth move and at times, moves his mouth to copy my actions. 
He has also decided that it is time to know the "A,B,C's". We have had to sing it several times a day (including bed time) for the past few days. He's pretty good at it too! R and W tend to be difficult for him to pronounce, but they do require more complex tongue movements and mouth positioning. 
He has also become quite interested in what everyone around him is doing. We are constantly hearing, "Mamma do?", "Daddy do?", "Nana do?", etc. His curiosity is so exciting. I know that asking questions, copying adults, and watching our actions are how my little guy is going to learn to be an amazing young man. But there is a point, when you've answered the "Mamma do?" question hundreds of times and there is a constant little voice that proceeds your own, when it all becomes too much!
I love my son, his little voice, his curiosity, his passion for learning and understanding, but there are times where I wish we could go back to the immobile, quite baby that he used to be. Luckily, these points are few and far between, and 95% of the time I'm more than happy to tell him exactly what I'm doing and why. We'll see how it goes over the summer, when the questions continue for 16 hours straight rather than the 8 that I'm currently working with.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Things I've Lost

Becoming a parent means you give up so much of what make you happy. Your whole life changes and priorities shift. You can no longer focus on what you want, it's all about them and their needs. Your life is not even recognizable once a child enters it. Things that you once cared deeply about, can not even be on your radar. Here is a list of things that I have lost by having my son:

#1- Sleep: Everyone talks about loosing sleep when you have a newborn. The problem is, it doesn't stop when they reach a certain age. My son has been consistently sleeping through the night for more than a year now, but that doesn't mean I get to. I've always been a light sleeper, but if he even moves I'm wide awake. Even when they "consistently" sleep through the night, they still wake up on occasion, sometimes several times a night. Worry also keeps me up late at night. Worry about his safety, concerns about whether or not I'm a good enough parent, thoughts about how to make tomorrow better, planning for days to come. I've never had less sleep, than I have since Liam was born.

#2- Time to myself: Before having my little guy, it was just my hubby and I. I used to have lots of time to myself: to read, take a long bath, relax, go shopping, do things I want to do. Now, I can't remember the last time I got to use the bathroom alone, it took me a week to read a 100 page 6th grade book (and I can't remember the last time I read an adult book), I haven't gotten myself ready in the morning alone for two years, going shopping now includes a critic who just wants to run around the store, when Liam goes to sleep I have to get things done, so no relaxing then.
Joe has notices this too. He hasn't been able to play video games pretty much since the day we left for the hospital, watching a movie is no longer enjoyable with a screaming/running kid around, watching the news in the mornings has become a treat, choosing what's on TV at all, now that's a treat! Time to myself is shot!

#3- Adult time: Before having Liam, Joe and I were pretty social, we went out with friends almost every weekend. We had fun at bars, went on fun vacations like Las Vegas and Europe, we could make plans at the drop of a hat. We could sleep in the next morning, so their was no fear of staying up past 10pm. Having a few drinks was more than ok, if we had too many, we could just sleep it off the next day. What truly free time we had could be spent doing whatever we wanted. When shopping, I actually bought things for myself. I didn't immediately head to the children's section of the store. Taking a walk to one of the local pubs, or spending the day working on a project was always a possibility.

I've lost all of these things and possibly many many more aspects of my life before Liam. There are times were I miss my freedom and my old life. Fortunately for me, my husband, and my son, there are far more rewarding things that we have gained by adding him to our family. These are just a few of the things that I have gained by having my son:

#1- A purpose: Before Liam arrived my purpose in life was to make myself happy and to be a teacher. Being a teacher is still part of my overall purpose, but it's no longer my biggest goal in life. Being the best mommy I can be, teaching my son how to be a good person and friend, protecting him from all that I can while helping him see the lesson when I can't. Making sure that he ends up as an independent, caring person is what I strive for. Having Liam has made me a better woman.

#2- Love: I have always loved the people who surround me, in fact I think I jump into loving someone quite quickly. But I truely didn't know what love was until having my son. There should be another word to describe the love that a mother has for her son, because the same using the same word I use to describe my excitement over ice cream just doesn't seem like a good comparison. My son is my world now, and I would never give that up!

