Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Life In Captions

 Hi There,
     We've been busy folks over here with the start of school, being parents, squeezing in gym time, book time, meal prepping, and chill time! I'm going to phone in this post and do all my writing through photo captions! This idea because I'm lazy might just need to be a new blog feature! (shrugging emoji....my new favorite). Bring on the captions!

We saw Brandi Carlile at Red Butte a few weeks ago. She's one of my favorite singers! 

We had a picnic--Baguette, prosciutto, pesto, mozzarella, salads, a yummy assortment of desserts. YUM. 

I discovered Rose in a can and my life may never be the same. 

Our friends Johnny and Chelsie
I had a super cute classroom helper one day getting ready for school 

I got these great rugs and kiddie furniture from Donor's Choose this summer. I love how it looks! 

My little nook 

Our amazing friend Kandi babysat Hank one day while we were working in our classrooms and she took this picture with Hank and sent it to school. My heart melted!

First Day of School! 

Hank loves the music at church
I cannot wait for Fall. IT'S THE BEST! 

This beverage has been a new favorite lately 
These guys melt my heart. 
I mean.....<3 

We are all about that meal prep life. We used to just do lunches but with Hank on the scene we've been prepping dinners too. I make a chicken veggie pasta or something and divide it into containers for the week. Easy peasy. 
I saw this on a blogger's insta story and I had to laugh. My sister, Libby, just moved back to Utah and we went shopping for her place and we were cracking up over our different tastes. Hers? Millenial and Marble. Mine? Farmhouse and words.
May you enjoy the rest of your week as much as Hank enjoys flying around in the laundry basket. 
Savor Your Sparkle,

Sunday, August 26, 2018

August Reads

I have been so pumped to post my August reads for you all because this was my favorite reading month of 2018 (so far!). August is also the last month of summer so I know my reading will probably slow significantly so I felt like I had to read read read this month to get in all these great ones!
Here we go....

1. I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara: This. book. was. amazing. I am a true crime lover and the story of the Golden State Killer fascinates (and sickens) me. This book is a wonderful non-fiction book that reads like a novel. It's just as much about Michelle's journey and thoughts as it is about straight facts about the case. My heart absolutely breaks that his arrest occurred after Michelle passed away. There is a beautiful and haunting poem in this book that Michelle wrote in the midst of decades of dead ends (but how close she got to actually pinning down the killer is uncanny) where she writes that one day he will be an old man, living his life, smug that he got away with so much terror, and the police will knock on his door and justice will finally be served. CHILLS (this actually happened this past spring). If you like true crime, this is a must read.

2. People I Want To Punch In The Throat by Jen Mann: This one was a delight. I am a huge fan of hilarious memoirs and this one all about suburban motherhood made me laugh. From Jen's anxiety over getting her kids signed up for the "right" summer camps to her strong desire to own a mini van, this one is relatable and funny, self-deprecating in all the right ways and sweet at heart. A fun, fast read.

3. Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave: I was browsing audio books at the library looking for one to round out the summer in the car and the cute cover of this one caught my eye. This book was so fun, I loved it! It involves romance, the social media and food scene, pretty descriptions of the Hamptons, and more. This is cute chick lit at its best. You'll find yourself cheering for the protagonist as she rebuilds her life and has adventures along the way.

4. My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan: I LOVED THIS BOOK! I finished this one in a weekend because I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen next. This one follows an American Woman who goes to Oxford and has fun adventures (reminded me a lot of The Royal We) but then she falls in love....with a professor. About half way through there's a major twist that I did not see coming. I cried in this one, laughed, and cheered. It was a wonderful book.
5. When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger: I was on the library hold list for this one for a long time and it makes perfect sense: this is a great pool-side summer read. This one was cute, fluffy chick lit. I mean, it's Lauren Weisberger (The Devil Wears Prada) so you know it'll be good. There's honestly not much of a story here, more like 3 pals brought together in Connecticut and how their lives unfold. Still, it was definitely worth the read. The best part? The cameo from Miranda Priestly (the devil herself)!

