Friday, January 10, 2020

Looking Back at December

December started off a bit rough for us, with Ayden being sick. It started on Thanksgiving, with him complaining about an upset tummy and getting a low grade fever. He ended up sleeping all that afternoon. It was the strangest thing, because he woke up every morning fever free, feeling better and having more energy. But by around 11:00-Noon each day, his fever would come back and he'd end up sleeping the afternoon away. He went to bed (for the night!) anywhere between 4:30-5:30. Then he'd wake up soaking wet every single night around 2:00am, because his fever broke, and we'd have to change his pajamas and bed sheets. This went on for DAYS! Every morning when he'd wake up fever free, eat breakfast and be full of energy, we'd think we were finally over the hump. Nope. He crashed every afternoon, and our amount of good time in the morning was dwindling. I finally took him to the doctor on day six. He had pneumonia (strep and flu both came back negative). Then after 2.5 days on antibiotics, he still wasn't getting better! After texting back and forth with his doctor, we got a prescription for a stronger antibiotic. That didn't seem to be working either. This kid was so sick. He was down to about a grand total of an hour of productive time in the morning, before his energy was completely zapped and all he wanted to do was sleep. Two days later, I took him back to the doctor. Somehow, in addition to his pneumonia increasing, while ON antibiotics already, he managed to also get an ear infection on top of everything. His appendix was also pretty tender, so they ordered an ultrasound in addition to the chest x-ray. He had a little bit of fluid around his appendix that they would keep an eye on. Finally, FINALLY, he started to feel better. The third antibiotic did the trick and worked it's magic. We went back to the doctor for a follow up and he was given the all clear to return to school. Hallelujah! He was sick for 11 days, missed Thanksgiving and 6 days of school, and it took three different antibiotics, but he finally was on the mend.

He complained of his head hurting quite a bit.

He had several episodes of cough-induced vomiting, so we kept a bowl close by.

Getting some school work done one morning. 

At the hospital, waiting to get the ultrasound on his appendix and the chest x-ray done.

He lost a top tooth during this time! The bottom one came out a few weeks earlier.

We had a lot to juggle during these 11 days! We still had to get Rylee to school every day. Throughout all this time, she never got sick at all! We had basketball practice and games, which Ayden obviously had to miss. Mac and Cheese (our Elf on the Shelf) arrived. Rylee had her Nutcracker recital, and sang in the Christmas program at church, which Ayden had also been supposed to participate in.

Mack and Cheese, literally being an Elf on the Shelf!

She LOVES being a little ballerina princess.

Daddy and Ayden had to miss her performance, unfortunately.

Thankfully, Ayden made his recovery just before their birthday party! We had started to get concerned that we were going to have to cancel it. Nobody ever has time for being sick, but December is extra busy for us, between their birthday and the holidays! We had a Super Hero/Pokemon costume birthday party. There were quite a few people that ended up not being able to attend the party due to their own illnesses, but the kids still had a few good friends that were able to come and they had a fantastic time.

Mac and Cheese put up some decorations.

Ready for the party to start!

All the kids at the party.

Another exciting thing that happened in December was that Rylee was awarded Student of the Month! The assembly was just a few days after Ayden returned to school. I was so happy that he was feeling better, which also meant that I was able to return to work and was able to be there to see her get her award.

So proud of this girl!

We had a family day to see the new Frozen II movie, which Rylee absolutely LOVED and Ayden tolerated. I think he enjoyed it, but he wouldn't admit it. LOL. After the movie, we took the kids shopping to pick Christmas gifts out for each other. They couldn't keep the surprise for long though. The very next morning, they told each other what the other's gift was. Haha! And they talked about it every single day until Christmas morning!

After the movie and shopping, we drove around our neighborhood to look at all the Christmas lights, and made a special stop to one house that goes all out every year. They had special guests in attendance that night, with Santa and a few princesses.

All dressed up for Frozen II.

The "castle."

Checking out the displays.

Ayden lost his other top tooth one day at school! He literally lost it, lol! He said he went to wiggle the tooth, and it wasn't there!!!! 😀 I helped him look, but that tooth was nowhere to be found. It was during lunch, so there's a possibility that he may have swallowed it. We'll never know what happened to that tooth! The Tooth Fairy still paid him a visit though. This was his fifth tooth lost so far.

I think his gap toothed smile is so flippin adorable!

The letter he wrote to the Tooth Fairy

We spent their actual birthday at Great Wolf Lodge this year! Tony and I had never been there before, so this was a first for all of us! We had debated on whether or not we needed to reschedule, because all of us were fighting off colds at this point, but we powered through and had a great time.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were at Great Wolf Lodge!

I can't believe they are six and that we are a third of the way to 18 already!

