Friday, June 29, 2012

♥ I am an Educator

I am a junior high math teacher. I LOVE to teach. I cannot imagine doing anything else. What would I do if i had to talk to adults all day? I love talking to 13 and 14 year olds all day! ;) Teaching is in my blood. I love the kids. I think of them as my kids. Leaving them to go on bed rest with my twins was hard. I knew I had to that for my boys, but it is still difficult to walk away from 100 kids that were depending on you. I did not even get a chance to tell them goodbye. Of course, I returned at the end of the year to visit them.

I form appropriate relationships with my students that I hope they will take with them to high school. I hope I am a teacher that they will remember as they grow older and make decisions for their life. I am their supporter, their teacher, their confidant, their disciplinarian, and so much more. I have students that tell me things that they don't tell anyone else. I want them to feel safe in my classroom. I want them to know they can tell me anything. I want them to value their own opinions. I want them to know they can become anything they want. More than anything, I want them to know I believe in them.

Are their things in education that make me crazy? ABSOLUTELY. Do they throw us curve balls yearly? Yes. The start of this past year was incredibly difficult for me. I started to wonder if I wanted to each anymore. I never thought I would feel this way. The year ended up going well, and I love my job again. 

I am going to be teaching the same thing next year, 8th grade Math and PAP Algebra. This will be my FOURTH year to teach those subjects! I cannot believe that! Where has the time gone? I could tell such a difference this past year as it was my 3rd time to teach this curriculum. I did not have nearly the amount of questions as I did in the past. I was able to figure out why the ERROR message would come up on my Algebra students TI-84 calculators without asking my department head. I felt incredibly confident. I will be taking the Gifted and Talented Supplemental test to add to my certifications in August. I am nervous! I have not taken a test in years!

It will be a year of adjustment next year. I have been very lucky to have the same team for 3 years. We had 2 members move to another department after my 1st year, but they are still involved in our classrooms because they are in the Special Education department. So, it was not too much of an adjustment. Next year, two MORE members are transferring to another department. We will have 2 new team members. WOW! They have already hired the male coach I will be teaching with, so I am preparing myself for my new team member. He will be brand new to the profession. I know it will go well, but I cannot help but be nervous. 

I am also going to be coaching the LPJ cheerleading squad again. I took a year off to be with my boys after work. I am excited and nervous. I do not want to be away from my boys more than I have to, but I know it will be a good thing. I have 14 girls on my squad. We had a camp this week to work on motions, stunts, tumbling, etc. The girls also voted for their head cheerleaders. Head cheerleader is based on squad vote, teacher recommendations, and principal input. Two girls were selected, and they are GREAT girls. One of them being my niece, Madison. I am very excited for her. I will be taking the girls to an overnight cheer camp at Texas A&M in August. This will be my first time to leave the boys overnight for longer than one night. I can only imagine the emotions I will be feeling. It is exciting to be working with my passion again. Cheerleading does not leave your blood :)

Recently, there have been some allegations against a fellow educator in my district. The allegations include him being inappropriate with a student. It truly hurts my heart to know this may have occurred. Parents are trusting us with their children. They are trusting us to always keep the best interest of their child a priority. Another issue is the way "young" teachers are viewed. I began teaching a month after turning 22. I have never had an issue with the lines being "blurred" with a student. I have had comments made about my age, and it blows my mind. I had a parent tell me he would stay in the hallway all day with me if I had taught him junior high. Really ?!?!

The following is just one of the incidents that makes me wonder why people have an issue with "young" teachers...

Myself, another "young" teacher, and a teacher in her later years were in a parent conference together. The parent stated that the student most definitely should respect the "older" teacher because she is like a grandma. She also stated she could see where the issue was with us "young" teachers because we are more like sister to him. She said this IN FRONT of her child. 

I nearly fell out of my chair. 

