Thursday, August 28, 2014

O'Doyle RULES!!!

I think Billy Madison should be every teacher's required back-to-school movie to watch every fall.  I'm sitting here laughing just thinking about it.  Back to school, back to school...

If you haven't seen Billy Madison, we can't be friends.

Just kidding.  But please watch it or at least come over to my house so you can watch it with us.  It's a classic!

Yes, back to school it is, and the school year officially started for me today with my two buildings full of well-dressed, (mostly) cheerful kids.  

I was terrified of starting the new year and trying to balance all the things...Jude, daycare, a new house, a lot more square footage to clean, my two schools to teach at, and a student teacher. Luckily, I have a sweet little baby boy who is cuddly and happy in the mornings, the best-of-the-best daycare provider who leaves me with not a single worry, a type-A husband who is a great help in the house, and a hardworking, energetic student teacher.  Things are off to a great start.  

You know that saying, "it feels like we never left"?  That's what I felt this morning as I started my day at Lincoln school with the fifth grade kids.  It honestly felt like I hadn't missed a single beat.  I did notice, however, it felt different from last felt good to sing.  And not just sing a little song, but really SING.  Engaging the breath, using full tone, feeling my core muscles support the voice.  Last year at this time I was pregnant and nauseous.  After the nausea went away I was growing.  The nausea, the baby bump and the hormones all messed with my vocal cords and my ability to project sound.  So today was kind of a voice revival.  It felt amazing.  

It also felt great to be with my Harding (K-4) kids again.  They were happy to see me, too--we missed each other--and we had a great time singing, playing and dancing already on their first day!  Whenever I tell people what I do, 9 times out of 10 their reaction is "oh how fun!"  They are right; it is the most fun job in the world. 

All of my fears have subsided.  The balancing act will be tough at times, like when I run out of the house without lunch (which was today), but everything will be fine.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  And, I love love LOVE my job.  I had forgotten how much I love it.  I do miss my baby boy and I will miss him every day, but I really struck a gold mine with my line of work.  LOL...not a literal gold mine...I'm definitely still just making a teacher's salary :)

I like to share funny stories from my classroom so keep your eyes here and once in a while you'll have a laugh with me!  Today's funniest was in a first grade class.  I have a section of risers in my room with a bunch of instruments set up on it, and the gong is on the top step.  One of my little girls pointed to it and asked, "Is that a Chinese bong?"  HA!!!  I told her "yeah, but it's a gong...don't call it a bong."  Can't you just see her going home and telling her parents "My music teacher let us use the bong today."  Hahahahaaaaa... That would be like the time we had "marinara sauce" on the lunch menu and a fourth grader announced it over the intercom as "marijuana sauce." 

I hope you all have a great school year.  Cheers!

Love, Betsy

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ten days later...

I'm pretty sure this month has been the absolute busiest one we have ever seen!  



A year ago, right after we found out we were expecting, Tom and I bought a beautiful piece of land out on the east side of Asbury in Mason City.  We drew up some plans with a super talented builder and were SO excited to build our house.  

Well...eventually we realized our dreams were a little too big.  When the projected amount came out at $100,000 over our budget, this conversation happened as I was sitting on the couch in our shoebox-sized home:

Tom:  We can afford to build the house if we stay in this one for five, maybe ten more years.
Me: *eyes grow bigger and teeth clench*
Tom:  I think we can make it work...
Me: *blood begins to boil*
Tom:  We just need to get rid of some of your clothes.
Me: *fire shoots out of my eyes, ears and mouth*

I'll spare you the ugly details.  It's safe to say that I had a top-notch, Betsy-breakdown style, full-on MELTDOWN.  And no, it wasn't about the clothes, LOL.  If you've been to our house, you understand my frustrations.

Anyway, after I peeled myself off the walls and ceiling and pieced my broken parts back together, we had another conversation:  maybe it's time to consider selling the lot.

The next night we were playing music and hanging out with our friends Matt and Angie, and explained our situation to them.  In their wisdom (thanks guys) they suggested we take a look at some houses in their neighborhood that had recently come up for sale.  We looked online right then and there, found a few we liked, and set up an appointment with our realtor.  

Long story short, we are now the proud owners of a beautiful two story house in Asbury, and we couldn't be happier.  It's probably about four times the size of our last house and it has features that are perfectly tailored to our family.  I will post pictures soon, but right now the house still has a decent amount of stuff sitting around from the I'll do it after we find places for everything.  

It's all very exciting and fun.  I have to remind myself every day that this is our home now, and that we aren't just trying it out or house-sitting for someone else.  We are so thankful that everything worked out!

What about the other house, you might ask?

Our cute little treasure box of a house (think the plastic treasure boxes you would get in elementary school when you lost a tooth...yeah, we lived in one of those) had a lot of showings but no bites, so we pulled it off the market and we were able to find a renter with the help of some friends.  It really worked out perfectly.  

I walked around in our empty little house a few nights ago and had a few tears.  I'm so glad we had that house for the first four months of Jude's life.  The three of us were so close for those precious early weeks.  I felt like it was our own tiny utopia.  I felt perfectly contented when our family would sit on the living room couches, with the lights dim, and just be together.  We literally had no where else to go because the space was so small...and I will always treasure that.  

And now, we are here.  And this is a house that we can grow into together.  I can't wait for Jude to have friends over to play in the backyard, to host dinner parties and Hawkeye football events, to create tons of jam noise with the Gents in the band space (yes, this house has a rehearsal space!!).  It is a huge blessing and we are HAPPY.  

Love, Betsy, Tom and baby Jude

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Most Dreaded Evening

My most dreaded evening has arrived.

