Posted in Blog challenge, Me

Blog Challenge Part 12

Hello and happy Thursday. Yesterday, felt like a Monday all day, so I’m really glad that today is actually Thursday.

Well…another week, another Blog Challenge post.

I left off on Part 11.

…and today I’m going to write about topic 24…

24. A difficult time in my life

I know I’ve had a really great life. I’m lucky to think of only a few times in my life that were difficult for an extended amount of time, and they really do pale in comparison to what others have gone through.

With some of these blog challenge topics, I just go with what pops in my mind first and write about those ideas.

Here are a few difficult times that came to mind…

When we moved…

When we moved, I was in the 8th grade. To my parents’ credit, they were trying to give my brother and me a better life in a great school district and bigger house in a wonderful neighborhood. Well, try telling that to my thirteen year old self.

Also to my parents’ credit, since we’d only moved about twenty minutes away, they let me finish out the year at my previous middle school when really I could have started my new school in March of my 7th grade year.

Middle school years are just weird anyway…and then I was a new girl in a new school missing my friends.

I “rebelled” in a sense and refused to play volleyball or run track like I did my 7th grade year. I just decided to not come out of my room and just be miserable…and probably made them miserable too.

My brother was only in 5th grade, and made the transition to a new school better than I did. I kind of think boys have an easier time anyway….and he was younger.

By 9th grade, I settled in, branched out, and made friends. I think freshman year helped because it was a fresh start and many ninth graders were coming from a couple of schools.

That being said, being the “new girl” did stick with me through the years. To this day, I pay close attention and try not to let anyone, whether it’s my friend group or a student, feel left out. Due to a hectic season of life, we don’t have people over like we used to, but it’s always hard for me to know when to stop on the invite list. Again, I don’t want anyone feeling left out. Also, even as an adult, sometimes I still feel left out, and I’m sure it’s not intentional on anyone’s part. At least I don’t think so. Ok, I will stop spiraling now. 😆

Anyway, it all turned out for the best, and I had a great high school experience, made great friends, and learned a thing or two about starting over. I’d say those lessons helped me when I moved to Kentucky as an adult after living in Missouri my entire life.

Starting a family…

We struggled to start a family. I’ll probably talk a bit more about this more in June’s Not Just a Mom post, but…it took a couple of years, many doctors’ visits, medicine and more to have Hayden and Hadley. I kept it all really private because that’s just how I am. I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. It was a lonely time though.

After we had the kids and tried for a third, it took even more doctors’ visits and even stronger medicine to get pregnant again. Then, I had a miscarriage which was obviously difficult. Truly, after that, when I look back on my infertility struggles, the time (and the years following) after the miscarriage was the hardest.

I was never able to get pregnant again, and eventually I had to move on. The cost, physical discomfort, mood swings, along with having two little kids got to be too much for me to rationalize continuing on that journey. I felt like I was letting go of a dream which was sad for me. I’m a type A goal setter who usually achieves what I set my mind to …so it was hard feeling like a failure.

I realize I wasn’t a failure, but I think most who go through what I did know that feeling.

It’s hard not to have a happy ending after a traumatic loss like that. Sometimes that kind of grief is hard to shake even after all of these years.

Job transition…

When I left my former school to move to my current one, it was a difficult decision. I was really close with my department and had great friends there. I knew it was best for my family for me to work closer to home and in the same district as my kids, but I guess that decision did impact some friendships.

Then, that first year in my new school was really hard. It was year 15 for me, but I was in a new building that was double the size of my former one. There were times I truly felt like I’d made a mistake. It was the hardest year of my educational career, and I even thought about quitting. That being said, the next year was one of my best in my teaching career, so I’m glad that I stuck with it. Plus, the years following led me to my current interventionist position, and I’m definitely grateful for that.

This was kind of a “heavier” blog post…sorry! That being said, this is another reason why I’ve enjoyed my “self-imposed” blog challenge…It’s pushed me to write about things maybe I wouldn’t have otherwise?

Tomorrow, I will have a more light-hearted Friday Favorites post.

Posted in Blog challenge

Blog Challenge Part 11

Hello!


Another week, another Blog Challenge post!

I left off with Part 10….

