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Friday, July 8, 2016

Best Class Ever

And just like's over.
The hugs, the tears, the feelings....I hope  I truly never forget how yesterday felt.
I asked my class to think of something they learned this year and the first little girl raised her hand and said, "Friendship is the most important thing in life."  I broke down.  Nobody talked about math or reading.  It was purely about feeling safe, having friends, knowing their teacher loves them so.  

There is absolutely, no doubt, that was my best class ever.  I've said this before, but this class....was magical.  I knew it when it was happening.  I could feel it daily.  I talked about it to them and to others about how lucky we are.  

I made the longest iMovie of my life, nearly 45 min.  How could I delete pictures?  Delete memories?  I couldn't.  So they're all there.  

They were well behaved.  They were an extremely intelligent class.  They were hard workers.  My test scores have never been higher.  I had to double check the accuracy they were so high.  When it was confirmed, I thought, "This class is just about perfect."  My heart is so full it hearts.  A little girl had tears falling onto her paper.  I whispered, "Are you ok?"  She stood up and wrapped her arms around me and cried.  I cried holding her little body against mine like she was my daughter.  Nobody, laughed or said a word.  We were all feeling it.  We had all grown together enough to respect each other and if she needed to cry and hug that's exactly what she's get.  I knew I wouldn't let her go, until she let me go.  So we hugged for a while and she pulled back, looked up at me and started crying all over again hugging even tighter now.  

I walked down the hall with them for the last time at 3:42 with a handful of tissues in front of colleagues and parents who don't know my and hugged and whispered to each and everyone of them at Parent Pick Up, at the edge of the sidewalk for the walkers and at each bus.  

Team 216 2015-2016 will be in my heart forever….

*Written on June 10, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Brecky Boo Turned 3!

Dear Brecky Boo,
When I was considering have a third child (YOU!) one thing I worried about is I wouldn’t have enough time with you to teach and love you the way you deserve to be taught and loved.  As your third birthday just passed I am proud to say I no longer need to worry about either.  Not only am I doing a fine job of teaching and loving you everyone else in your life is also.  Especially your sister and brother.  You may never really understand not only how much they love you, but how much they are there for you in every single way every single day.   Their love for you amazes me.  They each would give up anything for you.  You are such a lucky little brother!

This year was huge for you in many ways.  2015 started out with me taking you to Theraplay several times a week.  Luckily, this lead us to getting your ears checked.  It turned out you couldn’t hear!  I was shocked!  A few short weeks later (after weeks of appointments) in early June you have surgery to put tubes in and had your adenoids removed.  Not only did you begin hearing …you started TALKING!  The day after the surgery you said a couple words you’d never used before, the next day you were putting two words together for the first time ever!  It truly felt like a miracle.  The months that followed were so exciting!  Every time you’d see a friend or family member they would always mention how well you were speaking and my heart would explode with gratitude.  Over the summer you continued going to see Ms. Denise and Ms. Lindsey for speech.  However, a couple months before your third birthday we quit all services because there was nothing else to work on!  Your speech is actually better than an average three year old now!  I am so proud of you and so thankful that everything worked out!

Your favorites as you turn three are:
·         Your Ning Ning
·         Reading books – particularly Scooby Doo right now
·         Playing with chalk in the driveway
·         Collecting sticks
·         Rough housing with your brother
·         Mommy singing you songs rubbing your eyebrows at bedtime
·         Daddy’s dragon stories
·         Victoria’s learning games she’s always making up
·         Your favorite show to watch is Sheriff Callie…the more times the better.

Even though you turning three is so bittersweet, I am looking forward to watching you learn and grow this year.  Lately you've been calling me your Favorite Mommy.  I love it and will embrace this phase as long as it lasts.hopefully for the next year:-).

Love you always and forever no matter what,

Friday, February 26, 2016

He's So Lucky

She's like a second mommy.

But also a best friend.

He has no idea how lucky he is.