Okay, I need to stop being so dramatic.  I'm not dreading anything.

But it's definitely making me a little weepy.  Tomorrow morning, Tom will drop Jude off at Millie's for his first full day of day care!  :)  I have an appointment at the Family Dentistry Dental Spa (I actually love going to the dentist) and then both of us will be working at our schools for our first workday of the new school year.

What's the date today, the 19th?  Goodness!  It's been crazy around here!

First of all, an update:  the tiniest love of my life is FOUR MONTHS OLD!

LOVES:  his Daddy, the floor gym, taking naps on mom and dad's bed, hearing funny noises, his cousins, smiling at anyone and everyone

HATES:  Mommy's high notes.  LOL!  When we were on vacation last week, I was playing hair salon with my niece.  I had the Sound of Music soundtrack playing and we were singing along with "Do Re Mi."  I hit the B-flat at the end and Jude, who was sitting nearby in his bouncy seat, FREAKED OUT.  HA!  I was surprised because he handled my singing just fine when he was 6 weeks old.  Maybe their hearing gets better as they grow?!  Who knows.

Vacation!  I can't wait to tell you about our vacation!  We made our second annual trip to a beautiful Minnesota resort with my family last week.  Dickerson's Lake Florida Resort, in the Spicer/New London area.  We had a great time.

We were there with my parents and my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew.  We had pretty nice weather, actually kind of on the cool side, and our beautiful cabin #10 to stay in.  We definitely don't "rough it" at all up's perfect for this "I love not camping" girl right here.

Some highlights:

Nephew, sister, niece, bro-in-law

And now we're tired of tummy time...with Grandpa!

The fishermen

 Beautiful beach!

Good morning!  (Aren was not pleased to share his blanket with Allie)

This is the resort owner, Bob Dickerson.  Allie loved Bob so much last year that we got her two "I love Bob" shirts for Christmas.  Couldn't leave Aren and Jude out either :)

Aren and Tom fishing...we thought this was so cute.  Black shorts, barefoot, each on their own side.

Bob takes the kids on a hayride each week, and they all get a turn to drive the tractor.  Jude was first since he was the youngest!

It's nice to have a doctor in the family when those little injuries happen.  This one happened to be a deep and infected splinter.  :(

Life's good.  

And it will be good tomorrow, when I have my job back after these four amazing months with my baby boy.  I have been a little emotional about it the past few days and was nearly in a meltdown about it on Sunday night.  I remembered that God gave me the gift of music and the gift of teaching...and according to 1 Peter 4, I am to USE the gifts.  

So thank you, God.  Thank you for giving me gifts... and please grant me peace and strength tomorrow.

Love, Betsy

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Oh, hi

Remember that time I whined about it being the last day in July?

Now it's August 6th and ...yeah.  No blogging happening.

There's a lot of stuff going on, too much to write at the moment actually, so here are some photos just to give somewhat of an update.

(More detailed updates to come at a later date)

(No, we're not pregnant again)

(If we were I would cry for a few days)

So, Jude...

is 16 weeks old!  Wow.

Smiling, laughing (thee cutest thing I've ever experienced!!), grabbing his feet, putting lots of things in his mouth, rolling from tummy to back, growing like a WEED.

He is sleeping in his crib (yes. yes. yes.) for 8-9 hours each night (YESSSS!!!).  He still steals morning snuggles with us and as you can tell, absolutely loves our bed.  :)

For crib sleeping, he wears these insanely cute sleep-sacks!  Our favorite one looks like peas!

These things are miraculous and have allowed our little man to sleep soundly...they help cut down on the startle reflex, they keep him warm and I think it emulates an enclosed space...keeps his world from getting to big and overwhelming.  The first couple nights in the crib were a raging failure because we didn't use the sleep-sack.

I love you, sleep-sack.

 How much fun are FEET?  How much longer until he can fit them in his mouth?!

We visited Jude's daycare today.  When school begins, he will be going to Millie Godfrey's house each day and we couldn't be happier about this.  Millie is AMAZING and we feel so, so blessed by her.  He will be with his best friends Onika and Emerson, plus the two adorable girls we met's an understatement that he will be loved and loved and loved.  He will learn how to pray before mealtime, he will be read to, he will play with toys, he will follow a routine, and he will learn how to treat people nicely.  I don't think we could ask for anything better.  Everyone we have spoken to about Millie calls her "magical."  I would have to agree with that.

I'm struggling with going back to work and not being with him all day--I feel sad.  But, since Millie is so fabulous, my sadness won't last long.  Plus I feel ZERO guilt for being a full-time working mommy.  After visiting Millie's house today, I'm actually excited for him.  He will have a lot of fun and he will be in the very best hands!

This is him after our visit.  Wiped OUT.

I'm expecting to have many tough and tearful moments, I will carry a few of these sweet pictures with me on my phone for when I need a peek at his sweetness.

He has become an expert cuddler, especially after his naps.  I am obsessed with shoulder cuddles.  When he is a difficult adolescent I shall show him this photo and remind him of how much he adores me.  Muaaahahahahaa.

Now for an awkward change of subject.  
We went to Menards a couple days ago.
Whenever I go to Menards I stop and look at THIS display of potato chips:

Um.  Let's count the "flavors," shall we?  Baby back ribs.  Kansas City BBQ.  Creamy dill (how can a chip taste creamy?).  Loaded baked potato.  Hot sauce.

And the mother of them all:


Shut the front door.

Can America be any more embarrassing?  I really do not think so.

That's all for now!  Stay tuned, though.  I think I'll probably have more interesting things to write about soon.  Who knows, Menards may start carrying more varieties of condiment-flavored chips.  I'm holding out for hot dog flavor.


Love, Betsy