Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mama & Lashes

So far she's said Dada, water, that, and light.

But finally... FINALLY, she's STARTING to TRY to say MAMA!!!!!!!!!

Praise Jesus.

And also, though she's lacking in the hair department, the girl's got eyelashes for days...
Happy Hump Day!

And P.S. My hub is convinced that's my boob in the picture.  That's not my boob.  That's her arm and her hand.  (Just in case you were wondering.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

If We're Gonna be BFF

Depending on how well you know me, the following post may or may not be new knowledge.  But I’m at the stage of my life where I have old friends, and new friends, and it got me thinking – how well do the people in my life REALLY know me?

So, if we’re gonna be BFF, you should probably know the following before you commit.

I am a Christian, and I have come to my religious beliefs on my own.  I was raised Catholic until my father took his own life, lost my spiritual vision for awhile, rediscovered how incredible it is to know God around the age of 18, and was baptized by my father-in-law four years ago.  I have a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do as a Christian, but I look forward to my journey, especially now as I open Cameron’s eyes to all He has to offer.

I think spending time with family is about as good as it gets.  And if we’re really best, best friends, I probably consider you family.

I am ever so slightly obsessed with my daughter.  But just a tiny bit.

I am a morning person.

It grosses me out when people drink the milk left in the cereal bowl.

Though I undoubtedly make mistakes on this blog, people who constantly make grammatical errors drive me crazy.

Though I don’t have much time for tv these days, I have an embarrassing addiction to reality television.

I am also addicted to running.  As in, I will sometimes turn down social events because I feel the NEED to run.  I am that annoying girl who loves to put on her running shoes and pound the pavement.

However, my addiction to running has nothing to do with vanity.  It’s for my brain.

Speaking of my brain, I honestly believe I am slightly obsessive-compulsive.  I have a tendency to allow my brain to get hung up on things, and cannot move on from them until they’re JUST right.  Oh, and I am also a tad bit of a perfectionist.

And obviously, I love making lists.  With boxes to check off.  But even after the boxes are checked off, I have to mark a line through each to-do.  Because it just looks better that way.

I love cold beer, red wine, and margaritas.

I don’t understand wearing socks with sandals, men wearing jorts, or people who complain about their weight yet refuse to attempt healthy eating and exercising.

I worry way too much and am a control freak (and my New Year’s Resolution is pretty much the same every year – to be more spontaneous and go-with-the-flow).

I think surprises are one of the best things on the planet.  I especially love surprising OTHER people and making them feel special.

I think the best sound on the planet is laughter and the best smell is clean laundry.

I am incredibly loyal and will do anything for my family and friends.

I have a huge sweet tooth, and LOVE cupcakes (obviously), and sprinkles, and cake batter ice cream (or just plain old cake batter), and slightly undercooked desserts, and anything Oreo-ish, and Milky Ways.

But I HATE to cook.  Absolutely hate it.  I have tried and tried and tried so hard to love it, but it’s just not happening.

I also hate dressing up.  And being late.

I think my feet are hideous, but my least favorite body part is my stomach.

I have a heart that easily forgives… but has a hard time forgetting.

I think my husband is the best-looking, most adorable man I’ve ever seen.

I love making other people happy – to a fault.

I am very ornery when I am hungry.

I have a terrible, nagging sense of guilt about anything and everything.

I am absolutely terrified of being left.  And while I love having time to myself, I never want to feel alone.

Because of this, it takes a lot for me to let someone in and let myself be vulnerable.  I have been wronged too many times in my life… been given up on too many times… been left too many times. 

So if I have invited you into my heart, just know I’m here for the long haul.

Of course, that's only if you still care to be a part of my life after reading this...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Because I'm an Exhausted, Working Mama and Can't Find the Motivation to Put Together a Fluent, Coherent, Enjoyable Piece of Prose.

More randomness you could probably care less about from my crazy brain.

*Going back to work has proven to be even more emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting than I was prepared for.  See, I’m even ending sentences in prepositions.

*And, ummmm, this will eventually merit it’s own lengthy post, but MY LITTLE SISTER IS GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’m just a tad bit excited. J

*We had such a fun time last weekend with Grammy and PaPa Peele!  The boys worked hard replacing a fence in our backyard while the girls shopped.  Cameron Kate adores her Grammy and just kept giving her hug after hug after hug. J

*I’ve ordered Cameron’s first birthday outfit and am working with a lady on Etsy with finishing up her invitation proof.  How is she already almost 1?!

*I miss running. L  It seriously is an addiction for me.  And throughout the summer, I probably ran almost every day.  I know it sounds crazy, and annoying, but it’s often the only way I can get my head clear.  Now that I’m back at work, at the end of each day I wrestle with being too tired to run, or feel guilty if I’m pushing CK in the jogging stroller rather than playing with her face-to-face.  The only solution I can come up with is to do it a couple times during the week and then on the weekends, in order to try to balance it all.  But man… I miss running. L

*Bammy is coming to town!!!!!!!!  She’s coming up to hang out and take care of our girl and we are SO excited.  Tonight will be the first time someone other than me or T has put CK to bed.  Fingers crossed!

*I can’t believe I’m SOOOOO close to reaching my goal of breastfeeding for a year!!!

*Also, I can’t believe my older sister and her sweet little fam are moving in a couple weeks and will be only an hour and a half away from us!!  The Peeles are PUMPED!

