Monday, April 18, 2016

A Wedding Deserves a Post!

I never post much (at least now, life is too busy), but my brother and his wife Sara celebrated their wedding this past wedding and I decided to write about it! The weather was perfect, the ceremony was beautiful, and the reception was fun. I miss the wedding weekend terribly! I could write about how much I love my brother and how happy I am to officially welcome Sara to the family, but I decided to post a few pictures and leave a copy of the speech I made at the rehearsal dinner.

Overly cautious. Timothy has also always been overly cautious. When he was little, maybe 3 or 4 years old, Timothy told my parents that Santa should leave the presents on the front porch because Santa was a stranger. Overly cautious. Later, as a teenager, when I was home on a holiday break from college, at around 2am, I heard doors downstairs being aggressively shaken. I thought someone was breaking into the house and was instantly startled. That person breaking in was only my brother checking to make sure all of the doors were locked by shaking them. Again, overly cautious.

Theresa (my cousin) and her date, Jackson. He is in love and made the googly eyes to prove it!
Perfectly right. Another particular trait of Timothy’s. He didn’t ride a bike until he was 10 years old because he needed to do it perfectly right. He was always quiet as a little boy, the silent “T”, who, I suppose, didn’t want to talk until it was perfectly right. He also took hours to get ready to go out with his friends, until they called out “Juliet!” He had to look (and smell) perfectly right. While being overly cautious and perfectly right may not seem like they fit together, really, they do.

My mom and brother. 
You see, when we were in high school, we had a conversation with our friends Lexie and Topper. Timothy was asked if he ever told a girl he loved her. He said no because he wasn’t going to say it unless he really meant it and it meant something. Again, cautious and right. Years later, I heard him tell Sara he loved her, and I knew. He was perfectly right.

Walking down the aisle. They did a perfect job!
Timothy, I am so proud of you. You took the time to do things your own way. You may not have always garnered praise for your way (I seem to recall your English teacher admonishing you about a crooked bulletin board, to which you responded, “well, it’s not your bulletin board, is it?”), but you’ve done things your way, in your time. I love you more than you probably know, and I am so happy to stand by your side this weekend as you begin the next chapter in your life.

Rehearsal Dinner Crew. Lily and Jackie love Gram and Pop!
Sara, I am so excited to call you my sister. While having a brother has brought me great joy, I have always wanted to have a sister. You fit into our family “perfectly right” and I am honored to stand by your side as you officially become part of the family. You are already aunt Sara to Lily and Jackson; they love you to the moon and back, and, to them, you’ve always been their aunt. Thank-you for loving my brother and giving him so much happiness.

Lily and Aunt Sara-- the stunningly beautiful bride
I am sure that, at this point, Timothy is nervous that I might do something that is characteristically Emily and talk for the next hour, but I won’t. I will leave you two with this—in marriage sometimes you will need to be cautious, but sometimes you need to take risks. Very often things won’t be perfectly right, but you will slowly realize that when things are imperfectly right that they are the most joyful moments. Here’s to Tim and Sara!

Me and Tom prior to the reception

Monday, February 22, 2016

On the Eve of 3...

Dear Jackson,

Before I run off to review interview questions, I wanted to take a minute and write down my "eve of" birthday letter to you. I can't believe you're 3 tomorrow. My baby! How can you already be 3? This year, the year of 2, was a big year for you. You got rid of your paci, started school, and were potty trained. You went from toddler to kid right before my eyes. I can't believe you aren't a tiny baby in arms anymore; though, honestly, were you ever tiny?

You are just a magnificent little human. Your personality, while quiet at first (you are shy around new people), eventually fills a room. The faces you make absolutely slay me and you say the silliest things. Right now, your favorite phrase is "you tell me", as in, "Jackson, how old will you be?"..."Mama, you tell me!" You are still working on getting colors totally straight, but really, you can't be bothered with the little details, you have too many bad guys to catch and punish!

Speaking of catching bad guys, right now, Batman is YOUR MAN. You are very into the ideas of good and bad. You are a good guy. Joker is a bad guy. You like to HIII-YAAA us {insert karate chop} or attack us with swords. In addition to the Batman love, you are enjoying trains, cars, and trucks. Despite the "boy" things you like, you also love to join sis and play dolls (though, sis usually gives you Barbie's dog, Taffy {you pronounce it "Tappy"} to play with.

You can certainly be a rough and tumble guy (I am fairly certain you will be the first with stitches...), but you are also the sweetest boy. You love to snuggle. You love holding "hams" (hands). On a whim you will say, "Mama? I love you to the moon and back!" You are sweet to your sis {most of the time} and go running to her when mommy and daddy won't give in to your cuteness--"I just need SIS!" Lily is always there with a comforting hug, a "there, there, it's ok", and a "let's go play in my room!" reassurance.

