Saturday, May 31, 2014


Happy Summer! It is officially summer break for me as our last day of school was Wednesday! Hurray! 

I still have lots of work to do at school over the next few weeks to get ready for leave but I am still fully in summer mode- complete with ice cream cones (with tons of sprinkles and eye balls, per Michael's request) and hot dogs on the deck. 

I've also started operation get ready for twins which is starting off by getting rid of all my little boy clothes from the closet downstairs so we can move Michael's things down there for his new room. I have everything sorted and I am trying to be realistic about what I will really use again and it is not much. It just takes up so much room and I mostly just need it out of the house in the easiest way possible. I took a load of summer clothes and my old stroller/carseat to a local consignment shop and I will probably go back next week with a load of winter stuff. Then we can start bringing the baby stuff upstairs and Michael's stuff downstairs. I think this will be the hardest part of getting ready and we can save the room decorating for later- I mostly just want to get stuff where it needs to go and get the baby closet emptied so we can start focusing on stockpiling the necessities- like diapers!

Getting ready for babies is my big focus this summer (and of course, taking care of myself with lots of rest and water!) but I am also looking forward to enjoying my home and yard for the summer. 

Happy Summer! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Trace's 3rd Birthday

We celebrated Trace's 3rd birthday last weekend. 

Gosh, he would have been 3 years old. A little boy. Someone for Michael to be double trouble with. 

It still hurts to think about the what-ifs and imagine what it would be like if he was here with our family. We are in the process of moving Michael to a new room and it makes me sad because I always thought it would be a room Michael and Trace would share- two boys! Bunk beds! Star wars! Legos! It would be so fun. I always think of how Trace looked like he had no hair but really it was just very light and I know he would have just been the most beautiful little blonde hair three year old boy. 

I love looking back at my photos from the few months we had him and thinking about all the fun things we did. He was along for the ride from day 1, tagging along with Michael and I on our adventures. I knew he would have to do a lot of keeping up with his busy big brother! Now it seems so silly to me...why did I feel like I had to do so much with a little baby at home? Maybe it was because Michael was a very active 18 month old when he was born? Maybe it was for my own sanity and getting out of the house? Maybe it was just because I love summer and Trace was born just at the right time? 

At any rate, it strikes me because we never for a moment thought that we would lose him. We thought that this was going to be our life from now on and it was so fun. I loved being a proud mom of two sweet and handsome boys. It is hard to backtrack through everything that happens leading up to a crisis but I have no regrets. I just miss him so much. 

We are beyond thrilled to be expecting again, especially a double bonus surprise of twin girls but deep down in my heart I just think how perfect things would be if my family was two boys and two girls, all here on earth living in my house with me. Wouldn't that be so lovely? 

But I also know, deep down in my heart that we will be reunited one day again in heaven and I cling to that. 

We don't know why bad things happen but we do know that God is here to guide us through and cling to in hard times. I know his hand has been on my family and will continue to guide us through the rest of our lives. 

Happy Birthday, sweet Trace! We love you and miss you! 

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Happy Friday, friends!

I know I have a lot to share with you- like, the TWINS!!!, and also Trace's birthday and the start of summer and all sorts of good stuff but for today I thought I would just get caught up on my instas. 

People who deal with ongoing grief know the feeling of the black cloud that arrives around the important dates in your lives- without knowing when or if it is coming and it certainly is not invited. I had been feeling really good up to Trace's birthday on the 17th but then it seemed like the week after it (this week) I felt like I was walking around in a fog. Every day I had to give myself a pep talk to make it school that day, find something hopefully clean to wear, throw my hair in a pony tail and hope I made it through the day. A few days ago I was staring at the pile of laundry on the floor in my room and just thinking, "what is wrong with me? Have a finally gone off the deep end?" No, of course not...I am just in the black cloud. It is such a sneaky thing and comes when you are least expecting it but I feel like if you can give yourself a break and realize that it is happening maybe you can get out of it sooner. So I do feel like I am coming out of it and I am looking forward to the promise of a summer full of restfulness ahead- just two days of school left! 

We actually spent Trace's birthday weekend planting all of my annuals and getting mulch down. It was good to have a project to focus on and I think that is what helped the black cloud to stay away before his birthday. Yes, I spent too much money on sweet little plants but I just can't help it. They make me so happy and I love taking care of them all summer long and watching them grow and become beautiful. 

Trace's lilac bloomed on his birthday and it is so beautiful. 

Michael was the best helper all weekend when we were outside working. He would entertain himself or we would give him little jobs to do. He is at a fun age and likes to entertain us with his stories or songs! 

I had a great ultrasound appointment on Tuesday this week and celebrated with my favorite summer drink- passion tea lemonade from Starbucks. The girls are growing well and they have no concerns but we will still get ultrasounds every two weeks at least through the 2nd semester to keep an eye on growth progress. This is common with twins, especially identical twins who share a placenta because they can quickly develop twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome which is very bad. I am seeing both my regular OB and a perinatologist for lots and lots of appointments over the summer!

I love this pattern and wish I knew how to sew! Also wish Michael and I looked as cute as this mother and daughter on the package. ;o) 

And finally, I've been trying to wrap up loose ends at school as well as try and plan a whole semester for my leave in the fall. It is overwhelming to say the least but I think my process of making a OCD/manic list then whittling it down to things that need to be done before school is out, things that can be done during the summer, things that need to be photocopied, and things that can be done in August has helped. I ordered a massive pile of music from my favorite retailer and received a personal thank you email for my large order- eek! I am also in the middle of purging files in my office and getting things organized in a logical way so the sub can find what he needs. I guess crazy pregnancy hormones are good for some things, right? 