…and today I’m goin to share about topics 21, 22, and 23.

21. Something I miss

The first thing that popped in my mind was that I miss when the kids were little. As they have gotten older, I appreciate what the next phase brings. Right now, they are pretty independent, but with that comes a sense of worry, expectations and guidance. 

I miss having little ones to rock to sleep, sit on my lap to read a book, hold my hand when crossing the street, and smiling when they see me pick them up from school. 

My grandparents – Of course, I always miss loved ones who are no longer here, but I tend to think of them more often now as I get older. I feel very grateful to still have my Gma, and that the kids have shared life with her as well.

22. 10 Favorite Songs

I’m not the best with songs. Truly – I never know the names of artists or song titles. That’s never been my strength. I do love to listen to music in the car. I can certainly appreciate 80’s and 90’s songs, but it’s usually country that I have on the radio.

Right now, we love American Idol. I even vote for the contestants using the app! 

That being said, you know how when you hear a song, it “takes you back” to a time…that does happen for me. I will hear a song and think about high school or college…or a breakup, or some other moment in time. 

Some of my favorite music memories include: 

My first concert was Billy Joel– I think I was in 7th grade, but he was married to Christie Brinkley and she was in the helicopter crash around the time of the concert. The concert was postponed until the following year. I went with a friend and her parents, and it was a great time. 

Travis is a music guy. Where I tend to stay in the “country lane,” he loves quite a few artists, and he has certainly introduced me to musicians I wouldn’t have known otherwise. The first concert we went to was David Gray in St. Louis, and it was so good.

For my birthday one year, we went to Nashville. I knew we were going to Ryman Auditorium, but I didn’t know we were seeing Eric Church. He was just getting started, and it was before he was so well-known. He only played a few songs (there were other performers), but we loved it. 

We finally got to see Chris Stapleton last spring. He was supposed to come to Kroger Field in 2020, but that got postponed….it was postponed again in 2021. Last April, he finally came to Lexington. Sheryl Crowe and Willie Nelson opened for him. It was all worth the wait. The weather was amazing that night, we went with friends, saw so many people we knew, and just had a great time. His voice is amazing. I hope to see him again.

I went to the  NKOTB concert with friends this summer. Talk about “blast from the past.” We loved every minute. 

I had two surprises from Travis for our wedding. I let him choose the honeymoon location (as long as it had a beach), and he surprised me with our wedding song. I will never forget hearing “Someone Like You.” While it had sweet meaning behind it and the lyrics are wonderful too, I gave him a hard time about it because of the movie…and his his love for Ashley Judd. Haha    

23. Pet Peeves

You’ll have to come back to the blog on Monday. Pet Peeves is the topic for Monday’s Not Just a Mom post.

Well, I’m making my way through this blog challenge. I guess I still have a few posts left!

See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Blog challenge, Me

Blog Challenge Part 10

Hello!

I’m continuing with my *never ending* Blog Challenge today. I really have enjoyed looking at different topics!

I left off covering topic #18, and today I’m writing about #19 and #20.

19. My worst habits

Well, I’m a worrier by nature. I do think I’ve gotten better at worrying less as I’ve gotten older. That being said, now I think I worry about “bigger” things rather than “smaller” things. I guess with age you do learn not to “sweat the small stuff,” but I sure do worry about other bigger things…Also, how can you have kids and not worry?

Also, I am type A in most aspects of my life, but I can procrastinate on things that I don’t want to do…and it’s usually small things like put away a stack of papers, pack a suitcase, or tidy up my closet.

Lastly, I play with my hair a lot. It’s a nervous habit that turned into just a bad habit!

20. Where I want to be in 10 years…

Retired. 😆

Seriously.

I’m finishing up year 21 in education, and I really don’t see myself going past year thirty. The “practical” part of me even likes the “math” of it…At the end of my 30th year, the kids will be 22 and graduating college (assuming it takes them four years). So, we can all check off big milestones.

I’ve loved my time in education, and it’s been the perfect job for me. I’ve learned so much, met so many great people, taught so many great students, accomplished so much professionally and more.

