Thursday, May 29, 2014

One More Day!!!

Well, everyone, I've almost made it!  Tomorrow is the last day of school!  This weekend is my best friend's wedding.  We will return Monday afternoon and I will go in for a half-day of a teacher work day in the afternoon.  After roughly 200 days of dropping Carter off at daycare and spending the majority of his waking hours with 47 children belonging to other parents, I get to spend Carter's waking hours with him.  My heart has been yearning for this day from the moment I held his tiny 6 pound, 3 ounce body in my arms.  The entire pregnancy I had no doubts I would return to work, but things changed once our little man arrived.  Making that decision financially and career-wise was heart wrenching at the time, but I've never looked back.  I've known ever since I talked to my co-teacher it was the right decision for me.  Continuing to work from January 31st to the end of the year has been a struggle.  Once we'd made the decision for me to stay at home I was desperate for it to be our reality.  But here I am one day away and I've made it!  When I resigned back in January I didn't regret all the time I had missed with Carter while working because I felt I needed that time to know in my heart we were making the right decision.  Before that point I kept believing it would eventually get better.  I kept thinking my heart won't hurt this much next month.  Next month will be the month I no longer feel depressed.  But looking at Carter now and knowing how much I've missed makes me sad.  I do regret it, but it was what had to be done at the time.  No point in looking back.

Yesterday Carter cried when I left.  Today he rushed for the door, kissed the window, and stood laughing as I walked away.  I wish he'd do that every day!
When I first resigned I thought at the end of the year I would start feeling emotional about leaving.  Up to the point we finally decided I would stay home the thought of packing up my classroom made me sad.  I just wasn't ready to give it up yet.  Now that I'm actually packing up my classroom I am so excited.  As each item goes into a tub, I know I'm that little bit closer to spending my days with Carter.  Today we had our end of the year party.  Our homeroom moms organized a pizza party and at the end presented my co-teacher and myself the sweetest paintings made by the kids.  I'm not sure how I held it together, but my eyes definitely welled up with tears.  Our group of 2nd graders moving on to 3rd grade will be the first group of kids I've had for 2 years.  You would think it would be easier to let them go when you've had them for longer because you are tired of them, but it's so not true.  I'm so much more attached and I love each of these sweet kids.  Maybe I will feel differently when school starts back up in August, but right now I feel a huge sense of relief.  Relief that this time in my life will be in the past.  That I will be able to spend my days teaching and playing with my little guy.

Ty helping me load totes from my classroom into the car.
Such a sweet present!  It makes me emotional just looking at it now!
This morning Carter woke up and played quietly in his crib so I went ahead and finished straightening my hair before going in to get him.  It was so much fun to watch him roll around, play with his blanket and his lovie.  We were ready early enough we had about 10 minutes to play outside before leaving.  I'm excited to have the luxury of playing outside until Carter is ready to come in (although that may be never).  I'm excited to have more time to go to the aquarium, visit the zoo, and play at the Children's Museum.  And of course frequent the library while participating in the summer reading program.  That splash pad at the park?  We will be seeing lots of it!  Am I saying there won't be tears tomorrow?  Absolutely not.  But I am saying I'm excited for what lies ahead.  Bring on summer time!  

Ready for more of this!
My breakfast mooches.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Blowing daddy kisses as he leaves for work.

Put his sunglasses on all by himself.

In honor of my favorite author and poet and an all-around amazing woman, Maya Angelou, check out the video below.  It is one of her most famous poems, I'll Rise, sung by Ben Harper.  The world is a better place after her 86 years gracing it.  I will never forget the first time I read her words published on paper.  She has impacted so many lives through sharing her story and heart with the world.

