Saturday, October 10, 2015

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Why is it that help is such a hard thing to ask for?

I'm always telling my students that I can't help them unless they ask me for help or show me what they need help with in the classroom.

Maybe adults view asking for help as a sign of weakness.  I know I have.  I'm stubborn and a control freak, so asking for help is admitting that I can't do it all.  I hate that.

But I'm slowly learning that asking for help actually....wait for it...HELPS!  Weird huh?

I've learned that when I want my husband to help me with something I actually need to verbalize it and not just tell him in my brain, then expect him to figure it out magically.  The thing is, he is so stinking helpful when I tell him how he can help.  So many times I have been mad at him for not assuming I need help and doing something about it.  I didn't marry a mind reader, but I sure as heck expected him to be one for the longest time.

I might owe him a pan of brownies or two for that.  Sorry babe.

So often I complain about things that I feel like I can't do anything about.  One of those things lately has been related to school.  I've complained about the lack of quality leveled readers we have available at our school.  Books can be so dad gum expensive - especially when you need several copies of the same title to teach in a small group.  The good ones with phonetic skills or specific comprehension goals in mind are VERY pricey.  I attempt to buy some when I can with either my money or points I accumulate from book orders.  Nothing bothers me more than asking a kid what they like to read about and then hearing that I don't have any books on that subject or with those characters.

Thursday night I decided to start a DonorsChoose project to get some more leveled readers in my class.  It takes a few days for someone to review the project and then they will post it.  I have had all my projects through DonorsChoose funded eventually, so I went ahead and made it a doozy one.  It was close to $300 worth of books.  These books are very high interest to first graders and I was requesting multiple copies of each title.

This morning I got the email that the project was approved and posted.  Usually my projects take a few months to get funded.  It's a donor here and a donor there.  I've had a complete stranger from Canada donate to my classroom.  I've had a doctor in Austin that I don't even know donate.  It will amaze you to think about the people that want to help that are literally across the map from you.  I've also had my family and friends donate to several projects.  My best friend's aunt has donated so many books to my classroom, as well as funded several of my DonorsChoose projects.  

The reason I even thought about posting a project Thursday night was because one of my friends sent me a Facebook message and told me that he hadn't seen one of my projects posted lately.  He has donated to quite a few projects and was looking for another one.

That blew me away.  There are people out there just waiting to help.  YOU JUST HAVE TO ASK!!

So this morning, I posted the project on Facebook.  It was fully funded in a little over two hours.  Can you believe that?!?!

I was blown away.

Then I was blown away again.  I started getting messages from people wanting to help more.

Instead of doing another DonorsChoose project I decided to update my Amazon wishlist.  Leigh Anne told me she had created one for her classroom a few years ago.  I did one then, but never really shared it with that many people.  I had a mom in my class buy me a few books and of course Leigh Anne did, but that was years ago and I honestly forgot about it.

I updated it today and shared it on Facebook.  I put 30 books of various price ranges on there.  I again shared it on Facebook and as of right now there are only 8 books left that have not been purchased.

Y'all.  I have cried tears of joy today.  I'm just so humbled and thankful.

I was so grumpy and complainy (I'm making that a word for this entry) about not having good books to help my little readers.  Now thanks to sorority sisters, parents, friends, and family I have over $400 worth of new books for my students.

Over $400 worth of books in under 24 hours.


Because I asked.  I asked for help.

Life is meant to be lived in community, but a community can only help when you let them in and ask.  They say it takes a village to help our kiddos out, but the village can't help if you shut yourself up in your little cottage and gripe about all the things that are wrong and how you don't have support.

Support is out there.

All you have to do is ask.

Monday, July 20, 2015

7-20-15 Update

I swear, this has been the busiest summer I have ever had!  I think I've only had two days this whole summer when we didn't have something planned!

Is it weird that I'm actually craving the routine of the school year??  That, and maybe I'm just ready for Fall and the decor, the smells, the cooler weather….ahhhhh……

Okay, okay.  Back to the update.  Here are some things we've been up to lately.

We're headed back to Disney this Fall (might be another reason I'm excited Summer is going by quickly!) and of course my mama is up to her awesome clothes making ways.  I basically find something I like online, then go pick out fabric so my mom can create it.  It's awesome!!!  I can't wait for these ADORABLE shirts to come about!  I'm so pumped!!

