Monday, December 31, 2012

Ebin's MDO Performance & Micah's Aversions to Santa.

We had a lot of fun over Christmas break, and I have no excuse for not posting it as it happened. I was just too busy enjoying family time to worry about posting pictures, I guess. So I have several catch up posts coming from our adventures while on Christmas break.

One day, while C was sleeping away enjoying his wife's days off so he could catch up on shut-eye, we went to see Ebin's MDO Christmas performance. I just copy/pasted these photos from my sister's Facebook page. I'm hoping that they aren't blurry.

Sheila (my brother's nurse), Dale (my brother), KayKay (my mom), and Papa (my dad)

 Mrs. Pam (Jason's mom, Ebin's other grandmother), and Jason (my sister's husband)

Oh, how I detest this picture. I feel disheveled. It had been one of those mornings, and I barely made it to the performance. Oh, well. Some days we look better than others. Let's just say it was raining and 20 degrees outside. Add in some curly headed folks such as Micah & I plus some wind...amazing results.
Micah was also in a horrid mood this day. He was so upset with me because I wouldn't let him down while the pastor was reading the Christmas story from Luke. So here I was, wrestling an unhappy, screaming child during the reading of the Bible. The pastor told Micah that most people slept while he preached and not cried. Embarrassed, we ended up at the very back of the room and out in the hall for most of the performance.

There's Ebin! Haha! He is soooooo shy, always hiding behind somebody.

Jason, Keren, & Ebin

My mom (KayKay) and Ebin
 Afterwards, there was a reception with food and somebody was finally free to run around the building.

Santa Claus came to visit the boys and girls and well, I'll let you see how that went.

Approaching Santa Claus...

Very let's take a sit in the floor...

Absolute refusal as he throws a fit in the floor. I realize I might have to work on my parenting skills since he loves to throw fits in the floor lately. However, for this moment, I'm glad I have it captured on film. One day I'll laugh and show him the picture of his first Santa visit.

Finally, I picked him up and plopped him in Santa's lap despite his protests. He's such a character!
It was a great day for Ebin's MDO performance, and we greatly enjoyed it. =)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Reflections.

Today is Christmas Eve, and there are so many things I'm thankful for in no particular order. I thought I'd be random today, and I'd just make a list.

1. First and foremost, I'm thankful for Christ's birth, death, and resurrection. My life means nothing without the sacrifice of His life for mine.

2. I'm thankful for my family. My husband is finally off, and we have had a couple of blissful days full of family time just us & Micah. And he's been awake!! I haven't seen him in almost six weeks because of peak season and our schedules, so just having us in the same room at the same time all awake...awesomeness.

3. I'm thankful for lifelong friends. I'm a very lucky girl because I still talk to my best friends from elementary school (or as my parents called them "the twins"). We met in first grade in Mrs. Bernard's class. Beth was home about a month back, and we had some great time catching up. Her twin sister, Sara, is home for Christmas from Virginia for about a week and a half. I've seen her almost every day since I've been off of work. It's been wonderful to see each other in person. I only get to see them about once a year.

4. I'm thankful for time off from work and my job. (Ironic, isn't it?) We had a hilarious skit at school for our Christmas party after the students left for a half day on Tuesday. It made fun of everything going on in education, and there were so many jokes that only teachers in Tennessee would get set to Christmas carols. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time, and it is nice to have a break from all the stress. I'm thankful that I work in a wonderful place, though. That helps with all the added stress.

5. I'm thankful for my safety. It's a long story, but I awoke a couple of weeks ago to a loud noise, scraping sounds, and a rustling in our bushes outside our master bedroom window. I have never felt so scared in my life as we raced to turn on the lights. I haven't been brave enough to go check the window, and I almost convinced myself I had dreamed the whole thing. However, my sister came by this weekend, and she asked me if Chris & I  had looked closely at the window. I followed her out to the window where she showed me the frame was bent by a screwdriver or crowbar or something, and part of the screen was out. Chills just thinking about it.

