Friday, April 28, 2017

Working Mom Update

**Written over the course of this week during some low moments... and maybe a couple of high moments. It isn't all bad. Just hard. And this is my attempt at some honest documentation.

I'm not sure where to begin. I mean a LOT has changed for us over the past several weeks. And it's hard to describe and put into words all the emotions and craziness, successes and failures. It's been a wild, challenging, and constant ride so far. Other than Spring Break, life has felt constantly busy, constantly overwhelming, and constantly exhausting since I began working full time. As in never ending of all of the above.

I believe without a doubt that this transition and adjustment has been hardest on me and Layton. We've been together basically full time since he was born. So this new arrangement and schedule has definitely taken a toll on the both of us. He still has mornings when he asks, Where we goin? Like he's confused about why I'm getting him dressed and why we have anywhere to go. He's also cried a handful of mornings because he wants to stay home with me instead of going to Granna's or Nana's. BREAK. MY. HEART. It's the worst! He's more clingy to me than ever before and wants me to do everything for him. Which can wear a mama out fast.... which then triggers the guilt when I just can't handle the clingyness or mama-demands anymore because I'm worn out! He's also been more prone to meltdowns and emotional outbursts since I started working and those have been almost 10 times harder on me because I'm working. We've both shed many tears over my new gig.

I know in my heart that he's well taken care of and he has so much fun with all of his grandparents while I'm working. Probably way more fun than he'd have with me if we were home together. He even gets excited about going lots of days which makes me feel much better, but, I have never had to work full time while any of my boys were home and being away from him all day every single day is a huge adjustment. The weeks are long! LOOOONNNG I tell you!!! I don't have opportunities to teach him anymore and I'm just missing out on the little things. Rocking him before naps, lunch together just the 2 of us, reading to him, our little "educational" activities, running errands with my sidekick, just to name a few. It's been pretty hard on both of us. I've worried about him being ready for school like my older 2, I've worried about him being spoiled as the "baby", and I've honestly worried about how me working is effecting all of my kids. I'm definitely not my best self when I'm crazy busy, overwhelmed, and exhausted.

So, it's been challenging. And being in the middle of baseball season hasn't helped. Thankfully we only have 4 more games. Allll. Most. There. Coming home twice a week to immediately begin tutoring, coming home once a week to immediately begin homework/eating/baseball game prep, and coming home once a week and getting ready for at least one practice has been tough. Not to mention Saturday doubleheaders for our family almost every single Saturday. It's been crazy just finding time to do laundry and keep everybody fed. We have honestly struggled with how and when to get to the grocery store each week! Our house has started to suffer the consequences as well. I try to do a little at a time but sometimes you just have to prioritize eating over cleaning the house. And sometimes you're just too exhausted so you prioritize rest and sleep. And sometimes you literally don't have the time in the day to do anything house cleaning related. Sigh.

I have discovered that doing as much as I can in advance is the most helpful, time-saving, sanity-saving trick I've learned. We try to start and empty the dishwasher in the same night so it's empty and ready to load with breakfast dishes each morning. I also lay out clothes for all the boys the night before, make lunches for the week on Sunday afternoons, make snacks for each afternoon in the morning, lay out my tutoring materials the night before tutoring days, and pick out my clothes for the whole week on the weekends. It's a lot of prep work, but for me, it's needed. If I wake up and have to empty the dishwasher it makes our morning more hectic and rushed. If I don't have snacks laid out for after school when we get home, it makes for an even crazier and busy after school time. If I don't decide on my clothes for week over the weekend I would be standing in my closet the night before every single night wondering what I should wear. The prep work is work, but it makes life a little easier so I'm trying to keep it up. I do think all the "prep" is what makes for the feeling of a constant, crazy pace. So that stinks and stresses me out. But I haven't found a better way yet.

I will say that the biggest blessing throughout this crazy change is how much I've enjoyed teaching. Teaching can be both physically and mentally draining but I really am enjoying it. I am loving Kindergarten. The age, the fun, the curriculum. And I'm so thankful for the smooth transition God has given me being back in the classroom every single day. After 8 years away, I went in pretty intimidated and nervous. But after a few days things started to come naturally and I found myself confident and at home. Plus I really love my class. So I'm especially thankful that despite being overwhelmed and exhausted all the time now, teaching itself is going really well.