Could I get to that 30th year and decide to go one more because it will make my pension better? Yes…and I just might. Our retirement system has changed a bit. It used to be 52 years old and thirty years gave you a pretty optimal pension, but now I think it’s 55 (or a combo of age + years if you started teaching later). I know more and more people who are retiring at 27 years which is when you can start getting a pretty good pension. I have a few years in Missouri, so my thirty years would be 27 if I retire then.

But, for me, 30 is the goal. Then, I will be ready to do whatever I want…whenever I want!

I was just talking about the first day of school with some students. Even in August of 2020 when we started the school year virtually, I still went to school and sat in my classroom. I’ve had a first day of school in a classroom for over 40 years! I didn’t want to end the streak.

I’m not sure what I will do when I retire, but it would be nice to have more free time and do what I want. I sure hope Travis and I have raised good, productive kids who are ready for their own bright future, so we can enjoy ours (but be there for them whenever/however they need us to be). I’ve always dreamed of spending the month of February somewhere warm, travel a bit more, not be in a rush to drink my coffee in the morning, and more. I think I would be open to subbing. I honestly didn’t think that would be the case, but the money is good, and of course you can pick and choose where you go and whose classroom you sub in. After my mom retired, she worked at the public library. That sounds like something I’d enjoy as well. We’ll see.

I still have eight years go to, but I’m proud of myself for sticking with education even during some really tough years. I’ve earned two Master’s degrees, had various classroom jobs, held leadership positions, and more. I help provide for our family, and have modeled for my kids what it’s like to have a career and balance home life as well. It’s been the best decision for our family. Plus, I get the extra time at home with the kids on breaks and in the summer.

I know students sure have changed my life for the better, and I hope many can say the same about their time in my classroom.

Year 1 to year 21 sure escalated quickly!

I hope your week is off to a great start. It’s been a busy one for us, but I hope to be back with two more posts this week.

Posted in Blog challenge

Blog Challenge Part 9

Hello and happy Wednesday.

Today, I’m picking up where I left off in my blog writing challenge

…and talking about topic 18.

18. What am I afraid of?

Well, I’m not a huge fan of spiders or things that slither! Also, I can’t say that I love heights. I wasn’t always afraid of heights; that’s something that’s developed as I’ve gotten older.

That being said, when I saw this prompt, my first thought was losing someone I love unexpectedly or something happening to my kids.

This prompt is timely given the tragic event in Louisville on Monday. This sad news hits so close to home for us. I honestly don’t know how to really process the anxiety I’ve felt the past couple of weeks. First, the Covenant School and now this. As a mom, it’s been hard for me to let my kids out of my sight. As a teacher, I’ve felt on “high alert” the past couple of weeks. Just a year ago, we ended the school year reeling from the aftermath of Uvalde. It’s really hard to believe this is the world we live in.

Trav’s family knows what it’s like to unexpectedly and tragically lose his dad, and I pray events like these will never happen again. We need more than prayers though. We need voices to be heard, and we need change.

While we’ve had beautiful weather this week and the sun has been shining, the world feels pretty dark right now.

I know this post is serious, and while I hope my little corner of the internet is a happy place, I never want my blog posts to feel out of touch with reality.

Posted in Blog challenge

Blog Challenge Part 8

Hello and happy Tuesday. I hope your week is off to a great start.

I’m picking up where I left off with my blog challenge

…and tackling topics 16 and 17.

16. Dream Job

I know teaching might not be a “dream” job to some…but it is what I always wanted to do. My mom was a middle school Language Arts teacher. I always “played” school with my Barbies. I remember helping my mom grade spelling tests and thinking I was so cool. I always had good English teachers, and really never thought twice about being anything besides a teacher. Also, it’s a wonderful profession for raising a family. I’m home with the kids on snow days, on breaks and in the summer. While I have definitely had some difficult years, I really do think this is what I was meant to do.

Obviously, my dream job would be to hit the lottery…and never work again…haha

That being said, if I really had to start over, I would love an at home editing type job. I think it would be fun to read and edit content written for publication. I always wished I could be an author. I guess this blog takes the place of that dream just a little bit. When my mom retired, she worked at the public library. I could definitely see myself doing that a couple days a week when I retire (in less than 10 years!)