#3- Being proud: I feel pride in myself, family, friends, students, home, even my pets, but the pride of a mamma toward her children is not even close! I'm proud of every little thing he does. When he says a new word, I can't stop smiling. When he learned to walk, I couldn't stop telling people about it. The first time he smiled at me, I cried with excitement. The day he was born, helped me to know that he would be strong and brave. Everything he does makes me proud to be his mommy.

Based on my tally, I've lost several of the things that used to be so important to me, but I've gained more than I ever knew existed. It's easy to dwell on the things that I miss about my past life, but it is far more exciting to focus on all the things that I gained when my son entered my life. There is nothing more rewarding than being a parent. Your life changes, your priorities change, your free time is non-existent, but so much more fills those spaces. My life truly didn't begin, until I say the plus sign on the pregnancy test.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Itch is Back!

I don't know if it's just this time of year, but Joe and I have come back to the "make a change" talk. I still would love to move away and try something new, someplace new and it seems as though this may be a good time. There are still the issues of missing our family and friends, which almost makes the thought of leaving unbearable. But we also can't shake the whole idea of starting over fresh in a warmer climate.
I still want more of the small town feel, nicer weather, and a house with some age/character. Joe wouldn't mind a change of pace career-wise, or some historic fun closer to home. We are both interested in Pennsylvania. There is so much history there and the homes reflect that. Also there are smaller towns, closer to metro areas, so that Joe could find a job in a city, but we could still have some space.
Once again, we'll see. Maybe the thoughts will pass as they did last year. But I wonder at what point will they cease or will we give in?! Either way, the future holds some exciting things!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Under Pressure

Under Pressure is not only my favorite Queen song, but it's also how I've been feeling for a while now. Two and a half years ago, I began taking classes to get a reading endorsement. Due to having a baby and my work schedule, I was only able to take a class here and there. I just finished my last class, so you might think that the pressure is over. You would be wrong!
The classes were difficult from time to time, but nothing I couldn't handle. I actually really enjoy taking classes (I guess that is one reason I was meant to be a teacher). The pressure began in June of last year, when the principal of my school made a point to tell the rest of the staff that I was "almost done with my reading endorsement." Technically I was almost done, one class away from finishing the program, but I realized at that point that he had taken some vested interest in my education.
The pressure grew a few months ago when I was told that he planned to make me the school-wide reading teacher, because "it just makes sense to have the only person in the building with a reading endorsement, teach all the reading." Once again, this shouldn't have been a big deal, but I hadn't taken the last class at this point, and there was still the dreaded PRAXIS exam to think about.
The pressure became almost painful a week ago, when out vice-principal (who has taken on the responsibilities of a reading specialist) advised our staff that she will be taking a job at the district office, and will no longer be taking on the reading specialist responsibilities. I know that I have been reading between the lines quite a bit, but I also think it's more than possible, based on all of these circumstances, that both of the principals in my building are expecting me to take on this role next year.
I'm very excited at this possibility. It shows that they value me and the skills that I have to offer, it gives me even more job security, and I would love to work with more students to help them meet their true reading potential. The issue comes with the PRAXIS that now stands in my way.
I have done a lot of research in-between my study sessions, and have realized that Oregon has a very high standard for passing this test (in fact it's higher than any other state's requirements). The average person gets a score of 580. What is the Oregon standard? 610! That means the average person who takes this test, misses the Oregon requirement by 30 points!
Knowing that my superiors are expecting/relying on me to pass this test, that it is extremely difficult to pass, that it is so expensive to take, and that I just plain want to be done, are all reasons that I'm feeling so much pressure to pass this test and earn the endorsement. The test is tomorrow morning, and I've been studying for months, but for some reason I can't get past the feeling of dread. Now that I've vented just a bit, it's time to get back to my flashcards. I hope that I don't let myself and everyone else down!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I think that being "different" has created two parts of my personality that may not have been there without it. One of these two qualities is that I have no problem putting myself in someone else's shoes. I think about how it must feel from everyone else's perspective probably more than I do my own. Sometimes this is a wonderful quality to have. For instance, when at outdoor school, a students (who is autistic) couldn't cope with the unpredictable schedule. He almost had a pure meltdown, but because I could sympathize with his frustration and confusion, I was also able to talk him down.
I believe that this trait is one of the most helpful to me in my career, in that it helps kids to feel comfortable with me from the get-go. You may think that the opposite would happen, that having a teacher who looks so different may be a reason for students to take a step away. This is not the case at all! I believe that because my differences are out in the open and obvious to all, my students feel as though they can show me theirs without fear of being abnormal. It makes me relate-able to them.
This trait is not so great in the sense that I over-think what others say and do far more than I should. I know that there are many times that I try to find emotion or hidden messages when there are none. I plan gifts/cards usually for months in advance (time consuming, I know), and I feel guilty if I don't buy something when wandering through a garage sale or when someone comes to the door. I worry constantly about how people see me. Overall, I think that this is one of my best traits, I just wish I could turn it off from time-to-time.
The second trait that I have accumulated due to my hairlessness, is magnet that pulls strangers in. No matter where I go, or what I'm doing, there is always someone who wants to share their stories with me. Once again, this can be a blessing as well as a curse. When I stop by the grocery store on my way home, with a 2 year old on my hip and a gallon of freezing cold milk in my other hand, I don't really want to listen to a story about a complete stranger's health issues.
But there are also times where this comes in very handy. I never have to worry about being the person in the corner who has no one to talk to. When I started attending a Bunco group where I only knew a few people, it didn't take long to feel like one of the pack. When attending a district-wide staff meeting, everyone knows who I am, even if I don't know them. I think that people feel like they can relate to someone who they already know has "issues".
I know I have said this before, but I truly believe that having alopecia has made me who I am, and have supplied some of the best parts of my personality. Maybe someday I will take some time to write about the not so great qualities that I've inherited, but that is for another day!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