I am facing some unexpected challenges at school that are out of my control, but I know God is in control and I'm trying to fully trust Him with the unexpected. Unfortunately I feel like I'm giving the best of myself to my school kids while my family is getting what's left of me every afternoon and evening. Which doesn't feel fair or okay at all. Because what's left isn't all that much! It's definitely not tons of patience and energy and positivity! I've never worked full time as a mom of 3 and there are just so many factors and emotions and dilemmas I never faced when I worked full time before, pre-kids. Being a mama has DEFINITELY made me a better teacher. Everything I do at school is filtered through my mama heart and it just makes me all around better at teaching and loving those babies. And I think my heart for teaching and my background in teaching has made me a better mama at times for sure. However, working full time has not made me a better mama. I could beat myself up and have a pity party and really let myself get upset over the fact that I don't feel like I'm handling it all as well as I should. And I've had my moments for sure. Moments of feeling panicky because I'm so overwhelmed. Moments of falling apart because I'm so worn out. Moments of losing confidence. Moments of complaining. Even a teary Friday morning last week because of being tired and overwhelmed by our upcoming busy weekend. Ahhhhhh. I'm hoping that doesn't happen again. Friday mornings should be good, happy, and peppy!

I've also doubted myself quite a bit, especially when it comes to my ability to continue as preschool SS director. I feel like I have VERY little time at all to devote to it. I'm enjoying my role on Sunday mornings still, but the extra responsibilities (things that have to happen on my own time not on Sunday mornings) are reeally hard for me to keep up with. I've struggled with the expectations and commitment big time recently. I'm going to try to stick it out but I have to be able to do a good job and to keep my sanity. I want to follow where God leads so I guess we'll keep praying and keep serving in the meantime.

I am super thankful that Terrell has been so supportive throughout the craziness. I still haven't adjusted to my new routine but he has handled it all with ease. I know he's had moments of not knowing how to help and probably been over my complaining and exhaustion more than once, but the way he's done whatever he can to lessen my load has made a huge difference and meant more to me than he probably knows. EVERYTHING around here is a team effort and I feel so blessed to have him.

Thankfully the big boys seem adjusted too. They do worry about me and check on when they know I'm exhausted or zombie-like at home... or overwhelmed and emotional. Bless them. I hate for them to see me so worn out all the time but unfortunately it's just a fact of life right now. For the most part, nothing major has changed for them so that's been good.

Throughout this transition of becoming a working mom and facing more challenges than I ever expected, I've reminded myself a lot that God provided this opportunity and He will give me grace to see it through. God's plans really are best and can be trusted. It hasn't been easy obviously but I'm trying hard to be intentional about trusting Him.... through the highs and lows, the questions and frustrations, the exhaustion and the busyness. My prayer life has taken a hit and so has my time in the Word, (which has been frustrating), but I know He knows my heart. And trying to be thankful each day for this provision has helped me through the times I've wanted to give up. A thankful heart can really make a big difference in your days.

The good news is we only have 4 weeks to go before we make it to SUMMER. The bad news is the weeks are just super long. Ha. Maybe I'll find some energy along the way and we'll have some extra downtime coming up. A mama can dream. =)

I'm not sure what the upcoming school year will hold for me but I'm trusting His plan. He knows what He's doing and He is in control. Blessed assurance sure is sweet!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easter Weekend 2017

Well, this has taken me all week to write. Super limited opportunities to blog makes me sad. But it's finally done. Yay. Here's a recap of our Easter festivities... 

Easter weekend for us was jam-packed and fun filled. The busyness and fun totally wore us out but we enjoyed the whole weekend to the fullest. =)

Good Friday kicked off for us with Austin's PreK egg hunt. I believe this is the first egg hunt I've missed for any of my babies. Thankfully his sweet teacher and another mom sent me pictures and Austin didn't later ask me where I was or make me feel the dreaded working mom guilt. He had a blast and came away with a ton of eggs.  

Then a little later on Friday, Terrell and Layton signed the big boys out of school early so they could spend the afternoon playing golf together with Papa. This has become a tradition my guys look forward to so much. 