6. I'm thankful for coffee. I just discovered it (or gave it a real try) as Micah started with his pneumonia and I was caring for him and working. Wow! I really appreciate that Keurig I got for Mr. C last year! Haha!

7. I'm thankful for the resources God has blessed us with, and we've had fun picking out gifts for people this Christmas who are less fortunate than we are with our Sunday school class. I really hope we can teach Micah it is NOT about gifts but it is about THE GIFT (Christ).

8. I'm thankful for our families. We are very lucky to have our families close by, and they help us out a lot with Micah. I'm so thankful for our families!

9. I'm thankful for our house. I don't care if it is this house or the other house we are trying to buy, but I'm just thankful we have a warm, cozy house.

10. I'm thankful for my son. I know I already mentioned him, but after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, I'm hugging and loving him even more!!

I know this kind of seems like a Thanksgiving post, but I couldn't help it. I'm full of joy this Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Well, here is our holiday Christmas card! I just made it online, and I had them printed on Thursday. Nothing says Merry Christmas like waiting until the very last minute to do your Christmas cards, huh? I'm hoping that by mailing them out today they'll actually arrive by Christmas? Well, at least the ones addressed to my local Memphis friends might arrive. Maybe. I guess we'll see.

I thought I'd jump in with Kelly's Christmas card exchange she's doing today for something fun. I'd love to "meet" some new blogging buddies. Courtney is also linking up here. Faith is linking up here. Thanks for stopping by, and Merry Christmas from the "Confident" family! Feel free to follow us over on the link on the side. Here's what we've been up to this week.

I had decided to not even do Christmas cards this year. Not because I'm a grinch, but we might be moving.  Except that we don't know for sure about the house yet. I was confident we'd know by now this time last week. Unfortunately, another week had slipped by meaning we probably won't be closing on this house until February. If that even happens. My prayer remains the same, I'm praying for patience, God's timing, and God to shut the door if we aren't supposed to have this house. With everything that has happened good and bad, I'm just ready to have an answer one way or another.

As for the rest of our week, I worked on Monday and Tuesday, but holiday break started on Wednesday. Going to work was extremely hard on Monday for so many teachers. It was just a hard, hard day. Thankfully, I made it through without too many discussions with my second grade babies.  I'm just so thankful to be home with the baby. He still has pneumonia, and now we are on breathing treatments for a month! We've stayed out of the nursery for most of this month, and we have missed almost every Christmas thing out there. I'm just hoping that eventually we can put the pneumonia behind us! Here's all the loot we scored after a recheck with his doctor:

I spent most of Wednesday looking for our dog Snickers (the dog on the left; Copper is on the right) who got out on Tuesday night. She was gone for a total of 18 hours, and I about had a meltdown at losing "my" dog. Do you know where she was? At the Sonic down the street from my house! I can't even tell you how many times that silly dog has run off to Sonic. Even one of my former parents on Facebook told me, "Annika said to look at Sonic." My students know Snickers goes to Sonic when she runs away! Only this time, the car hop took her home because she ran away so late at night. Thankfully, after papering the neighborhood with wonderful fliers made by my sweet friend Amy, we got a phone call from the car hop. I was happily reunited with Snickers late Wednesday afternoon. Should I email that story to Sonic? I feel like it should be an ad for good service or something. Don't worry, I "tipped" her for her trouble. I also now know most of the car hops at our Sonic by name.

Anyway, that's how our week is going. I hope you have a wonderful, restful weekend.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A piece of my heart died a bit Friday. Views on the tragedy from a teacher.

I am a teacher. We are a different breed of humans. Overall, we are loving. We are patient. We are pretty selfless (although not all the time). Our world revolves around the heartbeats of our children. Yes, our children. They may not be biologically ours, but as soon as they enter that door they are our children.  Our success has never come in money or fame. Our success comes from the eyes lighting up in the world of our students.

