Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 + days of thanks...

So the month of November has just about passed me by but that means we're closer to Christmas and winter break so I'm good with that. But I don't want to miss the 30 days of thanks even though we all know we're thankful twelve months, 365 days of the year, not just in November and Thanksgiving day. But it's a good time to really reflect on the people that really do make a positive influence on my life. I've never really thought of myself as a whiner or complainer but I've definitely been one of late. So for this post, it's going to be all about those wonderful things, primarily the people, in my life. So here we go....

1. I'm thankful for my boss, yes, that's right people, my first thanks is towards my boss. I don't really think of her like a boss most of the time. But more as the big sister I never had. The woman is a saint. She carries a lot on her shoulders personally, as well as all that crap that comes with our wonderful (staying positive remember) job. There have definitely been times with this rough school year that her encouraging words have gotten me through the day, the week, the next five minutes.

2. I'm thankful for my coworkers. First for the two front office secretaries for dealing with my grumpiness and going out of their way to bring a smile to my face to brighten my day. A former instructional assistant of mine who will still stop by to help me with paperwork. The English office department for just being fantastic. Whether it's work related or mommy related they are always a great source of information and encouragement.

3. I'm thankful for my fellow mommas (I'll mention a few individually in a moment) because sharing our experiences, advice, and insight can be so helpful sometimes. They're just a good listening ear.

4. I'm thankful for our Miss Kate. Even though she no longer watches Averi, we have continued to stay in touch with her the last year, and she will be watching Kenzi in the spring when we move, but she's someone else that I feel has become a substitute family member. She's like my surrogate mother. She adores my children, always willing to help us out in whatever way she can, and is always our cheerleader and in our corner with whatever latest fisco we're trying to tackle.

5. I'm thankful for Ms. Derry, Averi's preschool teacher. Averi adores her, and she is totally one of those people who was put on this Earth to teach small children. She has the "teaching"  gift, and I appreciate the wonderful relationship she has with my daughter.

6. I'm thankful for Ms. Sandy. She takes care of my littlest monster, Kenzi Grace, and has been such a huge help with this transition time between last year and until we get into our new house.

7. I'm thankful for our friend and previous nanny, Sarah, because I realize now having her at the house with the girls was a HUGE convience for me last year. She totally adores my girls and still loves to spend time with them. And she taught Ave a lot of stuff to get her ready for preschool this year as an added bonus.

8. I'm thankful for Lily,my goddaughter and Kenzi's BFF. Even though Kenz and her only get to spend every day together for these few short months at the beginning of the school year, they've become quite the little friends and I hope that friendship continues to grow as they do.

9. I'm thankful for my childhood best friend, Kristal. We've been friends for over twenty years now and even though we live different lives now half a country apart from one another, we still manage to see each other a few times a year and give our girls a chance to get to know one another.

10. I'm thankful for my two college besties, Amy and Amy. We all went to high school together but we all never really became friends until college. Now almost ten years later, we're all still close friends, and even though we don't get to see each other as much as we'd like we still manage to stay in touch and see each other every now and then.

11. I'm thankful for our friends, Dave and Jess. We're out here with no family, and even though you can't replace family, they have become like extra family. When we both stay in town for holidays, we spend them together and our kids have a ball together.

12. I'm thankful for our friends, Adam and Steph. They're always willing to help out with the girls or whatever, and Averi loves her "uncle" Adam.

13 I'm thankful for our friend, Jo Ellen. She's the girls' forever young, wild aunt that always comes bearing gifts from somewhere. She's always there to help when needed with the kids, the dog, or for celebration parties, and she's become a great addition to our family.

14. I'm thankful for my friends, Emily and Sarah. We don't only work together but we all gave birth within a span of eight months so we're great moral support for each other when it comes to motherhood with our particular job.

15. I'm thankful for facebook. Why, facebook? There are soooo many people I would have lost touch with, especially living so far from home, if it wasn't for facebook. There are other people I have reconnected with due to facebook. I love seeing the pictures and keeping up with everyone's lives. Maybe because I tend to have such great friends (that's all of you reading this), but I love seeing all the encouragement and positivity that we spread among each other through social networking.

16. I'm thankful for our health. It has been a rough year at times with my dad's heart condition, my sister is still trying to get her problem fixed, and I don't think they still know what's the matter with my mother in law. Honestly, facing a devasting health issue is probably very possibly my worst fear.

17. I'm thankful for my mother in law. Yes, for some of you that hide from yours, I rather like mine. She's always encouraging to us in whatever crazy endeavor we've decided to embark upon, and she's fun to hang out with and of course adores her grandchildren.

