10 Things I’ve Told Myself This Week

My mind is almost always going a mile a minute – pondering, reflecting, planning. Is this okay? or What will happen if _____? or What do I think about ____? Here are a few things I’ve been saying to myself this week. See if you notice a theme.

1. It’s okay to stay home from the gym this week; you’re sick!

2. It’s okay to leave work to go to the doctor. They can survive without you for one     afternoon.

3. Yes, you and Jonathan are doing a good job managing Jonah’s screen time.

4. You’re not a bad mom for having a babysitter two Saturday nights in a row.

5. You’re not a bad mom for taking a few minutes for yourself between getting home from work and picking up Jonah from Nonni’s.

6. It’s okay that you haven’t written a blog post in a while.

7. You will have a job next year. (More to come about this, perhaps.)

8. You and Jonathan and doing a good job with the dogs. They are loved, happy and healthy.

9. It’s time to find some friends here. But the thought of that is pretty exhausting!

10. You can’t do much about the fact that the world seems to be going to hell right now. Do what you can and focus on the positive.

 

dawn-nature-sunset-woman

What has your self-talk sounded like this week?

Advertisements

10 Things I Don’t Care About

If you’re a regular reader of this blog and/or know me in real life, you can attest to the fact that I care, a lot, about a lot of things. I talk about these things in most of my posts. Today, however, I’m thinking about things that I don’t care about in the least. Behold:

  1. I don’t care if you tell me “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
  2. I don’t care about plain red Starbucks cups.
  3. I don’t care about who does or doesn’t stand up for the National Anthem.
  4. I don’t care about transgender people using their preferred bathroom.
  5. I don’t care if college and university faculties are liberal.
  6. I don’t care that the media reports the facts, and that some journalism outlets also feature commentary that I may or may not agree with.
  7. I don’t care that many young people think they are special.
  8. I don’t care if someone receiving government assistance has a smartphone or a nice purse.
  9. I don’t care about anyone’s immigration status unless they are a violent criminal.
  10. I don’t care that English is not America’s official language.

gif_monsters_inc__boo_by_marcelovaticbelieber-d5r7fkn

What do you not care about?

Rainy day reflections

I’m sitting here at Barnes and Noble, drinking an iced coffee and eating a pumpkin muffin. Today it’s raining all day, but it feels like fall, and that is something to be celebrated. Jonathan encouraged me to steal a couple of hours away this afternoon (sweet man!). I should be working on guided reading lesson plans, which is purportedly what I came here to do, but instead I want to return to my long-neglected blog.

I haven’t been writing for a couple of reasons: 1) I forgot how much creativity good teaching requires. I also forgot how tired I am by the end of the day. After Jonah is asleep and I have time to myself I haven’t been able to muster the energy or creativity to write anything. 2) I have been deliberating on what to write publicly about my job. More on that below.

We’ve been in Atlanta as a family for a little over a month now. For the most part, the transition has been a dream. For example:

  1. We absolutely love our new home. We are settled in and about 97% of the way unpacked. The house is such a blessing for our family and so much more than we could ever have afforded or expected to have on our own without family support.
    14026542_1083525328408933_569890288_n1
    Our backyard view
  2. Jonah has transitioned amazingly well to my mom watching him during the week. He didn’t seem to really be phased by the change. He absolutely loves his Nonni and looks forward to going to her house. At the same time, he talks often (every day or two) about all of the family we left behind in NC. When Jonathan’s parents visited over Labor Day, Jonah picked back up with them as though we had never been apart. I like to think that his heart is big enough to hold love for the multitude of people who inhabit his world.14262843_1607457612887825_1594653374_n
  3. Jonathan quickly and easily got a job working from home that he will likely be able to continue once he starts school in the spring.
  4. We think we have found a new church home here.
  5. I’m loving my job. If you remember, during my job search I got a very, very strong sense that this job was the one that was right for me, though the others seemed to make more sense practically. I haven’t been disappointed.

As I mentioned above, I’ve made the decision that the wisest course of action is not to talk about my job in detail on the blog. This may seem like CYA (cover your …), but my school system tends to get a fair amount of attention, and I’m just trying to be smart. Here are the important points:

  • I feel more effective than I ever have as an ESL teacher. The time away from the classroom in an administrative role made me a better teacher.
  • I feel respected. I’m not a novice teacher anymore. It’s nice to have people come to me for help instead of it always being the other way around.
  • I like working with almost all older students. Upper elementary, baby!
  • Many days I am home at 3:30. That is something I never would have predicted when we decided to move to Atlanta.

