Thursday, May 21, 2009

For real

Yesterday I sewed my nursing cover. It felt very "real" to be making one for ME and not for someone else. How crazy is that? I found the front fabric online on clearance. At the time I ordered it I wasn't sure what I would use it for. When it came and we found out we were having a boy, it just seemed right for the nursing cover. The back material I found at JoAnn's.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I just still can't believe it's for me! :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Asa's Mural take II (complete!)

Please read more about this project in the post below, but I went ahead and finished up the mural this afternoon. Here are pictures of it completely complete! :)

the tree, with its little friend the raccoon :), and a bin of toys

our "carved" initials

Looking up at the leaves and branches

Matt insisted (in the nicest sort of way) that I "sign" my work like a real muralist :)
(don't mind the baseboards... they'll be replaced eventually anyway, though not anytime soon--don't worry! We're not completely crazy!)

Asa's Mural

All along, we (I/my husband sweetly went along with it) had a vision for a nursery with vertical stripes painted. I actually first saw the idea in high school and loved it. In high school, I also saw an HGTV design show where they did a backyard/forest theme in a nursery. As part of the decor, the designers painted a tree on a wall and hung a birdhouse on the trunk. I thought it was SUCH a sweet idea and filed it away in my brain.

"All these years later," Matt has so sweetly and diligently helped me bring that vision to life. He marked and painted all the lines in the room, which was a huge undertaking. And he has encouraged me as I thought through the tree mural I wanted to do on one wall. He has done a ton in the room, and I told him I wanted two projects: the tree mural and curtains. He's been chomping at the bit for the tree to be painted for awhile, but he has waited patiently until I was done with teaching. This week I really wanted to get started on it, because we were both excited about it and I knew it was mostly a matter of working up the nerve to begin freehand drawing and painting on the wall (eek!).

Last Saturday I drew the tree trunk and branches on the wall. On Sunday we picked paint colors, and on Monday I began the painting process. He has been SO supportive and encouraging the entire time. His affirmation is such a gift to me, especially when stretching and trying something I've never done before. :)

As it stands today, there are a handful of leaves I need to touch-up, one place on a branch I want to smooth out, 1-2 leaves I want to add, and lastly I will paint our initials on the tree as though we carved them in (and add Asa's and his birthdate... once we know when that is). :) I can finish it today or this weekend at the latest. But I had to go ahead and show you--we are sooo excited! Matt also stained one of the birdhouses (the other 2 will be stained as well and are on display on shelves in the room) and hung it on the trunk. We love the whimsical touch it adds to Asa's forest room. :)

As I was painting the tree, I thought of all the other things it can lead us to talk about with Asa. We can talk about the seasons (since it's a kind of difficult concept to grasp in Florida, in my opinion) :), but more importantly we can talk about our family tree and most importantly the tree of life and Jesus, who hung on a tree. We are so.... excited seems like not quite the right word, thankful? reverent?... to share with Asa all God has done from the beginning of time. All He has done for us in our lifetime--and in our families before us. How we pray for Him to grow and flourish like this tree, with roots deeply drinking from the Father, the True source of Life.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Celebrating Asa

Before my last day, I wanted to do something special with my class. Hopefully, it would be something I/Asa could save as a special memento of this year and my students. I remembered a kindergarten teacher back in TN had neat instructions for how to make animals from handprints. I couldn't think of where to find the few pages of hers that I copied, so I browsed online. I found a book that sounded like it would have some possibilities, and then I found out our library carried it! I requested it to be transferred to our library and held for me right away. After looking through it and playing around with arrangements on the computer, I came up with a plan for a forest animal handprint quilt. The kids made porcupine/hedgehogs (it depends on whom you ask), big birds (robins and a blue jay), rabbits, owls, and everyone contributed a thumb print to a caterpillar (for 4 total caterpillars). The aunt of one of my students volunteered every Thursday, and she helped them make their quilt squares a couple weeks ago. I LOVE how they turned out, and I love how seriously the kids took it. The porcupine/hedgehog-gers wanted to make them as realistic as possible, adding white tips to the ends of their quills. They discussed different types of owls as they made owls (the aunt is a wildlife rehab specialist). It just worked out perfectly.