18. I'm thankful for my husband's grandmother. Even though she's 78 years old, there have been many times she's come down here, and even though we tell her not to get carried away with "helping us", just being here to play with the girls, watch them in the tub, or whatever, has always been such a HUGE help. And she reminds me of my own grandmother that passed away over a decade ago, and who doesn't love a sweet, loving grandma.

19. I'm thankful for my husband's family. They have always treated me like one of them, and I always look forward to my time up there.

20. I'm thankful for my cousin, Leslea. We have definitely had our love/hate moments as being only eight months apart, we spent our childhood together in everything from school to the ball field to even in adulthood, giving birth to our daughters in the same year. She's one of the few momma friends I have that actually has a few years of experience ahead of me, and she is always a great listener, advice giver, or just good for mothering support.

21. I'm thankful for all my cousins as we've shared many great memories and moments. I have a huge family and it's all these cousins that make it so great.

22. I'm thankful for my aunts and uncles. They have all done different, special things for me whether it was playing with my sisters and I all the time when were little like my Uncle Keith, or making me my own special strawberry pie like my Aunt Kenna, or still sending me birthday cards with graffiti things like my Aunt Barb, or making the trip south to see me like my Uncle Mike and Aunt Vicki, or teaching me to french braid like my other Aunt Barb.

23. I'm thankful for my Grandma and Grandpa Williams. We could always look up on the hill at whatever softball field we were at and more likely than not we'd find them up there, cheering us on from little league up to state playoff and championsips in softball.

24. I'm thankful for my Grandma and Grandpa Morgante. I didn't get to see them as much as I would have liked but they were there for their big moments in life, and I've always said I want to be them when I retire.
25. I'm thankful for my niece and nephew, Addison and Paxton. I love that my sister's kids are the same ages as mine. I wish they lived closer but even far away I love the relationship Averi and Addi have. They are the bestest of friends (when they're not fighting). And of course I love being an aunt.

26. I'm thankful for my niece and nephew Alaina and Dylan. They gave me my first experience as an aunt when I married their uncle. I have pretty much had the pleasure of watching Alaina growing up and am so proud of the beautiful young woman she's turning into, and love watching what great friends Averi and Dylan have become.

27. I'm thankful for my sisters, Kelly and Tammy. My sisters. These two really do mean the world to me. They're teh reason I wanted Averi to have a sister so much because the bond of sisters really is something incredibly special. They totally get me-the good and the bad. They'll encourage me and tell me how it is. I know I can always count on them. I miss them and wish I could see them more but feel so blessed to have grown up with them.

29. I'm thankful for my dad and mom. Wow, where do I start? My parents were the first to show me what a real marriage takes to succeed and to raise kids. They've always put family first and even though they give it to me how it is, I know if and when I need them, they're there.

30. I'm thankful for my husband. What a journey these nine years have been. Nine years ago this month we met, and it's been a ride ever since. He's always been the dreamer of the two of us, and even though I've always had to be the realist, I love that part of him. I couldn't have asked for a better father for my girls, and even though we've definitely had our ups and downs, I know together we'll find the things we hope for.

31. I'm thankful for my Averiella, my first baby girl. She was the start of the greatest journey ever. I absolutely adore her and she amazes me everyday. Time really does go incredibly fast when you're a parent, and I can't believe she'll be four here in a few months, but I am so proud of her. She brightens my day everyday.

32. I"m thankful for my Nakenzi Grace, my other ray of sunshine. If I thought Averi was a firecracker, then Kenzer is my grand finale of fireworks. The girl has been speaking her mind since before she could talk. She knows what she wants, how she wants it, and when she wants it. But as she progresses from infancy to toddlerhood, she's becoming quite the lovebug. I love to see the complete adoration her and Ave have for one another.

33. I'm thankful for our God. As you can see, I have many incredible blessings in my life. As someone who works with kids and people that have not been so fortunate, I wonder everyday why was I so lucky. I thank him everyday for these wonderful blessings. I am so so thankful for all these wonderful people in my life. There are many more I didn't directly mention on here but I pray God blesses them with good health and happiness with the coming New Year. God Bless!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A harsh reality America doesn t want to see

I am frustrated beyond belief right now. I have yet to make it through a full five work week without ending up in tears at some point. Luckily, due to the school calander, personal reasons, or weather events I haven't had too many full weeks. How I am going to make it through December until Christmas break, I do not know. I am so afraid I am mentally going to crack and for the first time I am giving in and called the doctor to see if there's any happy pills I can get to help me survive other people's children. I cannot take the rude, disrespect not only for myself but towards everyone. These kids (and by this I mean a smaller group but they're making huge impacts) have no respect for the teachers, for the building, for their own peers that do care about their education, and usually none for their own parents as well.  But you know it's public education, they have the right to an education. But that DOES NOT GIVE THEM the right to treat people like the scum at the bottom of their shoe. Society needs to decide that this is UNACCEPTABLE and will not be tolerated and make some drastic change.