I honestly don't know which shirt I'm most excited about!!  The one with the cute multicolored chevron is actually for her first day of 1st grade and not Disney.  :)

We'll be in Disney for K's birthday this time around.  I've already told her that she wasn't going to have a birthday party when she is in first grade because of the fact that I'm teaching first grade at her school, so….well….Disney just seemed like the natural choice!  :)  I mean if you're going to do something, do it big right?  It doesn't hurt that it will be at one of the least crowded times and there was free dining being offered!  Perks of being a Disney travel agent and knowing all these things!  ;)

So to make her birthday extra special, I have a few surprises up my sleeve.  The first surprise is that I booked Bippity Boppity Boutique.  I know, I know.  It's sooooo silly to pay that much for glitter and hairspray.  I know it.  But Kaitlyn doesn't and she will be on cloud 9!  Part of what makes that place so expensive is buying the dress.  I was doing the math and to get a dress there was going to cost around $130.  What??

Um. No.

So I first asked my mom what she thought about making one, and I basically got the, "I'm already doing 5 shirts for you while running my business and now you're waiting to tell me you want a princess dress" look and she suggested I look online.  :)  

Knowing my mom, she would have done it if I didn't' find anything, but I'm glad I decided to look online.  

Because this.

I can't even.  The thought of Kaitlyn wearing this on her birthday in Magic Kingdom pretty much makes my heart want to burst right now.  To top all that off, we'll be having her birthday dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table and I even ordered a birthday cake to come to our table that is decorated with Aurora!  Oh the pictures that will happen!!! 

The dress is perfect!!  It's the perfect color, it's so well made, and the price was ridiculously low.  I honestly can't believe the lady that makes these doesn't charge double what she is charging.  She is very talented!  

Oh September hurry up and get here!!!

All this planning was going on while Kaitlyn was at dance camp last week.  She seriously loves dance, and I love that she has found her "thing."  There is no dragging her to dance.  She adores going and loves practicing even more once she gets home.  Trust me, if she didn't love it there is no way I would make her go.  Believe me, I can think of a million other things to do with that tuition money!

So after a week of hard work, a few of the younger girls had a small pool party to celebrate the end of the week. 

This picture makes me smile so much!  Look at all that relaxing going on!

Cody also got his season tickets for the Cowboys this past week.  You talk about a man that was happy.  It was like Christmas morning for that guy.  :)

This is when he got excited about velcro.  Yep.  Velcro.

It doesn't take much to amuse him.  ;)

So happy!
I couldn't stop taking pictures!  His reactions were the best!!!

In other news, I've still been trying to get K to help me out in the kitchen more lately.  I want her to know the basics at least.  She loves helping too!  
We love our Anna and Elsa aprons!

K helped me make "fancy burgers."  These are seriously yummy and don't taste like your typical hamburger at all!  You know if I don't put cheese on something and I'm okay with it, it has to be tasty!

Whip up some mashed potatoes with your fancy burgers and your husband's plate will look like this at the end!  :)

We have even more to do this week as well!  Cody and I will be taking a short anniversary trip and Kaitlyn and I will be headed to do our before school girls' trip!  

Making memories!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Kaitlyn's Library

Cody, my mother-in-law, Kaitlyn, and I went to see Disney's Inside Out two nights ago.  It was such a great movie (as most Disney movies are) but this one hit me hard in the mom gut.  

Y'all.  More than Toy Story 3.

I can't even.

So without giving too much of the story away for those who might be reading and have not seen it yet, let's just say that I want to capture each and every one of Kaitlyn's childhood memories and bottle them.  The thought of her losing even one memory breaks my heart.  I know it's going to happen, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

It's funny because recently my friend Nicole told me how her daughter has been reading her old blog posts about her and her sister.  Her daughter is going into 6th grade now and Nicole told me how they both read the memories that they thought they would never forget, but somehow did along the way.  Nicole's blogging became a glimpse of her daughter's past.

So, I want to challenge myself (and anyone else out there) to start journaling/blogging/taking pictures of the little things.

I hope that Kaitlyn finds joy (ha - Inside Out character!) in reading my posts about her someday.

Oh, by the way - hi future Kaitlyn whenever you read this!  I love you so, so much!!!  Please don't think I'm a now you've already figured that out, but just go with it!  ;)

So today I walked into my office to edit some pictures and the thought of taking pictures of Kaitlyn's library came to mind.

Hence this post.  :)



Sooner than later you'll be thinking that chapter books are all the rage.  My hope is that you will still have a love for picture books as well.  I see some of my own students thinking that picture books are for babies, but that is so not true.  Even grown ups like picture books.  Of course I want you to read what you want, and there is nothing wrong with chapter books, but sweetheart, I want you to remember how your library was when you were little.

I have a picture of you "reading" when you were itty bitty.  Your favorite book at that time was Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  I have the BEST video of you reading it to us.  Apparently some My Little Pony stickers somehow got put into you library too.  You use to always stash your treasures in different places.  

