Andrew had his birthday party yesterday at Playworld. His 5th birthday is this Tuesday. He had a lot of fun at the party. He got all kinds of cool stuff: Shaving Kit, Mouse Trap Board Game, Lincoln Logs, Cool Markers, Batman with neato Wings, Fun clothes, Power Ranger, Transformer, Robot, and Legos Helicopter. Uncle Bruce didn't make it to the party but brought him a really fun Nerf Bow and Arrow gun. Believe it or not he's played with EVERY single toy. He's also had a little help from his little brother, Parker:). Parker was upset yesterday at the party. He kept saying, "I want a birthday". He has a short memory and seems to have forgotten he just had a party with Sparky at Playworld in February.
Andrew's birthday party was yesterday at Playworld. I knew the kiddos would get cake but they don't ever bring enough for the adults so I decided to make some cake balls. They were super yummy and fun to make.
This week I saw the coolest idea from the lady I teach with. She made a ziplock quilt with duct tape. It has 25 openings to showcase student work. I decided to make one to hang in the boy's room. They're always hanging up art around the house so I thought we could display it in their ziplock quilt. You just open up the bag to change out the pictures. I'm planning on making a green (his favorite color) one for Parker so they'll each have their own.
Piper is 4 months old today. She is still just the sweetest little thing. Her favorite things to do right now are talk, pull her tongue out, spit and flip over:).
This morning was "Muffins for Moms" at Kindergarten. It was so much fun. I've got the cutest pictures of Andrew with some of his friends. There are four of them standing by each other with their arms around each other. As I was taking it I was thinking how we'll probably look back on it when he graduates. I would upload it but don't want to put pics of kiddos on the internet that I don't really know well. Maybe I can do some cute censoring:). God has really burdened me for a couple of kiddos in Andrew's class. One of them is just unruly but he's dealing with a lot of yucky stuff at home. Then there's another one who Andrew talks about some. I noticed today that his mom didn't come to muffins for moms. I can't go into detail but have learned some really heart breaking things about him, also. I have some free time in my schedule and asked Andrew's teacher if it would be okay if I could come in and work with these two. She thought that would be a great idea. I can't share their names but please pray for them. My heart literally just breaks for these sweet babies.
Andrew spends thirty minutes before and after school in my room. We have a lot of fun together. Today I went to get him from class and he said, "Mom, I've got homework. I need to make sure and do it nice and neat so I can get a sticker":). Since he spends so much time in my room, I get a lot of art on the board. Usually he just writes his name but today he drew a picture. This is the first car he has ever drawn. Isn't it sweet? It looks like the driver is in a lazyboy:) I love it!
Cameron is off every other Tuesday and gets to spend the day with Parker and Piper. Today we thought it would be fun if he and Parker came to eat lunch with Andrew and I. My mom came by and watched sweet little Piper for us. It was a lot of fun. Cam picked up some pizza and we all sat on one of the back tables and ate together. Parker was really excited to see Andrew and Andrew was SO excited for Parker to get to see where he spends his days. Afterwards, we went out to watch Andrew play with his friends at recess. It was so sweet!
This is my 10th year to teach but my first to teach in an elementary school. I am really enjoying it. One reason is because I truly feel my job is my ministry, definitely a calling. God gives me such a love and burden for each of my students. I spent my first three years at Jacksonville High. I LOVED that place. I think of those students ALL of the time. I'm constantly trying to figure out how in the world to get a hold of McKinley, Lamar and Terrell (yes, I've tried myspace and facebook). My heart aches because I don't know how they are doing. The next three years, I taught in a behavioral hospital. I loved it, also. I believe God has gifted me with a love and passion for kids who have "issues". I have spent many nights in tears and prayer over my students. The last three years, I have taught in a Jr. High. I loved it so much. I LOVED my students. I hated it when they moved up to the high school. God gave me the most incredible opportunity to bring the "world" to my students through teaching about the kids in Uganda. Our Jr. High kids were on FIRE for those kids in Uganda, raising over $7000 to help build a school. I'm so proud of them and truly believed their lives were changed forever. I think they really got it and that's saying a lot for Jr. High kids. I am so thankful for each student that God has allowed me to spend time with. I'm so excited to be working in the elementary school to try to make a difference early on for these kids. God has blessed me so much throughout my career with my masters, National Boards and even a couple of teacher of the year awards but NOTHING compares to seeing that change in my students. A little fellow that I've been "mothering" for the past two years sent me a text tonight. He leaves for Job Corp in 2 weeks. I am SO proud of him and pray so much that he will stay the course. The Lord also gave me the opportunity to share Christ with this young man. I tease Cameron all the time that my goal is to change the world, one kiddo at a time:).