6. I feel a great sense of balance in my life since we moved. Jonathan and I are getting         more date nights out and quality time together than we have since Jonah was born. Being home earlier in the afternoon means more time with Jonah. Even though I’m now commuting 25 minutes to work, I’m actually spending less time in the car than I did this previous year between taking Jonah to and from daycare, going to and from tutoring, my in-laws house, etc.

This will have to be all for now. Thanks to everyone who hung around and waited for a new post from me! I promise it won’t be this long until the next time I write. In the meantime…enjoy fall!

6 Resolutions for Life in a New City

Yes! You read that right. In less than a month, we are moving from this…

Greensboro-North-Carolina-660x330

to this.

maxresdefault
10 points if someone can tell me what this picture makes them think of…

Pretty much my whole side of the family–parents, siblings, grandmother and now aunt–lives in Atlanta. My parents have been trying to convince us to move there for pretty much the whole time we’ve been married, and we’re finally doing it! Even though we could have moved before now, many factors are now converging to make this the right time. We’re going to be moving in to my grandmother’s house two doors down from my parents, while Grandmommy will be joining the crowd over at my parents’ house. My mom is going to watch Jonah full time. Financially this move is a no-brainer.

I’ve moved a lot in my life–if my count is correct this is number 14! But this one feels different. As far as we’re concerned, this is it: home forever. Atlanta is big enough, diverse enough and with enough opportunities and resources that we see no reason to ever move again.

So I’ve been thinking about goals I have for my life in the new, big city that will most likely be our permanent home. Here are six things I will and won’t do in our new town.

  1. I will be intentional about finding friends sooner rather than later. I wasn’t so great about this in Greensboro. With work + family + pups + miscellaneous responsibilities, my life is pretty full already, but I still need friends–not just long distance, but in person. Spending time with friends is good for me. It’s part of taking care of myself. 
  2. I will invest in activities that I enjoy. I’ll be okay with spending a little bit of money to do fun things, both with my family and by myself. (Like yoga! I’ve got to get back to it!)
  3. Jonathan and I will have a regular date night. Since money will be a little looser and there will be a multitude of potential babysitters around, this will actually happen on a regular basis.
  4. I will walk the dogs every day–and I’ll make Jonathan help me! Our yard is going to be much smaller so this won’t really be optional, plus it’ll be a good way to make sure I get daily exercise.
  5. I will not let work consume my life. It took me a while to find this balance in Greensboro, and now that I’m contemplating teaching again (easiest job to find from a distance) I need to make sure that I maintain that balance.
  6. I will not spend more than 20 minutes commuting to and from work. This is important as everyone knows Atlanta’s traffic is legendary. I’ll be miserable if I’m spending my whole day in the car.

(In case anyone is wondering about our plans to become foster parents, that is on hold for now due to the move. It is something we still want to do in the future).

Other people who have moved to a new city/state recently…any goals/ideas/positive changes for post-move?

Six Thoughts On Six Years of Marriage

Yesterday was Jonathan’s and my sixth anniversary. Six years is hard to believe! (What’s even harder to believe is that we will have been together for TEN years in November.) We were such little babies when we got married. Check out these kiddos:

13319854_10206330364487065_1159849317661105939_n
This is right after the ceremony. I love this picture because it was a candid shot.

Jonathan and I got married when we were 21 (him) and 22 (me), two weeks after we graduated from college. I wish I could link to a post I wrote that is running on YourTango in a few weeks, about marriage advice for other young brides, as it has a lot of the thoughts that are running through my head about marriage these days. Here are some other thoughts I’m having around our anniversary:

  • Anyone who says their marriage is always easy is a freaking liar. So…
  • You have to be willing to ride out the crap, say you’re sorry and try again to somehow talk to each other. And…
  • Marrying young can sometimes make it harder, because you both have growing up to do. But…
  • Over the years my marriage has taken on this easy rhythm and comfort level that is really wonderful, and that wouldn’t be there if we were just now getting married. For example…
  • We have learned what works for us and what doesn’t. Like the whole “Don’t go to bed angry” thing? Not good advice for the Loves, because we both need our space and usually feel completely better in the morning. We finally learned that. Ultimately…
  • We are a team. We are willing to entertain each other’s seemingly crazy ideas, like renting out our house and buying another (him) or seeking to adopt from foster care (me). I feel confident that no matter what happens, Jonathan is always in my corner.

