Monday, May 13, 2013

Dear Mom ~

Dear Mom,

So I wanted to let you know that I love you. That you are the best. I miss you all the time. I think about you often. I am writing this to tell you just how wonderful you are. It is important for you to know why you are the very best mother.

I have this very cute mother's day card sitting on my table right next to me. I bought it a while ago but I never got around to writing in it and sending it. I picked this particular card because of what it meant to me. On the cover is a little girl wearing her mommy's shoes and necklaces. Inside the card it says "It was from you that I learned to be me." Now this struck home because of how very real it has been to me lately. I have watched Delaney grow and develop. I have loved every minute of it. One thing that has really amazed me is her connection to me. She mimics things that I do. She tries to carry my purse, wear my necklace, wear my shoes, and just wants to be around me all the time. I love it. I realized that when I was her age I was doing the very same thing. She watches me get dressed and put on make up in the mornings. She has developed a new favorite game of reaching into my make up drawer and blindly pulling out whatever she can get her hands on. She loves it. It is from me that she is learning to be herself. 

So with that said, you have helped create me in the womb, and then shape me in the world. I have been so sincerely blessed to have you as a mother. You have taught me charity. You ability to reach out to people around you is something that sets you apart. You need to help people, and you want to help people. You have taught me the value of helping someone when they are down and how to reach out to them. I have never been a big fan of visiting teaching, but I watched you do it faithfully each month as you visited Sister Johnson.

You love children, I may have resented this when I was in high school but I have a better understanding now. It is something that I have only recently discovered but I love teaching them and interacting with my students. Just like you love your students and the YM/YW you led as the Young Women's president. I will never forget how hard I cried when you were released from YW's. I loved every minute you were with me. 

You taught me the importance of a clean home, but also that a clean home isn't always the most important thing. I learned how great a grandma is because of your love for your mom. I learned that it is OK to be a perfectionist but that I also need to be willing to step back and let go when it is time. Bill Cosby said that kids make parents become mentally insane. I am pretty sure that I have greatly contributed to your level of sanity. (Not saying that you are insane ;)) I know that I wasn't always the easiest teenager, my ability to not care about certain things drove you nuts, but you loved me anyway. 

I never understood you until I had Delaney. Until I realized just how much more I love her than she probably loves me. I created her. I see her greatness. I know that you see this same greatness in me. I know that you love me on a whole different level than I love you. Which is OK. A mom needs to love on a whole different level to endure the challenges that their children bring. I am so grateful for every sacrifice that you have made to stay home and teach me in my younger years, and the sacrifices you made to help support our family while I was a teenager. I am grateful for the effort you put into bringing the family together, and coming to visit us. I love how much you adore and love Delaney. I wish we lived closer to you so that she can experience the same relationship that I have with Grandma Smith. 

I know this is late but I wanted you to know why you are the best mother. So accept it and believe it. You are the best. You are amazing. You are a woman of God. You are my mother. My spiritual sister. My best friend. 

I love you.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

All done!!!

Well, it is official. I have completed my student teaching. 16 weeks of teaching complete. It flew by. I honestly do not remember what it is like to be home all day with Delaney, but I am looking forward to being home with her. I have changed so much. I loved teaching. I remember being so nervous to teach because I hated my practicums but I ended up loving every minute of it. My favorite part was the students and my co-workers. Madison High School is an amazing school. It is my ideal school, and I hope that my own children will be able to attend a school like Madison. What really sets this school apart is the staff and students. Every single teacher is dedicated to their students and they love what they do. Collaboration is a huge deal at Madison. I knew that I could go to any member of the English department and they would help me. It was bittersweet to leave but when the end came, I realized that it was time. I will miss my little students(even though 60% of them are taller than me) and I loved all of them. They made this experience so worth it.

Today is my first day of no school. I am sick. I took a nap and I have been working on job applications. There are some big changes in this Garrard family's future. We are nervous but so excited about where we will be going next. Hopefully next to family. We will see. Pray for us. We need all the prayers we can get.

Here are my students. 
 10A: My first period class
 10B honors: 3rd period
 10B 4th period
My seniors. 5th period.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Three-ish days

So I completed the first three-ish days of student teaching. So far it is a lot of fun. I have the best mentor teachers I could possibly have. I am working with Steve Barrus and Ryan Snelgrove. They are both loved by their students. The other faculty members kept telling me what great teachers they are and how lucky I am to teach with them. They like to have fun while they are teaching and that is good because it reminds me to have fun. I am worried that I will take student teaching too seriously and forget that teaching is a creative and fun process. I am teaching 10th and 12th grade. I wear a name tag every day to school that says "Mrs. Garrard - Teacher Candidate". I am very official. I realized on Wednesday, the first day of student teaching, that this is going to be the longest "job interview" I will ever have.

On the second day of teaching, January 3rd, there was a power outage. The power went out during zero period. Outside it was -10. It was about an hour later when they decided to send the students home because of how cold it was and there was no power. Snow days are so much better when you are a teacher. I got to come home and cuddle my sick baby girl who has bronchiolitis. I went to DI and found 101 Dalmatians on VHS, as well as, The Sword in the Stone and Hercules. I love DI.

We have 1:30 church now. I actually enjoyed all the morning time I had to prep, especially because Delaney was taking a nap and I had the house all to myself. My back is really hurting because I did some bridges to strengthen my core/back. That's what I get for working out. Boo.

