Sunday, December 28, 2014

Leading to Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time.  I've had many, many insights this Christmas season, but finding the time to write them down has been difficult.  So, I'll give it a try now.

We decorated the Sunday after Thanksgiving because I didn't need to teach that day. In my head, I envisioned happiness and just a good time.  Needing an attendant to help you decorate and trying to make it a joyful experience isn't as easy as it sounds. Personalities clash and ideas do not always mesh making me the peace maker. I just want to tell my cerebral palsy to go away and I can handle it on my own.  However, I'm very grateful to have the help.

After getting through decorating, the peace came back as we made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. It was a recipe that my attendant was happy to share and help Laura to do. 

The Elf on the Shelf has been a pleasant surprise. We have resisted getting one through the years because our daughter didn't want one and we thought it was pretty expensive. But this year she wanted one and we succumbed.

I must admit, at first, the idea of him was moving each night was a bit stressful. It was fun though to search for him.  The routine of finding him each morning gave my daughter something to look forward to before school.  Our elf is named Jack.  Now he is back at the North Pole until next December.

We decided to get a real tree.  I've always been afraid of them burning our house down so resisted. In the twelve years living here, I always had an artificial tree. Jeff and I picked up Laura from school one day as a surprise. The first place we went seemed overly expensive. The second place was up there in price but we found the perfect tree. Plus I was cold and didn't want to look anymore places.  We definitely had fun though and no pressure.  Laura enjoyed it very much.

Again I found myself feeling badly that I couldn't decorate the tree on my own with the kids. Jeff isn't as enthusiastic with tree decorating as he is about outside. However, one of my friend's came over and helped me and Laura. It ended up being a really fun time and her daughter slept over which thrilled Laura.

We did Breakfast with Santa at my church in early December. Jason wasn't crazy about Santa, but we had fun and got some great pictures. Jeff's mom took both Jason and Laura to a Christmas party. They had a terrific time and definitely was in the Christmas spirit.

What I'll miss the most this Christmas season is the mornings leading up to Christmas. Laura updated all of our countdown calendars and would look for Jack.  Then we would talk about Christmas vacation, Christmas season and all the enjoyment.   I'll also miss Jason saying, "mom, look!!" when driving around looking at Christmas lights.

I also loved when Laura made very thoughtful homemade gifts to give family.  Mine was a little white cardboard box. In it was a colorful paper that said, " this is the kissing box." Written on the bottom of the box said "mwaah." She explained that whenever I'm down, look in the box and I get a kiss from her.

She also wrote Jeff a very encouraging letter about nursing school.  She said that she was proud of him. Very sweet.

My mom and sister took Laura go Hershey Park candy cane lights. I opted out due to cold but they had an excellent time.

Jeff, Laura, Jason and I went out to eat and walked around just for fun.  We all had a great time and ran into an old friend.  We enjoyed the decorations, music and energy in the air.

All this led up to the big Christmas Day!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Magical Christmas Time

Last week I freaked out a little bit. I felt like time was slipping away between school, Jeff's school, teaching and the household chores. So, I decided to go full steam ahead and make my own plans to get it done.

Earlier that week Laura said she wanted to see the Nutcracker that her school was performing. I had no idea she wanted to go and scrambled to see if I could get tickets. The performance was Friday and Saturday but Friday worked better with our plans. I emailed the director and yes I was able to score two tickets.

Then I knew we needed to get a Christmas tree. Every year we set up our artificial tree usually the first week of December.  I felt very behind because we waited to get our first real tree.  So, Jeff and I picked up Laura when she was finished school and got our tree.  The first place we went seemed very expensive.  The second place had our perfect tree, and even though cold, we all had a fun experience.

Friday came and it was my Dad's birthday. My dad and I are very close and similar. I wanted to incorporate his birthday into my plans. Are you ready to hear about our Friday? My attendant, Jason and I went shopping during the day. Jason was so much fun and no issues. We even ate lunch out and he did amazing. 

At the store, I picked up dinner and cake for the birthday celebration. When we got home, we organized what I bought and cleaned.  My dad enjoyed dinner, cake and presents. Then Laura and I were off to the Nutcracker!

Saturday we decorated the tree and had a sleepover with Laura's friend. Laura had a ball and they were very behaved. They actually were quiet when we asked them to!

Monday, December 8, 2014

The joys of life

Have I mentioned how much I love teaching? Yes, I do. Each week I have the opportunity to teach first grade PREP (Catholic education.) It's so much fun and rewarding when you make something make sense to them and they are excited to learn. 

I do have my certification in special education. Lately, I've been struggling if I made the right choice in careers.  Getting a teaching job has been difficult due to disability discrimination and then I had my daughter. When I planned on trying again when she started kindergarten, I found out I was pregnant with my son.

I was contemplating getting a degree in some other field that would almost gaurentee me a job.  Teaching is what I always loved and seeked to do.  Today when I was teaching it confirmed all of my feelings.

After teaching, we went to breakfast with Santa at my church.  Laura liked it a lot but Jason wanted nothing to do with him. Nevertheless, we did get some great pictures that we will cherish.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

So many things happening

I know we always seem like we are up to something, and we usually are.  We just finished up about a week long break and now slowly getting everything back in order.  It's always sad when break ends especially after the school bus pulls away with my daughter and my husband kisses me good bye as he leaves for school. Some people can't wait until their family leaves, I happen to dread it.

However, it's nice to spend one on one time with my little man, Jason. He is now 21 months old and never ceases to put a smile on your face. Jason loved having his daddy and sister around. He started saying, "Daddy!" He is so full if enthusiasm to tell you things but the words get jumbled.  Jason is more of a phrase guy instead of single words. The new phrases are, "Here it is," "There it is," "thank You" and of course "see ya later!"

My favorite is his nonverbal way of saying he loves you. He will come over and put his head on your shoulder, lap or leg.  Jason also will wave for me to come.  He will yell "Mom" and look back waving his fingers for me to follow. Jason tells you to look at things too.

Laura is also doing remarkable things. Her report card was all A's and the comments were absolutely mind blowing. All the teachers love her in class, she helps her classmates, respects the teacher, helps clean the class and enthusiastic for learning. A week before Thanksgiving, she was given the Respect award from her teacher.  Luckily, parents are invited and encouraged to attend. I never miss it.

In fact, I was later than I usually am, but still on time. When she saw me, her entire face lit up like a Christmas angel. My eyes actually filled with tears to see how happy I made her just by being there.

Laura is in second grade but now reading at a third and fourth grade level. At night, she reads over an hour before falling asleep. She told me this morning that she was almost out of chapter books so I picked three up at the library. I wonder how long it'll take her. Jason didn't make it easy to look. He wanted me to follow him and look at everything in the room.

During break, Jeff and I got to spend time together as well. We went to the movies, shopping, and just out together. He was happy to pass level one in nursing. Now he is into level two so we will see how that goes. 

I'm just trying to keep all happy and healthy plus keep a clean, organized house. There are times I feel lost in all the chaos and unsure my role exactly for who and what.  It's funny but I'm definitely a full time mommy and wife but sometimes I have that career itch. Am I a writer, teacher, speaker? I do a little bit of all three but none to the level I feel I should be at. I want to write everyday, send letters to talk and so on. But there's not enough time in the day plus relax too.  It's just a weird limbo type feeling. 

I felt very happy today that at the library someone asked me for my business card because she wanted me to speak at a school.  Luckily, I had them tucked away in my bag along with diapers and snacks for the kids.

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