SEA the Possibilities

I’m headed to Seattle!

One of my professional goals has always been to attend the National Journalism Conference in either the fall or the spring. After some research and the encouragement of my principal, I’ve registered for the April conference. This year’s spring location is Seattle.

After I get a taste of the conference this year (and determine if it’s worth it), the goal will be to take a group of students along next year.

I’m looking forward to connecting with a lot of other journalism advisers, learning more about how other schools balance both a school newspaper and a news website, and what I can I do to better encourage my students to embrace the changing world of journalism.

The conference will pack a lot into four days, but there is some free time to take in the city. I’ve never been to Seattle, so let me know what I should do/see while I’m there.

On The Move

img_5617Elijah learned a new trick over the weekend. I spent my “ice day” off from school on Monday happily rerouting his many crashes. (Our next goal is steering.) It brings me so much joy to see Elijah squeal in happiness behind his sit and stand walker. He practically runs down the long hallways, and the sound of his feet and giggle fill our house with a happiness I didn’t know we were missing.

 

Dancing with the Saints 2017

img_5607One evening, nearly 900 people, and $110,000 raised for Catholic education!

To say this year’s Dancing with the Saints was a success would be an understatement. This fundraising idea, a spinoff of Dancing with the Stars, is a creative way to get people together for a great cause. Ten celebrity dancers paired with ten dance coaches, these courageous img_5608people take the stage and raise money through votes. This year’s money will go towards improving the sound systems around our school.

I’m thankful every day to be a part of an incredible community who would do anything to support our school.

“Jesus the Physician”

600-jesus-484Today’s Gospel Reflection from Notre Dame referred to the photo “Jesus the Physician”.

I was unfamiliar with the photo so I went searching.

I now see Dr. Pitcher behind the surgeon’s mask while Jesus rests his hand on the doctor’s shoulder and guides his hands.

Elijah and I presented Dr. Pitcher with a gift over the summer, and I mailed him a Christmas card. I’ve been trying to think of a gift to send him on Elijah’s birthday, and I think this picture is my answer.

Goals for the Year Ahead

While these aren’t exactly “resolutions”, they are ways to hold myself accountable in the upcoming year.

Goals for 2017 include:

  • Reading a daily devotional with John.
    • We started reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
  • Running three road races.
    • I haven’t determined the distance of these road races yet, but maybe I’ll aim for a variety: 5k, 8k, and half marathon.
  • Traveling somewhere new.
    • Seattle is in the works for April, and a beach vacation is under research for this summer.
  • Reading 40 free reading books and introducing Elijah to story time at the local library.
  • Attending a professional journalism conference
    • JEA National Convention registration opens next week!
  • Continuing to live in the moment with Elijah and scheduling dates with John.
    • I’ve done a good job of this since going back to work, but it’s a constant balance battle. Making it a goal will continue to help me evaluate my efforts.

What plans are you holding yourself accountable for the upcoming year?

Christmas Vacation

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John surprised Elijah and me with the news that he was taking a week off for Christmas, too! We spent the time tackling a few things on our to-do list, but most of the time was spent playing with blocks and reading Christmas books to Elijah. There were a lot of naps on the couch in there, too!

The week included two half days of daycare just to give John and me some time for day dates downtown, and a chance for me to prep for next semester.

Break was perfect, as a family of three!

Thankful for Perspective

2016 changed me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It gave me the title of “mother”, and it required to me to take “Let Go and Let God” to a new level.

I’ve never been stretched more in a year, and it hurt. While I wouldn’t wish our hospital experiences on anyone, I’m thankful for a new perspective. My eyes were opened to the NICU life. I saw the compassion of nurses working around the clock, and doctors/surgeons who committed their lives to saving people no matter day or night. When we took Elevator I, Level Six every morning to Elijah’s room, the doors would open at the pediatric cardiology unit or the pediatric cancer unit, and we counted our blessings. We were the lucky ones.

