Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You just never know...

I love teaching, and I love middle schoolers. Combing the two, however, yields potentially hazardous results. No, I'm really exaggerating, but teaching middle schoolers IS an adventure, to say the least. You just never know what you're going to get from day to day. Some days are great - the kids pay attention, are respectful, and work hard. Other days, I'm doing good to keep them awake. With some kids, it's an accomplishment if they remember their own name.

 Yesterday was tough. Two of my class periods had significant difficulty with the activity we did in class. This might have been understandable if we were diagramming sentences, doing calculus problems or researching word etymologies. In reality, we were reading picture books (which were on a 3rd grade reading level). Several times I seriously contemplated banging my head on the white board. If it would have helped relieve my anguish or motivate the kids, I would have done it. Really. I came home discouraged about my ability (or lack thereof) to teach and worried about the kids' performance. Today, on the other hand, was different.

I suspect that offering Jolly Ranchers for good behavior and correct answers played a role, but nevertheless, the kids paid attention and actually tried today. Granted, some tried and failed, but at least they put forth some effort. Today was a good day, but I never know what tomorrow will bring...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mommy Appreciation Day

I had no idea it was coming. It wasn't on my calendar, and I hadn't planned for it. Surprises are AWESOME!! Monday afternoon, Jacin walked in carrying JBird. JBird was carrying a jewelry box (or rather chewing on the box). "It's Mommy Appreciation Day!" Jacin announced. "The Bird and I got you a gift just because you're a great Mommy." MeMe (my Mom) happened to be there, so she snapped a picture.
You can't really tell from the picture, but the box was a bit slobbery. :) I opened it up and found a beautiful silver necklace with a bird-shaped charm. On it was hand-hammered "J Bird." I LOVE it! I of course wore it today and showed if off to everyone. Love my Birds!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Magic of Antibiotics

Fever + coughing + lots of snot + crying + up all night = an ear and upper respiratory infection. Yuck. Poor JBird. It has been NO FUN watching my Bird be sick. Tonight, though, after just one dose of antibiotics, he seems to be feeling better. Plus MeMe is here to cuddle him, so he'll be alright. Maybe he will sleep through the night so I can feel better, too!
Mid-Roll. Playing on the floor 6 hours after starting antibiotics. Magical!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday's Tidbits

Today was a busy but fun day. This week is Gordon Central's Homecoming week, so we're having spirit days at school. Today was pajama day, and I must say it felt extremely strange to wear pajama pants and a t-shirt to work. When Jacin got home, we whipped up some tacos. Every night when I make dinner, JBird sits with Daddy Bird in the recliner. JBird watches me through the pass-thru and laughs and laughs. It's fun. Then I worked the Spirit Night fundraiser at Brusters from 7 to 8pm. JBird tagged along, too. It was a great day!
Jackson Bird watching me cook.


My birds playing in the yard after dinner
Hanging out at Brusters.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekly Menu

When Jacin and I were newly married, planning and cooking meals each night was a fun challenge. I kinda enjoyed it. Now that I'm a wife AND mother, planning and cooking meals is a bit harder. I would much rather spend my time with Jacin and JBird than spend it cooking in the kitchen. Often, however, the "quick fix" dinners are more expensive and not so good for you. Have I mentioned that I cannot fit into any of my dress pants? Not good. 

This week, we're having the same old standby staple meals - quick, easy, and inexpensive - because we have something going on EVERY night after work. So here's what's on tap for this week:

Sunday: Waffles and Bacon (they were SO very yummy!)
Monday: Jayla's Bday! Dinner at the Burns'. (Spaghetti and Salad!)
Tuesday: Steak Salad (Thanks for the steaks, Aunt Deb!)
Wednesday: Tacos (Thanks for the Taco Kit, Mom!)
Thursday: Grilled Chicken & Veggies
Friday: Quesadillas (or "Dillas" as I call them)
Saturday: Out to Eat! The location depends on the coupons I can dig up...

And Saturday morning it will start all over again with menu planning and grocery shopping for next week. If you have any exciting ideas for yummy yet low fat meals, let me know!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some Sundays...