Your favorite food: Peace-A-Pizza; Favorite Dessert: Probably Pez; Favorite Show: Batman; Favorite Toy: Batman everything!; Friends: Audrey, Ms. Julie (you love your teacher SO much!), Amelia, Jacob, Lily, Andrew, Abby, and Charlie; Favorite Color: Blue: Favorite Song: Anything from Frozen (usually with some made-up words thrown in); Favorite Sport: baseball (like daddy, and you are really good!)

In Peter Pan, Tiger Lily says, "Peter Pan is the sun and the moon and the stars!" And surely, my Jackie-boy, you are the sun and the moon and the stars. I love you far beyond the moon and back. You filled spaces of my heart that I didn't know existed. Every moment that I get to watch you grow is a joy and a blessing. You came into the world "like Superman" (doctor's words...your shoulders never turned), and now you are saving the world from the bad guys. I love you so much. Daddy loves you so much. Sis love you so much. Thanks for making our lives better. Happy {almost} third birthday.

Love, Mommy

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Back to School {2016 edition}

Well, winter break is over. Usually, I am all doom and gloom and sadness, but this year I feel content, and that is a wonderful feeling. We had an extremely relaxing and fulfilling break. A few days ago I told Tom that this was the first break where I felt like I got to enjoy myself and relax. The kids weren't sleeping in really late (and Jackson still didn't sleep completely through any night...), but we had time to enjoy our friends and family and were able to recharge with our kids. It was perfect.

I may be biased, but this kid is basically the cutest human ever.


We got snowman decorating kits, but we have no snow, so we decorated Jackson.

It's hard to stop talking to take pictures.

Again, I may be biased, but she is breathtakingly beautiful. And I helped create her. WHAT!?!
As I enter a new year, I am looking forward to getting back into the routine. Tom and I are both doing a wellness challenge at school, so I am looking forward to getting back into a workout routine and some healthier eating habits. Lily and Jackson are both excited to get back to school tomorrow, which makes the transition back into work that much easier.

In just 2 weeks second quarter will close and we will be halfway through the school year. I can't believe how quickly this school year is flying! I will be taking my last graduate class this spring, and can officially take the Praxis in ESOL this summer (if I choose to do that).

Mostly, though, I am looking forward to March when my work wife comes back. I know she will be sad to see her maternity leave end, but I am looking forward to seeing her again and dressing alike totally accidentally almost every single day.

For now, I will be writing 2015 on the board, on paperwork, and on assignments until about April.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

To you, 2015

I used to blog, and then, you know, things like life happen and blogging doesn't seem so important. It is my favorite way to capture what is going on in our lives, so I figured I would write a quick 2015 recap to ring in the New Year.

This year saw Lily turn 4, Jackson turn 2, and Tom and I celebrated the big 3-0. Jackson started the party train with a birthday party during a snow storm in February. He celebrated with a Planes themed brunch and, despite the snow, most of our family made it to celebrate.

Tom and I celebrated our birthdays with a joint gathering of friends at Fogo de Chao. It was delicious and we had a wonderful time with friends. Lily turned 4 in June and we celebrated at home with friends and family. Her birthday was Peter Pan/Tinkerbell themed and mostly involved jumping in her new bounce house.

Professionally, work was insanely busy. I was the nominated for BCPS Teacher of the Year as the teacher from my school. That was a huge honor and felt incredibly validating as our administration makes the decision about who to nominate. In the late spring a group of us decided that we needed to take on more work and we pitched an enrichment period. It was accepted and this year we are piloting it! It is amazing and overwhelming and exciting. I coached what will be my last season as a volleyball coach (at least for the foreseeable future). It was a tough season, but I coached the best group of girls that I could have asked for. I am working on my ESOL certification. I am taking department chair courses. The job is busy, but it's wonderful.

Personally, I am thankful that 2015 was a year of happiness and health for me and my family. We had a smooth transition to pre-school for Lily (fingers crossed for kindergarten for next year) and Jackson loved starting 2-year old school. My brother and his soon-to-be-wife settled into their new house and are working to make it a beautiful first home. We traveled to Austin, TX for a work trip (though, when you get to travel on work trips with your husband, it doubles as a getaway). We enjoyed another summer at our beloved shore house. My parents and grandfather are healthy. My friends welcomed new babies, some after long roads and losses. God was good to us.

If there was one sad spot in an otherwise lovely year, it was the loss of Marge Kenney. I still feel like I could pick up the phone and make a lunch date with her, but I know her love and lessons will always live on in her girls. Her loss was cutting; Mrs. Kenney was a light in the world that went out too soon.

So here's to 2016. To love. To happiness. To health. To a healed world. To faith restored. To peace.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Busiest Week Ever? Yes.