Most nights we'll sit on that love seat and read together.  I wish I could say it is every night, but honestly, sometimes we are so busy that I'm doing great just to get you in clean pajamas.  :)  I love when we snuggle as I read to you, or more recently, how you read to me.  I love your giggles, your concern for characters who are sad, and just your wonder.  I also love how a lot of the time you'll start rubbing my arm without realizing it.  These are the moments I know I'll miss so much one day.
These are what I'm reading to you at night currently.  I let you pick out the Junie B. Jones book after you fell in love with the one your kindergarten teacher read to your class.  It scared me so much when you picked the one about Junie B. having a crush.  I'm not sure I'll ever be ready for you having crushes!

You LOVED these little readers when you first started learning to read.  Truth be told, the red ones in that basket are way too easy for you and have been for quite some time.  I just have so many memories of you being so proud when you read them, that I haven't had the heart to put them away yet.  

At first, I tried organizing your books, but you never did put them back the way I wanted.  I realized quickly if I wanted you to have a love for reading the books, I had to let go of the control and let you put them back where you wanted.  I don't mind it so much now.  You still put them back on the shelves.  I think the way you organize is beautiful.  

The "That's Not My...." collection used to be some of your favorite books.  You loved touching the different textures and I loved watching you imitate me after I read them to you.  You tried to match my inflection and it was just adorable.

You love to read about such a variety of things - princesses and dance to dinosaurs and rocks.  Don't ever let someone tell you that you should like one thing or another.  Do and read what you truly love!
Well, there is your library as of now baby girl.  Yes, I can call you that even though you're six and a half while I'm writing this.  I'm you're mom, so I get to.  :)  I know you probably won't remember much about it when you're older, but maybe seeing this post will help you remember bits and pieces of it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Because YUM

Summer is a time when I actually can enjoy my lunches.  I don't have to race to get my students to the lunch room on time, then cross my fingers that a microwave is open to heat up leftovers.  I don't even have to pretend that eating a turkey sandwich AGAIN is the best thing ever.  I can even…wait for it…

Go to the bathroom when I want!

I know.  I'm amazed too.

My favorite go to lunch for the summer has always been this.

Don't you dare judge how much cheese I put in there.  It's my lunch and I like it that way!  ;)

I usually get the mozzarella from Costco, and we all know when one goes to Costco it takes a lot of will power to walk out with something you didn't come in for.  It's like Target's cousin.  They really like my debit card I tell you!

So I bought these babies.  

Say hello to my newest addiction!  I can actually pronounce all the ingredients too!  

Cashews, almonds, cane sugar, pumpkin seed kernels, rice syrup, sea salt, and honey.  

Yep.  You so want one right now don't you??  

This isn't going to help your craving.  

That, my friends, is pure food love in a small bite.  

I'll excuse you while you head to Costco.  :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Last week's update

We have been super busy at the Bush household!  I am so thankful for a day of not having to be anywhere for a change!  I love the kind of busy we have been - lots and lots of family and friend time!  But I'm not going to lie - it's 10:30 right now and I'm still in my pajamas and I'm loving it!

But now I have lots to share!

First: Dance!

K had her first experience at a national competition.  She had so much fun!

Love how serious she was with her VERY early morning stretching!

The Pilgrim girls came to see K perform and she was so excited!

Love these little rockers! 
Waiting for awards.  Each girl got a "spirit stick" to wave during the awards ceremony. 
These awesome girls had to wait until around 1:30 before they got to eat!  They inhaled some Chick-Fil-A and were so excited to play with their spy watches while waiting in the lobby before the 2nd award ceremony.

The mini company ended up taking platinum rankings on both of their dances and the entire company dance scored platinum as well.  They also took first place in their category for lyrical (that's what the trophy is for) and then another first place for the whole company dance!  K was so excited she got to take a trophy home!

Later that night we celebrated Cody's birthday at home.  He wanted dinner at Spring Creek so we headed there and came back home for cake.  K and I gave him a new clip for his video camera, a Slingbox so he can tap into our cable when he is away from the house, and an Apple tv converter for his tv in the man cave.

The next morning (Saturday) K had a birthday party for her friend from school, Lane.  It was so sweet to watch all the kiddos from her school run and hug her when she got there.  I seriously love the community we have at our school!

Skee-ball has always been my favorite arcade game and I love watching K enjoy it too! 
All these sweet kiddos were in K's kinder class this year!  Love them!

Sunday we went to church and then headed to a family lunch at J. Gilligans (Irish nachos = YUM!) to celebrate all the Bush family birthdays that were in May and June.  Later that night I finished up one of Jen Hatmaker's older books about bible study.  So.  Good.  I love when K joins me in my room while I'm reading.  This time she was working on her kindergarten summer workbook that her teacher gave her.  If she completes it this summer and brings it back to school, she gets a special treat from her teacher.  She has over half of it finished already and I have to limit the pages she does a day so we can make it last!  If it was up to her she would have finished the whole thing the first day she had it!

