BAM Family

BAM Family

Friday, December 31, 2010

A look back....and forward

Wow! What a full year! So many changes.

This time last year I was freaking out about my new position of Graduate Assistant that I was going to start in the Spring Semester. I was excited, yes, but so stressed that I couldn't sleep. For weeks. I wondered if I could do it. I wondered if I could fake being an English teacher long enough to fool my students into learning. The day I started I got a stomach bug and had horrible diarrhea the whole night. I got no sleep that night but went in to work the next day dizzy with excitement and anxiety.

And I had a great semester. I learned that I was a really good actress and that I faked confidence especially well. I also learned that I knew a lot more than I thought I did. And that I needed to know a lot more than that to stay ahead of 40 freshmen. I absolutely loved teaching and had a lot of personal moments with my students outside the classroom where they shared their life struggles with me--probably my favorite and most rewarding part of teaching.

I also wrote my thesis proposal--about a week before it was due. STRESSFUL.

Over the summer I tackled two huge projects = starting my thesis and potty training the boys. I didn't really either accomplish my goals for either before school started again. I had one thesis chapter (plus another one researched) done. And I had succeeded in getting the boys to peed IN the potty (an improvement from AT, AROUND, or NOT AT ALL) occasionally.

The fall semester brought some brand new adventures. The boys started preschool! It was a huge struggle at first--Micah cried every morning for FIVE WEEKS. And I had my share of tears too. Overall, it was a pretty good experience. The boys loved their teachers and "friends" and kept VERY busy during the day. We also had to stamp out some bad habits (shooting people with pretend guns, and bad table manners) and reinforce good habits (saying "please" and "thank you"; apparently the ELC didn't make the kids use these manners on a regular basis (????)). Thankfully, their teachers were very consistent about potty training and the boys are doing great right now (not completely trained but going in the toilet about 95% of the time. We still use pull-ups for naps, going out, and bed time).

And the fall also brought two new classes of students (which I adored) and thesis, thesis, thesis. Oh. my. word. I hope I am never as stressed as I was this past semester. I was juggling husband, kids, housework, church, teaching two classes, taking two classes, and writing my thesis. Everything non-essential (and some essential things) were thrown to the wayside. There was no time to get a haircut, go the the dentist, eye doctor, or go shopping for a scrap of new clothing for me or the boys. I am SO behind (minus the haircut now!) on all of these appointments (well, clothes shopping is a bit of a luxury). I rarely showered two days in a row; my laundry pilled up and up and up. Over fall break (2 days) I did 10-12 loads. My life revolved around writing that darn thesis.

The end result was worth it. Completing my thesis is one of my greatest life accomplishments to date (just behind breastfeeding the boys for 17 months). I am so proud of the original research and writing I did.

And I am so happy and proud that I accomplished my goal of completing my Master's degree. When I started this blog two years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was scared, timid, and had little confidence in myself. I was scared of entering the work force so I went to get my M.A. Crazy, huh?   The thing is, I was scared of getting the Master's degree too. At the beginning, I felt like everyone was smarter than me, had read more (of the RIGHT) books than I had, and knew what they wanted to do with their lives.

My confidence in who I am and my personal and academic abilities has grown exponentially over the past two years and over the last year in particular. I am no longer afraid of moving forward, of putting myself out in the workforce, or of standing up in front of a classroom of students. Granted, there will always been those first day (or week? month?) jitters, but doing GSA this past year gave me the experience and confidence I needed and wanted so much.

I am still trying to figure out who I am as a teacher and scholar. But I recognize that teacher/scholar now; she isn't a stranger to me anymore. In fact, we are close friends. I really, really like the person I have become.

My bigger adventure this coming year, is to figure out what type of mother I am and how to carry out that incredible role. The boys will be at home again full time (minus having a sitter on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons while I work). I feel like I need to figure out who my kids are now. When I started my degree, they had just turned one--they were still babies! Now they are little boys who are learning to explore the world around them and express themselves. And it is my job to help them discover the world and who they are in the world. It is a daunting job. But I am excited to get to spend more time with them (we will be doing some preschool curriculum at home!) but I am praying for patience and strength as well.

I think my key word for 2011 is BALANCE. I want to learn to balance work and home. Wifehood and motherhood. I also want to take better care of myself. I need to make those dentist and eye appointments. I need to exercise on a regular basis. Heck, I need to shower every day. Baby steps, right? :) Plus, I want to spend time developing my skills as a writer--and this year, not a thesis writer: a creative writer.

Wanna know my really, really big resolution for 2011? Get a story published, or at least be in the process by the time 2012 rolls around.

I am excited. Bring on the new year!

Refashioned Christmas Dresses

I couldn't post these before Christmas because they were presents for my two nieces, Charlotte and Naomi. I love how these little dresses turned out! I bought shirts from Target and then attached a skirt. Instead of gathering the waist, I used large pleats. The material for the skirt was from a dress I got at Goodwill for $3.50! The dress had a very full skirt so the front of the skirt became Charlotte's skirt and the back became Naomi's. I love the material! Plus I used the original hem from the dress so attaching the skirt was the only sewing I had to do for these little dresses. Can't want to see a picture of the girls in them! (hint, hint, Brittany!)

Haircut


So, I haven't had a haircut in over a year (last Thanksgiving to be exact when my sister Chelsea cut it). I meant to get a haircut in August, BEFORE school started. But, I never had time!!! So, now that I have graduated, and am on Christmas break, I finally got my long-overdue hair cut. I got about 4+ inches cut off.