For the better quality, although still picture video:
For the live version filmed by a fan at a show, so not the best quality.  Fast forward to 11:15 for I'll Rise.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend: Part 2

Sunday morning I was really tired so I let Ty take Carter upstairs to grandma while I slept in.  Ty came back to bed and we both slept until 9 am.  I couldn't believe I'd slept that long, but we had gone to bed at midnight, so it wasn't too shocking!  Ty's good college friends, Chris and Candice, had a baby boy days after Garrett was born.  We hadn't met him either and his baptism was that day.  We planned to spend time with family in the morning and then head to the reception after the baptism in the afternoon.  We lazed around in the morning playing with Carter and watching tv.  Ty and I planned to leave for the reception around 12:30 which put us in a tricky position with Carter's naptime.  I hoped we could get him down for an early nap around 10 or 11 so he would be ready to go at 12:30.  Little man likes to go with the flow and follow my plans, he's such a good boy.  Around 10:30 he started getting really tired after an early morning full of playing with grandma.  I passed him over to his grandpa who happily rocked him to sleep and held him until he was sleeping hard.  He then took him down and put him in the Pack N Play.  I cracked up when I went down to check on him because his little booty was up in the air with his feet crossed underneath him. 
Sleeping with Grandpa.

While Carter napped I worked on convincing Ty to run with me.  His first response was a solid no, which turned into maybe, and after considerable pleading became an okay.  We headed out to run together and I was on cloud 9, having a running buddy (other than Carter) 2 days in a row is pretty unheard of for me!  When we returned I rushed to shower and get ready.  I was ready to go at 12:30 on the dot and headed downstairs to check on Carter.  He was still asleep, but not too hard so I woke him up and we headed out.  We arrived for the reception right as other guests were arriving from the church.

I happened to be standing close to the door and Candice handed me Liam as she headed to the kitchen to help set up, score a big one for me!  He was about 2 pounds lighter than Garrett which was immediately noticeable.  He cuddled in just as sweetly, but also loved to be propped around so he could check everything out.  I held him for quite a while before passing him off to a grandma.  Going into the weekend I knew there would be lots of family around these month and a half old babies, many of whom were meeting the babies for the first time.  I had myself prepared that I may not get the chance to hold either of them and convinced myself I would be okay with just smelling their hair and rubbing their arms.  I couldn't believe I'd had the pleasure of holding each of them for a considerably long amount of time.  It does the heart good to hold a sweet, little baby.  But honestly even though Carter is much bigger and doesn't cuddle in quite as easily, snuggling with him is just as good, but good in a different way.  There's something about your own baby and how they snuggle into you so perfectly, knowing that you are the one who keeps them safe.
Carter with Liam.

Carter had a blast chasing around the big kids.  He is especially fond of Chris and Candice's 2 and a half year old girl, Adelynn.  He even said, "Hi, Adelynn" to her although his Adelynn was a bit of a mumbled word with an "a" sound in the beginning.  We spent some time playing in their backyard on a playset with a swing and a cool rock to climb up to the fort.  Carter did a surprisingly good job climbing up the wall and figured out how to swing around and go down the slide feet first on his tummy.  He was making me laugh the entire time.  The fort had a wheel and he very happily stood at the wheel, turning it, smiling, and laughing his cute little head off.  Adelynn and her cousin came out to play and Carter loved following them around and copying what they did.  When we left to head back to Ty's parents' house, Candice mentioned they may stop by on their way home to see us again since they hadn't had much time to chat.
Carter followed Adelynn to the table and sat next to her.
Climbing the rock wall to get in the fort.

