Friday, May 31, 2013


Guess what?

Today is the last of school at one of my schools. Yay!

I can't hardly believe the end of the school year is here and I survived going to school every single day. I am very, very proud of myself. I think going back to work after losing Trace has been one of the hardest things and also best things I've done. And to add on top of it a slightly high-stress *new* job with working *way more* hours on top of that...I am very, very proud of myself. But more so, I am very, very proud of all my students because without them I wouldn't have a job or kids to teach music. 

I feel like since I love band so much and am such a huge band nerd, it is my duty to keep providing the world with kids who love band as much as I do. I definitley have some crazy kids who practice hours a week and some kids that never practice but still show up every lesson and rehearsal and love it. 

I've had more comments this year from students than I can remember in the past so I just wanted to share them not to brag, but just so I can get them down to remember. 

I had a student my very first year teaching who never, ever talked and I swore she hated me. Well, she graduated this year and in a scholarship application essay she wrote about an influential teacher she chose ME. She said I was always so nice and positive and helped her learn saxophone which she still plays today. I was floored. I am very proud of her.   

I also had a student this year who always looks like he is asleep during rehearsals and I could never really tell if he was doing what he was supposed to. On our last day of rehearsal he said if he would be a teacher the only type he would be would be a band teacher because, "it didn't seem like that much work and was a lot of fun". Wow! I'm glad I make my job seem easy because it is a lot of work but what is the saying that goes something like you know you are good at doing something when you make it look easy? Also I do have fun every day at my job and if you do what you love you'll never work a day in your life.

And finally, I got a great thank you note from a student who was in 5th grade this year and she wrote "thank you for saying "good job" to me at every lesson, no matter what". That just melted my heart because first and foremost, I want my students to always know that I think they are doing a great job, no matter what, and that I am proud of them and I am here to help them succeed. Being in band is going above and beyond in school and it requires a lot of extra work outside of their normal school day. I appreciate all those kids' hard work and I work hard to make sure they feel special all the time.

I had such a great experience when I was in school in band, which is ultimately why I am a band director today. I want them to know that by being in band that they are special, they are safe, and they have someone who cares a lot about them.

Okay, I am off my band soapbox now. :o) 

I've had a great week otherwise, which mostly guessed it...hanging out with my favorite guy, Michael.

Michael has been loving tinkling on our piano, especially when I am working in the kitchen. He will tell me what the song is about and sometimes will even sing words to it. I am really impressed and thinking about signing him up for some sort of children's music class in the fall. His piano playing has evolved from banging to actual thoughtful playing and I think it is just awesome. I was first turned on to music when we moved into a house with an old piano that I love tinkering on and then my mom signed me up for piano lessons. I know it was brutal sometimes but- thanks, mom!! :o) 

(everyone should thank their moms that signed them up for piano lessons as a child, even if they hated it because it is so good for you!) 

We had a rainy (surprise!) weekend last weekend but it gave us a chance to get out of the yard and to the library. Michael played for over an hour and we had a fun time just being together. He loves to walk through the little nature area by the entrance and jump out of the trees to surprise me. He is a goofball.

Have a great Friday! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering Trace

This Friday I was at school when I wrote down the date- wow, I thought...a week already has gone by since Trace's birthday. It seems like a year and a half ago, or even just a year ago, that week would have felt like ages. I was shocked at myself how quickly the days had gone by and how effortlessly they just floated off the calendar page.

I do feel like I am still grieving but yet healing at the same time. Things like the days going by fast and not dreading each new day are signs to me that things maybe are feeling better. I definitely think going back to work at school has been very good for me- I am very blessed to have a job that I love and great students. Michael has great care while I am gone and I feel like I am making a difference in the world.

There are still hard days, of course. I felt it most strongly after we got back from Disney. I felt great while were on the vacation- even feeling really happy-the soaring, fierce type of happiness...something I hadn't felt like a long time. I even felt triumphant like, "look at me- we lost our son but we are still having a great time as a family at Disney World!"  But once we got home I felt like the world's most terrible mother. How could I even go on a super fun vacation without my son, Trace? I felt so, so so guilty that he couldn't be there with us. That he will never go with us. 

And that is the cycle of grief, I guess. It is never one thing at a is very much a circle that keeps going around. Some days are good, and some days are bad...but I am definitely feeling there are more good days in there than bad. 

We've had so many sweet gifts for Trace's birthday/ mother's day. I love these little reminders that we can have in our home to remind us of him.  

The blue flowers are ones we picked up for his headstone at the cemetery so it would look nice for Memorial Day. Michael and I went out there yesterday and it was so beautiful with all the flags and every space had flowers on it. It was also very busy with lots of people out visiting. It made me really happy and I am thankful for the service of everyone who has served our country. 

Happy Monday and have a great Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


We have been loving this nice spring weather here. It is so nice to come home from school and just be outside for a long time before it is time to go to bed. It is really good for my soul. Michael has taken his role of smell quality control very seriously. He loves to smell all the flowers and will often say, "this one smells like peanut butter!" or "smell this one!". I do think he is a budding little horticulturalist and he loves to examine all the plants and flowers up close. He has been a good helper for me getting things in the ground this spring, usually being the plant food sprinkler (which he calls "planting the flower seeds"). 

It wouldn't be spring without multiple trips to Menards. Our big car is in the shop so we had to stuff bags of mulch in my little funny. It doesn't hold much but at least my car smelled like cedar chips all week. Michael has had fun looking at all the fountains on display.