We woke up on a holiday at the Ronald McDonald House, and I cried for multiple reasons when I saw the Easter baskets waiting downstairs. Thirty-five rooms are booked each night, with a waiting list, to give families one less thing to worry about while going through hell.

While we all hear about babies in the NICU, about parents watching their babies fight for life, and about Ronald McDonald Charities, it’s something I now understand with my heart.

In closing, I’ll steal words from Lysa TerKeurst:

“And in that raw moment, remember it’s the most unpolished, unfiltered, untouched by perfection moments that make us into our most beautiful selves.

Because that’s when we are closest to the way God created us. Vulnerable and aware of our need for HIM.

Goodbye 2016. Thank you for the lessons.”

2016 Recap

January

Family Weekend Away

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Baby Shower at School

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Baby Shower with Family/Friends

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February

Preparing for Baby W (and an updated photo)

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March

Embracing March

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Surprise Baby Shower at School

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Elijah James 3.25.16

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The Biggest Test of Our Faith

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April

Rest and Recovery in the NICU for “God’s Miracle Man” and lots of Swaddles and Snuggles

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Bringing Elijah HOME!

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A Minor Medical Setback

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May

Baptism (on Mother’s Day)

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Our First Road Race

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June

Celebrating 31 with this sweetheart!

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Celebrating Six Years of Marriage

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Meeting Miss Mollie

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July

4th of July

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Livin’ the Lodge Life

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Vacation: Music City

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August

Standing by Mollie’s Side

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EJW Community of Faith Scholarship

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Healthy Check-Ups

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Starting My Ninth Year Teaching

Another Road Race

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September

Notre Dame Weekend

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Flood Week

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Celebrating SIX months

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October

Raech’s Birthday/Wine Tour

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Presenting at ITEC

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Halloween

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November

UIHC Children’s Hospital Open House

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Thanksgiving

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Turkey Trot 8k with Matt

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December

Celebrating John

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Christmas Blessings

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Thank you for being one of the many blessings in my life!

May 2017 offer you health and happiness.

Elijah: Nine Months

img_5532Elijah turned nine months on Christmas. He is getting more active by the day, and we are loving a week off for break to chase after him as he army crawls around the house. He now pulls himself up on furniture and surprised me a couple of weeks ago when he was standing in his crib when I went to go get him.

He is a great eater, but still refuses anything with a texture. We keep trying and keep getting puked on. We’re confident the day will come when he realizes Puffs are not an enemy. Until then, we’ll keep offering and just celebrate his love for purees and yogurt.

We saw Elijah’s pediatrician for his regular nine-month check-up this week in addition to a check-up at the university with the developmental specialist. Elijah played with the developmental specialist for about an hour while she measured his coordination, balance, problems solving…etc. It was so interesting to watch, and I’m glad John could join me for this appointment since he missed the one in August. Both appointments confirmed Elijah is exactly where he should be in terms of growth and development. Prayers of thanks!

Taking a Look Back

Before I make resolutions for 2017, it’s important I measure myself with last year’s goals.

2016:

  • “Let Go and Let God”. Remember God’s plan is bigger and better than mine. This includes discerning my roles within being a wife, mother, and teacher. 
  • Run two road races, any distance. I can’t wait to test out my jogging stroller with my son.
  • Travel somewhere new.
  • Read 50 books.
  • Keep dates with John a priority, even if it’s just our traditional coffee date after church.
    • Yes! Yes! We’ve had a high school girl babysit Elijah, but my aunt Deb is Elijah’s favorite! This has allowed us some fun date (and double date) nights. Coffee dates have changed to John picking up Starbucks on his way home from Saturday morning basketball. This is a win for all since I don’t have to leave the house, and we can play with Elijah while enjoying our java. We even have a few date nights already planned for 2017.

Whether the calendar year encourages you to make resolutions or not, I hope you have at least one goal for yourself that leads you towards becoming “the best version of yourself”.