While the entire quilt isn't done (it needs a back and binding), I promised the kids I would sew their squares together before I left so they could see it. I took it in on Thursday, and they were SO proud of themselves... I am SO proud of them! I really love this sweet way to remember them and tell Asa about a classroom full of 20 children who talked to him everyday since they found out he was inside me. :)

Without further ado, here is a picture of the unfinished quilt.

click on the picture to view it larger :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Catch Up....

... I know it's been a REALLY long time since I have posted. I have been getting ready to hand my class over to a replacement who was hired for me for the last month of school. It comes at perfect timing--I'm fighting asthma triggered by either a cold or allergies and am more exhausted than I thought possible. But today was my last day.

It was stressful because I just wanted everything to go well. There were some snags, like the pizza I ordered for our lunch party not coming until we had 5 minutes of lunch left (I called around 10 and asked for it to be delivered at 11... it came at 11:25). Thankfully, the other math teachers were very flexible and gracious and let my students (whom they teach for math) eat the lunch that finally arrived before heading on to math. Matt stopped by too, which the kids absolutely loved. :)

My plan had been to leave the room at about 1:30, and my replacement would read them stories until the bus and parent pickup bells rang (1:40 and 1:45). I thought if I stayed in the room until the last minute, I'd have to peel kids off of me. That's not the "last memory" I wanted them to have. But they brought so many gifts (SO sweet!) and all wanted me to open them in front of all of them (I normally don't do that, because I would never want one who didn't bring anything to feel bad) that I went a little over! After the gifts, I wanted all the focus to be on THEM. :) So we had our awards ceremony, and my replacement put their gifts from me on their desks. Then we had a talk about how different is different, not wrong. So while I do things probably very differently than their 2nd grade teacher did, we still had a GREAT year together. And they give each other the freedom to be different, so I asked them to please give my replacement the same freedom. I told them they don't even have to tell her when she does things differently. If they think of that, they can just think it to themselves and decide to enjoy learning a different way something can be done. Some of them were already tearing up at that point, and then the bus rider bell rang (that talk lasted only about 5 minutes). I knew I had to leave the room, so I started to say, "Okay, I'm going to go ahead and leave," but then I lost it. I apologized for crying, which I think was actually a God thing. Not only did they see how much I care and that this is NOT an easy decision for me, but they were so sweet--immediately their focus shifted to trying to make me feel better. Instead of crying themselves, they put on a brave face and told ME it was okay and told ME not to cry. :) I told them I love them, that their gifts were on their desks for when they were dismissed, that they are going to have a great end of the year, and that I will see them in the fall when I bring Asa for lunch one day. Then I got up and left before I think they even realized what was happening. I went and hid in the library (just down the hall) until they were gone. My replacement said no one was hysterical and that some seemed like they wanted to cry, but it all happened so fast that they didn't. I'm SOOO glad.

I don't know why it was harder to say goodbye to this group than others I've had. With other classes, I was sure I would cry the last day but didn't or only a little in the car on the way home. I think a piece of it is the finality of leaving classroom teaching for a whole new realm of teaching and nurturing as a stay-at-home mom. And pieces of it are the way we really bonded as they took ownership of Asa themselves as honorary aunts and uncles (so they tell me), and I think there was just something different with this group. There's always been at least one that really stood out as needing extra love. With this group, there were lots. I think back to knowing Matt and I hoped to have a baby last summer, to get pregnant a year before we actually ended up trying, but God told us to wait. I think about what I would have missed if we'd been disobedient. If we'd chosen what we wanted instead of what He wanted.... I wouldn't have known any of these kids. There are lots of reasons we see this is the PERFECT timing for Asa to join our family and we KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only was obeying and waiting another year the right thing solely because it was obedient, but because of countless other circumstances we have seen unfold. I KNOW I was supposed to teach this class this year. I KNOW this group of precious children whom my heart aches for right now is a major factor in God directing us to wait. I don't know what all lessons I will realize as more time to think through my year with them passes, but I do hope and pray He has used me to plant seeds, eternal seeds, in them this year that others will encourage and nurture as they grow older. I am so thankful for this year, as painful as it was last year to wait when I didn't understand why. My heart ached then, but it is FULL now (as much as I'm missing those 20 smiling faces). God is SO good.