1 Down…35 to Go!

 photo DSC_0025.jpg

It has been quite a week.

We met the teachers,

 photo DSC_0021.jpg

 photo DSC_0030.jpg

 photo DSC_0014.jpg

 photo DSC_0027.jpg

 photo DSC_0020.jpg

 photo DSC_0029.jpg

had our annual back to school party,

 photo DSC_0003.jpg

 photo DSC_0007-1.jpg

 photo DSC_0025-1.jpg

and prepared everything for the first day.

 photo DSC_0035.jpg

 photo DSC_0056.jpg

 photo DSC_0059.jpg

 photo DSC_0063.jpg

Now we can officially say that we made it through the first week of school.

 photo DSC_0079.jpg

 photo DSC_0068.jpg

 photo DSC_0088.jpg

Not only that, but it was the best first week of school that they have all collectively had.

 photo DSC_0091.jpg

They woke up each morning eager to face the day, and they returned home from school with happy stories about their days.

 photo DSC_0092.jpg

 photo DSC_0095.jpg

Summer’s teacher is a dear friend.  She was Gabriel’s 1st grade teacher, Ethan’s 1st grade teacher, and now Summer’s 1st grade teacher.  She is amazing, and I am looking so forward to seeing how Summer’s reading and writing flourishes in 1st grade. Summer knows that she is in a safe, loving environment, and that is so critical when students make that huge jump from Kindergarten to 1st grade.  She already loves and trusts her teacher, and, because of that, we know that she will continue to love school this year just as much as she did last year.  She has already said that she loves 1st grade even more than Kindergarten because of all of the fun activities that they do in class.

 photo DSC_0101.jpg

Ethan’s teacher was put on earth to be his 3rd grade teacher.  I am firmly convinced of that.  She is new to our school, and we did not know anything about her except for the fact that the school counselor really felt like she would be a wonderful fit for Ethan.  She was so right!  Ethan went from dreading school to meeting his new, amazingly sweet teacher at open house and happily anticipating the first day of school.  He adores her. Actually, adores is an understatement. I do not even know how to describe how amazing she is.  Needless to say, Ethan loved his first week of 3rd grade.  He came home so happy every single day.  While I was not entirely prepared for what a big jump it would be for him to move from 2nd grade to 3rd grade, luckily he took it all in stride.  I cannot even count the number of people who told me that they saw Ethan in the hallway, and he looked so happy.

 photo DSC_0103.jpg

Gabriel’s teacher is also new to our campus, so we went to open house knowing absolutely nothing about her. Gabriel left open house so incredibly excited.  He has his homeroom teacher for Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies, and he has another teacher for Math.  He believes that he has the perfect combination of teachers, and I could not agree more.  I already knew and loved his math teacher.  She really “gets” Gabriel, and she has already sent me the sweetest emails about him.  His homeroom teacher is amazing, as well.  Gabriel loves her, and her teaching style really allows her to connect with her students.  We are so excited to see how this perfect teaching team works together to help Gabriel continue to excel in math and language arts.  He is one of those truly balanced students, and we are thrilled that he has teachers who will, without a doubt, continue to push him to learn more, while simultaneously understanding that he is a perfectionist who often needs a voice of calm reassurance.

 photo DSC_0104.jpg

As I sit her today, I am so thankful for our teachers.  As a mom and as an educator, I know that it is one of the most important jobs in the world.  I am so incredibly thankful that our teachers view their roles in the lives of my children as more than just a job.  It is a calling, and it is one that takes a servant’s heart.  We are blessed that our teachers have those special, unique, amazing hearts.

Now that we made it through the first week, we are dreaming of football, cooler fall days, soccer, pumpkins, and fun, family time.


Happiness Is…

Happiness is FRIDAY!  After a week where we all battled with different allergy/cold issues, I can honestly, sincerely say, “TGIF!”


Happiness is fall.  It officially arrives tomorrow, and I am beyond excited.  When I saw pumpkins at HEB, I was taking pictures and smiling like a crazy woman.  And, as my dear husband so fondly pointed out, “Is that really any different than any other day.”  I love you for loving my craziness, Sean!


Happiness is TWO soccer games tomorrow.  I am not so happy about the early 8 AM one, but I am still thrilled that I get to see my oldest baby play in two games.


