Thursday, May 30, 2013


This is Lincoln and mommy's version of a messy room - books everywhere!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

coming together

Last week I packed up my classroom. I consolidated five years of teaching into three storage crates and a flash drive. On the last day of school, at 3:00 p.m., I walked away from classroom teaching for the foreseeable future.

Five years ago, I had just graduated, was preparing for my quickly-approaching wedding, and was picking up my keys and textbooks for my first job. When I started teaching, my job was a dream job. I taught with amazing people, had plenty of time to collaborate with them, had great kids and good parent support. My administrators understood what it takes to be a great teacher and supported us completely.

And then, at about the two-year mark, the budget cuts came. Things changed. I traveled. There was no longer time in the day to work together. Administrators did their best to support us. But the staffing and the budgets, stretched thin, could only go so far.  It was difficult for me to love my job. Don't get me wrong - I loved and still love teaching, the actual day-to-day, working with kids. Unfortunately the bureaucracy and red tape sometimes overshadow the teaching to the point of being overwhelming, and did more often than not at that time.

At some point in these years, I read the young adult novel The Blind Faith Hotel, recommended to me by cousin-in-law-once-removed (how's that for a Mennonite tag?!) Nancy Horan. I found in that book a quotation that I have clung to ever since.

"Sometimes things have to fall apart so they can come together in a new way."

I had no idea what this meant for me, other than that I felt as though I was stuck in the "falling apart" stage (disclaimer: I know that life certainly could have been much more difficult, but it was a tough season for me, career-wise), waiting for things to start to come together.

After two years of traveling, at the beginning of this past school year, I got to settle, albeit not in the place that would have been my first choice. It was another adjustment, but it was a good year. Really, it was.

But it was time. Time for me to move on, to use my new degree. Time for things to come together in a new way.

And this job that I get to start was simply the right thing at the right time. 

Walking out the door last week was not as easy as it would have been if I had made a move a year or two ago. I was at peace with my current job. Leaving was not as difficult for me as it would have been if I still had my original job. I was ready to make my own choice.

This morning I picked up my key to the library and went to the district office to take a photo for my new id badge.

And so in just a few minutes, it felt official. It's real. I'm starting grown-up job number two. I'm a librarian. I work in a high school. I'm an Oriole (by more than association). 

Things are coming together in a new way. It feels good.

Friday, May 24, 2013

pinned, then did!

Well, last week was a momentous one. I actually completed a project that I found on pinterest less than a month after pinning it!

We got a Kansas cutting board from Barb and Jeff for Christmas, but it's more of a decor thing than a use-in-the-kitchen thing. We tried a shelf from Target; it was defective. We tried a command strip; it didn't stick to the wood.

So, when I read the directions for this shelf, I knew it would be the perfect thing. And it is.

I just need a little something to go next to it and cover up the other screw. I think it looks pretty good on our collage wall in the living room.

You can find the directions here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Two months


You are two months old! It's been fun to watch you grow and learn and discover over the last four weeks.

The other day, you were fussy after your bath. There happened to be a couple of Reese's on the counter next to you. Daddy picked one up and put it in front of your face. This calmed you down immediately, and you stared at it for several minutes. We think it was the bright orange; you're an Oriole already! 

Sometimes when you are fussy we put you in your crib by yourself and turn on the mobile. All you need to calm down for a bit is a little "alone time." It's funny - you wouldn't have a mobile at all if it weren't for your NICU stay. I thought it was silly and unnecessary, but you loved the one on your crib at the hospital so much that we had to get you one. And the nurse told us that it's good for learning to track; we are suckers for anything that will help with future reading! 

You definitely and purposefully follow objects and people with your eyes and by moving your head. Sometimes, mostly when you're mad or very excited, you will push up with your legs and "stand" while we help you balance or while you balance against us. You hold up your head very well but still dislike tummy time. You have a ready smile and laugh unless you are hungry or exhausted, and even then we can usually coax one or two out of you between cries.

Lincoln, you've started making actual noises, other than grunts and cries. The one we hear most often sounds like "uh-goo" or "ah-goo" and "ahhh." You love to "talk" and get people to talk to you, then try to imitate the way our mouths move. You're most pleased when we have actual conversations - none of that baby talk for you! I think that you may be learning the difference between when someone talks to you and when they read to you (or maybe I'm one of those parents who thinks their child is incredibly advanced already); during reading time you are very quiet, taking it all in... or maybe just falling asleep.

You discovered your hands a couple of weeks ago and are starting to actually move them purposely, especially when you can get them to your mouth. Today when I tickled your foot you actually looked down at it!

You still fight sleep during the day. When you're cranky, I usually swaddle you and we cuddle, rock, and read until you calm down. You often fall asleep and will now stay asleep if I put you in your crib or the pack-n-play. If you're not asleep, though, you cry almost immediately. I'm hoping we can work on this over the summer - or Penny will have to work some nap time magic in the fall!

At night you have started to sleep really well. I feed you around 8. You go down awake and fall asleep on your own, then snooze from 9 p.m. to 5 or 6 a.m. It's amazing!

This week I went back to work (for four days) and you got to spend one day with Grammy Barb and three days with daddy. You are doing great! (And I am doing okay.)

You wear 0-3 month clothes and have even outgrown a couple of the onesies that were on the shorter side. The 3 month outfits don't quite fit yet. Your cloth diapers are on the smallest snaps and don't seem to affect the fit of your clothes too much. At the doctor today you had to get your first round of immunizations. Daddy must have been pretty pale when he took you in because they got another nurse to hold you instead of him. You weigh 11 lbs., 8 oz. (46th percentile) and are 23 3/4 inches long (75th percentile). Grandma Valerie said, "He must have some Klaassen in him after all!" when she heard how long and thin you are.

