Thursday, December 17, 2015

Please describe your job duties

As I filled out a job application tonight I came to the last prompt regarding my current temporary job. Please describe your job duties . . . and I sat and I thought . . . how could I possibly describe in a few sentences my 'duties'?

See, for the past 4 months I have been working nearly full time as a Head Start teacher. The position I have was created purely out of desperation to provide support to the 2 lead teachers. Seasoned teachers that had been brought to this particular class to help regain control and structure. Teachers that for the first 2 weeks of school were going home every night and crying.

See, the classroom in which I am teaching is located in the center of government funded housing. The classroom is on the bottom floor of an apartment complex. There are 3 complexes on the property and our class is in the middle of it all. The neighbors smoke within feet of our playground and we often hear people shouting at one another. It is not uncommon for police helicopters to circle the complex or to see young children walking around with no shoes and old clothes.

See, some of my students live in those apartment buildings and the ones that don't live in similar ones. Or they live in old homes with no heat or a/c, or sometimes they can't get to school because their parents' car has broken down and they can't get it fixed. Or some of them live with grandparents or foster parents.

See, most of my kids have experienced trauma in their short little lives. Some were placed in foster care as toddlers because they were found abandoned and neglected to fend for themselves. One tells me that dad calls mom a B*T*H when he hits her and another says  that dad throws toys at him when he doesn't clean his room fast enough. One child cried daily for weeks out of fear that his parents wouldn't pick him up because he had been left alone before. Some have stories too heartbreaking to bear.

See, the first day I walked into my class there was disorder and chaos and 2 teachers doing their best to teach and love and praise the 20 children in their care. Children begging for approval and love and safety. So, what are my job duties?

My duty is to look at these children and really see them, and love them. My duty is to create a safe haven for some of these kids that are most safe when they are at school. My duty is to look beyond the misbehavior and find out what makes each child special. My duty is to help these kids love to learn and love school so that they can fight back against a culture that teaches them nothing of value. My duty is to put a smile on my face and wrap these kids in hugs when sometimes I'd rather walk out the door and never look back.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

If I knew

I worry sometimes about being all to everyone in my little family. And I don't even mean the cooking, crafting, party planning, taxiing, shopping, extras. I mean, how in the world am I supposed to fill this role of mother and wife to 5 . . . five people. My heart aches to be able to give myself wholly to each of them individually, but apparently the laws of physics don't work that way. I want to be able to sit and play games with Luke, read books with Seth, race cars with Joshua, snuggle my baby, and have just one uninterrupted conversation with my husband. The hours between 3-7pm can only be described as chaos in our home. It's a whirlwind of after school snacks, homework, dinner making, piano practicing, playing, dinner eating, bathing, story book reading, children wrestling, etc etc.

I can only hope that I am able to meet the most important needs and wants for each person. I hope and pray that things don't slip through the cracks, but I'm only one person. I had no idea how demanding this motherhood thing would be. No idea. I sometimes wonder if I really, really knew; would I still have done it?

If I knew that I would go months, years even without sleeping through the night. If I knew that simple requests would often be met with screaming and whining. If I knew that my body would be so exhausted from carrying/rocking a crying baby. If I knew I would spend the majority of my days secluded from any adults. If I knew that I'd spend hours preparing food only to have it most often rejected by those I'm trying to feed. If I knew I'd spend hour after hour cleaning up after other people. If I knew everything I wore would be spit up on, snotted on, and covered in who knows what else. If I really, really knew would I have done it?

If I knew that my baby would run his fingers through my hair for comfort. If I knew that my 5 year old would jump up and down with excitement to see me after school and give me the biggest bear hug imaginable. If I knew that my toddler would scrunch his face up to request a kiss. If I knew that my 7 year old would pray for me every day to have a good day as I take care of the babies by myself. If I knew that 4 little boys would snuggle next to each other on the couch with arms and hands intertwined. If I knew that my very presence meant absolutely everything to them. If I really, really knew would I have done it?