I wasn't a huge fan of it last night (it might have had something to do with the fact that my hair was dirty and she didn't style it afterwards. Which was FINE because she only charged me $12.50!) but washing and styling it today, I like it! I like it a lot!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Christmas Present


This is my Christmas present from Aaron: a pot rack! We had actually been planning this project for a couple months...it went the way of most home improvement projects: it had to gather a good inch of dust before it could truly be completed. 

I love it! It sits above our stove and really rounds out our kitchen. Plus it gives me a place for all of my spices (as you can see!)

The only downside? The bottom of my pans look icky. Anyone have a good way to get the bottoms clean? Steel wool is a no go. 

Thank you Aaron! I love you!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What I've been doing

So, I finished my entire semester exactly one week ago today. Last Thursday I finished grading my second class and then I was truly DONE DONE DONE! Since then, though, I've been busy--but doing fun things like making Christmas presents and spending time with the boys.

Yesterday Aaron went skiing and the boys and I went to the library to get some new books and DVDs and then to the mall to ride the Christmas train. The boys loved the train (just a small three-car train that goes around in a circle) and were so sad when they had to get off (read: they threw a fit). The wonderful train conductor lady took pity on them and snuck two free tickets into my hand to ride again. So nice!

We took a little break from train riding and went to the food court where they have those mechanical cars that bounce you to death--you know, the kind of thing kids love. I had to get change twice to satisfy the boys' extreme enthusiasm for riding the cars. They had so much fun! I kept trying to drag them away by bribing them with "Do you want to ride the train again?!" "NO! NO!" they cried.

I finally got them away from the cars and we rode the train with our free tickets. The boys actually rode in different cars! I was surprised but pleased. I am glad when they feel comfortable enough to do activities separately.

We had such a fun morning. They were a bit sad to leave but the promise of chicken nuggets and applesauce was just enough to get them in the car.

I am so glad I have time now to do some fun things with them. I am looking forward to reconnecting with my boys this coming year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I DID IT!

I just finished my last exam of my last class for my graduate degree.

I. AM. DONE.

I did it!

I finished my Masters degree in two years taking classes full time and teaching two classes on top of that for the last year.

I am not sure of my final grades for this semester yet. I might get a B for the first time in a class; yep, I'm gonna brag: Pending grades this semester, I have a 4.0.

AND I did it with two kids. HA!

Ok, I know this sounds like a braggy, self-glorifying post but I am really really glad to be done and I am so proud of myself.

Because these last two years have been so hard.

Like anxiety-attacks, constant-back-pain-from-stress, going-crazy, want-to-scream hard.

But I did it. And I did it well.

I am so happy.

I had to fight tears when I was talking to my supervisor, Mrs. Towles, about the weight of this accomplishment. She had kids when she went through grad school. And she knows what a big deal it is.

Thank you Aaron for encouraging me (in your own way) to do this. And for letting me be a crazy woman in pursuit of a goal.

Thank you Micah and Benji for putting up with a cranky mama for the past two years. I will try to work on being sweeter and more calm.

Thank you Nicole and Brooke and countless other babysitters who watched the boys for me. Without you, this degree would not have been possible.

Thank you Kalina, Chelsea, Amberley, Kellan, Mom and Dad, and Nonnie for telling me how proud you are of me and for encouraging me to keep going.

Thank you Candace keeping me sane on our Thursday night dates.

Thank you God for helping me through every reading assignment, every paper, every late night class, every worrisome moment when I just thought I couldn't do it anymore. These past two years have been for your glory.

I DID IT!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Creative Christmas Cards

I have a confession to make--I throw away the majority of the artwork that the boys make. For a while I saved it all, but the projects that they made at home, Sunday School, and preschool started taking over. So, I started pitching papers as soon as they came in the door.

Not all though.

I have saved (a lot, actually) of the painting projects they have done over the past year because I wanted to use their art to make some note cards to give as Christmas gifts.

I bought some blank cards with envelopes at Michaels and then cut out portions of their pictures to showcase on the front of the card.  I just used a glue stick to glue them on and then "signed" the boys' artwork with "M&B 2010"

I love how they turned out! Plus, I was able to use their artwork in a really creative and special way. I think the grandparents, my grandmother, and the boys' teachers will love the cards (Rhonda, you must forget that you will be getting this for Christmas!)

Here is just a sample of the cards I made.





Sunday, December 12, 2010

BAM Christmas

I have been missing doing crafts and sewing SO much. School is NOT over yet (Thursday is The. End.) but my load has been a littler lighter (lighter meaning only thirty-seven 2 page papers to grade instead of thirty-seven 5 page page papers and a 15 page paper to write instead of a 100 page thesis to finish). So it was craft time!

I love the blog MADE and when she posted this tutorial the other day, I really wanted to make some of these ornaments for our family. So here is my attempt.


 I still need to make on more "B" but actually, these 3 letters cover everyone in our family plus or last name! I have had so much fun making these.

Scarf Refashion

I was blog surfing the other day and came upon this tutorial. It was so super cute that I had to try to make  some of these earmuffs/winter headband myself. 

I had this old scarf that is super soft wool. It actually had a few holes in it so it was perfect for a refashion 

 The Scarf: Before
 After! 
Honestly, I am not sure if it is cute or goofy. But it kept my ears warm when I went to the grocery store this evening. :)

The Ghost

This is actually from Halloween night. This shows how far behind I am on blogging I guess. Enjoy!

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