Best Birthday Find

For Christian's birthday when people asked what he wanted he said Target gift cards.  
He had his sight set on an outdoor riding toy.
On Presidents' Day we finally gather his gift cards and headed over to Target with the sole intention of making his big purchase.
We finally found the thing he wanted and then he wasn't so sure.
So he started looking around.
We never let him spend birthday money.
Never, not one dollar.
It all, always goes into his bank account, so although I was ok with him buying something I didn't want him to buy a bunch of little things that he really doesn't care about.
And then he found a full size ping pong table on clearance.
When I said, "Yes," he yelled "This is the best day of my life!"
It took a man and me to get it in the cart.
Another employee approached us and asked to take the cart to the front of the store until we were done shopping.
Then it took two men and myself to finally get it into the minivan.
Christian said, "When Daddy gets home he's going to be SO EXCITED!"
Daddy did happily get it from the car to the kitchen.
He put it together and I said, "It fits perfectly!"
Then Mark said, "This is half of it."
Oh my!  It's way bigger than I expected!

Here he is, in all his glory!
He's uses it constantly.
He's gotten really good at it and it's a ton of fun.
Exactly what a birthday gift should be!

The Breakfast That (S)Teamed

A few weeks ago we casually taught Brecken how to use the microwave.
Each morning he eats waffles or pancakes microwaved.
If it's really a lucky day, he might find a Toaster Strudel.
He likes his breakfast borderline frozen so we taught him how to warm things up for 20 seconds.
Several mornings he did the entire thing himself.
Until last week……
He took out a paper plate, took a Toaster Strudel out of the freezer and put it in the microwave….
for 20 MINUTES.
After two minutes luckily Brecken came to me in the bathroom while I was blow drying my hair and he said, "My breakfast is (s)teaming!"
As soon as I stepped out of the bathroom I RAN to the kitchen.  
It was filled with horrible smelling black smoke.
The paper plate had just started on fire.

It was a really close call.
And Brecken's breakfast independence has come to an end.

Friends Are Valuable

No truer words have ever been stuffed in a fortune cookie.  

This was my fortune last Sunday at our favorite family Chinese buffet next to Minnehaha Falls.  
It couldn't be any more perfect.

Algebra for Fun

Not only is reading my only daughter's very favorite thing to do in the whole world…
But now she's reading about algebra for fun.

At her conference we discussed what we're going to do with her next year….
shipping her to middle school a year early is a real possibility…..

Polar Plunge

A few weeks ago our Union Rep. told us they'd like to see a group from each school to the Polar Plunge to raise money for college scholarships for WBL students.
I said I would jump without hesitation. 
I figured once one person said yes, many would follow.
I was wrong.
Luckily, Victoria wanted to take the plunge with me.
We had to raise $75 in order to do it.
By posting our links on Facebook we were over our minimum in just over an hour.

As the days drew nearer and nearer people were asking weird questions such as:
"Are you scared?"
and they'd follow it up with:
"I never do that!"

I wasn't scared and I have no idea why a grown adult would say they'd never do it.
What is the big deal?
Plus, it's fun to be involved in something.

Finally, Feb 20th arrived.
Victoria had basketball in the morning and then we headed home to pack up.
The most difficult thing was to find shoes I didn't mind wearing in a lake.

We were dressed (Scholarly was the theme) and packed and we headed to Forest Lake.
We arrived about an hour before our plunge time to Vanelli's and met Jeff and Laura.
Jeff was plunging with his kids. 

Christian was too young to plunge, but he's counting down the years and he was a huge supporter!

Victoria thought her Summer Academy shirt was the most scholarly thing she owned.
Jenna was seriously decked out!

Pre-Plunge Warm Up
(Note to self - Pre-Plunge Warm Up is key!  Arrive much earlier next year!)

You drop of your bags in a heated tent then carefully walk across the soaked carpet on the ice.

There are professional photographers and videographers, a couple hundred people watching and EMT divers waiting for you.
It's quite the crowd!

Caleigh, our amazing babysitter happened to be in town so she came out!
Victoria's BFF Julia, her mom and sister also came just to watch!

Post Plunge Fun!

Side note: While in the warming tent changing clothes a former parent approached me and starter talking about her child - while completely naked, waste down!  It was so shocking and disturbing.  If I could go back in time I would have handled the entire situation so much differently.  Besides the changing situation the entire plunge was nothing but fun.  
It was very safe and Victoria loved it.

Here are the professional pics:

We will add Polar Plunge to our family traditions!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Baking Brownies

My best memories with my kids is baking together.  I have hundreds of pics of them baking.
Last Sunday morning Brecken and I were cuddled in bed watching cartoons when I whispered, "Do you want to bake brownies?"  He lifted his little head and said, "Right now!"  We both hopped out of bed and turned on the oven…

When his hand got tired of mixing he said, "You turn."
Then put his hand on top of mine while I stirred.