6. From Scratch: Inside the Food Network by Allen Salkin: This book was in my Easter basket from my family this year. I love the Food Network and I loved reading about the stars of the network. It made me respect Bobby Flay, eye-roll over Robert Irvine, love Rachael Ray, confirm that Anne Burrell is pretty odd, and decide that Ina is in a class all her own. This book was way too long and dense (lots of talk about how the network was created, early days of niche cable networks), but overall it was an interesting read. I'd only recommend this one if you watch and like the Food Network...and even then it was a lot. It's worth skimming!

7. Ghosted by Rosie Walsh: This was my July Book of the Month pick. Ok, I LOVED this one for the first half. It follows the story of a woman who meets and falls in love with her dream man over one fateful weekend. He then disappears leaving her reeling. You do end up finding out why she was "ghosted," and it all wraps up nicely in the end. I guess all the psychological thrillers and twisted characters in other reads this year had me expecting a bit more.

8. Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart: Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the first book to ever make me have a library fine! This one was due earlier this week and I was half way through, it couldn't be renewed, and I had no choice. I'd say it's 75 cents well spent. I loved the book Sugar by Kimberly Stuart so I put her name on my list to check out and this is her latest book. The good? Fun romance and "prodigal daughter" story line. The not so good? Typical. Very typical. This one has a sightly Christian bend but not enough to be considered a "Christian novel." I am torn on this one. It was cute and fun but totally not memorable.

This was one of my favorite reading months! I have full nightstand of September reads ready to roll. Now if only I could add some more hours in my day. Happy reading, friends!

Savor Your Sparkle,

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Back To School

Well, the time is upon us: Back to School! This year will be my 10th year of teaching 1st grade and whoa boy, there have been so many ups and downs over the years. Within one school year, heck, within one week, I can go from "I was born to do this, I love my students so much my heart might burst" to "Why am I doing this? I am so frustrated, tired, burned out." And you know what? Both of those responses are totally 100% "normal" and okay.

 I have made my home in the classroom and most days, there is no place I'd rather spend my days. I think about my future students all summer long and know we will learn and grow so much over this next year.
Here are some old posts I wrote about teaching:

You Might Be An Elementary Teacher If....
Letting Go
A Letter to my students on the first day
Lunch Packing

One of my favorite aspects of teaching has been, and will always be, the incredible people I have met and befriended in this field. I know I'm biased being an educator (and married to one, too!), but teachers are incredible people. The teachers I have met and have had the privilege of working along side are kind, hilarious, energetic, passionate, all around cool people, and it has been an honor being in their ranks each year.

This year our school asked us to define our "why." The reason we get up each day and do what we do. The trick was, it had to be summed up in one word. The one I chose? Hope. I have so much hope for our future and want to interact with the builders of tomorrow....so I teach. Too many people have a pessimistic outlook on the future and "kids today" and I get that. But the truth is, if you aren't comfortable with the direction things are heading in, how are you personally going to have a positive impact? It's easy to sit back and complain about kids and the state of our nation's schools. It's more challenging, and much much much more fulfilling, to be part of the solution. And as anyone who has worked with young people knows, the future is very bright. Happy 2018-2019 school year!

Savor Your Sparkle,

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Hank: 8 Months!

I love keeping a record of our adventures, activities, and ups and downs here on the blog, so obvi I have to do a little update on Hank at 8 months old! He officially turns 8 months old tomorrow. To see other Hank posts, click HERE

I know I say this every single month, but this phase is my FAVORITE! I love watching him discover new things, play, laugh, smile, and express himself. Hank is super interactive at this phase and it's just so much fun.

Hank's favorites right now are: bubbles, Little Gym classes, walks, naps with daddy on the living room floor, his Skip Hop baby seat, the ceiling fan, chewing on everything, and "flying" onto our bed.