Just ignore the empty picture frames in the back that I haven't filled yet.  Pretend they are already full of  beautiful family pictures and hung on the wall.  ;)

On Monday we "saved" Leigh Anne from having to sit at Starbucks while Matt had some work meetings in Arlington.  We picked her up and of course had to get some Starbucks to go while we headed to shop.  Our first stop was at the Kendra Scott store in Fort Worth so I could use my 50% off one piece for my birthday.  Yes, please!  I picked the Rayne necklace with the slate stone.  :)

Then we headed to Gracie Lane, which has several boutique booths filled with clothes, jewelry, and home decor type things.  We of course had to pick out some bows for baby Caroline that's due in August.

We found some clearance bows that would be cheaper to buy than make.  Score!  It was fun trying to get a pregnant Leigh Anne off the floor as well!  ;)

Then we found these bows at another booth.  WHOA!  Do people actually put these on their children??

I mean, really???

Of course we had to make sure they looked just as ridiculous on adults too!

We then headed to Hobby Lobby to plan some decor for Caroline's nursery.  Leigh Anne picked up the cutest giraffe wooden sign that her sister had seen.  It works perfectly in the nursery and bonus that it's Leigh Anne's favorite animal!

After that we headed to Matt's office to drop Leigh Anne off and just to see where he worked.  K loves Mr. Matt so much!  He's going to make a great girl daddy!

K and I then headed to Souper Salad, which is one of K's favorite places to eat since it basically has all her favorite foods!  After dinner we picked up my friend Maggie and headed to surprise Cody by watching his softball game.  The weather was so perfect and I always love watching my guy be a stud on the field!  The game ended in a tie, so Cody was bummed, but we had fun anyway!

The next day Nicole and her girls picked up K and me and we all headed to McKinney to see Leigh Anne's new house.  It was so beautiful!  I just wish it was closer to Arlington!  :(

We all ate lunch at La Madeleine and then headed to the new Nebraska Furniture Mart.  That.  Store.  Is.  Huge.  I mean, it seriously needs it's own zip code or something!!!  We all had fun looking at probably a 1/4 of the store before we headed to get a strawberry cream bundt cake since it was the last day of June.  (We might all have a problem.)

K decided she needed this bed at Nebraska Furniture Mart. I think she mainly just wanted the pink, glittery bedspread. ;)

On the ride over to McKinney and back, one of Nicole's daughter's, Allie, was making friendship bracelets.  She taught K how to do it, and K was in love!  She begged me to take her to get some supplies for herself.  How could I say no to something that would keep her occupied and wasn't expensive??

I love that K made a list of the colors she wanted before we headed to the store!
I need to take more pictures with my real camera!  The difference is amazing!

Wednesday, we had a playdate with K's friend, Claire, scheduled.  Then my friend Kristi, who teaches kindergarten at our school, texted and said she was wanting to take one of her students who was sick the day of the field trip to the aquarium.  I taught this student's brother and it was so funny that both Kristi and I texted her mom the day she was sick and said we would take her daughter to the aquarium sometime in the summer!  We decided to make a fun day out of it together, but she only had a few days to do it.  I asked Claire's mom if we could take Claire along instead of our original playdate and she said yes.  K was so pumped!  We had so much fun!!

We met Claire at Chick-Fil-A for lunch before we headed to the aquarium.  K watched the window with such anticipation!

Here is our fun group of kiddos at the Dallas World Aquarium!

K got to feed a bird a blueberry!

Claire and K hanging with the penguins

Fishy faces!

After our time at the aquarium, we stopped at Sonic for happy hour drinks and Claire came back over to our house to play for a few more hours before her mom picked her up.  

The next day, K and I had a pretty calm day (thankfully!) that was filled with laundry for our weekend trip to Paris for the 4th of July.  We also went to the store to get some supplies for the weekend as well. I'll post about our weekend later.  :)

Sometimes I let K eat in the living room and watch tv - especially in the summer.  It cracks me up that she doesn't need her stool at all anymore, but insists on still using it!  Of course I had to snap a picture!

We did have a really yummy dinner that night too!  My friend Natalie made this really awesome dish of baked beans with ground beef for Leigh Anne and Matt's baby shower cookout.  I looked at several Pinterest recipes and went off of what Natalie told me and just winged it.  It was sooooooo good!  I was proud that I didn't use an actual recipe and the dish actually turned out great!  

Like our fancy presentation?  Ha! This dish was so perfect with cornbread!


I think the three of us liked it!
I also painted K's nails that night for the 4th of July weekend.
I love my girly girl!

Whew!  I am thankful we have a less busy week this week!