Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Gonna Get Through This

It's funny that this song was on the radio when I got in my car after work today.  I think it's a mantra I need to keep repeating to myself. 

Today was one of the worst days I've had since the first or second year of my teaching career.  Now mind you, I am sleep-deprived, so my emotions are fragile...but still.  Trying to make a point about the kids not using the words "gay" and "retarded" and getting nothing back but arguments?  Having to tell two kids at separate times to go wait in the hall until I could come out and talk to them for doing/saying inappropriate things?  Making the whole class stay after the bell - and dismissing the well-behaved kids one by one - and hearing arguments and excuses and "I didn't do nuthin" from those remaining?  Yeah...four loud boys ganging up on me is not how I like to end a class period.  I literally had to hold the tears back once they left, and that feeling is something I haven't had to deal with since my first year of teaching.  This is my ninth year!  I should be a pro by now!  But no...sometimes teachers have to deal with groups of students like this and it takes all we have just to make it through an entire school year. 

And that's where I'm at now.  It's the end of October.  We have a long school year still ahead of us.  What is going to help me get through it? 

Some days it's Starbucks.  Some days it's coming home and ordering takeout.  Other days it means grabbing a beer the minute I walk in the door.  (Wait a minute, why do all of those involve beverages or food?  Hmmm...) But most of all, it's the goals I have in mind for two-year plan.  It's certainly stressful trying to build up a business while having a full-time job, but days like this motivate me to make my dream come true. 

Because I can't write a blog post without including pictures, here are some I had tagged for earlier posts but didn't end up including them.  These - the pictures, the activities and events, Ava - are also helping me get through a rough school year.  

Tonight, Taco Bell and a beer are on the agenda...because apparently food and drink is my number one pick-me-up!  Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kid, You're Ridiculous

It's a phrase heard often around these parts.  Let's face it, life with a 1 year old is quite entertaining.  Yesterday, Ava was that kid at daycare.  The kid who poops, sticks her hands in her diaper, and then smears the poo on her clothes.  Awesome.

Tammy had to strip Ava down and give her a sponge bath and then?  Ava was relegated to the spare clothes.  The clothes that parents bring as extras for their own kid, but somehow in the mess of pants and shirts, it becomes a free for all and you never know what your child may go home wearing.

At first I thought she looked kinda cute.  The shirt is probably 3 sizes too big, and hey, it may be an undershirt, but at least there's no poop on it.

But as the shirt came untucked and she pulled her barrette out of her hair, well...what do you think?

Kid, you look ridiculous!

And it got me thinking about other ridiculousness in our lives since Ava has become a toddler. 

Toilet paper as a toy?  Sure.  It's great to push around the kitchen!  And please note the cat sitting in the basket in the background.  Nice.

Attempting to walk around in Dada's shoes?  Not surprising.  Yes, almost all kids do this at one point or another.  But Ava is a tad obsessed with shoes.  And apparently her orange croc wasn't going to cut it this time.

Where's the milk?  Your guess is as good as mine.  She goes over to the fridge, whines, says "yeaaaah" when you ask her if she wants some milk, and then she carts it all over the house without really drinking from it much.  Sometimes it's left on the carpet.  Other times it takes a ride in the stroller.  Today she put it on the windowsill.  At least it was easy for me to find!

Stroller Olympics anyone?  Ava pushes this thing all over the place.

Hey, she's got important stuff to tote around.  Like a dolly and a doughnut.

I love that she does what she wants.  What if we all acted like toddlers?  No inhibitions, the freedom to say how we feel - or at least stomp our feet in frustration, which actually does feel pretty good (yes, I've done it when frustrated as an imitation of Ava, and surprisingly, it helps), everyone else would take care of our needs, and we could spend the day putting bracelets and plastic pieces of pizza in our play oven, reading books by turning pages at lightning speed, and giggling uncontrollably at people who make silly faces at us.  We all need more ridiculousness in our lives.  I'm glad Ava brings some to ours!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Festivities

We spent the weekend in North Manchester with Jeremy's family, and there was no shortage of celebrating the season - from visiting a fall-themed party at Grandma Jennifer's factory, to jumping in piles of leaves at Maw and Grandpa's, to picking out a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch - we did it all!