Wednesday night, I went to the birthday party of a teacher friend of mine. She had assembled two other teacher friends of hers that I didn't know. Yet, we laughed and talked for hours about the profession of education and the state of America's children. It was like I'd known them my whole life. This always happens to me when I meet a teacher. We click. We hit it off. We could talk for hours. I'm telling you, we may not have a fraternity like the police and firemen, but we are in our own trenches everyday. We get it. We get each other.

To hear that so many children died Friday rips my heart out from my chest. To hear that teachers, a school counselor, and a principal died horrific deaths putting their lives on the line for their children makes me sad but proud. In these twisted days of our society, our profession is being trashed day in and day out. No one out there seems to care about the teachers and the children anymore. Our society has lost why we teach. We teach for the children. We teach for those precious faces they are slowly attaching to the names of the victims. We teach for their future tomorrows.

In one split second, their tomorrows were ripped away.

Yesterday, I cried and cried and cried. A little piece of my heart died yesterday thinking about all those sweet children, teachers, and administrators at a school not much different than mine.

9:10 Morning announcements. Same thing at my school.

9:15 Doors lock to the outside. Pretty much the same thing at my school.

State of the art buzz in system complete with camera to monitor visitors. Same thing at my school.

Do I feel safe at our school? Absolutely. Do I logically know that the world is full of evil walking around amongst me? Absolutely. It could happen anywhere. They always say, "I never thought it could happen here." Or they say, "I never thought this would happen to me." The truth is, evil is in this world. It has somehow seeped into our society. Satan is causing chaos like this horrible evil to run rampant, and it breaks my heart.

It reminds me of a wonderful quote that I remember from reading The Diary of Anne Frank back when I was in elementary school. She wrote, "In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart."

Part of me is so scared to go back to work tomorrow. Logically, this is not even a sane thought. I get that, but it's the questions that I'm afraid will haunt the discussions in my classroom tomorrow. How can I make second graders feel safe after that? How much did they see over the weekend? What kinds of talks did they have with their parents?

While my students celebrated Christmas at a party complete with games, crafts, music, and food on Friday...twenty first graders were shot. I didn't even hear about it until way into the afternoon because (as any teacher will tell you), we are in our own little world inside the school building. I can almost feel what it would have been like to be in that situation. The fear. The desperation. The hopelessness as you tried to save your kids.

I'm in tears again just thinking of it. All we can do right now is pray for these precious families left behind. Pray for their salvation. Pray for their strength. Pray for some comfort.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that one day you will come back to this world! Thank you that in you we can have some hope! Thank you, for saving us from the evil that has overtaken this cruel, crazy world. I will be on my knees praying for those affected by this tragedy. Will you join me? Will you also join me in praying for the teachers all over this nation tomorrow as we head back to work after such a tragedy. Especially pray for the teachers of the young babies like mine. I have no idea what I'm going to even say to them tomorrow. I hope I don't have to say anything.

John 16:33

New International Version (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Leah's Snickerdoodle Chex Mix. Easiest Chex Mix Holiday Appetizer Ever.

I am not a cook, and I will never claim that I am. However, it's the holiday season which means parties! I'm always wondering what in the world I should make and take. I have a few different tried and true recipes to fall back on, but I wanted to branch out a bit for tomorrow's party. I was reading the back of my cereal box at breakfast yesterday, and I saw this recipe for Snickerdoodles Chex Mix. 

It claimed a prep time of a whopping fifteen minutes, and I perused the ingredients. As I read over the list, my mouth started watering, so I figured I would give it a try. Anytime I come across something easy and quick, I love to share it. Working moms don't have loads of extra time, so it's nice to find something fast! Also, here's a disclaimer--if you google search "Snickerdoodles Chex Mix"--I completely overhauled a lot of their recipe and made it my own. 

 Leah's Snickerdoodles Chex Mix.

Here's what you'll need:

1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups Cinnamon Chex Cereal
2 cups Honey Nut Chex Cereal (the recipe called for Chocolate Chex Cereal, but I couldn't find it.)
4 cups popped kettle corn popcorn
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 bag of Peanut M&Ms
1 bag of Chocolate M&Ms (and feel free to change this up, too...pretzel M&Ms, mint M&Ms)

(NO, I did not promise a healthy recipe, did I?)