Happiness is Mr. Bear.  Summer brought home the class bear on Wednesday, and he made himself at home very quickly.  Ethan had brought him home a few times when he was in Kindergarten, so Mr. Bear knew his way around. Seeing my little girl beaming while she played dress-up, read books, did homework, and had dinner with Mr. Bear just filled my heart with joy.







Happiness is celebrating birthdays.  Always.  I celebrate them for my littles…and I celebrate them for me, too.



Happiness is a sweet husband who knows how to help out and pick up the slack now that I am working and attending meetings during the week.  I love that I can find little things done like the bed made, kitchen cleaned, or homework finished because he values what I do both in our home as a wife and mom and outside of our home as a substitute teacher and parent.


Happiness is teachers.  I have always, always loved them.  And, now that I am in many classrooms each week, the appreciation level that I have for them has gone up about a billion degrees.




Happiness if granola.  I eat it probably more than I should.  Sometimes I have yogurt and granola for both breakfast and lunch.  It is quick, easy, and healthy.  When I saw Averie Sunshine’s pumpkin granola this week, I just about did a happy dance.  I worked half a day yesterday, and instead of resting like I was supposed to do, I was in the kitchen making this granola.  Was it worth sacrificing a nap?  Absolutely!

Have a happy, happy weekend!

Meet the Teacher Night


Yesterday, there was a flurry of excitement in our house.  While Summer had Kinder Camp on Wednesday and already knew who her teacher would be, the boys were excitedly waiting for telephone calls.

I thought that Gabriel might make himself sick with anxiety before the telephone finally rang right around lunch time.  When I heard her voice, I just started laughing.  She immediately said, “Natalie, while I would love to talk to you, I really want to talk to Gabriel.”  We are so excited that Gabriel will have the same teacher in 4th grade that he had in 3rd grade!  As she was talking to him, he was grinning from ear to ear.  We are truly over the moon.  She is an amazing teacher, with a calm, loving, kind personality.  She did so much for Gabriel last year, not just in academics, but also in getting him to remain an over-achiever but to also take it easy on himself when he does not receive a perfect score.  She totally understands my Gabriel, and she will always have a special place in my heart for loving my sweet oldest boy.


Next came Ethan’s call.  When I heard her voice, I immediately felt great, great relief.  She said, “Natalie, can I talk to Ethan?”  While I have loved this dear, sweet woman for two years now, she totally took my heart when she asked to talk to Ethan.  She put him on a level with all of the other students in her class, knowing that he can understand and would be so exited to talk on the phone to his new teacher.  She was absolutely right.  I was listening closely, and when she said, “Ethan, I will be your teacher for 2nd grade.”, he said, “Yea!” while he pumped his fist in the air, smiling.  We know his teacher well because she was Gabriel’s teacher in 2nd grade.  And, when I say that she is pure magic, it is such an understatement.


As we arrived at Open House last night, Ethan turned into Tigger, in a very sweet way. When he gets excited, he tends to bounce up and down.  And, let me tell you, he was beyond excited last night.  We went by to see his special education teacher, and he ran into her arms to give her a big hug.  Then, he surprised her by telling her all of the letters that he has been working on over the summer.  She looked at me with a huge smile on her face.  Yes, she knew that he had made so much progress, and she was so happy for him, for us.


Then we went down to see his teacher, who he already knows so well.  As if having her was not amazing enough, he also knows almost all of the students in his class.  They were all either with him in Kindergarten or in 1st grade.  As I looked at all of the names, I felt at total peace.  There are students in there who truly love Ethan just the way that he is.  They are helpers, they are kind, and they will be such sweet friends to him.


Gabriel waited patiently as we were getting Ethan all set up.  I had told him that he could go upstairs without me, but he waited.  While Sean took Summer and Ethan home, Gabriel and I went upstairs to have our special time with his amazing teacher.  He, too, knows most of the students in his class, and he is so happy to be sitting right beside one of his great friends. Since we were the last ones there, we were able to spend some good, quality time with his teacher.  She just kept hugging Gabriel and telling him that she asked the office every day to please put him on her roster.  Gabriel just smiled.  Those are the things that my boy loves to hear.  He loves to know that other people think that he is as amazing as we do.  And, his teacher definitely does.


As hard as it is for me to say good-bye to summer break, it helps knowing that my littles are starting a new year in such amazingly capable hands.  I texted a friend last night and told her that I could not imagine a better dream team of teachers for my littles.  Yes, they are all truly that wonderful.  It is going to be a great year.  I just know it.