To Infinity and Beyond!

Liam turned two earlier this week and his birthday party was today. It was wonderful! So many of our amazing family and friends came to help us celebrate a huge milestone in our son's life. In preparation for this day, I have been getting crafty! For the past few weeks, I have been working on project after project to help make his big day a special one. In this blog, I will share all of the fun ideas that I had, borrowed, and just plan stole from friends and the creative geniuses of Pinterest.
My first assignment was to create signs that would not only reflect the Toy Story theme of the party, but also inform guests of activities, food, and where the party was taking place. I started this project with the cardboard that was left over from our closet/bedroom renovation project (we were lucky to have so many boxes). I used graphics found on the internet and Toy Story products to draw the words on the cardboard, then I used a box-cutter to cut them out, and painted them using the colors shown on the logos.
The door to the playroom
Over the island in the kitchen

Welcoming guests at the front door

Next, I used felt to create a "pin the body parts on Mr. Potato Head" game. I bought one small sheet of felt in each color needed, then cut out the body parts. Last, I glued the prickly side of a velcro strip onto each feature. They turned out great, and the kids loved it!

I also made a beautiful collage of all my favorite pictures of Liam, shaped in the number two. I started by drawing a large, block number two on a large piece of cardboard. Then I used a box-cutter to get rid of the edges. Finally, I was able to tape each picture on to the cardboard, being mindful to keep the shape. This is my favorite project for sentimental reasons.

The most time-consuming, yet most rewarding project, was the gift bag punch box. I once again, started with a large cardboard box. I used a box-cutter to create 15 holes on either side of the box. I didn't care if the holes looked nice, they would be covered anyway. Then I had to use another box to create shelves on the inside. I used one piece that was large enough to go width-wise and top to bottom, to create an anchor for the shelves. Then I cute four pieces that had the same dimensions as the inside of the box, cut them in half length-wise, and taped them to the anchor piece. Next I put two pillars between the holes to divide each bag from the others and to support the shelving.