The Party at Grandma Jennifer's Factory

There were numerous activities to partake in at the factory party, but Ava's favorite was riding the ponies.  We let her go three times, although I'm sure she would have ridden those ponies the entire day if we'd let her.  I guess she's a country girl at heart...just like her mama.  (Yes...I admit it.  While I thoroughly enjoy the city life, I yearn for land, huge expanses of sky in my backyard, no neighbors, and an endless supply of fields, tall grass and green hills.)

We also toured the factory, ate pumpkin shaped cookies, drank cool apple cider, and visited the balloon tent so that Ava could sport a bracelet made solely out of colorful balloons...and then she promptly pulled it off and deflated one of the balloons, but that's besides the point.  Hey, just keepin' it real.

Fall Fun at Maw & Grandpa's

Numerous tall trees surround Maw and Grandpa's house, which means endless piles of leaves for Ava to jump into, run through, crunch in, and throw around.

It had been a long day though, which led to moments like this:

Which were cured by doing this:

The Pumpkin Patch

Oh, what a fun day!  Upon arrival, we immediately jumped onto the hay ride and bumped along the property, where we could view rows upon rows of corn, a few donkeys munching on grass - yes, I said donkeys, and that huge expanse of sky that I secretly yearn for, with no tall buildings obstructing the sun.

There were corn mazes to walk through, dried up corn to carry around, and a bounty of pumpkins to pick from.  And thankfully, the weather was gorgeous...bright and sunny without a hint of a cloud in the sky.

I also managed to squeeze in a quick picture of cousin Leah.  I wish we'd had time for a full photo shoot.  Look at this gorgeous girl!  Hopefully I'll get to do her senior pictures in a few years!

Not only was the weekend filled with fall festivities, it was also filled with family...and love.  These memories we're making with Ava will last her a lifetime, and that is so important to me.  I want her to remember her childhood as a time of happiness and fun times, just as I remember mine! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Enjoying the "Summer" in Fall

Saturday, 9am.  Plans that had been made to go to the pumpkin patch were quickly changed to a boat outing due to the 80 degree weather...because really, who wants to do "fall" activities when it feels like summer?  And so, we packed up sunscreen and water bottles, donned tank tops and shorts, and set out for a day on the lake with the Ozdemirs.

It really did feel like summer.  The cloudless sky was a deep blue, a warm breeze lifted hair off of sweaty necks, and the lake was filled with sailboats, pontoons, and jet skis.  You would never guess that fall is just around the corner unless your eyes scanned the horizon and lit upon the orange, yellow and red leaves in the distance.

I love these afternoons on the Ozdemir's boat.  It's calming, relaxing, and for just a moment in time, I can pretend that I am on vacation.  There is something about being out on the water that feels absolutely luxurious.  The girls feel it too.

Sunday was another beautiful day that brought abundant sunshine, warm temperatures...and a visit from Grandma Jennifer, Great Maw and Great Grandpa.  Ava was in heaven.

We grilled hamburgers out on the deck, made fresh guacamole, and drank in the day as though it were the middle of summer.  Grandma Jennifer came loaded with gifts for Ava, and there was not a moment wasted with all of that new stuff!

He did the mash...he did the moooonster mash.

After the excitement of a family visit, a long nap on cool sheets, and a quick snack...we were off to the park to continue celebrating the summery day. 

And of course mama took this opportunity for a little photo session with her biggest muse!  I chased Ava all over that park - through the swings and slides, over the wooden bridge, past piles of leaves on the ground, and down gravel pathways that led to golden fields.  It takes a lot of running to capture all of the perfect moments of a toddler's adventures.  I think I was sweatier than her by the end!  But it was oh, so worth it.

However, despite the balmy air, blazing sunshine, and our sweaty upper lips...fall is just around the corner.  Really.  And that means a trip to the pumpkin patch is in our immediate future, hot apple cider will be sipped, cold air is going to nip at our noses in the evenings, and Halloween will soon bring spooks and witches and lots of candy.  We're ready.  Are you?