Back at Ty's parents' house we played with Hot Wheels cars, ate sandwiches for dinner, and relaxed.  Kelly, Mary, Gigi, and Papa came over to visit and arrived a little bit before Chris, Candice, Adelynn, and Liam.  I again got to hold precious little Liam.  Did I mention it was a great baby weekend?  I also had the pleasure of changing his diaper.  I don't know what it is about newborns, but I love changing their diapers.  Well, I actually like changing diapers in general, although I do enjoy a break from Carter's diapers from time to time.  I guess I get that from my dad.  It's just so much fun to see their big full bellies, touch their sweet soft feet, notice those adorable thigh rolls, and simply watch them move around.  It was especially fun to see a tiny size 1 diaper although it did make my heart ache a little bit seeing how much bigger Carter's diapers are!  Ahh, the difficulties of a momma!
Carter let me use him as a pillow, but the sun coming in the window washed us out.
Ty stood by us and cast a shadow so we could get a good picture.
When it was time for Carter's bath Adelynn came in to help.  She very sweetly rinsed off his head with a wash cloth and rubbed his body with it until he decided he wanted it to play with.  When she was finished helping we left and let grandma have some special time with Carter.  I was holding Liam when Carter came out of the bathroom and he again cried, but it was again right before bedtime and he was tired.  Ty talked Carter into getting in his lap along with Adelynn and all was good again.  Carter again went down immediately and I was back upstairs and ready to play with Adelynn.  She is great at imaginary play and we had a blast.  She wanted to go to the "beach" and take Harper, so we went outside where we pretended to splash in puddles and hide from the rain.  Adelynn decided she wanted to hold Harper's leash, I was a bit hesitant, but decided to let her.  I couldn't believe what a great job Harper did.  She just lazily walked along with Adelynn never pulling on the leash.  Then Adelynn announced it had started to rain and advised we run to the tree for cover.  As she took off running Harper very excitedly busted into an all-out sprint which unfortunately sent Adelynn flying.  She was more upset she was wet (it had rained earlier in the day) than she was that she'd fallen.  After that I held Harper's leash for the remainder of our time outside.

Ty with Adelynn and Carter.

I was amazed with Harper's behavior.

Speaking of Harper surprising me, she did an amazing job all weekend.  Normally she is very skittish and nervous at Rocky and Leina's house because she's always been afraid of Rocky.  This trip she even walked up to Rocky asking to be petted.  When everyone was visiting on Saturday she walked very calmly around the house and I swear every single person there commented on how calm she was and joked we must have drugged her.  Friday evening the door didn't get latched and Ty was sitting out in the garage and looked over to notice she was very casually walking around the garage where they were sitting.  That happened again on Saturday when Leina and I took Carter out to play.  We looked up and noticed Harper had followed us out and was just sauntering along beside us sniffing the grass.  Those of you who know Harper's earlier days know how exciting that is!  Since the day she was old enough to run, if she got outside she was gone.  There was no rhyme or reason to it, she just instinctually took off sprinting full force.  Seemingly not knowing why or where, but simply because she could.  We joked it was due to the 4 pounds she's gained since Carter started feeding himself.  We also joked it was because she knows where the special human-food treats are and wants to stay close.  Maybe it's just a maturity thing and now that she's 6 she has more control.  Who knows, but whatever it is, I'm loving it and in that dog momma kind of way, I'm so proud.  I always knew she was a really good dog underneath all that craziness lurking on the surface.

Sunday night we went to bed at a decent time and I woke up Monday morning at 6:30 wide awake and surprised Carter was still sleeping.  After laying in bed for about 15 minutes reading blogs on my phone, I can't remember the last time I had that luxury, I heard Carter stirring around and playing.  After about 15 minutes of playing he started to fuss and I hurried in to retrieve him.  After 2 early mornings playing with Carter, grandma was still in bed when we got upstairs, so we figured it was best to let her sleep.  While I was feeding Carter she came in ready for another morning full of adventures.  It was so cute because she had planned out what they would do for what she has come to call their "jammy time" which is when she and Carter play, usually in their jammies, while letting everyone else sleep in.  Her plan was to play outside and since it was a bit wet from raining overnight, she'd keep Carter in his jammies so he wouldn't get new clothes wet.  We had so much fun.  She even got out a wagon for him to ride in.  While playing in the front yard Leina spied a rabbit across the yard by the woods.  She pointed it out to Carter and his excitement grew as we slowly began to sneak up on it.  It darted toward the woods at one point and I thought it left, but then Carter pointed in that direction and began excitedly screeching a string of unintelligible words.  I looked over and noticed he was pointing at the rabbit.  Leina led the way toward the rabbit and we were all shocked it didn't run away.  Carter's excitement grew to the point where he was loudly screeching and laughing which along with Harper's barking and pulling, scared the rabbit away.
Sneaking up on the rabbit.
As close as we got.

