Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our February in pictures

We got into trouble.

We had fun with daddy.

We summoned our inner model.

We played with good friends.

We enjoyed great weather and explored new places.

We got messy.

We had a great February!

Linking up with Paper Mama for Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

We Like To Eat

I find it pretty funny that every single picture I took last week centered around food. Maybe it was because we ate some good stuff last week. Maybe it was because the only time my kid sits still for more than 30 seconds is when there's food in front of him. Whatever the reason, babies with food can make some quite fun pictures.

Thursday, we enjoyed the beautiful weather and spent most of the day outside. We even enjoyed a picnic of peanut butter pita sandwiches and graham crackers.

Saturday's lunch was a bit messier but still just as fun. The boy is growing more and more true to his toddlerhood and is becoming pickier and pickier by the day. Veggies? No thanks. Oh, veggies with cheese sauce? That's more like it!
(I laugh because I love to tease one of my mommy friends about always feeding her son peanut butter or cheese. Looks like I'm turning into her!)

And just to complete the progression of messy lunches, here's Sunday's lunch of spaghetti. What a mess! Here's what I'm learning about toddlers (or at least mine): when they don't show interest in food, it's probably because it's not messy enough. The messier the food, the longer he'll consider eating it!

Friday, February 24, 2012

One List Life *sponsored post*

Attention Publix Shoppers! From February 23–29 you can participate in P&G’s “One List Life” promotion, available exclusively at Publix: simply select any four fabulous participating P&G items and pick up a FREE Rotisserie Chicken while you’re at it! Learn more at

There are fewer things I enjoy more than getting out and going shopping. But saving money while I shop? Yup, I really love that. So I was excited to hear about the new promotion going on at Publix this week: buy 4 participating Proctor & Gamble items and get a free rotisserie chicken. Because you know what's even better than going shopping and saving money? Picking up a free dinner at the same time.

I've mentioned before that I'm a couponer. Not one of the crazy extreme couponers with a basement full of cat litter and no cat, but I do like to use coupons to help me save money. I've been couponing for a few years now, so the whole process is quick for me: create shopping list and gather coupons when the boy is napping and get our shopping on after naptime. A few extra minutes of preparation to save a respectable amount of money.

So yesterday during naptime, I headed over to this P&G site to check out the specifics of the sale. You know the best part of the promotion going on right now? If you are a couponer and save your inserts, you can find lots of coupons for almost all of the participating items. And if you're not familiar with Publix couponing, you should know that you can use 2 coupons on 1 item (as long as 1 is a manufacturer's coupon and the other is a store coupon), so that really helps you save even more money.

Speaking of store coupons, Publix has a coupon sheet right now called "Running Out? Run In?" loaded with valuable coupons for some of the P&G participating items. And my Publix had stacks and stacks of these coupon sheets in the store -- it's like they're begging you to save money.

So, let me talk about my shopping trip. I had decided before I left the house that I wanted to buy 2 packs of Pampers diapers and 2 bags of Iams dog food in order to get my free chicken. At my store, the Pampers cost $9.49 and the Iams cost $9.99. So, before coupons, I was looking at a total of $38.96. If you're used to paying full price, that's not a bad deal considering you get the rotisserie chicken, too.

But I had coupons. I had 2 $1.50 Pampers coupons from the P&G insert in the 1/28 Sunday paper and 2 $3 Iams coupons from the same insert. Plus, I picked up 2 "Running Out? Run In" Publix coupon sheets -- which gave me 2 $2 Pampers coupons and 2 $2 Iams coupons. So my coupon savings totalled $13, knocking my total down from $38.96 to $25.96, plus the free chicken. See why it was a fun trip? I saved some serious money!

And let's not forget about the chicken. Ooooh, the chicken. I love rotisserie chicken, but I never buy them because I think they're just too expensive. But when they're free? Oh, I really love them, then.

Do you see the price of that chicken?! $7.39. And I got it for free just for buying cheap diapers and dog food. 

So I walked out of the store with $46.35 of groceries that I only paid $25.96 for. That's a few dollars more than a 50% savings.

Yes, there are few things I love more than shopping and saving money.