We can't wait to see what the next month has in store for you! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

outdoor update

When we refinished the deck last summer, I knew we would need some furniture to put on it. But outdoor furniture is expensive, and we didn't (still don't) have much of a budget for those things.

I also knew that my parents had some outdoor furniture that they hadn't used since the tornado hit in 1990. The original cushions were full of glass (which makes sense, since they were on the sun porch, which had three walls and a ceiling of glass, I think). Mom and dad never got around to buying new cushions (cushions alone are almost as expensive as a set of actual furniture). Yes, folks, these beauties were sitting out in farm storage for over 20 years!

So, I put on my sweetest face and asked my mom if she would mind it if we took these off their hands. She was happy to oblige. We brought two chairs and a glider home and spent quite a bit of time hosing them off and wiping them down.

I took a few cans of spray paint to them (before I was pregnant, no worries!). The spray paint was textured - cool stuff. I even bought fabric and foam for cushions. I sewed the chair cushions together in one afternoon. Then I got to the part where I needed to sew in the zipper. And I stopped. For a couple months.

The day that I sat down, determined to finish them, happened to be the day that Brita the Bernina went on strike, proving my zipper mission impossible. I took the machine in, but, unfortunately, my motivation to learn to sew zippers waned.

Thankfully, I have an amazing mom. When she was here last week, she stitched those four zippers in no time. The chairs are now done! (yeah, that would be eleven months after I started sewing the cushions. don't judge.)

I love the way the cushions look, especially with the yellow table and the darker blue pots. They even kind of coordinate with the hammock we got as a wedding gift (that we still haven't put up).

I'm trying not to get too excited, though, because the other corner still looks like this... I have to get on it with the glider cushions!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Get thee to a nunnery!"

In college, I lived in the mods for my sophomore to senior years. Well, one in particular - 2B. (Mods have four double rooms and one single that share a living area and bathroom.)

We nicknamed ourselves "The Nunnery" for several reasons. First, we wanted to live in mod 2B, and there's that great "to be or not to be" Hamlet quote... and that play also includes the line "Get thee to a Nunnery!" In addition, none of the nine of the original members were dating at the time.

Through the three years, our "make up" changed. Girls graduated and moved on, others moved in. These young women were an incredible gift to me at that time and still are today.

Those of us who live around Newton still get together on occasion. This past Saturday we went to Becca and Beau's for lunch and smores.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

day's end

The day's end is sacred. 

One more diaper change, jammies on, the day's clothes tossed to the laundry basket.

I switch off the floor lamp and settle into the glider in the corner, Lincoln resting on the pillows laid across my lap.

One more feeding, while I rock gently.

His swaddle blanket laid out in the crib, a pacifier to the side, just in case. 

The monkey nightlight glows. The froggy humidifier hums. Light from the hallway spills across the carpet.

My baby peers up at me through barely awake eyes. I lift him to my shoulder and pat his back. He snuggles his head into the crook of my neck, and I rock.

Just a few minutes more.

And a few more.

Until his body relaxes completely, melts on my chest.

Then a few precious minutes more.

I set him down in the crib. He always wakes up as I wrap the swaddle blanket snugly around him and looks up at me, calm and trust spilling out his blue eyes.

I pick him up one more time for three kisses - two chubby cheeks, one soft forehead, and whisper,

It's time to sleep. I love you, Lincoln. Good night. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

library lovin'

I just realized I never posted this news. It got lost in the shuffle of giving birth and raising a kid, since it happened about a week before he  made his appearance.

Next year I'll be the high school librarian in Augusta.

I'm feeling excited.
And a lot of other emotions I can't quite name right now.

The last librarian left in the middle of the year on not-so-good terms, from what I can piece together. So the expectations of what a librarian actually does are pretty low.

But I may have interviewed really well, which would mean the expectations of me are pretty high. (At least, from what the superintendent told Brad about what the principal told him, if that makes any sense.)

I met with the middle school librarian on Thursday. I'm so excited to get to work with her guidance. (Her name is also Megan, and she's a Bethel grad.) 

There's a lot of work to be done. I have lots of books to buy because the collection is a bit... lacking. I have to build relationships with teachers and students. I have to work on promotions and incentives to get kids in the library. I have to learn to troubleshoot laptops. I have to figure out ways to make myself indispensable. I have to... I have... I...

I'm pinning ideas like crazy. I've started my to-do list. I know I won't be ready in August, but I'll do my best.

Friday, May 10, 2013

happy boy!

My mom came over yesterday to babysit while I toured "my" new library. She insisted on pictures, and we finally got a few of Lincoln smiling and laughing!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I can tell already. Lincoln is an ornery one.

How do I know this, at less than seven weeks?

He smiles and smiles and smiles at me. All day long. Except when he cries. Mostly, though, he smiles.

But, as soon as I pull out the camera, or my phone, he puts on his "yeah, right, mom" face. I think he thinks he's funny.

I try and try to get another smile out of him, but he just won't do it unless I put the camera down.

Ornery boy!

Don't worry, though. I'll keep trying.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Picture Catch-up

I have so, so many pictures I haven't posted. Oops... Here's some catch-up for you!

Friday, May 3, 2013

a message from Lincoln...

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Grandma Valerie!
Happy Birthday to you!