When the Page is Empty

I start a lot of blog posts.  The problem is, they only exist in my head and never make it to the page.

Usually I think of them while driving and by the time I get where I’m going, there’s no opportunity to actually sit down and type it out.

For a little while I felt kind of bad about that.  I enjoy writing, I enjoy sharing my thoughts on this blog, and I enjoy feedback from people who read.

After Faith was born I spent a lot of time blogging because I needed some way to organize and solidify my thoughts… some way to put everything down and make a bit more sense of how I was feeling.  Plus I had more free time and a desperate need to fill it with something purposeful.

Blogging was good for me then.

It still is now, but in a different way.  And I’m okay with that.  I’d love to be more consistent, but I’m not going to hold myself to any set goals about how often I should post or what I should write about.

These days, when ideas start to come to mind, I file them away for later.  Maybe someday I’ll share some deeper thoughts that I’ve had recently, but for today I’ll keep things simple…

School is busy and my group of students is more challenging than last year.  I’m praying for patience, gentleness, and an enthusiasm that hopefully overflows to them, even on the craziest of days.

Natalie is almost one (oh my!) and I’m having fun planning her birthday party.  She never ceases to fill my heart with joy.  Over and over I find myself saying, “Steve, just look at her!”, with this feeling of never-ending wonder at our little girl.

I’ve been thinking about my priorities and how I spend my time.  I try to embrace every moment with Natalie and I think I do pretty well with that, but I feel like I could be doing better with the rest of my time.  That’s one of those deeper thoughts to be elaborated on later I think!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and after that comes Christmas and I love this time of year.  I’m not quite ready for the cold and snow (although it has arrived!) but I’m enjoying the warmth inside and the thought of traditions and special days spent with family.

I guess what it all comes down to is this… sometimes, when the page is empty, it just means that life is full.

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Why Do They Lose It?

One afternoon when I got home from school I took Natalie in the backyard to play frisbee with Jackson.  She loves watching him run around chasing and catching the frisbee.  After he tired out, I set her down in a shady spot on the grass. I realized that I had never actually set her in the grass by herself.  We’d sat in the yard together but it was the first time I just put her down and let her go on her own. At first, she was cautious and a bit confused… WP_20140909_007 … but it didn’t take long for her to start trying to figure things out.  She wiggled her toes and grabbed at the grass with her fingers.  She was very focused, exploring and taking in the experience. WP_20140909_019 And then she looked up at me with this face of pure joy.  She liked this new thing she had discovered. WP_20140909_023 It seems like such a simple thing – the grass – but to her it was exciting because it was something new to try to understand.  Something new to learn. Babies have an innate desire to learn.  Their brains are constantly busy processing new experiences and building new connections.  Everything they do is an opportunity to learn and they certainly take advantage of it.  They even seem to find great joy in it! As I sat there watching Natalie happily explore the grass, the teacher in me began to wonder… when do they lose it?  When do these babies, so eager to discover, grow into kids who cringe at the thought of school?  When do they become teenagers who appear, on the outside, to no longer find any joy in learning? Later I thought about it some more and realized that the better question is “why”.  Why do they lose it? I know that some kids (and adults) truly enjoy school.  I know because I’m one of them!  Part of why I love teaching is that I love learning and sincerely enjoy the process of learning within the setting of school. But I also know that there are many kids who dislike school or find that it is frustratingly difficult for them.  I know because many of the kids I work with express those thoughts and feelings. Maybe it’s the structure and routine.  Maybe it is the style in which information is presented.  Maybe it’s individual difficulties with the process of learning.  The list of reasons could probably get pretty long and I don’t have an exact answer as to the “why”. I don’t have an exact answer as to how to change it either.  But I found this quote and thought it could be a step in the right direction.

Speak to me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn. 

Benjamin Franklin

I try to do that with my students.  I try to involve them and engage them in learning so they feel personally connected.  I hope to inspire a spark of that joy in them again.  That joy of discovery and learning.  That joy I see in Natalie as she learns about this world around her. I hope I can do that, even for just a few.

School’s Out for Summer

Growing up I lived near the middle school in our town, and on the last day of school the buses would line the bus loop and blare their horns before they drove off.  It was always exciting… the end of the school year and the start of summer vacation.

Now, as a teacher, the last day is still exciting.  Even more so this year because it means I get to spend the next two months with this cutie!!

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I had a great group of kids this year and I will truly miss them next year.  I told them all to come back and visit… hopefully they can find me since my classroom was just moved!

And, as if moving my classroom over the past couple days wasn’t enough, this weekend we officially move into our new house!  I’m excited but it feels strange to think that tonight is the last night sleeping in this house.  Hopefully all goes smoothly over the next couple days and we can start making the new place feel like home.

I’m hoping to share some things about our new house in the coming weeks.  I’m also planning another series that will be spread out over my summer break.  I’m calling it “Summer Challenge”… stay tuned for more soon.

Happy Friday!

 

Snow Day

I just realized it’s been over a month since my last blog update… yikes!  Since it’s a blizzard outside and school was cancelled, I figured now would be a good time to play catch up.

And yes, when I say school was cancelled that does mean that I’m back to work.  I actually just returned from my maternity leave on Monday, so I was only there two days before having this nice mid-week break!

The transition back to school went pretty well… for the couple days I’ve had at least!  It’s an adjustment and I definitely miss Natalie, but the kids were happy to see me, which helped.

I truly enjoyed the time I had with Natalie while I was home.  It’s incredible to see how much she has changed already over the past few months.  I feel like I’m experiencing the world again through her eyes and that makes even the simplest things seem special.

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Natalie is growing like crazy and, last we checked, weighs in around 15 lbs.  She loves to kick her legs, especially when she’s in just a diaper, and can often be found either staring at, or sucking on, her hand.

