Whit’s Baby Shower

Graduation season comes with many parties. Elijah and I made the rounds Friday night and Saturday morning, but Saturday afternoon was a different kind of party.

Saturday afternoon we headed to Manchester to shower my friend and childhood neighbor with lots of baby girl love.

I can’t wait to meet the newest addition to the neighborhood family, Willamena.

You put passion into everything you do, Whit. Raising a daughter will be no different. She’s very lucky to have you and Jake as parents! Prayers to you and baby for a healthy delivery.

Guests departed with an awesome party favor, a bottle of wine to open when we hear the news that baby Willa has arrived. It’s already chilling in the fridge, and you can bet I’ll be toasting to you, Whit. Much love!

Happy 65th Birthday, Dad!

Celebrating my dad’s birthday a day late allowed for all of us to be in the same location at the same time. We have more than 65 reasons to be thankful for the most kind-hearted man we know.

As I wrote in my dad’s card, we all hope the number 65 allows for some reflection on how hard he has worked and an opportunity to slow down and spoil himself more often. We hope this means lots of traveling with mom and plenty of time with his grandkids.

We love you!

Mother’s Day

My early morning wake-up request was for a cup of coffee, but that’s only because I didn’t expect Elijah to crawl in bed with me after his breakfast. He snuggled right in and we both went back to sleep for over an hour. Mother’s Day gift complete!

John went above and beyond to make sure I knew I was appreciated. While his showering of gifts was certainly generous, I just enjoyed being asked what I wanted to do all day. My request was for a garden omelet from Riley’s Cafe with my two favorite people after church. Added to the incredible 80 degree weather, it was a perfect Mother’s Day.

To all my mom friends and mom role models out there, I hope your day was exactly what you needed. Thanks for all the mom advice you’ve given me over the last year. I’ve mastered just one thing, love.

Where You’ll Find Us

Friday nights are spent at the market. I’ve blogged about our traditional Friday night before, and it gets even better in the spring/summer. Live music and kids’ activities out on the lawn will happen every Friday from here until September at the Newbo Market.

Last Friday was a perfect evening. Seventy degrees and sunny, music in the background, beer from Amana Millstream Brewery, pizza and guacamole from the local venders, and Elijah enjoying his first sandbox experience all made this an ideal way to end a busy week.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to spend Friday night, hit up the market. There is something for everyone! We’ll see you there!

Going the Extra Mile(s)

I thought John might strangle me mid race when we realized what we thought was a 5k turned into an 8k.

The Ronald McDonald road race was on Sunday, and the weather was absolutely perfect. Starting a run when it’s chilly and finishing when it’s just starting to warm up is racing perfection.

My brother and his family joined us for the race, and we all set off at the gun. Tony sprinted ahead while John and I found our groove among the crowd. Maneuvering a jogging stroller in that crowd was tough. As we approached mile three, John turned to me and said, “So, this isn’t finishing at the Ronald McDonald House?” A lady next to us interrupted and said, “It is.” I received a death glare from John because we were almost to mile three and nowhere near where we started.

As we ran beyond the third mile, John called it quits. He had been a great sport and simply said, “That’s what I signed up for. I did it. I’m done.” Elijah and I kept going. Beyond mile four I was honestly starting to worry. I saw people ahead of me turning off towards the right, farther away from where we started. It confirmed what I feared, we were on the half marathon route. Panic. I knew I couldn’t push the jogging stroller for 13.1 miles.

At the next corner, a woman on her phone rerouted me and a few other runners up the steep hill towards Carver Arena. Talk about an arm and leg workout! I rounded the corner towards the finish line and confirmed with my brother that neither of us had run a 5k. It turns out that only the very first runner was routed for the 5k, and everyone else followed the half marathon route.

All things considered, we didn’t do too bad. (Besides the fact that Colin fell out of the stroller while Ashley was pushing it!) Tony ended up being a top finisher, Elijah and I were in the top 12, and even John finished just a couple of minutes behind us.

Thankfully everyone was in good spirits about the mixup. No matter how many miles we ran, it doesn’t come close to the challenges the families face when they need help from the RMHC.

