How a Vacationless Summer Became the Best Summer of My Life.

This summer has been the best summer I’ve had so far. We are into August now, and I can see the end of the season very clearly. I’m a teacher and the kind of teacher that starts to think about school, her classroom, what the year will look like starting in August. It’s also caused me to reflect on my summer. I’ve come to a conclusion.

THIS SUMMER HAS BEEN THE BEST SUMMER EVER.

And guess what? We didn’t even go on vacation or do anything spectacular to be quite honest. In fact, this year we purposely decided we weren’t going to go on vacation so we could spend money and save money for house projects. We wanted to paint the house (mission accomplished), and we are going to be getting our basement waterproofed in a few weeks. We decided that because of this, we wouldn’t go anywhere crazy or do a big vacation this year. And…

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But really though, I have gotten to spend so much quality time with my boys, doing whatever our hearts feel like and it’s been soooo good. We have been able to bond in such a special way, and I know this year it will be the hardest when it comes to going back to work. So let me share with you some of the reasons I thought this was our best summer yet.

Why My Vacationless Summer Became the Best Summer Ever:

  1. We saved money.

This was key. Normally when we go on vacation, there is the expense of actually paying for the vacation (even if you pay for it in advance, it’s still money) and also the cost of spending money while on vacation, which can add up quite a bit. Because we weren’t spending a ton on a big vacation, we were able to save money and put it towards things we wanted/needed.

2. We didn’t stress.

Because we didn’t have anything major going on, we could relax, let our hair down and just embrace the present and each day. There wasn’t any significant planning to be done or anything like that. I am not one of those ultra and amazing #momgoals kind of moms who loves to plan/organize. I would prefer to drink a rootbeer float while in my fuzzy pajamas with a book in my hand. So the fact that there wasn’t much to be planned was wonderful.3. We went to the beach a billion times.

3. We went to the beach a billion times.

And by a billion times, I probably mean a trillion times. No, truly we have been at the beach AT least once a week and likely twice a week, sometimes three times a week. This has been glorious on all levels. Minimal clothing for all, shoes optional. I can live like that.

4. Completed and are in the process of completing house projects.

We set some goals for ourselves this summer. We wanted to complete two projects. The first was painting the house; the second was waterproofing the basement. The first we completed, the second we should have completed by the end of this month. When we decided to opt out of a major vacation this summer, completing some house projects played into this.

5. Took tons of day trips.

Storybook Land. Beach every week. Cape May Zoo. Philadelphia Zoo. Shopping here and there. Hung out with my mom on her days off and went out and about. The benefit of these is that at the end of the day, we went home. Boys slept in their own beds and still felt a semblance of their routine.

6. Had a laid back summer.

Being a mom of twins, two toddlers who are the exact same age and are very active boys, I welcomed the opportunity to have a very relaxed summer.

After saying all of that, next year, we have decided we will definitely take a vacation. We are in the talks of actually taking two, one local and one out of states. The older the boys get, the more fun it is because we can see their reactions, what they like, how they are enjoying it. Summer 2016, you have been good to us. And I still have a few weeks left to enjoy.

Most of all, I’m so grateful that God has given me this special time to enjoy with my babies who are now little boys, and not so much babies anymore.  Here are a few pictures from our vacationless summer.

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Vacation Bible School was a great way to kick off the summer fun!

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Masterpieces. Obviously.

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They have nothing on my hula skills.

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Birthday fun at Ocean City! The last week of July, literally everyone from our family has something to celebrate. What a FUN week!

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Even Josiah would agree. The summer has been pretty legit so far.

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Beach day…again, with some of my favorites! The #lopeztwinsies aunts!

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When your husband isn’t as photo-ready as you are but you still make him take a picture anyway. We had a date day at the beach. Ocean City.

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Fourth of July last-minute decision to go to the beach…again!

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Fourth of July after party with their favorite cousin. It wouldn’t be the 4th without a little BBQ. Even the rain can’t drown out the fun.