1. In a small bowl, mix your sugar and cinnamon, set it aside.
2. In a large microwavable bowl, mix cereals and popcorn.

3. In a 1-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter uncovered on high about 40 seconds or until melted. Pour butter over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated.

4. Microwave uncovered on high for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute.
5. Add a little more butter. Stir some more, microwave on high.
6. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture evenly over the cereal mixture; stir. Microwave for 1 minute.
7. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture; stir. Microwave 1 minute longer.
8. Spread on wax paper or paper towels to cool. (I used aluminum foil and cookie sheets.) After cooling mix in desired amounts of M&Ms.
9. Store in airtight container.
10. Serve!

I think this would be great if you added pretzels to the mix, various M&M flavors, and perhaps nuts. I just wanted to keep it simple & relatively inexpensive so I stuck to just a few ingredients. 

Pinterest Inspired Christmas Card Holder. (Revisit)

Hey, guys! I'm taking this gem from last year out of the archives to hopefully inspire you to do some fun Christmas pinning and crafting! I made this last year, and I hope to enjoy it the entire holiday season. I thought it would be a fun thing to put back on the blog. Enjoy my Christmas card holder!

I've been a little obsessed with Pinterest lately. I mean, I could care less about Facebook and Twitter these days. Maybe not completely true, but I am loving finding my crafty self again! There was a time (true story) that I was on staff at a church as a children's ministry intern in charge of all the crafting for the entire summer at my home church. I ran kids crafts for a mission trip back in 2006. I love to craft, but I haven't done it for myself in years until Pinterest came along. Suddenly, I see things like this being "pinned" on Pinterest...

and I think...I can make that!

So now that I'm off I decided to take some of my "free time" to make a Christmas card holder for our wall at home. I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased some basic supplies to mimic the $75 version above. Yes, they sale these for $75!

What you'll need:
1. Various size paint brushes ($5.99 with 30% off sale)
2. Acrylic paint (I bought the cheap $0.67 version with 30% off sale)
3. a canvas (mine was $8.99 with a 40% off coupon)
4. one yard of burlap ($3.99)
5. various ribbon (purchased 90 feet of deco mesh for $4.99 and had the red ribbon from a student Christmas gift for free)

I originally thought I'd free hand the words and paint around them.
I quickly decided I'd rather take my chances painting on top of some deep colors.
I used a kiddie plate with three separate compartments to separate my green, red, and white.
I painted a kid like tree on the right side because I thought their version needed something a little extra. I painted the left side a deep red.
Make sure to paint all around the sides so that you don't have a white canvas left over.
Then I started with the penmanship. The hardest part was the actual writing, and I'm still not happy with it. But it will do for my first time painting on a canvas.
I noticed I had some "bleed lines" so I decided to remedy that by painting white on top of those lines to make the tree look "flocked."
This took a lot of time, I won't lie. I started at noon, and I was done (with several hours of dry time) by about seven that evening.
Then I got out my burlap purchased at HobLob and started cutting long narrow strips.
I took the assorted ribbons and layered them on top of the burlap and glued them down with the hot glue gun.
In the end, I had something that looked like this!
(You can see my white polka dots on red inspiration came directly from the ribbon off a student gift.)
Here it is hanging up in my living room!
I'm super proud of myself, and we can use this over and over.

I made it for a little over twenty bucks.
And here is the side by side comparison of the two:
Now go out and get Pinspired!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pneumonia update.

