Teacher Appreciation Week

We don’t just celebrate teacher appreciation day, we do a whole week. I mean the two women who manage 21 5-6 year olds 5 days a week, all day, and still manage to teach them something—they deserve a whole week.

I consider myself a fairly successful adult and my penchant for learning (life-long) and for reading came from a beautiful, amazing tiny little woman who is now retired but with whom I still stay in touch. She was my first grade teacher and her name was “Miss” Judy. I still remember learning phonics lessons in her class. She made an impact. Many of the children in her class at that small little private school in South Carolina have gone on to become pretty successful adults. Even though I moved away after 2nd grade I still stay in touch with many of them and they are contributing to society in many ways. Let’s not pretend our time with Miss Judy didn’t play a roll in that.

My own baby sister (8 years age difference) is now a first grade teacher, at the school in the very classroom where she attended 1st grade. I could not be more proud. She is 3 years in to teaching and she already has former parents and students stopping her when we are shopping to hug her and thank her. She glows afterwards. She, my mom and I have spent many of our own dollars 💵 and lots of time giving her students special lessons and surprises each year. Having someone who I’m so close with as a teacher deepens my respect for them so much. Sweat, paper-cut blood, tears and a good chunk of her not-big-enough-in-my-opinion salary goes into teaching each of those 19-22 students she has for 8 hours 5 days a week 184days +\- each year so please know to all those teachers out there I appreciate you, I love you for caring, to the two currently teaching my little bit–thank you. Thank you.

Hug a teacher, buy her a bottle of wine or some chocolate or a gift card to get her toes done. She (or he) deserves it.

So here’s what we did–I made print outs on Silhouette studio for the bags (I will try to find a way to post the svg file if anybody is interested) the first day I made “Your the balm” and gave Burt’s Bees lip balm, today is donut day so I bought donuts and put them in pretty white boxes with the donut tags I found here.

Tomorrow I will be making or finding a “thank you for helping my bloom” and giving them each a rose ring that I make (I make jewelry with polymer clay, you can follow me on Instagram at ClayMagnolias or my Facebook page under the same name, I do not have Etsy yet but I do accept PayPal and ship). I have a Youtube channel with tutorials in the works you can find here.

Friday the last day we will be making a teacher supply “cake” and I will post an updated picture when it’s done!

What did you do for teachers appreciation? What impact have teachers made in your life? Your children’s?

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Treasure Hunting: Family Adventures

Every year for the past three years at least, our family tries to make our way over at least a few times from Jan-Feb to one of my favorite spots on the GA coast, Jekyll Island. If you are unfamiliar with the island its a small island off the Southern coast of Georgia that was once a vacation spot for big names such as Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Pulitzer, etc who built “cottages” there and had an exclusive hunting club. The island is now a State Park and home to both historic landmarks and beautiful beaches.

During the cooler months when tourism is down, we find it the best time to partake in the many trails/bike paths all over the island as we don’t have to become food sources for the insect population. It’s also this time of year (Jan 1- Feb 28) when the island hosts its annual treasure hunt!

The treasure hunt is based on a hobby from the 1950s when beach-goers would collect hollow glass balls/floats that fishermen would use to mark their nets when they broke free and drifted on shore.

As you may have read in my New Year’s post, the Moose and I have made a joint decision to disconnect this year and spend more time outdoors with the girls. We took the somewhat warmer day (above freezing) as a sign to do just that. We packed up the girls and dressed them and ourselves warmly and went on an adventure.

We went along the trail leading towards the historic district keeping our eyes out for treasures and stopping along the way to read and discuss some of the historic sites with Little Bit.

We did make it all the way to the historic district but the wind had picked up, the clouds started to come in and the girls were cold. We headed back, walking about 3 miles round trip and having a lot of fun!

While we didn’t find any treasure this weekend we hope to come back soon with better luck!

I’d love to hear from you! What adventures do you like to go on with your kiddos or significant other?

The rare cold day

We took Little Bit and Lilo on a hike at a state park on New Years Day. I️ haven’t always been an outdoors woman to say the least. I️ mean bugs, snakes (many poisonous around here) and the sun are not exactly in this pale girl’s friend list. I️ am trying to find it more enjoyable especially when the weather assists me in blocking my three aforementioned enemies as in Georgia “Swinter” or the extreme mixture of weather we have between late October and March. I️ mean, y’all, my idea of a great day is curled up in my pjs or yoga pants reading a good book and drinking some hot tea on a “cold” day.