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My sweet little guy has been coming out of his shell lately. This summer he has become bolder and less shy.

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Cousin hangtime.

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Celebrated our seven year anniversary!

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Lots of Rita’s water ice and Ocean City beach time.

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And more beach time. This was supposed to be boardwalk time that turned into beach time. Hence, the full clothing.

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Babe.

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Sunkissed. They like to wade in the water, JoJo prefers to be held. Of course. And he’s the heaviest.

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We planned to just hit the boardwalk, but the kids wanted to “see the sand.” Which basically means, they want to go on the beach.

 

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JoJo is obsessed with his cousin, two peas in a pod.

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This picture melts my heart.

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First time to the Philadelphia Zoo for all boys in this fam, husband included.

And the summer isn’t over yet. I love summer.

Our trip to the Philadelphia Zoo!

Last week, my mom and I spontaneously decided to take the boys to the Cape May Zoo. We had a great time and amazing weather. It was in the eighties, but missing the nightmarish humidity that had been plaguing us for the majority of the summer.

When I came home and bragged  told my husband about what we did, he said he wanted to go to the Philadelphia Zoo on Saturday. He hadn’t been, and it was killing him that I was having such a blast with the boys while he toiled away at work. Sorry, not sorry. Just kidding. Kind of. When I looked into pricing, I saw it was a little pricey, BUT membership wasn’t bad at all. We decided to become members for a year! Membership benefits include free access to the zoo for a year, free parking, and 10% of all merchandise and food. Not bad at all!

We had such a good time. The weather was humid and muggy, but we got there as soon as it opened on Saturday (I’m a stickler for getting to places early and when it opens since I hate crowds!), so it was perfect. We brought the stroller, but took the boys out and let them walk around with us most of the time.  We made sure they didn’t fall into a gorilla pit (rest in peace Harambe) and needless to say, it was uneventful in that way! Hooray!

The Philadelphia Zoo is a gorgeous zoo with such a variety of animals and historical fact alert; it’s the nation’s FIRST zoo. One of the millions reasons to love Philly . So if you haven’t visited it or if you don’t live around here, take an East Coast vacation and add this place to the list of places to check out. We plan on going for a date day as well sometime soon, so we can actually read the signs and take a minute to slow down. If you have toddlers, you understand that spending more than five minutes at an exhibit is probably not a possibility. Still, a fab time was had by all.

It was also a first for my husband AND the boys, so it was cool to see them all experience the zoo in that way. We stayed for a few hours, and once it started getting super muggy, peaced out. All in all, a successful day.

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Then they were THREE! A prayer for my boys.

As my boys turn THREE today, this is my prayer for them. Originally wrote it in my prayer journal, but wanted to share!

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Dear Lord,

Thank You for the privilege of parenting not one, but TWO miracle babies. Thank You for the surprise and gift of raising two boys. Two boys that are so clearly filled with purpose and destiny. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that the plans that You have for their lives are special, unique, and beautiful. I pray that my babies would love and pursue You every single day. Let their lives speak of Your miraculous power. Let their hearts love You and love people purely. Let their hearts be filled with a desire to serve you and to serve others.

My Josiah. For Josiah, I pray that you would use His strong will and determined attitude for good things and for YOUR purposes. I pray that Josiah would stand strong against things that are wrong and that he would stand for JUSTICE and freedom for those that are oppressed. That he would be a voice for the voiceless. I pray that He would sing songs of hope and songs that bring joy. I pray that when he plays instruments, heavy hearts, and broken hearts are made whole.

For Micah, I pray that You would use his sensitive, gentle spirit to comfort others. I pray that he would uplift those that are broken. I pray that He would have compassion that burns for the forgotten. I pray that Micah would see those that are ignored by society and offer them that hope that He has within. I pray that Micah’s ability to listen and observe would translate to a person who hears others and leads in humility.