This is by far the hardest thing I have done in my life. But I can't even begin to describe how it's also the best thing I have ever done in my life. I never could have really really known anything about what I would experience, but yes, I would choose to do it all again in a heartbeat.

And then there were 4

Our family and our hearts grew. Somehow, some way when we didn't know if there was any more room in our hearts to give it turns out there was always a place waiting. A place that cried out; yes, this place is just for you! And then we wonder how we ever lived without that piece of our hearts. We gaze at that beautiful, fresh face and just know it belongs.

Andrew Hyrum

Friday, November 29, 2013

Field Trip to a Pioneer Village

Luke's class spent 6 weeks talking about Pilgrims and pioneers, so to end it they got to go on a field trip to a pioneer village. This village has gathered old buildings from across the state and brought them to one location and set up a little town. There were several homes, a school house, bank, jail, church, dress shop, printing shop and many other buildings. There were volunteers at each building to explain it's history and what happened there. It was a lot of fun and I learned a bit as well. The kids thought the school was pretty neat and couldn't believe that kids used to get paddled for misbehaving. I couldn't believe how many people lived in one room homes! There was one home the size of our family room with a loft and they had 10 children!

the long bus ride

school house


panning for gold

Happy Halloween!

The boys have been so excited about Halloween this year. Nana found Ninja costumes about 6 weeks before Halloween and those costumes had a lot of use before the actual day! They were very excited to decorate and carve pumpkins.
Cutest skeleton baby and pirate daddy
I am so grateful for this crew!

Traditional Dinner in a Pumpkin

Seth at his class party

Luke before his school parade (for Literature day, not Halloween, haha)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Break Vacation

Luke's school has long 2 1/2 week fall break. We have been promising the boys a vacation to Disneyland for quite some time and felt this break would be the perfect time. It really was a great time to be there. For the most part the lines were very short and the crowds were very small. The last day got a little frustrating for me because the crowds and lines were bigger than the first two days, but I think I was also just tired. Disneyland is definitely a fun vacation, but not a relaxing one with three little kids! The evening that we arrived in CA we took the boys to Long Beach. They loved it! Seth proclaimed, "This is AWESOME!" I couldn't get over how beautiful it all was - especially compared AZ. The boys ran straight to the water and loved playing in the waves and sand. They could have stayed for hours. It's too bad the clean up is so horrific, but it was worth it. We then spent the next three days at Disneyland and California Adventure and took in as many rides as we possibly could! The boys' favorite ride was Star Tours and one of their favorite things was to do the Jedi Training. Another favorite was Cars Land of course. The boys begged to go back to the beach on our last day and even though I didn't want to mess with the mess I couldn't say no. We had a great time and I spent the whole next week falling asleep by 9pm! I guess it wore me out!

Even Joshy loved the beach

That Paki loves this boy

It was so great to have David's parents with us on this trip

Right after the boys finished Jedi training

He was so happy to finally be out of the stroller!

Ready or Not!!

A couple of months ago I started to feel . . . different, but in a recognizable way. I knew I had felt this way before but this simply couldn't be what I thought it was because . . . well, because we had a not quite 6 month old and it wasn't the plan. I delayed getting any kind of proof for my theory because I just couldn't believe that it might be true. I was sure I was just over reacting to my 'symptoms.' But when it had been long enough that there really could be no other explanation I took the test. Immediately it showed that yes, I really was pregnant! I thought I would be scared, overwhelmed, worried . . . but from the moment I found out I was filled with peace and I know that this is right.

David took a little longer to warm up to the news. Once the shock and panic of  'How can we handle this!?!' wore off he has even said that he is excited to have a new baby in our home.

Joshua will be a young 14 months when we introduce this new little one into our family, but I'm happy to know that he will have a close sibling. I try not to worry too much about the logistics of life with two babies, but am grateful that Josh already sleeps through the night and will be walking like a pro by then, haha! I know the first year will probably be hard and lots of work, but I know we will be able to do it. I am grateful for life's unexpected blessings.

I'm 13 weeks - Due mid April - It's just as exciting to see that little baby for the first time as it was with my first baby. I really think this is a boy, but would also be happy for a girl. We will see!