Okay, I'll admit, there are some Sundays when I would much rather stay in bed and snuggle with my 2 birds than get up and go to church. When I get to church, though, I'm always glad to be there. However, sometimes serving and participating in ministry can get in the way of worship. I think we often try to do too much at church. The picture of church painted in the New Testament is pretty simple. There weren't special events every other weekend and 10 different ministries operating at once. Sometimes I feel like we're catering to consumerism at church, offering so many different things in order to appeal to the most people. We often forget that while it is possible to do many things, it's impossible to do them all well. We get stretched in so many directions that no one aspect gets our full attention, energy, or effort. On top of that, the 20/80 rule exhausts our core volunteers. I'm willing to be one of the 20% that do 80% of the work, but I will NOT do that at the expense of my family. I work 5 days a week and usually only get 3 hours every night with JBird. Saturdays and Sundays are our family time. Being a wife and mother is my foremost calling, and while serving at church is good, it may not always be the best way for me to honor God. 

It sounds like I hate church. I don't. In fact I love church - gathering with believers and praising God. I am SO thankful for the body of believers we worship with. Lately, though, it's felt like church is slowly taking over my cherished spare time with Jacin & JBird. I sat in a 3 hour staff meeting today. We talked about ministry - exciting stuff, but lots of details. On the way home, I felt so overwhelmed I cried. God STRONGLY confirmed that my primary ministry is now at home and at school. I am to spend my time and energy serving my family, discipling my son, and sharing Jesus' love with my 7th graders. At this point in my life, God has NOT called me to organize, direct, or even participate in 10 different ministries and tons of special events on the weekends. Part of me wonders if I'm being selfish. It's not that I'm unwilling to use my gifts - on the contrary - I'm more than willing to write curriculum, sing, keep childcare, organize small groups, whatever!! But I can't do it all at once with excellence. And I refuse to feel guilty about prioritizing my ministry to my family. If I mess up this motherhood calling, there's no re-do button. I can't go back and fix it if I screw it up. Sometimes saying "Yes" to God requires you to say "No" in other areas.  What's good is not always best, and following Jesus isn't about how many things you do or participate in. 

Note to Self: one woman can't do everything, so don't try. Trust God - only He knows where He wants to use you. Don't let others guilt-trip you. Live simply - less is more! Honor Him with the ministries He's put in front of you.  Now go get the sleeping JBird out of his crib and let him snuggle down with you in the big bed. There's nothing a little birdy lovin can't fix.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday's Errands

So I haven't had much to blog about lately. Things have been busy, but routine. Yesterday evening and all day today, JBird and I were on our own since Daddy was hanging out the guys. Yesterday I went Krogering and tried the coupon thing. I saved $13! I'm going to keep trying it and see if the effort is worth the money I save. Today, I got the grocery shopping done at WalMart and took JBird to see our Lady Warriors play softball. We only stayed for 2 innings because it was HOT and I couldn't find any shade for us. Then we played at home and did some cleaning and took a naparoo! Tonight, Roxane and Jerry took us to dinner (Mexican!). Now I'm ready to make bottles, fold laundry, and go to bed! Not very exciting, but sometimes it's those mundane, routine days that are the best. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy 5 Months!

Monday of this week (September 13, 2010) marked Jackson's 5 month birthday (he's 22 weeks old). Here are some fun pics of the JBird (and his AWESOME hair!) over the last few months - the best months of my life so far!!!
Newborn
4 Weeks Old - Thanks for the pics, Nickel!

10 Weeks Old, Hilton Head Island
14 Weeks Old, Lake Blue Ridge
19 weeks old, watching TV with PawPaw
I can't even explain how much I love being a Mom. I feel like it's what I was made for. Amazing so far, and I can't wait for every day to come! Thanks, God!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The joy of reading