That being said, if I didn’t have to work, and could just volunteer, I would spend my time in schools…probably elementary just to help out wherever needed. I’ve never been able to do that since I’ve spent over twenty years with high schoolers. I think it would be fun to help teachers whether it’s make copies, help with testing or reading groups, serve lunch, go on field trips, and more. I would also volunteer at the Humane Society and hang out with dogs all day. Is holding NICU babies still a thing? I would hold a baby all day long if I could.

What’s your dream job?

17. Favorite Childhood Book

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading. I’ve shared before that both of my parents were (and are) readers. That habit was modeled for me often and from a very young age.

I loved the Madeline book when I was little. I even had two dolls. I got the second one because the first one I carried around so much it was dirty…and I think was missing an eye.

See…I really loved my Madeline doll.

Other reading memories:

In elementary school, some of the first books I remember listening to my teachers read to the class were Island of the Blue Dolphins in the 3rd grade and Z for Zachariah in the 4th grade. Dear Mr. Henshaw is one of the first books I remember checking out from school library. I also loved Ramona and Amelia Bedelia books; they are perfect for young readers.

I loved the Babysitter Club series. Loved it. I remember buying the books whenever a new one was published.

In middle school, we read Where the Red Fern Grows in 7th grade and The Outsiders in 8th grade and enjoyed them so much.

In high school, my 9th grade English teacher assigned The Great Gatsby to read over winter break, and I didn’t enjoy it. Then, I read it again in college, and I absolutely loved it. (I also made note that when I became a teacher to never assign a book for students to read over a break) 😉

In college, one of my favorite classes was all about young adult books. Every week, we were assigned a book to read, and then we created lesson plans for the books. We read: The Outsiders, The Giver, Chocolate Wars, The Great Gatsby, The Call of the Wild and more.

My first year teaching, my 9th graders read To Kill a Mockingbird. I had never read it which is pretty surprising to me looking back since it’s such a classic (9th grade) book. I had to read it to prep for the unit, and I loved it. Freshman still read this book although many teachers have started using the graphic novel. Of course, I prefer the original, but I will say the graphic novel does do it justice and holds the kids’ attention.

Guess who is a “bad” English teacher and doesn’t love teaching Shakespeare? This girl! Also, I haven’t read a single Harry Potter book, but I distinctly remember the 2004-05 school year, and I had so many students who loved those books. Obviously, they are still popular, but so students who never loved reading really loved those books. Hayden has read the first few, and he really enjoyed them.

I’m very grateful that I have a love of reading. Whether I became an English teacher or not, I think I would still be an avid reader.

What was your favorite childhood book?

Posted in Blog challenge

Blog Challenge Part 7

Hello and Happy Thursday!

Today, I’m continuing with my blog challenge and covering topics #14 and #15.

14. What is in my handbag?

When I saw this one, I thought it sounded familiar….and realized it’s because that’s also one of our Not Just a Mom topics…but not until August! I carry different purses different times of the year, so that will be fun to look back on this post and compare.

Anyway, I have three purses that I tend to carry this time of the year. My big purse that holds all the things, a crossbody if I don’t need to carry as much, and then my belt bag if I’m really try to be more minimal with what I carry.

In my Barrington tote, I have:

  • my wallet which holds cards and money (of course)
  • two smaller bags

The two smaller bags (which I’ve had forever):

  • White/pink bag: hair ties, lip gloss, Airpods, toothbrush, a few gift cards
  • Multicolored bag: hand sanitizer, medicine, wet wipes, cloth to clean sunglasses, and a few other odds and ends

Also in my purse I have…

  • Two pairs of sunglasses (the smaller black pair, I tend to wear if I’m wearing a hat)
  • My Invisalign compact (pink) + light up compact mirror (light blue), rubber bands
  • Kleenex
  • Hand lotion
  • Hair brush
  • Pens
  • A pair of socks — this is more of a winter thing, but if I’m wearing boots, sometimes I want socks and sometimes I don’t.

Last but not least…

  • my Kindle! I never leave home without it.