This is the busiest week ever. No joke. I woke up with a cold (thanks, Jackson!) and now get to plow through spirit week, testing week, Homecoming week, pep rally week, fighting it off. Add in volleyball, grad class, and teaching...and, well, it's going to be a long week. Thank goodness for weekends. Right? Well, this weekend was equally as busy.

Saturday we were up at school building Homecoming decorations with SGA. We had between 10-15 students show up. They moved all of our decor to the closest mechanical room, put together most of the decorations that could fit through doorways, and they generously entertained my children. Emma, who Lily was extremely excited to see, allowed Lily to follow her around. Remy happily glittered a poster with Lily. They let Lily help with the Homecoming banner. Jackson was getting a cold and he mostly followed me around like a little lost duck. Kenisha bought the kids Popsicles. When people wonder how I can do everything I tell them: my parents, my husband, and my really awesome students.

Today I took Lily to Target. Then, came home and tried to catch up on as much grading as I could. I did get most of it finished between hugs and snuggles from Jackson who has a full on cold. Tom took Lily to my parents to dinner, while I stayed home with the sick boy. We worked on arts and crafts, had dinner, and he took a nice bath. He went to be quite easily, which was lovely. Now, I hope he (and Lily) sleep well. I need them to stay healthy!

Here's to a busy week! I am looking forward to a fun spirit week.

Oh, and, our new enrichment program launched on Friday and it was, simply put, amazing. Big things are happening this year...and it's awesome.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

{Finally} Fall

It's finally fall! This weekend, we greeted autumn with outstretched arms and apple picking. Lily had soccer on Saturday morning, we went to my alma mater's Homecoming festivities, and then we went apple picking with friends. The best part of the day, by far, was apple picking.

We went to Baugher's Farm and had a near perfect afternoon. It was overcast, so it never got too warm and here was a cool breeze. It was essentially the best sweater weather. Lily and Jack were so excited to pick apples! They were equally excited to see baby Sam. Their love for him was evident on their faces in all of the pictures.

Today was a more trying day. Neither kid slept very well and Lily threw tantrums all day long {I wish that was an exaggeration}. The whole thing was exhausting for her, and me, and I am glad the kids are nestled in bed and I have a little time to myself.

Tomorrow begins the first of a slew of 5 day work weeks for me (I know, teacher life). It's the last week of September, though, October begins on Thursday and I am looking forward to everything that the month will bring!

Oh Sam, you have her heart. Oh Jack, you are a giant 2 year old.

That's the look of some serious Sam love.

Me and my girl.

My favorites.

This picture makes me insanely happy. That is his whole personality right here. Also, he is 2...that shirt is a size 6!

Taking the tractor {school bus seats and all} to the orchard!

Love her so much. Wish all her days were just this happy.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Just a quick check-in!

Hey guys! I am still here! I am just in busy, back-to-school mode. This mode won't end until after the fall season is over, which is when busy, holiday mode will kick in. Why are things so busy you ask? Well, here you have it...

1. Volleyball season is well under way. This occupies most of my extracurricular time at school from mid-August-mid-November. I have a weird relationship with coaching. I love volleyball, and I really enjoy being with my players (they are just the nicest group of girls...who may have cried when we one our first game today...not set...we didn't win the whole thing...just one of the games...). The girls really make coaching worth it. The part I don't like so much is being pulled away from home and my own kids. Luckily, my players embrace my family as much as they do me as their coach and Tom happily brings the kids to home games.

2. SGA is busy with homecoming. We plan spirit week, homecoming, and the festival. And all of those things will be happening in just over 2 weeks! EEP!

3. Enrichment. I am working with a group of teachers to plan, launch, and run our first enrichment program. Enrichment is a weekly club period that meets, so students can participate in a club as part of the school day. We polled students and found that many would like to stay for clubs, but can't, due to work obligations, siblings who they need to watch, sports, or transportation. We wanted to make sure every student had access to a club, so that he/she could find a place to belong. Our dream is starting to become a reality and it is, seriously, one of the most empowering experiences I have ever been a part of. I am so proud of the teachers who worked to see this through.

4. Lily has soccer, which isn't a huge time obligation, but it's an added weekly event.

5. School is starting, so things are always a little busier and crazier. Getting to know students, getting to know schedules, etc...can be a task!

I am not saying all of this to complain. I am happily busy. I like feeling like I am making a difference in my school by being able to offer my time to things that I enjoy doing. I feel very lucky to have such supportive co-workers, friends, and family members who allow me to do what I love and be the teacher that I envisioned myself being.

That said, I will welcome a breather when November rolls around...just in time for the holidays! Fall is, seriously, my favorite time of the year and I am happy that it is well under way. I may get around to updating this thing in another month!