We had decided if the Seattle-style weather subsided on New Year’s Day and the weather was above freezing we would #optoutside with the girls as my husband is very much an outdoor kind of guy and since Ireland I’ve found a bit more of an adventurous side to my soul.

With much difficulty we mustered enough layers to be somewhat warm in the just above freezing temps (it’s the South y’all, I️ didn’t even get to wear a sweater last “winter”) and threw some things in a daypack.

We were pretty much the only people in the park other than employees. I’ve already learned a lot about dressing warmly after this one trip lol. It was frigid. I didn’t have true mittens for the baby and vowed to crochet some as soon as possible. Especially, as I suspect, we will be doing this more often. We hiked down the pioneer trail until the temp started dropping and we decided to turn around. It was amazing but not entirely unsurprising how well Little Bit took to the hike. She found area where the wild boar in the area had been digging, saw hoof prints from deer and the boar along he way. The Moose was an Eagle Scout so had camped at the park before and took her to view the campsites which she thought was awesome. There are few benches along the trail and we stopped and let Little Bit assist Moose in using the campstove to boil water for one of those rehydrated meals to try. It was actually delicious for camping food and the warm slightly spicy meal was welcome to cut through the cold, almost wet chill.

We decided as we made our way back to the car to do this more often during the year as disconnecting from screen time and the more modern world felt good. The connection we made with the girls and with each other on this brief hike left me wanting more. The-not-so-outdoorsy girl in me finding very little room to complain about anything other than her desire for a warm bath.

So as we begin 2018 we start with true family time and have already done a little treasure hunting on Jekyll Island (see next post).

Confessional/Ponderings

So I️ feel like I️ need to confess some things at least to the blog-o-sphere.

I️ may seem like it from the outside, but I️ hardly have my shit together most days.

Was our parents generation really better at juggling life or were they better at not over-sharing/complaining? I️ think there were a lot of closet drinkers….just sayin’.

Do people really expect parenting to be easy? I️ didn’t and still didn’t expect some of the balancing act.

How the flying flip do household with two working parents and two small children keep the house clean? Mine constantly looks like it had a tornado go through it…..even 20 minutes after I’ve just cleaned it.

Am I️ ever going to feel like I’m off the hamster wheel? I️ long for the weekends because my seven month old doesn’t sleep and it means I️ won’t have to get up on a schedule like normal.

Is there a club for Overthinkers-anonymous? I️ should google that…

Nighttime crafting: bulletin board for the office

I am fortunate enough to be in my own office and trying to get settled, I am slowly attempting to make it feel like home ( my philosophy is that as much time as I’m there I should make it feel homey!)

I found this cute craft on Pinterest. And decided to use it as inspiration!

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This is the ugly cork board donated to me by a coworker.

The fabric is a heavier duty Chevron print in grey (my office walls are pastel yellow).

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I bought silver upholstery pins from my least favorite store china mart Walmart for a whopping $0.97 per pack (I bought 4 packs of 30 and only used 2 from the last pack) and chose silver because, well there was only two choices and it went best with the fabric.

I began pinning and used my thumb as a measure between tacks.

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I pulled the fabric tight in between and after about 20 mins and two sore thumbs I had this.

Now my upholstery tacks were a bit long and thus escaped through the back of the board. My husband suggested applying a drop of super glue over the ends sticking through.

The final result:

Pumping Schedule for the Working Momma Still Nursing at Home

So something I struggled with was finding someone who knew how to help me find a schedule that worked for me as a working mom who wanted to continue to primarily nurse but needed to pump for stash and sitter.

When I say stash I mean that precious treasure trove of liquid you build up to have extra in case of emergency.

I ended up piecing together some advice and trial and error to find what worked for me.

Lilo has not ever been a good sleeper and still, at 5.5 months, she is not. Couple this with reflux and apparently a cow milk protein intolerance through my breast milk and finding a schedule was extra difficult. I ended up feeding throughout the day, pumping IF I had time after a feed occasionally (I got very little out but figured the stimulation couldn’t hurt). And then after bedtime feed (7-9 pm). Then set my clock to pump at 2 am. She used to get up and eat at varying times throughout the night but now usually just once. I still always pump at two.