Everyone from the students, parents, the policy makers, to the general public period keeps asking what are we doing to increase student achievement. What are WE doing? Someone needs to take a real deep look at what the STUDENTS are doing. Let me tell you what the ones that aren't passing assessments and being promoted to the next grade are doing. They're listening to music WHILE THE TEACHER IS INSTRUCTING, they're laying their heads on their desks, they're texting on their phone, they're talking to their buddy that is sometimes ACROSS THE ROOM, they're throwing paper balls at one another, they're shouting out random outbursts, they're cussing at one another, they're stopping the teacher's insruction to argue with him or her about why they have a zero (hmmm no work usually equals a zero!), about going to the bathroom, about how they supposedly weren't talking, about having their phone or ipod out. I am going to record every minute of my class time next week or maybe the week after to give an actual assessment of how much of my time is spent with handling misbehavior and class management rather than instructing. I think this is a reality people need to be aware of. I don't know for sure until I document it but I'm guessing almost half of my class period on a daily basis goes to behavior management rather than instructing. Then there are the poor kids that care about their education, that want to learn, that are paying a HUGE price because society has made it so administration's hands are tied. There are very few discipline measures they're allowed to used. Policies are concerned about suspensions and want kids in school. Who cares that 25 other kids' education is suffering because the kid who doesn't care about his is disruptive and disrespectful but we have to give him a public school education. Society needs to accept some people are just failures. Some times you have to cut your losses. And yes those are harsh words, but you can't force something a person doesn't want on them. And I want it very clear here that I am not talking about any particular class or group of people. I teach to an extremely diverse group of students, and one thing I have learned from them and dear friends and family is that no matter your race, your hardships, your income it all boils down to the individual. Some might say so you're giving up on the kid that s been abadoned by his family and suffered from abuse and this and that. Yes, because you can't help someone who doesn't want to help themself. I have worked with a bunch of kids that amaze and awe me because they have overcome horrendous situations and they push and push themselves to find success. And no they're not the brightest kid but they'll find success somewhere because they valued their education and they worked hard!

I know this is not meant to be a ranting place but as I listen to my fellow teachers and other mommy teachers, I know this is something that is affecting everyone's mental health, spirits, and for those of us that are mommas we're bringing this home with us. This frustration is taking us over and interfering with the time we have with our own children. When I say our sanity is at stake here I really don't believe I am exaggerating. I need to be in a more postive, less frustrated mental state for my own children, as well as the children who are there for their education. This goes beyond the classroom when I say we can't keep letting the majority of us in society pay the price for the minority that can't get it together for themselves.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My tinkerbell doesn't fly :(

So I got to leave work the other morning in order to spend it in urgent care with little miss Averi. My child that thinks she can fly like Tinkerbell. She has these green tinkerbell wings that a friend got her last year and she had put them on the night before. I remember her having them on, and I remember her complaining when she came downstairs later that her knee hurt. At that point she was sitting at the computer desk and I thought she had bumped her knee on it and was just whining about it. And the next morning when we all got up to go to school and work together, she was whining and crying about it still. But again, she whines and cries every morning so I pretty much just yelled at her to quit whining and hurry up before she made me late to work. If you know Averi, you know she can be quite the little actress anyway. She s dramatic about everything. When Nate went to drop her off at school and she was still whining about her knee hurting, the teacher felt around her knee and found this nasty, weird lump behind her knee under the skin. And it was the teacher that said "Um, you should probably go get this looked at." So a day later, I come to the realization "oh, she maybe actually hurt herself." On the way to urgent care I asked her what was she doing again to hurt it. And when she said "Mommy, I was just trying to fly off my bed like Tinkerbell" those wings from the night before all of sudden made sense. Needless to say, she doesn't fly so well. At first the doctor thought she had just a sprained knee but then after evaluating x rays, he referred us to an orthopedic specialist because he was worried about a possible tear. So now we're going to see the specialist next Friday.

Quite, honestly, I'm surprised it took three and half years for the first injury incident with that girl. How do things like this and my not even one year old infant that is suppose to be in her crib end up sitting at the top of the stairs with her big sister? Well, I don't know. I'm cooking dinner, doing the dishes,  picking up the toys,  throwing in a load of laundry, or I'm givng my brain a five minute break and chatting on facebook. And that's how things like Averi thinking she needs to rescue her sister or attempt to fly happens. If you know her, you know she's a pretty well behaved child but very smart and just a tad adventurous.