For both of my boys, I pray that they would have an unshakeable bond and brotherhood. I pray that they would be loyal to You and to each other. I pray that they would be men of courage, integrity, and valor. Let them pursue You relentlessly and love You wholeheartedly. May YOU always have first place in their lives. Give them favor with You and with men. I pray that they would dream HUGE God-sized dreams with no limitations, and run after them, accomplishing more than we ever have in our lifetime.

I thank You for the gift of Micah and Josiah. Thank You for choosing ME and entrusting me with the amazing opportunity to raise these boys. Continue to give me the grace I need to parent two world changers. My heart is overflowing. I love You.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

 

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I have truly loved this age. Here’s to onward, upward, and seeing what THREE holds in store for us!

Dearest Naptime…[An open letter to the love of my life]

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Dearest Naptime,

I don’t know if I tell you often enough about how I feel about you, but here it is. I met you about two and a half years ago or so. When you first waltzed into our life, I had mixed feelings about you. Would you stay? Would you go? Were you here to tease us or would you make a permanent residence in our lives? At almost three years, you are still here. For this, all I can say is…

I love you.

Naptime, you are rather glorious to me. When you arrive, I enter into this happy place where I can actually…wait for it…drum roll please…GET THINGS DONE. It’s quite amazing actually.  Naptime is a magical little land where the dreams of a mother come true. During naptime, ANYTHING goes.

I think to myself. Should I get things done? Will I clean? Will I sleep? Will I read a book? Will I watch my favorite television show? Will I call a friend? WHAT WILL I DO? Typically I say, I will accomplish a ton. Reality hits though, and there I am laying on the couch, hair in a bun, chips by my side thinking to myself, “I think I will just soak in this quiet.”

Naptime – you are especially my favorite when you decide to hang out for two hours or so. Sometimes even three. Because you allow me to regain my sanity. You give me this time where I don’t have to share my cookies. Where I can pee in peace. And, if we are getting wild over here, SHOWER ALONE. It is a rather magical relationship we have.

There are days though, where you don’t show up. These days are sad days, followed by lots of tears from both mother and children. I realize that you don’t show up in everyone’s life, which is why I so eagerly admire your awesomeness. Like Sam Smith once sang, “Won’t you stay with me…?” Naptime, you are a good, good thing. Don’t ever leave.

For this – I must say: thank you. Hang out with us for awhile. Until the boys are in college, I’m thinking? You’re the best.

Sincerely and with lots of love and well restedness,

A Happy Twin Momma

Potty Training Struggles are Real. Part 1.

My husband and I have a goal of trying to get the boys potty trained over the summer. How is it going, you ask? Well, it’s not really going at all. I “tried” to potty train them once before and it didn’t get anywhere. I think our trying efforts need to be stepped up.

We have one who is willing to sit on the potty for a few minutes at most. Meanwhile, the other has literally ZERO interest. Zero as in refuses to sit on it at all. To get him to sit on it, would be to force him with tears and crying. I keep reading that that particular method isn’t effective and it’s the last thing a parent should do.

The hubs and I decided we would absolutely go for it full fledged on the fourth of July. He had off from work, and we could do it as a team effort. We were determined. Game faces? On. So we get up, and we are pumping each other up equivalent to football players pumping up their team players.

Me: “Are you ready to do this?”

Him: “YEAH!* [Insert fist in the air] We have this! We can do it!”

So we bring out the potties and attempt to try the naked method where you let them run around naked and have the potties on hand. This epically FAILS from the start. We have one crying because he doesn’t want to be naked. We have the other one loving the idea of being naked. Maybe TOO much? There are lots of tears involved. When Jose and I can finally stop crying (ha – just kidding, almost) I decide that I know what will do the trick. Buying two new Mickey Mouse potties. DUH, why didn’t I think about this before? This will CLEARLY solve the problem. So I shoot off to the store to buy one. After three stores, I locate them, bring them home joyfully and look at my husband knowingly. *Wink wink* Problem solved. Mickey Mouse potties will do the trick.