Now that my supply is somewhat regulated, although I still fight with that at times, I pump the following on weekdays when I work:

Last feed is usually around 5-6am. If I have time I will pump after for a few, otherwise I pump at 8:00 when I get to work before I start seeing patients for 15-20 mins.

I pump again between patients at 10-10:30 am for 20.

Pump at lunch 12:30 for 15-20.

Pump at 2:30 for 20.

Then I feed the baby again when I get home usually between 5:30-6pm. Then on demand until bedtime around 8-9. I pump after I bath/shower and then wake up at 2am to pump. I feed on demand throughout the night which can be none-2 times usually. I also feed on demand on weekends and days off.

I have not been able to space my pumps out at work or drop the middle of the night and I probably won’t be able to or else I won’t have enough for the sitter. It’s challenging but to me it’s worth it. Especially as she has issues already with dairy and soy, even organic has a whole different set of concerns.

How often do you pump? What schedule works for you?

Tralee & County Kerry

Let me just say that I have been fortunate to be in some beautiful places in my life. I even live near a few, but little prepared me for the tug on my heart strings of County Kerry and the town of Tralee. It wasn’t just the sights—even the beautiful pictures can’t exactly do justice to it; the entire vibe and atmosphere just felt like home to me. There are very few places I feel connected to in the way I felt connected to County Kerry, I tend to be more connected with people rather than places; however I could have just stayed there and become an expat—at least until winter.

Tralee is a fairly small coastal city/town? with one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever visited. The playground was also just fantastic and I wish we had something half as nice near our home. We just so happened to be fortunate enough to be there when the 200th festival was going on and the day after we arrived so did festival stalls, music, and giant semi-scary puppets for the kids.

Down the road a bit further from the park is a museum which was definitely worth a visit. The adults enjoyed the history and scenes set up while the kids enjoyed the dress-up and mini-excavation pits set up inside the museum. Because of the festival, the museum was free I believe but we gave a donation and had the OPK card from Dublin.

We stayed at an absolutely BEAUTIFUL bed and breakfast, The Park Georgian Guest House, owned by a lovely and accommodating couple, Joe being the one who primarly took care of us. Breakfast was insanely delicious and freshly prepared every morning. The few mornings we left early Joe got up early to cook for us. He and my husband bonded over StarWars filming stories and Joe and his wife also own an inn in Dingle which is where a good bit of the crew and cast stayed when filming in Dingle and on Skellig Michael. We also went to Great Blasket Island which is deserving of its own post later and we could see Skellig Michael on the boat trip. Very steep. Not for small children. Joe had recommended for our leisure day (a.k.a. Explore town day/take it easy day) to try Mucross House.

It was worth it. The estate itself is so postcard-perfect but there were more than enough activities to keep my little one entertained who is happy so long as she can roam around outside. We did the “farm tour” and were VERY glad to have brought rain gear and to have worn comfortable hiking style shoes. Some of the pathway was fairly steep but as you can see, totally worth it…

The farm tour was lovely and we would have enjoyed it more had my sister and I not been separated from the Moose and Lil Bit. Apparently they had gone into the first little house which was off to the side of the road which we thought might be a place we weren’t supposed to go. Turns out we missed out on fresh, hand-churns butter and stone ground wheat bread hot out of the wood-burning stove. I also had no idea how large Irish Wolfhounds were, wow!
Overall the getting separated bit was one of the few stressful downsides to the whole trip. Rain in Ireland was far less torrential than what we were expecting as even when it was “heavy” per the locals it was mild compared to GA/FL summer downpours we are accustomed to here. (Sometimes I feel we need an arc)

We ended the beautiful day by driving partially around the Ring. It really is worth it folks although I’d hate to be on a tour bus and the drive seems somewhat treacherous because of them. We saw beautiful Irish Countryside, met some sheep (my Lil Bits happy place), loved the free-spirited Irish cows (they were running y’all, running–no wonder all of the beef there was to die for) and saw some ancient architecture along the way.
If I hadn’t already been in love that day sealed it for me. And we hadn’t even gotten to probably my favorite/soul-moving experience yet…