I’ll run the race again next year, but it might take more convincing for John to join me.

A Teacher’s Take on “13 Reasons Why”

A recent article said 13 Reasons Why is the most tweeted about show in 2017.

This controversial series is raising concern. The show, first a young adult book by Jay Asher, follows the life of a high school girl who leaves behind 13 tapes each with a reason why she chose to end her life.

Although Netflix has increased the warnings before the most controversial episodes, no one is stopping the series at that point. If anything, doesn’t it make you want to watch it even more?

Why do tweens and teens like the show so much? They relate. The topics are heavy and include everything from friendship to rape. While many of the topics covered in the series are not typical dinner conversations, they are real.

I work with students who, for the most part, come from loving homes. Even they deal with many of these issues. Sadly there have been days where students confide in me about bullying issues, family or friendship struggles, thoughts of hurting themselves, and even rape. I put my professional but compassionate face on for these students while we walk through the proper channels of informing the guidance office and making steps forward to help the student. What the students don’t know is that I go home and cry about these situations. When they hurt, I hurt.

I understand why students like this show because it talks about the issues no one wants to discuss. Anyone naive enough to think students aren’t experiencing this needs to be educated. Wouldn’t it be better to allow students to watch the show and open up discussions. While I, too, fear copycat behavior, I do see a need for students to know that everything they say and do has a ripple effect. Every person is responsible for their actions, and you never know what someone else is going through.

While the show romanticizes aspects of suicide, it is also giving us an open door to discuss ways people who feel alone can receive help. I even spoke with one student about the show who said she needed to stop herself from watching it because it was too real. That’s a warning sign. She needed someone to talk to who was trained professionally- not me. The show might scare a lot of parents and educators, but I’m taking the approach that it might just open some doors to help people get the help they deserve.

First Communion

Sunday was a special day as we witnessed our nephew (and John’s Godson) make his First Communion. It was fun to watch Seamus take this step in faith and know that just a few short years ago we witnessed his baptism in that same church.

John’s sister rented out a room in the church, and we had a family party to follow.

Congratulations, Seamus! Your faith and wonder about God is awesome. I pray it continues to grow and you never doubt God’s love.

Lately I’ve been…

Listening to In The Dark, a true crime investigative podcast. “For nearly 27 years, the case went unsolved, no body, no abductor. Until now.”

Planning editor positions for next year. I’ve been losing sleep about these decisions because the pressure (and disappointment) from students and parents keeps my inbox full for the month of May. It’s difficult. Putting the most qualified people in the best position allows for both the newspaper and the yearbook to run smoothly.

Ordering Family photos on canvases to hang in our home. As much as I love Shutterfly for prints, the canvases are expensive. I ordered a cheap on from Walmart last summer ($29). Although I had to tape the corners on the back (you get what you pay for), it makes changing it out less of an investment.

Running the trails again. Spring has official arrived and the trails make me feel like I’ve escaped from the busyness of the day. Our family 5k for the Ronald McDonald House is two weeks away. I know I can easily run three miles, but the jogging stroller will give me a challenge.

Debating whether to send Elijah to daycare at all this summer. I’m torn between wanting all the time I can get with him and knowing I would give him better quality time if I had even a day a week to knock school stuff (yearbook deadlines) and basic around the house chores to accomplish while he enjoyed social interaction with his friends.  I can’t wait for so many new experiences this summer with Elijah, but I also need to make sure I return to school refreshed and ready in August. I’ll keep you posted on this decision.

Watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. I read the book many years ago, and I don’t remember much, but the show is keeping my attention. Plot: A high school student commits suicide and leaves behind thirteen tapes explaining why she made the decision.

Reading Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly. I love reading Matthew Kelly books in small chunks because it allows me to take his messages and apply them a little at a time. I’m enjoying this latest release from one of my favorite authors.

What are you listening to, planning, ordering, running, debating, watching, and/or reading?

Instant Mood Boost

The weekend’s weather was a springboard past spring fever and right into summer fever.

My favorite part about this photo is the toy truck. This sweet reminder was left behind by my little explorer after a warm spring evening of grilling out and dinner on the deck.

I can only pray more beautiful moments like this exist in the near future.