The other purses…

  • I love the cross body with the interchangeable strap. I tend to carry this one April -September before switching over to my larger bag for fall/winter months. This bucket bag holds quite a bit, and I use it some on the weekends when I can just pull out what I need from my bigger bag. I feel like I carry less in the warmer months, and maybe that’s because I’m also home more in the summer and don’t need to have everything on me all of the time.
  • For example, this weekend, when we were out of town for Hadley’s competition, I left my big purse at home, and just put what I needed (the essentials) in my cross body. It holds quite a bit…and that weekend, I even threw in some snacks for Hadley as well as a few extras like some things she needed for dance.
  • The belt bag is perfect for if I go for a walk or a sporting event. I do laugh every time I see it because there’s a small stain on it from a drop of guacamole that missed my mouth in Mexico this summer. I’ve tried to rub it out, and it just seems to stay. It’s probably not noticeable to others, but I notice it!
  • If we are going somewhere “nicer,” and I want a smaller bag, I have a few clutches or even a small black Kendra Scott crossbody that I will use the most.

15. Timeline of my day:

Well, I’ve done quite a few “Day in the Life” posts, so I will keep this answer pretty simple:

  • 6:00 wake up
  • Quiet time with coffee, blogs, news until 6:45
  • Get ready and make lunch
  • Wake kids ay 7:15 (and help with whatever they need)
  • Leave for school 7:45.
  • School from 8:00-3:30 (sometimes 4 or 4:30)
  • Pick up kids from school at 4:00 (if they don’t have after school activities)
  • After school activities: practices, games, dance, errands (if needed)
  • If there aren’t many activities, I try to workout 3 days a week.
  • 6:00 start dinner
  • Work on blog post while dinner cooks
  • 6:30-7:30 dinner (varies day to day)
  • After dinner, kids do homework, sometimes we have pick up from activities
  • 8:00 shower and skincare
  • 8:30-10:00 watch tv, relax if there’s time to do so
  • 10:00 bedtime and read for a bit

**Of course, every evening is different. There are times we don’t even get home until 7:30, eat dinner, help with schoolwork, etc. I do the best I can to cook Sunday-Thursday (with leftovers once or twice during the week). The slow cooker is a life saver at this point in my life. Thankfully, the kids are pretty self-sufficient, and help around the house. I do feel like I’m constantly playing “catch-up” on the weekends. So, when we have a busy weekend last last weekend, I often feel “thrown off” during the week trying to get caught up. Oh well, I always say “blessed to be busy!”

This month, for Not Just a Mom, we are sharing Day in the Life: Weekend Edition on March 13th.

When I started this “blog challenge,” I wasn’t sure how many posts I’d have to cover it…and I still don’t know! 😆 These topics have been fun to think about though.

Posted in Blog challenge

Blog Challenge Part 6

Hello and happy Wednesday.

It feels like spring around here, and the sunshine and warmer temps have been nice.

Today, I’m picking up where I left off in Part 5, and continuing with my blog challenge.

I’ve covered topics #1-11…

…and today, I’m going to write about #12 and #13.

12. If I won the lottery…

Seriously, whenever we buy a lottery ticket (which isn’t often…but we do occasionally buy a ticket), I always say that I’d buy a private plane with my lottery winnings. Travis is always a buzzkill and tells me I could lease a plane because buying one isn’t fiscally responsible. It’s my money, Trav…I will spend it however I want. haha

Of course, I’d donate to charities, pay off loans, buy Travis a car (fun fact: he’s been looking at a car off and on for a couple of years —but his 17 year old 4Runner with 250k miles just keeps on ticking…and he’s not much of a car guy), buy a beach house, donate to my school district, my church, the Humane Society, travel, treat my family and friends to a vacation, and more.

Does one invest lottery winnings? If so, I guess I should do that too.

But…a private plane always pops into my head. How great would be it be, especially having family out of town, to just have that luxury to go wherever you want whenever you want?

Favorite Quotes:

I actually wrote this post over two years ago with some of my favorite quotes. They still ring true.

I had a note on my phone with favorite quotes that I would add to whenever I heard one I wanted to remember it. I’m not sure what happened, but it’s not on my phone anymore…which I am bummed about. Thankfully, my November 2020 post is one to look back on, and I guess I can start a new note on my phone of quotes I want to remember.