So there you have it; this is where we are after six years. In my posts, I try to portray a real picture of what my marriage is really like, because I know when I read status after status saying things like “My husband deep-cleaned the whole house, mowed the yard, potty-trained the toddler in one day and brought me breakfast in bed, I’m so lucky!” it makes me wonder if something is wrong with me/my marriage because I struggle to get Jonathan to pick up his dirty underwear from the bathroom floor. (A lesson I’ve learned about that? Pick your battles.) I’m not saying those people are lying, but that that is just not everyday life for most couples, and acting like it is is a bit deceptive.

13335896_10206337913995798_5809011313547969203_n

This is my marriage, real and unfiltered, and still beautiful.

10 Everyday Things That Are Hard to Do With a Toddler

The toddler years can be kind of hard, guys. I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone but me. As one new to this stage, I am quickly learning that toddlers are tiny tyrants who rule their parents’ lives. While I was sleeping, my sweet, easy baby became a rough-and-tumble toddler, and Jonathan and I are having to adjust how we do some basic things as a result.

Jonah is 17 months old now, and during his waking hours he rarely stops moving, making noise, being on the verge of a tantrum, or trying to get into everything within arm’s reach. He really is so much fun, but including a toddler in activities of daily living makes everything approximately twice as difficult. I wish I would have appreciated the ease with which I accomplished simple tasks while he was a baby who slept all the time.

Here are 10 things that are especially challenging:

  1. Getting ready

Little man is not a huge fan of mama not giving him undivided attention while in the shower or getting dressed for work. No matter how I try to entertain him in the mornings, nothing seems to work. He usually alternates between tugging on the bottom of my shirt and playing with trash that he grabs out of the bathroom trashcan.

2. Feeding the dogs

For some reason my child is obsessed with dog food. He likes to pick pieces up and either try to eat them or hide them in various places around the house (including in my lunch–a story for another time). Why? Who knows.

3. Going anywhere quickly

It’s surprisingly time-consuming to gather all the necessary paraphernalia that accompanies Jonah whenever we leave the house. I’m constantly going through a mental list: Diaper bag? Check. Diapers and wipes? Check. Extra outfit? Check. Sippy cup? Check. Child wearing appropriate clothing and shoes? Check.

4. Walking

Jonah, we can’t walk in the street! We can’t walk in the neighbors’ yard! We can’t walk in front of cars! I’m sorry you’re upset, but mama has to pick you up to keep you from getting killed. Ugh, you’re so heavy.

5. Using the dishwasher

If it were up to him Jonah would happily play with all of the knives from the dishwasher. So opening this is pretty much no-go while he is awake.

6. Using the bathroom

When mama goes to the bathroom Jonah goes to the bathroom, too. And throws everything in the bathtub, and takes everything out of the bathroom cabinets…

 7. Doing any errand that doesn’t involve a drive-through

Every parent has probably experienced this: The overtired little one is finally asleep in the car, but you have to get out of the car to get something from inside a store. What are you supposed to do?

8. Eating in a restaurant

You know what Jonah is not a fan of? Sitting still and quiet in a high chair and waiting around for food.

9. Eating in general

You know what Jonah is also not a fan of? When you are eating something that he wants. And he’ll let you know it. “Mine!” “Mine!” “More!” And don’t even think about giving him something that he doesn’t want. He sucks the flavor off it, takes it out of his mouth and throws it on the ground.

10. 4:00-7:00 pm

These are the witching hours on days when good naps have not happened. It’s too late to take a nap, too early for bedtime, so Jonah says to himself, “Why, I think I’ll just cry on and off for two hours. How does that sound, everyone?”

But…look at this face.

13086697_10206109333961440_4651953651006704840_o

Even though navigating everyday life with my son comes with its fair share of challenges, my heart wants to burst with love whenever I look at him. And that makes it all worth it.