Once the inside of the box was complete, it was time to make it look pretty. I chose to cover the whole box in some balloon wrapping paper I already had. But I needed to create the nice, neat holes first. I measured the distance from the bottom of the box to the first hole, then measured the same on the wrapping paper. I used a tupperware lid to trace the circles, then cut each one out. When I was done with this, I taped tissue paper onto each row, covering the holes. I highly suggest doing this after creating the holes on the paper, so that you can see the holes on the box, and can check your measurements.

I realized when I had finished, that there was a pretty good-sized space left where you could see the box. Instead of going out to buy more paper, I created a mosaic from the scarps cut from the circles. It turned out really nice. I chose to create the punching holes on both sides of the box. This is not needed, but we had more than 15 kiddos at the party and I decided to use it to dole out the prizes for the games as well. The kids LOVED this! It was a great way to make the gift bags even more fun.

My last project was to make stary sky play-do. I have never made play-do before, but it turned out awesome! I used black and blue food coloring and silver, white, and blue sparkles. It went great with the Buzz Lightyear theme.

There were also some projects that I did not necessarily "do", but had a part in. My husband's step-mom is a wonderful baker and is amazing at cake decorating, so I designed a cake and she made it for us. Once again, I was happily surprised when my idea turned out better than I thought (quite possibly due to Clair's fantastic skills). The food we chose was also well thought out. I watched the Toy Story movies to find snacks that would go along with the theme. We ended up with chips (cool ranch and BBQ), cheese puffs, and pizza (of course).

I have to say, that putting this much effort and time into one event was exhausting, but well worth it. Liam's smile and comments from our guests, told me that all of my effort was noticed and appreciated.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Drum Roll Please........

It's finally done! A month of waiting, finally over!! We finished the closet today. Over the weekend, Joe and I picked out the drawers, shelves, and boxes that would be used as storage in Liam's new walk-in closet. Monday night, Joe measured the space and installed a piece of plywood to raise up the storage units, since we were going to have to carpet around them. Tuesday afternoon, the carpet company came and installed all of the flooring, and Joe did some touch-ups to the paint. We spent all Wednesday afternoon installing all of the storage units, then walked to Home Depot to get the dowel holders and a door stop. Today, we installed the dowels and moved in!

Here it is!

A big thank you to my dad for all his work on our little project. I think it looks amazing! What do you think?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Turning Two = Lots of Smiles!

After the stress and worry of yesterday, I was worried that Liam's second birthday would be a tough one. I was very wrong. I had nothing to worry about! Liam was such a happy guy all day, we were almost able to forget about that horrible day that came before. We started out the day with his gift- a little tikes truck.Then came breakfast, and a couple of episodes of Dinosaur train. We were trying to kill a little time before heading to his first dentist appointment.
I was worried about how Liam would handle the dentist, and I was worried about what we would learn about his teeth. Luckily, he did a great job and we got some good news. Liam's teeth are chipped, but healthy! He loved the chair. The dental hygienist showed us how to make it go up and down, recline and sit up. He also decided that it made a great slide!

Once we got the okay from the dentist, we were off to the Children's Museum. We packed every room, and every activity they offer, into two hours of fun. Liam loved every minute of it and was so upset when it was time to leave. But it was nap time and both Joe and I were so exhausted, that we were all in need of a rest.

When we got home, I started baking cupcakes to go along with Liam's b-day dinner. While working on those, my mom and sister, Mystery, came over to wish Liam a happy birthday. His Nana even brought him a beautiful cupcake, just for him! While waiting for dinner, Liam watched the Chipmunk movie.

We ate Liam's favorite dinner- mac and cheese, Hawaiian rolls, and milk. Then came the best part- the cake, which was accompanied by the happy birthday song! Liam LOVED the cupcake from Nana so much, that he dug right in! By the end, he was in need of a bath.