This week, I have learned many, many things. Here they are in no particular order:

1. I am blessed. A year ago when Micah had his surgery, I felt like I was dying taking care of him. It was a rough week just like this has been a rough week. However, this year I have a different perspective. My child is healthy. He was sick, but he is healthy. The Lord has blessed us to have something that is treatable
2. Pneumonia is hard on little babies. Yes, two-year-olds still fall under the "babies" category.  I'm so thankful we didn't end up in the hospital like Dr. O talked about on our second day in a row at the doctor's office this week.
3. I discovered Starbucks this week. I have only drank one cup of coffee since college. I genuinely do not like the taste. This week?? I've had two cups of Mocha Frapuccino Skinnys at Starbucks two consecutive days. (Thank you gift cards!) Coffee has its place in our world. After a week of little to no sleep, I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did.
4. I can't wait to get back to running. I missed it this week as I took care of our son, but I'm ready to start up again this weekend. Running is my release.
5. God teaches you the craziest things when you have a visual. For example, this week Micah had breathing treatments. He fuh.reeek.ed out about it. It wasn't until he finally gave in that he found rest. I just had this huge visual of me kicking and screaming when God was trying to do something I had no desire to be a part of. Eventually (when I figure it out), if I give it over to God...I'll find rest. 
6. I love sick days. I'm thankful for a job that allows me to have the flexibility to make family first when I need to. My bosses were wonderful this week!
7. My kids clapped this afternoon when I told them I was back all day. They clapped! Then one of them said, "Thank goodness, Mrs. C! I don't think I could take another day with another sub!" Bless their hearts. =)
8. Kids are resilient. There's not much more that I can add to that.
9. I'm not really sure how all my work is going to get done because I've been out almost a week with a pile of crud on my desk during the last week of the semester. It'll happen. Somehow. Yet, I'm blogging instead. Funny how that works!
10. I'm starting to get nervous about our house. I'm excited, but nervous. I looked at furniture online today on Craigslist. I'm determined that this house is going to have character, and I'm going to thrift my way to some cute stuff one piece at a time. There will be no going into debt. There will be no putting things on a charge card just to fill a house up. I'm buying purposeful, fun, character filled pieces.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Micah has pneumonia & a house update.

Well, we had a wonderful, wonderful weekend.

That is, until Sunday hit. And Sunday was the day to end all days. I had many things planned. First, we were going to go to church followed by a birthday party. That was going to be followed by my Moms of Faith meeting (my unincorporated MOPS group) after which I was going to a visitation at the funeral home because my principal's father passed away.

Slightly busy after just running/walking 4-7 miles the day before and enjoying a Sunday school social.

We're wild around here.

At any rate, in the middle of Sunday school, I began a coughing fit. And let's be honest, Micah has his own night full of coughing after the social. It just came on quickly, but I had forgotten to give him his Singulair. Silly parents, we brought him to church anyway thinking he just needed his allergy meds. After my coughing fit in Sunday school and my poor aching muscles just didn't think I could make it through church. I looked at C, who has had less sleep than humanly possible since "peak season" has started, and he looked exhausted, too. We instantly decided to go pick up Micah from the nursery and head home.

Micah looked awful, too.

The day went from bad to worse. I texted my friend Amanda to let her know that I was unsure about bringing Micah to Abbey's birthday party. After all, Ava (the little girl with cancer) might be at her own cousin's party. I wasn't going to risk taking Micah around Ava or her brother. The text back was pretty clear that we love you, but keep your germs. So glad we did! A couple hours later, Micah was running ridiculous amounts of fever. A long, cough filled night followed by a call to subfinder at 3 am.

Early Monday morning, I was at the before hours walk-in clinic in Germantown having Micah seen. He was quickly diagnosed with pneumonia to which I did a double take. A sinus infection I was expecting, but pneumonia?? How had it developed so quickly?

Here we are on Tuesday night, two doctor appointments later, and I'm giving breathing treatments around the clock, pushing fluids, and rotating the ibuprofen out with acetaminophen. It's been a long couple of days, and I'm going to head in tomorrow morning for a half day to gather more stuff together in case I need a sub for the rest of the week. Thank goodness I have a student teacher on Mondays and Tuesdays! She saved me this week.