A few weeks earlier I was downstairs doing a load of laundry. I knew Kenz had woken up from her nap so I told Ave she could go visit and make her happy like she usually does until I came up there. Instead when I started up the stairs, I found them both sitting at the top of the stairs. Averi had Kenzi on her lap, ready to go down the stairs sled ride style. Nate was also up there laying in our bed at the time so after first I thought  he got her out of the crib. But no. Averi said, "She wanted out, Mommy, I was just helping her." Oh, yes, Averi to the rescue for her little sister. I stil don't really know how exactly Averi got her out. I'm thinking maybe Kenz is the one that has Tinkerbell wings because I know Ave had to get in the crib with her and lifted her over the rail. And I guess dropped her to the ground. Maybe a little pixie dust helped in her landing.

Hopefully, the specialist finds Ave's knee to just be sprained. And maybe she learned a lesson that she's not quite in the same league as her Disney heros. In the meantime, I guess there's no time for napping on the job of parenting A & N because you never know what the two of them will be up to next.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

One year with our Nakenzi Grace

One year ago today, we welcomed our Nakenzi Grace into this world! It's so hard to believe it's been a year already. The birth of my two daughters is by far two of my most treasured memories. Those moments are have to be one of the  most surreal moments in life's experiences. Even for fathers;  I know for my husband they were moments he'll always remember. However, Kenzi's birth panicked him more than Averi's. It was more the aftermath part, when I started losing a lot of blood I guess that the experience took a rather negative dive for him. Lucky, for me I was rather unaware of the situation and was a little too out of it from either the lose of blood or lack of food, to recognize everyone's concern. Luckily though they just kept me in the labor and delivery room longer than normal and I had to stay hooked up to IV for an extended amount of time in case I had to be rushed to the OR but everything worked out fine and the concern and worry was just for precaution.

And our little Kenzi Grace was demanding from the start. Our second night in the hospital, Nate decided to go home to be with Averi who was staying with his grandma. Kenzi cried and wanted to nurse ALL NIGHT LONG. I think I spent the majority of the night crying from exhaustion, pain from nursing, probably hormonal balance because I wanted everyone from my husband, to my mom, to my dad, and no one was there. It was just me and my crying, demanding baby. I almost called Nate to come back so many times but held myself back.

Unfortunately, it didn't get better from there at first. She cried for hours everyday. The doctor never said she was necessarily colic, and my mother and sisters were constantly telling me to quit nursing her. But I struggled enough as it was to produce enough milk to keep up with her eating and knew I probably wouldn't do it very long anyway but wanted to nurse her as close to the six months I nursed Averi for so I kept nursing her. And she did become a little less cranky around five months when she could start to crawl, but when I quit nursing her around seven months, she was still fussy and upset frequently. And even though throughout this second half of the year, she does seem to be getting happier, we've come to realize maybe she wasn't necessarily colicky but just asseserting her opinion and voice from the start!

She does love her big sister. And I LOVE to watch her and Averi interact together. They truly do adore each other, and they really do get along great. They will play and play together. And Averi is Kenzi's little rescuer. She constantly defends her, gets things for her, helps her, calls her her baby. And Kenz gets so excited to see Averi when she wakes up from sleeping or when we get there to pick her up from daycare.I always remind Averi how a sister is the most special gift she's recieved (at this point until we hopefuly have a little brother).

Raising these two girls are by far the biggest reward of life. I know I complain frequently about having to be a working momma, but I truly do love this time in their lives even though it can be a tough and challenging time.  I know it's going to go by so fast and before I know it they'll be teenagers busy with their own lives and then adults starting their own families. I know Nathan and I love them both more than life and hope as they grow they're comforted and confident in that. As a little girl, you play with your dolls, dreaming of your "adult" life when you'll be the mommy, and it stills awes me that I am know living the reality of that dream. I think for both of us, the family we've created and continue to grow together is a dream we both treasure. The reality of your dreams are always a little tougher than when you imagine them as a little girl because life in adulthood is not quite as simple as it looked through your adolescent eyes, but I have to say the love you feel for your children and the emotional joy at their birth is one of the moments of reality that surpass what you imagined in your own childhood dreams. We love you more than we can say, Nakenzi Grace, and are so very blessed that you joined our family a year ago!
                                                            Nakenzi Grace 11/3/11
                                                           Taking care of her baby sis
                                                                  1 month old
                                                                2 months old              
                                                                  3 months
                                                                     5 months
                                                                  5 months
                                                                   6 months
                                                                         7 months
                                                                   8 months
                                                               8 months
                                                                   9 months
                                                                  10 months
                                                            11 months
                                                   Happy first birthday, Kenzi Grace!