I love reading. Jacin unwinds by watching TV; I relax by reading. It's one of my favorite things to do. It challenges me while also providing escapism. I firmly believe that readers possess a deeper understanding of the world and of themselves than non-readers (not to mention that it's just plain fun!). So it's no surprise that I find great joy in reading to my JBird. I get even MORE excited, though, when his Daddy reads to him. :) Too sweet! The bird is starting his tractor education early.
My 2 birds reading about tractors.
At school, I so enjoy teaching literature to my 2 Gifted/Advanced 7th grade classes. We've recently begun reading CS Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. My Aunt Sarah gave me the Narnia series when I was in middle school, and I've loved them ever since. I've read them countless times, and each time I gain new insight. So far my classes are enjoying the storyline, but we're also analyzing it as an allegory of the gospel. It's been amazing so far, and we've just started! Over the last 3 days of the past week, we discussed absolute truth, sin and temptation, the existence of good/evil, and the sovereignty of God. We're even reading Scripture in class! After all, the Bible is one of the greatest (THE greatest in my opinion) works of literature ever written! Even those who don't ascribe to its doctrine recognize its significance. In class, I'm being careful to tie everything closely to the novel, but looking at the allegorical aspect is such a huge opportunity to share the gospel in my classroom. I truly believe that teaching middle school is my ministry. It's not always easy to boldly proclaim the gospel as a teacher, but it's neat to watch God provide ways for me to share Jesus' love. I pray that God will impact lives as we continue reading.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I wonder...

I've been wondering lately if Jackson is teething. He's producing puddles of drool, he's fussy, and he's gnawing on EVERYTHING!!! Check out this video of the JBird attacking his Granna. What do you think? Is the boy teething? If not, this is certainly interesting behavior. :)
video

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Nice to Hear

 As I said in my last post, I made JBird an appointment to go to the Pediatrician. I figured he just had a cold, but his hacking cough sounds pretty nasty. I just wanted the doctor to listen to his lungs. Better safe than sorry. His Granna picked him up from DayCare today and took him to his Daddy, who then took him to the doctor. Thankfully, the doctor said he's fine. Just a nasty cold. So nice to hear. I'll gladly pay that $30 copay for peace of mind.

In other news, Jackson has gained 11 ounces in the past 2 weeks. He now weights 16 pounds, 11 ounces. He's definitely a healthy boy (despite the fact that he's spitting up constantly. When he was picked up at DayCare today, he was naked. I guess they figured, "Why dress him? He just soaks the outfit as soon as you put it on!"). He's now eating 8 ounces of soy milk with rice every 3 hours. In the past, he's taken his last bottle at night right before going to bed. It's one of my favorite times of the day, feeding him and rocking him to sleep. Now, though, he takes his last bottle about an hour before bedtime. As we adjusted to the changed feeding schedule, a new challenge quickly developed. When I sat down to rock him to sleep earlier this week, he expected a bottle. I tried to rock him to sleep without feeding him, but he wouldn't have it. After enduring 15 minutes of crocodile tears and flailing arms, I gave up and fed him 3 ounces. He fell asleep. Last night and tonight I tried a different tactic. At bedtime, I just put him in his crib, turned on his mobile, and turned off the light. Last night I heard him chatting for about 45 minutes before he finally fell asleep on his own. Tonight, he fell asleep immediately on his own. I'm really missing our rocking time, but apparently he associates rocking with eating. We'll have to give it some time. But for now, I'm thankful to have a baby that puts himself to sleep and sleeps all night! What a super sleeper!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

THAT Mom

Okay. So we survived the stomach bug a week ago, only to contract a cold. Yuck. JBird is hacking up stuff, and it's nasty. He started coughing Friday and its gradually gotten worse. Now it's a deep, crackly, chest cough. I'm also cleaning out his nose 50 times a day (which he loves... NOT!). So I called the pediatrician to see if I needed to bring him in. The gave me some "signs" to look for, none of which he exhibits. I'm trying really hard not to be THAT Mom - you know, the crazy one who takes her kid to the doctor weekly complaining of imaginary illnesses? I know that the pediatrician will roll her eyes tomorrow when I call AGAIN, but I'm bringing him in. I hate to see my little JBird cough. And with my luck, if I don't take him, he'll have RSV or something bad by Friday night. Hello ER! I'll take my chances on being THAT Mom.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Camo Birdy

Daddy Bird, Mommy, & Little JBird
The camo birdy in his cool outfit from
Uncle Zack & Aunt Aud.





















Well, today was JBird's first Burns' family reunion cookout. It happens every year on Labor Day weekend. The family gathers up on the hill for a cookout on Sunday night. Then, on Monday, the EXTENDED family gathers at a church nearby to eat together. Tonight, we took JBird (and his sniffling, snotty nose and hacking cough) up on the hill for an hour or so. We didn't stay long, but he had fun.