So I've been using Freecycle a lot lately, thanks to Anna. It's such an awesome way to get rid of things without throwing them away or storing them for a yard sale. Just this month I've given away baby clothes, a toddler bed, a kiddie pool, and a dresser. I've received from other freecyclers a kindergarten mat, boy clothes and some kid's books. Tonight while I was cleaning out Parker's dresser I decided to give away a lot of clothes that were too small or on the verge of too small. It was so sad. I slowly looked at each piece and could remember a day that he wore them. I especially got sentimental over the pajamas. Parker does this nightly routine where he stands behind the couch and says, "WHO AM I?" and I have to guess who he is. Sometimes he'll give me clues. Tonight he said, "Who am I? I'll give you a clue... vroom vroom". Of course he was dressed up as Lightening McQueen:). It was so hard to bag up all of those sweet clothes but I got really excited about some little boy getting to see all of his new PJs. I put them on freecycle and waited for a reply. Sure enough, just a few minutes after they posted I get a reply. I give them directions and they come pick them up. While we were giving them the bags of clothing Cameron said, "so you guys have a little boy?" The lady said, "No, we have girls but figured we could still use some of them". I was DEVASTATED!! Little girls won't be excited about a Superman PJ that even had the CAPE! Ugghhhhh... next time I'm screening. I'm suspicious that they just want them to resell which I guess is okay. The point of freecycle is to not contribute to the tons of trash we have here in America BUT come on, at least have a boy if you're getting fun little boy clothes. Maybe I shouldn't pack a little piece of my heart into each Wal-Mart bag I give away:). Maybe the real reason I'm sad is because Parker will never wear his Elmo pajamas again:(.
Cameron always goes above and beyond. He's such an amazing man and a wonderful husband. This week he sent me the prettiest flowers to work, just because. He cooked dinner two times and just today he gave me about a 45 minute massage. He's so good with the kids, always slow to anger and believe me there's a lot of provoking:).
Last weekend we went to the zoo. We had a great time and the weather was PERFECT!!! The boys loved all of the animals. Piper seemed to have a great time, too. While she was napping on daddy's shoulder, a butterfly came to share her burp rag:). The boys thought that was really neat.
What are those gorillas looking at?
Andrew, Andrew what do you see?? I see a Gorilla looking at me.
This afternoon I got my first taste of being a mommy to an elementary tyke. Andrew's first homework assignment was to decorate a gingerbread man. We were suppose to help him find things around the house to use to decorate. I thought he did a great job. He used a washer that he found on the street this week, he used some colorful mini cotton balls and a feather. He had a lot of fun doing it. Today at lunch time I visited with a mommy of a peer in Andrew's class. All of the sudden she whips out their gingerbread man. My first thought was, "I wonder if Mrs. Hartwick has seen Andrew's yet... maybe I can sneak in and take it back and help him redecorate". You should've seen their little gingerbread man. It was AMAZING! His mommy must have planned this decoration for a while, I just sat there and watched Andrew decorate his, I didn't really help at all. I mean, don't think I didn't want to. I knew that he only needed to add one wooden heart, instead of two but I bit my tongue and let it be. I guess I should've called in Martha Stewart:).