Liam's birthday was far better than I expected! I think that it was even more important to Joe and I, that this birthday be special since we are all still a little shaken from the incidents of yesterday. The stress we went through yesterday, really put everything into perspective. My family is what matters most, and helping my son to be as happy, healthy, and safe as possible is my most important job.
Happy Birthday my Little Man!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Still Shaking

Having a child means that you worry, all the time, every day. Every time Liam falls I worry that he has a concussion, has broken a bone, or has knocked out a tooth. Well, this morning one of those fears came to realization. While getting out of the shower with his Dad, Liam slipped and hit his mouth/chin on the lip of the shower. I knew right away that this was a bad situation. Within seconds there was a bloody gash on his chin. It seemed like a bad scratch, nothing too bad. Then he started to shake and could not stop crying.
I carried him into the kitchen to look in his mouth, that is when I noticed a huge gash on the roof of his mouth and blood all over his teeth. He was still crying uncontrollably, so I focused on calming him down, and cleaning up the blood. When the blood started to flow a little less, and Liam was just whimpering, I took another look in his mouth. His two front teeth had been chipped and once again, there was blood all around his teeth. I was so worried about him, because he cried for almost 45 minutes and had a glazed look for about an hour.
As soon as urgent care opened, we took him in to make sure there was no concussion and to have him checked out. The whole time, from accident to to doctor discussing his injuries with us, I was thinking about whether or not he was ok. Did he have a broken jaw? Would he need stitches? How much pain is he in? How can I help him? Will his teeth be ok? All of these questions ran through my head. I also kept thinking about how horrible of parents we are to let this sort of thing happen to him.
Luckily, the doctor said the laceration on his chin would just need to be cleaned frequently and treated with Neosporin and a band-aid. He also said that his jaw is fine, his teeth are still firmly in place, and that there is no concussion. Tomorrow will not only be Liam's first visit to the dentist, but also his 2nd birthday. What a wonderful way to spend it!
He seems to be doing better now. We gave him some Tylenol and he is napping well. He was irritated because it hurt to drink out of a sippy cup (so he may be learning how to use an open cup) and it hurt to suck on his binky (of which he may now be weened). Other than that, he was in good spirits and back to his normal self.
Today reminded me of the stress and anxiety I felt when he was a newborn. How would I keep him safe? How can I make him feel better? What if.....? I don't know what the answer is. We can't protect them from everything, but we feel that protection is our most important job as a parent. How do we deal with the things we can't fix, change, or help? I wish I knew, because I have never in my life, felt as helpless as I do in these situations.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Forgetting is a Necessity

There are so many things about parenthood that are so horrible that no one would ever choose to have children if they remembered them. I love my son more than ANYTHING, but certain things come with the territory that I do not care for one bit. It all starts with the pre-pregnancy wait. The testing every time you get a "weird" feeling. You get so anxious about whether or not it's going to happen this month....oh, not next month......this would be the best time with my work schedule....etc. Then there are all of things you have to give up both when trying to get pregnant, and while carrying your bundle of joy- no wine, lunch meat, mayonnaise, coffee, soft cheeses (my favorite!), etc. But do we remember all of this? Nope. We think of how great it was to find out that our family will be growing and the relief of knowing that it worked.
Once pregnant, it only gets worse. We forget all of the horrible symptoms that go along with the pregnancy and just remember the kicks, the baby showers, decorating the nursery, etc. Labor is where your mind plays the biggest trick on you! I still remember describing what I remember of labor to a friend- Me-"It wasn't so bad. It hurt of course, but I didn't scream at all and I think that I was pretty laid back the whole time." I also remember my husband's response- "Are you kidding! You were so stressed out, you acted like you were dying, and you called me several choice words that we don't want Liam to pick up on. This is still not how I remember it going, but oh well.
The first few weeks are not any better. The baby sleeps randomly, but you can't, he fills his diaper with the grossest black sticky poop ever, you always smell like something that came out of him, you have no knowledge of the outside world-in fact it doesn't seem to exist, and whether c-section or natural child birth, you are sore. But do we recount all of this when talking to mother's-to-be? I didn't.
Once again, a conversation comes to mind- Me reassuring Friend 1 -"Oh, being a parent just comes naturally. You get into a rhythm and it becomes easier than you expected." Friend 2- "What?! That's not what you told me at the time! I saw you three weeks into it and you felt like crap and cried all over me." Oh yeah. I guess I did, didn't I. Once again, your body making sure that you forget just enough to want to go through it all again.
Nursing was also one of these forgetful subjects for me. I nursed exclusively for 14 months, and although I recall complaining to my husband about how hard it was to pump at work, hiding in a corner so my students wouldn't see me, I recently found myself thinking, "Oh, it wasn't that bad." I KNOW that it was that bad, but for the life of me I can't remember enough of the bad to talk myself out of doing it all over again with the next one.
But the specific situation that made me think of a woman's forgetful nature, was the fact that my son has been sleeping in our room for the past 3 weeks. He slept in our room for the first year of his life. My memories of it were that, once we got him on a schedule, there was nothing to it. Wrong! I realized quite quickly that I had "forgotten" a lot about sleeping with my little guy in the same room. He snores, rolls, talks in his sleep, and realized also quite quickly, that mommy and daddy were right there any time he woke up, even just momentarily. Which he took to mean, he should wake us up and get some attention.
I know why our minds play these tricks on us and I have to say, "Well, played! Well, played!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Renovation Week 3