Ready to open their birthday presents, back at home.

We hosted my family at our house this year. My sister and her family, and my mom, came early and joined us for the Christmas Eve service at church. Then my brother and his family joined us back at my house after church. I love that Ayden and Rylee get to have these Christmas memories, getting together and playing with their cousins every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. I remember those times with my own cousins and remember them fondly.

Santa made an appearance after the church service.

This cousin, Adilyn, was born just three months before Ayden and Rylee.

I told them to put their heads together for a picture, and they bonked heads! Not quite what I had in mind. lol

The boys, playing with their new Bey Blades.

The Cousin Crew.

Santa came, and Mac and Cheese had to go home. Ayden was beyond thrilled that Santa brought him the Charmander stuffy he'd asked for. Rylee loved her Anna and Elsa dolls.

Happy kiddos on Christmas morning.

Reading them a book at Grandma and Grandpa's house Christmas Day.

Our last big hurrah in December was a trip up to Washington to find some snow and spend a few days with Tony's brother and his family. We didn't find very much snow unfortunately, but the kids had a blast sledding on the little that we did find!

Taking a break from sledding to eat some soup.

With one of his cousins.

December may have started off a bit rocky, but we still managed to make some great memories throughout the month! December is still my favorite month out of the year.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Right Now: December Edition

Reading: My 4th grade reading group is reading Hatchet, which is actually a very good book and one I'd enjoy reading on my own (if I ever made time to read for myself). The kids bring home beginning reading books a few times a week that we read together as well.

Watching: Right this very minute, Surf's Up is playing on Netflix. I am home with a sick Ayden today. He has had an off and on again fever since last Thursday, on Thanksgiving! He also has a nasty cough. For myself, I've been enjoying This is US, A Million Little Things, and New Amsterdam, all of which are now on break till after the New Year unfortunately.

Listening: currently listening to Ayden whine about wanting to go to school. He is SO sad he is stuck home today. As for music, we listen to a lot of Disney on Amazon Prime, and their current favorite is the song Old Town Road by Lil Nas X. That's a song that gets played in their P.E. class often at school, and they come home singing it and asking for me to play it.

Drinking: Sparkling water! Lot's of sparkling water, which my husband calls "fuzzy drinks." Hahaha! He likes to give things names. My favorite flavors are the cran-raspberry flavor from La Croix, and pineapple-coconut and blackberry-vanilla from Safeway's off brand, Signature Select. I also try to drink lots of regular water and have an occasional Diet Pepsi.

Eating: Crap. Writing this post made me realize that I don't have anything planned for dinner yet. Ugh. I had a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats for breakfast. I'm going to eat leftover Yangs (teriyaki) for lunch. I can't get Ayden to eat anything today except for two applesauce pouches! That doesn't bode well for him getting better. Or for him being in a better mood, because he is one that gets HANGRY!

Wearing: Jeans, a black Central Softball sweatshirt with a grey jog-a-thon t-shirt underneath, socks, and my hair in a ponytail.

Loving: That the kids LOVE school so much and seem to be thriving! I'm going to enjoy that for as long as possible!

Wearing their Dolphins (school mascot) shirts

Anticipating: Our trip to Great Wolf Lodge for Ayden and Rylee's birthday! We were hoping to stay two nights, but because it's so close to Christmas, the price is outrageous and we can only afford to stay one night. We are going to take full advantage of the two days at the water park though!

Hoping: That Rylee doesn't catch whatever bug that has plagued Ayden. She performs in the Nutcracker in just three days! Fingers crossed she stays healthy, and that Ayden gets better SOON.

Following: hmmmm.... the status of my Uncle Bob's health through updates from my Aunt D. He has cancer and has been on the decline for a long time.

Wondering: Who all will be coming to our big 6th birthday party and if it's a mistake to try doing it at our house this year, lol! In an attempt to not spend so much on their birthday party so we can go to Great Wolf Lodge, we decided to have their party at our house. I'm hoping I don't regret that decision.

Trying: to get Ayden to eat something besides an applesauce pouch today! He says he's hungry, but all he wants to eat is applesauce. He's already had two pouches. Pick something else, Buddy!

Worrying: How in the world I am going to be able to juggle coaching, working full time, and momming during softball season. I've pretty much made the decision that next year will be my last season. I would quit after this season, but I don't think it would be fair for this year's junior class to have yet another new coach for their senior season. That would mean they would have to go through three different coaches throughout their four years of high school and I don't want to do that to them. As much as I love coaching, I love my children more, and I have realized how short my time with them is going to be. I don't want to miss it by being unavailable three months out of the year!