Um. It didn’t work. Not even a little bit. The boys were excited about these “toys.” Excited about taking them apart, standing on them, and flushing them but sitting on them? NO. One tried for a few minutes, then was completely over it. The other? Nope, not interested at all. After two hours of pleading, trying to convince, bribing, and coming up with nothing – we looked at each other.

Me: “Do you want to go to the beach?”

Husband: “Yeah.”

The end. And the potty training saga continues. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Pants DOWN, diapers on.

 

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God’s Grace in parenting.

 

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Some days I feel like  I need an extra dose of God’s grace when it comes to parenting.

Do you ever have moments where you are impatient with your little ones? Annoyed? Frustrated? Visualize me answering this question with my hands up, jumping up and down, all while shouting, “oooohhhh MEEEEE! YES! YES!” Am I alone in this?

Do you ever have days where sometimes your impatience or annoyance shines through? Or when you want to shout back, “NO, I DON’T WANT TO SHARE!” and throw an adult tantrum towards your toddler? Or maybe even a time where you have snapped, blown a fuse, or had a melt down? I have a feeling I’m not alone. Because after all, we are parents. And if you are a parent of multiples, you probably feel this even more so.

Right now the boys are at an age that I actually LOVE, but there are also some things that I don’t love. For example:

  • Tantrums – I get it. You don’t want it. Geeze.
  • The word no on speed dial and repeat – I’m convinced one of my boys has selected that word as his favorite in spite of his rich vocabulary of other words that are more magical and wonderful than the dreaded “no.” YES. How about that kid?!
  • Pickiness – grilled cheese, pizza, eggs. All of the ingredients for a well-rounded diet in the eyes of my toddlers. One of my guys will actually smell it, stick it in his mouth very briefly, and then say “No. I don’t want it.”

And in these moments where I want to scream, pull out my hair, or curl up in a corner and cry. I need His grace. Outside of these moments, I still need His grace. Parenting my boys is TOO PRECIOUS of a job to do without it. I need it daily.

Every day I reflect and think – “Wow. God chose ME to be the momma of these two precious guys. He knew that I would have what it takes. That I would have what these boys needed from a mom.”

I am overwhelmed by the privilege and honor it is to be a mother and to have a job that is so important: molding and shaping these guys into men of God who love Him relentlessly. And I am thankful for God’s grace to do it.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. – Ephesians 4:7

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. – 1 Corinthians 12:9

Almost THREE is a fun place to be.

The boys are almost three years old. They’ll be three over the summer. I can’t even believe it myself! It feels like yesterday we were enduring sleepless nights, swaddling, rock-n playing, and such. My babes are toddlers. Can I be honest in saying, that I’m really loving this stage?! The almost three age is loads of fun in my opinion! Here’s why:

  1. These dudes are hilarious.

Because they’re at an age where they can have conversations with each other and know each other so much better (when they were babies, they were vaguely aware of each other), they do some funny things. Last night, they decided it would be a blast to howl for awhile. And by howl, I don’t mean cry – I mean, actually HOWL like wolves for the sake of it. They would laugh in between their howls. Hysterical.

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Chaos around me? No pants? This is the life.

2. They are little tricksters. And I can’t be mad about it.

These guys know how to play tricks on us and literally play us out. For example, during naptime they will fake me out and yell “POOPOO!” from their room, so that I go in their and change them. Here’s the catch – no one pooped. They just knew it would get me in there. They also like to jump up and down like maniacs, and as soon as they hear the door open they pretend they’re “sleeping.” Toddlers – ONE. Parents? ZERO.

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CAREFREE! The only way to be at two years old.

3. They’re all about that snuggle life. BUT they’d prefer to snuggle with daddy.

“Snuggle?” they’ll ask me. My heart is about to burst open with delight as they begin walking towards me, until they make a turn and head towards their dad. Josiah will snuggle with me much more than Micah will. These guys are obsessed with their daddy, which I’m okay with. Because in the summer my plan is pretty much to ensure they love me the most. TAKE THAT JOSE. Mwahahaha.