So—if you won the lottery, what would you do? …and/or what’s your favorite quote? Maybe I can add it to my list!

Thanks for reading,

Posted in Blog challenge, Me

Blog Challenge: Part 5

Hello and happy Thursday!

Today, I’m continuing on with my “Blog Challenge” and answering…

Prompt #11…

Most Proud Moment:

Not sure if this means a time I was proud of myself or proud of others, so let me tag all the bases…

That being said, per usual, it’s difficult to write about myself, but my first thought was that I was proud of myself when I finished my second Master’s degree…

I completed it in about a year and a half while the kids were really young. My school was a part of a grant, and I had less than two years to complete the Reading Specialist degree that went with my literacy specialist job. I didn’t have to have the degree, but the tuition was free and the program was all online. The kids were two to three years old during that time. There were many late nights where I’d write papers and submit assignments through those years. Travis was Super Dad during that time too. I always think about the opportunities I’ve had in my career thanks to my two Master’s degrees. They’ve opened a lot of doors for me, and I’m grateful that I took the time to complete them when I did.

Also, I was proud of myself when I made the decision to move to my current school. I knew it would be hard to say goodbye to a school I was at for 12 years with so many wonderful friends and then start fresh in a very established school. That being said, I knew it was the right call for my family. The kids were just starting school, and I needed to be on the same schedule as them in the same district. An added bonus is that my current district pays more and the drive is less. The first year was a major adjustment, but the second year was much easier. The years are definitely flying by…it seems like yesterday that I started there!

Moving on…

I’m constantly proud of Travis. He’s a hard worker and is just an all around good guy. He continues to work hard for our family, and has really accomplished so much in his career. Everyone who knows him know what a great person he is, and they always tell me so. I joke that it’s hard being married to someone who is so perfect when I’m a hot mess. lol

Of course, I’ve been so proud of him for coaching cross country both at the kids’ school and for the club team. As his wife and also as a teacher, I know he’s making an impact on so many kids’ lives and he doesn’t even realize it. That’s the best kind of teacher.

Also, of course I’m proud of my kids. Parenting is such a tough job, and they aren’t perfect. We’re doing the best that we can, and so are they. That being said, I see them interact with their teammates, support their friends, use their manners, and try their best, and I’m proud of them for that. I’m grateful that they’ve stayed true to friendships and know that it’s important to be inclusive, and that’s come really naturally to them. Also, they’ve both gone through things, especially Hayden, that haven’t been easy, but they’ve persevered. I hope they always know how proud we are of them.

I didn’t have a lot of time for this post, so these are just my quick thoughts…

Thanks so much for reading!

Posted in Blog challenge, Holidays, Kids

Bloganuary 1.29.23

Hello and happy Sunday! Well, we went from cold temps to temps in the 50’s yesterday…and then this upcoming week looks a little messy. Yep. It’s definitely the end of January.

Yesterday’s Bloganuary topic was: describe your perfect birthday cake.

Well, we are cookie cake people, and we are also Bundt cake people.

I did not grow up eating cookie cakes for my birthday, but now I think everyone knows that’s the expectation. I’m sure I’d had a cookie cake before, but I think we started buying cookie cakes for celebrations in the summer of 2010. My brother was with me at Sam’s Club and saw the double decker cookie cake. He said we should get one because it was June and his birthday combined with Father’s Day for Travis…like we needed a reason to justify it. haha

For years, we just bought them at Kroger, but then for quite a few years now, we’ve gotten them at Great American Cookie.

We are so lucky because we have a friend who makes cookies and cookie cakes too. They are delish.

This year, Travis got my cookie cake from Insomnia Cookie. It was so good…and I liked how small it was because I have zero will power when it comes to cookie cake! Plus, it was the right amount of icing.

See…we are big cookie cake people!

Love a cookie cake.

So, this prompt got me thinking about the kids’ birthday cakes through the years. For their first couple of birthdays, I had a Lexington and then KC party since we were in KC for Thanksgiving. Then, from the ages of 4-10, we always had two parties: one for their friends and one for family. I know it may sound crazy, but I just didn’t want to force family to come to Chuck E Cheese or have tons of kids running around our house since they have a November birthday.