Carter enjoyed cleaning off in the sink when we came inside.
Good morning Amanda!
Enjoying a pear for snack.

Later in the day Rocky decided to take Carter on a tractor ride.  Carter was all about the tractor when they were just sitting on it preparing to ride, but once Rocky fired it up and the engine began to loudly purr, Carter freaked out and started crying.  They took off driving and Carter eventually stopped crying and enjoyed putting his hand on the wheel and moving it around.  Although he slowly got over being afraid of the noise, he definitely liked it better when it was off.  After being pulled around in the wagon by grandma, Uncle Paul, daddy, and mommy all morning Carter decided he wanted to try it out himself and did a really good job.  He would get frustrated and scream when he ran into something and couldn't get it to turn the way he wanted, but he's just getting to that age.

Uncle Paul jumped on the back.
He enjoyed it a lot more when it was off.

Feeling the grass while Uncle Paul pulled.
Running uphill while pulling the wagon.
Carter started getting really tired around 11:00 so we fed him lunch, packed up, and were on the road by 11:30.  It works best to leave at naptime so he sleeps the first half of the drive.  We had barely made it down the road before Carter had put himself to sleep.  He took a 2 and a half hour long nap and woke up just as we were approaching a town we've stopped in before to play at the park.  We picked up some lunch and headed to the park for a picnic lunch and to play.  Carter also had food his grandma had packed him, so he was set.  Blueberries are his current favorite food and she sent him a big cup full.  After playing for about half an hour we headed to the car and I put Carter in his carseat right as it started raining, talk about good timing!  We decided our new tradition on the way home will be to stop at this park and play.  It is a really nice park and it sure makes the drive easier for everyone!  Once we got on the road Carter played with his toy phone and a book for about 45 minutes before throwing them both overboard and fussing.  So I pulled out the tablet and he happily turned into zombie baby while staring at the screen.  Again, I hate to have him watch tv, but it just works too well!  He was even laughing and dancing along with Elmo this time which was adorable!
Enjoying blueberries grandma packed for him.
Mooching some of daddy's burrito.

We had such a great weekend and as always hated for it to end.  I wish all weekends could consist of 3 days!  There were so many great moments, memories shared, good food, and laughter.  One of my favorites was when Carter said Paul for the first time.  When he first said it I thought he was trying to say Papa, but the next time he said it I noticed he was pointing at Paul.  I love that even though he doesn't get to see his Uncle Paul and Aunt Amanda as much as we'd like, he still knows they are special.  I think it has a lot to do with being able to tell how much they love him.  I'm already looking forward to our next visit with them and am so excited that we only have to wait until September.  Until then Carter will be reading his family book and I'm sure pointing at Paul's picture and practicing his name.  Now if only Amanda were just a little easier to say!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend: Part 1

Last week Ty and I were both extremely excited about the weekend.  His brother, Paul, and sister-in-law, Amanda, were coming from Florida to their hometown to visit.  To join in on the fun his Uncle Kelly and Mary were coming from Ohio to visit and his Aunt Netta, cousins Megan and Brody, cousin-in-law Scott, and new 2nd cousin Garrett were all coming from St. Louis.  Other family members were traveling from Kansas City.  We had planned to leave Friday evening at bedtime like we have in the past, but Thursday I was so anxious to see everyone I suggested we just wing it, leave right at 4:00, and see what happens.  Ty liked the idea so he used comp time to leave work early, pick Carter up, and head home.  I sneaked out right after dismissing students and we were ready to roll at 4:01.  Unfortunately in our haste to leave town, we forgot to pack our nice camera.  I was left with my phone and my cheapo camera for the weekend.  I was banking on Carter possibly taking a short nap since he's always tired on Fridays from his busy week at daycare.  Shortly after leaving town and getting on the highway Carter was fast asleep and napped for the first 45 minutes or so.  When he woke up he was hungry and we were driving through a town so we stopped to eat and use the restroom.  When we got back on the road I fed Carter and he happily played with toys for a little over an hour.  Then he started getting fussy so we pulled out the tablet and played Sesame Street for him the rest of the way.  I'm super against him watching tv at this age, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do.  We figure watching a show is more productive that staring at his reflection in the mirror while screaming mommy and reaching for me over his car seat.  So the trip up was a win for all.
Carter helping me pack Friday morning.
His sorry face since he took these graham crackers out of his packed bag!