Piper Jane usually takes a short nap in the evening. She was sleepy so I went and put her down to sleep but apparently she wasn't having it. She didn't want a nap. So after a few minutes of her crying Cameron went to get her and noticed she had flipped over. We lay her on her belly and she had turned over to her back:).
and they DID. They found the "most awesomest" mud puddle ever and had tons of fun! I actually encouraged them to go find a mud puddle and play in it. They were too messy to come in the house so I dumped pitchers of water over them before they could enter:). Andrew said, "this is the best day ever".
Andrew was so sleepy this morning he didn't wanna go to Kindergarten. Since we've had Mrs. Mindy watching the kiddos for the past 3 years, we've never had to get them up and take them anywhere. They're use to sleeping in and staying home all day so it's an adjustment for Andrew to have to get up. He only whined a few minutes and then was excited about the day. Parker and Piper have been really good. I worried Parker would cry when we left but so far, so good. He enjoys playing with Mrs. Mindy and Catherine. I hate it for him that Andrew is gone but I think he'll be okay. Piper has been a sweet baby. She usually is asleep when I leave. Anna asked about how it is having to leave Parker and Piper.. I miss them both a lot and hate to leave them but I know they are taken care of really well. Also, it's comforting to know that I'm gone during the day time when they're napping. Piper sleeps several hours throughout the daytime so I get to spend a lot of sweet time with her when I get home. I almost feel like I spend more quality time with them (and I'm definitely more patient) when I'm working than I do when I'm home in the summertime. I'm VERY thankful God has given me the career I have so I'm able to be home a lot with the kiddos. I also love the kiddos that He places in my classroom. I'm team teaching this year 1/2 the day in 3rd grade and 1/2 in 5th grade. Today I taught the 3rd graders how to write a cursive l. Isn't that cute??? Their little hands were killing them from practicing all of those loops. I think I'm going to like teaching elementary just fine.
Ohhhh.. I'm so sleepy. This has been a LONG day. I have to say, I have a new respect for elementary teachers. I've always taught in the upper grades and have never experienced standing on my feet EVERY second of the day. This morning when I went to drop Andrew off, the super excited Kindergartener became pretty clingy and shy. His room was a big cry-fest. There were tears and snotty noses everywhere (parents and kiddos). Andrew did really well, he didn't want me to leave but never broke down and really cried. I was teary eyed several times but didn't break down, either. I stayed in there for about 30 minutes to help soothe other sad, little ones. I just knew I'd want someone soothing my Andrew if I wasn't there so I treated all of them like they were my own. Last night Andrew and I went and picked out some goodies for his teacher. He was SO excited to give it to her this morning. I took a picture of them together:). She is really sweet and soft spoken. Andrew really likes her a lot. I peaked in his room, thank goodness he's seated by the window, probably 1000 times. He was always happy! My room is right by the playground so I got to watch him while he was out on recess. He saw something he really wanted to do and cut in line to try to do it. He got pushed off that apparatus pretty quickly:). Since he's always been home, he's never really experienced lines and waiting his turn. I think he learned pretty quickly;). When I went to his classroom after school to get him, I asked him "what was your favorite thing about Kindergarten?" he said, "EVERYTHING"!
Also, THANK YOU to everyone who has been praying for me and Andrew for today! Your prayers definitely helped!
So here I am thinking of all the things I forgot to tell Andrew about Kindergarten before he went to bed. I just read an email from a sweet co-worker of mine wishing me luck for tomorrow. I was telling Cameron that I think it will be okay... kids start kindergarten all the time. I'll be just fine. Then all of the sudden out of the blue he says, "Can you imagine when they go to college?" WHAT??!! I feel like I need a stiff drink, good thing I bought some Oceanspray Cran-Grape today. And yes, Cam will be sleeping on the couch!;) And by the way... while I'm super frustrated about the kids starting college soon... let me just say "Get over with already, Olympics". I can't handle this sleep deprivation!!