The year they turned 11 was Covid 2020, and I had already told them that around that age they were getting older and too busy to keep having two parties. So, we’ve naturally just gone back to one party with friends…and who knows how much longer that will last.

Anyway, there were quite a few years that I made their cakes…and while I would consider myself novice and cake decorating, it was always fun.

1.

When the kids turned one, we had family over. My friend’s sister decorated cakes on the side, and she made their smash cake and cupcakes that were laid out in the shape of a one.

When we went to KC for Thanksgiving, my mom made them big cupcakes as smash cakes too.

2.

My mother-in-law decorated cakes for years and years when Travis was growing up. So, when the kids turned two and we had a “Oh TWO-dles” party (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), she made their Mickey and Minnie cakes for their party.

Again, when we went to KC, my mom tried her hand at fondant, and made a cute Mickey cake. We also did cupcakes with Oreo Mickeys.

3.

When the kids turned three, my mother-in-law made their cakes again. The kids were very into the Sprout Channel and all of those shows. She made Chica from that channel as well as Calliou for their cakes.

4.

When the kids turned 4, I was inspired by my friend’s sister who made the one year cupcakes and smash cake. Also, thanks to Pinterest, I made a Curious George and a Hello Kitty cake for the family party.

For the friends party at Chuck E Cheese, I made the Thomas the Train and Elmo cake. These were some of my favorites that I made.

5.

When the kids turned five, I made Frozen cupcakes and dirt cupcakes for their indoor pool party with friends. For the family party, I made a Frozen cake and construction cake. Props helped make the cake even better! When I was looking through photos, I found this one with brownies that I guess I made on the day of their actual birthday. So many sweets in November!

6.

When they turned six, I made this football cake for Hayden and Power Rangers for Hadley.

7.

For the kids 7th birthday, they had their friends party at a tumbling place, so I made cupcakes and then bought the cupcake toppers off Etsy. For the family party, I ordered this gymnast made out of fondant for Hadley’s cake, and then made a football/baseball/basketball cake for Hayden.

8.

When the kids turned 8, they actually had an outside birthday party with friends. It was a mild early-November weekend, so we made dirt cups instead of cupcakes. Then, closer to their birthday, for the family party, I made a volleyball cake for Hadley and KC Royals (#8 Mike Moustakas) cake for Hayden.

9.

For their 9th birthday, the kids requested ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins, so that’s what we got for their (bowling) party with their friends.

This was the year that life caught up with me, and I realized it would be easier to let them pick out cookie cakes for family parties. It was fun seeing what designs they chose. Of course, Hayden loves basketball, and what girl doesn’t dream of going to Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower?

10.

For their 10th birthday, they talked me into a slumber party (girls upstairs, boys in the basement!) We went to an indoor place for them to run around and play soccer and volleyball. Then, we came home for pizza and cookie cake before movies and bedtime.

Hadley’s slumber party cookie cake was perfect, and Hayden wanted Homer on his cake!

This was the kids’ last year having a family party, and I was going to order a Bundt cake. That being said, we had quite a bit of cookie cake left, so I just bought the kids each a mini cake then we had the leftover cookie cake with family.

11.

November of 2020 Covid was still rampant. We took advantage of online learning and had an outside birthday one Friday afternoon in November. Again, I picked up mini Bundt cakes, so they wouldn’t spread their germs (which honestly seems like it should always be that way…haha)

Then, I just picked up one cookie cake after realizing two cakes were too much the previous year.

12.

After going to a trampoline place with their friends, we got pizza and had cookie cake. Then, on their birthday, my brother and his family came over for Bundt cake.

13.

This year was much the same as last year. They went to Activate Games with friends and then we got pizza and had cookie cake.

On their actual birthday, we had a nice dinner out, and then stopped by my brother’s house to share the Bundt cake.

That was a fun walk down memory lane. I’m big on birthdays and always want my family, kids, and friends to feel celebrated!

What’s your ideal birthday cake?

See you back here tomorrow for Monday Memes!

Posted in Blog challenge, Me, School

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Hello! I hope your week is off to a great start.

Confession: Instagram is my favorite form of social media. Instagram stories are what suck me in …and sometimes reels.