If she’s tired she’ll cuddle against your chest, but when she’s awake she prefers to sit and look out at the world, observing everything around her.

She likes listening to songs and books, and she does her fair share of jabbering along.  She has laughed a few times too.  Oh how I love that sound!  If you were a fly on the wall in our house you’d catch Steve and I doing all sorts of goofy things to try to coax another giggle out of her.

One of the most special days we had recently was Natalie’s dedication on March 2nd.  It was a time to acknowledge, in front of our church and families, our commitment to raise her, to the best of our ability, to know God.  Ultimately she has to make her own choice to follow Him, but we will spend our lives teaching her and striving to set a good example.

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We played part of this song at her dedication.  I especially love the lyrics toward the end, they truly capture my hopes and prayers for her.

You’ll travel where my arms won’t reach, as the road will rise to lead your feet, on a journey of your own.  May my mistakes not hinder you, but His grace remain and guide you through.  This is my prayer for you.

Take His hand, and go where He calls you to.  And whatever comes, seek Him, with all your heart.  This will be my prayer for you.

Natalie’s middle name – Jane – means “gift from God”, and she most certainly is.  Every day I am thankful that He entrusted her to us.

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And today I’m especially thankful for a snow day… to stay cozy and safe inside and to share some extra cuddles with my little girl!

5 Things…

… that made me smile today…

A student at school who, after finishing his work with five minutes left in the period, asked me if there was anything he could help me with around the classroom.  I’m impressed by how polite, kind, and caring my students are this year.

The way Jackson greeted me when I pulled in the driveway.  I love watching him sprint to the front yard when my car drives up, wagging his tail so much that his whole bottom wiggles.  It’s nice to be welcomed home with such enthusiasm!

Sunshine and t-shirt weather even as leaves begin to swirl across the sidewalk and crunch under my feet.  I’ll take this kind of fall weather for as long as it will last.

The squirms and kicks our little girlie continues to give.  I’m thankful every time I feel her moving around and I’m thankful too for all the people who have been praying for her!

This new website.

A friend I met, through both blogging and the shared experience of losing a child, started this as a place of encouragement and support for moms who have lost a child.

I especially love the focus on grieving with hope.  As Christians we do not grieve as those without hope (1 Thess. 4:13) and I believe that is such an important reminder to hold onto when going through the loss of a child.  I’m thankful this site focuses on that truth!

I had the honor of sharing some of my thoughts there already, as well as telling a little of Faith’s story.  I’m praying that God uses this site to reach other moms who need His comfort and hope.

 

What’s Up?

Well, the literal answer would be “the ceiling”.  The ceiling that we recently discovered is housing some bees.  Or more likely yellow jackets.

And no, I’m not joking.

I heard this weird noise the other night, sort of like sleet hitting a window.  But I knew it wasn’t sleet because it was over 90 degrees that day.  So I did a little investigating outside and discovered a spot where bees were flying into an area of our house.  Yuck!

The exterminator came today and the bees should be gone soon.  No major harm done except for the creepiness of the noise that they make crawling around up there!

In other news, it’s been a week and a half since the new school year began.  Things are off to a good start and it seems like I have a good group of kids.  I have enjoyed getting to know them so far.

I’m definitely feeling more tired though and it’s taking some time to re-adjust to the earlier mornings and busy routine.  I’ll be honest, I appreciate Fridays much more again!

Today was also an extra good Friday because we got to see the little girlie!  We’re at 27 weeks now – 3 months to the day on the calendar from our due date.  At our last ultrasound she was playing a game of hide and seek with us, but this time we got a nice look at her sweet face.

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I’m thankful for another reassuring appointment, but I’ll admit that there’s always a touch of nervousness that won’t go away.  We certainly continue to appreciate your prayers for health and safety for our baby girl!

The Summer Routine and the School Schedule

When I started graduate school, working towards my teaching certifications and masters in education, there was a story that circulated about one of my fellow grad students.  As the story went, she was in a class where the professor asked all the students why they wanted to go into teaching.  Her response was, “so I can have summers off!”.  I’m pretty sure it was meant to be a joke, although the professor didn’t think it was funny at all!

I certainly didn’t become a teacher so that I could have the summers off, but I won’t deny that it’s a very nice perk!

Truth be told, there is no “summer routine”.  Sure, there are things I have to do each day, but there isn’t a specific schedule to follow.  I make my to do list for the day and follow it at my own pace, with the flexibility to change it as needed and the freedom to drop it completely if something else comes up!  It’s a pretty nice feeling and totally different from the rigid routine of the school day.

I’m very thankful for this time and am trying not to take a moment for granted!  I certainly know it won’t last forever.

As if to reinforce that idea, several nights ago I had a dream about my school schedule.  In my dream it was the new year and I had been assigned to teach two new classes – chemistry and football.

Okay, chem I could probably handle, although in my dream I had no time to prepare anything at all so I was freaking out.  But football?!  Who in the world has a class about football?  And, if you know me outside of this blog, you would know that football is not my thing.  I try to get into it a little for my husband’s sake, but I am in no way qualified nor would I ever enjoy teaching a class about it!

Needless to say, it was a relief to wake up… but it got me wondering about when I would find out my real schedule.

I logged into my school email the next morning and, what do you know, there was an email saying our schedules would be available in a couple days!  What timing!

My schedule was posted today and the layout of my day seems pretty good.  I got to take a peek at my students and, although I don’t know any of them yet, it’s nice to get an idea of the kids I’ll be working with this coming year.  Overall I’m pleased with how things look!

That being said… I’ll happily enjoy my summer routine for another month.  I’m not in any rush to be back to the school schedule yet!