Thank you to P&G for sponsoring my participation in this “One List Life” promotion. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

1000 Gifts, Week VII

These are some things I'm thankful for:

125. absolutely gorgeous weather that makes the park fun again
126. being able to to be sick in peace -- without having to worry about my baby
127. a spirit of peace when something doesn't go my way
128. free groceries
129. celebrating a friend's brithday
130. being given "time off"
131. seeing the positive in a negative situation
132. a new baby days from being born
133. a morning to reconnect with God
134. Valentines candy that's finally been eaten
135. putting the boy in flip flops
136. midnight snuggles with my boy
137. grocery store kisses
138. seeing things in perspective
139. selling most of my stuff at the consignment sale
140. hearty laughter
141. freshly shaved legs (doesn't happen often in February)
142. a good couponing week
143. making fun plans
144. a little head that rests on my chest
145. really good garlic rolls
146. lots and lots of jibber jabber
147. extra money left over from the grocery budget = date night
148. fresh laundry
149. the raspy little voice that repeats, "See?"
150. long nap times

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

What are you thankful for this week? You can post in the comment section below if you don't have a blog to post to!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hugs and Kisses

Well, it looks like these is the week of fluffy feel-goods. And you know what? I'm OK with that.

Yesterday I shared about Cohen's reaction to seeing me after being gone all weekend. And after I typed it up, I sat back and thought, You know, it really just can't get any better than that.

Apparently, the boy took that as a challenge.

Picture the two of us at the grocery store, smack dab in the middle of the produce section. I'm picking out the greenest bananas possible (I swear they turn yellow and spotted by the time we get home), and Cohen's busy eating his free cookie and throwing his sippy cup on the floor.

After about the seventh time picking up the cup, Cohen grabs me by the arms and pulls me towards him. And lays his head against my chest. It took a minute to understand what he was doing, but I promise you as soon as I figured it out, the whole store knew, too. "A HUG! YOU'RE HUGGING ME!" Cue baby giggles and mommy tears.

I mean, I've gotten Cohen hugs before, but this one was deliberate and very meaningful. And it wasn't a lone hug, either. It was the first of a series of hugs that lasted through the produce section, around the meat department, and well into the dairy aisle. Each hug a little tighter and a little longer than the one before it.

And then, just as quickly as they started, they stopped. I focused on which package of toilet paper was cheapest, and the boy turned his attention to squishing up our loaf of bread.

And you know, if the story ended there, I'd be one happy mama. But it doesn't end there. It picked back up in the frozen food aisle.

Again, it was one of those things that I had to think about in order to figure out what he was doing. He grabbed me by the v-neck of my shirt (thankfully we were the only ones in the aisle; otherwise, someone would have gotten a real show out of that one) and pulled me down towards his face. Head lifted up, lips pursed together, eyes closed, he brought me in for a kiss. A KISS, y'all! A baby-initiated  kiss! And like the hug, lots of squeals and tears and laughing followed. And like the hug, there was a long series of kisses. And like the hug, it ended as quickly as it began.

When did he grow up? When did he turn into a sweet little boy who demands hugs and kisses from his mama in the grocery store? How do I get him to do this forever? My heart is so full today, y'all. All because of one boy's hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Be a Mom

I mentioned yesterday that the boy spent the weekend with his grandparents. And I couldn't honestly tell you who enjoyed the time the most: the baby was doted on and spoiled 24/7. The grandparents had an entire glorious weekend with the baby, all to themselves. The daddy has his wife's full attention for the first time in over a year. And the momma? Well, she got to be sick in peace, which meant spending most of her Monday in bed (good news -- I think the cold is finally subsiding). I think it's safe to say it was a win-win situation for everyone invovled (and dada may or may not be already planning the next "grandparent weekend").

But the sweetest part of the weekend was the boy's homecoming. Once he realized that he was in his own front yard looking at his mama smiling and waving to him ... I don't even think I can describe that moment. It included him pointing to me, getting teary eyed, and falling into my arms, promptly resting his head on my shoulder, exactly where it was supposed to be.

It was one of those monumental moments, yet it was so tiny. I doubt anyone else who was there even remembers those few seconds, but it will forever be cemented in my heart. I am that boy's mama, and nothing and no one can take my place. Oh, what a precious blessing it is to be a mom!

*** Take a moment to head over to Baby Making and check out Becky's fun giveaway. I've already got some ideas for shirts in my head :) ***

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Funk

Well, all I can say is the last few days around here have been real gems.

Between illness and just an all-over feeling of blah, we just haven't been on our A-game over here. But the week didn't start like that. The week actually started out really awesome, and the boy and I really enjoyed ourselves to the hilt. And then it when downhill. And at the risk of sounding like a complainer, I want to share our week, because it's the everyday stuff that is so important.