My lilac has been so pretty and it just bloomed at the right time-on Trace's birthday. It was a gift from all the families at Trace's childcare and it is a nice reminder of the wonderful care and love he had when he was here. 

This weather has also been good for wearing out little boys. We can definitely tell Michael is worn out at the end of his days even though he says he doesn't want to go to bed because "it's not dark out yet!".   He has also been waking up with all the storms we have had lately- something we definitely did not experience last summer with the drought. It is totally new to him!

Scampy has also been enjoying his time outside and prowling his territory accordingly. He does take pretty good care of killing little rodents in the yard so I am good with it. It is so funny to see him as a fluffy house cat out stalking little mice like he is a big lion. He sure loves it!

Have a great weekend, friends! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Celebrating Trace's Birthday

We celebrated Trace's birthday on the 17th, his actual birthday. I still went to school that day, just because it felt like it was easier for me to keep on doing my normal routine than to try and shift it (plus, it is super hard to leave work when you feel like you are the only person who can do your job!).

My mom was here watching Michael since our childcare was off this week and she made some of these little baby cakes for Trace's birthday. They were so sweet and little...just like Trace. We sang Happy Birthday and blew out the candles. 

We also visited the cemetery and left some happy flowers for Trace.  Michael did a balloon release- sending a balloon up to heaven for Trace.

When we got home and it was dark, we also sent off a couple of paper lanterns. Mom had gotten them last year at Menards and they were really cool to do. I wanted to do them on his birthday because in the movie "Tangled" Rapunzel's parents light the lanterns every year on her birthday in hopes of her returning to them.  The lanterns are a little tricky to send off and you need two people to launch them but once they were in the sky they burned as bright as a star. We only had one little lonely one at a time in the air, but it seemed fitting- they burned bright just like Trace burns bright in our memories.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Trace's Birthday

Friday, May 17th was our sweet Trace's 2nd birthday. 

It was a day of sadness but I also felt very lifted up and hopeful on his birthday. I have hope because I know he is in heaven and that we are never really without him. 

I also felt like the heaviness that had been weighing me down the past couple of weeks has been lifted and now I can enjoy the beauty that is all around me and truly see Trace's spirit in it. He was a blessing to us and we are happy that we got to have him.

 We will never forget the day he was born as one of the happiest of our lives. He made our family complete and he was meant to be part of it. He was the sweetest baby; always happy and beautiful. 

Our crabapple trees bloomed this year on the 16th, one day before Trace's birthday. When he was born I had secretly hoped they would bloom on the day he was born and this year I got my wish. The funny thing about my crabapple trees is that they are only in their peak bloom for about one day and this year that day was Trace's birthday. I loved it. 

Seeing those blooms reminded me of the hope that Trace gives us: the hope that God is always taking care of us. The hope that life goes on even though one of our family members is not physically present.

I just know Trace would have been the sweetest and happiest little 2 year old boy, loving on his brother just like he did when he was here. I often feel the pangs of grief as I imagine how much fun it would have been with two boys running around.

 I know Trace is happy and safe and that gives me hope.

Happy Birthday, Trace. We love you and always will.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Happy Friday, friends. Today is actually not a very happy Friday for me in some ways because it is Trace's birthday. Its not that we don't remember him and miss him every day but some days the sting just hurts a little bit more and today is one of those days. I will post about it later but today I wanted to be sure and share my instas from the week so fear not...I am not neglecting you, little Trace, but just letting it all sink in for a few days. 

Most of these instas are from our little weekend trip last weekend to St. Paul. We left Friday after school and stopped at the Mall of America first thing. I really wanted to go to the Rainforest Cafe and stop at the Disney store. How touristy and cheesy, right? It was actually really fun and Michael loved the Rainforest cafe! It was definitely a highlight for him! 

We also stopped at the LEGO store and walked through Camp Snoopy but didn't ride any rides. We think next time we will have to plan for more time and get an unlimited rides pass. 

Michael and I got up early the next morning and headed to downtown Minneapolis for a visit to the MN Children's Museum. We had only been once before, when Michael was about 6 months old. I knew he was the perfect age for it now and he had a blast. He was running and playing everywhere and just had so much fun being his little 3 year old self. We spent the whole morning there, took a quick lunch break and then went back for more playing before meeting up with Scott for his afternoon hockey game (he was playing in a tournament that weekend in Blaine).

I love that smile!

Michael's favorite activity was the stream area (he got to play in the water) and I loved the play supermarket and commercial kitchen/asian restaurant. So fun!

We headed up to Blaine to catch Scott's afternoon hockey game. It was a lot of fun and pretty heated although it was 0-0 until the last minute of the 3rd period! We had fun drinking a can of beer and embarrassing my niece Ellie and our attempts at the wave.

We ended the weekend with a nice brunch at Scott's sister's family's home and it was just so nice. They have a beautiful home and family. Michael and his cousin got along so well and played so nicely together and of course...we all loved the new puppy.

It was a great weekend! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day + New Puppy!

We spent Mother's Day in St. Paul with Scott's sister's family and his parents. It was a beautiful Minnesota day and we had lots of fun spending time with family and enjoying a great Mothers Day brunch (thank you!!). Of course, the most fun was had spending time the newest member of Scott's sister's family...their new puppy! 

He was just the cute, cute, cutest thing ever.

Michael and his cousin had a blast playing together. It was so fun watching them enjoy the beautiful day doing all the sort of fun things kids do. 

It was a great day! 
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