Saturday, January 31, 2015

End of January

Whew...we made it! January is (almost) over and we all survived. FOUR weeks of school. FOUR weeks of childcare. FOUR weeks older, better and wiser. 

I wish I could indulge you all in some amazing tips on how to manage twin babies and working but I have none! It has been pure survival...there is no other way I can put it. Like all I can do it do what I absolutely need to that day to make it to the next. I'm going to bed at 8:30 or 9 every night. All of our laundry piles up until Saturday. I am only grocery shopping once a week and we have to scrounge or get take out if we need more than that. Clutter is building up. No time to do extra organizational projects or crafty fun things. Trying to do anything extra on top of just the day to day is so much extra work. We are expecting a house full of guests again next weekend and I am trying to get ready for them this weekend because it is just impossible to do anything after dinner on a weeknight. We did host family this week and while we made it work I felt bad for being such poor company from being exhausted. 

One thing that is really helping is our nanny, Haley. It is so nice to have the girls home and she does a great job of not only caring for the girls, but will do a few (girls related) chore also. She usually does a load of their little laundry (and puts it away!!) every day and will empty the dishwasher. She also makes sure the house is in the same condition she finds it in so the toys and stuff are picked up when we get home. It is so nice and those little things really help me out...I wonder if that is what it is like to have a wife? We feel that yes, a nanny is more expensive than traditional childcare but it is really worth it in value. It's not something I ever saw myself doing but we love it and encourage everyone to seek it out as an option! 

So...that is where we are at this week! 

Here are some photos: 

I love how much alike the girls look in this photo! Yes, they are identical and no, they won't  grow out of it (a student asked me that this week- cute!).  Anna is trying to catch up to Brynn in the hair department and has some strands that are just as long as Brynn's, they are just few and far between. 

Hands! The girls just recently have discovered their hands and are pretty strong at grabbing on to toys. They like to hold my hand while we are snuggling and sometimes they will hold on to each other if they are close (well...Anna likes to hold on to Brynn's hair but that is a whole different thing!). 

I see you, Mommy! 

The girls are getting so strong! We are doing lots of tummy time now and they will tolerate it for quite a while. Even while holding them, their heads stay steady. They both have started to do little baby crunches to try and lift their head up while laying on their backs. I think they are realizing a whole world is out there and they got to lay their eyes on it!! 

Anna being silly! The hardest thing is that it is hard to interact with both of them at once. Sometimes while I am talking to one, I will look over and the other one is being a total goofball. Its cute. 



A college friend who has twin boys a little older than the girls sent me these Iowa State onesies that look like a heart. They are so cute and she made them herself. We've worn them several times and they are so neat! 

The good news is that it is only six weeks until spring break! January-March is typically a very busy time for me at school so I am very much looking ahead to spring break and the relief it will hopefully bring me. But before I get there I have to get through solo contest, one BIG concert with all my bands, an honor band festival, a jazz band concert, conferences and of course every day taking care of my family and home. I can do it! I see the light at the end of the tunnel!!

Have a great weekend! :o) 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Insta Updates

So...I'm trying to lose all pretenses that I will update with InstaFriday but just trying to post my instagrams every week or so. I do try and post daily on my instagram account but I like to share them here also! They are such fun little snapshots of our days. 

Naked babies! I read that babies feel more free to move around without any clothes on so I've been trying to crank the heat and let them be free every once in a while, especially since they are usually bundled up since it has been so cold out this month. Their chubby legs- gah! I could eat them right up! 

I love this drooly face. I feel like I can practically smell her little milk breath through the photo! 

I really wanted to get some matching throws for our theater room that were monogrammed with our last name. We always snuggle up with a blanket while we are watching something but it looks terrible the way different blankets are mismatched all over the place. My mother in law asked for gift ideas and I had a hard time communicating exactly what I wanted so she gave me a gift card instead that I cashed in this month. I thought it was a little ridiculous but after I ordered them, I really liked the way they looked! It is nice that they are matching and are good quality from Land's End. I think at Christmas next year I will move them upstairs to add a little holiday color to our living areas. 

My favorites! 

I went out to lunch with school friends during a teacher meeting day and I could not stop looking at this face in our chip basket!!! hahah!! It cracks me up every time I look at it!

I took students to an honor band earlier last week and had a really nice day. Doing things like this is something you don't really learn about in to drive the huge school van, creating an itinerary, debating if you should give kids your cell phone number just in case. Since this is my second year doing it, I felt more comfortable and really enjoyed my day. I also remembered that the college campus we were at has a very nice coffee shop just across the street from the rehearsal space...score! I was basically thinking about it all morning and headed straight there after I dropped the kids off. There has to be some perks, right? ;o) 

Also, after the concert I was scanning the room to wave at parents who were taking kids home and I ran into a very nice lady who was very excited to see me and was chatting up a storm. She was asking questions about my twins, if they were sleeping, how old were they now, how happy she was for me, etc. I could not for the life of me figure out who she was- obviously she looked super familiar to me but I couldn't place her. I didn't realize until hours later that she is one of the ob/gyns in my practice!!! DUH!!! I was so embarrassed but it was one of those things where you are so used to seeing people only in one place and it is weird to see them out of context. I felt terrible I couldn't immediately place her so I hope I didn't come across as weird (I still chatted with her though!). She is one of my favorites- sent me a card after Trace died and was the first ob we saw after we found out we were having twins...gosh now I just feel terrible! 