This is our 3rd year being back, 3rd year of Terrell having Good Friday off, 3rd year of the annual golf game, and Layton's 1st time getting to go!! They were wiped out Friday night but loved every second. They told me all about it and talked non-stop giving me the play by play over supper. It's a special tradition. =)

Saturday morning we slept in as late as we could (7:30ish ha) and then got everyone ready to head out for Garrison's make-up game. The Royal Blue Trojans came away with the win and I loved watching my biggest play and daddy coach.

We came home for lunch and a quick nap time/rest time before heading out again for our first ever "egg drop". Layton's age group hunted eggs like normal but the bigger kids hunted via helicopter drop of the eggs. It was a pretty cool experience.  

If you look closely you can see the eggs falling from the helicopter. 

The kids were amazed. I think pretty much everybody there enjoyed watching "the drop". And of course we came home with lots of candy. =)

After leaving the egg drop we went straight to my parents' house for the annual fish fry/family reunion. I think this year's may have been the biggest ever. It was crazy. Haha. But the boys had a ball and we actually got everybody in bed on time Saturday night.  

Then we had some special deliveries arrive. =) Bubble bath, band aids, a new movie, new hotwheels, flip flops, candy, kites, etc filled their buckets and then we picked out 3 different bigger items to give them too. 

Happy Easter! (We didn't even stage Bailey in the pic... hahaha!)

They were super impressed with their goodies and we had a really fun morning before heading off to church. 

This year we went pretty casual and "Plain Jane" with our attire. I shopped a little late for the boys clothes, and honestly with boys we've already done almost all there is to offer. Haha. We still coordinated as a family and I really ending up loving all of our blue. Even though we were super simple, this year's coordination efforts are one of my faves. =) Our pictures turned out pretty great too. The weather was beautiful. A little hot but so pretty.

We had a BUSY, overflowing with kiddos morning on the preschool hall at church before leaving after the first hour and heading home to cook. My parents hosted an amazing and delicious Easter lunch, and of course the annual egg hunt for the grands. =) We ate the best food and had a great afternoon together.

Piper was able to officially "hunt" this year! The cuteness makes me squeal a little!!

And before we called it a day, Layton got in a tractor ride with Uncle Terry. His favorite. =) 

We made it home in plenty of time for early baths and one of our brand new games the boys got for Easter, Yeti in my Spaghetti. It was a hit! (Huge thanks to the grandparents for the boys' Easter goodies!! They are LOVING all of their new things!)

We had a really FULL but fun and special Easter weekend. 

And I'll leave you with my favorite outtakes from our Easter family photo shoot. =) 

Layton is clearly our wildcard when it comes to pictures. Ha!

We've almost made it to the weekend. YAY!!! Happy Friday Eve! I'm going to *try* to check in next week with an update on life lately and how things are going with working full time. Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Favorites

Well I am officially sleep walking this Friday morning. So worn out, barely going, ready to fall over from exhaustion TIRED. The week before Spring Break must have been an adrenaline rush or a burst of it's almost Spring Break energy, because this week has kicked my behind. I haven't slept that well and we've had something every single evening this week. I haven't been this bone-weary tired in a looong time. Mama is spent. 

But I'm so thankful for this weekend (even though it's a full one) and what it means. Good Friday is the day Jesus died for me (and you!) and Sunday is the day He conquered death and was raised to life again. Easter means so much more to me every single year. 

Here's a quick look at my favorites from the week...

*On Monday Layton was Granna's gardening helper! He LOVED planting with her and Piper. =) Later that night before taking a bath he told me out of the blue I had fun with Granna today. It was the sweetest.

*The post-homework, pre-supper and practice down time is my favorite and needed for everybody.

*Garrison had 2 late practices in a row this week which meant I had extra time with these 2 before bed. Books in bed are always a favorite!

*Layton got to go to an Easter-themed Story Time at the library with Nana this week. =) I'm so thankful for how well he's taken care of while I'm working. The very next morning he asked to stay home and it broke my heart. But thankfully all was well once he got to Granna's and he had a great day. Working full time is a big adjustment for me and my little man. Sigh. We've been together almost all day every day for 3 years so it's taking us some getting used to for sure.

*Pop the Pig for our Game Night this week while daddy and Garrison were practicing. After 4 games, Layton won twice and then Austin won twice. #couldn'thaveplanneditbettermyself

*Garrison brought home this story this week and it cracked me up. How does he come up with this stuff? Ha! (EX's and Megas are Pokemon by the way) 

*Austin also came home with his St Patrick's Day work that had been hanging in the hall. Clearly Pokemon is a big deal around here. Haha! At least his family made it on the paper too!