We arrived a little after 8:00.  Carter made the rounds to see everyone and then I took him in to bathe him and get him ready for bed.  Since he'd taken an extra nap in the car, he was fresh and ready to go.  After his bath he said good night to everyone and we headed down to rock and go to sleep.  He was having trouble falling asleep due to all the noise, commotion, and excitement going on upstairs, so I moved his pack and play into an office area in the basement with a door.  Once I did that he fell asleep right away.  We enjoyed our night catching up with everyone, laughing, and having a good time.  Maybe even a little too much as we didn't head for bed until midnight!

Saturday morning Carter woke up at 6:30 am and I headed upstairs with him.  His grandma, Leina, was eagerly awaiting him in the kitchen.  She had woken up early to start breakfast so she would be ready to play with him.  We played around in the house for a while and then Uncle Paul and Aunt Amanda woke up.  Leina had found a library storytime for us to go to that started at 10:00.  I wanted to run and shower beforehand so I got suited up.  When I came upstairs Amanda asked if I was going to run and I invited her to go with me.  She debated, but decided to come along.  After she changed we headed outside and saw it was raining.  She turned to me and said, "Does the rain not bother you?".  I laughed and said it didn't.  We headed back inside, she grabbed a sweatshirt, and we were off.  I was so excited the rain hadn't deterred her from our run.  When we got back we showered, ate, and got ready for the library.
Heading into the library with grandma.

Leina and I dropped Amanda off at her sister's house so she could bring her niece, nephew, and foster nephew along.  We met back up at the library.  It was the coolest library I had ever seen.  The children's area had an aquarium, a boat to sit in filled with board books, a toy kitchen area, a toy garden area, an area that was dark with light up stars and planets, the bottom half of a dinosaur which looked like the top half of the dinosaur had pushed through the ceiling, and a school bus that lit up and everything.  Carter didn't want to leave and I didn't want to either.  Storytime began with a puppet which Carter was really interested in.  He ventured away from me and sat amongst the other children on the floor.  He got up right next to a little girl and stared in her face.  He sat and watched her, rather than the book, for quite a while.  The librarian played a guitar and sang which Carter enjoyed and danced to.  When he read, Carter would wander around, stare at the other children, and take off through the book shelves.  My favorite part of storytime was the Hokey Pokey.  I held Carter and danced with him which was a blast.  He also did "If You're Happy and You Know It" and at one point had the kids stomp.  It was hilarious to see Carter stomp!  When storytime was over we wandered around and checked out the rest of the children's area and then headed home.
Ready to read a book he found in the boat.

Staring into his new friend's face.  She was actually trying to pay attention.
Watching the other kids.
Fish are always a favorite.
He was so excited to discover these stairs led to water!