My year ended well with scores I was proud of, and a new classroom that is going to need lots of TLC ;)

For now, I am enjoying my summer with my two beautiful boys ♥

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

14 Months ♥

They are growing faster than ever before, and they are learning quickly.

They say momma, dada, nana, meme, papa, pop, ball, outside, baba, bubba, bird, bye-bye, hi.

Drake loves to point to anything and everything! Hunter also points, but not as often!

You can tell them we are going bye-bye and they wave and go stand at the door. If you tell them you are going outside, they will wait at the door for you.

They are my dancing babies! They love music.

Hunter is getting his molars in! Two have broke the skin this week, and they are swollen waiting for more. This brings him to 10 teeth.

Drake FINALLY got another tooth and has 7 ! 

They love to blow kisses to anyone!

Brandon has taught them about the deer and duck in their room. If you ask where the deer is they will take you to their room and point! It is precious!

We moved their cribs to the lowest setting this month! 

We taught them their nose, eyes, ears, and bellybutton this month. If you ask where their nose is they will make the "stinky" face and breathe in and out quickly to make the noise! Hunter is all about his bellybutton! He will lift his shirt to show it to you! They will bat their eyelashes to show you their eyes! 

They absolutely love to open and close doors. I was able to get the Laugh and Learn house from a friend and they love this toy! They constantly hit the buttons that play music and crawl through the door!

We are in size 4 diapers! 

We are still on Lactaid milk, but hoping to transition to whole milk this month.

They have a bottle when they wake up and a bottle before bed. I have tried putting their milk in a sippy cup, and they want nothing to do with it. This week they are doing a little better. So, by next month I hope to be bottle free :)

Hunter is my good eater! He will clean his plate, and quickly! 

They understand so much now, it blows my mind! They are enjoying stacking blocks now. They play with their cars a lot more and make the car noises. 

If you ask them if they are ready to eat, they take off to their high chairs!

If you ask who needs a diaper, they will go to the changing table!

If you ask if they want a Mum-Mum, they go to the kitchen!

Hunter seems to be much more stubborn than Drake. He gets his hand popped quite a few times. 

They wear size 12 months clothing! 

Drake is a size 4 in shoes and Hunter is outgrowing his size 3 shoes.

Their stranger danger is dramatically better! They have walked up to a couple strangers while on vacation and put their arms up to be held. They wave to everyone at a restaurant and love to people watch.

Hunter has been giving us quite the scare this month health wise. He had his first trip to the ER. 

Hunter is becoming more and more of a momma's boy and I love it! 

I am on summer break and it has been amazing!

Drake loves to share! He always gives toys to Hunter. It is precious. He also shares his food! 

They slept in until 10 the entire week we got back from vacation! I was in heaven ;)

I spend my days laying on the floor with cartoons on. We play all day, everyday. They will come to lay on me, and it melts my heart. They only enjoy cartoons that have singing or music. Their attention span for television has gone up dramatically this month. They will watch for 10 to 15 minutes. They LOVE Barney. I was a Barney lover as a child :)

They love to give kisses. The unprompted kisses are always the best. They kiss each other often and it is an amazing thing to see.

They went to my LPJ Cheer camp one day this week, and did great! It was neat to see them around something that I loved for so many years. They ran between the girls, played with their balls, and made everyone fall in love with them ;) 

Hunter at Cheer Camp

Drake at Cheer Camp

My sweet boys getting ready for a bath!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Florida Vacation June 2012

We had our first big vacation with the boys to Florida.  Brandon's parents rented an amazing condo to take us and Lacey and Casey to for a week. It is located in Fort Walton and is family friendly. It is 10 minutes from Destin. We were so excited and a little bit nervous. It is roughly a 10 hour drive. We knew it would take longer for us with stops for breakfast, lunch, stretch time, etc. We decided to leave at 3 am hoping the boys would sleep for a couple hours of the ride. We had everything loaded up the night before except the diaper bag. 

