Saturday, October 15, 2011

a lot can change in 3 months time

Oh my word---where did my baby go??? Kendall is a full blown toddler now! It seems as though in the past 3 months she has exploded with new tricks (especially this past month). First and foremost she can walk! She started cruising around 10 or 11 months, took her first few independent steps just after her first birthday, and took off walking around 14 months. For awhile she still preferred crawling as that got her to her destination a little faster. But now she pretty much walks to get around, can bend over to pick things up and stay standing, and occasionally "runs," which is hilarious!

Perhaps the next most exciting "trick" is that her hair has finally grown in enough to get a teeny tiny ponytail on top of her head! As long as we can distract her as soon as I put it in and ensure that nothing draws attention to it, it can stay in all day. Next step is adding bows...we need a little more hair for this next phase.

 Kendall has always been a talker, but now she has about 30 real words that she uses in the correct context (mostly). A few of these words she's said for a while, but about 20 of them she just recently started (like in the last 2 weeks!). She can say: uh-oh, no, moow (meow), woo  woo (woof woof), quack quack, titty (kitty), daw (dog), bebe (binky), ba ba (bottle), wa wa (water), cado (avocado), toes (toast), cheese, nana (banana), bberry (strawberry), baby, sue (shoe), gock (sock), ba (ball---or pumpkins), down, peas (please), take oo (thank you), mo (more), poop (when she is going!), ello (hello), bye bye, lights on, owie, Mama, Dada, Mimi (Keith's mom), Bama (my mom), Bapa (my dad), and today she started saying "ta-da!" She'll also repeat any word she hears us say (scary!).

She is a little jokester already and enjoys playing pretend. She loves to pretend to give you things then quickly pulls it away and giggles, she'll hide behind furniture and peek around and say "hi" or "bye." If we ask her to do something like sit down she'll fake it and giggle then finally do it the right way. She pretends to go "nigh nigh," tucks her baby into bed, gives her baby her binky, and the other day was using the snot sucker on her baby. She still enjoys "reading" books and cards and occasionally snacking on them, too. The gray kitty continues to be her favorite night time friend and we're getting to the  point that if we ever lose it, it's going to be rough! Her other favorite toys include anything that isn't really a toy at all, such as tupperware, sippy cups, shoes, pieces of paper, empty food containers, pens, cell phones, electrical cords, etc. She also loves to sing, dance and clap whenever she hears music or her daddy singing. If you sing "itsy bitsy spider" she'll do all the moves and cheer for herself at the end of the song.

Our little peanut is weighing in at 18lbs and 4oz at her 15 month appointment this week, holding steady below the 5% for weight. She is 28 3/4in tall (10%), and has an 18in head (50%). She is still wearing most of her 12 month clothes, but is starting to get too tall for some pjs and pants, although she swims in 18 month clothes.

She pretty much eats everything we do these days. Her favorites include avocado, spinach, and cheese. We recently introduced her to Red Robin french fries and they may now top the chart as she was frantically signing "Please" to us for more! She also loves yogurt, toast and jam, peas, carrots, corn, squash, and tofu.

We've been so impressed with Kendall's flexibility with me going back to work full time. She spends time with family and friends throughout the week and has adjusted really well. She continues to be the happy playful baby we've come to know this past year. My favorite parts of my day are snuggling with her while she drinks her morning bottle, seeing her light up when I pick her up after work, and playing with her before dinner time. I even like it when she waves and tells me "bye bye" when I leave her in the morning, it's like she is telling me "I love you Mama, have a great day! I'm going to be just fine today!" and I usually need that reassurance. I'm so glad she still loves me, even though I feel that mommy guilt about going back to work.  We are so grateful to have a pretty easy going kid (so far!). The one place she is not easy going is at the nursery at church...go figure, she is a pastor's grandkid!

Last, but not least, Kendall graduated to her big girl car seat! It's still rear facing, but much roomier than the carrier type---which she could have stayed in for a few more pounds but her feet were starting to get crammed in the car.

Even after documenting all this amazing growth of our sweet little Kendall, I'm still in shock that our baby isn't really a baby anymore! I know I've said this on every stats blog post, but this is my new favorite stage. I think Kendall is such a fun toddler, I just love being around her, playing with her, reading to her, and watching her learn new things. I know we're biased, but she's the best baby in the world! Here are a few pictures from the past few months.
Not quite ready for the bike

Kendall, where is your nose?

With her cousins at Stoneridge

She can't get enough, even when she is hissed at or scratched!

Being silly by climbing in her car seat and saying "bye bye"

Yogi and Alison's wedding

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kindergarten: a good place to start my real job

My journey to kindergarten actually started in 2004 when I spent some time in a 2nd grade classroom and watched an amazing teacher teach all kids, beautifully. I felt right at home and this planted the seed. In 2006 I went back to school so I could pursue this thing called teaching. Right about then districts started cutting their budgets and hiring fewer and fewer teachers every year---good timing, right? I've been VERY fortunate to have a teaching job every year, and I feel incredibly blessed by that gift! The stressful thing about these jobs has been they were each for only one year,  leaving me wondering what I'd be doing the following year (will I have a job? what grade? what school?). God knew the bigger picture. God has been using these years to refine me, not only as a person, but to be an even better teacher. So now,  after many many interviews, a few different grade levels, millions of wonderful learning experiences, amazing relationships with teachers, parents and kids, I now have a REAL teaching job!!!!! Of course all this was not without some great disappointments, frustrations and sacrifices along the way...all character building experiences I'm sure!  This year I started teaching as a substitute in a kindergarten class. I then went through the longest and most rigorous interview process I've EVER been a part of (including a teaching observation with a group of students I didn't know), to become a full time continuing teacher in my kindergarten class. As in, FOREVER.  As in, next summer I will be setting up my classroom in July and not over Labor Day weekend (all while figuring out how to teach a new grade level). As in, I can move all my teacher belongings out of our basement and permanently into my classroom. As in, I can think about my career and what I might do next year or the year after that or in 10 years from now, and not just think about my job that will end in June. As in, I no longer need to feel like I'm on a daily job interview. As in, I can now watch my students grow up for the next 6 years. This list in my mind keeps getting longer as I think of all the ways my world just changed. I'm so honored to be in the teaching profession, it is not easy, but it is rewarding in so many ways. I am thrilled to help these new little learners start their educational journey. A huge weight has been lifted and I feel great sense of relief, and in some ways I feel free to teach my heart out like I never have before. Praise God!