Anyway, over the past year or so, I’ve started to follow a few educators who are mostly English teachers, and today I’m sharing a few of my faves to follow.

Momfessionals:

@momfessionals:

I read Andrea’s blog every day and have for years. She’s a busy mom of three, and a middle school math teacher at a Christian school in McKinney, Tx. On both her blog and social media, she shares about her life, her family, her home, and her classroom. She occasionally shares lesson ideas, teacher tips, and classroom organization. She will share “Doodle Town” coloring pages too! Both her blog, and her Instagram are fun to follow!

Update: Coincidentally, Andrea has a Teacher Tuesday post up today too!

Educator Andrea:

(@educator_andrea)

I’ve been following Andrea for about a year. She’s a public high school English teacher in the San Diego area. Her reels are so fun…she often shares classroom scenarios and how they differ at the elementary, middle, and high school level. She’s so sarcastic which I can appreciate, but it’s evident that she cares so much about her students and is creative in providing them with a variety of learning opportunities. I actually earned my last PD hour this year when I joined her online session, and heard her chat about “Connection and Culture in Secondary ELA.”

Her website has digital resources and merch. She’s even on Cameo! Anyway, I always enjoy her stories and teaching advice that she shares with her followers.

My Teacher Face

@myteacherface

Dr. I is a hoot! She’s been an English teacher for 30+ years. Her reels as “teacher 1” and “teacher 2” are so funny. She says she’s been both teachers at some point, and I can probably say the same! She also has the coolest light up board behind her when she shares the reels. She put a strip of LED lights in between the border and uses the remote to make the board different colors. I just thought that was a fun idea.

The Daring English Teacher

@thedaringenglishteacher

Christina is a HS English and Journalism teacher. She shares so many great lesson ideas like engaging end of novel activities, goal setting, prepping for a sub (her sub binder is 100!), and writing tasks.

Laurencella

@laurencella

I just recently started following this account, but Lauren is a History teacher, and her reels are so funny…especially the “Gen Z Teaches History” ones.

The Caffeinated Class

@thecaffeinatedclass

Marie is another high school English teacher, and I’ve only been following her for a little bit. She also shares resources like bellringers and other units too.

I want to check out her “Brave New Teaching” podcast next.

Cool Miss P

@cool.missp

I started following Miss Phillips when I saw her reel (which was really popular) of her 2nd graders arriving to school, and she has them look in the mirror share their affirmations. She has so much energy and makes learning so fun for her kids too! My kids would have loved being in her class!

Also…

While I’m on the topic of teaching…one of the WordPress Bloganuary prompts is: What was your dream job as a child?

Long story short…I always wanted to be a teacher. Literally…no other backup plan.

When I was a kid, I would often play school. I always loved setting up my “classroom,” lining up my stuffed animals and Barbies as my students, and writing on a chalkboard.

I remember when I was old enough to help my mom grade papers. She’d hand me a red pen and let me grade spelling tests and worksheets.

My mom taught 7th grade Language Arts for 31 years, and she spent many of them in the classroom next to one of her best friends who was a Reading teacher. They would slide open the divider wall, and co-teach when they could. Besides wanting to be an English teacher, because of them, I knew I also wanted to help students in reading. I now have a Master’s in Literacy and a Reading Specialist degree.

Also, I always had wonderful teachers, but especially amazing English teachers. There wasn’t an English teacher I didn’t enjoy in both middle school and high school. I even remember my 9th grade English teacher who was hard core! She had us all memorize every preposition and then we each had to stand up in front of the class and recite them in alphabetical order. I’m sure most of my classmates can’t say the same, but that paid off for me in the long run. haha

Anyway, I was one of the only people I knew who didn’t change their major in college. I even have college friends who majored in Education, but left the profession after a few years. Honestly, I can’t say I blame them. I had those same thoughts a few times in my early teaching career….and I do think it’s a more difficult profession now for many reasons. It really is a rewarding profession, and thankfully, I’ve been really happy in the classroom with my intervention work the past few years. This is my 21st year and while I’m not counting down, I don’t think you’ll see me in the classroom past year 30…but we’ll see.

What was your dream job as a child?