Lacey, Casey, Brandon, myself and the boys all rode in their Tahoe. We needed to put the boys in the 3rd row. They could not rear face them in this seat and sit the 2nd row up. So, the boys set forward facing for the week we were in Florida. We loaded them up and they stayed awake. I knew since it was a new experience facing forward they would probably stay awake for a little while. They stayed awake basically the entire ride. They both cried for around an hour. I think this was because it was still dark outside, and they have an issue with it being dark in the car. Once it was daylight, they calmed down. We were able to drive for a while and stopped to eat at Cracker Barrel. The food was awesome, as always. 

When we loaded back up we hit major weather. There was a storm sitting on the Alabama and Florida area.

This made the trip take an extra couple of hours. The boys were great nearly the entire trip. At the very end, when we should have already arrived Hunter had a meltdown. We pulled over and got the boys out. We were able to calm him down and continue for the last 45 minutes of the trip. After a total of 12 hours we arrived in Fort Walton, Florida! 

Our boys the first night before dinner...

We spent the first two days inside because the weather was not great. Here is a photo of the storm moving in ...

We took the boys to the beach for the first time! They sat in the sand for a little while  and played with it. We took them down to the water and stood with them. 

Mommy, Hunter, Drake and Daddy

Mommy and Drake 

PawPaw and Hunter

Hunter did NOT like the water aspect of the beach. He would get very upset if you set him down near the water. Drake would stand in it or sit in it. 

Meme and Drake standing in the water.

They did play in the sand for a little while! We tried to keep a hat on them, but they had other plans.

Hunter playing in the sand.

One day we went to the Gulfarium. It had Sea Lion shows, Dolphin shows, and tons of animals and fish to look at. Drake really enjoyed the Sea Lion show. They liked the large aquariums filled with colorful fish. They also enjoyed walking around and meeting people.

Watching the Sea Lion show!

Walking around meeting people!

Watching the Dolphin show with Meme!

We also found a place that had rides for toddlers. The boys especially loved the Carousel. They also rode a train. We found some little cars they could ride. They loved being in the arcade. This is where my camera took a fall and broke :(



The condo had an amazing porch! We spent a lot of time our on the porch and the boys loved it. They especially loved the glass doors that led to the porch.

Some of my father in law's family lives in Florida, and we were able to visit with them. His cousins Sandra and Sam, their son Shane, his wife Jennifer, and their adorable daughter Lilly. I am absolutely terrible because I do not have one picture of them with my boys since my camera broke. It was so nice to spend time with family that you do not have the luxury of living close to. The boys warmed up to them relatively quickly. They were giving away kisses and playing with everyone.

The boys learned to say MeMe while we were in Florida! They really started saying "outside" more with the big glass doors. They also learned to catch a ball. It was very exciting. We are pretty certain that Drake is left handed and Hunter is right handed. Drake ALWAYS throws the ball left handed. 

This was the perfect vacation to have a pregnant person and small children. We all relaxed, and did not get into a hurry to do anything. We each had our own room and bathroom. It was an incredibly comfortable condo that made us feel like we were at home. We loved having this special time with Brandon's family. I was able to hear Bowen's heartbeat with Lacey's doppler. I was able to watch my boys interact with their Meme and Pawpaw that they love tremendously. It was an amazing vacation. When we returned home we had a note on our door ....

How awesome is it to come home to newly washed cars!?!?!? I have some amazing neighbors! :)

Here are some more of my favorite photos from the trip! Enjoy :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Raising Twins { Part 2 }

A lot has changed since I wrote my last post about raising twins. I no longer have infant twins, they are now TODDLERS! Where has the time gone? Here are the things I found helpful in the last 6 months :)

Some of the toys my boys loved from 7 months to a year included the Lion that they were able to sit or stand and play with. 

They love any and all balls! They especially love their ball pit. They would throw the balls out, flip it over, and have hours of fun.

They love their activity table and push it around the living room. My boys love music and this plays all kinds of music!

