Thank a teacher.

This week is teacher appreciation week at our school. I woke up to this in my yard:

Put at smile on my face in the morning. But then I got home and James thought I had put the sign up myself...then I felt really dumb about it.

Teaching is no walk in the park. And no, not everyone can do it. I'd venture to say most people can't, actually. I read this kick-a article about teaching. Serious, check it out. To borrow a line, or nine:

Teaching isn’t just “making it fun” for the kids. Teaching isn’t just academic content.
Teaching is understanding how the human brain processes information and preparing lessons with this understanding in mind.
Teaching is simultaneously instilling in a child the belief that she can accomplish anything she wants while admonishing her for producing shoddy work.
Teaching is understanding both the psychology and the physiology behind the changes the adolescent mind goes through.
Teaching is convincing a defiant teenager that the work he sees no value in does serve a greater purpose in preparing him for the rest of his life.
Teaching is offering a sympathetic ear while maintaining a stern voice.
Teaching is being both a role model and a mentor to someone who may have neither at home, and may not be looking for either.
Teaching is not easy. Teaching is not intuitive. Teaching is not something that anyone can figure out on their own. Education researchers spend lifetimes developing effective new teaching methods. Teaching takes hard work and constant training.

I could add much more to this, but you get the idea. Thank a teacher this week, because chances are more than one of your teachers lost more than one night of sleep over the well-being of YOU.

Meeting Bentlee

Last week Michaela, Jillian, and I paid a little visit to Kristen and Baby Bentlee!

Bentlee is no less than adorable! It's strange holding a newborn after carting around my 20 lb sack of flour. Major difference. She's so helpless and cuddly! I had to get a good cuddle in (since Jillian is SO not in to that anymore). I can see how people start to miss newborns...she was just so...new. 

Kristen is such a natural. I was so awkward holding Jillian as a baby. It was like I was trying to hold a slippery wet noodle that would break if I turned it the wrong way. Kristen actually looked like she was holding a baby. Sigh...how is Jillian still alive? Resilient little booger...

Kristen was happy to see Jillian again too. I seriously could not have asked for a better babysitter for her for the first 8 months of her life!

 I was excited to see Jillian's reaction to a very small baby- she's only been around kids her own size. Much to my dismay, I don't think she knew the difference between the baby and the pillow next to the baby. The only interest she had in Bentlee was the binky in her mouth, which she tried to remove a few times before losing interest and wanting to walk around. So ADD...bless her heart.


Dear Jillian (9 months)

Dear Jillian,

It happened. Something must have finally connected in your brain because you can CRAWL! Of course you decided to do it the DAY I went back to school after Spring Break. Michaela sent me a video of you slowly making your way to the entertainment center (one of your new favorite places to play). It's almost weird seeing you crawl over to my feet and try to pull yourself up on my legs because you want to be picked up (almost always when I'm trying to make dinner). 

Even more than crawling, you LOVE walking (with the help of someone holding your hands of course). You'll just walk from room to room. It's especially cute when you Dad pretends to chase you, then you tense all up and shriek and try to move those little legs as fast as they will go to run away from him. You'll usually take 5-6 steps then turn around to see if he's still chasing you, and the whole thing starts over. You'll also kick a soccer ball as you walk (your Dad is especially excited for this new skill). 

(Don't know why this is sideways...turn your computer I suppose...or your face..turning your face would probably be easier). 

YOU SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT! Good girl. A month ago you would do this maybe 2-3 times per week, then one night you decided to do it all the time! It is NICE to sleep without being interrupted. On behalf of my sanity, I thank you. Your naps are also infinitely better: 1-2 hours and you put yourself right to sleep. Your favorite sleep position is in the corner of the crib with your bum straight up in the air and your arms tucked under your chest. It's adorable. 

You have learned how to sit up in your crib and pull yourself up to your knees. Sometimes you're like that when I get you in the morning and it definitely takes me by surprise. 

At your 9 month doctor's appointment you weighed 18 lbs. Which was somewhere in the 60th percentile, but in the 91st percentile for height! You definitely get that from your dad's side (the Shannon's are a short, stout bunch). 

Bath time is probably your favorite time of day. You know it's coming when we walk into the bathroom and I get the water started because you try to lay down right then so I can take your onesie off so you can get in! You also love playing with the water as it fills the tub. I love that you attack the water when it goes back down the drain.

I love your smiles! Lately you do this thing when you're eating where you turn your head either to the side or back and fake laugh. It's the cutest thing!  

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You like to help me fold laundry...well...sort of...you mostly just undo my piles. You'll pick up something and stretch it over your head and put it to the side, then do that with like 5 other shirts. Sometimes you'll put a shirt or sock or something over your face and play peek-a-boo with me! 

You're so HAPPY! I can't believe how different you are from your first few months of life. You make everyone else around you smile! You're also a major talker. You babble/yell/scream/shriek ALL the time! (This is my favorite dress of yours by the way): 
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You love eating yogurt! Freeze dried yogurt drops are your favorite. You also love a good pineapple-banana mix. And surprisingly enough, you like broccoli! Since you're weened from your reflux meds, we're just starting to switch you back to normal formula. So far so good!  

I can't wait to see what cute thing you'll do next! 

Love you to pieces,


Chocolate Fatty Cookies

Okay so that's not their official name...but seriously when you make them and eat 3 cookies worth of dough and 5 actual cookies, you'll be feelin' like one...(a fatty that is). 