*Cameron took not one, not two, but THREE steps last night!!

*She also started putting her hands together during prayers.

*She’s also cutting her top two side teeth.  Which has resulted in lots of sneezing, a runny nose, a sleepless night, fussiness, and terrible diaper rash.  Oh, and Mommy’s Sippy Cup.

*We sold my car!!  Well, technically T was driving it now that I drive our SUV.  But it was the first car I ever bought, and it trekked many, many miles during the two and a half years T and I were in a long-distance relationship.  It was definitely bittersweet to see it go!

*Remember the whole diaper bag debacle?  Let me just say that I am OBSESSED with my new Timi and Leslie Charlie diaper bag and am glad I ended up getting a replacement.

*Grammy bought Cameron some pink converse and I’m pretty much obsessed with them, too.

*Last night, since T was out of town, a friend and I had a girls’ night consisting of wine, pizza, Rolo brownies, and The Hunger Games.  It was basically perfection and exactly what I needed. J

*My love/hate relationship with Pinterest has recently turned into one more of love, I just hate that I’m back at work and don’t have time to spend on there!

*Cameron is officially terrified of both the vacuum cleaner and the hairdryer.  And by terrified, I mean ear-piercing screams, huge tears, and snot running down her face.  Which means my floors are dirty and my hair looks like a wet dog.

*I recently discovered that blue Dawn dish soap will get just about any stain out of anything.  It’s magical.

Sorry for the randomness… Have an awesome weekend!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Bracelet

Someone recently asked me why I was wearing a 1990’s friendship bracelet. 

Here’s why.

As I’ve noted before, tragedy struck my family when I was seven years old.  I have quite a few memories from that time, and many in the months thereafter.  One thing I remember vividly is the role my elementary school teachers played in making sure I didn’t lose myself in a heartbreak that no child should ever have to experience.

For them, I am forever grateful.

And it was during that year, the year that I learned how to be a little girl without a dad, that I decided and declared to all who would listen that I wanted to be a third grade teacher.

That dream was realized when I moved into my own third grade classroom and began teaching in 2005.  It was exactly where I was supposed to be.  I wanted to and dreamed of impacting young lives the way mine had been impacted by my teachers.

It was an exhausting job, often thankless, with a never-ending to-do list.  But I loved every minute of it.

After five years of teaching third grade, I had a pull, a calling, to do something different.  I still wanted to work in education, but I wanted to make a bigger difference.  I wanted to instill my positive attitude and “you can do it” stick-to-itiveness on a bigger audience.  A different job – Curriculum Coordinator – opened up at the school where I work.  The principal recruited me, and the timing felt right.  I packed up my classroom and moved into an office, ready to start a new chapter of my career.

I’ve now been the Curriculum Coordinator for two years.  It’s an interesting job in which I’m over all curriculum initiatives, I work with students who need help, teachers who are struggling, and I’m in charge of all state testing.

Like most people, there are parts of my job I adore, and parts I don’t love.  Overall, I’ve always felt lucky to get up everyday to go to work to do a job I enjoy, impacting lives and making a difference.

And then Cameron was born.

Obviously, my life was flipped upside down and my priorities changed, especially in terms of how I viewed my job.

As I posted previously, it’s no secret that it breaks my heart each morning to leave my little girl and go to work.  Usually, though, if I immerse myself in helping teachers and students, the days go by quickly and I’m picking her up before I know it.

And every now and then, something happens to remind me that there’s a reason why I do what I do.

Most recently, it happened with one of my most favorite students of all time.

She was the type of student who wore mismatched socks on purpose, had her own unique opinions, and was fiercely intelligent.

She was in fifth grade this past year.  On fifth grade graduation day, she gave a speech in front of all of the fifth graders and their families.  I sat on stage with the rest of the administrators, in awe of this young lady and how much she’d grown up since she’d sat in my classroom.  In the middle of her speech, she mentioned her third grade teacher.

Wait – that was me!

She mentioned a few fun things we did in class, then made a comment I will remember for the rest of my life.  “And it was Mrs. Peele who made me believe in myself for being just who I am.”

As a mama who was literally counting down the hours until my summer ‘o Cameron started, this gave me pause.

I had done that for this amazing little girl?  Me?!  It was all I needed to hear to remind myself that I am more than a mom.  I am an educator, someone students depend on when they’re having a bad day, or when they don’t feel loved within the walls of their own homes.

As if that wasn’t enough, this little girl came by my office about an hour later.  “I have something for you!” She was beaming.  She handed me a homemade card, and inside was a handmade friendship bracelet.  I choked back tears as I hugged her and wished her luck in middle school, making her promise me that she’d remember me always and come back to visit.  As soon as she left my office, I put the bracelet on, tying it in a double knot to make sure it stayed put.

I’ve been wearing it ever since.

This summer, it’s been a reminder to me that I am more than Cameron’s mom.  I can make a difference in other children’s lives.  I can help other little girls believe in themselves, be proud of who they are, quirks and all.

Every time I look at my wrist and see the bracelet – which is now quite faded and worn – I am reminded that as hard as it’ll be to go back to work tomorrow morning, I am not just driving away from Cameron Kate… I am driving toward the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of lots of children, children who may just need me more than my own daughter right now.

It’s the only rationale I can find to muster up the energy to get in my car, and drive away.