I brought Jackson home around 7:30 tonight to bathe and feed him. As I was rocking him to sleep in his room, he sat and looked up at me. I sang to him and he just sat and grinned his little sideways smile. One time he reached up, grabbed his paci, held it out to me and said, "Gaah!" Precious. I told him that he is a blessing from God.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ahhhh

Today was GRAND! Usually Saturdays are challenging at our house because there's much to be done and not enough time to do it. Mowing the grass, buying groceries, doing laundry, cleaning house, etc. Not to mention the fact that my husband thrives on schedule and routine, and Saturdays don't usually have a set schedule. Therefore, on Saturdays Jacin often morphs into what we fondly call "Grumpy Pants." Today, however, was different.

The first difference was that Jacin went without coffee for the entire day. Yep, you read it right. His acid reflux is getting the best of him, and he's quitting coffee (at least temporarily). I had prepared myself for a tough day full Grumpy Pants' coffee/caffeine withdrawls, but he surprised me. He felt great and was in super spirits all day. We love our Daddy Bird! Second, the slightly cooler weather and beautiful blue sky had me singing on my early-morning trip to WalMart (which is extremely rare considering the detested destination). I got home and my birdy boys were playing in the den. We decided to go run errands as a family. Off we went to the bank (yay for paychecks!), a consignment sale (where Jacin picked out 4 little JBird outfits for $10!), and ToysRUs (to buy a bday gift for a little friend of ours). On the way home we stopped by a local farm and bought a watermelon and some incredible okra. Can't wait to cook it!

Now, usually after running errands, Jacin says something like, "It's already 1? There's never enough time!" Instead, today he remarked, "Wow! It's only 11:30? Nice." After lunch, we took a nap. I LOVE LOVE snuggling with my baby bird in the bed for a naparoo. Then we went for an early dinner at Olive Garden (we actually left home at 4:30. I felt like maybe we should have gotten the senior-citizen discount). Finally, we came home, got the baby bird to bed, and Jacin and I made chocolate oatmeal cookies (yes, they're simultaneously scrumptious and low-fat). Yum!

What a great Saturday! Perhaps the BEST part is that we have 2 more days to be together!! Thanks, God, for long weekends!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Bird

And THIS is why we call him the bird... Watch that cute little birdy mouth chirping for his bottle.
video

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Boys, Boys, Boys

Today we got the results from Jackson's Ambulatory EEG, which was done a few weeks ago. The Neurologist said there was no evidence of any seizures! We're hoping his little leg tremors will turn out to be something muscular and that he'll outgrow it. Praise the Lord!

In other news, Jackson is slowly getting better at reaching and grabbing things. At dinner tonight he was fascinated with the saltine cracker wrapper (I guess b/c it makes a noise when you touch it). Currently his FAVORITE thing to grab is his own little weewee. Yeah. Nice. I knew it was some kind of primal instinct that tempts males to grab their you-know at the most interesting times. However, I had NO IDEA that it started so early. Good gravy. JBird's only 20 weeks old and already grabbing his weewee. Such a guy. Oh course, his Dad is extremely excited. Boys, boys, boys. I really don't have much to say about it. I just sanatize JBird's hands 50 times a day.

PS: I considered posting a picture of Jackson's favorite "grabbing trick," (as described above) but decided it might be too risque to post online. (And a side-note for those of you who know me well and are familiar with my spelling abilities - or lack thereof - I spelled "risque" all by myself without looking it up. Proud!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1 Down, Many More to Go

So we've officially (but only barely) survived Jackson's first illness. He had a stomach virus, complete with 5 days of vomiting, diarrhea, and crying. In the middle of my 4-month old being sick, Jacin and I got sick. NO FUN! Once again, my Mom (Meme) came to the rescue. What would I do without her? Thanks also to Roxane (Granna) who kept Jackson today so I could return to work. It's times like these (and many others) that I wonder what parents do when they don't have family nearby to help? Thank you, Lord, for family! So, one sickness down, many more to come, I'm sure. I'm just glad the Lord has surrounded us with family and friends to help along the way.