And finally, I've been continuing my operation lamination at the end of the school year too. It is seriously one of the best perks of being a teacher and yes, I laminate everything that goes on my walls. I've learned my lesson that if you don't it will get beaten up, torn or written on by lovely middle school kids. 

That's it for me this week! Have a great weekend! 

life rearranged

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Happy Friday!

We are full on into the last stretch of school and boy it feels good. I have a lot of wrapping up to do but just to see and feel the light at the end of the tunnel is amazing. I am feeling very celebratory that I finished my first year as a full time, middle school band director with lots of successes. Hopefully I make my job sound super easy and fun but there are frustrations, long hours, bad attitudes from students, tough parent phone calls and tears in my office. 

I just got back from our annual band director's conference and the end of the year is such a good time to attend. It is always a good time for reflection on the past year and ways to make changes for the new year. One things for sure about teaching is that there are never a shortage of opportunities for growth and change! Several sessions talked about building pride in your program and how the director is really the one who sets the climate for the whole program. Sometimes I lose sight of how much impact I have with my students and it is my goal to keep it in the front of my mind. Everyone knows how good it feels when someone tells them "they did awesome!" and they mean it- I have the opportunities every day to make 130 students feel good about themselves and that is a big job that needs to take seriously. Of course my students are probably not going to be professionals or music teachers, but by being in my program they can become better people and lead better lives, just like music as done for me. It is so hard to remember all this when you are in the trenches but I think that band directors do have important jobs! :o) 

Anyway, we've been watching movies in band to celebrate the end of the year and I chose Mamma Mia and Les Miserables since we played selections from those at our concert (Mamma Mia for 7th and Les Miserables for 8th, after a note was sent home for parental approval because well, it is PG 13). I have found out that maybe middle school boys do not find those to be their favorite musicals (even though I think the do secretly like Mamma Mia). So I browsed Amazon again for some more movies to add to my viewing library and came up with these ones:

One boy actually said, "we should watch Newsies!" so guess what? Now I have it! I also picked two marching band ones since we do it in 8th grade and then West Side Story since I think we might play the music from that next year. I don't watch a ton of movies in class but they are so much easier to hand to a sub rather than try and find a lesson for kids to do that doesn't involve playing when I am gone. I also noticed that if the movie is something I am enthusiastic about, the kids also get into it. My 6th graders were not really getting into Fantasia until I started chiming in "Do you hear the low brass? See how they use those instruments to make it seem creepy? Don't our tubas sound creepy, too? What makes the sparkle sound? Do you hear the cymbal crash to sound like lightening?". It is like kids don't even know what is neat until you tell them that it is. 
Michael has been getting up super early lately and so we've been squeezing in some extra snuggle time in the mornings! 

This weekend we are busy planting, planting, planting! I've been running around the last two afternoons getting all my plants and today we will get them in. I am looking forward to having some color back in my yard and watching things grow! I may have gone a little overboard on the petunias but I found them for a great price at Menards and they can make such a big impact for very little care in my landscaping. They are my best keep secret (that is really not a secret!). 

Also, for any blog followers that don't know me in real life or follow me on facebook- Scott and I are expecting twin baby girls in September! 

I will be talking about this much more in the future but wanted to share it with you just to get the beans finally out. We are so blessed and are just out of our minds with excitement. God is good!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 5, 2014

InstaMonday & May

Happy May, friends! 

Wow, it feels good to say that! I am happy we are well into the month of May with my final concert of the year and the end of school right around the corner. Hurray! I've made it! :o) 

Mom and I planted these tulips after we lost Trace in 2011. This is the third spring they have popped up and they just bring a smile to my face. I should plant some more but the problem I have is that I always forget where I plant bulbs and end up digging them up accidentally. :o( I need to think of a good spot where they can grow in between other things and not get disturbed by me!

We had a fantastic weekend with beautiful weather. We went to a birthday party at a fun park for a friends and did some fishing at home. It is nice to be outside and remember what sunshine actually feels like! 

I am still snacking away on our easter eggs- anyone else? I think this one looks like a dragon egg a la Game of Thrones (I watch too much HBO)!

Michael always makes me smile as he is such a funny, sweet and smart four year old boy. We've taken a few trips to the toy aisles of Target for birthday presents and he loves looking at all the fun things. He will say all the ones that he doesn't have and the ones that he wants for his birthday...oy! What kid doesn't love daydreaming about all the fun toys out there? 

Stitch has been our little buddy since coming home with us from Disney World. It is such a funny thing but I am glad Michael picked out something he really likes and is special to him. Hopefully it will always be full of good memories!

We stumbled across this fun juggling/magic show at the library over Easter weekend and Michael thought it was so neat. He was part of the show and had the biggest smile on his face- I love it! I would have never been as brave as him at four so I am glad he inherited some traits that are not mine! 

And finally, I think these are the last of my Easter photos! I am a few weeks behind if you can't tell! Time just seems to keep on chugging along and we are doing our best to stay caught up. These posts may seem silly but they are really the little moments that make up the big parts of life. I'm glad I can share with them you and also preserve them for myself and my family!

Have a great week!
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