The boys LOVED to jump, so Jumperoos were a MUST! 

Making their baby food was the smartest decision I have ever made. It was easier than I ever imagined. I hate to cook. HATE IT. I never thought I would be making their baby food. I bought a Baby Bullet and it was perfect. I made all of their baby food. It was incredibly cheap and healthy. Hint, the best time to make bananas is right when they turn ripe. This makes them nice and thick! I bought containers here to freeze the food in. I would use it all within a week. I made their food every Sunday for the week, and it worked out perfect. Each banana fills 2 to 3 of the containers. Easy and saves $, count me in ;)

Bath time was becoming an issue because the boys were able to scoot. I always preferred to bathe my boys at the same time. I purchased the bath seat here! It was perfect, and I used site-to-store shipping which is free. The boys were able to sit up and they could play. I drain the water, and take one baby out. I wrap him in a towel and set him down. I wrap the other baby in a towel and take both boys into the nursery. Has one boy peed on the carpet while I am putting a diaper on his brother? Absolutely ;)

{edit: they have recalled these seats due to parents leaving their infants alone in the bathroom! If you would still like to purchase they are available on eBay! I've had several fellow twin moms purchase them from there because they are a God Send with twins!}

Hunter and Drake playing in their bath seats!

We were able to set up a bedtime routine at around 10 weeks that we are still using at 14 months. The boys get a bath around 7:30 or 8 PM. They get lotion from head to toe, pajamas, a bottle, and go to bed awake. They have a music projector in their bedroom that we turn on at all times when they are going to sleep. We are in the process of phasing out their night time bottle. They are doing well with it. 

Nap time has never been an issue for us. When the boys begin to show sign of being fussy. We lay them down with their music player on, and they go to sleep. The boys rarely cry when they are going to sleep. Do they cry sometimes? Absolutely. If it lasts longer than 10 minutes I go in and pick whoever is upset up. I hold him for a minute and soothe him. I then lay him back down and he goes to sleep.

I was SO ready to transition from infant carriers to convertible car seats. We switched on their 1st Birthday. I am keeping them rear facing, so it took me a while to pick the car seat. The boys had to forward face on our trip to Florida for a week due to the amount of space in the car. They did great going back to rear-facing when we returned! Thank goodness! :) I ABSOLUTELY love the car seat I chose. It looks so safe, and keeps their heads up when they fall asleep! It was the highest rated on Consumer Reports and the only one they recommended. It is the Graco MyRide 65 LX and I found mine here at Wal-Mart. I ran into issues the first time I wanted to take them somewhere alone. The boys were able to walk, so how would I load them both safely? The first time I went to unload them alone, I set them both on the driveway and they took off for the road. Absolutely terrifying! So, I now unload one boy. Carry him to the other side of the car and set him in the floor board. I unbuckle his brother. I then pick both boys up and we head inside. It has been working perfect!



They are really enjoying some of their toys that they previously showed no interest in. I was forwarded a blog recently that showed toys that 12 to 18 month old toddlers need for their development. Everyone is very aware that my home looks like Toys R Us! We have been blessed with a million toys. I was pleased to know everything on the list was in my home. The list included blocks and we have the Mega block table! My boys love that table and are starting to stack blocks often. It also listed having stackable boxes and we have these and the boys LOVE them. Watching them figure out which box can fit in which is amazing! Books with flaps was on the list and we were given these at their birthday party! They enjoy playing with books, but do not fully understand the flaps yet. The boys have an alligator that they can stack blocks on and they play with it often. They cannot stand for the block to stay on the alligator, of course ;) 

The snack that has been a lifesaver for us is Mum Mums. They come in a pack of 2, and make NO mess. I can give each boy one and it keeps them quiet. Perfect for in the stroller, in a restaurant, etc.

I could have never known the journey I was being given when my Dr. said I was having twins. It has been absolutely amazing. Easier than I ever could have imagined. More fun than I could have ever dreamed.