We got home at lunchtime so Carter ate and as I was heading to put him down for a nap Megan, Netta, Scott, and Garrett arrived.  We went out to say hello and for Carter and Garrett to meet.  Then I put Carter down for his nap.  I got to hold Garrett while Carter was napping and he was the sweetest little thing.  He snuggled in and had that smell and feel that only newborn babies have.  There is nothing better in the world than holding a baby, especially when they are sleeping or making noises.  Everyone else began to arrive and take turns holding Garrett.  I ended up with him again a little bit before it was time to eat and he fell asleep while we rocked.  I was given the go ahead to hold him during his nap and it made my day.  I sat and stared into his adorable face the whole time.  Every once in a while he would fidget and move, it was precious.  When he woke up I passed him off to his daddy and made myself a plate.
Meeting Garrett

After lunch Carter had been asleep for about 2 hours and I began to get anxious for him to wake up.  I wasn't the only one, his grandma and Gigi made many trips down the stairs to check on him.  Finally after a 3 hour nap, he was awake!  He got to check Garrett out again and then was ready to run around and play after eating, of course.  Uncle Kelly and Mary had brought a wiffle ball set with them and went around getting enough players for 2 teams.  I joked that I would need a tee to be able to hit the ball, but was honestly afraid I wouldn't be able to make contact.  I was convincing enough in my plea for a tee that Leina and I were simultaneously picked last.  Ty's grandma, otherwise known as Gail or Carter's Gigi, surprised me by jumping in to play.  She was first up to bat and knocked the ball way into the outfield.  Then Amanda hit next and again hit way out into the field.  Both hits made me nervous that I was going to embarrass myself, but I hit the ball way into the outfield as well and made it on base.  We had a blast playing and there were quite a few memorable moments.
Paul pitching to Kelly with Ty and Netta in the outfield and Amanda and Scott waiting to bat.
It appears I am leisurely jogging to 3rd base (although I don't remember any base runs that weren't sprints) with Rocky on 3rd base and Leina in the outfield (where I'm sure she wished she stayed after my incident on 1st base).

During the game I came to realize that 1st base was the worst position to play as you tend to get run over.  I am a bit of a bull in a china shop when I get going fast.  I can't stop and have a hard time even slowing down.  I ran over Paul a couple of times (and wasn't the only person to do so) and then during the last play of the game plowed Leina over trying not to be the 3rd out of the last inning.  I still feel bad picturing her laying on the ground once I finally got stopped and turned around.  That wasn't her only injury of the game either.  She was standing getting ready to bat and Scott threw the ball trying to get the runner headed to first out and zinged Leina with the ball on accident.  Anytime Paul was running and Amanda had the ball she would chase after him saying, "You better not!" as he attempted to steal a base.  It was hilarious and we joked she had the look of evil in her eyes.  My favorite part of the game was Carter spectating.  During my first run around the bases I didn't realize he was chasing me from base to base until I reached home and turned around to see him running toward me.  What a great insurance that no outfielder would run me down or zing a ball at me!  The rest of the time he sat in a special giraffe lawn chair and cheered.  Gigi said anytime I was in action he would cheer, "Go, mommy, go".  When a good play happened he would screech and cheer.  He copied the other spectators yelling, "Play ball!"  A few times we wandered out onto the field and entertained everyone.  We kept score but I don't even know who won, I'd say all of us because we had fun and got some exercise too!
Carter cheering us on.

Enjoying Garrett during the wiffle ball game.

Aunt Netta and I gave Carter a bath.  She showed him how to open the stopper to let the water out and then push it back up to stop it again.  He thought that was a blast and kept doing it over and over for I'd guess at least 20 minutes before all the water was gone.  I let him stay in the bath way longer than usual because he was having so much fun, so he was a decent amount past his bedtime before he was in his jammies and ready to go.  Before Megan, Scott, and Garrett left for the evening we got pictures of Carter and Garrett together.  Carter was so sweet and even gave Garrett kisses while he was sitting on his lap.  We didn't even ask him to, he just leaned in and sweetly planted one on Garrett's head.  My camera was slow and I missed it, but fortunately Megan captured it!  Carter cried and fussed a little bit while I was holding Garrett, but I attributed that to him being tired and ready for me to rock him before bed.  Megan picked Carter up while I held Garrett and that appeased him.  By the time I took Carter downstairs he was so tired I'd say I rocked him 2 minutes tops before he was sawing logs in my arms.  It was a busy day full of family and fun!  Part 2 to come tomorrow! 

Kisses for Garrett.