Hank has had a variety of foods this month but no solids (besides avocado and banana in the mesh feeder) yet. We tried some baby "MumMums" rice cake things that he just sort of licked. His favorite (still) is oatmeal with butternut squash but he's recently been into pear cinnamon oatmeal. He still has a fruit (or a fruit/veggie combo) late morning and has "dinner" (a veggie and usually rice cereal or oatmeal) around 5:00. He is not interested in food when he first gets up and only wants his "ba." He has 3-4 bottles a day and sucks them down hungrily!

Hank wakes up between 7-8 every day. He's gotten up as early as 6:30 and as late as 9:00, though. He makes noises to let us know he's awake and ready to start the day. I've tried lately to not go get him right away because sometimes he'll coo and then sleep for another half hour or so. We've been moving our bedtime routine up because school is starting and I could tell staying up till 8:30 was just too late for him. We try and head upstairs around 7:30, he takes a bath (in the big tub.....a game changer!), we read a story, he has his night bottle, we brush his gums, and he usually starts dozing right after and we put him in his crib with his lullabies playing. Sometimes he'll fuss when we lay him down and either I'll leave him and he'll pass out eventually or we'll bring him to our bed to lay until he falls asleep.

We are working with ALL kinds of sizes in the clothing department. He wears 9 months, 12 months, and even some 18 months. My favorites right now are the Gap Kids 6-12 month clothes. Those fit him well. He's in size 3 diapers but I was thinking of trying a size 4. We went through a 2 week phase this month of a blow out every.single.day. but now that's over so who knows?! I'm not moving him up until we finish our Costco supply. Ha!
 We love our joyful and handsome Hank Grayson so much! Happy 8 months, little man!
Savor Your Sparkle,

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Life Lately

You all know how I make a "to do" list every day and no joke, "blog a Life Lately post" has been on my list for over a week. So here we are! We are in full back to school mode in these parts and even though kids don't arrive for 11 days (and who's counting, right?), there always seems like so much has to be done in August. I brought home some work this weekend, turned on a cheesy Lifetime movie and labeled....are you ready? (ahem): backpack hooks, desk name tags, call on you clips, folders, behavior chart cards, lunch choice magnets, bulletin board tags, and filing tabs. It's a ton of work, but I actually love getting my classroom all ready each year. It's my home away from home!

We worked in our classrooms Friday. AJ's face sums up how he feels about that! LOL 

 Before I get into photos of life lately, I thought I'd revisit my summer goals. You can see my post all about it HERE. So, how'd I do? I was successful on reading (so many amazing summer books!), trying new recipes, staying active, Hank has been thoroughly introduced to fruits and veggies, I cleaned all our drawers and closets, pampered myself with a few massages, a pedi or two, and got a lash lift. I finished the whole TV series of Younger (so good), celebrated Hadley's birthday in a special way, and browsed on Teachers Pay Teachers. I didn't take Hank to the zoo or aquarium so those are on my list of things to do this school year. I also did connect with friends for get togethers etc. but I can always do more of that!

We went for a walk this morning and talked about our favorite parts of the summer and while our Oregon trip was high on the list, along with taking Hank to Little Gym, sleeping in, relaxing, going on dates, celebrating our anniversary and Hadley's birthday (I recently wrote an article about Hadley for the September edition of Share Parents magazine, I'll be sure to share it here when it's published!), we both agreed that getting to spend so much time with Hank is, no doubt, the best part of the summer of 2018. It's such a joy being Hank's mom. I'm nuts about that boy. Life lately has been a lot of....

Walks and lots of swimming:

Family Time and sweet relaxation:

mesmerized by A Wrinkle In Time 

A Day at Lagoon! 

I am in love with Hank's Lumberjack nursery 

Balancing healthy and treats (finding that balance can be tricky for me!)

amazing scone from the Farmers Market 

And Handsome Hank:

 Lots of Sparkle to Savor.....even if I do need to set an alarm for way.too.early. here pretty soon. EEK!

Savor Your Sparkle,