So we are now halfway through week four of the bedroom/closet renovation and I can almost say, "Done!" I'm so happy with the change to the size of the room as well as all of the storage space we have gained. Although not right away (I need some sleep and to get some spring cleaning done), Joe and I are seriously considering doing the same project on the other upstairs bedroom.
So much has changed in his room the last week and a half, but there has also been a lot of waiting between steps. Last week Dad came to finish up the texture which took Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. He had to spray on the texture, wait for it to dry, sand it down, spray again, wait, sand.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were our days to paint everything! It took forever and made us work muscles we haven't used in a while, but we got it done, and it made it look like a bedroom again!

Monday Dad came back to install the door, put the trim around the attic access door, and do some finishing touches.

Tuesday Dad came back one last time to put on the trim and chair rail. We cleaned up the room, hauled away the left over scraps, vacuumed, and prepared for the carpet people to come.

Today, I was hoping to unveil the finished bedroom/closet project. However, there was a bit of a snag in our plan. We had, what we thought, was just enough carpet to patch the holes in the bedroom as well as carpet the closet. Unfortunately, the carpet repair company patched up the holes differently than we expected, which took more carpet than we planned for. Long story, but we ended up with an uncarpeted closet for now.

Good news is.......we have a completed bedroom and Liam will be sleeping in his own room tonight!

The carpet people did a wonderful job. I can't tell where the patches are and it blends perfectly with the old carpet. Hopefully soon I can show a complete closet to go with his new and improved bedroom!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Heading to the Produce Stand

I grew up in Newberg, which is just a few miles from where I live now. When I was little, I remember some for the best spring/summer days included a walk down to Ray's, the local produce stand. Imagine my excitement when soon after moving to Sherwood I see a sign saying, "Ray's produce-coming soon!" Last summer Liam, Joe, and I spent many a summer morning, walking to Ray's to pick out our fresh, local produce for the week.
Today was the beginning of that tradition for this year. We spent the morning walking to the library, then to Ray's to pick up some yummy apples for the pastry we are making for Easter dinner tomorrow night, as well as some grapefruits, tomatoes, and kale. All of which was grown locally and sold from a family owned business. With the economy the way it is, the best we can do for one another is to support the small businesses. The produce is always delicious and very inexpensive compared to the grocery store. It was so nice to relive some of the best childhood memories I have, and to start those for Liam.
If you are in the market for some yummy produce, you should check out Sherwood/Newberg's own- Ray's. They are friendly, helpful, have great food, and you will be putting your hard-earned dollar back into our local economy. Also, later in the year, Sherwood hosts a small local farmers market. Sherwood Saturday market is open every Saturday from May through September from 9am-1pm. They host various musical acts, have local produce, and handmade crafts. Happy shopping!

One of the booth at Sherwood's Saturday Market

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's off my rocker I go....