Favorite Not-Pictured Moments: Austin had a late game last night and I stayed to watch the first inning before bringing Garrison and Layton home so they could get in bed at a decent time and I was able to see Austin slide into home plate SAFE in a thrilling play!! The crowd went wild! It was awesome. =) Then, last night my biggest and my baby slept together in Layton's bed. Their first sleepover just the 2 of them. =)

This weekend we are looking forward to celebrating Easter! And hopefully extra REST! Have a great Easter weekend celebrating our Risen Savior!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017 was pretty amazing. Way better than last year since I wasn't recovering from surgery and out of commission all week. =) I am so thankful for the extra fun and time together we enjoyed. It was definitely one of my favorites. 

We kicked off the break with baseball games on Saturday morning. Both boys' teams won big and I finally got a picture of Garrison during his game! The season wears me out but I sure do love watching them play.

Then on Saturday night we went out to eat with the whole fam to celebrate my mom's birthday. We had so much fun and laughed hard throughout the whole night!

Birthday celebrations are our favorite. =)

On Sunday we went to Six Flags for Layton's birthday outing and had a blast. He is still talking about our trip. Haha. 

Monday was our lazy day at home. We slept in a little, it rained all day, and the boys made messes in every single room. They played together so well I couldn't complain. It was the perfect stay at home day.

We also read almost every single one of our Easter books. =)

On Tuesday we were off for another day of family fun at Stone Mountain. Our 2 Spring Break outings were the best. We had perfect weather and so much fun. 

Wednesday we made a quick trip to Thomaston to take Bailey to the groomer and eat lunch with daddy before the storms came in. The boys were wild and made me crazy but we enjoyed our lunch date and are thankful for our safe trip and God's protection during the storms!

We had a peaceful rest time Wednesday afternoon while mama kept an eye on the weather. Thankfully we never had a tornado or any damaging winds. 

The threat for hail was so significant that we even managed to fit our huge car under the garage. Hahaha. 

The boys enjoyed a few games of Mouse Trap while I cooked supper... 

And before bed we watched the first few innings of our first Braves game of the season. Of course watching baseball turned into playing baseball. Ha.  

On Thursday the boys got haircuts (so handsome!) and then I spent the whole day cleaning the house and doing laundry. Cleaning my whole house is a JOB but I got it done. Fighting was at an all time high and we had some super rough stretches, BUT, at the end of the day the house was clean and we were all in one piece. Phew.

The boys actually spent the night with Terrell's parents Thursday night so we used a gift card from Christmas for a date night. Mama needed a date after the tough day we had. Thankfully they behaved for Nana and Pops. They also got to enjoy a surprise trip to Sky Zone on Friday while I did all of our Easter shopping in peace. =)

They made friends with one of the owners and he spent a lot of time playing with them. They apparently loved him. (And you can see the admiration on Layton's face. I am still cracking up. #rolemodel) 

They came home Friday afternoon and we had a low key Friday night with a good movie and early bedtimes. =)

Saturday I didn't take a single picture. We slept in, did laundry, Terrell worked in the yard, the boys and I ran a couple of errands, I bought groceries while the boys played outside, and then Saturday afternoon we took them to one of our favorite parks before we had a family date night at Chick fil A. It was a pretty great Saturday.

Sunday after church Layton took a short nap and then we let them play outside the whole afternoon. They loved soaking up the sunshine and had the best time. 

I made lunches for the week and did all of my school prep while they jumped and played trampoline basketball. 

Then last night we went back to church for our Easter musical, Peace Through the Blood. SO good and such a special treat for Palm Sunday. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20

We had a really amazing Spring Break. It was a little tough on all of us last night to wrap up our break and time off and being together almost constantly, but we know we're now officially on countdown to SUMMER! I'm praying my family and I can all handle these next 7 weeks with confidence and ease. If I'm being honest, a lot of the worries and concerns I had when I first found out about going back to work full time have returned. I'm nervous and a little anxious this morning, but I'm trusting in His plan and thankful for His provisions. And Holy Week is upon us! As believers this is a time of reflection, rejoicing, hope, and joy. So thankful I serve a RISEN Savior! 

Happy Monday and Happy Easter Week!!