I posted earlier about my consignment sale craziness. I had such a blast on Monday night, and I really do think that consignment sale preview nights are becoming even more exciting to me than Black Friday. The build up and anticipation far surpass what I feel on Thanksgiving night, and that's saying something. But perhaps I took it a little too far this time around? From staying out all night, the stress and excitement that comes with the deal, eating cookies and a Diet Coke later than normal, and then going from really warm to really cold environments, I'm sure I put my body through the ringer. And I know I didn't do myself any favors by staying up even later when I got home to sort and wash and fold and admire all my finds.

So yeah, didn't exactly start the week off in the most healthy way. But then Cohen and I had a fantastic playdate on Tuesday with some really great friends. We really enjoyed ourselves: playing with all kinds of fun toys, sharing everyone's sippy cups, eating pigs in a blankets and frozen bananas dipped in chocolate (yum, by the way). And then we went home and ate even more chocolate courtesy of hubby's Valentines presents.

Wednesday, Cohen woke up sick. Surprise, surprise, huh? I can't say I didn't see it coming with all the junky foods we've eaten and all the spit swapping via the sippy cup exchange. So the boy has been fighting a nasty cold since then. Such a trooper, he is.

Guess who succumbed to the germs the next day? Yup. Me. I woke up earlier than normal to get us to the pediatrician's office for our 8:30 AM well-check visit (and who is crazy enough to schedule a pedi appointment that early in the morning? This girl.). I signed us in and proceeded to corral my sick and fussy baby in the sick room for a good 30 minutes before the office manager called me up. Turns out my appointment was the day before (even though I have the appointment card that clearly says Thursday, by the way). I was beyond frustrated. I mean, why did I sit around the waiting room for 30 minutes if they had no intention of seeing us? They gave me a later appointment, and I left the office saying something passive aggressive like "Well, there goes our Thursday plans. Say thanks a lot, Cohen." We ended up setting up shop at a nearby McDonald's, eating pancakes and playing on the playground while we waited for our next appointment time.

As it turns out, because Cohen had a cold and a fever, the doctor couldn't give him his 15 month shots, so we've got to go back in a few weeks for shots. I can't help but feeling a tad bitter that Thursday was all for nothing. It did confirm my decision to shop around for a new pediatrician, though. It kind of makes me sad because I love the doctors, but the customer service has left me giving the side-eye a couple times. I originally picked this office because it's the best in the area and has the highest public rating. But they're just getting too big and too busy. And that's not for me.

The rest of the week has consisted of Cohen being a rowdy boy, Travis being a hard-working man, and me trying to just survive this icky sickness. Turns out, I'm a very high maintenance sick chick. Not necessarily something I'm proud of, but there you go.

My parents took Cohen this weekend, so he's been enjoying a few days of total spoilage, lots of attention, and yummy junk food, I'm sure. It's a little surreal to sit in a quiet house, surrounded by all his stuff, and know he's not just napping upstairs. It's nice to get a little vacation from life and have real dates with my husband, but I'm not myself without my baby. I want him to spend weekends away with family. I want him to be comfortable for little chunks of time without being with me. I want him to be able to sleep somewhere other than just his crib. But now I want him home :)

And I am looking forward to a fresh start this week. There are new opportunities on the horizon and lots of fun stuff planned. Maybe, just maybe, I can shake off this funk and get back to normal.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Consignment Treasures

This week, I got to participate in one of my most favorite days ever: consignment shopping. I love shopping for my boy, and when I can do it while saving a boatload of money, well, there's just not much better.

So I packed up my money and my laundry basket and headed out to preview night on Monday night, fully expecting to wait out in the cold for a solid hour like I had back in August. You know how you know you're going to have a great shopping trip? When there's no line and you can just walk right in a get to shoppin'. Awesome.

I hit up the shoes first since those are very expensive in the shore and I know those things sell out so quickly. I was able to score 5 pair of shoes! Being one of the first shoppers at the sale, I had the luxury of being picky about the quality of the shoe and the price of the shoe. And though the boxes were full of shoes selling for $10, I most I paid was $4 for a pair.

Then I booked it over to the 24 month boys rack. I was pretty torn about the sizes to buy this year since last year, the boy grew out of his summer clothes by the end of August. And although 18 month clothing is just a bit big on him right now, I didn't want to risk him outgrowing his clothes again. So 24 months and 2T it was. I'm not going to lie: it kind of hurts my heart a little to say that I bought my kid some 2T clothes. He may as well just go to kindergarten next year.