 

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My view when I’m on my way to work every morning.

4. It’s so much easier to take them out! Kind of.

Okay, so I have to have my purse and pockets loaded with bribery fruit snacks and other faves, but it’s still so much easier to take the boys out on my own. I put one in the front seat of the cart, and the other in the back and aha! I officially have half an hour or so of shop time at that particular store. If I’m with the hubs, you can add more time to that. These guys are my little buddies and when they see that they’re about to go out with me they’ll say, “Shopping?” You know it. They love all of Mommy’s faves – Target, Starbucks (where they get their chocolate milk), Chick-Fil-A, and Rita’s. Don’t judge me.

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Great attitudes and patience. Winning.

5. Their favorite phrases to say to me are – “I love you!” or “I miss you!” or “CALM DOWN!”

There’s nothing sweeter than hearing my boys say these things to me. When I come home from work, or my husband comes home from work, they run towards us shouting at the top of their lungs, “I MISS YOU!” There’s pretty much nothing that compares to that feeling. When Jose and I wanted to become parents, one of the things I remember my husband saying is that it would be amazing to come home to someone who would be excited to see his or her mommy or daddy. Now we have two! The last phrase is pretty appropriate for me as well, if you know me. #KeepcalmandMOMon

6. We can have conversations with them! Hoorah!

They may be odd conversations sometimes, but it’s a blast to be able to communicate with these guys better and better each day. Some of their favorite things to say, “Are you kidding me? That’s ridiculous!” If we dare leave the room, “Where are you going?” They’re also picking up on things a lot more quickly, which means we are careful what we say around them and watch around them. I love that they’re becoming these little communicators.

This age is pretty fun! Does this mean we never have tantrums or moments that make us want to pull our hair out? We are parents of toddlers. Twins at that. So the answer is…OF COURSE! But the good outweighs the bad and I feel like each age group brings a new set of joys and challenges. Either way, I’m cherishing each moment and each day and can’t wait to spend my summer with these two!

What do you love about this stage? What drives you insane? Feel free to share!

5 Tips to Help Your Little One Sleep Through the Night

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One thing people always ask my husband and I is how we were able to get our boys to sleep every night at the same time and how they are able to sleep peacefully through the night.  While this didn’t magically happen for us overnight and took time, patience, and even tears, it is something I’m grateful for. The boys are well rested and we have time where we can get things done or just have some quiet time. It’s important to note that they didn’t TRULY start sleeping through the night until they were close to one. We didn’t try these strategies when they were little babies because duh, they were babies. This worked for us when they were older. Here is what we did. We…

  1. Put them down wide awake at the same time every night.

One key thing for us was giving the boys a consistent bedtime and sticking to it. Being first time parents and often times super clueless, their bedtime would fluctuate and they wouldn’t get into bed until ten, eleven or even later. We became desperate and read about the importance of a schedule and decided to put the boys to bed at 8 pm each night. Eventually, they pushed it up to 7:30 and now their bodies seem trained for that time of sleep. By the time 7 rolls around, they are tired and asking for bed. When we did put them in their beds, we put them in wide awake. We did this intentionally so that they wouldn’t get used to something we wouldn’t be able to do all of the time, like rocking, doing A,B,C,D. It worked.

2. Let them cry sometimes without going into their room right away.

When the boys whined or fussed, instead of going into the room right away to comfort them, we would wait for a little bit and see if they could calm themselves. They did. Once they realized that every time they made a sound, we weren’t going to come running into the room, they stopped crying as much and instead talked with each other, sang, or hung out. Eventually they would fall asleep. We tried a method out when they were babies that our doctor recommended. We would put them down, they would cry for three minutes. We would walk in a soothe them. After three minutes, we put them down for six minutes. If they cried, we went in and soothed them, without picking them up, and left again. We did that up until twelve minutes and tried it a few times during the week. It ended up being really effective for us.