On my first day of student teaching Delaney woke up at 6:15 am. The same time I woke up. She followed me around as I got ready. She was really supportive during breakfast. She was so happy, but that is because she didn't realize that her world was about to be rocked. We have some amazing friends who are volunteering to take care of Delaney while Mike is in class and I am teaching. I miss my little girl so much but it is fun to see how excited she is when I come home. Tomorrow Mike starts classes. He is excited to start his final semester of classes. I can't believe that college graduation is this year! We will both walk in graduation in July. Crazy. Time has flown by. This is going to be a crazy semester but a very rewarding one.

Also I received a phone call from Denise Bekkedahl. She was my English teacher in high school for a couple different classes. She is the teacher that inspired me to become an English teacher. I loved talking to her and receiving tips on classroom management. It feels great to know that she is in my corner and that I have her as a resource.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

To Create

I am starting a goal this year of 365 days of journal writing. Each day there is a new question to answer. The first question was "What is your number one goal for the year?" which is very fitting for the first day of a new year. My goal is to create a life I love. This goal was inspired by my Aunt Tammy's recently released blog, and I love it. My aunt is an incredibly talented writer. She has always been very supportive of my love of creative writing. Reading her blog reminded me of the joy I feel when I am creating something. I had a pottery class in high school that I loved. It was very therapeutic to shape the clay on a wheel and watch all my hard work become a beautiful piece of art. I love writing but often I am too lazy to do it. I will explain it like this: I have great desires and ideas but it is just a lot of work to make them the way that I want.

Creating brings such great happiness to my life. I understand Heavenly Father's love for His children because we are His creations. Just like Mike and I created Delaney. Delaney is our greatest joy. I never imagined that anyone could make me this happy. I am in constant awe of her. I am always amazed at how perfect she is. It is an obsession.

Another example of creating is cooking. I love baking and cooking. I love putting together food to feed my family. It brings me a lot of satisfaction. I believe that creating is the key to happiness in the life. So that is my goal this year. To create. To love my life by striving to concoct, devise, formulate, invent, invest, produce, start, design, and discover.

Today I began my student teaching. It is an opportunity for me to begin my goal of creating. I will be teaching and it is one of the best ways to create. I will learn so much. I will become a better mother from this experience. A better wife. A better person. It is an exciting time for our little family. It will be hard and challenging especially with Mike taking 15 credits and me doing my student teaching but we have already been so very blessed in our righteous desire to complete our degrees. We have amazing friends who have stepped up and volunteered their time to take care of Delaney. We are very excited for the new year and all the new joys and challenges it will bring.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Some days you just have to call your losses

I know I am a pretty good mom. I love playing with Delaney. I make the weirdest faces and noises just to get her to laugh and smile. I make sure that she has the food she needs (even though I hate breastfeeding). I make sure she gets her naps in, even if she refuses to believe she is tired and she cries and fights it. It is for her own good. It is also for mommy's sanity. Delaney and I have a great relationship. We adore each other and we adore Mike. Our little family has been extremely blessed.

Even with all our blessings and joys there are some hard days. I don't claim that these hard days are the equivalent of the many trials we read about in the Bible or Book of Mormon. For whatever reason, my ability to be patient thins and disappears. Or tiredness beats me down. Or the day feels way too long. Sometimes all I can do to console my upset baby is to set her in her pack n play and close the door. I have to let her cry it out. I have to accept that I can't always make everything better. I can try to help but I can't fix it. Some days the house is a disaster because I need to give all my energy to caring for my family. I have learned that a messy house is more often a sign of being busy rather than laziness. Even though there are days when I am lazy rather than busy. It is funny to see how priorities change and needs transform.

Last night my greatest need was a good night sleep. My sweet husband saw that need and offered to care for Delaney during the night. I was able to get a good nights rest. A night of rest that I desperately needed to take on Delaney today. Sometimes I just need a moment of quiet. I rarely listen to music anymore. Mostly because the music of a baby is enough for me. I enjoy the silent more than I ever thought I would.

I don't want to seem like I am complaining. I am incredibly grateful for my baby girl who brings me more smiles, laughter, and joy than I ever imagined possible. I am greatly blessed by my husband who is always working hard to study and get good grades so that he can be the best possible provider for our family. I am grateful for our old apartment which houses us and protects us even if I may be scared by a spider every other day. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have that it is OK to call my losses, just as long as I try again tomorrow. I am always striving to be a little better and sometimes I falter. I am human and it happens. But I have a kind Heavenly Father who knows my weaknesses and helps me turn those weaknesses into strengths. It is an everyday process but I am doing it. 

For Brooke

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Being a Mom

One thing that was said repeatedly when I was pregnant was that you can never really prepare for a child coming into your life. Which I would say is true but at the same time I feel that there is some advantage in a mother's intuition. Having Delaney in our lives for the past four months has been a roller coaster of adventure. I have loved almost every minute of it.
Some things that I did not expect after Delaney was born:
  • Living in bed for the first six weeks of her life
  • How hard it was to sleep on command
  • Mostly figuring out her sleep habits (I wish that I had read more about baby sleep habits before she was born)
  • Breastfeeding - I have a love/hate relationship. Great calorie burner but I feel like I am feeding her constantly. Thankfully she takes formula and breast-milk. 
  • That is wouldn't be cuddly. This girl is a mover. She is always squirming around.
  • Church is a battle. (9am church is at the tail end of her sleeping. She doesn't usually wake up until 9:30 or 10. So she is extra tired at church and refuses to sleep for very long at church. I often wonder if going to relief society is worth an extra tired baby. I still go though.

Things that I have loved:
  • making her laugh and smile
  • taking naps with her
  •  going on walks
  • I love feeding her. ( Remember it is a love/hate thing. Sometimes my butt gets sore from sitting and feeding her so much)
  • When she looks at me. She looks like she just adores me. Love it. 
  • That she sleeps at least 8 hours straight at night