I don't post recipes often, but seriously these are too good NOT to share. Any cookie recipe that you pour straight up melted chocolate and butter into is a cookie recipe for me. Think brownie in cookie form.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c butter
4 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 c (18 oz) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1.5 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
4 large eggs
1.5 c sugar
2 t vanilla extract

COMBINE butter, unsweetened chocolate, and 1.5 cups chocolate chips in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until butter and chocolate melt, set aside to cool.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, and salf in a small bowl. Set aside. Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl at medium speed. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, beating well. Add chocolate mixture; beat well. Stir in remaining 1.5 cups of chocolate chips (optional add-ins: M&Ms or chopped pecans).

DROP dough by 2 tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto cookie sheet or baking stone (preferred).

BAKE at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool slightly on cookie sheet, remove to cool completely.

Yields 4 dozen. 

*These are best served warm, so if you're eating them the next day (don't worry...you will) then microwave it for 10 seconds...just trust me on that).

Enjoy, fatties ;-)

Furniture Makeover- Dos

This beast was about 5 seconds away from going in the dumpster or on KSL...whatever one was going to happen was the one that was going to happen. ...

BUT THEN I remembered I can make ugly things cute (most things...let's not push our luck with that one..). After talking to the paint lady at Lowe's- who was shockingly knowledgeable- I primed it with Bullseye 321 Primer. The stuff is fantastic because you don't have to SAND! Sanding is lame and I hate it. 

The paint is somecolorican'tremember by Valspar...that's not helpful...but it's the perfect combination of blue/green/grey and I LOVE IT (It's a little more green-ish then the picture shows). After a little handle lovin' from Hobby Lobby, it's finished!

Sidebar: while at Hobby Lobby Jillian was reaching out for EVERYTHING. I gave her this giant jack looking thing (you know like that game you play? Jacks?) Well apparently it was breakable. I forget she's into that whole "I'm going to drop everything you give me just to see what happens" phase. Oops. Is it bad if I just put it down and walked away? :-D 

Totally diggin' the new dresser. It's currently in the guest room, where it will reside permanently (for now) with the new guest bed with white linens and red accent pillows. LURVE!

Break of Spring

aka spring break. What a mean, mean trick to play on teachers...gets you all psyched for summer and then BAM! It's all, "JK! You still have a month and a half left of school!" Maybe if it was back in March like most normal places then I'd feel better about going back to school this particular Monday coming up.

Maybe it's because I think I've been in a teaching "funk" since I dunno, October? Things change when you have your own kids (and I don't just mean stretch marks, no sleep, and permanently larger hips). It's harder to invest so much time/effort into other people's kids when you know you have your own at home. Don't get me wrong, still love the little nose pickers but it's just...harder.

I actually felt a little nervous to spend an entire week at home alone with Jillian. I haven't done that really since maternity leave. Good news: we both survived. I think my memories of staying home with her revolve around her reflux issues when things were HARD. Oh so hard. But this time it was nice! She doesn't scream all day anymore, she naps for 1-2 hours, can entertain herself for longer periods of time, and plays peekaboo with me. It was a nice boost for my inner mommy ego. 

I had big plans for spring break (plans I would later learn would not be fulfilled because of their loftiness). My goal was to get absolutely everything unpacked, put away, hung up, decorated, etc. I had a week right? Despite the fact I did things every day, there is still a long, long way to go. This house biz is time consuming. 

Not to mention all I want to talk about is decorating. That didn't really hit me until after debating curtain rods for thirty minutes Michaela finally looked at me and said, "Whitney I can only talk about this for so long." .."Oh.." So I'll have to browse Pinterest and stalk house decor blogs in Private..like a fat person trying to sneak a brownie (which is ironic because I just ate a cookie).

It was good. I want more. (Spring break that is...and also cookies...)


Furniture makeover-1

I've totally been inspired to refinish ALL OF THE FURNITURE...in my mind it's already done...in real life, it's going much, much slower. I FINALLY got the first piece done. James has had this ugly filing cabinet forEVER. When we moved I was planning on selling it (or just lighting it on fire). But like I said, inspiration struck.

The color turned out lighter than planned (Alpine Valley from Valspar) but it's growing on me. The knobs are from good ole' Walmart. Now it's my fabric drawer for my craft area. Yay!

More is to come. Much, much more. In the mean time, check out where I got inspired!


Happy Easter!

Even though Jillian had no idea of what was going on, we sure loved it.
Easter dresses are adorable (I could've easily gotten her five), but really impractical. It was pretty tricky to hold her during church today- way too much floof. But did she look cute! 




During the Easter egg hunt she looked pretty clueless, but was happy once she figured out she could shake the eggs and it would rattle. Who came up with the idea for egg hunts anyway??

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She petered out after about 4 eggs. Those little chunky legs can only go so far before getting exhausted, and she was breaking in new shoes after all.


Hope your Easter was just has happy!


Week night

What's so special about a Thursday night?



San Diego

Several months ago I was asked to go to an all expenses paid teaching conference in San Diego. I jumped at the chance after my principal said James and Jillian could also tag along. Well, James and Jillian didn't end up going (darn putting all your money towards a house down payment!), but it was still pretty cool. 

The content of the conference was way good...I love teaching...at one point I sent James a text and said, "This is so good!" to which he responded, "...Nerd." Basically. 

My job matters. Tell me any different and I will verbally assault you with intellect and fact. 

Aside from the conference, I had the second best meal of my life...grilled sea bass with mushroom risotto in truffle sauce...HOLY CARP! 

We also did a little exploring on the island of Coronado. I rode a bike for the first time in YEARS (literally). 

Good few days overall. I guess it's back to real life tomorrow...I've been living in somewhat of a dream land with a student teacher teaching all the time...her last day is tomorrow, so I guess I have to start doing my job again. Shaping minds, it's exhausting work ya know.

3 days 'til spring break!