3. Established a nightly routine and did the same things at the same time each night.

Our nightly routine is as follows – milk, pajamas, an episode of PJ Masks OR a time of reading while they sit on the couch with their blankets, and bedtime. When they go to bed we brush their teeth, pray as a family, hug and kiss them, and turn off the lights. They say, “Bye” and “See ya later!” as we leave. They do this without a tear.

4. Refused to cave when they wanted milk in the middle of the night.

When one of our little guys would ask for milk in the middle of the night, we said no. We didn’t want to get them in the habit of waking up for it and expecting it. They have some in the morning and before they go to bed. There have been times where they have tried to test us, but once they realized it wasn’t happening, they went back to sleep.

5. Stayed flexible.

If our boys were sick or weren’t feeling well or themselves, we tossed all of the rules out of the window. We have a heart! This means if they needed extra cuddling, milk, or any other thing to feel better, we made it happen with no regrets. This isn’t an end all be all, this is just what worked for us.

We went through many sleepless nights and thought we would never see sleep in our lifetime. Eventually though, this is what worked for us. This may not work for you but if one idea or two ideas from this list stick out and help, it’s worth it! Here’s to a peaceful night of sleep!

What works for you? Please share some helpful tips/strategies that are effective and work for your family!

Why I Love Being a Teacher

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This week is Teacher Appreciation week and my sixth year of teaching. When I went in for my interview, I walked up to the receptionist’s desk and she said, “Wait a second, I need to write you a late pass.” I looked at her confused and said, “Um, I’m here for an interview.” She said, “Oh my gosh! I thought you were a student…I’m sorry!!” I laugh every time I think about that.  While I may or may not still look like a teenybopper from high school, it’s been six years since I’ve been a full-time teacher. Six years later (I’m still such a baby in this profession!) and I still love what I do. Why? Here are the reasons:

  1. I have the opportunity to impact students positively every day.

For eighty minutes each day, and sometimes even longer, I have the opportunity and what I consider to be a privilege, of pouring into a student’s life. I have a responsibility to teach them, yes, but I have an opportunity to do more than that. My class can be a bright spot in their day or even in their life. For some students, my class may be a safe haven. A place where they are accepted, encouraged, and challenged. These kids are basically entrusted into my care for that time. It’s an awesome opportunity.

2. When a student “gets it,” it’s the best feeling ever.

Picture this – you’re teaching something over and over again. You have gone over it what feels like a BILLION times. You might even feel ready to pull your hair out. You have demonstrated the concept in every way possible. Through the use of technology, in small groups, acting it out, singing it to them, creating a choreographed dance number, …you get my drift. Still, nothing. BUT, you decide to try again. As you go over this concept once more, you see the lightbulb going over. The flash of recognition over that student’s face. The nod of the head. They finally got it! That’s worth something! That to me, is super satisfying and reminds me of why I became a teacher. To TEACH and to have a student understand.

3. I work with great people.

I love the people I work with. They make it really easy to get up every day and come to work. I never get up and say, “Oh man, don’t want to see those people again…” and that’s really important to me! I am with my colleagues for a good portion of the day and working with people I love makes it feel less like work. We are a family. Albeit, sometimes a semi dysfunctional and weird family, but still.

4. I love the subject I teach. Like…LOVE.

I teach Language Arts. I love teaching this subject because I believe so strongly in the power of being able to express yourself through writing. I believe in the importance of reading often and regularly.If you are a good reader and/or writer, you can be an awesome articulator or communicator. There is power in that! If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of reading (yes, I’m totally making this a teachable moment, it’s the teacher in me #sorrynotsorry), click here and here.

5. The students I teach will be our future teachers, decision makers, and leaders.

They are literally the future. YES, I know we all know this. But do we really know it? I mean, think about that. Marinate on that thought. Soak it in. Now are you terrified just a little bit? Just a tad? Or are you excited and confident that they will build for us a better tomorrow? I want to teach these guys and teach them well. I want them to learn Language Arts, absolutely, but I also want them to be contributing members to society.