Again, because I was one of the first people to scour the racks, I was able to be very picky about how much I was willing to pay for good quality clothing. Most of the shorts I bought were $1 a piece. Seriously. And thsoe camo shorts in the bottom picture? 50 cents. I'm not even kidding.

I fully intend to hit up Goodwill in a few months and make some more rompers out of men's dress shirts. I did this last year when Cohen grew out of all his clothes, and those rompers were my favorite things he wore all year. But until then, we've got these. Most were $2 or $3 each. That grey one in the middle? $1. You just can't put something like that back on the rack.

I found the pajamas to be priced pretty high this year, but I was able to pick out 4 sets for about $3 each. My big splurge was the red set at the bottom for $4. I couldn't help it -- it was just too cute.

Finally, I pick out a swimset for Cohen. The top was $2 and the Old Navy bottoms were $3. The floral ones were $1.

So I entered the checkout line with $95 worth of clothing and shoes in my basket. But, you know, 2 hours of line waiting is brutal on your wallet. I ended up putting an interative toy tractor and a bunch of really fun books in my basket as well. I don't have pictures of those as the boy has already claimed them and is happily playing.

My grand total? $108 for 5 pair of shoes, 10 shirts, 14 shorts, 6 rompers, 7 pajama sets, 2 swim trunks, 1 swim top, 1 tractor toy, 36 baby clothes sized hangers, 6 board books, 1 bag of cookies, and 2 Diet Cokes (one for me and one for the woman behind me who let me jump out of the line over and over again to get something else that caught my eye.

Can't get much better than that.

 then, she {snapped}NapTime MomTog

Monday, February 13, 2012

Project 366, week 6

1. Cohen got a fun gift in the mail, and we had to play with it. Introducing DJ Cohen Rock.
2. Tagging items to sell at the big consignment sale (I get to shop tonight and I am oh so excited).
3. Cohen and I made dinner for a sweet family with a brand new baby. Sweetest baby ever.
4. Full moon on a cold night.
5. Creating havoc at the doctor's office. Even a double ear infection can't stop this boy!
6. The remedy for nights full of a screaming baby.
7. Made it official. I am no longer a teacher.

Naptime Momtog

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Part of the Blog Where I Dress My Kid Up

So I don't think it's any secret that we're Yo Gabbaholics over here.

The boy, he loves him some Yo Gabba Gabba. Multiple times a day, he will bring me the TV remote or will take it upon himself to push the buttons in hopes to find his favorite show. He loves the Gabbaland creatures, he loves the music and dancing, he loves DJ Lance Rock. I get the biggest smiles out of him when we do our dancey-dances in the middle of the living room floor.

Because of my son's love affair with all things Gabba, I have committed to making him a DJ Lance Rock costume for Halloween this year. I have already stalked Pinterest for costume ideas and have even started putting together a pattern for the thing.

And then I found And wouldn't you know, nestled nicely between other cartoon character costumes, I found an already-made, super cute DJ Lance Rock costume. It beckoned to me, "Don't spend all your time and money making a costume, just order me instead."

So I did. I ordered the costume. Within days, it arrived at my front door, only to immediately find itself on my kid. And, oh my gosh, the cuteness. I cannot get over it.

I am now a big fan of They have a huge variety of costumes for both kids and adults, the pricing is pretty decent (you know, for a costume most people will wear only once. This costume? We're wearing it every day), and the ordering process is a breeze. Plus, shipping was super fast. And that's pretty important when you are beyond excited about dressing your kid up in ridiculous costumes.

The costume is a 4 piece set which includes a shirt, pants, the fuzzy hat, and a pair of black frames. The shirt is way too easy to put of my squirmy toddler as it completely opens in the back and closes with velcro. The pants have an elastic waistband which made it a snap to put on my kid. The hat and glasses? Well, you try getting a 15 month old to wear them. But they are hilariously adorable.

My only complaint is a reflection on me, not the company. I committed the most common mom crime. I ordered the costume a size too big. You know, because I wanted it to last. Ha. I sound more and more like my own mother every day. I ordered a 3T-4T, knowing full well that Cohen barely fits into a 2T right now. So the costume is big on him, but he doesn't seem to mind. And as a bonus, I'm pretty sure he'll be wearing it next year and the year after that as well. I will say that the website does have a very easy to understand sizing chart. I'm just a mom and couldn't help myself from getting the bigger size.