Licking the bowl is by far his favorite part of the process.

It was a perfect morning.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Happy Birthday Christian

Dear Christian,
    Here it is: Your Eighth Birthday.  Every mom says, "Where does the time go?"  So here I am shaking my head looking at this adorable picture of you on your first birthday with a lump in my throat.  

You were allergic to eggs then and I had them do a triple layer of frosting on your cake so you wouldn't actually get to the cake part.  You are no longer allergic to eggs, you just don't like them now.  However, that's about the only thing you don't like to eat.  You've gotten to be a much healthier and less messy eater in the last year.  Your growing body is showing you're finally eating all of your healthy vegetables!  You've grown so much in the last year your little ankles were peeking out of all of your pants.  You only like to wear activity pants.  Which makes perfect sense because you are active!  You're running, jumping, climbing or sliding across the floor at all times.  The worn out right knee in all your pants is proof of all of your sliding.  Even though you're very active and continue to amaze us with your athleticism, what really amazes me about you, this year especially is your abilities as school.  We are blessed to be in the same grade this year.  We share the same "friends."  Some of my students were in your class in pre-school with Ms. Joy.  It's a fun connection to have.  Talk about connections, you and I have many similar experiences each day so it's fun to talk about our days after school.  Mrs. Bege could not have been a more perfect teacher for you.  Not only has she pushed you to be an amazing mathematician but your reading has improved by leaps and bounds!  She is the most sensitive teacher you could have.  As you turn eight today, you continue to be a sweet and sensitive little boy.  The other day your friend got physically bullied at recess.  You came to me sobbing so worried about him.  You are a very loyal friend.  You make good choices with who you should spend time around.  That is a great quality to posses at such an early age.  
    Last night, your belly hurt when you were trying to fall asleep.  I knew right away it was your nerves.  When you get overly excited or nervous you get a bad belly ache.  I told you to lay in my bed.  I came and laid next to you.  I rubbed your eyebrows and sang, Who Loves Christian and Go to Sleep My Little Baby to you just like I've been  doing since you were an infant.  However, now my opportunities are far and few between.  I could see your profile in the dim light from the bathroom.  I noticed you were still wearing your watch you just received from your buddy for your birthday.  Your breathing slowed down and I watched you actually fall asleep.  I loved every second of it.
          I don't think I could ever love you more than I do today.  But, then again, I've been thinking that same thing for the last eight years.
                              Lots of love, Mommy

Friday, January 1, 2016

Victoria's Luau Birthday Party

I thought I posted this months ago….but turns out I never finished it!

Victoria chose to wait for her birthday party until we moved.
So she waited late June.
The house was under MAJOR construction.
Thank goodness we had a gorgeous day and everyone enjoyed her Luau party outside!
We have some very amazing sunrises and sunsets here.
This was the night before her party in our backyard.

The boys ran and ran and ran playing soccer and tag in the front yard.

Grace and her favorite auntie!

These two could totally pass for twins!

This has been my wall paper on my phone since that day!
Love everything about it!

Victoria with our babysitter extraordinaire and my former second grader!

Gifts under the tree

Buying her books is risky because she's a super good reader for her age…
But Amanda got this one right!
It turned out to be her favorite series of all time and there were three more waiting for her to read!

Cousin Love!

Beth, my mentor and her daughter my flower girl!
Love them both and so happy they continue to be such special parts of our lives, showing up for the kids' special days!

I love this cake!

I love when you find a really good family and the kids love each other.
Totally the case with these two!

LOVE that my cousin and I are family on both sides! ;-)

Mama and Papa!

Baby Sebastian!

Great Grandpa and Linda.

Great Grandma - 
My kids are very blesses to have two great grandparents!

Mama & Papa!

Victoria's first BFF Julia and her sister Samantha.
Another very good family we're blessed to call friends.

Aunt Molly and Brian.
Truly the best Godmother God ever created.
She is amazing in so many ways.

Playing in the black "Hawaiian" sand is too tempting.

My little brother.
An expert on Hawaii!
He's taking his girls there this spring!

Happy Birthday to You….

Holding her hair back after that fateful day when she was four and her hair started on fire from the candles at her Scooby Doo party.

Another one of my favorite people. 
She is a friend that would drop anything to help a friend.

We've lived here for just over seven months now.
So far, that Luau party is my very favorite memory.
It was a gorgeous day filled with people that love Victoria!
It was perfect!