Early mornings- nice to have Michael join me as he is usually sleeping when I take off for school. 

School essentials...for real. 

Besides the first week being very cold, it has been a great January which has made commuting and just winter in general pretty nice. It really helps! Hopefully we are not in for a bad surprise in February and March with winter weather. 

My little bunny! I got these outfits for the girls at Christmas and they are still a little too big for the 6 month size. They are almost too big for their 3 month sleepers but I just don't want to move them to the bigger size yet…I want them to stay little forever! 

We had a nice lunch with friends of ours last weekend and it was nice to catch up. It is so funny how our lives have changed and I'm glad we can still find time to get together even though it is crazy with small children!

…and finally, how can you resist this smile? Happy baby! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Round here

Another week in the books! 

School survival mode is still in full force but by golly, we are making it work. I know that every time I've gone back to school after taking a leave I've always felt like I've let my students down so I am trying hard to still be there for them 100% during school hours. And when I am at home I am trying to be there for my family 100%. However, there is still some overlap...lots of pumping happening at school (I am aiming for three pumping sessions just to get enough for about half of their feedings) and some school work done at home when babies are in bed. 

I've been trying to pull out my regular camera on the weekends just to capture a little bit of the girls because I know this time is just going to be gone in the blink of an eye and lord knows I won't remember any of it (thank you, sleep deprivation). I have been thinking a lot back to the days when Michael and I were home all by ourselves for long days when I was only working part time when he was this age. We had lots of fun together, but that was hard too, in its own way. I feel like I have experience in a lot of different scenarios in terms of working/mothering and there is no right answer! They are all hard and draining and exhausting and make you question if you are doing the right thing! I take faith that lots of my coworkers have lovely families and they make it work too on a teacher's schedule. 

I'm not sure if I've talked about it on my blog or not yet, but we installed these foam tiles in our sunroom to make a playroom for the girls and we are loving it. It makes a cushy (yet wipeable) play space for the girls (and for my bottom!) and helps us to keep all the baby stuff in one area. Michael also loves it and we are wondering why we never anything like it before? The wood grain tiles are a little cheesy but it was either that or primary colored ABC tiles. We bought two sets with Christmas money from family. 

Michael has been loving all his lego sets he got for Christmas. The smaller the pieces, the better! He likes following the directions to put together the sets and he also likes making his own creations. I am always surprised at what he makes- monsters, phones, cool! 

We've had a little heat wave this week in Iowa but I know it is just a tease...lots of winter still left! It has been nice to get out and enjoy the nice weather though. Makes thoughts of spring seem so lovely. 

That is it for us! Hope things are going well with you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Back to School....

Going back to school has been going well! I hesitate to use the word transition because honestly it has been like 0-60, hitting a brick wall straight on! I think part of it is coming back right at the semester when things are in full swing vs. the beginning of the year when you are truly just getting things up and running. I feel like finally after about two weeks of being up to my eyeballs, I can finally be home at night and not constantly worry about what needs to be done. 

The number one hardest part about being back at school has been that my time at home seems so limited. By the time I get home (which is early-4:30!) we just have a few hours of family time before everyone goes to bed. I try not to be busy during that time but I still have to get dinner ready and do a few chores for the next day. The second hardest part about being back at school has been the energy level required to teach all day in front of children. Wowzers- the mental and physical aspects of it are draining! I've been trying to be in bed right after the kids- usually around 8:30 but sometimes as early as 7, even though my husband rolls his eyes at me. With the girls waking sometimes as much as four times a night I need to try and find at least a good chunk of time otherwise it is too much. I do worry about myself being so tired- especially things like driving. I'm trying to do as much self- preservation as possible! 

I've been struggling with trying to find the feel of my new schedule. This was made extra hard because the first week back with had an early out, school cancellation, and three late start days! The days were hectic, the periods were extra short, and I lost a lot of my planning time because of the weather. So the 2nd week back with all normal days has been much easier and I am finding room to breathe. 

I'm surprised at how easy jumping back in front of class of kids was. It's fun, exciting and invigorating to me to be teaching again. I have some groups of students that are just plain awesome and it is fun that they trust me to take them somewhere great. I think we are going to have a great semester of making music together! 

It has also felt good to settle back into my office and band room. I had to go in to school during break just to get everything back in order because it was a mess! eek! 

I also got my bulletin board up to speed with updated instas of my favorite people! I love it but I think it is also neat for my students to see that yes....I also have a life outside of school. They like to see my kids and always ask about them. It is a good way to open the channels of communication and form good connections with my students. Some of the most influential people in my education were my music teachers and I hope I can be an influence to my students as well. 

My motto for this semester is from this jazz band chart we are playing- It is what it is. This is so education there are so many times where we can only do what we can and what happens, happens. It is what it is! I try and give 100% to my job and whatever happens after that sometimes is just in the hands of fate. 

I've been trying to stay organized with an Erin Condren teacher planner this year. I always struggle with finding a way to organize my plans in a good way and so far this seems to be working. I plan for every rehearsal and also have space for a running to do list. It also has a large calendar and lots of spaces for student checklists (I use for forgotten instruments, etc). I love the bright colors and it makes me happy! 

I had all these boring work instas so I thought I would just talk a little bit about how going back to school was going....thanks for sticking with me! 

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