I mean, how adorable is this? So if you are out and about the next few years and see a very small and very white version of the famous DJ, you don't have to worry if you're seeing things. That's just my kid. Rocking his costume.

**This is a sponsored post for I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. I was provided the costume of my choice in return for writing a review. The opinions in this post are 100% mine.**

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cohen is 15 Months Old

Dear Cohen,

Ok, whenever you want to slow down with this whole growing up thing, I'm totally fine with it. You are growing up and changing and becoming a little boy so quickly!

So much has happened this month, and you are just so different than you were a month ago. You are definitely way more fun. I think you become more entertaining each day. You have a great sense of humor, and you love to make people laugh. You do some really silly things to get a laugh out of people!

You have also learned so much this month -- stuff that no one taught you -- you just learned. Like when you see me with food on your tray, you run to you high chair and climb inside it. When I take off your sleepers or socks, you pick up one foot at a time to let me get the clothes off. When I kiss your forehead, you turn your face and plant a big kiss right on my lips. When you wake up too early in the morning and I come in your room, you don't even bother sitting up -- you just hand me your bottle so I can fill it with water. You've recently mastered drinking from a straw, and that has made public outings so much easier.

In the past couple weeks, you learned how to scoot down the stairs on your bottom. It has been so much fun spending my days bouncing downstairs with you. You get so proud of yourself when we reach the bottom that sometimes you climb back up so we can do it again.

You love books, but you will only read them if you're sitting in my lap. You love to point to animals and imitate the animal sounds I make. You love to lift up the flaps and see what's underneath. When we finish one book, you'll get up and get another book and sit back down in my lap.

You've started to become a little more picky about what you eat. You used to love broccoli, but now it literally makes you throw up. You will not touch a strawberry or a grape, no matter how many times I offer them. Noodles make you shudder when you put them in your mouth. If there's something on your tray that you don't want, you simply throw it on the floor (which the dogs love).But you still love your bread. And you love to eat bananas and peaches and pears. You love to gnaw on apple slices. You go wild over cheese. You're more willing to eat meat than you ever have been: you really like chicken and tuna and ground beef.

You are fascinated with drawers and cabinets. You love to explore them and find new treasures. You are so happy when you've got a tube of lotion in one hand and my contact lens case in the other. You like to reorganize things, taking something from one drawer and putting it in another. I laugh when I open a drawer and find a graham cracker inside.

You are so full of joy, and it radiates out of you. Life excites you, and you make sure each day is lived to the fullest. Your smile is contagious, and anyone who meets you can't help but to love you. I don't go a day without thanking God for giving you to me. I don't deserve you, but I am so glad you call me mama. You are a treasure, little boy. You are a perfect gift, and I love you to the moon and back, forever and ever.

Until next month,


Thursday, February 9, 2012

1000 Gifts, Week VI

This one's going to be a quickie as I am waiting on the boy to finish his breakfast so I can take him to the pediatrician. Boyfriend was up and screaming all night long. The logical part of my mind says it's due to those 4 molars that are bursting through his jaw. The scared mommy part is totally convinced we've got an ear infection on our hands.

Week 6 of the Joy Dare! By the end of the year I should have listed 1000 little gifts from God that I am thankful for.

This week, I'm thankful for:

104. watching the baby play in the shower
105. a little finger that points at everything
106. drinking from a straw
107. a husband who helps out
108. midnight medicine runs
109. a beautiful moon

110. sweet gifts just because 
111. healthy friendships
112. fun things in the mail
113. surprise expenses that can can immediately pay off
114. Chik-Fil-A (and their playground)
115. hearing others talk about how awesome God is
116. seeing a sweet family take in a baby and make him their own
117. daddy/son bonding time
118. yummy cakes

119. being in a much better place than I was a year ago
120. opportunities to save my money

122. the little things that make life easier
123. knowing how to comfort my son
124. making it official

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

What are you thankful for this week? You can post in the comment section below if you don't have a blog to post to!
Linking up with Candra and Grace Alone for Thankful Thursday.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ribbit Ribbit (Wordless-ish Wednesday)

A sweet friend from church made Cohen a hat. She's actually been making one for every baby in the church, and it is so much fun looking at all the babies in their cute hats.

Cohen and I are not hat people. I'm not typically a fan of dressing your kid up in silly things, and Cohen, well, he just doesn't want anything on his head (because, then, how could he show off his beautiful white-blonde hair?).