Ugghhhh... only a couple of days left until Andrew becomes a Kindergartener:(. I have a lump in my throat, butterflies in my stomach and tears running down my cheek. I just want to hold on extra tight and keep him here forever but he is SO excited about meeting his teacher and new friends. I am SO grateful God has provided the opportunity for me to teach children a few doors down from him. Below, I've copied a letter to his teacher.
Dear Kindergarten Teacher,
I have been praying for you for a while now. Each night when I tuck Andrew into bed, I've said a prayer that goes something like this:
Please Lord, bring my son a Kindergarten teacher that will give him a love of education. Help his teacher to make learning fun and to love her job. Please help him to see Your goodness through his teacher and the friends that he makes.
I'm sure you've received several letters from other mommies but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to tell you a little about Andrew. He's definitely a pleaser. He always wants to make others happy and gets very sad when he feels he's done something wrong. He can be a chatter box. He is very outgoing and loves making new friends. He loves to build things, climb trees, snuggle mommy and make things out of play-doh. He is very, very excited about Kindergarten and we are excited to have you as a teacher! I was so thankful to hear that you had children of your own because I know becoming a mommy myself has made me a much better teacher. My prayer is that God will bless you with a wonderful year and that Andrew will brighten up your day as much as he does ours.
Tonight was Kindergarten Orientation, except the Kindergarteners weren't invited... go figure. It was sweet though. I got to sit in Andrew's future desk and meet his teacher, actually I met her the other day since I will work at the same school but this time I met her as a mom. The classroom is kind of a mess right now because our new school won't be ready for a few weeks. It will definitely be worth the wait, though, because the new school is going to be amazing!!
Some observations I gathered tonight:
1. Andrew will be sitting by a red headed boy named Ezra:)... several kids came even though the note said not to (I personally don't blame the parents, I wanted to take Andrew and would've but he was staying with Grandma and Papa tonight).
2. To his right is a pretty little girl named Lauren.
3. There are twice as many boys in all of the Kindergarten classes than girls. I was kind of shocked by that.
4. Those Kindergarten chairs are getting smaller... or maybe my bum is getting bigger:)
I will need LOTS of prayers this weekend to prepare mommy's heart for the first day of school for little "JuJu".
When the boys were little we use to read books and rock them in the rocking chair then put them in their crib. As they grew, I would sit on their toddler bed and read them a book and sing to them. They're so grown up now:(. They're both sleeping in the bunk beds. Since they've been sharing a room we've had trouble with them chit-chatting for hours and not getting to sleep until almost 11:00 some nights. I knew that would have to change since Andrew will be starting Kindergarten soon. For nearly two weeks, I've started a new night time tradition. Daddy reads them a book and then mommy comes in with sleepy time oil:). It's just some lavender massage oil from Bath and Body. They love it!! I then have my quiet time while they go to sleep. I let them each pick a song for me to sing (Parker always chooses Dear Mr. Jesus:) and then I tell them I'm going to talk to Jesus and read my Bible. I pray and read aloud. We've been reading Luke for the past week. The boys really enjoy it and they're super quiet. It's a wonderful time for me to spend time in the word, which is hard to find sometimes during the day, and hopefully plant some seeds for the boys.
One more post for the day:)... I had a couple of pics of sweet girl that I wanted to post. The boys all went to Grandmommy's house and me and Sissy stayed home to do laundry. While I was folding clothes, I ran across these cute bloomers and Sissy suggested we take a couple of pics in them. How could I tell that cute face NO?
Piper has still been sleeping great, even with all the traveling chaos. She's been waking up somewhere around 6:30 and after I feed her she falls back to sleep for a while. We decided to buy some disposables diapers for our trip because we didn't think we'd have room to lug around dirty cloth diapers. She had 2 leaky diapers. This was her first time to have a leaky diaper, we've never had that with our cloth diapers. They were yucky, too. She leaked poo poo all over 2 of her outfits:(. Luckily I brought one cloth diaper to wear with her wedding outfit so she didn't have any embarrassing moments at the wedding:).