Planning: A 6th birthday party! We are having a Pokemon/Superhero costume party. Ayden is currently obsessed with Pokemon, and Rylee has wanted a Superhero birthday party for the past several months, so we are combining the two!

Contemplating: If we should keep Ayden and Rylee in the same class again next year, or separate them. They do a great job of working independently of each other and don't really have any issues being in the same classroom. It's easier for ME as far as only having to keep track of what's going on for one class, homework, one parent/teacher conference, etc. I think they would totally be find in separate classes as well. My biggest concern for that is what if one of them gets a phenomenal teacher, and the other gets a sub-par teacher? We still have time to figure it out, but it's something that has been on our minds as parents.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Job

It's been awhile! I've thought about sitting down and writing a blog post MANY times in the past few months, but actually doing it is another story altogether. Even now, I should be in bed, but here I am instead...

It's been quite the adjustment for me going back to work after being a SAHM for the past 5+ years. It's been challenging, but I do feel like we are finally falling into a routine. I just feel like I have no time to do anything anymore. No time for myself. No time to clean the house or do yard work. No time to cook dinner. No time to run errands. My freedom is gone. But really, now that I think about it, did I have freedom to begin with as a mom of two young children?

I know that working moms have been managing it for years, but my goodness, how??? I look at it kind of the same way as all the people that say they don't know "how we do it with twins." You just do. As a parent of multiples, you have no choice but to figure it out and make it work. I figure it's the same way with working parents. You simply find a way to make it work the best you can. You find your own routine.

I really struggled with my job at first because there wasn't a lot of guidance. I was basically handed my schedule and I was on my own. Literally. Nobody gave me a tour of the school or introduced me to the other staff members. I was given a map of the buildings and was told to walk around and find the classrooms I would be working in. It felt very awkward and unwelcoming. I started about a week before school resumed in the Fall, so there weren't any students. Once school actually started, things did got a lot better and I do like my job now.

I absolutely LOVE that I am working at the kids' school as an Instructional Assistant. I love that I can walk by their classroom and see that they are where they are supposed to be. I love that I am there if something happens to one of them. A few weeks into school, Rylee fell on the playground jungle gym and scraped her leg up pretty good. The school secretary told me about the incident and asked me if I would check her out and make sure she was okay. The scrape was up by Rylee's underwear line, and the secretary thought it would be more appropriate for me to look at it to see if she needed more attention. Easy peasy since I was right there at the school already! I also love that I get to be there for all the school assemblies. I was able to be there when Ayden received an award for being a responsible student last month!

Another positive to working at their school is that I am getting to know who their friends are, as well as the teachers. Their teacher is awesome, and always fills me in if there are any incidents that come up throughout the day so I can be ready for potential conversations later at home. It's so great to hear from all the teachers how wonderful Ayden and Rylee are, and how they are so kind and respectful. Makes my Mama heart proud!

As for the job itself and what I spend my time doing all day... my schedule keeps me hopping! I am not working in just one classroom or with one teacher. My schedule has me moving all day long, spending a half hour here, a half hour there, all day. I run reading groups, do classroom supervision so the teachers can have a break/prep period, help with math intervention, and I spend a lot of my time in the "wellness room," helping with the kids that are having trouble behaving themselves.

It's been extremely eye opening! Holy smokes, I had NO idea what goes on in public schools these days. I knew there would be troubled kids, ones that are especially ornery and have behavioral issues. But I never came close to imagining the reality of it. I had no idea that there are some kids that cause so much havoc that classrooms have to be cleared for the safety of all the other students, because desks are being pushed over, and chairs are being thrown, among other things. I had no idea that kids would go into the library and wipe out entire bookshelves. I had no idea that I would be chasing kids around the school that REFUSE to stay in their classrooms. I had no idea that a 6 year old boy would be banned from using the student bathrooms because he was exposing himself to other students inappropriately.

Just this last Friday, we had to call the police to come help contain one of the students because he was so out of control and his parents couldn't be reached. He assaulted a student and a teacher. He took a swing at me, but thankfully missed. The school went into lockdown so that he couldn't enter the office, classrooms, the cafeteria, because he was on a rampage to destroy and was terrorizing staff and other students. So the police had to be called. This was a first grader!!!!

Our elementary school has roughly 500 students, and there are about 10 that are on the extreme end of being behaviorally challenging. The others are wonderful. Because I am in so many different classrooms throughout the week, I have gotten to know a lot of the students. I feel a little like a celebrity when out and about in town and they holler "hi, Miss Amber!"

I may have gotten off to a rocky start at the beginning, and I may have to spend a good portion of my day dealing with hooligans, but I do feel like this has been the perfect job for me to step into as the kids have started school. I am mostly on their school schedule, get to see them a few times throughout the day, and am fulfilling the financial need that is necessary for our family.