But this hat. This is a hat we both can make an exception for. It's just too adorable. And the joy my baby gets when he sees himself in the mirror is off-the-charts precious.

He will not let me take it off his head. And I'm just fine with that.

 then, she {snapped}NapTime MomTog
Also linking up with Paper Mama 


And now it's edit time!

Selena provided the picture this week. Check out her website, it's pretty cool.

Here's the original image. Don't you just love a beach wedding? I was telling a friend just the other day that if I could do my wedding all over again, I'd forget about all the fancy and just have a simple beach wedding. Or a barefoot outdoor wedding. With bbq and lemonade. There's something about the simplicity that is so romantic to me.

Here's my edit:

I cropped the image and cloned out a lot of the distracting sea grass. I brightened the image and added contrast. I also did a lot of work with the background: softening it up and brightening it up even more. Finally, I played with the curves a bit to add a little bit of a pink tint to the entire image.

Here's a side-by-side:

Thanks for the fun picture, Selena! It makes me want to get married all over again :)

Want to see how others edited this pictures? Click on the box below for lots of creativity!
Edit Me

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Superhero's Time Away

Wanna know a secret? There really is such a thing as a superhero. Seriously.

We are surrounded by them, actually. There are all over the place, completely and perfectly disguised as regular people. And unless you spent a day with them, you'd never know of their powers.

If you ever want to scope one out, I'd suggest you go to your nearest school: elementary, middle, or high school, it doesn't matter -- you'll find them there. But if you want to see the super-est of superheros, go to the middle schools. After all, they hang out with 12 and 13 year olds all day long.

There are few things in my life that I am more proud of than to say that I am a teacher. It's a job that receives little appreciation, is given much scrutiny and blame, and requires everything out of you every day.

But the end product is nothing short of miraculous. A child adopted into the country with no language skills able to read on a 3rd grade level after spending only an hour a day with you (and 30 other kids at the same time). Many children with horrific personal pasts who come to you knowing only how to hate leave 9 months later having learned how to trust and love themselves. A child who has failed every reading class she's ever had respondes positively to one teacher's push to work hard and learn -- and she ends up excelling.

Those are some of my success stories. Those are my best. The ones that keep me smiling and kept me walking into my school morning after morning when the days just felt too dismal.

When my son was born on November 10, 2010, I never thought I'd be the kind of person who would ever entertain the thought of being a stay at home mom. If you had asked me on November 9th what my plans were, I would have told you very matter-of-fact: I will return to work in 7 weeks and continue my career.

But that didn't happen.

It seems I found my Kryptonite. And he stopped my life dead in its tracks. I took a one year leave of absence this school year so that I could spend this time with my son. I didn't want to miss a minute of his ever-changing life.

And during these months on leave, I have returned to my school a few times -- only to be received by squeals and hugs and giant smiles from former students. I'm not going to lie -- that feels pretty fantastic. To know that there children out there who I've made a positive impact on. Kids who like me and miss me despite the year of torture I put them through (here's a secret kids don't want you to know: they appreciate a strong adult who is loving but tough. They appreciate having someone who believes in them enough to push them past their comfort zone. Kids hate those people in the moment, but they love them afterwards {and let's be honest for a second -- the things kids hate changes by the second, so don't get your feelings hurt if they hate you. It'll change}).

Last week, I was invited to Educator Appreciation Night at my school. This is an event where students can acknowledge teachers who have made a difference in their lives. It was the first year I was invited, and when I learned of the student who invited me, to be honest, I was shocked. But I was also honored. Very honored.

So Cohen and I made our way to the school on Thusday night. There was lots of hugging and reuniting with favorite co-workers. Lots of stories to tell. It felt good to spend time with those Superheros again. And then I was recogonized by my student. I was given a certificate and this award.

I joked that, now that I don't have a classroom to display my award, I was going to put it on my mantel like an Oscar. But you know, I might just do that. Because it reminds the world that I am a superhero. And I made a difference.

And this morning? As I look at the award and think about the students who have changed my life, I'm getting ready to take a big step. Today I will go to the post office and mail a letter to my district. A letter that informs them that I will not be returning in August. In short, I'm quitting my job today. And I never thought I'd say this, but it's kind of bittersweet. I'm meant to be a teacher -- it's my calling. And one day when Cohen is older (or the bank tells me I have to), I will return to the classroom.

But for right now, there's a little boy with waffle on his face who needs me to be his superhero.