As for the house, well...we got a text message back today to be "cautiously optimistic" that the drainage and flood issues might work out. I was a bit shocked, honestly. We might be moving into a house in January which is crazy, but I would be so happy to finally cut about 30 minutes off my commute to work down to 5 minutes. I miss being close to work like I was for so many years. I guess we keep praying on that one.

Hope y'all have a happy week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Complete randomness. iPhone picture updates.

Blogging has been put on the back burner for so many reasons, but as the days and (gulp!) past two years have flown by...I really reaffirm my need to blog. I want to chronicle it all. So in that spirit, I hope to do our Thanksgiving post this week, but I have to get all those pictures from my mom.

Instead, I thought I'd start out with just some iPhone pictures I have yet to post. Micah is very into reading these days, and he especially love "Bow Beer" to read. Yes, he says "bear" as "beer" and I have to chuckle every time. I promise we aren't teaching him to drink alcohol or anything, but it comes out like "beer" so whenever he asks for "beer" be warned.

I'm trying to stop and enjoy little moments in life amongst the truly hectic moments. One morning driving to work (at the crack of dawn), I came upon this marvelous sunset. It was so beautiful, I stopped to snap this photo.

My best friend from childhood, Beth, came in town to visit her parents for her dad's sixty-fifth birthday. She and I went out to breakfast at Perkins (for old times' sake) and took Micah shopping. He was cheesing it up for the camera.

Micah with his "Aunt Beth" as we Christmas shopped in our last shot of the fall shirt. 

He's never really still, this one. He's always full of life, always full of mischief. I found him one afternoon (complete with his friend "Beer") pulling absolutely everything out of this cabinet. And Copper enjoyed watching him do it, too.

Saturday mornings have become special around here. Daddy isn't home from work, so we spend some time curled up in bed with Mommy watching cartoons. It's precious.

Are you noticing a theme about Beer/Bear? He's everywhere, isn't he? Micah is addicted to him, although I won't let him leave the house for fear of losing him. One night, Micah thought it would be funny to put "boots on Beer".

He was just so proud of himself for putting those boots on Beer. I'm telling you, each and every time he says "beer" I just laugh and laugh.

Apparently, he thinks it is funny, too.

One of my favorite--accidental--shots came when we put Daddy to bed one night. Micah loves to climb up with his Daddy and pretend to go "night night" next to C. It's so precious!

The morning that I took off from work to go to Turkey Trot, Micah and I stopped for a little Dunkin Donuts date.

No one can ever accuse my boy of not liking to eat.

Some pictures are better with Instagram. 

After his party, Micah tore into his race car set from my friend Amanda (Ava's aunt).

I texted this picture to Amanda, and Micah started the following conversation:

Micah: Mommy?
Me: Yes, Micah.
Micah: No phone.
Me: You want my phone?
Micah: No, Mommy. No phone. No phone. (I was texting.)
Me: don't want me on the phone?
Micah: Yes. No phone. Mommy play. Come sit.
Me: Ok, Micah. No phone.

Called out by a two-year old. Ouch!

I couldn't remember if I posted these or not, but Amanda texted me these pics she took at Micah's birthday party.

Also a text from Amanda, and I jazzed it up with Instagram.

On Monday morning, I walked out of my garage to find this lovely dead deer between our house and the neighbor's house. Don't worry. They are avid hunters who own some land in the next county over. His son is constantly killing something, and there are at least four deer heads inside their garage on the walls. The first few times, I was shocked by this sight. As we have been here for eight years, I am no longer shocked. Although, Micah was very curious.

Micah: Mommy? Deer?
Me: Yes, that's a deer, honey.
Micah: Mommy? Deer? Night night?

Long Pause.

Me: Um, yes...well, I guess you could say the deer is night night. Yes, the deer is taking a long, permanent nap.
Micah: Um, oh. Mommy? Deer night night.

And he asks about that silly deer every day now as we back out of the driveway. He asks about the cat (their cat--Chester) and the deer going night night. What a memory! Poor child. =)

So there ya go. Some completely random updates courtesy of the iPhone.