This time of year tends to be pretty busy for my little family. Two years ago (I can't believe I'm saying that) we were preparing for our little guy to make his debut. Last year, we went on our first family vacation, I was taking a class, and Liam's 1st birthday was close at hand. It seems as though each year, more and more is added to these few short months.
In the last month, I started my final reading endorsement class, we began a renovation project, I took my team to the state battle of the books competition, we had a very busy spring break, and we have taken a lot of time to visit with family. Coming up in the next month we have our little man's second birthday (and party), family pictures, finishing my class, taking the reading specialist praxis test, finishing the renovation project, birthdays, babies, an exciting trip with friends to plan for, and outdoor school. With the end of the school year fast approaching, there is so much to do!
I have so many projects and ideas that I can't keep it all straight any more. My planner is my life-line, without it I would loose my mind for sure! I'm looking forward to the long days of summer, where I might actually have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on my long, long list. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful partner in all of this. My husband has been extremely supportive and has been working hard to help me feel less stressed and anxious. I just have to keep truckin' and remind myself that in a few short weeks, all that will be left is the fun stuff!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Week with My Baby

Last week was spring break for our school district. I got to stay home and have fun with my little guy for a whole week, and we used every minute of it! I'm still surprised at how much I got done, how much fun we had, and what memories we were able to make in such a short amount of time. As I planned, we began potty training. Liam has been very interested in the potty for quite some time, he wakes up with dry diapers more often than not, and he picked out some big boy underpants, so we were all set! This "project" went far better than I imagined it would!
Happy Boy!
On Tuesday a good friend called for an emergency favor. An hour later, there were two toddlers running around the house. They had a great day playing and they even took great naps! When Joe got home from work and Liam's friend was with her mamma, we took our little guy to my mom's house so that the hubby and I could finally have a date night. We went out for a relaxing happy hour and then saw a movie (which I loved!).

Just a little of the mess we made playing

Wednesday Joe stayed home to help my dad work on the renovation project, and I ran around town looking for fabric for my curtain project (that was a frustrating trip!). Thursday Liam and I met another good friend and her brand new baby girl at the mall and I got some baby shower/family picture shopping done.
Friday was the day I actually got around to my curtain project, Liam and I built a fort, and it was my sissy's birthday, so we had a birthday dinner at my dad's house.
Our fort!

Saturday and Sunday were busy too! We went to Joe's dad's house on Saturday for a joint birthday celebration for me and my sister-in-law. Liam had so much fun with his cousins that he "forgot" to take a nap and was exhausted by the time we left. On Sunday we took yet another trip, this time to see Joe's mom and grandma. Once again Liam had a great time. This time he was the only kid, but he sure enjoyed all the attention he received!
Eating the cookie he made at Meema and Papa D's

Even with all of this other stuff going on, I managed to finish one of the books on my summer reading list, cleaned out all of the closets/cupboards in the house, caught up on dishes and laundry, and still had time to relax just a bit. If I could get all of this done in one week, I can only imagine the summer-time possibilities!
Liam and Mommy!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

DIY Roman Curtains

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was a wonderful idea for our kitchen window. If you would like to try it, you can go to this website: The blog that it will take you to gives a step-by-step process to making them yourself!

I followed all of her steps except for a few variations. Here is what I did differently:
- I used a set of sheets found at Target instead of a table cloth or piece of fabric
- instead of hem tape and fabric glue, I used craft glue and double-sided craft tape (which I ironed just as she suggests) found at the dollar tree
- I did let them sit  and dry over night, when I tried to put them up after an hour or two the glue was not dry and wasn't holding together well

Even though she says that her version only cost $4.50, I think that she got very lucky with a great deal on the table cloth and already having some of the supplies. I had to purchase everything and had a difficult time finding fabric that I liked and would go with our kitchen decor.

Doing the project my way cost me:
$12.74 for the sheets
$4.79 for both sets of blinds
$1.00 each for the tape, glue, foam brush
With a total of $19.53

The curtains turned out wonderfully and were quick and very easy to make. Using Dollar Tree materials was a risky idea, but so far, so good!