We went to Amy's wedding this weekend and had a great time. The kids were ridiculously GOOD! Andrew and Parker were perfect the entire way there and back. Piper was really, really good, too. She cried a total of about an hour and a half during the 7 hour trip on the way there and about an hour on the way back. She discovered her love for the pacifier on the way there:). She's NEVER taken a pacifier at all but I had one in the diaper bag and we decided to give it one more try. Poor Cam did some nerve damage in his arm trying to keep it in her mouth from the front seat. We stayed at Cameron's aunt and uncle's house. They had a pool house and let us stay there. It was wonderful!! They have a beautiful pool and a wonderful hot tub. Andrew loved the hot tub. I said, "would you like it if mommy and daddy got a hot tub?" he said, "NO.... would YOU like it if Andrew and Parker got a hot tub?"... how funny! The boys carried a banner down the aisle in the wedding and did a really good job. Cam only stayed in the ceremony for about 10-15 minutes and then went out with all of the kids to go find squirrels in the trees. Poor Cam... it was HOT! Parker found the only little mud puddle outside and fell in it:)... he was sad he got his clothes dirty. After he and Andrew got dressed up Parker kept saying they were the boys of rock n roll. It's a song off of a chipmunk movie. It was soooo funny! He kept singing it over and over!
It's a little after seven in the morning and sweet Piper Jane is still sleeping:). She was last fed a little before 9:00 last night and went to sleep around 9:30. Wooohoooo!!! Soooo... did I get tons of sleep.... well unless you count Andrew coming in around 3:00 and Parker arriving around 4:30. We're going to have to have a talk with those little munchkins. It's so strange because Park never use to come to snuggle. This is probably only his 4th or 5th time ever to come in. Andrew, on the other hand, he's a world renown snuggler but he usually doesn't come in SO early.
Tomorrow is Andrew's last day of swim lessons. He's doing really good at swimming but even better at blabbing!! He talks to his teacher more than he swims. He must get all that talking from Cameron.:) This week we've moved both boys to the bunk bed. Andrew is sleeping on top and Parker is on the bottom bunk. They've done really well, besides the two nights we were awakened by shrieking screams. The first night, Park had a nightmare that a transformer was coming after him. Andrew was horrified from Park's screams and he started screaming. Last night, Andrew was trying to come sleep in our room and had a hard time opening his door. He thought he was locked in so he started SCREAMING and of course that scared Park and he began to SCREAM!! I'm not sure how but Piper slept through all of the screaming both nights. After Andrew got in our bed to snuggle he said, "You feel like you just got out of the washing machine"... he meant dryer because I was warm and he was cold:). Last night Piper slept the longest she's slept so far. She slept from 9:30 - 5:00. She almost always sleeps until 3:00 or 3:30 so we were excited about 5:00. She is doing really well. We're able to lay her down on her belly now and she soothes herself to sleep after just a couple of minutes. She usually takes about 2 naps in the day time and usually just one in the evening. She really is liking her bumbo and today we pulled out a walker to see if she wanted to sit in it. She liked it but not as much as her big bubbies:). (by the way... pics were taken with my iPhone:)
we're still trying to win the war against the brown recluse that are invading our home. Our bug guy came out on Friday and fogged the house and attic. Since then we've found several dead brown recluse and even some dead BABIES!!! great.... no telling how many babies there are crawling around here!!! I was pretty excited thinking that the fog killed them all but then we found some in our glue traps and they were still alive, stuck like there's no tomorrow BUT still ALIVE!! Ugghhh... one of them was in a glue trap right by the foot of our bed. Needless to say I didn't sleep much last night. So since yesterday we know that we have at least 8 less LIVING brown recluse in the house.
Funnies: Today we were eating fried shrimp and Andrew took a bite and the entire shrimp came out into his mouth and he said, "Look, I took a bite of the shrimp and the whole chicken came out of it":)
I am married to a wonderful man named Cameron. We love to laugh and do so often! We have 3 children who bring us more joy than we could've imagined. We're currently in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. We cannot wait to bring her home!