6. It means everything to me when I know I made a difference in a student’s life.

Sometimes teachers have the opportunity to receive positive feedback or to hear words of encouragement from a student. When it happens, it is AWESOME. It doesn’t even have to be super deep or philosophical. The simple statements mean just as much to me – “You’re really helpful. You helped me understand this topic and it was really difficult at first” or “I really like this class. Can we stay here all day?” Those statements make my day! Because I know that I’m not some superstar master teacher person. BY FAR. I can be naggy, annoying, ridiculously corny, and impatient. Because I am a human. I think that’s why it matters even more to me when a student says something kind. To know that I made a small ripple in the ocean of their life means something to me.

7. Because I am doing what I am called to do.

You’ve heard the saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Here’s something else, “Pursue what you’ve been called to do, and you will feel fulfillment.” That’s how I feel when it comes to teaching.

Are there parts that I sometimes don’t like? NO, NEVER. Just kidding. Of course. In a world that sometimes likes to throw teachers under the best or undermine what we do or the importance of what we do, it can be challenging. But I remind myself WHY I became a teacher. Not for the paperwork, the test scores, or anything of the sort. Not for all of the acronym types of assignments and tasks. Not for a paycheck or summers off. For the student. At the end of the day, that’s what it always comes down to. Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week!

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National Infertility Awareness Week!

Start ASking

Hi beautiful people! I have decided to share my blog with my friends, family, and people I know. For years I have blogged without sharing it with too many people that I knew in real life. This blog started in 2012 as a place I could write about my thoughts and share things I was scared to really say out loud when it came to our struggles with infertility. When I found out we had fertility issues, I didn’t feel like I could talk to a lot of people about it for different reasons. Plus, it’s not exactly easy dinner conversation: “Pass me the bread, oh yeah I’m having trouble having a baby…” What I DID feel like I could do was write about it. So that’s what I did. In blogging I found a really amazing community of people who were in the same shoes. A great deal who had made it to the other side and had given me hope. Some, who to this day, are still struggling to conceive. Ultimately, it ended up being an amazing outlet to share and to listen.

I want to share my blog because when I look back at where we were in 2012 and what we went through to have a family, all I can do is be filled with gratitude and awe at where we are today. And guess what? I take literally ZERO credit for it. It’s all God. Without Him, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Yes, we didn’t go through the typical process people go through to have a baby. I’m thankful for how far we have come in the medical world and through science. I’m grateful that God uses doctors, nurses, scientists, and all kinds of awesome people to make things happen. That’s just how good He is. So today what I want to offer others is this:

HOPE.

I share my blog because I believe there is hope for anyone who is dealing with infertility. Anyone who is walking this journey. It can be lonely, murky, unfamiliar, and altogether terrifying. I can tell you this – everything we went through shaped us and molded us in such a unique way. I learned to face fear head on. I learned not to be consumed with anxiety and worry. I learned that I had a choice, I could choose sorrow and depression OR I could choose hope and joy, even when it was seemingly impossible to do so. I thought it would be really cool to share my blog during National Infertility Awareness week.

This week is National Infertility Awareness week.

The definition of infertility is:

 …the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse (six months if the woman is over age 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth. 

1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility. There is an excellent chance that someone around you is struggling with it or knows someone who is. It’s much more common than people realize.

The theme for National Infertility Awareness Week is #StartAsking. The foundation wants people to #StartAsking:

  • Employers for insurance coverage.
  • Your lawmakers and legislators to support issues important to the infertility community.
  • Friends and family to support you.
  • The media to cover infertility and the real challenges we all face.
  • Those who have resolved their infertility to stay involved.
  • OB/GYN or healthcare provider to talk about YOUR reproductive health.
  • For affordable care for treatment of a disease (all taken directly from resolve.org – edited).

I am going to encourage you to #StartPraying in addition to asking. Pray for your friends and family members who are walking through this. Encourage them. Let them know you are there for them. Pray for the wisdom to be there for them in a way that is helpful, encouraging, and uplifting.

And most importantly, hold on to hope.